Chatter: Syrian rebels claim they hit Assad's motorcade, government begs to differ




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The assassination that wasn't? Syrian state TV is pointedly broadcasting pictures of Bashar al-Assad looking chipper, after rebels claimed to have scored a hit on the presidential motorcade. Rebel fighters in the Free Syrian Army announced this morning that they had fired multiple shells on Assad's convoy as it wound through central Damascus, and at least some of them had found their target.

The government, however, said the claims were "dreams and illusions." Its media mouthpieces have since been full of accounts of the president's visit to a mosque to celebrate today's festival of Eid, throughout which, they assure, he remained very much alive. Even so, rebels insisted, what may just have been the closest shave Assad has had in more than two devastating years of civil war is bound to have "rattled" a president who still insists he's entitled to stay.

Grounded in Nairobi. Flights are gradually resuming at Kenya's Nairobi airport, the day after a massive fire closed the entire transport hub down. Domestic and cargo flights were given the go-ahead yesterday and the first international flights began landing this morning, even as salvage crews picked through the charred debris.

Officials say a domestic terminal will be used as a makeshift international one to allow the regional and long-haul air traffic that makes the airport one of Africa's biggest transport hubs to keep moving. But it will be only a fraction of its usual service — and meanwhile the thousands of passengers, airlines and businesses who depend on the airport will find themselves facing severe disruption. Here's how a four-hour blaze could do long-lasting damage to Kenya's economy


Myanmar remembers. Today the country are looking back to the time when it was Burma, when its government was a military junta, and when opposing it could cost you your freedom, or even your life. It's the 25th anniversary of the darkest day in the 1988 pro-democracy uprising that would leave more than 3,000 dead — and this year, for the first time, partipants are commemorating it openly in Yangon. 

Even as activists marched through the former capital, police ordered them to stop, and photographed their faces when they refused. Aung San Suu Kyi, who cut her teeth in the 1988 protests and a quarter-century later leads the opposition in parliament, is due to speak at a memorial ceremony later today. We've come far, she can say with no exaggeration, but not all the way.

Too much rap will kill you. At least in Brazil: last month, 20-year-old MC Daleste became the seventh hip-hop artist to be murdered in Sao Paulo in the past three years. All the killings remain unsolved — and civil police investigators haven't ruled out a connection to death squads that crime experts say enlist rogue military police.

Could it be that rappers' hard-hitting lyrics about the crime, corruption and injustice of the favelas that made them is a tune the authorities don't want to hear — or be heard? GlobalPost investigates who's killing Brazil's MCs.


Oh, snip! Hirsute Venezuelans, invest in a heavy-duty hat: thieves are after your hair. Dubbed "piranhas," they've been stalking the streets with scissors, ready to lop off an unsuspecting ponytail and sell it to beauty parlors where it'll end up woven onto someone else's head. 

Lesser-locked lovelies will pay big bucks for several inches of high-quality hair, which is what makes snipping it off passers-by such a lucrative trade for these bandits. It's a pretty canny business model, if you think about it: every lady shorn is another customer for extensions.