Chatter: Fighting over Syria erupts in northern Lebanon




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Need to know:

At least 10 people have died in fighting between two Muslim communities in Lebanon divided over the conflict in Syria.

Clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli that erupted this week have also left more than 100 people wounded.

The sectarian fighting has been fueled by conflicting loyalties in the Syrian conflict, where mainly Sunni opposition fighters are battling against President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a Sunni, appealed to both communities to end the "absurd battle" in Tripoli.

Want to know:

Just give it up, Todd Akin.

Despite a barrage of calls to step down, the Missouri Republican who said women's bodies can prevent pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape" (ugh) has defiantly vowed to stay in the US Senate race.

Mitt Romney called for him to quit, saying Akin's comments were "offensive and wrong." Other high-ranking Republican Party members joined the chorus urging Akin to step aside.

But a stubborn Akin wouldn't back out. He missed yesterday's deadline to withdraw from the Missouri race, and now it will take a court order to get his name off the ballot.

Dull but important:

Ahead of talks later this week with European leaders, Greece has asked for "breathing space," i.e. more time to implement tough spending cuts.

The new Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to meet Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker, followed by talks with the French and German leaders.

At issue is whether Greece has done enough to receive its next installment of loans, with the looming prospect of a so-called Grexit, or Greek exit, from the euro zone. The coming weeks may prove crucial for the currency's survival.

Just because:

The death of Meles Zenawi, the long-time Ethiopian leader, has sparked fears of instability in the Horn of Africa nation.

While Meles, an ally of the United States, was praised by world leaders for bringing a measure of economic growth and development to Ethiopia, critics say it came at the expense of human rights.

"He showed that he was intolerant of criticism and his government continually persecuted journalists," Mohamed Keita from the Committee to Protect Journalists told GlobalPost. "The US government has been very reticent to confront Meles Zenawi on his abuses." 

Strange but true:

It has been described as "foolish courage": striking workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in South Africa crept through the veld and then rushed toward police, who opened fire. The mass shooting killed 34 strikers and injured 78 more.

Many of the workers, it turns out, believed they were invincible after taking "muti," or traditional medicine, for protection.

A traditional healer, known in South Africa as a "sangoma," had earlier dished out muti in elaborate rituals. "The medicine man used a razor blade on some of the men, making small incisions on their foreheads before smearing a black, gel-like potion on them," one report said.

Some locals said that if not for the muti, many more strikers would have died.