Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Monday, February 10, 2014

Greece: recovery and rebuilding in quake-hit Kefalonia

Greece: recovery and rebuilding in quake-hit KefaloniaeuronewsThe first, on January 26, registered 6.0 on the Richter scale. A second major quake, a little less powerful, hit a week later. There have also been hundreds of aftershocks. Euronews reporter, Michalis Arampatzoglu, experienced one when visiting bakery ...


FACTBOX -Greece's ever-increasing 2013 primary surplus

This is a key figure that highlights progress that Greece has made in shoring up its finances after four years of tough austerity. If confirmed in April by the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat, a surplus would pave the way for Greece ...


Greek opposition drops candidate after Jewish rant

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Greek God Statue Recovered in Gaza Strip

A rare bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo was mysteriously recovered in the Gaza Strip, only to be seized by police and vanish almost immediately. The discolored green-brown figure shows the youthful god of Greece standing upright on two ...


Upbeat data pushes Greek yields close to one-month lows

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The 7 Worst Valentine's Day Cliches And What To Do Instead

This post originally appeared on get passionate on Valentine's Day — long before the evening winds down and, if all goes well, the clothes come off.

Some love the day, reveling in and dispensing as much heart-shaped, gooey sentiment as they can fit into 24 hours. Others view it as an unnecessarily pressure-ridden faux-holiday and would rather hide under the covers until the clock strikes midnight and it's officially February 15th.

If you're like us, you buy into the idea that it might be nice to do something special with your significant other, but you'd rather not go through the motions and trot out the same tired tricks. So this year, try one of our alternative ideas that'll make you look inspired, and also happen to be very easy to pull off.

1. The Cliché: Dinner at a romantic restaurant

The Alternative: Cook for your mate, you lazy b---ard

The Details: You don't have to be a genius in the kitchen to knock the socks (and other items of clothing) off your lover. In fact, it's best to avoid any complicated preparations that will unduly stress you out. In other words, keep it simple.

Hell, boil some water and make pasta. Pair that with a bottle of wine, candles, and some music (preferably what your partner would like), and you've got a setting infinitely more romantic than any restaurant crammed with lovey-dovey couples paying through the nose for a V-Day prix fixe.

If all goes well, you may find yourselves having dessert in the bedroom.

2. The Cliché: A Hallmark card

The Alternative: An onslaught of sticky notes 

The Details: Save the card for Mom. The key to the sticky-note scheme is saturation: the more, the better. Put them everywhere you can think of: on the bathroom mirror, on the computer monitor, on a milk carton.

When your mate opens his/her wallet at lunch, for example, and sees a note that says "I love to kiss your lips," that's guaranteed to put you over the top on the romantic meter.

3. The Cliché: A box of chocolates

The Alternative: An unexpected aphrodisiac

The Details: There's nothing wrong with chocolate, but have you tried figs? They've been associated with sexual desire since ancient Greek and Roman times and are alleged to have been one of the favorite foods of the temptress Cleopatra.

Another sexy and sweet (and sticky) treat is honey, a.k.a. the nectar of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love (and, incidentally, the lady who aphrodisiacs were named after).

On the opposite end of the palate, try dishing up some oysters. The 18th-century Italian lover Casanova was a proponent of the oyster as a sexual aide of sorts (he supposedly ate dozens of them for breakfast), and science has since confirmed that the bivalves really do pump up the libido.

4. The Cliché: A romantic stroll

The Alternative: A romantic adventure

The Details: The variations are endless. Your options include the skinny dip (the beach works if you don't have a pool), the secluded hike (bring bug spray and a flask filled with hot chocolate or booze, or boozy hot chocolate), the rooftop stargazing journey, or the literary pub crawl (identify spots in advance where writers once lived and drank).

One word of advice: Bring a flashlight so you don't get really lost—which is not the sort of adventure you're going for.

5. The Cliché: A romantic movie

The Alternative: A burlesque show

The Details: Chick flicks are tame. VD (that's Valentine's Day) is time to get dirty. What's more, venues across the country are hosting special V-Day shows.

