Top news: Syrian opposition activists claimed that the government attacked a pro-rebel Damascus suburb with chemical weapons, killing several hundred people. If the attack is confirmed and its scale matches opposition claims, it would be one of the worst chemical weapons attacks ever.
Estimates of the death toll varied on Wednesday, but one opposition group put the total number of deceased at 755. Videos uploaded to the Internet and purporting to show the scene of the attack in Ghouta, depict gruesome scenes, including infants struggling for breath and neatly lined rows of corpses. "Many of the casualties are women and children. They arrived with their pupils dilated, cold limbs and foam in their mouths. The doctors say these are typical symptoms of nerve gas victims," Bayan Baker, a nurse in Douma, told Reuters.
The attack comes as U.N. inspectors have arrived in Syria to inspect previous allegations of chemical weapons use. Åke Sellström, the head of the mission, said that while he had seen television footage of the attack, his team would need instructions from the U.N. Secretary General to investigate the attack. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and French President Francois Hollande have called on U.N. inspectors to be granted access to the site.
Sana, the Syrian news agency, denied the attacks took place and described allegations of renewed chemical weapons use as "an attempt to divert the U.N. chemical weapons investigation commission away from carrying out its duties."
Japan: Nuclear regulators in Japan upgraded the severity of contamination at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, where contaminated water has been seeping into the ground. Large amounts of water has been used to cool the damaged reactors at the plant, which has resulted in an enormous storage problem at the facility.
- A U.N. panel investigating human rights abuses in North Korea began public testimony from defectors, who told of gruesome conditions in the North's labor camps.
- The Pakistani military said one of its officers was killed by Indian troops firing across the Line of Control in Kashmir.
- New Zealand's legislature narrowly passed a law allowing its intelligence agency to spy on residents and citizens.
- Witnesses during the sentencing hearing for Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who killed 16 Afghan civilians in a violent rampage, described in graphic detail last year's early morning attack.
- Mexico's economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter of the year, shrinking by .7 percent compared to the previous quarter.
- Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sharply criticized Secretary of State John Kerry for clearing the four State Department employees placed on administrative leave following the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
- Israeli soldiers killed a young Palestinian man in a raid at a refugee camp in the West Bank to arrest a member of Islamic Jihad.
- An Egyptian court is set to rule today on whether to release ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak from jail.
- Car bombings across three cities in southern Iraq left 10 people dead.
- British Prime Minsiter David Cameron orchestrated an attempt to stop the Guardian newspaper from reporting on intelligence revelations provided by Edward Snowden.
- The European Commission said that it would slap the Faroe Islands with sanctions for upping its herring quota without authorization.
- Talk of another Greek bailout is intensifying after Olli Rehn, the EU economic commissioner, declined to rule out that Greece would need yet another aid package.
- South African police arrested six men thought to be part of a child pornography ring.
- Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai plans to boycott the inauguration of Robert Mugabe.
- An opposition party youth activist in Ghana will appeal the death sentence issued him.