By Scaachi Koul - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 0 Comments
Haiti had not seen a case of cholera in over 100 years—until ‘help’ arrived
After an earthquake ravaged Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, no one could have imagined that cholera—absent from the country for more than a century—would claim the lives of thousands more Haitians. Yet some 7,400 Haitians have died from cholera since the epidemic began in October 2010; and more than 600,000 have been infected. Now, new evidence is pointing the finger at the UN for bringing the disease into the country.
Last month, Daniele Lantagne, a top U.S. cholera specialist, told the BBC that a Nepalese military unit of the UN Stabilization Mission was the “most likely” source of the outbreak; the strain of cholera found in Haiti is “an exact match,” she says, for the strain found in Nepal. At the time of Haiti’s earthquake, Nepal was in the grip of a cholera outbreak. None of the soldiers were tested because they didn’t display the symptoms of the disease (it is possible to carry cholera without showing symptoms).
Rumours that UN peacekeepers were to blame for the outbreak have long circulated in Haiti, but an independent report last year concluded that the peacekeeping agency could not conclusively be blamed. While UN personnel may have had a hand in introducing the disease, the report found that Haiti’s lack of proper sewage treatment and water purification was also at fault; the disease, found in water or food contaminated by the waste of those infected, can quickly spread in places with poor sanitation. As for the alleged negligence in not testing the peacekeepers, Kieran Dwyer, the UN’s chief of public affairs, says the World Health Organization has no recommended “reliable cholera screening tool.” Continue…
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, October 22, 2012 at 11:06 AM - 0 Comments
Chocolate makes snails smarter and fish could start losing weight
British Columbia: Researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that changes in ocean and climate systems could result in smaller fish. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, looked at more than 600 species of fish from oceans around the world. It determined the maximum body weight the fish can reach could decline by 14 to 20 per cent by the year 2050.
Alberta: University of Calgary researchers exposed snails to epicatechin, a component found in many foods, including chocolate and green tea. In the study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, they found it helped boost the molluscs’ memories. They couldn’t determine yet whether the findings apply to humans.
Manitoba: Findings from the University of Manitoba’s faculty of medicine show that children from lower-income areas have a tougher time than kids from higher-income areas in health and school. Most worrisome, the study, which tracked Manitoba children aged 19 and under from 2000 to 2010, found that the rate of child deaths in lower-income areas was more than three times greater than in higher income areas.
Ontario: With flu season creeping up, a new study by Public Health Ontario suggests that ethnic communities are more likely to get a flu shot than Canadians who identify themselves as white or black. A dozen ethnic groups, including Filipino, Japanese, southeast Asian and Chinese, were all found to be more likely to get the shot.
Quebec: For a minority of mothers, giving birth leads to the same psychological shocks felt by soldiers in war. Researchers at McGill University found one in 13 mothers suffers post-traumatic stress disorder following delivery. The women suffer flashbacks, nightmares, sleeplessness and try to avoid anyone who reminds them of the trauma of birth, including their babies.
By Scaachi Koul - Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:01 AM - 0 Comments
If you think the web is evil, wait till you hear about the darknet
For anywhere between 20,000 and 100,000 euros, Mason will kill the mark of your choice. His only ethical restrictions are that he won’t “fix” anyone who’s pregnant or under 18. Mason claims to have worked as a hit man for more than 15 years in Europe, but he has just started advertising his services online. Not on the Internet. On the darknet.
It’s an alternate online universe where users are untraceable. “This is the only way I can offer my services to a wider audience,” says Mason, obviously not his real name, who hosts his own page on the darknet.
To get there, you need to download software that conceals your Internet protocol address. The best known is Tor, initially developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to protect government communications. Tor receives funding from U.S. and Swedish governments.
Tor started in 2001 with noble intentions: to provide Internet privacy to people who needed it, like users who didn’t want advertisers to store information on them, business owners who wanted secure online banking, and protesters in oppressed countries who wanted to organize revolutions. Its logo is an onion, which represents its layers of encryption. URLs end in .onion instead of the typical .com or .ca, and though you can find some on Google, you can’t open the pages. Tor, based outside of Boston, is still used by the military, police, activists and journalists.
