Chatter: UN tries to reach Syrian 'massacre' village




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Need to know:
UN monitors will make a fresh attempt today to reach the village of Qubair in Syria, where pro-government gunmen are accused of murdering at least 78 people.

Observers were shot at yesterday as they attempted to investigate the reports. Activists allege that government forces were buying themselves time to remove bodies from the scene.

Such violence, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned, shows that the threat of all-out war in Syria is "imminent and real." 

"How many more times have we to condemn them, and how many ways must we say that we are outraged?" Ban asked. "The Syrian people are bleeding."

Want to know:
At least 18 people were killed in Pakistan this morning when a bomb hit a bus taking government employees to work.

Another 35 people were wounded in the explosion, near Peshawar in the north-west. Women and children are said to be among the dead.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but comparisons are being drawn with hundreds of similar bombings carried out by the Pakistani Taliban.

Dull but important:
Al Qaeda wants you.

A branch of the terror group has launched an internet recruitment drive, posting job ads on several jihadist web sites and even offering training for suicide bombers to target the US and its allies.

The ad, attributed to Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, reportedly calls for volunteers to join the "operations that make for great killing and slaughtering of the enemies of Islam." Recruits should be, "according to priority, American, Israeli, French and British."

American agents have sabotaged pro-Qaeda websites in Yemen before, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently. How about the State Department offering a more competitive benefits package for applicants willing to not to blow people up?

Just because:
Soccer is known as the beautiful game. But the furor over racism at the Euro 2012 championship, which kicks off later today in Poland and Ukraine, is as ugly as it gets.

The media's warnings, complete with images of skin-head extremists, that non-white fans and players should brace themselves for terrible abuse, has everyone on edge. One team has already complained of hearing "monkey chants" during an open training session in Krakow; officials said the shouts were in fact an unrelated political protest.

The two host nations pronounce themselves, predictably, outraged at the accusations – which have far overshadowed any positive press they hoped to gain from the event. GlobalPost asks whether their reputation has been unfairly besmirched by a handful of far-right trouble makers, or whether the risk is real.

Strange but true:
"Congratulations! You have completed an approved progam of study."

If you spotted the typo in that sentence, you have sharper eyes than officials in Prince George's County, Maryland, who last week handed out 8,000 high-school diplomas certifying students had graduated from their "progam." The certificates are being reprinted.

It could be worse. The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas was recently forced to apologize for the cover its 2012 commencement program – which left one crucial letter out of the word "Public."