So whether you're in New York CityLos AngelesSeattleDallas, or Chicago, you can get your fill of va-va-voom girls in pasties and double entendre-spouting hosts. (For a thorough listing of shows nationwide, visit the fantastic directory Burlesque Bitch.)

6. The Cliché: A dozen red roses

The Alternative: A 12-song playlist

The Details: In days past, giving someone a mixtape was a heartfelt gesture capable of transmitting a variety of messages too difficult to put into words. Today, cassette tapes are long gone and even CDs are looking like dinosaurs, but the mixtape lives on in the form of iTunes and Spotify playlists.

Hopefully you've got your own ideas for songs that strike the right mood, but if you need a nudge, then check out Billboard's list of the 50 Sexiest Songs of All Time.

7. The Cliché: Champagne

The Alternative: Champagne cocktails

The Details: You want bubbly because it activates the salivary glands, awakens the taste buds, and looks cool in a glass. But a regular bottle of champagne, cava, or Prosecco shows no imagination.

Instead, try cocktails like the French 75Chandon Brut MojitoBlood Orange Champagne Cocktail, and of course the classic Champagne Cocktail. Even better if you sip from each other's navels.

8. Bonus: The Love Poem Generator App

Simply input your beloved's name and the app instantly crafts a poem from one of its 4,294,967,296 combinations of verse. Feel a line isn't living up to your standards? Tap it and it's replaced with an alternative.

Naturally, you can share the poem via e-mail, but you can also play it aloud as read by the app's slightly creepy sexy robotic voice.iTunes; $1

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Turkish, Greek Cypriot leaders to meet for peace talks

In an interview with the Milliyet daily on Sunday, Eroğlu said he hoped to reach an agreement and hold a referendum in three to five months -- if both sides show willingness to reach a solution in Cyprus. Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades said ...


Greek start-ups: a success story amid the crisis

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Dead Sea Scrolls Go Digital With Online Archive At The Tip Of Your Finger

The Dead Sea scrolls will now be accessible for public viewing, and you don't even need to leave your home to see them. Orchestrated under the Israel Antiques Authority (IAA) with support from Google, the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library is a free, online archive comprised of thousands of high resolution fragments. History, now, is literally brought to the homes of people everywhere, accessible by computer and smart phone. Psalms scroll in color: a multi-spectral image of a scroll fragment from the book of Psalms. Photograph: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the IAA As IAA General Director Shuka Dorfman says on the library's website:"We have succeeded in recruiting the best minds and technological means to preserve this unrivaled cultural heritage treasure which belongs to all of us, so that the public with a touch of the screen will be able to freely access history in its fullest glamour."Fragment from the Tobit scroll, an apocryphal text from Second Temple times. Photograph: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the IAA The first of the scrolls was discovered in 1947 in the West Bank, in what is often called one of the most important archaeological finds in history, and certainly in the 20th century. IAA's idea for the imaging project came about at the 60th anniversary of the scrolls' discovery in 2007, curator and project head Pnina Shor told the Huffington Post. It soon became a collaborative effort. Former NASA physicist Greg Bearman came on as a consultant; the organization hired a PhD student to develop a monitoring system; and other experts offered their talents to the project to ensure the highest quality images.The imaging process, which spans 3 wavelengths in the visible spectrum. Photograph: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the IAA This is a project of huge proportion, Shor explained to Huffington Post. "We are imaging all of the thousands of fragments that comprise over 900 manuscripts all written 2000 years ago when both Judaism and Christianity were formalizing as two of the monotheistic religions." To these thousands of fragments, the team is also adding metadata that includes translations and historical background to the compositions, making this the most comprehensive imaging project ever undertaken with the scrolls. A conservator examining a fragment under a microscope. Photograph: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the IAA The archive includes fragments written in Greek, Aramaic and other languages; fragments discovered in multiple sites and including Biblical and non-Biblical content. The scroll dates range from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE and include partial or complete segments from every book in the Hebrew Bible. In addition the scrolls contain non-Biblical Jewish religious writings, and are thus considered to be fundamental to an understanding of the development of western religion.Close up of the same Psalms scroll above. In it you can read the words “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Psalms 133:1. Photograph: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the IAA The digital library "lays bare" a trove of artifacts secured in climate-controlled vaults intended to mimic the conditions of the caves that preserved the scrolls for 2,000 years. The project makes use of a new multispectral imaging system, created specially for the scrolls by Ken Boydston of MegaVision, that allows each fragment to be digitized at the highest possible resolution and in various wavelengths. Shor expects they will complete the imaging within another two years. As she told HuffPost, "The main aim of the website is open access to the public and scholarly world alike, sharing the knowledge about the scrolls and preserving them for future generations."


