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Chatter: Is Syria's war spreading to Turkey?

Tension flares on the Syrian-Turkish border, Mitt Romney wins round one, and Mexico gets an incongruous new landmark.
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Need to know:
Syria's civil war looks closer than ever to becoming a regional one, after Syrian mortar shells killed five civilians in next-door Turkey and provoked an immediate military response.

Turkey has been firing artillery across the border since last night, reportedly killing several Syrian soldiers. What's more, Ankara is preparing to ask parliament to give its permission for Turkish armed forces to go into Syria – though an aide to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the measures are a warning, not a declaration of war.

Syria says it is investigating the incident and has urged its neighbor to show restraint, presumably well aware that Turkey has a lot more allies than it does. NATO has already condemned Syria's "flagrant violations of international law," while the UN Security Council is due to discuss the matter later today.

Want to know:
Fist bumps all round at Camp Romney this morning, as the world agrees that Mitt did pretty darn well at last night's opening presidential debate

One voter poll said as many as 67 percent gave Romney the win, while just 25 percent thought Barack Obama had clinched it. Pundits hailed the Republican challenger as more articulate, less awkward, and ready for the fight – while the president seemed hesitant, reluctant to attack, and flat-out tired. Not a knockout for Romney, perhaps, but a hit, a very palpable hit.

There's just under two weeks for Obama to recover some of his vim, and for Romney to hold onto his, before their next debate in New York on Oct. 16.

Dull but important:
The Philippines' former president, Gloria Arroyo, is under warrant for arrest... again.

Arroyo is wanted on charges of misusing state funds, after allegedly siphoning off more than $8 million of national lottery money during her nine years in office. She has already been detained once over charges of election fraud – but unlike that offense, plundering public funds is non-bailable, which means she could be facing immediate imprisonment.

Arroyo, who currently sits in the House of Representatives, denies all charges. She claims they are a politically motivated attack by her successor, President Benigno Aquino.

Just because:
The Arctic is melting. And as the sea ice thaws, a titanic struggle for power and influence has pushed its way to the surface.

Countries and corporations are scrambling to tap into the vast natural resources believed to lie below the ocean floor. Hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake; but so is a delicate environment and a way of life for the indigenous people who live in it.

In a new series, The Artic Melt, GlobalPost examines this complex geopolitical puzzle – and the potential risks and rewards of an unprecedented opportunity.

Strange but true:
Mexico City has a puzzling new landmark: a life-size bronze statue of Azerbaijan's authoritarian former president, Heydar Aliyev.

Aliyev, who's generally agreed not to have been one of democracy's biggest heroes, takes his place on the Mexican capital's Reforma Boulevard alongside, er, some of democracy's biggest heroes, including Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln.

Azerbaijan stumped up millions of dollars to renovate the surrounding park, which won it permission to erect the tribute to its late leader. But locals, who say few Mexicans have ever heard of Aliyev, argue that the statue is so incongruous it's like a thing from outer space. A dictator-y, human-rights-abuse-y thing from outer space.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-syria-war-spreading-turkey