But like most inventions, it can be subverted: the software connects drug dealers and users, sadists and snuff films, pedophiles and child porn, hit men and their clients.
“Criminals will use any technology,” says Andrew Lewman, Tor’s executive director. “Cars were not designed to help a bank robber.” While Tor administrators alert authorities about any illegal activity they find, they don’t go looking for it.
Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser at Sophos Canada, an IT security business, says the good and the bad of the darknet are a package deal. “There’s a dark, seedy underbelly to the whole thing, but I think that’s true anywhere where we see speech is free,” Wisniewski says. “I don’t like that child pornographers and drug dealers have a voice on the darknet, but I think it comes with the territory.” The darknet has also been used as a tool in the Arab Spring, allowing activists to anonymously communicate with each other to organize protests and avoid government censure.
The darknet also features an online marketplace called Silk Road, one of its better-known sites. It allows users to buy illegal drugs using Bitcoins, an encrypted digital currency. You can buy an eight-ball of cocaine much like you can order a book from Amazon.
When it comes to child pornography, the darknet is a portal to closed groups that are very sophisticated. “It’s like you would have a club and you have to be invited in,” says Parry Aftab, founder and executive director of WiredSafety, an American charity that promotes Internet safety and education. “They have some of the tightest Internet security that exists, often more than a ministry of defence.” Pedophiles who are good at hiding often move servers every few days, scramble their IPs, and use code words. While more secure than the regular Internet, it isn’t foolproof. Aftab says they still catch criminals—it just takes more digging. “There’s always somebody who’s stupid in the group who gets careless. It’s just old-fashioned law enforcement and luck.”
There’s no way to confirm that Mason is a hit man and not a 15-year-old boy in Kansas, but he was emailing in stilted English, quoted his prices in euros, and said he was a Caucasian male over the age of 35. His prices are on a sliding scale, depending on whether the victim is a public figure, how much time it will take to kill the intended target, and whether the client wants the murder to look like an accident. But even if he isn’t the real deal, there are plenty out there who are. “The darkweb offers people an escape route,” he says. “As long as there is a consumer, there shall always be a provider.”
By Charlie Gillis and Scaachi Koul - Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Sept 27-Oct 4, 2012: Anne Hathaway gets hitched, the Supreme Court adds one to the bench, and a new Oscar host
All eyes at this year’s Academy Awards will be on Seth MacFarlane, named this week as host of the extravaganza in what can only be described as an off-the-chart choice. MacFarlane is best known as the brains behind the raunchy animated satire Family Guy—a hit among college-aged males and not exactly a brand of humour associated with the air-kissed pomp of Oscar night. Critics accused the Academy of pandering to younger viewers. But it turns out MacFarlane is an accomplished singer and a sought-after talk-show guest. He’s also showing a sense of occasion. “The challenge will be to keep it funny, keep it lively and stay true to what it is I do,” he said, “but at the same time adapt to the tone of this event.”
Speaking from experience
Stephen Barton, a survivor of last summer’s mass shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., is starring in a compelling new ad asking both presidential candidates to come up with a plan for gun control. In it, Barton sits in an empty theatre and talks about surviving gunshots to the face and neck. “Forty-eight thousand Americans won’t be so lucky,” he continues, “because they’ll be murdered with guns in the next president’s term.” The ad is airing on local television in Colorado, and Washington, D.C., and on national cable as part of a campaign funded by United Against Illegal Guns Support Fund founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group appears to be getting traction: more than 250,000 have signed its petition for legislative action.
By Scaachi Koul - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 3:22 PM - 0 Comments
Despite rumours to the contrary, Alberta’s XL Foods is closed for business due to…
Despite rumours to the contrary, Alberta’s XL Foods is closed for business due to tainted meat and isn’t about the reopen any time soon. The XL plant in Brooks, just southeast of Calgary, has a suspended license and won’t get it back until the minister gets written notice that the plant is safe from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
XL has recalled more than 1,700 products in what some are calling the largest recall of meat products ever. The recalls first started in mid-September. The company has remained tight-lipped thus far, even forcing local plant workers to pay attention to media to find out whether they should go to work.
