Headlines from around the world: 3/4/13

Nasa has given the SpaceX rocket the go-ahead to rendezvous with the International Space Station. The maneuvers for the rendezvous involve setting up SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon cargo ship to be grappled with the space station’s robotic arm. The Dragon was launched Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, but minutes after reaching orbit SpaceX’s operators in California found out that only one of the craft’s four thruster pods was working. After several hours the glitch was resolved and all four thruster pods were functional, but it delayed the rendezvous until Sunday. The Dragon is carrying 2,300 pounds of cargo, including a research freezer for preserving biological samples and experiments to study the growth of plants and mouse stem cells in an zero-gravity environment.

The United States is giving non-lethal aid to rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria and Iran condemned the aid and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said, “I do not understand how the United States can give support to groups that kill the Syrian people.” The assistance includes medical supplies, food for rebel fighters and $60 million to help the civil opposition provide basic services.

Chad’s Army Chief of Staff General Zakaria Ngobongue said that his troops had killed Moktar Belmoktar, the terrorist who attacked a natural gas plant in Algeria. The French military, which is leading the offensive against al-Qaida rebles in Mali, said they could not confirm nor deny the information. His purported death comes a day after Chad’s president announced that the troops had also killed Abou Zeid another leader of al-Qaida operations in northern Mali.

A gang leader and drug lord from Myanmar and three other foreigners were executed in China Friday, marking the first time Beijing has tried and put to death foreign nationals. The four were found guilty last year and for the October 2011 hijacking of two cargo ships and the murder of 13 chinese sailors on the Mekong River. They were also guilty of smuggling drugs, kidnapping and hijacking cargo ships in the “golden triangle” a section of territory that accounts for most of the opium and methamphetamine production.

Taliban insurgents poisoned, and then shot 17 people as they slept at a local police post in eastern Afghanistan. It is unclear how the militants were able to drug people inside the post before firing bullets into their incapacitated bodies. Ten members of the Afghan local police, and seven civilians died in the attack. In another attack, a suicide bomber slid under a bus full of Afghan soldiers and blew himself up in Kabul, wounding 10. The bomber was wearing a black overcoat and approached the bus, set down his umbrella, and went under the bus as if to fix something. An office worker from across the street said that he thought the man might have been a mechanic.

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