Top news: Over the weekend, as U.N. observers investigated a reported massacre in the Syrian village of Tremseh, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that the 16-month-old crisis in Syria now constitutes a civil war -- or, as the organization put it, a "non-international armed conflict."
The ruling implies that "international humanitarian law applies throughout the country," the Associated Press explains. "[H]umanitarian law grants all parties in a conflict the right to use appropriate force to achieve their aims. The Geneva-based group's assessment is an important reference for determining how much and what type of force can be used, and it can form the basis for war crimes prosecutions."
On Monday, activists reported heavy clashes between Syrian troops and rebel fighters in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Ahead of a visit to Moscow by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West of resorting to "blackmail" in an effort to persuade Russia to back a U.N. resolution involving sanctions against Syria.
North Korea: The state-run Korean Central News Agency is reporting that the politburo of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea decided to relieve North Korean military chief Ri Yong Yo of his duties because of "illness" during a meeting on Sunday. Ri was once seen as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's mentor, and analysts are greeting the explanation for the dismissal with skepticism.
- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is visiting Israel after meeting with Egypt's president and military chief, who remain locked in a political standoff.
- The president of Libya's Olympic committee was reportedly kidnapped in Tripoli.
- Palestinian families from Gaza are visiting imprisoned relatives in Israel for the first time in five years.
- Evacuees began returning to their homes after flooding that killed at least 27 people in Japan.
- A suicide attacker killed an Afghan lawmaker and 2o others in northern Afghanistan.
- Japan temporarily recalled its ambassador to China over a territorial dispute in the East China Sea.
- The African Union elected Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as its first female leader.
- Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo agreed "in principle" to allow an international force to combat rebels in eastern Congo.
- A car bomb in Somalia's capital reportedly killed a member of parliament.
- Germany's Constitutional Court announced that it will not rule on a new eurozone bailout fund until September.
- Athletes have begun arriving in London for the Olympic Games.
- A series of tornadoes hit northern and western Poland.
- Mexican police arrested the American fugitive Vincent Legrend Walters in Cancun.
- More than a million Brazilian Christians held a "March for Jesus" rally in Sao Paulo.
- Cuba's Health Ministry reported that it had contained a cholera outbreak.
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