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Chatter: Syria, the G20 edition

Syria may not be on the official G20 agenda but it's the only thing on anyone's mind as the St. Petersburg summit begins; Egypt's interior minister survives a suspected assassination attempt; and King Richard III's squirmy little problem, revealed.
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NEED TO KNOW

G20 problems and Syria is one. Number one, in fact. The Group of 20 is in St. Petersburg today for what was supposed to be a friendly little chat about the world's economic woes, and has turned instead into a potential showdown between the United States and Russia over the disaster that is Syria.

In the no-action corner: Russia, which is warning of everything from war-mongering to a nuclear catastrophe if the US and its allies go in without UN backing; and China, which says a Western strike would hike oil prices and hurt the global economy. In the intervention corner: the US, which yesterday got the approval of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for its proposed air strikes; and France, whose president says just waiting for the American decision to give his forces their orders. As for the other 16: they'll no doubt be dragged into many a sideline huddle as each side seeks to pick teams.

WANT TO KNOW

No death on the Nile. Egypt's interior minister has survived an attempt on his life, security forces say. According to Egyptian state media, an explosion in northeast Cairo this morning was the work of car bombers who sought to assassinate Mohamed Ibrahim as he traveled to work.

Four people were reported injured, while police said they had killed two of the alleged attackers. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the blast, which took place in the same area of the capital where, three weeks earlier, the police force that Ibrahim commands helped sweep Muslim Brotherhood supporters out of their biggest protest camp in a crackdown that left hundreds dead. Brace yourselves; the accusations are on their way.

Dying older. The number of children who die before age 5 has declined significantly in the last two decades and continues to drop. But the global fight to reduce child deaths is a long one. The most recent data shows that nearly 7 million young children die yearly, largely from preventable causes. And less than half of low- and middle-income countries are on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal on child mortality. 

What works and what doesn't? What will it take to go the last mile, and end preventable child deaths? From Bangladesh to Uganda, Myanmar to Zambia, a new GlobalPost series investigates the path to ending child mortality.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Richard III gets a bad rap. OK, so he may have had a bit of a hunchback — that doesn't make him a villain (viz: Quasimodo). And yeah, perhaps he had something to do with the disappearance of two child princes, but just you try proving that in court. In any case, most historians are agreed that Bad King Richard wasn't the murderous, soliloquizing, horse-craving cripple that Shakespeare made him out to be. But, er, he did have worms.

Yep, having recently discovered his remains under a parking lot in central England, researchers have now announced that they've found evidence that roundworms were rife in what would have been the royal intestines. We'll defend you on the hump, Rich, but with this one you're on your own.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-syria-the-g20-edition

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