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Violence Erupts in Belfast Over Flag Dispute

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Al Jazeera reports that at least eight police officers were injured during the riots.
Belfast's council voted Monday to change its policy on the Union flag, reported the BBC. Al Jazeera reports the anger in Northern Ireland following the decision has been expressed by Protestant loyalists who believe Northern Ireland should strengthen ties to Britain.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) told Al Jazeera that five people were arrested following clashes between police and hundreds of loyalists in the city center Friday night.
Violence ensued when two cars were set ablaze, reported Al Jazeera. According to the BBC protesters outside of city hall used metal barriers, bottles and golf balls to attack police.
Police told Al Jazeera that around 1,000 people rioted Monday and 15 police officers were injured.
The BBC reports Nationalist politicians had argued removing the flag would ease tensions in the divided city by creating a more "equal and neutral" environment.

U.S. and Russian Diplomats Discuss Syria

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Internet and Phone Service Disconnected in Syria

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Internet service as well as mobile and land telephone lines have become unreachable in Syria this afternoon reports the BBC.
The Guardian reports internet connectivity stopped completely at 12:26p.m. in Damascus.
Internet restrictions imposed in Syria have made it impossible to reach any of the country's 84 IP address blocks, reports internet intelligence authority Renesys.
Syrian government officials blame "terrorists" for the disconnection, reports the BBC.
Syrian civilians told Reuters mobile and land telephone lines have only worked intermittently in what may be the worst disruption to communication since conflict erupted last year.
This type of attack on communication services providers is not unheard of in the region. The BBC reports internet blackouts occurred in Libya often in areas controlled by Colonel Gaddafi.
Reuters reports the U.S. remains confident Syrian opposition will be able to circumvent the disconnect using technology provided by the U.S.

An Army private who has been implicated in the release of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables to the whistleblower site WikiLeaks claims he was tortured while being held awaiting trial, reports the Herald Sun.
The Herald Sun reports the leaker, Bradley Manning, obtained the cables while working as an intelligence analyst between 2009 and 2010 in Baghdad.
In March, Juan E. Mendez, a United Nations specialist on torture, presented a report to the UN's Human Rights Council that criticized the U.S. government for not allowing him to meet privately with Manning reports the Huffington Post.
Mendez told the Associated Press that while he never spoke with manning he was persuaded "that Pfc. Manning was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" that violated the UN Convention Against Torture.
Ultimately, Manning is expected to seek to have his charges dismissed, though at minimum his legal aid is pursuing a reduction of his sentence by approximately seven years reports the Herald Sun. The trial will be held Tuesday reports the Herald Sun.

After several days of rocket fire from Gaza, Israel has launched a responding operation, Yahoo News Blog The Lookout reports.
The Telegraph reports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to strengthen an affront against Palestine.
Despite international discouragement against escalation on both sides, Palestinian militants recently launched hundreds of rockets into Israeli territory and targeted Tel Aviv for the first known time, reports the New York Times. Israeli armored vehicles have moved toward the Gaza border in preparation for a possible invasion reports the New York Times.
Haaretz is continuing to provide live-blog updates on the rocket attacks in Gaza.

Analysis: Welfare in India: Money Where Your Mouth Is

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This article from The Economist uses a variety of numbers and figures to illustrate the current state of welfare distribution in India. The numbers serve to explain the story rather than complicate it.
For example, the story begins with an anecdote taken from real life in Delhi, India. The numbers are two and 70: a delivery man brings two medium-sized aluminum pots to feed 70 children in the area. That image is poignant and the numbers make it so.
Numbers are used later in the story in a more straightforward and news-valuable manner. The numbers involve people, specifically those eligible for welfare aid of different types in India, such as the 300 million people who signed up for aid through the country's biometric database "unique identity" (UID). Money is another type of figure used throughout this story to explain the cost of being poor in India.
The sources of these numbers are not always directly relayed, though some like the anecdote at the beginning seem to be gathered from the writer's own reporting and fact-gathering. Some numbers come from quotes, particularly from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Overall the numbers contribute to facts that are relatively easy to understand for the readers, but the attribution of these facts is at times questionable.

