FROM Nicholas Blanford
Ramadan and the Arab Summer Ramadan began today for Muslims around the world, a month of abstinence from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Its themes include personal commitment, purity and sacrifice. In politically troubled countries, will that mean more protest and more government retaliation or a stand down by both sides? In Syria, where the government conducted a bloody crackdown yesterday, protesters have plans for increased activity. In Egypt, youth leaders say they'll suspend sit-ins in Tahrir Square. Nicholas Blanford is a Beirut-based correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor .
Thousands Take to the Streets in Syria, Troops Respond with Violence In Syria today, thousands of protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers in Damascus and other cities. Some were met by heavily armed soldiers using tear gas, electrified batons, clubs and bullets. We speak with a reporter in Damascus who can't reveal her name or her affiliation for security reasons and with correspondent Nicholas Blanford, who's in Beirut, Lebanon for the Christian Science Monitor .
Setback for Hezbollah in Lebanese Elections Elections in Lebanon have produced a surprising result. The ruling coalition supported by the US and other western countries appears to have defeated an opposition challenge led by Hezbollah. Lebanon’s parliament has 128 seats, and a big turnout of voters seems to have delivered 70 seats to the ruling coalition. That doesn’t mean that forming a new government will be easy. Nicholas Blanford is based in Beirut for the Christian Science Monitor .
Hezbollah Says Lebanon's Government Has 'Declared War' Fierce gun battles erupted today in Beirut, Lebanon, after the western-backed government shut down the telecommunications network run by Hezbollah. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, called that a "declaration of war…for the benefit of America and Israel." Nicholas Blanford is based in Beirut for the Christian Science Monitor .
Two Rival Funerals in Beirut, Hezbollah Declares 'Open War' There were two competing funerals today in Beirut, Lebanon. One, for former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri , assassinated three years ago. The second, for Imad Mughnieh, the Hezbollah leader gunned down Tuesday in Damascus, Syria. Nicholas Blanford covered both of today's events for the Christian Science Monitor .
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.