Top news: The murder trial of Gu Kailai, wife of deposed Chinese Communist Party official Bo Xilai, came to a swift conclusion on Wednesday when Gu declined to contest charges that she had poisoned Neil Heywood, a British national who had been in a financial dispute with the family.
An official statement read to journalists after the trial placed most of the blame on Gu, saying she gave Heywood a fatal dose of poison in a hotel room in Chongqing, but added that Heywood "should bear some responsibility" for having threatened Gu's son.
Gu's husband Bo, who was discharged from the party and stripped of government positions because of "discipline violations," has not yet been formally charged. Known for his heavy-handed populism, Bo was a deeply divisive figure within the party and there is speculation that he may face criminal charges so as to preclude a political comeback.
An official verdict from the Gu trial has yet to be issued.
Syria: A showdown between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo entered its second day, with both sides claiming to have made gains.
- Libya's National Transitional Council handed over power to a newly elected national assembly.
- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy fired top intelligence officials over the Sinai attack that left 16 soldiers dead.
- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy met with Iranian Vice President Hamid Baghaei on Wednesday.
- The Pakistani Supreme Court issued a contempt-of-court notice against the new prime minister.
- In the Philippines, heavy rainfall prompted a new danger alert as roughly 60 percent of Manila remains submerged in water.
- Inflation in China dipped to a 30-month low.
- African leaders failed to agree on the composition of a proposed force to tackle the insurgency in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for sanctions against Islamist rebels in northern Mali.
- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday and is expected to discuss the growing threat posed by Boko Haram.
- The British central bank lowered its growth forecast on Wednesday, projecting an overall growth rate for the year of 0.8 percent.
- Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was "deeply worried" that Britain might leave the European Union.
- Russia will attend talks Thursday in Tehran about the Syrian crisis.
- Brazil approved an affirmative action law that reserves half the seats in federal universities for students who attended state school.
- Colombian police arrested Erikson Vargas, one of the country's most notorious drug lords.
- Workers at Colombia's main coal railway continue to strike, shutting off more than half of coal exports.