U.S. considers deeper involvement in Syria
Top news: The newly formed National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces met in Cairo on Wednesday to begin the process of forming a shadow government, a step that would pave the way for additional funding and international recognition. At the same time, rebel forces inside Syria reportedly shot down a government aircraft for the second consecutive day. Also on Wednesday, a pair of car bombs detonated in a pro-Assad neighborhood killed at least 34 people.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Washington is considering a range of options to speed the departure of embattled President Bashar al-Assad. According to an anonymous administration official, several alternatives are under consideration, including directly arming rebels, deploying CIA operatives on the ground, and stationing surface-to-air missiles in Turkey. All these options have been discussed before, but according to the unnamed source quoted by the Times, rebel military success "has given this debate a new urgency, and a new focus."
Environment: This year was the ninth warmest on record, the World Meteorological Organization reported on Wednesday at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha. "It confirms the trend towards a warmer planet," WMO head Michel Jarraud told the New York Times. Records have been kept for more than 160 years.[view whole blog post ]