4:51 PM, August 29th, 2013

Syrian opposition sources say they have been asking for gas masks and chemical-weapons protection gear for more than a year—and the Obama administration decided not to supply them.

In a photo provided by a group fighting the Syrian security forces, a resident of the Qaboun neighborhood shows off a primitive gas mask made using household items.

3:49 PM, August 29th, 2013

So where would the U.S. actually strike? A source at a government consultant told us these potential locations

4:24 PM, August 26th, 2013
There must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.

Secretary Kerry on Syria, August 26, 2013 (via statedept)

More info here

3:17 PM, August 21st, 2013

Syrians deal with the aftermath of a reported chemical attack.

More photos (Warning: graphic images). 

11:32 AM, June 6th, 2013

The Front Page - June 6, 2013

1. Obama Defends Spying on Your Calls: Apparently, the Obama administration’s go-to response when it comes to scandals is simple: “We did this for you.”

2. Woman Rescued from Philly Rubble: A 61-year-old woman was pulled from the debris of a collapsed Philadelphia building, bringing the toll of survivors up to 14. 

3. West: Holder Scarier Than Al Qaeda: Who poses a bigger threat to U.S. security: Attorney General Eric Holder or Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current head of Al Qaeda? According to former congressman Allen West, the answer is easy. 

4. U.S. Condemns Syrian ArmyThe Syrian Army is wreaking havoc on a number of villages surrounding Qusair, a strategic border town it seized from rebels after two weeks of fighting that reportedly left no building undamaged. 

5. Girl, 10, Moved to Adult Transplant List: A 10-year-old girl dying of cystic fibrosis has been moved to an adult transplant list after a federal judge in Philadelphia granted the temporary request due to her severe condition.

Photo: Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistanis are silhouetted against vehicle headlamps while walking on street darkened by power cuts, on the outskirts of Islamabad. By Muhammed Muheisen/AP. 

1:39 PM, October 1st, 2012


Daniel Etter: Witnessing Syria’s Descent Into War

During the last 15 months I have traveled to Syria again and again. I witnessed a small glimpse of the country’s descent from a largely peaceful uprising into a full-scale civil war.

What seemed to me at first a hopeful struggle for change has turned into a violent deadlock. August was the bloodiest month in Syria so far. With more than 4,000 civilians dead, the human toll exceeded that of the deadliest month of the war in Iraq, which was already ten times higher than the deadliest month in Afghanistan.

A morning airstrike—lacking an obvious noncivilian target—hit a neighborhood in Aleppo, on August 23. Here, Syrians in the Shaar section of the city watch the attack.

The rebels fight with Kalashnikovs, rocket propelled grenades and home made bombs against the government’s tanks, helicopters and fighter jets. What the rebels lack in firepower, they have in manpower, courage, motivation and sometimes a disregard for their own physical safety. Neither side seems to have the power to decisively turn the tide against the other.

With every passing day, the conflict has become increasingly sectarian. Except for a very small number, the rebels are Sunni Muslims from Syria’s poor and disadvantaged countryside. Religion serves as a unifier and was the only hope that promised justice under a corrupt regime.

In the Tareeq al Bab area of Aleppo on August 24, election posters of Baath Party members have been torn.

Today, even more secular rebel outfits use religious symbols. They grow beards and fly the black flag of jihad to attract money from conservative Muslim donor states. Jihadists from the United Kingdom, Libya and Pakistan have joined the ranks of the fighters. Though relatively few, they play into the government’s narrative of a foreign, Islamist conspiracy against Syria.

On the other side you have Alawites, Shiites, Christians and countless other minorities that side with the Syrian regime—not necessarily because they support it, but because they fear what might come if the rebels win. President Bashar al Assad has projected an image of himself as a protector of minorities and interreligious peace. Partly because the largely Sunni opposition has failed to reach minorities, for many Syrians he has become exactly that.

Working as a journalist in this environment has proven difficult and dangerous. Many of our colleagues lost their lives. Some were foreign reporters, but most were Syrian. One of the last was Tamer al Awam, who I met in Syria in a makeshift refugee camp close to the broder with Turkey in June 2011. We spent some time working alongside, and we connected because we both called Germany one of our homes. I was not aware that he started working in Syria as a filmmaker until activists changed their profile pictures on Facebook to his portrait and announced his death in Aleppo. According to activists, he was hit by shrapnel during sustained army shelling of opposition forces.

Aleppo has been one of the most challenging stories I have covered so far, frontlines shift within minutes and jets strike anywhere in the city no matter if there are military targets or not. There is no secure place for civilians in the parts of the city held by the rebels. The government’s message seems to be that you either fight on their side or you pay the price for the rebel’s actions.

