Top news: Fighting in Syria intensified on Tuesday as the government of Bashar al-Assad pounded the southern suburbs of Damascus with artillery fire in an effort to control the vital airport road. Heavy fighting in the last five days has forced the United Nations and European Union to scale back their aid operations in Syria, raising additional concerns about food insecurity. To date, eight U.N. workers have been killed in the conflict, which has claimed some 40,000 lives.
Meanwhile, reports that the Syrian government has begun moving its chemical weapons stockpile prompted warnings from President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen that the use of such weapons would carry consequences. "The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable," Obama said Monday in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington.
NATO is expected to endorse a plan to deploy Patriot missiles along the Turkish border later this week.
Egypt: President Mohamed Morsy plans to move ahead with a constitutional referendum on December 15 now that the country's Supreme Judicial Council has agreed to supervise the balloting. In response, members of the opposition called for mass protests today in Cairo.
- Israel vowed to move forward with its new settlement plan despite international criticism.
- Severe human rights violations occurred in Yemen's Abyan region during the 2011 and 2012 conflict with al Qaeda militants, according to a new report.
- Iran said it captured a U.S. intelligence drone, a claim the U.S. Navy denies.
- In the last three months, 164 people have died of yellow fever in the Darfur region of Sudan, according to the World Health Organization.
- Congolese troops returned to Goma on Monday following the withdrawal of M23 rebels.
- Sierra Leone's main opposition party conceded defeat to incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma.
- India announced that it is prepared to deploy naval vessels to the South China Sea if necessary.
- Eight Burmese protesters appeared in court on charges of incitement after demonstrating outside a copper mine.
- A shipyard accident in Singapore left 89 workers injured.
- Police in the Netherlands raided a Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) meeting on Monday and detained 55 people.
- President Obama called on Russia to renew the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
- A bomb exploded at the office of a far-right Greek political party on Tuesday.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will travel to Brazil for a regional summit this week even though he is currently receiving cancer-related medical treatment in Cuba.
- Peru appealed to the International Court of Justice to settle a maritime border dispute with Chile.
- Two Mexican men were indicted in Los Angeles for the killing of U.S. Coast Guard officer Terrell Horne.