May 21st, 2012
03:24 AM ET

Soldiers shoot anti-Assad clerics in Lebanon, triggering fresh violence

In the latest instance of the unrest in Syria spilling across the border into Lebanon, deadly clashes broke out in Beirut on Monday following the shooting death of two anti-Assad clerics at the hands of soldiers.

Two people were killed and 18 wounded in the Lebanese capital early Monday as clashes flared between rival political parties - one supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the other opposing him - the country's National News Agency said.

The violence followed the killings just hours earlier of two anti-Assad clerics who were shot at a military checkpoint in northern Lebanon.

The histories of Lebanon and Syria have long been intertwined.

Syrian troops were deployed in Lebanon between 1976 and 2005, primarily in the north. They were initially called in to help stop a brewing civil war, but maintained their significant presence, which once numbered 40,000, long afterward.

In a country struggling to maintain a delicate balance among its religious and ethnic sects, resentment from the occupation lingers.

Some Sunni Muslims are staunchly anti-Assad and sympathize with the Sunni-led uprising in Syria calling for his ouster. Support for Assad is also plentiful, particularly in the south.

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Filed under: Lebanon • Syria • World
May 21st, 2012
03:22 AM ET

Georgia victim of flesh-eating bacteria breathing on her own again

Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old Georgia woman who lost both hands and feet to a bacterial infection, is now breathing on her own, her father said.

"Aimee is being Aimee. She's cracking jokes, speaking frankly, displaying her usual early morning grumpiness and she has been off of the ventilator for over 10 hours," Andy Copeland said in a blog post Sunday night.

Though the University of West Georgia student is still receiving an oxygen "mask," Andy Copeland wrote, "the important thing is that she is getting zero breath per minute (bpm) assists. In other words, she is breathing completely on her own! How cool is that?"

"Bottom line: Aimee is doing great today."

The progress came after a harrowing week, in which Copeland's remaining foot and both hands were amputated.

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Filed under: U.S.
May 21st, 2012
01:02 AM ET

Jury resumes deliberations in John Edwards trial

The jury in the corruption trial of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards reconvenes for deliberations Monday.

The jury convening in Greensboro, North Carolina, was dismissed for the day Friday, after its first day of deliberations.

Edwards is charged with six counts of accepting illegal campaign contributions, conspiracy and falsifying documents. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

Prosecutors said Edwards "knowingly and willingly" accepted nearly $1 million in contributions from two wealthy donors to hide former mistress Rielle Hunter and her pregnancy, and then concealed the donations from the public by filing false and misleading campaign disclosure reports.

Edwards was running for president at the time and knew that his political ambitions depended on keeping his affair with Hunter a secret, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon told jurors in closing arguments Thursday.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
May 21st, 2012
12:55 AM ET

Deportation, 10 years in jail possible for convicted ex-Rutgers student

Dharun Ravi could face 10 years in prison and be deported to his native India when he is sentenced Monday for spying on and intimidating his gay Rutgers University roommate, who then killed himself by jumping off New York's George Washington Bridge.

The September 2010 death of Tyler Clementi, and Ravi's trial earlier this year, thrust the issue of cyberbullying and prejudices against homosexuals into the national spotlight.

Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman, plunged to his death in the Hudson River after learning that Ravi had secretly spied on his sexual encounter with another man.

In the months that followed, President Barack Obama released a videotaped message condemning bullying, while New Jersey legislators enacted stricter laws to protect against it in schools.

Ravi, who was studying on a visa at the New Jersey university at the time of the incident, turned down a plea deal offered by Middlesex County prosecutors.

Under the terms of that offer, he would have avoided jail time in exchange for undergoing counseling, doing 600 hours of community service and disposing any information that could identify the man who appeared in the Web video with Clementi.

Prosecutors also offered to help him avoid deportation, though they said they could not guarantee it.

That set the stage for the trial, during which prosecutors argued that Ravi tried to embarrass Clementi because he was gay and that his actions were motivated by a desire to intimidate the Ridgewood, New Jersey, native expressly because of his sexual orientation.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
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