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Seven dead and 30 injured as Assad supporters and opponents clash

Supporters and opponents of a popular uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad clashed in neighbouring Lebanon's port city of Tripoli yesterday, leaving seven dead and 30 wounded, residents and a doctor said.

A journalist said the sides fired machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at each other and that the army moved into the area with armoured vehicles to try and quell the violence, but did not open fire.

Residents said the fatalities included civilians caught in the crossfire and that a Lebanese soldier was among the wounded. Sporadic fighting raged since the early hours of the morning.

Suu Kyi pays visit to refugee camp

Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday turned her attention to Burma's long-standing refugee crisis with a visit to a sprawling camp on Thailand's border, where she will get her first glimpse of the hardships faced by some of the hundreds of thousands of civilians who have fled war in her homeland.

The six-day journey abroad this week is Suu Kyi's first in 24 years, and she has used it primarily to draw attention to the plight of her compatriots abroad.

Ex-cage-fighter to run 50 marathons

Hungarian Norman Varga has begun a quest to run the length of 50 marathons in 50 days and arrive in London in time for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Mr Varga is a 25-year-old former cage-fighter who had his left arm reattached after being pushed under a tram at the age of 16. He will cover 2,000km from Budapest to London to draw attention to the importance of supporting young people.

Mr Varga runs a foundation in his native Budapest district of Csepel dedicated to helping young people develop a healthy lifestyle and support their goals in education, science and art.

German party risks disintegration

germany's radical Left party risks disintegration, one of its leaders warned yesterday, in a fight for supremacy between eastern and western wings, which could undermine the re-election prospects of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The party, the second largest opposition group in parliament with 76 of 622 seats, could fall below the five per cent threshold for voter support and so boost the chances of the centre-left Social Democrats and Greens winning a majority over Mrs Merkel's conservatives in 2013.

The Left party polled 11.9 per cent of the vote in 2009 elections but its support has slipped to seven per cent.

800 evacuated over land subsidence

More than 800 villagers have been evacuated after land sank in southern China's Guangxi province.

The land subsidence occurred near a middle school in Nanning city's Xixiangtang district after the school dug a well to ease a water shortage.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the sink hole caused one building to collapse, six to tilt and another to crack. There were no reports of injuries, but 844 villagers were evacuated.

'Apprentice' hopeful branded 'a fool'

TV'S Apprentice hopeful Ricky Martin is branded "crass, obnoxious and infantile" and an "arrogant fool" by Alan Sugar's top business advisers in tonight's gripping final.

The 26-year-old recruitment manager and fellow finalists Jade Nash, Nick Holzherr and Tom Gearing are grilled in a series of excruciating interviews by tough-talking executive Claude Littner, free magazine business pioneer Mike Soutar, former Young Entrepreneur of the Year Matthew Riley and Lord Sugar's former personal adviser on the show, Margaret Mountford.

Mr Martin, an amateur wrestler, is forced to apologise for his "ludicrous" personal statement in which he likens himself to the mythical Thor and brands Lord Sugar an "old dog" who he promises to teach new tricks. Mr Riley tells him: "I opened your application. There were just so many things in there that make me want to be sick."

Sunday Independent