SYRIA: U.S. and Russia in war of words

Tensions between the United States and Russia flared Wednesday as they traded blame for the violence in Syria just days before a meeting between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held to her explosive accusation that the "latest information" in U.S. hands is that Russia is sending attack helicopters to Bashar Assad's regime. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov fired back, alleging that the United States has sent military support to the region. On Wednesday, Syrian forces overran Haffa, a mountain enclave near the Mediterranean coast, seizing the area back from rebels as a serious escalation signaled both sides are using more powerful weapons.


BRITAIN: News Corp. witness excused

Lawmakers granted a reprieve Wednesday to embattled Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, ruling he should not be investigated over allegations that he favored the bid by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to take control of satellite broadcaster BSkyB. The vote split the two parties in the coalition, with the Conservatives backing Hunt and the junior Liberal Democrat party abstaining on the House of Commons vote. Tuesday, former Prime Minister John Major told the Leveson media ethics inquiry that Murdoch tried to influence his government's dealings with the European Union, even hinting that Major could lose the support of his newspapers if the prime minister didn't change direction. Today, Prime Minister David Cameron faces a grilling before the inquiry to answer questions about his relationship with News Corp.


SWITZERLAND: Geneva welcomes Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Ky returned Wednesday to a continent eager to hear from the democracy activist whether Myanmar's recent reforms truly spell the end of its cruel dictatorship. In Geneva on Thursday, she addresses the International Labor Organization. She flies next to Oslo, where she will make an acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to her 21 years earlier.

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