A family walks through the Tareeq region of Aleppo on August 25, 2012.

But it is not only the security situation that proves increasingly challenging. The opposition was in the past desperate for journalists to cover their plight, but with critical reporting on their actions, such as human rights abuses and religious radicalization, they are slowly becoming unwelcoming towards reporters.

A school in the Aleppo region shelters approximately 150 refugees who have fled local violence. Here, a mother holds her newborn infant on August 13, 2012.

If I as a photographer had to choose one of my images to sum up the conflict, it would be the tattooed rebel prisoner. He has the ruling Assad family inked on his chest like a holy trinity. The late Hafez al Assad in the middle, his two sons Basil and Bashar on the side. For the prisoner, an alleged government militiaman, they used to be the only legitimate rulers of Syria. When the rebels entered Aleppo, he surrendered, screaming “I give my blood for the Free Syrian Army!” and cut the Assads’ images out of his chest with a dirty razor knife.

He told his story under the watchful eyes of a prison ward, so there is no way to be sure that he did not make it up so not to anger his jailers. But no matter who inflicted the cuts in his chest and tried to erase the Assads, the wounds might get infected, they might heal—but they will be visible as long as he lives. The bloody conflict continues. I do not see an easy end to it. But hopefully, a future generation will overcome the pain and the hate that the wounds cutting through Syria inflicted.

— Daniel Etter

View more from Daniel Etter’s Witnessing Syria’s Descent Into War at The Daily Beast.


Reblogged from Picture Dept
5:04 PM, September 26th, 2012


Photo of the Day: September 24, 2012

Aleppo, Syria
A Free Syrian Army fighter, carrying a weapon on his back, plays a guitar as he walks through a street near Aleppo.

photo: Zain Karam, Reuters / Landov


Reblogged from Picture Dept
11:38 AM, July 10th, 2012

Frontpage: Tuesday, July 10th

  1. Annan: Iran Part of Syrian SolutionFollowing talks with the Iranian foreign minister, U.N. envoy to Syria Kofi Annan argued, in a press conference Tuesday, that Iran should be “part of the solution” to Syrian turmoil. “My presence here [in Tehran] proves that I believe Iran can play a positive role,” he said. 
  2. Not All Dems Stand With ObamaYesterday President Obama called on Congress to renew Bush-era tax cuts for just one year for Americans making under $250,000. He was expecting trouble from Republicans eager to keep the tax cuts for wealthiest Americans around forever, but he’s also getting some push-back from his own party. Embattled members of both the House and Senate, such as Sen. Claire McCaskill from Missouri, Senate hopeful Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Rep. Shelley Berkley of Nevada, say they’d either prefer to raise taxes on people making over $1 million per year, or permanently extend the Bush-era cuts for anyone making less than that. 
  3. Diamond Gives Up $31M in Bonuses: Former-CEO Robert Diamond is giving up $31 million in deferred bonuses. New insight into the Barclays Libor scandal reveals that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York may have known that the British bank was manipulating global interest rates as early as August of 2007. In 2008 the Fed even offered up some suggestions to British authorities on how to fix the system. 
  4. Ex-Israeli P.M. Cleared of CorruptionAfter three years as prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert resigned in 2008 amid a high-profile corruption scandal. Now Olmert has been cleared on two charges of corruption. He was convicted on a third, less drastic charge—of breach of trust—which he’s expected to appeal. 
  5. Egyptian Parliament Meets in CairoLegislators gathered in Cairo Tuesday for a meeting of Egypt’s now-dissolved Parliament, despite opposition from the senior military generals and high-court judges. During the short meeting, lawmakers approved a proposal by the speaker—a member of the Muslim Brotherhood—to appeal an earlier ruling that reviving the defunct Parliament went outside the law. 

Photo via picturedept:

Photo of the Day: July 9, 2012

Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina. A Bosnian Muslim man prays near coffins prepared for a mass burial at the Memorial Centeron July 9, 2012. The bodies of 520 recently identified victims of the Srebrenica massacre will be buried on July 11, the anniversary of the massacre when Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys and buried them in mass graves, in Europe’s worst massacre since World War Two.