Toll hike angers Greek motorists

A group of 500 anti-government demonstrators set fire to a toll booth on a motorway east of Athens on Sunday to protest a near-tripling of prices, Greek police said. The announcement last week of the toll hike from 55 cents to 1.45 euros tapped into ...


Greece, Most Expensive Country

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Greek anti-terrorist police raid nets weapons

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Worse than Greece: Fitch says Ukraine's default risk high

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Protesters set fire to toll booth north of Athens after hike in charges

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Greek industrial production index up by 0.5 pct in December

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Rare statue of Apollo held in Gaza Strip detention

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Four arrests in Athens after anti-terrorism squad seizes arms, explosives

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Rethinking Greece’s geopolitical role

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'Priceless' bronze statue of Greek god Apollo found in Gaza Strip

• Hamas officials seize statue after it appears on eBay• Doubt cast on fisherman's claim to have found item in sea

Lost for centuries, a rare bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo has mysteriously resurfaced in the Gaza Strip, only to be seized by police and vanish almost immediately from view.

Word of the remarkable find has caught the imagination of the world of archaeology, but the police cannot say when the life-sized bronze might re-emerge or where it might be put on display.

A local fisherman says he scooped the 500kg (1,100lb) god from the seabed last August, and carried it home on a donkey cart, unaware of the significance of his catch.

Others soon guessed at its importance, and the statue briefly appeared on eBay with a $500,000 (£300,000) price tag - well below its true value. Police from the Islamist group Hamas, who rule the isolated Palestinian territory, swiftly seized it and say they are investigating the affair.

Archaeologists have not been able to get their hands on the Apollo – to their great frustration- and instead must pore over a few blurred photographs of the intact deity, who is laid out incongruously on a blanket emblazoned with Smurfs.

From what they can tell, it was cast sometime between the 5th and the 1st century BC, making it at least 2,000 years old.

"It's unique. In some ways I would say it is priceless. It's like people asking what is the [value] of the painting La Gioconda [the Mona Lisa] in the Louvre museum," said Jean-Michel de Tarragon, a historian with the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem.

"It's very, very rare to find a statue which is not in marble or in stone, but in metal," he told Reuters television.

The apparently pristine condition of the god suggested it was uncovered on land and not in the sea, he said, speculating that the true location of where it was unearthed was not revealed to avoid arguments over ownership.

"This wasn't found on the seashore or in the sea … it is very clean. No, it was [found] inland and dry," he said, adding that there were no signs of metal disfigurement or barnacles that one normally sees on items plucked from water.

Palestinian fisherman Joudat Ghrab tells a different tale. The 26-year-old father of two said he saw a human-like shape lying in shallow waters some 100 metres offshore, just north of the Egyptian-Gaza border.

At first he thought it was a badly burnt body, but when he dived down to take a closer look he realised it was a statue. He says it took him and his relatives four hours to drag the treasure ashore.

"I felt it was something gifted to me by God," Ghrab told Reuters. "My financial situation is very difficult and I am waiting for my reward."

His mother was less happy when she saw the naked Apollo carried into the house, demanding that his private parts be covered. "My mother said: 'What a disaster you have brought with you' as she looked at the huge statue," said Ghrab.

