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Chatter: Syrian rebels claim Israeli border crossing

Rebels take a key border crossing between Israel and Syria, Turkey's prime minister is due back home, North Korea makes nice with South Korea, and in Spain, dog poop sticks around even more than usual.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Something lost, something gained. Syrian rebels say they have seized the only official border crossing between Syria and Israel, a day after they lost control of the strategic town of Qusayr. Fighting is still underway near the Quneitra crossing in the Golan Heights, which is usually maintained by UN peacekeepers. 

The US was unequivocal in its condemnation of the Syrian army's assault on Qusayr, which was aided — it says — by fighters from Hezbollah and Iran. Now, with rebels taking the fighting dangerously close to its ally Israel, Washington's position just got a little more complicated.

Erdogan is back. Turkey's protesters are preparing to, er, "welcome" Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who returns today from an overseas trip to confront the crowds calling for his resignation.

Erdogan ill-advisedly opined, before setting off for North Africa on Monday, that the demonstrations would be over by the time he returned. They're not. And depending on how the prime minister deals with them next, his reappearance could just give them a reason to continue.

WANT TO KNOW

It's good to talk. So, it seems, North Korea has learned: its leaders have just proposed entering their first top-level discussions with South Korea in years. The talks will center on how to reopen the Kaesong industrial zone, a joint project shuttered after Pyongyang withdrew its workers during the height of all that unpleasantness back in April.

South Korea has welcomed the offer, which has taken three months, several unsuccessful overtures and possibly China's persuading to appear. 

You might want to put that phone down. Sure to outrage civil liberties groups, Obama administration critics and, well, anyone who doesn't like being monitored for no reason is the revelation that a US security agency is secretly collecting the telephone records of millions of American residents. A classified court order obtained by the Guardian newspaper shows that a judge ordered telecoms provider Verizon to hand over its customers' call logs to the National Security Agency "on an ongoing, daily basis."

Most Orwellian is the fact that the data appears to have been gathered indiscriminately, regardless of whether the caller was suspected of any wrongdoing. Washington has not yet commented, but it will have to explain itself soon.

India has a garbage crisis. New Delhi alone generates nearly 10,000 tons of waste every day, and that volume is expected to double over the next decade. With existing disposal facilities not up to the Herculean task and new ones slow in coming, India's garbage is contaminating water sources, attracting vermin and predators, and when burnt, poisoning the air.

GlobalPost talks trash in India.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Return to sender. Dog owners who don't pick up: the scum of society, amiright? It appears authorities in the Spanish town of Brunete would agree. They recently tried out a scheme which saw doggy deposits left to stink up their streets hand-delivered to the owner's door. 

It was a two-pronged operation: one volunteer would pose as a pet-lover to obtain the owner's name, another would package the poop and, using city records, track down the address to which it should rightfully be returned. (You can watch one offender receiving the, er, goods here.) The scheme has proved a success, with pet pollution reduced by more than two-thirds. We'd suggest taking it to infamously poop-strewn Paris, but have you seen their sidewalks? Ain't nobody got time for that.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-syrian-rebels-claim-israeli-border-crossing