DAMASCUS, Syria

Syrian army troops kill 175 rebels in ambush at dawn

Syrian army troops on Wednesday killed 175 rebels, many of them al-Qaida-linked fighters, in an ambush described as one of the deadliest attacks by government forces against fighters near Damascus, according to state media.

An opposition group said the dawn ambush was carried out by the Lebanese Hezbollah group, which has been instrumental in helping President Bashar Assad’s regime push back rebels entrenched in the suburbs of the capital city.

Syrian state news agency SANA quoted a field commander in the eastern Ghouta area as saying most of the rebels killed in the assault near Oteibah lake southeast of Damascus belonged to the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front rebel group.

WASHINGTON

Supreme Court rules against trespassing peace activist

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against a longtime peace activist Wednesday, saying federal law gives commanding officers of military bases great leeway to control who is allowed on the property, even in places generally open to the public.

But in saying an appeals court was wrong to throw out John Dennis Apel’s convictions for trespassing, the justices made clear they were not ruling on whether his constitutional rights were violated when he was denied access to a spot on California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base specifically set aside for protests.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor strongly suggested he might have a good case in that regard. The rest of the justices withheld judgment, saying the issue had not been reviewed by lower courts and was not before them.

The court threw out a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, which had overturned Apel’s 2010 convictions for violating a federal law that forbids a person to enter a military base after being barred by the commanding officer.

Apel was banned for a string of protests following a 2003 incident in which he threw his blood on a Vandenberg entrance sign as the United States was preparing to invade Iraq.

He and like-minded activists have continued to protest on the first Wednesday of every month at a site along the Pacific Coast Highway that has been set aside for protesters since 1989.

Because of Apel’s earlier protest activities, the Vandenberg commander had barred him from entering any part of the installation, including the designated protest area.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

Tests show radiation exposure for 13 workers

Thirteen workers were exposed to radiation during a recent leak at the nation’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico, according to the results of preliminary tests announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project said in a joint news release that they have notified the workers.

– From news service reports