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Chatter: Syria's war, two years on

EU urged to lift arms embargo as Syria marks two years of conflict, North Korea fumes that it is "under cyberattack," and live from the White House, it's Joe Biden's new reality podcast.
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NEED TO KNOW

Syria's civil war. It has been two years since the conflict in Syria began, a tragic anniversary marked today with vigils around the world.

At least 70,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began March 15, 2011 with protests following the arrests of children in the southern city of Deraa. A million more Syrians have fled the country.

The leaders of France and Britain will press the EU to lift an arms embargo at a summit today in Brussels, seeking to unblock military aid to rebels. Currently only "non-lethal" support is allowed.

Some EU members fear that such a move could escalate the crisis by putting weapons in the hands of the wrong rebel groups. But the French and British argue that a more equal military balance is necessary, and have warned they might go it alone if the EU doesn't agree.

Meanwhile in Algeria, a country left out of the Arab uprisings that swept the region two years ago, economic hardship and corruption are prompting people onto the streets againGlobalPost Senior Correspondent Erin Cunningham reports from Algiers.

WANT TO KNOW

North Korea 'under attack.' Pyongyang says it is the victim of "intensive" cyberattacks. Rant-a-minute state news outlets blame "the US and the South Korean puppet regime" for what it says are daily "intensive and persistent virus attacks." 

Across the border, South Korean intelligence has said that Kim Jong-un was recently the target of an assassination attempt. The alleged murder plot may have been the work of a faction loyal to Kim Yong-chol, a four-star general demoted last year before being restored to his previous rank.

Landmark HIV study. There is fresh evidence that early medical intervention may lead to a "functional cure" for AIDS, with the release of a French study of 14 HIV patients that have remained healthy for years after stopping drug treatment.

The research comes on the heels of a report last week that a baby girl in Mississippi appeared to be cured of HIV after aggressive, early treatment.

China's new premier. President Xi Jinping has been joined by Li Keqiang at the helm of the country.

Premier Li, a career bureaucrat, will be in charge of running the world's second-largest economy. He faces the challenge of leading China towards more balanced development, and encouraging greater domestic consumption by the middle class.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Being Biden. Sounds like the overused title of a movie, or yet another bad reality TV show.

What a relief, then, to learn that it is actually a podcast featuring the gaffe-prone US Vice President Joe Biden. Maybe it's just us, but this is suddenly sounding far more entertaining.

In his new podcast, Biden will walk listeners through his life in photos, according to the White House's Being Biden webpage.

The first episode is already out — “Vol. 1: The Sportsman’s Ethic" — a gripping tale of Biden serving bread rolls. OK, so it "isn't that great," admitted one reviewer, who nonetheless encouraged readers to Crack Open a Cold One and Let Joe Biden Tell You a Story — mostly because the whole thing is so darn weird.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-syria-war-two-years

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