Crossing the Jordanian border into Syria’s fertile plains takes the visitor from Western influence and relative affluence into a tense world of political autocracy; a country resolutely rejecting US threats and facing east towards its preferred international partners, Russia and China. Cars are old and battered, lorries and buses are reminiscent of rural India and Sri Lanka - although one rusty bus reached out tentatively to the English-speaking world with 'Good Gorney' painted in elegant italics down its side. Like so many countries in the Holy Land, Syria’s current economic position is inextricably caught up with regional events... [CONTINUED]
In today's bulletin:
Cameron denies claims of 40,000 public sector job cuts
Cadbury tests public support with Cocoa House chain
Have the politicians got it wrong on paternity leave?
Editor's blog: Let's hear it for middle managers
A Traveller's Tale: Syria's uncertain future