Death toll in Damascus mosque blast rises to 42-Syria government
BEIRUT, March 21 (Reuters) - An explosion at a mosque in the Syrian capital on Thursday killed at least 42 people, including a senior pro-government Muslim cleric, and wounded 84, the Syrian health ministry said.
State television and anti-government activists had earlier reported 15 dead. The television said a "terrorist suicide blast" hit the Iman Mosque in central Damascus, and Mohammed al-Buti, imam of the ancient Ummayyad Mosque, was among the dead.
Buti, a government-appointed cleric reviled by the Syrian opposition movement, delivered the official weekly Friday mosque sermons on state television.
(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
HONG KONG/MANILA - On tiny specks in the disputed Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea, Vietnamese and Filipino children skip to school each day. Not far away, China is building lighthouses and weather stations on reclaimed land. Further north, a Chinese cruise ship takes "patriotic" tourists to a separate group of contested islands.