photo: Dada Ruvic, Reuters / Landov


Reblogged from Picture Dept
1:24 PM, July 9th, 2012

Frontpage: Monday, July 9th 

  1. Obama: Extend Tax Cuts: President Obama is gearing up for his latest fight with Congress as he plans to push for a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for anyone with a yearly income under $250,000. House Republicans want to keep the tax cuts in place permanently for both middle- and upper-income Americans, and congressional Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have been pushing to extend them to anyone earning up to $1 million. 
  2. Egypt’s Parliament Closure ‘Final’: Egypt’s highest court has spoken: the decision to dissolve the country’s parliament is binding. Monday’s ruling is a blow to newly-elected president Mohammed Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood party won most seats in the chamber in a the recent election.
  3. Euro Zone Aims to Create AgencyThe euro zone is in the process of creating a new agency to supervise banks within the currency union that would report to the European Central Bank. Germany and other European nations with strong economies see the establishment of one overarching authority as necessary to keep the rest of the bloc in line. 
  4. Annan, Assad Have ‘Constructive Talk’: The United Nations’ envoy to Syria and the Arab League, Kofi Annan, held “constructive” talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus Monday. Assad reportedly claimed that any effort to end the 16 months of violence that has torn through his country has been hindered by the U.S.’s support of “terrorists” and support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey—both via weaponry and other logistical aid—to the rebels attempting to take down his regime. The two have agreed on an “approach” to end the violence. 
  5. Lance Armstrong Suing USADA: Livestrong, litigate stronger. Lance Armstrong is turning the tables on the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency by suing the organization for charging that he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. The seven-time Tour de France winner filed the lawsuit Monday and is expected to argue that the USADA’s doping investigations violate the constitutional rights of athletes. 

Read More Cheats

Photo via blakegopnik:

DAILY PIC: Jeff Brouws takes photos of abandoned railroad rights-of-way.  The “train-track” perspective that still lurks in his pictures is the last trace of technology’s encounter with nature. His photos are haunted by the trains that no longer cross them. One way or another, such haunting is the central subject of “The Permanent Way”, a show at the New York non-profit gallery called Apexart. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the law that paved the way (almost literally) for the first transcontinental railroad, Brian Shollis, a brilliant young scholar now transitioning from art into history, has put together a small survey of railroad-themed images. It includes vintage train maps, old railroad postcards and contemporary art about trains and their riders. No matter how commonplace trains became, I don’t think we ever grew completely blase about them. As they disappear, we may become less neglectful than ever.

The Daily Pic, along with more global art news, can also be found on the  Art Beast page at thedailybeast.com.

Reblogged from Picture Dept
12:42 PM, July 6th, 2012

Frontpage: Friday, July 6th

  1. 'Friends of Syria' Meet in Paris: Over 100 countries sent representatives to Paris Friday to determine what can be done to end the violence that’s been raging in Syria for over a year, resulting in close to 16,000 deaths. French President Francois Hollande opened the meeting by declaring Syria a threat to world peace and insisting that it is “a human and political necessity” to step in.  
  2. Mitt Blasts Obama on Jobs: Mitt Romney called June’s unemployment figures “unacceptably high,” and placed the blame squarely on President Obama this Friday.  ”It doesn’t have to be this way,” the former governor said, adding that “the president’s policies are not working.”
  3. 80K Jobs Added in June: Some 80,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in June, and the unemployment rate remained steady at 8.2 percent, according to a monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number is a disappointing figure for economists hoping for a respite from the tepid job growth of the last several months, and came in below market expectations.
  4. Duke Energy CEO Lasts One Day: Bill Johnson was slated to become Duke Energy Corp.’s new chief executive ever since Duke announced a $26 billion merger with Johnson’s former company, Progress Energy Inc. That was 18 months ago. On July 2, the merger and his new position went into effect, and on July 3 (at 12:01 a.m.) Johnson resigned. Apparently, it only took a few hours on the job to realize that Johnson wasn’t the right fit for the position.
  5. More States Get ‘No Child’ Waivers: The U.S. Department of Education is expected to announce Friday that Washington and Wisconsin have been granted waivers releasing them from the obligations of No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush’s key education legislation. These are just the latest states to be let off the hook from the law’s most demanding conditions. 

Photo via jemappellejambon:

Bring your dog to sleep on your desk day (Taken with Instagram)

This is two desks to your Tumblr’s left. 

Reblogged from Je m'appelle Jambon
10:36 AM, June 21st, 2012

Frontpage: Thursday, June 21st

1. CIA Said to Direct Arms in Syria: As Syrian shells rained down on the battered city of Homs Thursday, a handful of American black bag operatives were helping allies direct weapons to the men and women fighting back.

2. Mitt to Florida: Hush Up on Jobs: Things are bad, no matter how good they look. That’s the message the Romney campaign sent down to Florida, sources told Bloomberg News, where Governor Rick Scott has been tooting his own job-creation horn a little too much for the Romney camp’s liking.

3. Suspected Bomb at Nuclear Site: Threat levels have been increased in Sweden after explosive material was found on a truck near a nuclear power plant.

