U.S. President Barack Obama's effort to win legislative backing for military strikes against Syria passed its first hurdle on Wednesday when a Senate committee voted in favor, but the narrow margin of victory showed the depth of U.S. caution.
Iran's most powerful authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the United States was using a chemical attack in Syria as a pretext to interfere in the country and warned it would suffer loss from its intervention, Mehr news agency reported on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia did not rule out approving a military operation in Syria if clear evidence showed Damascus had carried out chemical weapons attacks, but said any attack would be illegal without U.N. support.
Gunmen shot dead 16 members of the same Shi'ite family before blowing up their two neighboring homes south of the Iraqi capital overnight, police and medics said.
President Barack Obama won the backing of key figures in the U.S. Congress, including Republicans, in his call for limited U.S. strikes on Syria to punish President Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.
Russian radar detected the launch of two ballistic "objects" towards the eastern Mediterranean from the central part of the sea on Tuesday, Russian news agencies quoted the Defence Ministry as saying.
The Philippines accused China on Tuesday of violating an informal code of conduct in the South China Sea by planning new structures on a disputed shoal, as China's premier told Southeast Asian leaders Beijing was serious about peace.
President Barack Obama's efforts to persuade the U.S. Congress to back his plan to attack Syria were met with skepticism on Monday from lawmakers in his own Democratic Party who expressed concern the United States would be dragged into a new Middle East conflict.
British soldiers start testifying on Monday at a public inquiry in London into allegations that they tortured and executed Iraqis in an episode which, if confirmed by the investigation, would go down as one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq war.
Japan vowed quick, decisive action, including the use of public funds, to tackle the worsening problem of contaminated water pouring from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, as the authorities step in to help the facility's embattled operator.
Syria has asked the United Nations to prevent "any aggression" against Syria following a call over the weekend by U.S. President Barack Obama for punitive strikes against the Syrian military for last month's chemical weapons attack.
China said there should be no rush to force U.N. Security Council action against Syria until a probe by U.N. experts into suspected chemical weapons use is complete.
Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday he regretted the failure of the British parliament to support military action in Syria but that he hoped President Barack Obama would understand the need to listen to the wishes of the people.
France said on Friday it still backed action to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for an apparent poison gas attack on civilians, despite a British parliamentary vote against it.
U.N. inspectors, in Syria to determine whether forces have used chemical weapons in the civil war, will continue their investigations until Friday and plans to leave by Saturday morning, the U.N. chief said.
China has asked Philippine President Benigno Aquino to postpone a visit next week for the opening of a trade fair, Manila said on Thursday, an unprecedented snub by Beijing as relations sour over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
President Barack Obama made the case on Wednesday for a limited military strike against Syria in response to last week's chemical weapons attack even as he faced new obstacles with British allies and U.S. lawmakers that could delay any imminent action.
Britain's national security will be undermined if it fails to challenge the Syrian government over the use of chemical weapons against its own people, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is reaching out to Seoul and Washington after months of threats to try to mend his country's broken economy in a move that appears to have vindicated, for now, the policies of his South Korean counterpart.
The United States and its allies geared up for a probable military strike against Syria that could come within days and would be the most aggressive action by Western powers in the Middle Eastern nation's two-and-a-half-year civil war.
Torrential rains triggered by tropical depression Fernand killed 13 people in central Mexico on Monday before it dissipated, though the country's major oil installations were unaffected.
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