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Chatter: Syria's 1 million lost children

Syria loses its 1 millionth child refugee to civil war, explosions hit northern Lebanon, India sees another brutal gang-rape, and grizzly bear don't care.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Syria just keeps on adding the zeroes. As activists talk of three- and even four-figure death tolls from Wednesday's alleged poison gas attack near Damascus, none of them independently confirmed, there is at least one number that's certain: 1 million. It's the sum total of all the children who've fled Syria in the past 29 months of civil war. Double that figure again and you'll get the number of kids internally displaced.

More than 700,000 of Syria's child refugees are under the age of 11, according to United Nations figures. That means they'll probably have little memory of what their country was like before the war. Let us remind you, if not them: it was beautiful

Something's going down in Lebanon. Breaking reports say two large explosions have hit the northern port city of Tripoli. Details are scant, but some accounts say one blast targeted a mosque right at the end of Friday prayers. 

Hours earlier, Israel said it had bombed a "terrorist site" in Lebanon in response to rockets fired across the Israeli border. Was this the next installment? Or spillover from Syria? Whatever it was, we'll bring you the latest developments here.  

WANT TO KNOW

Trapped. Beaten. Gang-raped. It's the brutal ordeal that a 23-year-old Indian woman was put through in Delhi last year, and eight months later it's happened again. Another woman, also in her early 20s, is in hospital with multiple injuries after a gang of five men beat up her male companion, held her down, and raped her. 

This time the attack took place in India's biggest and supposedly safest city, Mumbai, where the woman — a photographer interning at a magazine — had gone to an abandoned factory as part of an assignment. Police say they've identified all five attackers from the victim's description; one is in custody and has reportedly confessed. However quickly they're brought to trial in India's new "fast-track" rape courts, it won't answer the disturbing questions as to why these crimes keep happening at all. 

Bo Xilai's trial isn't disappointing so far. Yesterday the fallen Chinese politician vehemently denied the bribery he's accused of, and refuted the witnesses who said otherwise. Today, he said his own wife — currently in jail on a murder conviction — had been coerced into testifying against him and was in any case mentally "unstable."

His defiance in the face of China's Communist Party, the director of the closely watched proceedings, has come as a surprise to those who expected less drama from the tightly stage-managed trial. But here's why Bo's spirited defense could in fact be part of the script

Holy rock 'n' rollers. You've heard of Indonesia's punks before. But they're usually on the wrong side of Shariah law. Dozens of young members of the Indonesian alt scene have made headlines in recent years for attracting the conservative authorities' ire with their "un-Islamic" piercings and mohawks. But one leading band of Indonesian rockers — metalheads, granted, and with not a chin spike in sight — are passionately embracing conservative Islam.

GlobalPost meets Tengkorak, the death metal band thrashing for Allah.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

If you go down to the woods today... You'll almost certainly be eaten by a bear, because that's what bears do. They eat things. Insects, salmon, people, even other bears. This decidedly not cute report reaches us from Canada, where hikers came across a huge grizzly feasting on the chewed-up remains of what was once a black bear. That invitation to the teddy bears' picnic is suddenly a lot less tempting.

Listen — nature's red in tooth and claw, point out worldly-wise bear experts. The grizzly had a 200-kilo advantage on the black bear, and hey, he was hungry. It's a bear-eat-bear world out there, kids.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-syrias-1-million-lost-children