Meanwhile, it’s becoming more likely that there could be even more claimants in a class action law suit over beef tainted with E. coli.
Edmonton man Matthew Harrison alleges he contracted E. coli after eating steak from XL Foods Inc. in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday. XL Foods processed. packaged, and stored the meat.
Harrison says he had severe stomach pain and blood in his stool. He spent three or four days in the hospital.
Harrison’s lawsuit says XL was negligent in ensuring its beef was safe to eat, and didn’t test its beef products adequately. It also says it failed to follow quality control processes and didn’t recall all the tainted beef as soon as the company heard people were getting sick. The suit also claims that XL hid this information from consumers even though they knew how poor the quality control was at the Brooks plant.Harrison says he still experiences side effects from the E. coli and can only work for four to five hours before getting tired. The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages, as well as looking for XL to admit that the recalled products were contaminated.XL has since taken responsibility for the beef recall after a month-long silence, and a recall of 680 tonnes of beef. The company said they thought their safety procedures were enough, but realize now they weren’t. They also said they would improve using video surveillance to monitor the production line, and implement an improved washing system.According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, this newest outbreak of E. coli could have been prevented with a cattle vaccine. The vaccine prevents cattle from shedding the bacteria, and has been long-lauded as a success. Brett Finlay, one of the researchers, was given millions to continue the research.
Farmers, however, still aren’t using the vaccine because it costs $6 per cow, and there’s no requirement that animals be vaccinated.
By Scaachi Koul - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:32 PM - 0 Comments
Former head of the International Monetary fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been cleared of one…
Former head of the International Monetary fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been cleared of one serious charge in the ongoing investigation against him for sex parties and multiple sexual assaults.
The case—a separate one from the now-infamous 2011 charges a hotel maid made in New York against Strauss-Kahn which were also dropped—is rare good news for Strauss-Kahn. A prosecutor said the 2010 gang-rape charges were dropped for a “lack of information.” A Belgian call girl told French police that the relationship she had with Strauss-Kahn in Washington was consensual, and wouldn’t file a complaint.
While this case may have been dismissed, Strauss-Kahn still faces charges in Lille, France, for the procurement of prostitutes. Prostitution is legal in France, but pimping isn’t. The maximum penalty for this is 20 years in jail.
By Scaachi Koul - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 11:41 AM - 0 Comments
After a ferry carrying more than 120 people crashed with another near an island…
After a ferry carrying more than 120 people crashed with another near an island south of Hong Kong on Monday, at least 36 people were killed and dozens were injured.
The ferry, belonging to the Hong Kong Electric Company, was transporting family members to watch fireworks that celebrated China’s National Day. It hit another ship and started to sink near Lamma island. The crash is Hong Kong’s deadliest accident in more than 15 years.
Survivors say they had little time to get their life jackets on. Within 10 minutes, the ferry reportedly sunk, and survivors say they had to wait 20 minutes before being rescued. Many say they were trapped inside and had to break windows to escape.
On Tuesday, seven crew members were arrested from the two boats, as they are under suspicions of endangering passengers by operating the boats unsafely. Police haven’t given details but said that both crews weren’t as careful as the law requires.
The government said that 101 people were sent to hospitals, four of whom had serious injuries or were in critical condition.
By Scaachi Koul - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 9:56 AM - 0 Comments
The now-retired Indian army general who helped lead India in the deadly 1984 raid…
The now-retired Indian army general who helped lead India in the deadly 1984 raid on the Golden Temple in Amritsar against Sikh militants was stabbed in London. It appears it was an assassination attempt.
Lt. Gen. Kuldeep Singh Brar, 78, was attacked by four men and slashed in the neck while walking with his wife near London’s Oxford Street. He was treated in a London hospital, then released.
London police are treating the attack as an attempted murder, but haven’t figured out a motive for it yet.
