Army controls road to Palmyra from capital
BEIRUT • The Syrian army is in full control of the highway from Damascus to ancient Palmyra for the first time since 2014 after driving out militants, a monitor has said.
Since troops recaptured Palmyra from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in March, the Unesco World Heritage site had been accessible via Syria's third city Homs. But after major advances on Thursday night, the army now controls the direct road from the capital to Palmyra, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday.
Briton jailed 15 years for planting bomb
LONDON • A 20-year-old British man was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday for planting a bomb on a busy London Underground train last year in what he claimed was a Halloween prank. Student Damon Smith, who has a form of autism and an obsession with weapons, left the bomb in a backpack on a crowded train in October.
Germany cracks down on anti-vaccination
BERLIN • Germany will pass a law next week obliging kindergartens to inform the authorities if parents fail to provide evidence that they have received advice from their doctor on vaccinating their children, the health ministry said yesterday.
Parents refusing the advice risk fines of up to €2,500 (S$3,900) under the law, expected to come into force on June 1.
Vaccination rules are being tightened across Europe, where a decline in immunisation, has caused a spike in diseases such as measles, chicken pox and mumps.
Careers Australia under administration
SYDNEY • Careers Australia Group, a provider of vocational education and training, has gone into voluntary administration after losing government funding, putting 1,100 people out of work and 15,000 students in limbo, its administrators said yesterday. Australia's vocational education sector has been hammered by an exodus of foreign students, its main customer base, as universities offer more places in line with new rules allowing higher numbers of overseas students.