World news in brief

By Drum Digital
13 November 2013

A woman hospitalized with gunshot wounds inflicted by a man who killed her daughter and husband woke up to find herself next to her assailant.

Syria rebel government to provide services 

The opposition Syrian National Coalition announced a new government this week, after months of delays, facing challenges on the ground from Kurds seeking autonomy and Al-Qaeda groups that reject its authority.

The interim government is under pressure to quickly provide services to citizens living in large swathes of rebel-held territory, particularly in Syria's north.

But the fractious internal politics of the Coalition, along with the strength of Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists on the ground and advances by regime troops all pose key challenges for the new government.

Members of the Coalition acknowledge that the government's first priority will be to prove itself by offering badly needed public services. - SAPA-AFP

Obama's popularity sinks

US President Barack Obama's popularity has slumped to an all-time low, with a majority of Americans for the first time believing him to be dishonest and untrustworthy, a new survey showed.

The respected Quinnipiac University Poll found that Obama's approval rating had nosedived to the level of unpopularity faced by predecessor George W. Bush at the same stage of his presidency.

It caps a turbulent few weeks for Obama, whose administration has come under heavy fire for the chaotic roll-out of his signature health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

American voters had also reacted strongly against Obama's misstated pledge to allow voters to keep the health care plans they already had, the survey revealed. – SAPA-AFP

Two die after Russian Launchpad failure

Russia's Defense Ministry says two officers died and three servicemen were hospitalized after cleaning rocket fuel tanks at a military launchpad.

The ministry said that the officers appeared to have violated safety rules during the regular cleaning of the fuel tanks at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwestern Russia.

The three servicemen were hospitalized after breathing toxic nitrogen vapors on Saturday and their lives were not in danger, the ministry said in a statement. It did not specify how the officers died. - SAPA-AP

Liberian police escort smuggles $4m marijuana

Liberia's Drug Enforcement Agency says marijuana smuggled over the border from Sierra Leone by a member President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's motorcade is valued at more than $4 million.

On Monday, DEA Director Anthony Souh said the operation was carried out by Perry Dolo, whom he identified as the head of Sirleaf's presidential police escort. In a statement late Monday night, Sirleaf's office clarified that Dolo was a mid-ranking member of the motorcade and that his vehicle had been decommissioned prior to the alleged smuggling operation.

The DEA said Tuesday that Dolo and two other men arrested in connection with the smuggling had been charged with "illegal possession of narcotic drugs and trafficking." – SAPA-AFP

Brazilian woman wakes up next to her family’s killer

A woman hospitalized in a Sao Paulo suburb with gunshot wounds inflicted by a man who killed her daughter and husband woke up to find herself next to her assailant.

Luiz Roberto Bilo, a police inspector said the murder was recorded by security cameras aboard a bus. Outside the vehicle, security guard Jose Cosme Barros was gunned down. His wife and their five-year-old daughter tried to escape by getting aboard but were also hit by the shooter.

Barros and his daughter were fatally shot while the wife, 28-year-old Naircleide Duarte, was rushed to a local hospital in serious condition.

A few hours later, the assailant, identified as 27-year-old Lucas Ribeiro do Nascimento, was caught up in a brawl outside a nightclub and sustained gunshot wounds, according to police.

By sheer coincidence, Ribeiro was hospitalized in the same facility and in the same room as Duarte, according to police who said they had a big file on the suspect, notably for robberies and murders.

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