World briefs – August 11

A serial killer who hid the remains of 11 women in his home and yard should be put to death, a jury recommended Wednesday.

Jury recommends execution for killer

CLEVELAND — A serial killer who hid the remains of 11 women in his home and yard should be put to death, a jury recommended Wednesday.

Anthony Sowell, 51, was convicted July 22 of aggravated murder in the deaths of the women, whose remains were unearthed in his home and yard in late 2009.

Jurors deliberated for less than a day before deciding to recommend execution by lethal injection over life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The final sentence will be up to Judge Dick Ambrose, who will impose the sentence Friday and is permitted to reduce a death penalty sentence to life without parole.

As the verdicts were read, family members of the victims hugged and sobbed. One woman in the front row sat with her hands folded in prayer.

During the sentencing phase, defence attorneys tried to humanize Sowell with a series of witnesses who painted him as growing up in a deeply troubled home. A mental health expert hired by the defence told jurors that Sowell suffers from several mental illnesses.


Syria insists ‘terrorists’ behind violence

BEIRUT — Residents of Hama told of indiscriminate shelling by the army, snipers aiming at civilians and corpses piling up in the streets in the wake of a weeklong military siege of the defiant city.

The government, however, claimed it was ridding the city of “terrorists.”

Having blocked nearly all outside witnesses to the violence, President Bashar Assad is stubbornly insisting that terrorists and thugs — not pro-democracy protesters determined to bring him down — are driving the 5-month-old uprising.

But the government accounts defy reality, offering a surreal spectacle to the thousands of Syrians facing down the military and to outside observers. Most of the 1,700 people killed since March in the crackdown have been unarmed, peaceful protesters, according to activists and human rights groups.

“We would like to thank the government!” a Hama resident told The Associated Press by telephone before bursting into laughter. “What they are saying is pure lies. When they bombed the city, they bombed it randomly. The shot anything that moved in the streets. They were killing people in the streets.”


Breivik likely acted alone: police

OSLO, Norway — Investigators increasingly believe the man who confessed to killing 77 people in last month’s attacks in Norway planned and committed them on his own, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside government buildings in Oslo on July 22, killing eight people, followed by a massacre at a youth camp on an island outside the capital where he shot dead 69 others.

There was initial speculation that others were involved in the attack, but prosecutor Christian Hatlo said that after 40 hours of questioning police are fairly certain Breivik acted alone and that he appears to be telling the truth.

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