Brar has already linked the attack to his role in the Golden Temple raid, which killed more than 1,000.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 2:40 PM - 0 Comments
In the second day of testimony at Quebec’s corruption inquiry, a former contractor said…
In the second day of testimony at Quebec’s corruption inquiry, a former contractor said that Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s party received kickbacks from the construction industry in Quebec.
The former construction boss, Lino Zambito, said that for years, three per cent of the value of all the contracts he got from the city went to Tremblay’s political party.
The mayor, however, is defending his reputation and his administration while opposition calls for his resignation. He told a media scrum, “My conscience is clear.” Tremblay went on to say that his party’s yearly finances have been looked over by Quebec’s chief electoral officer—due in part to the fact that this three per cent rumour has been around for a while.
Tremblay says he welcomes the Charbonneau Commission but won’t respond to every allegation made.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 1:36 PM - 0 Comments
A suicide bomber on a motorcycle drove into an Afghan-American patrol on Monday morning…
A suicide bomber on a motorcycle drove into an Afghan-American patrol on Monday morning in eastern Afghanistan. The attack killed 14 people including at least three American troops and their translator.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack through text messages to the media. The bombing occurred a day after the American death toll in the Afghanistan war hit 2,000 troops.
Six civilians and four police officers were also killed in the bombing.
These attacks are prompting increasing pressure on the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan as soon as possible. On Sunday, an American solider was killed in a firefight between U.S. and Afghan troops.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM - 0 Comments
After spending 10 years in Guantanamo Bay, Khadr arrived at maximum security prison, Millhaven…
After spending 10 years in Guantanamo Bay, Khadr arrived at maximum security prison, Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ont., on Saturday morning.
Millhaven has been dubbed “Guantanamo North,” and includes a six-bunk facility to hold suspected terrorists. It’s not yet known if Khadr will be placed there for the six remaining years in his eight-year sentence—as he is awaiting a Corrections Canada assessment. Khadr, meanwhile, is spending his days in 23-hour lockdown.
John Baird wasn’t thrilled to welcome Khadr back to Canada, admitting that a big reason why he’s back is due to pressure from the U.S.—the Americans are looking to close Guantanamo and Khadr is still a Canadian citizen.
Still, he could be released even sooner than expected, as he becomes eligible for parole in six months.
Whenever he is released, Khadr won’t have an easy time readjusting to Canada. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews described Khadr’s father, Ahmed Said, as an associate of Osama bin Laden, and said that his mother and older sister “openly applauded his crimes.”
His lawyers are taking issue with this characterization, saying that the government is trying to vilify Khadr.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 11:40 AM - 0 Comments
Former Transport Minister Pierre Moreau is set to announce his bid for Quebec’s Liberal…
Former Transport Minister Pierre Moreau is set to announce his bid for Quebec’s Liberal Party on Monday morning.
Last Friday, former Finance Minister Raymond Bachand was the first to make a bid to replace Jean Charest, who left the party after losing Quebec’s general election last month.
Former health minister Phillippe Couillard is expected to confirm his candidacy on Wednesday, in spite of being out of politics for the past four years.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Laura Robinson, the reporter who wrote about alleged abuse by former Vancouver Olympics chief…
Laura Robinson, the reporter who wrote about alleged abuse by former Vancouver Olympics chief John Furlong, says she will countersue him for saying she didn’t do sufficient research.
Robinson says Furlong intentionally misinformed the public about her ethics when he accused her of having a vendetta against him.
After her story was published last week, Furlong denied the allegations and said he would be taking legal action.
Robinson, meanwhile, says she sent six to eight emails to the publisher of Furlong’s book, Patriot Hearts, released after the 2010 Vancouver Games. She received one reply from a publicist saying he was a physical education teacher at a Roman Catholic high school in Prince George, B.C. Robinson says that’s the only answer she ever received from Furlong in more than a year of reporting.
The Georgia Straight, a weekly newspaper in Vancouver, has quoted former students who allege that Furlong mentally and physically abused them.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:52 AM - 0 Comments
The police protocol that could have saved Russell Williams’ victim still hasn’t been put…
The police protocol that could have saved Russell Williams’ victim still hasn’t been put in place, reports the Toronto Star.
