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News Wrap: Syrian Government Launches Rocket Attacks on Lebanon

March 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Syrian warplanes hit targets inside Lebanon for the first time today. Fighter jets attacked suspected rebel hideouts near the town of Arsal, Lebanon, as reported by Lebanon’s state news agency.

At the State Department in Washington, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed the reports.

VICTORIA NULAND, State Department Spokeswoman: Regime jets and helicopters did fire rockets into Northern Lebanon, impacting Wadi al-Khayl, near the border town of Arsal. This constitutes a significant escalation in the violations of Lebanese sovereignty that the Syrian regime has been guilty of. These kinds of violations of sovereignty are absolutely unacceptable.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Last week, the Syrian government warned Lebanon to stop militants from crossing the border to fight alongside the rebels.

A suicide car bomber killed at least 10 people in Somalia today, most of them civilians. The blast happened near the presidential palace in Mogadishu and the target was believed to be the country’s security chief. Hunks of charred metal were all that remained of the cars involved in the blast. Fire from the explosion also engulfed the tea rooms that line the road between the palace and the national theater. The al-Qaida-linked Al-Shabab said it carried out the attack.

In Pakistan, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a courtroom, killing four people and wounding 40 others. Two attackers tried to get into the court compound in Peshawar, but only one powered past the police. Dozens of wounded were taken out of the packed courtroom on gurneys. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

President Obama announced his pick for labor secretary today, Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez. At the White House, the president said Perez’s story is a reminder of the country’s promise. Perez is the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. If confirmed, he would head the Labor Department as the president pushes an overhaul of immigration laws and a minimum wage increase.

The small community of Steubenville, Ohio, will back a wider investigation into the rape of a 16-year-old girl. Yesterday, a judge found Trent Mays and Malik Richmond guilty of sexually assaulting the girl after a party when she was too drunk to move or speak. The high school football players were sentenced to at least one year in juvenile prison and must register as sex offenders. Next month, a grand jury will consider whether those who failed to speak up, including parents and coaches, can be charged.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Judy.