Syria denied reports yesterday that President Bashar al-Assad's deputy had defected as its forces pursued an offensive against rebels, bombarding parts of Aleppo in the north and attacking an insurgent-held town in the oil-producing east.
Vice-President Farouq al-Shara "never thought for a moment about leaving the country", said a statement from his office broadcast on state television in response to reports that the veteran Baath Party loyalist had tried to defect to Jordan. The statement said he had worked since the start of the uprising to find a peaceful, political solution.
Assad's forces have resorted increasingly to air power to hold back lightly armed insurgents in the capital Damascus and Aleppo, a northern commercial hub. More than 18,000 people have died in the bloodshed and about 170,000 have fled the country, according to the United Nations.
Seoul knifeman stabs eight in station
Eight people were stabbed or cut in a rampage at an underground station just outside South Korea's capital Seoul. Police officers said no one was killed when a man used a large knife to attack people yesterday in Uijeongbu.
Officers said the man was arrested running away from the station. Uijeongbu houses US and South Korean military bases. A South Korean news agency said the attack lasted about 10 minutes.
Six die as Iraqi gunmen raid homes
Iraqi officials said gunmen raided two family homes in a northern Iraqi city, killing six people. Police said the raids took place yesterday in the city of Mosul. In the first attack, four people were killed, including a husband and wife. In the second house, gunmen killed two men.
The attacks came two days after assaults across the country killed at least 93 people and wounded many more.
Pernod Ricard entrepreneur dies
Patrick Ricard, who transformed a small firm based on his father's anise-flavoured spirit into a global entity, died on Friday. He was 67.
Mr Ricard's father founded the company in 1932 and developed pastis, an aperitif relatively unknown outside France. His son joined the company in 1967 and became chairman and CEO in 1978, turning Pernod Ricard global with the acquisition of brands including Absolut vodka, Jameson whiskey and Perrier-Jouet champagne.
Woman dies after conmen visit home
A murder inquiry has been launched into the death of a 90-year-old woman yesterday, who collapsed after being conned by thieves posing as water board officials.
Hester Mottershead died after falling ill at her home in Wolverhampton, British police said.
Officers believe three men spent about 30 minutes at Ms Mottershead's home on Friday afternoon.
Fifth of London rioters released early
Around one in five rioters jailed after last year's summer rampages in England have been tagged and let out of prison early, it emerged yesterday.
243 convicts were released under home detention curfew before serving half their sentence. Of the 1,292 criminals given prison sentences, two convicted robbers, 162 burglars, 44 thieves and 26 violent offenders were released early, along with nine jailed for other offences.
Al-Qaeda hits Yemeni intelligence HQ
Suspected al-Qaeda terrorists attacked a Yemeni intelligence headquarters yesterday, killing 14 people in an attack in the country's main southern city of Aden, officials said.
Terrorists attacked the intelligence building from two sides, firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, according to intelligence officials and witnesses. The assault left 11 soldiers and three intelligence officers dead, with six people wounded.