When a suspicious truck was seen outside of the home of Jessica Lloyd, a Belleville officer didn’t make note of the license plate. That same night Williams raped, abducted, and killed her.
But neither the Belleville police nor the Ontario Provincial Province have implemented requirements that make officers document the plates of suspicious vehicles. And neither plan on enforcing it.
The RCMP, however, trains cadets to do computerized searches on suspicious vehicles, especially ones found unoccupied and parked in a field—Williams’ Pathfinder was the night he kidnapped Lloyd.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:45 AM - 0 Comments
Coordinated attacks across Iraq in Shiite neighbourhoods, security forces, and other targets have killed…
Coordinated attacks across Iraq in Shiite neighbourhoods, security forces, and other targets have killed at least 26.
The town of Taji, once an al-Qaeda stronghold, had the deadliest attack when three explosive-rigged cars went off. Eight died and 28 were injured in the back-to-back blasts.
After the car bombs in Taji, police say the suicide bomber set off his explosive-rigged car in the Shula neighbourhood in northwest Baghdad. One was killed and seven wounded.
In Baghdad’s Karradah neighbourhood, another car bomb went off next to a police patrol. It killed an officer and a civilian, and injured eight.
At least 94 were injured in the attacks across the country.
By Scaachi Koul - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM - 0 Comments
Facing an investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse, John Furlong denies all…
Facing an investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse, John Furlong denies all claims against him and says he plans on suing the Georgia Straight newspaper and reporter Laura Robinson for defamation.
Furlong, the head of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, the executive chair of the Vancouver Whitecaps, and the head of Canada’s Own the Podium program, denies any wrongdoing.
The RCMP is continuing its investigation.
In a prepared statement, Furlong defended himself at a press conference. From the Ottawa Citizen:
“I have been accused of physical abuse and apparently within the last hour, sexual abuse. I want you to know I categorically deny absolutely any wrongdoing and I believe that the RCMP in looking into this matter will discredit the complaint entirely because it just did not happen.”
Furlong is accused of abusing students at a British Columbia school where he taught over 40 years ago. At least eight students have made allegations against him from his year of teaching physical education at the Immaculata Elementary school in Burns Lake, B.C., a Roman Catholic school.
Nuns and staff at the school are also accused of being physically and verbally abusive.
By Scaachi Koul - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 2:33 PM - 0 Comments
In what he thought was an act of self-defense, a Connecticut man shot and…
In what he thought was an act of self-defense, a Connecticut man shot and killed an intruder outside his sister’s home. He then realized it was his son–15-year-old Tyler Giuliano.
On Thursday, Jeffrey Giuliano received a call from his sister, who lived next door, saying she believed someone was trying to break into her house. He grabbed his gun and confronted a figure in black clothes and a ski mask. He fired when he saw the person was wielding a shiny weapon.
Tyler, who was in 10th grade, died at at the scene. No charges have been filed yet.
By Scaachi Koul - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 1:12 PM - 0 Comments
Kenyan troops launched a beach assault on the last of Somalia’s Islamist al-Shabaab militants….
Kenyan troops launched a beach assault on the last of Somalia’s Islamist al-Shabaab militants. The attack on Kismayo’s beach is a fatal blow to the rebels.
Residents who were in their homes said the attacks came from the air and sea around 3 a.m. Some worried it would start a bigger battle over control of the port.
Al-Shabaab is linked to al-Qaeda and withdrew from Mogadishu in August of last year. The militants have since imposed strict sharia law in the areas they have control over, and have been forced further into the south of the country.
Kismayo was the last of their major strongholds, and provided revenue. Militants were dependent on what they made from charcoal exports and taxes on businesses.
By Scaachi Koul - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 10:13 AM - 0 Comments
Former member of China’s Communist Party Bo Xilai has been expelled from the party…
Former member of China’s Communist Party Bo Xilai has been expelled from the party and will face criminal charges. Bo was the leader of the Communist Party of Chongqing. He’s accused of abuse of power and corruption.
