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US: Chemical weapons experts have not entered Douma

The US has been unable to independently confirm that a team of inspectors has arrived at the site of a suspected chemical attack in Syria’s Douma district, the State Department said Tuesday.

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Syria chemical attack: Investigators allowed to visit site

Chemical weapons inspectors in Syria will be permitted to visit the site of an alleged chemical attack on Wednesday, Russia has said.

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Putin on a show: finding value in March’s Russian election

Vladimir Putin has now run Russia for longer than anyone since Stalin.* It’s all but certain that he will continue to do so after this March’s presidential election. Ladbrokes are offering odds of 1/50 that he wins a fourth full term, which are nonetheless value: probably the shortest-ever odds tipped as such on this site. Looked at another way, it might only be a 2% return in about two months but that’s a lot more than you’d get in a bank – though there is the capital risk that he might fall under a bus.

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Hamas launches Twitter campaign ‘resistance is not terrorism’

As Jerusalem witnesses unrest due to the increased Israeli security cordons at the site of the Muslim holy site of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas today launched a new media campaign to highlight the Palestinians’ right to resist the Israeli actions and do what they can to halt them.

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Germany may vote to move troops in Turkey as row with Ankara deepens

Germany’s foreign minister on May 16 said parliament would likely vote on withdrawing troops involved in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria from a Turkish military base if Ankara persisted in denying German lawmakers access to the site.

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Expert says Islamic State has badly damaged major Palmyra monument

Islamic State militants have severely damaged a major Roman monument in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, an antiquities official said after visiting the site on Saturday.

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