World News Briefs -- May 2, 2013 (Evening Edition)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hosts lunch for senior enlisted advisors to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during his first meeting with the group at the Pentagon, May 2, 2013. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett

U.S. Rethinking Its Opposition To Arming Syrian Rebels: Hagel -- Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is rethinking its opposition to arming the Syrian rebels, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday, as pressure builds for a U.S. response to Syria's suspected use of chemical weapons in its civil war.

Hagel stressed that no decision by U.S. President Barack Obama had been made and did not signal whether one was likely soon on arming opposition fighters trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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MIDDLE EAST

Activists: Syrian regime troops kill dozens in Sunni village near Mediterranean coast.

Syria crisis: 'Government troops advance on Homs' - live updates.

Syrian president showing renewed confidence.

Iran's foreign minister fuels war of words over Syria.

Analysis: Israel prepares for the worst as militants eye Syria's chemical weapons.

Turkey struggles to contain Syria war fallout.

Hezbollah strengthening hold on southern Lebanon.

EU's Ashton to meet Iran's nuclear negotiator on May 15.

Israeli PM says he'd want referendum on peace deal.

ASIA

Afghan spy chief Asadullah Khalid back in U.S. for medical care.

Pakistan's rulers accused of turning to underworld in battle to stay in power.

Local mayor suspended as Bangladesh disaster toll climbs to 430.

Deadly clash between Afghan, Pakistani troops.

US institute: NKorea reactor nearing completion.

North Korea sentences US citizen to jail.

Indian 'spy' dies after attack in Pakistan prison. India demands justice over 'spy' Sarabjit Singh's death.

South Korean spies sought Australian trade secrets.

UNESCO sends marine experts to assess Philippine reef damage.

AFRICA

As Mali wars with Islamists, a Mormon runs for President.

Quarter of Somalis still rely on aid despite weakening of Shabaab.

Zambia and South Africa in spat over off-colour colonialism remarks.

Ivory Coast's ICC-indicted former first lady in hospital.

Darfur gold mine collapses, 60 dead.

Chad coup foiled, says government. Chad: N'Djamena arrests follow 'failed coup'. Two generals, pro-Deby MP arrested over Chad coup plot.

Nigeria bloodbath 'cover up' satellite images emerge.

South Sudan President to visit Khartoum.

British soldiers training Mali troops.

Somali famine killed 258,000, half of them children, says UN.

Kenya court: 2 Iranians guilty of terror plot.

Lawyers appointed for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

EUROPE

Ex-Pope Benedict back at Vatican to live out retirement.

Dagestan hit by new terror attacks.

Police shut down Greek-only soup kitchen. Far right party takes to the streets of Athens.

Euro-zone crisis live: European Central Bank cut interest rates to new record low.

Russia’s 20 biggest billionaires keep riches from Putin.

British overseas territories sign deal to curb tax evasion.

France to auction wines from Presidential cellar.

AMERICAS

Cuban blogger says underground networks changing society,

Feds seek clues in Boston Marathon suspects' laptop, post-bomb phone call.

US suicide rate rose sharply among middle-aged.

California to confiscate guns held illegally in firearms crackdown.

Obama en route to Mexico to talk immigration, drug war, economy.

Venezuela tensions high after congressional brawl; government, opposition backers fill streets.

FARC - Colombia peace talks progressing well.

Most Americans do not want U.S. involved in Syria: Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends charged with cover-up in wake of Boston bombs.

US protests against Bolivia's decision to expel USAID.

Keeping JFK's eternal flame burning at Arlington National Cemetery.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

US drone strikes being used as alternative to Guant√°namo, lawyer says.

White House says it won’t send Guantanamo detainees to Yemen.

Top general: Terrorists targeting America's young Muslims.

From Toronto to Dagestan; Canadian jihadi draws parallels with Tsarnaev.

FBI releases photos of Benghazi attack trio.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Apple avoids potential $9bn tax bill.

Caribbean bank accounts are next IRS target.

Foreign holdings of US securities have exploded.

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