4. European Stocks Slip: After reaching a five-week high, European stocks slipped Thursday. “The mood of market participants is still characterized by great uncertainty about future developments in Europe and the slowdown in China,” Stefan Angele, investment management head at Swiss & Global Asset Management, told reporters.

5. Egypt on Edge as Results Delayed: Tahrir Square was alive again with demonstrators overnight, and Egyptian voters continued to wait Thursday for a result in the country’s presidential election as anxieties mounted in the country.

Read More Cheats

Photo by Alpha Press/Landov

A woman agrees to let a rescue team prevent her from falling by tying her to a building. Read more here about China’s growing concern about their suicide rate.

1:03 PM, June 19th, 2012

Frontpage: Tuesday, June 19th

1. U.N.: Justify Drone Use, U.S.: A United Nations investigator on Tuesday called on Washington to justify its policy of killing al Qaeda and Taliban suspects, rather than capturing them, at the risk of harming civilians.

2. Pakistan Court Bans P.M. From Office: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday disqualified Prime Minister Raza Gilani from holding office, two months after finding him in contempt of court.

3. G20 Urges European Solution: More ominous news out of Europe. As the G20 summit started in Mexico, leaders expressed concern over the mushrooming debt crisis in Europe—while fears over Spain’s financial health grew after the news that the country’s borrowing costs soared.

4. UK Stops Russian Shipment: President Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday jointly called for peace in Syria, but Putin refused to support the U.S. efforts to persuade Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power.

5. Microsoft Reveals ‘Surface’ Tablet: Microsoft is finally ready to take on the iPad. The company unveiled its new Surface tablet at an event in Los Angeles on Monday.

Read More Cheats

Photo by Platon for Newsweek

At 76, he has aged with unholy grace: the mussed carrot-top, now the cloud tint of jiffy-bag innards, has scarcely thinned; the oblong face remains a mobile mask of amused perplexity; the wiry physique, thanks to daily exercise, still exudes the vigor of the athlete he once was—a skilled-enough boxer, in his teens, to have trained for the Golden Gloves competition. Read the full story here

10:37 AM, June 15th, 2012

Frontpage: Friday, June 15th

1. More Accusers at Sandusky Trial: Three more accusers testified in the sex-abuse trial against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on Thursday, bringing to eight the number of accusers to take the stand in the trial’s first four days.

2. Egyptians to Protest Elections: Egyptians are calling for protests Friday after the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled the Islamist-led Parliament invalid and to allow Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister to serve under former dictator Hosni Mubarak, to run in a presidential-runoff election.

3. Russia Denies Giving Syria Choppers: Russia responded Friday to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s charges that Moscow was sending new attack helicopters to Syria, denying that any arms deal goes beyond “defensive” technology.

4. EPA Proposes Stricter Air Standards: The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing on Friday new air quality standards to lower the amount of soot that can be released into the air.

5. Obama Visits World Trade Center: President Obama visited the new 1 World Trade tower Thursday, hailing the rebuilding and signing one of the final steel beams that will be added to the building.

Read More Cheats

Video via Youtube, by BirdLoversOnly:

In keeping with our streak of animals-doing-cute-things videos, here’s a parrot that has a better taste in music than most kids these days and knows how to rock to the beat. Happy Friday!

6:26 PM, June 13th, 2012
A U.N. official Tuesday finally acknowledged that Syria has entered a full-scale civil war.
Michael Tomasky is pretty sure we’re going to war with Syria sometime soon.
10:23 AM, June 11th, 2012

Frontpage: Monday, June 11th

1. European Stocks Rise: European stocks took a turn for the better early Monday as markets breathed a sigh of relief after Spain accepted a bailout offer over the weekend.

2. GOP Hammers Obama on Leaks: Republican leaders had their sights trained on the Obama administration Sunday as the White House went into crisis mode over a series of media leaks.

3. Sandusky Sex-Abuse Trial Begins: Controversy is sure to return to Happy Valley as former Nittany Lions football coach Jerry Sandusky goes on trial Monday on 52 charges of sexual abuse.

4. 'Porgy' Wins Best Musical Revival: There was no acting on stage for the cast and production team of Porgy and Bess as the show won the Tony Award Sunday night for best musical revival.

5. Hundreds Evacuated in Colorado, NM: Communities in New Mexico and Colorado continued evacuations Monday as wildfires spread through forested areas of the states.

More Cheats

Photo by AP

Syria’s Grief

Over the past two weeks, four massacres of civilians have been reported—most recently, at al-Qubeir, in the Homs district, where U.N. observers arrived on June 8 to investigate the deaths of 78 people. The monitors were greeted by the smell of rotting flesh and charred bodies. “I have not seen anything like this since Bosnia,” said one monitor. (The regime denied responsibility for the attack.)

-Katie Becker

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