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LEBANON: Attack tied to Syria conflict

A car bomb exploded Tuesday in a Hezbollah stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut, wounding 53 people in the most troubling sign yet that Syria's civil war is beginning to consume its smaller neighbor. The blast in the heart of the Shia militant group's bastion of support raised the worrying specter of Lebanon being pulled into the violent struggle in the region. Sunni-Shia tensions have risen sharply since Hezbollah openly joined in fighting alongside President Bashar Assad's forces. Lebanese Sunnis support the rebels.


UNITED NATIONS: Rebels used gas, Russian says

Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Tuesday that Russian experts determined Syrian rebels made sarin nerve gas and used it in a deadly attack in March. He said a March 19 attack in the Aleppo suburb of Khan al-Assal killed 26 people, including 16 military personnel, and injured 86 others. The rebels have blamed the government for the attack. The United States, Britain and France say they have seen no evidence of the opposition using chemical weapons.


RUSSIA: Bolshoi's director fired

The Bolshoi Theater's longtime general director was fired Tuesday with a year left in his contract. Anatoly Iksanov, 61, had managed the nation's most celebrated ballet company since 2000. His tenure was marked by remarkable changes, primarily the grandiose restoration of the Bolshoi's historic building, and multiple scandals. Under his watch the theater endured artistic conflicts and investigations into embezzlement and crime. Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky introduced a new general director, Vladimir Urin. Iksanov's leadership attracted international stars, but he is just as likely to be remembered for scandals, including an alleged multimillion-dollar embezzlement, a sex controversy, lawsuits with fired stars and a violent attack on its artistic director. In January, Sergei Filin was attacked by a masked man who threw acid into his face. Dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko and two alleged collaborators are in custody.

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