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    UNREST

    Diplomats Call Syria Vote a Sham

    Rodrigo Abd / AP Photo

    The Syrian city of Homs remains under fire Monday by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, even as the government tallies votes on a constitutional referendum that Western leaders have dismissed as a sham. Dozens reportedly died Sunday during voting as Assad’s forces continue to counter nearly a year of unrest with violence. The referendum, if successful, would include some reforms, but may also guarantee nearly 16 more years of rule for the controversial Syrian leader. The Red Cross, which has been attempting unsuccessfully to negotiate a temporary ceasefire, is trying again Monday to find a way into the embattled city. Meanwhile, as Western leaders continued to look for ways to pressure Assad, the official Chinese state newspaper struck out against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s critique of the country’s position on Syria, calling Clinton’s remarks “super arrogant.”