Top news: The newly formed National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces met in Cairo on Wednesday to begin the process of forming a shadow government, a step that would pave the way for additional funding and international recognition. At the same time, rebel forces inside Syria reportedly shot down a government aircraft for the second consecutive day. Also on Wednesday, a pair of car bombs detonated in a pro-Assad neighborhood killed at least 34 people.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Washington is considering a range of options to speed the departure of embattled President Bashar al-Assad. According to an anonymous administration official, several alternatives are under consideration, including directly arming rebels, deploying CIA operatives on the ground, and stationing surface-to-air missiles in Turkey. All these options have been discussed before, but according to the unnamed source quoted by the Times, rebel military success "has given this debate a new urgency, and a new focus."
Environment: This year was the ninth warmest on record, the World Meteorological Organization reported on Wednesday at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha. "It confirms the trend towards a warmer planet," WMO head Michel Jarraud told the New York Times. Records have been kept for more than 160 years.
- A resolution that would change the Palestinian Authority's U.N. observer status from "entity" to "non-member state" is expected to pass the U.N. General Assembly.
- The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization said Iran will continue to enrich uranium "with intensity."
- The constituent assembly tasked with drafting Egypt's new constitution convened to vote on a final draft of the document.
- The M23 rebels announced that they will begin to withdraw from the eastern city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Five of South Africa's nine provinces have backed Jacob Zuma to stay on as leader of the ANC, heading into the party's conference in December.
- The U.N. Security Council extended an arms embargo against armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and threatened additional measures against the M23 rebels.
- Authorities arrested two men suspected of beheading a teenage girl in the Kunduz province of Afghanistan.
- A new report detailed how political interference thwarted efforts to investigate the collapse of the Kabul Bank in 2010.
- Security forces clashed with students at Jaffna University in northern Sri Lanka.
- A U.N. tribunal cleared Kosovo's former prime minister of war crimes committed in the late 1990s.
- Russia reported a 12 percent increase in HIV cases since last year.
- The European Commission approved Spain's plan to restructure four recently nationalized banks.
- The trial of 68 former Argentine officials accused of crimes in the so-called "Dirty War" (1976-1983) began on Wednesday.
- Colombia withdrew from the Bogota Pact, which binds it to the International Criminal Court, after the court ruled in favor of Nicaragua in a territorial dispute.
- The Environmental Protection Agency announced that BP has been temporary suspended from bidding on new contracts in the United States.