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Chatter: EU meets on lifting Syria arms embargo

France and the UK make a pitch for the easing of weapons sanctions on Syrian rebels, Chinese anger over graffiti at an ancient Egyptian temple, and Toronto's embattled mayor cracks on with a re-election campaign.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

An end to the arms embargo? European Union foreign ministers are meeting today to discuss calls by France and the UK to ease sanctions against Syria so that weapons can be supplied to the rebels.

The intent is to increase military pressure on Damascus to make a political solution to the crisis more likely. But it's a tough sell by the French and British, with several EU countries adamantly opposed to lifting the arms embargo, arguing that more weapons would only increase the killings. At least 80,000 people have died since the start of the conflict.

Meanwhile, Syria's foreign minister has confirmed that his government would "in principle" attend an international peace conference planned by the US and Russia to take place in Geneva next month. 

WANT TO KNOW

"Ding Jinhao was here." So says the graffiti carved into an ancient Egyptian artwork (in Chinese characters, natch) in Luxor by a teenager named and shamed by Chinese internet users after a micro-blogger posted a photo of his handiwork online.

The parents of Ding Jinhao, from Nanjing, have apologized on his behalf after a storm of criticism. News of the act of vandalism came just days after one of China's vice-premiers warned that the "uncivilized behavior" of some Chinese tourists was harming the country's image abroad.

And the Palme d'Or goes to... "Blue is the Warmest Color," a love story about two young women by Tunisian-born director Abdellatif Kechiche. The romantic film won rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, but shocked some critics with its explicit sex scenes. 

Bad luck for the Coen brothers, who were *this close* to a repeat of their Palme d'Or success of 1991, when they won for "Barton Fink." Their new film, "Inside Llewyn Davis," which stars Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan in the story of New York's 1960s folk scene, won the Grand Prix  the second-highest honor.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Put that in your pipe, haters. Never mind the allegations that he smoked crack cocaine. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he will seek re-election in next year's municipal race, and plans to start campaigning as soon as possible.

Ford, speaking on his weekly radio show, lashed out at the media for repeating allegations that he smoked crack, calling journalists "a bunch of maggots."

As for Gawker's crowdfunding campaign to buy a video that allegedly shows Ford smoking crack, the effort has hit a bit of a snag. While the gossip website is nearing its goal of raising $200,000 to score the video, an update posted on the site admits they have lost contact with the video's owners, noting that "folks who are involved in the crack trade tend not to be the most reliable people in the world."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-eu-meets-lifting-syria-arms-embargo