Top news: While the opposition Syrian National Council met in Doha to elect a new leadership team, President Bashar al-Assad reiterated his intent to fight to the end, telling Russia Today, "I am tougher than Gaddafi." He also dismissed the idea of foreign intervention and warned that outside meddling would have a "domino effect that will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific."
In Doha, the Syrian opposition elected a new decision-making group on Thursday, but immediately came under fire for excluding women. The U.S.-backed proceedings were intended to broaden the Syrian opposition's leadership, but they have so far been hamstrung by infighting by rival opposition groups.
Meanwhile, a mortar round fired from Syria landed in an Israeli village in the Golan Heights, heightening fears that Israel will be dragged into the conflict. The Jewish state has already asked the U.N. Security Council to take action after Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights on Saturday. "This is a Syrian issue that could become our issue," said an Israeli military spokesman. Turkey also plans to ask NATO to deploy Patriot missiles along its border with Syria in an effort to keep violence from spilling over.
China: President Hu Jintao, leader of the Chinese Communist Party, spoke at the opening of the party's congress in Beijing, thus beginning the country's decennial leadership transition. Xi Jinping is expected to replace Hu as the party's next paramount leader, but the other new members of the Politburo's Standing Committee have yet to be officially unveiled.
- The U.N. Security Council extended the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia for an additional four months.
- A four-story department store collapsed in Accra, the capital of Ghana, killing four and trapping others in the rubble.
- Rebels in Sudan's South Kordofan state claimed to have shot down a government Antonov bomber on Thursday.
- A Libyan court ordered the questioning of Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the former leader of the National Transitional Council, over the murder of a rebel commander.
- The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court urged Libya not to grant amnesty for war crimes committed during last year's uprising.
- Bahrain revoked the citizenship of 31 men on national security grounds.
- Three Tibetan monks and one woman set themselves ablaze on Wednesday to protest Chinese rule in Tibet.
- Twenty-three people were rescued after an overcrowded boat capsized off the coast of Bangladesh, but 50 people remain missing.
- Four Afghan police officers were jailed on rape charges.
- Greece's parliament passed a fresh round of austerity measures amid growing unrest.
- French President Francois Hollande and his cabinet backed legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage and allow adoption by gay couples.
- The European Commission cut its growth forecast for the eurozone to 0.1 percent for next year.
- A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit off the Pacific coast of Guatemala, killing at least 39 people.
- Puerto Ricans approved a non-binding referendum requesting to become a full U.S. state.
- A court in Argentina ordered $19 billion of Chevron's assets frozen over an environmental damages claim in Ecuador.
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