The discoloured green-brown figure shows the youthful, athletic god standing upright on two, muscular legs; he has one arm outstretched, with the palm of his hand held up.

He has compact, curly hair, and gazes out seriously at the world, one of his eyes apparently inlaid with a blue stone iris, the other just a vacant black slit.

Ghrab says he cut off one of the fingers to take to a metals expert, thinking it might have been made of gold. Unbeknownst to him, one of his brothers severed another finger for his own checks. This was melted down by a jeweller.

Family members belonging to a Hamas militia soon took charge of the statue, and at some stage the Apollo appeared on Ebay, with the seller telling the buyer to come and collect the item from Gaza.

That would have been easier said than done, however, as Gaza is virtually sealed off from the outside world, with both Israel and Egypt imposing rigid controls on access to the impoverished enclave and its 1.8 million inhabitants.

Whether any potential buyers stepped forward is not clear, but when Hamas's civilian authorities found out about the artefact, they ordered that the police seize it.

Officials at Gaza's tourism ministry told Reuters the statue would not be shown to the public until a criminal investigation is completed into who tried to sell it.

However, Ahmed al-Bursh, the ministry's director of archaeology, said he had seen it and promised that Ghrab would receive a reward once the issue was resolved.

"It is a precious treasure, an important archaeological discovery," said Bursh. Once the statue was released by police, his ministry plans to repair it and put it on show in Gaza.

"International institutions have also contacted us and have offered to help with the repair process," he said, adding that a museum in Geneva and the Louvre in Paris wanted to rent it.

Like Ghrab, Bursh said the statue had been found at sea.

The historian Tarragon said it was vital to know the true location of its discovery.

Some 5,000 years of history lie beneath the sands of the Gaza Strip, which was ruled at various times by ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Byzantines and crusaders.

Alexander the Great besieged the city and the Roman emperor Hadrian visited. However, local archaeologists have little experience to carry out any scientific digs and many sites remain buried.

Statues such as the Apollo cast would not have been held in isolation, meaning it might prove the tip of an historical iceberg, Tarragon said.

"A statue at that time was [put] in a complex, in a temple or a palace. If it was in a temple, you should have all the other artefacts of the cult [at the site]," he said, adding that he hoped Hamas appreciated its potential importance.

"There is a feeling that they could find more and more [items] linked to the statue, more and more artefacts, so this is very sensitive," he said.

ArchaeologySculptureArtGazaMiddle East and North AfricaPalestinian © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greek anti-terrorist police raid homes in Athens area, seize weapons, explosives, detain 4

Greek police say they have arrested four foreigners and seized weapons and explosives in a raid by the country's anti-terrorist unit on residences in the greater Athens area.


Adopt-A-Greek School Launches to Help Schools in Greece

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Former Hellenic Postbank CEO appears in court in Athens in unsecured loans case

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Turkish-Greek Cypriots to relaunch talks after long pause

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Photo essay

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Mysterious Greek god statue, lost for centuries, now in Gaza detention

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Mysterious Greek god held in Gazan detention

By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - Lost for centuries, a rare bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo has mysteriously resurfaced in the Gaza Strip, only to be seized by police and vanish almost immediately from view. Others soon guessed at its importance, and the statue briefly appeared on Ebay with a $500,000 price tag - well below its true value. Police from the Islamist group Hamas, who ...


Report 3 ND MP’s Moved Millions

A report in the newspaper Ta Nea has alleged that three unidentified Members of Parliament each transferred more than a million euros of undeclared income to overseas bank accounts in the midst of the country’s crushing financial crisis as the government was urging Greeks to keep their money in the country. It was said that senior members of the party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who has promised swift discipline for political wrongdoers, are urging for a full discovery so that there’s no taint on the government which has to fully investigate whether there are tax cheats on a list of 2,062 Greeks with $1.95 billion in secret accounts in the Geneva, Switzerland branch of HSBC. That is only one of a reported number of places in a variety of countries where Greeks are believed to have stashed their money to avoid paying taxes. The report said even if the MP’s had complied with tax laws and declared their income that it was unseemly, unpatriotic and hypocritical to keep money out of the country while insisting citizens keep theirs in Greece. It wasn’t indicated how they managed to accumulate so much money.  There was no initial response from New Democracy officials nor the Prime Minister, whose coalition government, that includes the PASOK Socialist, has only a three-vote majority in the 300-member Parliament. Another of his MP’s is under investigation in connection with a bad loan scheme but hasn’t been removed.


