Syrian soldiers stand in the main square of the western city of Qusair. Government troops recaptured the town on Wednesday after rebels had held it for more than a year. It's seen as a significant victory for President Bashar Assad's government.
Qusair is a sleepy farming town not far from my hometown. I passed through it many times as a child and never imagined it would one day make international headlines as the focal point of Syria's civil war.
I wish it had remained a quiet place defined by the many agricultural fields of wheat and barley, along with apricot and apple trees, all of them well-watered by the Orontes River.
Less than 10 miles from the Lebanese border, Qusair was a mixed town of Christians, Sunnis and Shiites. Not anymore.
Firefighters have pulled a 14th survivor from the rubble of a building that collapsed Wednesday in Philadelphia, and from an adjacent store that was heavily damaged. According to The Associated Press, rescuers found a woman late Wednesday and she was taken to a nearby hospital. Deputy Fire Chief Robert Coyne said early Thursday that 61-year-old Myra Plekam was pulled from the debris more than 12 hours after a building collapsed and that she was awake and talking to rescuers.
For Percival Zhang, growing up in China meant learning to appreciate just how critical a stable food supply is to avoiding social unrest and disasters like famine.
When he became an associate professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech, he got to thinking just how risky growing food has become because of the finite resources it requires: land, water, seeds and fertilizer.
Plenty of other plants on Earth, on the other hand, aren't so demanding.