Top stories from the global news aggregation service DAWNS Digest

South Africa Sending Troops to Central African Republic

South Africa is sending 400 troops to support the Central African Republic’s army fend off rebel forces. Meanwhile, talks between the rebels and government are scheduled for Tuesday. “The South African National Defense Force troops will ‘assist with capacity building of the CAR Defense Force and will also assist CAR with the planning and implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and re-integration processes” to deal with the country’s rebels, said Zuma’s statement. The rebels had pledged to halt their advance pending peace talks in Gabon that are due to start Tuesday. However, residents say rebels seized two more towns over the weekend, though they are not en route to the capital. (Yahoo! http://yhoo.it/Se4C51)

Assad Unveils Peace Plan, Opponents Critical

In his first major speech in six months, Assad offered a cynically defiant peace plan: “Although the speech was billed as the unveiling of a new peace plan, Assad offered no concessions and even appeared to harden many of his positions. He rallied Syrians for ‘a war to defend the nation’ and disparaged the prospect of negotiations. ‘We do not reject political dialogue … but with whom should we hold a dialogue? With extremists who don’t believe in any language but killing and terrorism?’ Assad asked supporters who packed Damascus Opera House for his first speech since June. (AlertNet http://bit.ly/WlvOtr)

India-Pakistan Border Skirmish Leaves One Soldier Dead

Even though the relationship between the old adversaries has been improving of late, a gunfight between Indian and Pakistani soldiers left one Pakistani soldier dead and another injured. “The Pakistani army said Indian troops had raided their Sawan Patra checkpost in Kashmir, a hotly contested area both countries claim as their own. The Indian military denied its soldiers had attacked a Pakistani position. ‘Pakistan army troops effectively responded and repulsed the attack,’ a Pakistani army spokesman said in a statement. The two sides then exchanged fire across the Line of Control, an internationally recognised line in Kashmir patrolled by troops from both countries, he said.” (AlertNet http://bit.ly/Se7uPB)