Foreign Investors Re-interested in Greek Market

A pan-European survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) showed that hotels still remain the Number 1 choice for foreign investors who are active in the local property market. Based on the survey’s results, property market professionals stated that Greece’s capital rose from 27th spot in the previous survey to 13th among European destinations for property investment, a fact that reflects the growth in investor interest within twelve months only. Although last year the real estate market in Athens was a “forbidden” area for investors, today this idea has changed and many people support that the Greek capital is able to offer great investment opportunities. “The recovery success of Ireland and now Spain too, has given a number of investors the outlook that something similar will happen in the other Southern European countries hurt by the crisis,” stated Giorgos Kambouropoulos, head of the Greek branch of the ULI. According to him, foreign investors are mostly interested in hotels considering that tourism is the main attraction. Nonetheless, Mr. Kambouropoulos claimed that the investors are currently interested in the Greek market mostly for opportunistic reasons. “They buy only when the price is extremely low, usually 40 percent below the already low value of each property. Their aim is to reduce the investment risk they take by entering the Greek market. This is why they seek out distressed sales which offer high yield duo to the low price paid,” he highlighted in his statement to Kathimerini. As chief executive at property management firm Pangaia, Aristotelis Karytinos, said, “foreigners prefer to buy hotel units from banks but there are no such packages on the market nowadays, so they are turning their attention to isolated hotel unit sales by owners. Their top choices are Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Rhodes.”


Samaras: Greece Doesn’t Need New Rescue Package

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Fancy your own Greek island? Mystery seller puts one the size of 50 football pitches on the market for £29m and it doesn't even come with a house

This could be the perfect gift for the billionaire who has almost everything. A mystery seller has put an idyllic and isolated Greek island on the market for £29million, but it does not even come with a house. However, the astonishing ...


Greece hails ‘exceptional’ tourism numbers

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Greece crisis costs banks 100 bln euros

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House destroyed by blaze in Greece

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Greek opposition party drops candidate after anti-Semitic rant

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TABLE-Greek industrial output rises in December, first rebound since July

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Greek protesters torch tollbooth over toll hike

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PHOTO GALLERY: Greek GlendiLongboat ObserverBenjamin Covert, who is learning about Greek culture at Pine View School, shopped for trinkets with his brother, Barrett. Rachel Gosnell and Rachael Moran attend the Glendi every year. Demetri Martins, 14, and Margo Rometo, 17, have performed Hellenic ...


