US 'breaks up threat against Pope'
WASHINGTON • The United States has broken up a threat against Pope Francis, who will visit Washington and other US cities this month, a lawmaker said on Sunday.
The authorities are concerned about the visit because the Pope likes to get out among the huge crowds that gather to see him, said Mr Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
He said he learnt of the threat, details of which he did not give, in a classified setting with the US Secret Service. The Pope arrives on Sept 22 and is due to visit Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Twin car blasts 'kill at least 26' in Syria
BEIRUT • At least 26 people, including two children, were killed yesterday in twin suicide car bomb attacks in the north-eastern Syrian city of Hasakeh, a monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 13 civilians were killed in the two blasts, along with six members of the Kurdish security services and seven fighters from a pro-regime militia. Syrian media also reported the explosions, though it gave a toll of 20 dead and no breakdown of the victims.
Control of Hasakeh city is divided between Kurdish militia and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. The city has regularly been targeted by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which controls some territory in Hasakeh province.
More than 240,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.
Woman giving away spare embryos
SYDNEY • An Australian woman who travelled to the US to design her own baby is giving away excess embryos, but only if recipients agree to an annual reunion and stay in touch via social media.
Ms Natalie Lovett, 48, bought donor eggs and sperm in the US after failing to get pregnant for more than seven years in Australia.
She is now trying to create an extended family for her 18-month-old daughter, Australia's national broadcaster reported yesterday.
Ms Lovett has another 25 embryos from anonymous donors which she has decided to give to other childless families on the condition that the siblings meet up once a year.
"Having the knowledge that (her daughter) is not the only one, that she is not this rare and unique individual, that she is from a family in essence, that these siblings are out there, to know them, to interact with them (is good)," she said.