SYRIA: Moderate opposition forces increasingly are involved in rebel attacks on Christians. In the attack on Maaloula last week eyewitnesses said both al-Qaeda-linked al Nusra Front rebels and Free Syrian Army fighters exchanged fire with government forces.
UN: A report due today to the UN Security Council is expected to say there is “convincing evidence” sarin gas was used in an Aug. 21 rocket attack in Damascus, but will not apportion blame (passive voice being a UN specialty).
SYRIA: Apart from chemical warfare, Syrians worry that an attack on the Al Tabaqa Dam on the Euphrates (see video below) could threaten 3 million in eastern Syria and Iraq. Rebels claim that government fighters launched strikes on the dam on Sept. 7 for a second time. I’m open to enlightenment on this one: What would Assad gain by destroying his own hydroelectric dam built by the Russians?
SYRIA: A lot can go wrong in the Syria-U.S.-Russia-UN deal-brokering over Syria’s use of chemical weapons, and President Obama apparently has no Plan B.
EUROPE: A salvage crew begins operations today to raise the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that went down off the coast of Italy last year. It will take a platform of more than 30,000 tons of steel to lift the ship—the equivalent of four Eiffel Towers.
JAPAN: Today begins a shutdown of nuclear power facilities scheduled to leave the country without nuclear-generated electricity until December—the longest shutdown in Japan since 1960.
BRITAIN’S prestigious Booker Prize in 2014 will be open to American entries for the first time.