Homs Evacuation: Hundreds Leave Besieged Syrian City As Gunmen Spray Bullets

BEIRUT (AP) — Hundreds of civilians were evacuated Sunday from the besieged Syrian city of Homs, braving gunmen spraying bullets and lobbing mortar shells to flee as part of a rare three-day truce to relieve a choking blockade. Dozens were wounded as they fled. The cease-fire came as Syrian officials arrived in Switzerland for a new round of talks with opposition activists-in-exile to try to negotiate an end to Syria's three-year conflict. More than 600 people were evacuated from Homs on Sunday, said Governor Talal Barrazi. The operation was part of a U.N.-mediated truce that began Friday between the government of President Bashar Assad and armed rebels to allow thousands of women, children and elderly men to leave opposition-held parts of the city, and to permit the entry of food and supplies. Forces loyal to Assad have blockaded rebel-held parts of Homs for over a year, causing widespread hunger and suffering. Dozens of people were wounded when they came under fire as they waited at an agreed-upon evacuation point in the rebel-held neighborhood of al-Qarabis, according to three activists based in Homs, who spoke to The Associated Press by Skype. Despite the gunfire and exploding mortar shells, hundreds of women, children and elderly men ran toward a group of Red Crescent workers waiting less than a mile (kilometer) away, said an activist who gave his name as Samer al-Homsy. The Syrian activists said the gunfire came from a government-held neighborhood. The Syrian news agency SANA also reported that civilians came under fire, but blamed "terrorists," the government term for rebels. At least four busloads of civilians were shipped out, according to footage broadcast on the Lebanese television station al-Mayadeen. Wide-eyed children, their prominent cheekbones suggestive of malnutrition, tumbled out of a bus, assisted by aid workers. "Our life was a disaster, we had no food, no water," one distressed woman said. "There was nothing, my children are all sick. They were thirsty," she said, standing with a group of exhausted-looking children as khaki-clad Syrian soldiers, Red Crescent workers in red jump suits and U.N. workers in blue protective vests gathered around the buses. Some evacuees were to be hosted in government-run shelters, others were going to join relatives in safer areas, while still others said they did not know where they were going. Khaled Erksoussi of the Syrian Red Crescent, which is assisting the operation, told the AP that the agency hoped to evacuate as many civilians as possible before the truce expires Monday. On Saturday, gunmen opened fire on civilians, leaving aid workers wounded and two trucks damaged, Erksoussi said, speaking by telephone from Damascus. Despite the violence, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said in a statement that the truce showed "that even in the darkest of nights it is possible to offer a glimmer of hope to people in desperate need of assistance." The Homs cease-fire was arranged by U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, who urged the warring sides to aid the estimated 2,500 civilians trapped in the ancient, rebel-held quarters known as Old Homs, to build trust during the first face-to-face meetings of government officials and opposition figures in Switzerland last month. But the truce only took hold after talks ended, and its last day, Monday, now coincides with the beginning of another round of U.N.-mediated negotiations in Switzerland. The Syrian delegation arrived in Switzerland Sunday evening. Homs was one of the first areas to rise up against Assad in 2011 and has been particularly hard hit by the war. Over the past year, the government regained control over most of the city, except for neighborhoods in the historic center. Meanwhile, in the northern city of Aleppo, Syrian government aircraft dropped makeshift barrel bombs on a series of rebel-held districts, including one that killed more than 15 people in the neighborhood of Haydariyeh, said the activist group, the Aleppo Media Center. The bombs, crude weapons packed with explosives, fuel and metal, set nine vehicles ablaze, including some carrying civilians fleeing the area. The bombings are part of a weekslong campaign by Assad's forces to wrest control of Aleppo, parts of which were seized by rebels in mid-2012. The Syrian uprising began with largely peaceful protests but gradually evolved into an increasingly sectarian civil war pitting predominantly Sunni Muslim rebels against Assad's government, which is dominated by Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Syria's many minorities have thrown their support behind Assad, fearing for their fates should hard-line rebels come to power. On Sunday, extremist rebels killed at least two dozen Alawite gunmen defending their central village of Maan, the Syrian Observatory said. The Syrian state news agency said a "massacre" had occurred, but provided no further details. A video uploaded by rebel sympathizers showed at least one man killed, and bearded, grinning gunmen looting village homes. The Observatory said women and children had been evacuated before the gunmen entered. Meanwhile, the Qatar-based broadcaster al-Jazeera aired what it said was new footage of a dozen Syrian nuns who have been held captive by rebels since December. Rebels seized the nuns and at least three other women from the Greek Orthodox Mar Takla convent when fighters overran Maaloula, a mainly Christian village north of Damascus. The group, who work in the convent's orphanage, was taken to the nearby rebel-held town of Yabroud. An activist from the area who uses the name Amer, said rebels belonging to the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front were holding the nuns. He said Qatar officials were trying to negotiate their release and that the video was likely issued to prove to mediators that the women were in good health.


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