Nick Turse
globalpost:

Need to know:More than 100 countries meet today in Parisin a bid to form a united front on the crisis in Syria.
Russia and China won’t be among them.
Both countries have shunned the so-called Friends of Syria alliance, where the agenda is set by Western and Arab allies who want President Bashar al-Assad to leave power. Beijing and Moscow baulk at what they claim would be interference with another nation’s sovereignty, especially when talk turns to military intervention.
The absent Friends were in everyone’s mind, nonetheless: addressing today’s meeting, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded that Russia and China “get off the sidelines” and agree to a UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Syria’s government.
One unexpected addition to the guest list, however, is Syrian Brigadier General Manaf Tlas: the senior officer and long-time ally (friend?) of Assad reportedly fled Syria last night, and is said to be on his way to France.
Want to know:George Zimmerman’s defense team is scrambling to raise the thousands of dollars they need to secure his release, after a judge yesterday set his bail at $1 million.
His family doesn’t have “anywhere near” that sum, according to Zimmerman’s lawyer. His legal fund contains $211,000 for his entire defense, and donations to it have been slowing, the attorney said.
The man who shot Trayvon Martin has been in jail since last month, when the same judge revoked his bail after prosecutors said that Zimmerman and his wife lied to the court about their finances. 
“By any definition, the defendant has flouted the system,” Judge Kenneth Lester ruled. “But for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people’s money.”
Dull but important:Libyans vote tomorrow to elect a national assembly, their first free ballot in more than 40 years. 
The 200-member congress they elect will appoint an interim goverment and select a committee to write a constitution, which will then be submitted to voters in a referendum.
It’s the first, crucial step toward political stability in Libya – political stability that will, in turn, bring back foreign investment to the country’s most valuable natural resource, its oil. GlobalPost surveysthe prospects for the oil industry in a new Libya.
Just because:Two former Argentinian dictators have been sentenced to jail for stealing babies.
Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, who presided in turn over Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship, were found guilty of overseeing the systematic theft of children born to political prisoners. At least 400 babies are thought to have been taken from their parents and adopted by members of the regime, in an attempt to stamp out the opposition movement.
Bignone and Videla were sentenced to 15 and 50 years, respectively. The sentence all but guarantees they will die in prison: the two men, both in their 80s, are already serving lengthy jail terms for other crimes committed under their rule.
Strange but true:Did A Farewell to Arms leave you vaguely unsatisfied? Would you have prefered it if they’d all – spoiler alert – lived happily ever after in their Alpine cabin?
Well, it turns out Ernest Hemingway wasn’t entirely sure about the ending either. So not-entirely-sure, in fact, that he wrote it 47 times. Those 47 “what ifs” will be included in a new edition of the novel, to be published next week.
From what we can tell, they’re all pretty much variations on the “we’re all going to die” theme. But fingers crossed, there might be at least one version in which we do so in a full-scale alien invasion.

globalpost:

Need to know:
More than 100 countries meet today in Parisin a bid to form a united front on the crisis in Syria.

Russia and China won’t be among them.

Both countries have shunned the so-called Friends of Syria alliance, where the agenda is set by Western and Arab allies who want President Bashar al-Assad to leave power. Beijing and Moscow baulk at what they claim would be interference with another nation’s sovereignty, especially when talk turns to military intervention.

The absent Friends were in everyone’s mind, nonetheless: addressing today’s meeting, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded that Russia and China “get off the sidelines” and agree to a UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Syria’s government.

One unexpected addition to the guest list, however, is Syrian Brigadier General Manaf Tlas: the senior officer and long-time ally (friend?) of Assad reportedly fled Syria last night, and is said to be on his way to France.

Want to know:
George Zimmerman’s defense team is scrambling to raise the thousands of dollars they need to secure his release, after a judge yesterday set his bail at $1 million.

His family doesn’t have “anywhere near” that sum, according to Zimmerman’s lawyer. His legal fund contains $211,000 for his entire defense, and donations to it have been slowing, the attorney said.

The man who shot Trayvon Martin has been in jail since last month, when the same judge revoked his bail after prosecutors said that Zimmerman and his wife lied to the court about their finances. 

“By any definition, the defendant has flouted the system,” Judge Kenneth Lester ruled. “But for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people’s money.”

Dull but important:
Libyans vote tomorrow
 to elect a national assembly, their first free ballot in more than 40 years. 

The 200-member congress they elect will appoint an interim goverment and select a committee to write a constitution, which will then be submitted to voters in a referendum.

It’s the first, crucial step toward political stability in Libya – political stability that will, in turn, bring back foreign investment to the country’s most valuable natural resource, its oil. GlobalPost surveysthe prospects for the oil industry in a new Libya.

Just because:
Two former Argentinian dictators have been sentenced to jail for stealing babies.

Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, who presided in turn over Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship, were found guilty of overseeing the systematic theft of children born to political prisoners. At least 400 babies are thought to have been taken from their parents and adopted by members of the regime, in an attempt to stamp out the opposition movement.

Bignone and Videla were sentenced to 15 and 50 years, respectively. The sentence all but guarantees they will die in prison: the two men, both in their 80s, are already serving lengthy jail terms for other crimes committed under their rule.

