Worst of Syrian war is behind us: Assad
DAMASCUS • Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has said the worst of his country's six-year war "is behind us" after a string of advances by his forces backed by key ally Russia.
In recent months, Mr Assad's troops and allied fighters have retaken territory across the country, including recapturing all of Aleppo city in December. More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011.
20 killed in gang violence in Mexico
MEXICO CITY • A 24-hour wave of gang violence across Mexico has left more than 20 people dead, some found with their bodies dismembered and stuffed in plastic bags, local officials said.
The gruesome violence cast a shadow on elections in four states yesterday, including a tight governor's race in Mexico's most populous state seen as a bellwether for next year's presidential vote.
Russian man shoots 9 in drunken dispute
MOSCOW • A man has been detained after fatally shooting nine people in a drunken dispute at a weekend cottage in a village outside Moscow, Russian investigators said yesterday.
The alleged assailant gunned down five men and four women after a drinking session on Saturday night turned violent in the village of Redkino, about 110km north-west of Moscow, the Investigative Committee said.