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SYRIA: Rebels claim control of Homs

The rebels broke through a yearlong government blockade in the city of Homs after fierce clashes the past week, a symbolic victory for the ragtag force at a time when the conflict has ground into a stalemate in most large cities. The gains in Homs, the third largest city and one of the most contested battlegrounds, came in the week that marked the second anniversary of a bloody conflict that has left more than 70,000 dead. In Turkey, meanwhile, the opposition Syrian National Coalition is starting its most serious attempt yet to form a rival government to President Bashar Assad's regime, convening Monday to choose an interim prime minister for areas the rebels control. Twelve candidates are running, including a former Syrian cabinet minister.

ZIMBABWE: Four aides of premier arrested

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Police detained four aides of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a day after a national referendum on a new constitution that was described as peaceful by regional observers. Thabani Mpofu, director of research in Tsvangirai's office, and party officials Warship Dumba, Felix Manditse and Annan Muzvidziwa were picked up by police, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights reported. Beatrice Mtetwa, a lawyer who was at the scene of the arrests, was also detained. Police said MDC members were arrested for "impersonating police investigators" and Mtetwa was detained for obstructing justice. Zimbabweans are set to endorse the new constitution after Tsvangirai and his political rival, President Robert Mugabe, campaigned for a yes vote, paving the way for elections to take place later this year.

CANADA: Helicopter escape from jail


Two inmates climbed up a rope into a hovering helicopter in a daring daylight escape Sunday from a jail northwest of Montreal, Quebec provincial police said, Three people were arrested 30 miles north of the Saint-Jerome jail. One was inmate Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36. The second inmate, Danny Provencal, 33, was found in the evening. Thewarden said Hudon-Barbeau and Provencal had grabbed a rope dropped from the helicopter to make their getaway. Police tracked down the helicopter near Mont-Tremblant, 53 miles away.

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