Arab League will impose sanctions against Syria

In an unprecedented move against an Arab nation, the Arab League on Sunday approved economic sanctions on Syria to pressure Damascus to end its deadly suppression of an eight-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.

But even as world leaders abandon Assad, the regime has refused to ease a military assault on dissent that already has killed more than 3,500 people. On Sunday, Damascus slammed the sanctions as a betrayal of Arab solidarity and said a foreign conspiracy was behind the revolt.

The sanctions are among the clearest signs yet of the isolation Syria is suffering because of the crackdown. Damascus has long boasted of being a powerhouse of Arab nationalism, but Assad has been abandoned by some of his closest allies and now his Arab neighbors.

At a news conference in Cairo, Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim said 19 of the league’s 22 member nations approved a series of tough punishments that include cutting off transactions with the Syrian central bank, halting Arab government funding for projects in Syria and freezing government assets. Those sanctions are to take effect immediately.


Deadline for Occupy group passes without incident

A deadline set by the city for Occupy Philadelphia to leave the site where it has camped for some two months passed without scuffles or arrests as police watched nearly 50 demonstrators lock arms and sit at the entrance of Dilworth Plaza.

The scene outside City Hall was far different from Occupy encampments in other cities, where pepper spray, tear gas and police action resulted in demonstrators’ removal.

“Right now, we have a peaceful demonstration,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan said Sunday, nearly 45 minutes after the 5 p.m. deadline.

A police presence was heavier than usual, but no orders to leave had been issued.

Protester Mike Yaroschuk said he was leaving the plaza not because of the city-issued deadline but because of a request by unions whose workers will be involved in a long-planned construction project there in the coming weeks.

He said Occupy’s efforts to draw attention to economic inequality and corporate influence on government were more important than its physical location.

In Los Angeles, hundreds of Occupy Los Angeles protesters showed no sign they planned to move Sunday ahead of a city-imposed deadline to abandon their encampment, saying they’d instead hold an “eviction block party.”

City officials had told demonstrators they must leave the site by 12:01 a.m. today, but just a handful were seen packing up Sunday.


Father says slain man tried to provide for his family

The father of an Ohio man found dead after answering a Craigslist help-wanted ad said Sunday his son sought the job in order to better provide for his three boys.

Timothy Kern, 47, of Massilon was found dead Friday, buried near an Akron, Ohio, shopping mall.

Kern’s father, Jack Kern, said Sunday that his son was employed “here and there” and responded to the ad for a farmhand job because he wanted the best for his own sons, ages 17, 18, and 28.

He said the ad offered $300 a week to tend more than 680 acres, similar to a Craigslist ad that police say lured David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va., to his death. Pauley was found dead in a rural area of Noble County, 90 miles south of Akron.

A South Carolina man also answered the ad and was shot Nov. 6 before escaping, police say.

Two suspects are in custody in the case, both from the Akron area: a 16-year-old high school student who’s been charged with attempted murder, and Richard Beasley, 52, who is in jail on unrelated charges.

— From news service reports