Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces killed at least four civilians in an intensified tank and rocket bombardment on opposition districts in the Syrian city of Homs yesterday to put down a popular revolt demanding his removal, activists said.
“This is the most violent barrage since the attack on Homs started six days ago. The four included a 55-year old woman. They were killed by shelling that hit a building where they live in Bab Amro,” opposition activist Mohammad Hassan said by satelite phone from Homs.
The account could not be independently confirmed. Syria restricts access by most foreign journalists.
Footage on YouTube showed a doctor at a field hospital in Bab Amro next to the body of the woman, who appeared to have been hit in the head.
“This is Ibtissam al-Dalati, mother of three. Shrapnel hit her in the head,” the doctor says, holding the woman’s fractured and bloody head. “I call upon all Syrians to take to the streets to take the pressure off Homs.”
On Friday, twin car bombs targeting security posts in Syria’s second city of Aleppo killed at least 28 people, state media said, with the rebels accusing the regime of launching the attacks as a diversion.
The explosions came as tank-backed troops advanced on pockets of resistance in the besieged protest hub of Homs, as heavy security deployments nationwide thwarted planned protests against regime ally Russia.
The powerful mid-morning blasts in the northern commercial hub also wounded 235 people, said state TV, which broadcast gruesome footage.
Mangled bodies were shown in pools of blood outside rows of shattered buildings and piles of rubble strewn across an avenue.
State TV called the bombings, the first in Aleppo since the uprising against al-Assad’s regime erupted almost a year ago, the work of “armed terrorist gangs.”
The rebel Free Syrian Army blamed the government itself for the attacks.
“This criminal regime is carrying out bomb attacks in Aleppo to steer attention away from what it is doing in Homs, Zabadani and elsewhere,” its spokesman, Colonel Maher Nouaimi, said in a telephone interview.
Meanwhile, satellite image provider DigitalGlobe Inc released photos on Friday that appear to show Syrian army tanks and armored vehicles in Homs.
DigitalGlobe said the images were taken late Friday morning by the company’s WorldView 2 satellite from about 772km above the Earth. The satellite images show an increase in the level of army activity in and around Homs from the previous 24 hours.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after