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Syria's Civil War, Baghdad Bombings, and Other News You Missed This Week

From the Syrian war to bombings in Baghdad, see what happened while you were watching the Egypt protests.

The events unfolding in Egypt have kept us riveted for the past few weeks. First, massive protests roiled Cairo and the rest of the country as demonstrators demanded that President Mohamed Morsi step down. Then the military stepped in and removed him from power. Now a retaliatory violence has erupted as the fledgling democracy struggles to reestablish itself. But as captivating as this story is, other things have been happening in the world. From a fiery train crash in Canada to car bombs in Baghdad, The Daily Beast takes a look at 10 stories you may have missed.

JM Lopez/AFP/Getty

Syrian Civil War Drags On

The violence is escalating in Syria, expanding beyond the nation’s borders. A car bomb exploded in the suburbs of Beirut on July 9, wounding at least four dozen people and igniting fears that Lebanon would be pulled into the Syrian conflict. The war, in its third year, shows no sign of abating, as international leaders struggle to get on the same page about how to deal with President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. recently announced that it will send weapons to rebel forces to help counterbalance the influx of Hezbollah fighters aiding the Assad regime.

A.M. Ahad/AP

Labor Groups Criticize Bangladesh Clothing-Factory Safety Plan

After a garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh left more than 500 dead, major retailers got together and announced a plan in mid-July to improve safety conditions. Retailers, including Walmart and Macy’s, committed $42 million to building inspections, a hotline for workers to report concerns, and $100 million in loans to help factory owners fix structural problems. However, the plan immediately received criticism from labor groups, which noted that it wasn’t legally binding. They also estimated that it would cost about $3 billion to get garment factories across Bangladesh up to safety standards.


Indian Hotel Collapses

At least 17 people died when the two-story City Light Hotel and Bakery collapsed July 8. One person may still be trapped in the hotel in Secunderabad. And this wasn’t the first deadly building collapse in India this year. In early July a garment factory in Bhiwandi was reduced to rubble, killing 6 and injuring 28. Another 20 perished in June in two separate collapses.

Vadim Ghirda/AP

Renewed Unrest After Gezi Park Reopens

Violence erupted July 8 in Gezi Park, the site of last month’s anti-government protests in Turkey. The park had been closed for weeks to quell the unrest, but as soon as government officials opened it back up Monday, people swarmed in to demonstrate. More than 30 were detained, and scores more were injured in clashes with police, who used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Trouble in California Prisons

New reports revealed in early July that roughly 150 female inmates in the California prison system were sterilized against their will. Some claim that doctors coerced them into the procedure—even while they were in labor. Others were sterilized without their knowledge. The California department of correctional health has acknowledged that some of the surgeries weren’t medically necessary and were, therefore, against the law. Meanwhile, 30,000 prisoners across the state began a hunger strike July 8 to protest indefinite solitary confinement of inmates who have ties to prison gangs. Some prisoners in California have spent decades cramped in small cells, usually by themselves, for 23 hours a day. A smaller group tried hunger striking in 2011 to protest prison conditions, but those efforts were unsuccessful.

Joe Raedle/Getty

Judge Won’t Intervene in Guantánamo Hunger Strike

A federal judge ruled July 8 that she didn’t have the authority to stop the force-feeding of inmates on a hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay. In her ruling, District Judge Gladys Kessler did say that the force-feeding likely violates international law and medical-ethics standards. She also noted that President Obama could stop the practice, which uses a nasogastric tube to pump liquid nutrients into the prisoners’ stomachs. Kessler added that her hands were tied by previous rulings that robbed her court of jurisdiction.


Baghdad Car Bombings Continue

The U.S.-led occupation of Iraq may have wound down, but violence still wracks the Middle Eastern country. Fifteen people were killed and 32 were wounded July 5 when a car bomb exploded near a Shia religious hall in Baghdad. Eight other people across the country died that day in bomb attacks targeting town squares. So far this month more than 150 people—mostly Shias—have been killed in Iraq.

Ricardo Rojas/Reuters

Tropical Storm Chantal Threatens Hispaniola

Hurricane season got off to an early start as Tropical Storm Chantal began making its way toward the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba. The storm appeared to be losing steam thanks to a strong vertical wind shear that reached speeds of 35 mph. Meteorologists expected heavy rain to douse countries in its path, but forecasted relatively minor winds. The storm will likely reach south Florida on July 12.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada/Reuters

Police Investigate Quebec Train Crash

A freight train carrying dozens of crude oil tankers derailed and crashed into a small Quebec town July 6, igniting a massive blaze that killed at least 15 and leveled 30 buildings. Some 60 people were still missing as of Wednesday as rescuers battled the blaze and pools of oil to search for survivors. Canadian authorities are examining whether the accident in Lac-Mégantic was the result of tampering and have focused on whether the brakes were improperly disabled before the crash. Two thousand residents—about a third of the town’s population—were forced to evacuate their homes because of the oil spill.

Samantha Sais/Reuters

Defense Contractors Specified in Immigration Bill

Immigration reform has been winding its way through Congress for months now. The Senate passed a comprehensive bill by a wide majority that if enacted would be a tremendous financial boon to defense contractors. The legislation would require the purchase of specific helicopter and radar equipment to deploy along the U.S.-Mexican border, funneling tens of millions of dollars to companies like Northrop Grumman, Sikorsky, and American Eurocopter. Critics have decried the measure, saying it circumvented the traditional competitive bidding process companies normally must go through for government contracts.