Gu Kailai, his wife, was given a suspended death sentence in August for killing Neil Heywood.
Bo hasn’t been seen in public since just after the scandal started. In April, he was suspended from his party posts. Bo is also accused of taking brides and improper relations with women.
By Scaachi Koul - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 10:08 AM - 0 Comments
After voting to re-evaluate Canadian policy on when personhood begins, minister of state for…
After voting to re-evaluate Canadian policy on when personhood begins, minister of state for the status of women, Rona Ambrose, is facing backlash for her vote.
People have been calling for Ambrose’s resignation and criticism on Thursday after supporting M-312, a private member’s motion that would study when a fetus becomes a person.
An online petition asking that she step down gained thousands of signatures. Organizations like the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and the Fédération des femmes du Québec also signed the petition.
By Scaachi Koul - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 10:03 AM - 0 Comments
The filmmaker behind Innocence of Muslims, the now-infamous film that sparked violence across the…
The filmmaker behind Innocence of Muslims, the now-infamous film that sparked violence across the Middle East, could face up to three years in jail after being arrested on Thursday.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was arrested for alleged probation violations. A 24-month term has been recommended but it could be up to three years if he’s found to have violated his parole.
Before his arrest, Nakoula and his family were in hiding. His attorney said he was being threatened.
At his hearing, the judge ordered Nakoula be detained, saying he had a “pattern of deception” and poses a danger to the community.
By Scaachi Koul - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 3:42 PM - 0 Comments
The Facebook glitch that got users in a panic earlier this week was no…
The Facebook glitch that got users in a panic earlier this week was no glitch. The supposed “bug” caught the attention of world wide media—including here at Maclean’s—after allegations spread that users’ private messages were showing up on their very public Timeline, going back as far as 2007. Facebook maintained that the system was working fine and users were mistaking public wall posts for private conversations.
An investigation by France’s privacy regulator confirmed that this was, in fact, the case.
By Scaachi Koul - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM - 0 Comments
The long-time nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry died Tuesday at 82.
The long-time nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry died Tuesday at 82.
Olga Powell was their nanny for 15 years, throughout their childhood and after their mother’s death. She had been with the family since William was six months old.
She collapsed outside of her town in Broxbourne, just outside of London.
After she retired, Powell stayed in touch with the boys, attending William’s graduation from Sandhurst military college in 2006, and his wedding in 2011.
By Scaachi Koul - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM - 0 Comments
If Clint Eastwood is Mitt Romney’s right-hand man in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson might be Barack Obama’s.
If Clint Eastwood is Mitt Romney’s right-hand man in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson might be Barack Obama’s. He’s been tweeting support for the President throughout his re-election campaign, and has recently taken to trying to get average American to vote for him. His slogan is simple: “Wake the f-ck up.”
In a new video from the Jewish Council of Education and Research, Jackson plays on his book, Go the F-ck to Sleep, reading in rhyme. It follows a little girl who’s worried about a Mitt Romney administration, and wants to galvanize her parents, older brother and sister, and grandparents to vote for Obama.
“And he’s against safety nets—if you fall, tough luck. So I strongly suggest that you wake the f-ck up,” says Jackson in the video.
The video ends, poignantly, with the little girl sticking her head out her bedroom window to wake her town with, “Wake the f-ck up!”
By Scaachi Koul - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 11:13 AM - 0 Comments
Syrian authorities have text messaged cellphones across the country with a clear message for…
Syrian authorities have text messaged cellphones across the country with a clear message for rebels fighting against President Bashar Assad: “Game over.”
In the message, rebels were urged to surrender their weapons. Syrians claim they started to receive the messages a day after rebels bombed a military command centre in Damascus. It was a big security breach and showed the regimes weaknesses.
Those with prepaid phones didn’t get the message.
Rebels and Syrian authorities have been in an 18-month conflict. The death toll since March of last year has reportedly topped 30,000. Two-thirds of those casualties were reported in the past six months.