WASHINGTON – Proceeding cautiously, President Barack Obama insisted on Friday that any use of chemical weapons by Syria would change his “calculus” about U.S. military involvement in the 2-year-old civil war – but said too little was known about a pair of likely sarin attacks to order aggressive action now.
The president’s public response to the latest intelligence reflected the lack of agreement in Washington over whether to use America’s military to intervene in the civil war – and if so, how.
But lawmakers in both parties expressed concern that inaction could embolden Syrian President Bashar Assad and perhaps other countries including North Korea and Iran.
U.S. officials declared on Thursday that the Syrian government probably had used chemical weapons twice in March, newly provocative acts in the civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.
The U.S. assessment followed similar conclusions from Britain, France, Israel and Qatar – key allies eager for a more aggressive response to the Syrian conflict.
American will be indicted, Korean news agency says
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea says it will soon indict an American detained for alleged hostile acts against the country.
A report from the official Korean Central News Agency today didn’t say when Kenneth Bae’s trial will occur.
Bae is the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009. U.S. citizens detained in North Korea often have been released following visits by high-profile Americans, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
A North Korean official earlier told the Associated Press that Bae will likely get a harsh punishment – possibly the death penalty – for an alleged attempt to overthrow Pyongyang’s government.
Owners of collapsed garment factories held
SAVAR, Bangladesh – Two owners of garment factories in a Bangladesh building that collapsed into a pile of mangled metal and concrete have been arrested as public fury mounts over the accident that left at least 324 dead.
Authorities updated the death toll, but added that rescuers had pulled seven more survivors from the rubble early today after they found more than 40 survivors inside the collapsed building late Friday.