Trending In Our News Feeds – Syria disappears from the Internet. Google and Umbrella Security Labs, an Internet security company, both reported Syria had effectively disappeared from the Internet as of 2:45 p.m. EDT on Tuesday. Experts feared President Assad was secretly conducting atrocities against his people when he cut off the Syrian Internet for three days in November, but it now appears his regime uses this tactic to disrupt communication between rebels.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters late last night that he and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have agreed to host an international conference before the end of May to find a resolution on the Syrian conflict. The two leaders will use the Geneva Communiqué as a roadmap towards peace, a six-point plan created by world powers last June. It remains to be seen if the conference will lead to meaningful change. Al Jazeera’s James Bays reports that Kerry and Lavrov could not agree on the fate of Bashar al-Assad.
Obama stands strong against North Korea. President Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye have agreed to present firm opposition to any future blustering from North Korea. At a news conference yesterday, Obama said, “The days when North Korea could create a crisis and elicit concessions, those days are over.” Obama said there are no signs that North Korea is becoming more peaceful. Pyongyang’s new propaganda video supports that claim. The video features demonstrations of North Korean military strength and aggressively pushes the country’s new “byungjin” policy. Byungjin, which translates to “progress in tandem,” promotes the joint development of North Korea’s economy and nuclear program.
In other North Korean news, Dennis Rodman’s friendship with Kim Jong-un finally paid off. The Worm asked Kim to “do me a solid” and release Kenneth Bae, the American citizen who was sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp.
Pakistani prime minister candidate injured ahead of election. Pakistani prime minister candidate Imran Khan suffered head and back injuries when he fell from a forklift at a campaign rally yesterday. Supporters rushed Khan to a nearby hospital where he spoke with TV reporters after being treated for his wounds. The New York Times reports that the accident will give Khan a high profile in the media leading up to Saturday’s election and could bring sympathy votes to his campaign. PolicyMic’s Areej Elahi-Siddiqui describes the violence that has stained the Pakistani elections, and says Khan might be able to break the country’s tradition of corrupt politics.
Pentagon reports 26,000 cases of sexual assault. A Pentagon report released yesterday reveals approximately 6.1% of women and 1.2% of men in the military were sexually assaulted last year. The 26,000 cases recorded by the survey marks a significant jump from the 19,000 cases in the Pentagon’s 2010 study. A separate report says the military officially recorded only 3,374 of last year’s 26,000 cases. President Obama said, “The bottom line is, I have no tolerance for this. If we find out somebody’s engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.” The report comes just days after a chief sexual assault prevention officer groped a woman in a Virginia parking lot.
Chris Christie reveals lap band surgery. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told the New York Post yesterday he underwent weight loss surgery over President’s Day Weekend. He checked in to the hospital under an assumed name and told only his chief of staff about his decision. The lap band surgery will limit the amount of food Christie can eat in one sitting. While Christie claims he underwent the surgery for his family, Slate’s John Dickerson is skeptical: “The lap band surgery… takes about three years for the patient to reach his or her lowest weight. That means it will be fully paying off just before the  Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.” Not sure what lap band surgery is? The Daily Beast tells you everything you could want to know about Christie’s weight loss procedure.
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What We’re Sharing – This is why Charles Ramsey is an American hero (New Yorker).
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In this stunning photo essay, kids play volleyball over the border fence (InFocus).
This Stanford professor wants to build a machine that thinks like you (Wired).
3 bogus ways that Hollywood is curbing movie violence (Rolling Stone).
You’ll be shocked by this list of 15 celebrities who used to teach (Mental Floss).
5 famous people you won’t believe didn’t exist (Cracked).
We miss Jack Lew’s crazy old signature (Washington Post).
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