BEIRUT, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Rebels battled to hold onto
Syria’s main north-south highway on Friday as government forces
fought insurgents on several fronts across the country.
The rebels captured an air defence base east of Syria’s
biggest city, Aleppo, and government forces unleashed air
strikes and artillery bombardments on the western city of Homs,
LONDON (Reuters) – Singer-songwriter Paul Simon celebrated the 25th anniversary of his classic album “Graceland” with an African musical extravaganza in London on Sunday night, any lingering memories of the controversy over its creation in apartheid-era South Africa swept away.
Simon reunited the original Graceland band led by Soweto guitarist Ray Phiri for the Hard Rock Calling festival and brought along Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Zulu acapella group whose original rendering of the song “Homeless” shot them to worldwide fame.
LONDON (Reuters) – An epic Bruce Springsteen concert in London’s Hyde Park ended on Saturday with organisers pulling the plug with the singer and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney still on stage and playing at full throttle after more than three hours of music.
Springsteen had danced and worked the crowd with the energy of a man of half his 62 years, running through most of his classics before being joined by McCartney to rip through the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist and Shout”.
GENEVA (Reuters) – International talks on a way to resolve the increasingly bloody conflict in Syria opened in Geneva on Saturday with foreign powers in dispute over the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.
Kofi Annan, the former U.N. chief who is special international envoy on Syria, has been hoping for consensus on a plan for a unity government that, by excluding from the leadership figures deemed too divisive, would effectively mean Assad stepping down.
LONDON (Reuters) – If African music is often wildly joyful and uplifting, its myriad variations were largely born from a history of slavery and suffering, imperialism and immigration.
It’s a songline that stretches from South African townships to the Mississippi cotton fields and the favelas of Brazil to the streets of Brixton.
LONDON (Reuters) – The United States and seven other Western governments expelled Syrian diplomats from their capitals on Tuesday in a coordinated action against President Bashar al-Assad’s government spurred by revulsion over the killing of more than 100 civilians in a Syrian town.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Assad a murderer and Australia’s Bob Carr said those responsible for the massacre at Houla would be held to account.
LONDON (Reuters) – Sitar player Anouska Shankar, whose album “Traveller” takes a journey through the music of India and Spanish flamenco to explore their shared Gypsy roots, was named Best Artist in Songlines magazine’s annual world music awards.
At a time of political unrest in Mali, artists from there took two awards – veteran Sahara Desert bluesmen Tinariwen were named as Best Group while their young compatriot Fatoumata Diawara was Best Newcomer.
LONDON (Reuters) – American revolutionary leader George Washington has been voted the greatest enemy commander to face Britain, lauded for his spirit of endurance against the odds and the enormous impact of his victory.
In a contest organised by the National Army Museum, Washington triumphed over Irish independence hero Michael Collins, France’s Napoleon Bonaparte, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – People in the Lebanese capital Beirut are watching anxiously as the increasingly bloody conflict in neighboring Syria unfolds, fearing it could spill over the border and bring a return of the violence that tore their own country apart for so long.
Beirut has undergone a renaissance since the days when Muslim and Christian factions, as well as Palestinian guerrillas, clashed over a Green Line and foreign interlopers imposed their will with troops, tanks and warplanes.
AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces rained rockets and bombs down on opposition-held neighbourhoods of the city of Homs, reducing buildings to rubble and killing more than 80 people, including two Western journalists.
The barrages marked an intensification of a nearly three-week offensive to crush resistance in Homs, one of the focal points of a nationwide uprising against Assad’s 11-year rule, and prompted further international condemnation.