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Chatter: Syrian rebels seize military airbase

Rebels claim to have taken control of a strategic airbase in Syria, British police detail the full horror of Jimmy Savile's sex crimes, and the Colorado shooting suspect is ordered to face trial.
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Rebels say they have captured a key military airbase in northern Syria. Taftanaz, the largest helicopter base in northern Syria and the second largest in the country, reportedly fell to a coalition of anti-government fighters this morning after weeks under siege.

Activists say it's currently being bombarded by the air force, which would rather see it destroyed than in rebel hands.

At least 120 people are now confirmed dead in yesterday's bombings across Pakistan. The worst of the casualties were in Quetta, the capital of restive Baluchistan province, where three explosions targeted security forces and Shiite Muslims. Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for the attacks there.

Three days of mourning have been declared to mark what was one of Pakistan's deadliest days in years.

Horrifying revelations from the UK today, as a newly released police report describes the full extent of the sexual abuse allegedly committed by late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile. In three months of investigation, officers have uncovered evidence of more than 200 crimes going back at least 50 years. Some involved children as young as eight; others took place where victims were most vulnerable, including hospitals and psychiatric facilities. 

Savile, of course, died last year without ever facing prosecution. But authorities say that laying bare his suspected offenses will offer salutary lessons – including how to ensure that abusers face justice in future.

WANT TO KNOW

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes must stand trial, a judge has ordered. In a ruling last night, the judge said prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence to proceed with all 166 felony charges against the 25-year-old, who is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 others in an Aurora movie theater in July.

Holmes is now due to be formally charged today – though his lawyers are expected to ask for a delay, saying that he isn't yet ready to enter a plea.

Pakistan has a rape problem, too. Days after the Delhi gang-rape victim died, a 9-year-old girl in Pakistan was allegedly abducted from her home and raped by three men. They are said to have beaten her, dumped her outside her home and told her mother they would kill her if she went to the police.

Few Pakistani media outlets carried the story and no demonstrations have been held in support of the young victim – in stark contrast to the outcry over the fate of the 23-year-old in India. Yet, as one victim of a high-profile gang rape tells GlobalPost, even when rape in Pakistan receives similar attention, finding justice for crimes of sexual violence can be an exceedingly difficult task.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

It was only a matter of time. Women's breasts have so long been used to sell things that it was surely inevitable they would one day become actual billboards. (Boob boards, if you will.)

Now one enterprising Czech woman has begun offering her breasts as advertising space. For about eight dollars for one and 15 dollars for two, a company can pay her to write their logo, slogan or simply the name of their product on her chest, she'll take a photo and post the result online. She also does greeting cards.

Hey, it's not going to win you any advertising awards. But so long as your target audience is exclusively hormonal teenage boys, it might just get you some customers.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-syria-rebels-seize-airbase