Six In The Morning
Operation Mermaid: 'Rebels in Tripoli have risen up'
Fighting reported in capital; Gadhafi's former No. 2 urges government troops to join the opposition
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
TRIPOLI, Libya — Explosions and gunfire rocked Tripoli through the night as opponents of Moammar Gadhafi rose up in the capital, declaring a final push to topple the Libyan leader after a six-month war reached the city's outskirts.
"The zero hour has started," said Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice-chairman of the rebel leadership council. "The rebels in Tripoli have risen up."
However, a defiant Gadhafi said an assault by "rats" had been repelled.
"Those rats ... were attacked by the masses tonight and we eliminated them," Gadhafi said in an audio message broadcast over state television early Sunday.
Intense gunfire erupted after nightfall. Reuters journalists in the center of the capital, a metropolis of 2 million people, said it subsided somewhat after several hours. Fighting was reported early Sunday in several neighborhoods.
NATO aircraft made heavy bombing runs after nightfall, The Associated Press reported.
Food aid reaches only one in five of Somalia's starving
Civil war and Islamist militias are preventing convoys from bringing relief to the most needy
By Emily Dugan Sunday, 21 August 2011
A month after famine was first declared in Somalia fewer than one in five of the 2.8 million starving people in the south are getting help. Continued conflict and the banning of aid organisations by the al-Qa'ida inspired Islamist group al-Shabaab has made it impossible for large-scale aid to get through.
The lucky ones make it to refugee camps in Mogadishu or in neighbouring Kenya, Ethiopia or Djibouti, but for the majority help is still a long way off. Many have been forced to remain in Somalia by al-Shabaab militias, who believe it is better to die than take to food from infidels.
The hilltop Spanish town overshadowed by a debt mountain
Regional elections in Spain earlier this year ushered in a new crop of mayors and councillors, determined to revive their struggling local economies. But as the mayor of one town tells The Sunday Telegraph, the problem is worse than they ever imagined.
By Harriet Alexander, Moia8:00AM BST 21 Aug 2011
Nestling in the pine-clad hills above Barcelona, the ancient terracotta-tiled town of Moia could be straight out of a fairy tale. Narrow cobbled streets wind up towards the honey-coloured church in the centre, where the main plaza is decked with streamers and flags from the recent fiesta.
But for all its Disney-esque charm, Moia is rotten to the core.
"We are broke," said Dionís Guiteras, the town's newly-elected mayor. "We managed to pay the council staff on July 31, but I don't know if we will be able to on August 31. We haven't got any money to pay the electricity company, so maybe the street lights will go out. All of our buildings could be for sale."
Bahrain government fires hundreds of employees for political views
More than 100 government employees have been dismissed in recent weeks, joining 2,500 workers – nearly all Shiites – who have been fired since Bahrain's pro-democracy uprising.
By Kristen Chick, Correspondent
More than 100 Bahraini government employees have been fired in recent weeks for their political views, signaling an ongoing campaign to crush dissent in the wake of a pro-democracy uprising this spring.
They join 600 workers who have already been forced to leave government ministries and universities and about 1,900 workers sacked by private businesses this spring. While the Ministry of Labor has reinstated about a fifth of those fired, the most recent dismissals challenge official portrayals of the kingdom as going back to normal following the government's brutal crackdown, in which at least 30 people were killed and hundreds detained.
South Korea churches' beacons an eyesore to some
Red neon crosses are a common sight atop churches in South Korea. Church leaders say they are an important symbol of faith, but critics see them as an annoying source of light pollution.
By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Seoul— For a quarter of a century, Kim Un-tae has found comfort in the red neon cross that sits atop the steeple of the Protestant church he founded here.
For the 70-year-old holy man, the soft glow of the religious icon has always signified that his faith was open for anyone willing to enter the doors of his church. "It's like a coastal lighthouse for passing ships in the dark," Kim said.
Yet critics say church crosses like Kim's are just another form of light pollution.
U.S. scholars say their book on China led to travel ban
By Daniel de Vise, Sunday, August 21
Thirteen American scholars say they have been barred from traveling to China because of a book they wrote, an incident that raises awkward questions about academic freedom at a time of unprecedented collaboration between U.S. and Chinese universities.
The academics have taken to calling themselves the Xinjiang 13 to emphasize their shared misfortune. Seven years ago, they assembled a book about Xinjiang, a vast region of western China that has a large Muslim population and an occasionally violent separatist movement.