Top news: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters on Tuesday that the Syrian government no longer appears to be preparing chemical weapons for use against the rebels. "At this point the intelligence has really kind of leveled off," he said. "We haven't seen anything new indicating any aggressive steps to move forward in that way." Reports last week indicated that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad may have been loading sarin gas onto bombs.
Meanwhile, the United States officially designated the Nusra Front, one of the leading Islamist rebel militias, a foreign terrorist organization. The move, which was widely anticipated, makes financial dealings with the group illegal and could prompt similar sanctions from other countries.
Since the conflict in Syria began nearly two years ago, the UNHCR has registered or is in the process of registering more than 500,000 refugees in neighboring countries.
Egypt: Masked gunmen fired on protesters camped in Cairo's Tahrir Square, injuring nine ahead of planned demonstrations on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, but supporters as well as detractors of President Mohamed Morsy are expected to demonstrate today.
- A Bahraini court sentenced pro-democracy activist Zainab al-Khawaja to one month in prison for entering the "prohibited area" surrounding Pearl Roundabout in Manama.
- Clashes Monday between Tunisian police and suspected Islamic militants left one officer dead near the Algerian border.
- Yemen's military launched airstrikes against al Qaeda militants suspected in an ambush that killed 17 army officers over the weekend.
- Ghana's main opposition party may challenge the results of last Friday's presidential election in court.
- Sudanese security forces broke up demonstrations outside a university in Khartoum on Monday.
- Military officers arrested Mali's recently appointed prime minister on Monday.
- Police in Baku, Azerbaijan cracked down on protesters calling for the resignation of President Ilham Aliyev.
- A new Pentagon report found that only one of the Afghan National Army's 23 brigades is capable of operating without U.S. military support.
- Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is expected to take the lion's share of seats in this Sunday's election.
- A New York judge announced that Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn agreed to a confidential settlement with the hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault in 2011.
- Malta called an early election after the ruling party lost its one-seat majority.
- In retaliation for the Magnitsky Act, Russia's parliament introduced a bill Monday that would bar entry to Americans accused of unspecified crimes against Russians.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Cuba for another round of cancer treatment after naming Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his successor.
- Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed sweeping educational reforms on Monday, challenging the country's powerful education-worker's union.
- Dissidents accused the Cuban government of detaining more than 100 activists on Monday in order to prevent them from marking International Human Rights Day.