PHOTO: Irin
Protests against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad’s government started in mid-March 2011, and have continued since. PHOTO: IrinNews/Syriana2011

By AMANDA VENDER

Syria: People want the president out
An uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has been going on for one year. Assad has been president for 12 years and his father was president for 29 years before him. The Syrian government has been bombing cities and towns in response to the revolt causing many Syrians to flee to the neighboring country of Lebanon. The United Nations has registered more than 6,000 Syrian refugees in Beirut and northern Lebanon though the number may be as high as 20,000.

McClatchy Newspapers interviewed a Syrian woman named Um Bilal who has been living in a shipping container in Lebanon with her three children for two weeks. She was recently joined by relatives and now the container has 16 people. “We cannot go back until the system has fallen,” she said.

Iran: No plan for nuclear weapons found
Anti-war groups in the United States held protests in 80 cities to oppose any U.S. attack or intervention in Iran. The U.S. government says that the oil-rich country has been developing nuclear weapons. It has imposed sanctions (a ban on trading certain goods) with Iran as punishment. Iran says that its nuclear research is for peaceful energy and medical purposes. While a November 2011 International Atomic Energy Agency report concluded that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, a lot of U.S. media reports said the opposite. Sounds familiar? On March 19, 2003, the United States launched a war on Iraq saying it had nuclear weapons. That was later found to be false.