Top news: The Syrian government has fired several short-range ballistic missiles at rebel forces in recent days, unnamed U.S. officials said Wednesday. U.S. military satellites were reportedly able to pick up the infrared signature of the missiles -- most likely North Korean-made Scuds -- which were fired into northern Syria from the capital. Without confirming the reports, White House spokesman Jay Carney called the development a "completely disproportionate military escalation."
Last week, NATO agreed to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems on the Turkish border in what was thought to be a largely symbolic gesture, but the use of longer-range weapons by Syrian forces will likely hasten preparations to get the batteries in place. In the next few days, CNN reports, the White House is expected to determine the number of Patriot systems and personnel to be sent to Turkey.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that Syrian forces have prepared chemical weapons so that they could be used at a "moment's notice." In August, President Obama warned that the movement or use of chemical weapons would be a "red line" for the United States, but the administration has since softened its position, saying that by "movement" the president meant "proliferation."
Egypt: The opposition National Salvation Front announced Wednesday that it will campaign for a "no" vote in the constitutional referendum, scheduled to take place over the next two Saturdays. The announcement reverses a previous decision to boycott the referendum.
- An Egyptian court sentenced blogger Alber Saber to three years in prison for blasphemy.
- Four police officers were killed in a bombing in Benghazi.
- Clashes broke out in the West Bank city of Hebron after a Palestinian teenager with a fake gun was shot and killed by Israeli troops.
- South Africa launched a fresh investigation into the plane crash that killed Mozambican President Samora Machel in 1986.
- Former South African President Nelson Mandela is reportedly responding positively to treatment for a lung infection.
- The speaker of Nigeria's House of Representatives threatened to arrest the head of the country's central bank over $8 billion that is reportedly owed to the treasury.
- Almost 70 percent of Pakistani lawmakers and ministers did not file tax returns in 2011, according to a new report.
- A Chinese court sentenced three ethnic Uighurs to death for attempting to bomb a commercial airliner in June.
- The U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea's ballistic missile launch as a "clear violation" of Security Council resolutions.
- Bosnian Serb former general Zdravko Tolimir was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
- French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Wednesday that France is not ready to arm the Syrian rebels.
- Thousands of Hungarian students rallied in Budapest to protest higher education spending cuts.
- Guatemalan authorities deported software tycoon John McAfee to the United States.
- Lawmakers in Honduras voted to oust four Supreme Court judges after they struck down a law designed to fight police corruption.
- Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday that Hugo Chavez faces a "complex and difficult" recovery from cancer surgery.