Strange but true:
Did A Farewell to Arms leave you vaguely unsatisfied? Would you have prefered it if they’d all – spoiler alert – lived happily ever after in their Alpine cabin?

Well, it turns out Ernest Hemingway wasn’t entirely sure about the ending either. So not-entirely-sure, in fact, that he wrote it 47 times. Those 47 “what ifs” will be included in a new edition of the novel, to be published next week.

From what we can tell, they’re all pretty much variations on the “we’re all going to die” theme. But fingers crossed, there might be at least one version in which we do so in a full-scale alien invasion.

globalpost:

Reports of a man beheading his sister in an apparent honor killing in India have garnered attention recently.

On Dec. 7, 29-year-old Mehtab Alam dragged his sister out onto the street, cut off her head in one stroke and walked to a police station with her head in his hand. The Times of India said it was the first honor killing to happen in Kolkata in decades.

Read more: Man beheads sister in broad daylight in India

The horrific news came as Indians protested in favor of stronger safety measures for women, after the 23-year-old victim of a brutal gang rape died last week.

India wasn’t the only country in the news for women’s issues.

In the United States, for the first time in 18 years, Congress did not reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

House leadership chose to let the bill expire, balking at new provisions that would extend protections to undocumented immigrants, Native Americans and LGBT individuals.

In Indonesia, the city of Lhokseumawe ruled that female passengers are only allowed to ride side-saddle.

But after all that bad news, here’s a look at what women did achieve in 2012:

A year in women: notable female achievements of 2012, from Malala to Hillary

guardian:

Dramatic pictures of five young children and their grandmother huddled together under a jetty in the Tasmanian town of Dunalley were captured by their grandfather Tim Holmes as the family took shelter from Australia’s wildfires in the water to escape the flames. The family was forced to stay in the water for several hours as homes around them were razed to the ground. The pictures, taken on 4 January have just been released. Click on the image for more
Photograph: Tim Holmes/AP

guardian:

Dramatic pictures of five young children and their grandmother huddled together under a jetty in the Tasmanian town of Dunalley were captured by their grandfather Tim Holmes as the family took shelter from Australia’s wildfires in the water to escape the flames. The family was forced to stay in the water for several hours as homes around them were razed to the ground. The pictures, taken on 4 January have just been released. Click on the image for more

Photograph: Tim Holmes/AP

globalpost:

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a US journalist on Thanksgiving Day. More than a month later, he remains missing.

American James Foley, 39, was last seen on Nov. 22 in Idlib Province. Idlib has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent months between Syrian rebels and government forces.

James, or Jim as he is known by friends and family, previously wrote for GlobalPost in AfghanistanLibya and Syria.

Read more: US journalist missing in Syria

freejamesfoley.org

globalpost:

Central African Republic rebels halted their advance toward the nation’s capital and agreed to talks on Wednesday.

The Seleka rebel fighters, who have captured large swathes of the country and threatened to oust President Francois Bozize, said they would not attack the capital city of Bangui, according to Reuters.

PHOTOS: Central African Republic rebels agree to talks as troops from Chad block advance

globalpost:

KARACHI, Pakistan — Three more health-care workers were killed Wednesday in renewed attacks against those trying to immunize Pakistani children against polio, bringing the total killed this week to nine.

The attacks Wednesday occurred near Peshawar, killing a female health worker and her driver as well as a third worker in a separate incident, Al Jazeera reported. The World Health Organizaiton and the United Nations have both suspended their campaigns in the country because of the violence. 

Read more: Polio workers shot in Pakistan, 9 killed in 3 days

globalpost:

It comes as no surprise that the roiling political tensions between opposing political parties can sometimes turn physical.

However, there’s endless irony in a situation where the people who write the law of the land resort to their fists (and in some cases eggs and chairs) to solve their problems.

In Ukraine, it almost seems like an annual event or rite of passage. Taiwan and South Korea are strong contenders for the top spot as well.

In honor of the news about Ukrainian parliamentarians getting into fisticuffs today, GlobalPost made a collection of political brawls in the hallowed halls of lawmakers from around the world.

Check out the gallery on GlobalPost.

globalpost:

           Syrian Playstation Tank

Syria’s grim civil war continues to grind on, and rebel forces are continually forced to come up with new technology to counter the Assad regime.

One such innovation? An armored tank whose weapons are controlled by a Playstation game console, constructed largely from the chassis of a car and whatever else rebels could scare up at the time.

Check out the other wacky, weird and repurposed weapons from around the world, including a burrito bomber, an army of dolphins and bat bombs at GlobalPost.

globalpost:

DAMASCUS, Syria — Six months after being driven out of central Damascus, rebel fighters are battling to gain control of it.

They have launched a concerted campaign against military bases and the international airport, within an arc of opposition strongholds that now encircle the capital.

Read more: Syria: The siege of Damascus

globalpost:

From Cairo, GlobalPost’s Erin Cunningham said the protests have remained relatively calm. “No major developments around the protests tonight so far. They’re happening, and they’re big. But no clashes,” she wrote on Tuesday night.

She added: “Protestors did tear down at least part of the concrete wall the presidential Republican Guard built several days ago in defense of the palace. They broke through the security cordon this evening (as they’ve done several times), but they did not storm the palace.”

Read more: Gunmen attack Tahrir Square as Cairo braces for rival protests