Top news: According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 300 people were killed across Syria on Wednesday in one of the bloodiest days of the 18-month conflict, which the Observatory says has claimed 30,000 lives so far. The grim report comes as the U.N.'s refugee agency estimates that as many as 700,000 people could flee Syria by the end of the year -- nearly four times its previous forecast.
As the violence escalates in Syria, world leaders have been debating how to respond to the crisis at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. A day after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the conflict, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy characterized the fighting as the "tragedy of the age" and Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi called for "peaceful change and transfer of power through ballot boxes."
Early on Wednesday, a pair of car bombs at Syria's army headquarters in Damascus -- and ensuing gun battles in the capital -- killed at least five people, including an Iranian television correspondent.
Myanmar sanctions: During a meeting with Myanmar's President U Thein Sein in New York on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the United States will ease a ban on imports from Myanmar as part of a larger scaling back of sanctions in response to the country's reforms. The action comes as Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi tours the United States.
- Mexico's navy announced the capture of a top Zetas drug trafficker known as "El Taliban."
- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that an al Qaeda affiliate in North Africa played a role in the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
- Clashes between the military and a criminal gang in southwestern Mexico left 11 people dead.
- The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan struck a border security deal that will restart oil exports.
- Court papers indicate that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is planning to hold elections in March 2013.
- The South African politician Julius Malema appeared in court to face a money-laundering charge.
- The Spanish government prepared to unveil new austerity measures amid anti-austerity protests.
- Germany's Justice Ministry distributed a proposal for regulating circumcisions.
- The U.K. economy contracted by less than expected in the second quarter.
- New Zealand's prime minister apologized to Kim Dotcom following revelations that the government illegally spied on the Megaupload founder.
- Chinese artist Ai Weiwei lost another effort to challenge a tax evasion fine in court.
- Japan's main opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party, selected Shinzo Abe as its new leader.
- Iranian authorities jailed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's top press aide for publishing offensive material while the Iranian president was away in New York.
- A court in Bahrain sentenced activist Zainab al-Khawaja to two months in prison.
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Western powers of nuclear "intimidation."