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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Syrian government says it has agreed "in principle" to take part in an international conference in Geneva next month aimed at ending the country's civil war.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem says his government believes that the conference, proposed by Russia and the United States, is a "good opportunity for a political solution for the crisis in Syria."

Al-Moallem did not elaborate in the joint Sunday news conference with his Iraqi counterpart shortly after he arrived in Baghdad for an unannounced visit.

The Syrian crisis began in March 2011 with pro-democracy protests and morphed into a bloody civil war. More than 70,000 people have been killed and several million displaced since the uprising against President Bashar Assad erupted.

Protesters march against Monsanto in 250 cities

Sunday, 26 May 2013 08:08 Published in Local News

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Protests against seed giant Monsanto are getting under way across the U.S. and in dozens of other countries.

"March Against Monsanto" organizers say they're calling attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the companies that produce it. Protests were planned in more than 250 cities Saturday.

Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits and improve crop yields.

Some believe they can lead to health problems and harm the environment. Opponents have pushed for mandatory labeling in California and worldwide, and have also accused the company of suing farmers when GMO seeds are blown into non-GMO fields. The federal government and many scientists say the technology is safe.

St. Louis-based Monsanto said Saturday that it respects people's rights to express their opinion, but believes its seeds help farmers produce more food, while conserving water and energy.

E. coli levels high at three Missouri waterways

Sunday, 26 May 2013 08:07 Published in Local News

OZARK, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri county health department has posted health advisories for three waterways because of high bacteria levels.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that the Christian County Health Department has posted advisories warning swimmers about high levels of E. coli bacteria at the Jim Turner Access at Finley River Park in Ozark, the Shelvin Rock Access southwest of Nixa and the Delaware Access west of Nixa.

The health department tests public waterways for E. coli, a type of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, dehydration and other problems.

Christian County Health Department Administrator Cindy Bilyeu says anyone who plans to swim in the river on Memorial Day weekend should take a shower immediately afterward. The health advisory will be removed after two consecutive samples at acceptable levels.

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