World Wrap

U.N. team takes samples from Syria gas victims

Western powers consider military strikes on Syria, jury to decide Fort Hood shooter’s fate, and a German paper reports more U.S. spying. Today is Monday, August 26, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

United Nations (U.N.) vehicles transport a team of U.N. chemical weapons experts to the scene of a reported poison gas attack outside the Syrian capital last week, in Damascus, August 26, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

U.N. team on the scene of reported chemical attack – five days later. Chemical weapons inspectors drove through sniper fire on Monday to collect samples from victims of last week’s apparent poison gas attack in Syria. The team on Sunday received permission from the Syrian government to enter the site, but the U.S. said evidence was likely to have been destroyed already by shelling. However, the U.N.’s findings could be pivotal in determining whether international forces take military action against Syria:

With Western powers considering military strikes, despite vocal opposition from Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies, any evidence to support rebel claims that government forces fired gas-laden rockets five days ago that killed hundreds of civilians will be a key element in arguments for peace or war… With speculation mounting that NATO powers might fire cruise missiles to satisfy calls for action to protect Syrian civilians, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said any operation would be coordinated with allies… “The United States is looking at all options regarding the situation in Syria. We’re working with our allies and the international community,” Hagel told a news conference. “We are analyzing the intelligence. And we will get the facts. And if there is any action taken, it will be in concert with the international community and within the framework of legal justification.”

A diplomat from the U.S. State Department is scheduled to meet with a Russian delegation in The Hague next week to discuss plans for a Syria peace conference that was proposed months ago. Russia has backed Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s claim that his government did not carry out gas attacks, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today warned Western powers against using military force, adding that Russia has “no plans to go to war with anyone.” A Reuters/Ipsos poll also found 60 percent of U.S. citizens opposed to U.S. intervention in Syria.

Obama dawdles as clock ticks in Syria

Time running out for chemical weapons inspection in Syria, Egyptian general’s U.S. days revealed, and Fukushima suffers from a quick fix. Today is Friday, August 23, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @clarerrrr.

Over the line?

A youth, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, is treated at a hospital in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus, August 21, 2013.  REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

Obama’s red squiggle. Muddling his own red line, Obama called the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria a “big event of grave concern,” but said he would not “mire” Americans in a costly war. Meanwhile, time is running out to investigate the alleged gas attack before chemicals begin to degrade. Activists have said they are trying to get tissue samples to the U.N. inspectors in Syria, however proving that the samples are not tampered with could be difficult.

Leaders demand Syria allow U.N. to investigate into alleged chemical attack

Western leaders call for an investigation into Syria’s alleged chemical attack, Bo Xilai gets feisty, and Mubarak leaves prison via helicopter. Today is Thursday, August 22, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.

A Free Syrian Army fighter holds a gas mask as he sits inside a house in the besieged area of Homs, August 22, 2013. REUTERS/Yazan Homsy

World reacts to Syria deaths. A day after an alleged chemical attack killed hundreds of Syria in what would be the world’s worst chemical attack in decades, Western leaders called for Syria to allow United Nations chemical weapons inspectors to access affected sites:

Syrian opposition reports hundreds killed in chemical weapons attack

Possible chemical attack kills hundreds in Syria, Japan’s nuclear crisis escalates to worst in years, and Egyptian court orders Mubarak’s release from jail. Today is Wednesday, August 21, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

A man sits in a hospital near two children who activists say were affected by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus, August 21, 2013.  REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

Chemical massacre? Syrian opposition activists accused President Bashar al-Assad’s government of killing up to 1,300 people in an early-morning bombardment of rockets and chemical agents. If confirmed, the attack would constitute the worst use of chemical weapons in Syria’s conflict so far:

Egypt detains Muslim Brotherhood leader

Brotherhood leader jailed, defectors share horrifying stories from North Korean prison camps, and the British government smashes the Guardian’s computers. Today is Tuesday, August 20, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie sits at a police station after security forces arrested him in Cairo in this handout picture dated August 20, 2013. REUTERS/The Interior Ministry/Handout via Reuters

Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader whisked off to prison. Egypt’s military-backed interim government detained the Muslim Brotherhood’s leader on Tuesday morning, in the midst of Egypt’s bloodiest week since former President Mohamed Mursi’s ouster on July 3:

Mubarak could be freed by end of the week

Egyptian court drops bombshell on country in turmoil, Kim Jong-un tries Mr. Nice Guy routine, and Britain sends warships to Gibraltar amid fishing controversy. Today is Monday, August 19, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sits inside a cage in a courtroom at the police academy in Cairo, April 13, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

Add Mubarak to the mix. Deposed President Hosni Mubarak will be released from prison this week, according to the former leader’s attorney. Mubarak, ousted in Egypt’s 2011 uprising, was cleared on Monday of a corruption charge. The news follows wave of violence that left at least 850 dead after a military crackdown last week:

Egypt on the brink as protests turn violent again

The U.S. walks a tightrope over Egypt, car bomb strikes Hezbollah stronghold, and proxy war riles Iran’s Arab minority. Today is Friday, August 16 – the one-year anniversary of South Africa’s mine killings – and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @clarerrrr.

"We will bring Sisi to the ground."

A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shouts slogans in Cairo, August 16, 2013.  REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Friday rage day. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called for a “Day of Rage” on Friday following this week’s deadly crackdown by security forces. The protests and subsequent army response soon turned violent, with at least sixteen people reported dead.

Egypt’s state of emergency recalls Mubarak era

Islamists storm building in Cairo, Iraq security slips, and war shrine visit enrages Japan’s neighbors. Today is Thursday, August 15, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @clarerrrr.

Feeling the fury.

Riot police and army personnel take their positions during clashes with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi around the area of Rabaa Adawiya square, where they are camping, in Cairo, August 14, 2013.  REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Egypt emergency. Clashes in Egypt between security forces and pro-Mursi supporters escalated into violence across the country that killed hundreds yesterday:

Egypt declares state of emergency after government crackdown

Egypt imposes curfew after deadly day, anarchists gain favor in Athens, and Japan plans tricky nuclear cleanup. Today is Wednesday, August 14, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @clarerrrr.

Cairo chaos.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi flee from tear gas and rubber bullets fired by riot police during clashes, on a bridge leading to Rabba el Adwia Square where they are camping, in Cairo, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt’s bloodiest day. Despite years of unrest which saw the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak and his democratically-elected successor Mohamed Mursi, today marked Egypt’s deadliest day in decades. Egypt declared a state of emergency and a curfew across several provinces, including in the cities of Cairo and Alexandria, following clashes between government forces and Mursi supporters.

Kerry’s Latin America trip overshadowed by spying allegations

Kerry seeks to smooth things over in Colombia, kidnapping spells trouble in Afghanistan, and clashes erupt in Cairo. Today is Monday, August 13, the day Fidel Castro turns 87 out of the public eye. Here’s the World Wrap, brought to you by @clarerrrr.

 Handle with care.

Colombia’s Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon (L) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a visit to the anti-narcotics department in Bogota, August 12, 2013.  REUTERS / Fredy Builes

Guerrilla war and spying on the docket. John Kerry is visiting Latin America in his first trip to Colombia and Brazil as U.S. secretary of state. Allegations of NSA spying across the region are likely to color conversations about other issues:

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