Top news: As U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the crisis in Syria, activists say Syrian government forces are clashing with rebel fighters in Damascus for a third straight day, with reports of the Syrian military employing helicopter gunships in what Reuters calls "the fiercest fighting to hit Syria's seat of power since the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began 17 months ago."
Russia has resisted an effort by Western powers to pass a U.N. resolution that would impose tough sanctions on Syria if Assad's government fails to comply with Annan's peace plan. Moscow has instead drafted a resolution that would extend the U.N. observer mission in Syria, which is set to expire on Friday, without threatening sanctions. While Annan consults with Putin, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao to make the case for more aggressive action against Syria.
Meanwhile, Syria's former ambassador to Iraq, who recently defected, told the BBC that he would not rule out the possibility of Assad using chemical weapons against the opposition.
Clinton in Israel: During her first visit to Israel in nearly two years, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restart peace talks, stressed the importance of Israel's peace treaty with Egypt, and declared that the United States will use "all elements of American power" to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
- The U.S. ambassador to India reportedly promised an investigation after a U.S. Navy ship in the Persian Gulf fired on a fishing boat, killing an Indian fisherman.
- Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was transferred from a military hospital to prison.
- Doctors are struggling to save the life of an Israeli man who self-immolated at a protest for social justice.
- North Korea appointed a new vice marshal after the country's military chief was dismissed.
- Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Tokyo for Japan's largest anti-nuclear rally since last year's Fukushima disaster.
- Gunmen injured a U.N. doctor who was administering polio vaccines in the Pakistani city of Karachi.
- Hungary is investigating whether a Nazi war criminal has been living in Budapest.
- Tunisia's president is visiting France in an effort to rebuild relations with the country's former colonial ruler.
- Spain's economy minister warned that European debt markets aren't functioning properly.
- The International Monetary Fund slashed its 2013 global growth forecast to 3.9 percent.
- A U.S. Senate report suggests that the British bank HSBC was used for money laundering around the world.
- The FBI launched an investigation after needles were discovered in sandwiches served on U.S.-bound Delta Air Lines flights.
- Nigerian authorities have begun dismantling slum dwellings in Lagos.
- The United Nations warned that 2.5 million people in Somalia are still at risk a year after famine struck parts of the country.
- Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf blamed insurgencies across Africa on drug trafficking and arms proliferation.
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