Chatter: Syria 'regrets' shooting down Turkish plane




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Need to know:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he regrets that Syria shot down a Turkish plane last month, "100 percent."

In an interview published today, Assad told a Turkish newspaper that Syria mistook the F-4 military jet for an Israeli warplane. He offered no apology, maintaining that the plane was in Syrian airspace and "a country at war always acts like this."

Assad is keen to stress he doesn't want a conflict with his neighbor, though, especially after Turkey has lined up a stock of heavy weaponry along their border. "I say 100 percent, I wish we did not shoot it down," he's quoted as saying. 

Nearly 300 of Assad's citizens, meanwhile – including 85 soldiers – are reported to have defected to Turkey just yesterday.

Want to know:
Mexico's left-wing presidential candidate says he'll challenge the official election results. Again.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also known as "AMLO," has form. He refused to concede the last presidential election in 2006, which he lost by a hair to now President Felipe Calderon. 

He came second again this time round, according to the tally he disputes. Enrique Pena Nieto, whom most people have accepted as the winner, was given a comfortable lead over Lopez Obrador of more than 6 percent.

AMLO, however, maintains that he won by a wide margin, and called the vote "dirty, inequitable and plagued with irregularities." 

He's not the only one having flashbacks: Pena Nieto, the fresh face of the old and not-so-fondly remembered PRI party, is working hard to convince Mexico that his victory isn't a step backward.

Dull but important:
Bob Diamond
, the chief executive of Barclays, has resigned.

The move comes less than a week after the bank admitted seeking to rig inter-bank lending rates over a period of several years, for which US and UK authorities have fined it $450 million. The scandal has already cost chairman Marcus Agius his job, and prompted the British government to launch an inquiry into wider banking practices.

Massachusetts-born Diamond, one of the highest paid executives in the UK and a symbol for many of fat-cat banking, was under pressure from shareholders and politicians to quit. Now that he has, saying he didn't want the controversy "damaging the franchise," British Chancellor George Osbourne says it was "the right decision for the country."

Just because:
: what does it conjure up? If the answer's somewhere between "nothing" and "spelling mistake," you're not alone. 

South India's Tamil-led film industry is often conflated with its more famous Hindi cousin, Bollywood, based up in Mumbai. Yet over the past five years, "the Other Bollywood" produced more than half of all Indian movies. 

In a new series, GlobalPost discovers how Tamil cinema is giving Bollywood a run for its money, with soaring budgets, gritty plotlines, and the mega-est megastars.

Strange but true:
Inmates in a Brazilian prison have been given the chance to get some exercise, help save the environment – and find freedom slightly sooner.

The Santa Rita do Sapucai jail has hooked its exercise bikes up to dynamos that charge batteries while prisoners pedal. Wardens aren't expecting inmates to cycle for the love of ecologically-sound power, however: for every 16 hours a prisoners rides a bike, authorities shave a day off his or her sentence.

The voluntary program has been so successful thus far that the prison plans to add more bikes, which should – inmates willing and legs obliging – generate enough power to run streetlights for an entire block.