A Syrian man helps carry the coffin of a relative as the funeral procession leaves the Othman mosque in Damascus on March 18, 2012 where the funeral service for some 27 people who were killed in two bomb blasts the previous day took place.
James Harkin is a London-based writer. His latest book is Niche: Why the Market No Longer Favours the Mainstream.
On a Monday in late February, I received a Facebook message from a Syrian activist notifying me that a demonstration was due to start in half an hour in a heavily guarded section of Damascus. The occasion was a funeral, and so the protest was likely to be large. "Two of the five martyrs are children, and funeral processions for children are always big," the message explained.
As the Census Bureau was reporting earlier this morning about a 1.3 percent gain in orders for manufactured goods in February from the month before, automakers were saying that March was perhaps their best month in almost four years, The Associated Press says:
In Britain, scandal has plagued the Murdoch family and its News Corp. media conglomerate. And today, another blow. Under pressure, Rupert Murdoch's son, James Murdoch, is stepping down as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting, also known as BSkyB. This occurs against the backdrop, of course, of the phone hacking and police bribery scandal that has focused heavily on two Murdoch tabloid newspapers. NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik has been covering all of this and he joins us now to sort this out. Good morning, David.