Top news: With casualties mounting in Syria's civil war and consistent reports of a major chemical weapons attack in Syria, President Obama huddled with his military advisers over the weekend to consider military options for how to respond to the Syrian crisis.
Obama has made no decision thus far on the use of force in Syria, but statements by senior administration officials took on a surprisingly hard tone -- especially for a White House that has fought tooth and nail to avoid getting dragged into yet another war in the Middle East. U.S. military planners have now updated their contingencies for a Syrian intervention, and U.S. warships in the Mediterranean are stationed, ready to carry out a strike using, for example, long-range cruise missiles. While Obama mulls over a strike, U.S. officials say they plan to take their case to the U.N., though they emphasize that there are other legal routes they may use in order to secure legal backing for military action.
Amid intense international pressure on the heels of a chemical weapons strike that may have killed over 1,000 people, the Syrian government gave the green light to a U.N. inspection team to examine the scene of the attack. But while en route on Monday, the inspectors came under sniper fire and had to return to a government checkpoint to replace one of their vehicles.
Meanwhile, the Syrian government firmly warned against any Western military action to halt the bloodshed there. "The chaos and the ball of fire and flames will consume not only Syria but the entire Middle East," Omran al-Zoubi, the country's information minister, said.
Snowden: The German magazine Der Spiegel revealed, citing documents provided by Edward Snowden, that the National Security Agency has carried out extensive surveillance at the United Nations, including tapping into its video conferencing system and the EU diplomatic mission.
- Chinese prosecutors demanded a stiff sentence for disgraced Communist Party official Bo Xilai as his trial on corruption charges wrapped up in the city of Jinan.
- While on a trip to Islamabad, Afghan President Hamid Karzai stressed the need for Pakistan to help facilitate peace talks with the Taliban.
- Charles Xue, a prominent Chinese-American businessman and commentator with a large following on Weibo, was arrested in Beijing on prostitution charges, the latest arrest in a crack-down on social media activism.
- Iraqi insurgents killed 46 people in a variety of attacks around the country, which has become embroiled in violence not since seen 2008.
- Isreali forces shot and killed three Palestinians during a raid on a refugee camp.
- CIA files uncovered by Foreign Policy prove that the agency provided targeting information to Saddam Hussein in his use of chemical weapons against Iran.
- Alexey Navalny, the embattled anti-corruption activist and Moscow mayoral candidate, was briefly detained by police after staging a rally.
- The Greek finance minister said his country may need another bailout package totalling as much as $13.4 billion.
- Far-right activists staged anti-Roma protests across the Czech Republic.
- The Colombian government and the FARC rebel movement are set to resume peace talks in Havana after they were briefly suspended when President Juan Manuel Santos floated a proposal to put any peace deal before a public referendum.
- A federal appeals court handed a group of hedge funds a significant victory in their battle with Argentina over recouping defaulted bond investments, in a ruling that could have important consequences for international bond markets.
- A widespread farmers strike in Colombia is raising the prospect of shortages in the capital, Bogota.
- Congolese troops and M23 rebel forces both sustained heavy casualties as fighting in eastern Congo just north of Goma escalated.
- The United Nations opened an investigation into reports that its peacekeepers had been involved in the killing of two protesters in Goma.
- Islamist militants affiliated with Boko Haram are suspected to have killed 35 people in a raid in north eastern Nigeria.