Israeli Shots Called a "Warning" to Syria

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Israeli troops were put on high alert Saturday after a vehicle in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights was hit by a Syrian mortar strike, reports the BBC.
The Associated Press reports the Israeli military incurred no damage or injury at their post in the Golan Heights. Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since its capture in 1967 during the Mideast war.
Tensions remain high in the area, as many are concerned about Syria's civil war that has been on-going for the past 19 months reports the Associated Press.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that Israel is ready to meet security threats reports Business Week.
Middle East Online reports the warning shots on Saturday did not violate Israel's sovereignty, though the attacks on both sides have disturbed the two countries' long-standing ceasefire agreement.

Egyptian Princess' Tomb Discovered Near Cairo

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The tomb of an Egyptian princess dating back 4,500 years was discovered near Cairo this Friday, reports the Global Post.
According to Al Arabiya, a group from the Czech Institute of Egyptology, funded by the Charles University of Prague, made the discovery. Al Arabiya also reports that along with the princess' main tomb, the group excavated a corridor which leads to four other tombs, two of which had been discovered prior to this expedition.
According to the Global Post the princess was named Shert Nebti. The Global Post also reports that little is known about her father or mother, though an inscription on the tomb states "the daughter of the king Men Salbo and his lover venerated before God the all-powerful."
Al Arabiya reports the tomb and the four additional chambers it leads to have all been discovered in the regular excavation season, which began in October.
USA Today reports Mohammed El-Bialy, head of the Egyptian and Greco-Roman Antiquities department at the Antiquities Ministry, said the excavation is still in "early stages" and the site is closed to the public.
The discovery of the tomb comes at a crucial moment following the Arab Spring and Egyptian uprising. USA Today reports a delegation from the International Monetary Fund is in Egypt now to negotiate a $4.8 billion loan intended to bolster the country's weakened economy.

Officials on the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain have prohibited all rallies and demonstrations in the nation, reports the New York Times.
According to the Bahrain News Agency, Bahrain Interior Minister Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said any "illegal rally or gathering" would result in legal actions against those calling for and participating it. Al Khalifa also stated anyone connected with "such irregularities" could be deemed accountable in legal proceedings.
The LA Times reports that protests have become commonplace in Bahrain for more than a year as dissidents accuse the Sunni Muslim monarchy of police abuses and marginalization of Shiite Muslims in the region. Amnesty International told the LA Times that many "prisoners of conscience" remain jailed in Bahrain today.
An interpretation of the Interior Ministry's official statement released to the Bahrain News Agency stated, "rallies and gatherings have been associated with violence, rioting and attacks on public and private property," and that they "were a major threat to the safety of the public."
Critics of the Bahraini government's move told the LA Times that few protestors have resorted to violence and that suppression of demonstrations will only fuel growing unrest. Human Rights Watch, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said the Bahraini government has attacked peaceful demonstrators with tear gas in the past, reports the LA Times.
President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights Maryam Khawaja told the LA Times, "If the government doesn't allow any kind of peaceful protest, if it always attacks and suppresses them, of course it's going to turn into something else."
The United States has so far sided with the Bahraini government. According to the New York Times the strategic value of this backing is due to Bahrain's bulwark value against its neighbor Iran. The New York Times reports critics have called this an act of hypocrisy.

The Houston Chronicle reported Ukrainians headed to the polls Sunday to vote on 450 parliamentary seats.
Business Week reported opinion polls show the Party of Regions, a group that formerly oversaw the Soviet republic in conjunction with the Communists and is connected to current President Viktor Yanukovych, winning the parliamentary majority.
Voice of America reports many Ukrainians see this election as an opportunity to test the level of democracy Ukraine has risen to in comparison with its former Soviet neighbors Russia and Belarus. Voice of America also stated that opposition challenges to Yanukovych may call his authoritarian power into question.
Voice of America reports that as many as 3,500 foreign observers have arrived in Ukraine to oversee the voting process of the country whose population is only 46-million.
Ukrainians appear skeptical of voting methods according to Voice of America who cited a poll from earlier this month where 47 percent of those asked thought voting obstacles could have enough of an impact as to affect the eventual election outcome.

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