– The “friends of Syria” international conference will consider issuing an ultimatum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad amid his continuing crackdown on popular protests against his government. The group would threaten additional sanctions if Assad doesn’t end his shelling of towns in 72 hours.
– U.S. military sources told CNN that securing Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles would require putting some 75,000 troops on the ground.
– The United Nations said today that Syrian forces have shot dead unarmed women and children, shelled residential areas and tortured wounded protesters in hospital under orders from the “highest level” of army and government officials.
– Assistant secretary of state Andrew Shapiro said the Obama administration may be compelled to withhold $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt if it prosecutes U.S. NGO workers.
– Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) broke ranks with many Republicans and urged the Pentagon to allow women to serve in combat. His Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren believes women should be allowed to serve in all military positions.
– As fallout from the international forces’ improper Koran disposal continued to roil the Afghan public, with at least six dead and many injured, President Hamid Karzai said he received a letter of apology from President Obama stating that the U.S. “will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”
– In an apparent first, a high-level Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee, former CIA prisoner Majid Khan, reportedly orchestrated a plea deal to testify against fellow detainees in order to receive a lessened sentence that will see him eventually released.
– The U.N., the U.S. and the Palestinians condemned Israeli government plans to authorize new settlement construction in the West Bank. ?We don?t believe [settlement activity is] in any way constructive to getting both sides back to the negotiating table,? U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.