Syrian Conflict — Activists allege more than 6,000 people died in Syria in March, making it the deadliest month since protests against President Bashar al-Assad erupted two years ago, notes the BBC. Last month, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights recorded 6,005 deaths, a third of which were civilian casualties. The U.N. estimates that up to 70,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict so far.
Sudan’s Political Prisoners — Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has ordered the release of all political prisoners in the tightly-controlled east African country, reports Reuters. Rights groups and the opposition have accused Khartoum of detaining an unspecified number of dissidents who protested Bashir’s austerity measures last year. The president, in office since 1989, did not specify when and how many prisoners would be freed.
Venezuela’s Interim President — Venezuela’s interim President Nicolas Maduro has pledged to clamp down on growing crime in the South American country, according to the Los Angeles Times. Violent crime has quadrupled in Venezuela since 1999, and is a top concern among voters, prompting Maduro to announce an anti-crime initiative called “Movement for Peace and Life.” The 50-year-old former bus driver and socialist union leader is expected to beat Governor Henrique Capriles of Miranda state in the upcoming April 14 election. The winner will fill out the late Hugo Chávez’s six-year term.
Gaza Education — Hamas has proposed a new law that would see Palestinian boys and girls educated at separate schools, reports the Independent. Although most older children are already educated in single-sex schools, Hamas has decided that children aged over nine years old should be educated separately. The announcement reinforces Hamas’ commitment to ruling Gaza in a way consistent with its interpretation of Islam, notes the Independent. Last month, the United Nations announced it would cancel the annual Gaza marathon after Hamas said women would not be allowed to take part. Education is a sensitive issue in the Middle East, notes the British daily, with Israelis and Palestinians accusing each other of teaching distorted versions of history and geography.
Greece’s Far-Right — Greece’s burgeoning far-right Golden Dawn party is planning to expand abroad, reports the Guardian. Successive polls have shown that the party, which has been linked to a rise in attacks on immigrants, is Greece’s fastest-growing political force. Last month it emerged that Golden Dawn, profiled in TIME last November, had opened an office in Germany and is planning branches in Australia. It is hoping to tap into the sense of frustration felt by Greeks living abroad in the three years since the debt-stricken nation was plunged into crisis, writes the Guardian. But the campaign has been met with derision by many prominent members of the Greek diaspora, writes the daily.
Eurozone Joblessness — Unemployment in the 17 European Union countries using the euro has hit 12% — the highest rate since the currency was introduced in 1999, reports the AP. Over the month of February, a net 33,000 people in the Eurozone became unemployed, taking the total to 19.07 million, according to figures from the statistics agency Eurostat. Spain and Greece continued to suffer from unemployment rates above 26%, and many other countries saw their numbers increase to worrying levels. The figures came before the recent crisis in Cyprus, which has reignited fears over the future of the euro, notes the AP. And on Tuesday, Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades appointed a panel of three former supreme court judges to investigate how the country nearly ended up bankrupt.