Syrian opposition group sets peace-talk conditions

The main Western-backed Syrian opposition group says it intends to join peace talks with the Syrian government, if conditions are met.

After a vote early Monday in Istanbul, the Syrian National Coalition agreed to attend a proposed peace conference with President Bashar Assad’s government. The U.S. and Russia are trying to convene the talks in Geneva by the end of this year.

But according to a coalition statement, the group says representatives would attend only if the Syrian government allowed the creation of humanitarian corridors to reach besieged areas and if it released detainees, especially woman and children.

The coalition statement followed a deal Sunday to ease a blockade on a rebel-held town near the Syrian capital, allowing food to reach civilians there for the first time in weeks, activists said.


Worker killed by wildcat tended to the animals

The employee killed this weekend by a wildcat at an Oregon animal sanctuary was described as an experienced worker who was comfortable with the animals she cared for, but is believed to have been alone with an animal in the enclosure.

Renee Radziwon, 36, of Portland died in the Saturday night attack, police said in a statement Sunday. KGW News reported a cougar was the animal that killed her.

The sanctuary is located in the suburb of Sherwood. Sanctuary officials said they believe Radziwon was alone in the enclosure at the time of the attack. Officials said they are still investigating.


Postal service, Amazon make Sunday-delivery deal

The Internet has been blamed for the death of the mail, but now it’s offering hope to the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service.

Amazon was set to announce Monday that it will begin Sunday deliveries using the government agency’s fleet of foot soldiers, office workers and truck drivers to bring packages to homes seven days a week.

To accommodate the online retailing giant, the Postal Service said it will for the first time deliver packages at regular rates on Sundays.

Previously a shipper had to use its pricey Express Mail service and pay an extra fee for Sunday delivery.

The initiative will begin immediately in Los Angeles and New York and spread to much of the rest of the nation next year, Postal Service officials said.


Astronauts back on Earth with Olympic torch in hand

A Russian space capsule carrying the Sochi Olympic torch and three astronauts returned to Earth on Monday from the International Space Station in a flawless landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz capsule landed about three and a half hours after undocking from the station with Russian Fyodor Yurchikhin, American Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano of Italy aboard.

The unlit Olympic torch was brought to the ISS on Thursday when three new crew members arrived.

Two Russian crew members took it on a spacewalk Saturday.

– From news service reports