President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has said his country is in a state of war 15 months after the uprising against his rule began. Mr Assad was speaking after a day of fighting between the Syrian army and rebels on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. Earlier, the United Nations Security Council was told that the conflict in Syria is worsening. From neighboring Lebanon, here's Jim Muir.
President Assad was addressing the first meeting of the new cabinet which emerged after general elections held in May, and he made it clear that the country and administration were on a war footing . "We are living a state of war, in all its aspects and in every meaning of the word," he told the ministers. "All policies and all directions in every sector had to be directed towards victory in that war." The implication of Mr Assad's remarks is that he expects the conflict to be a long haul . Events on the ground seemed to bear him out with both sides reporting violent clashes and many casualties in suburbs of Damascus as well as many other places around the country.
Russia has said that it's ready to attend a meeting on the Syria crisis that the international mediator Kofi Annan is trying to organize for Saturday in Geneva. But it's still not clear whether the meeting will take place because there's no agreement yet on either the agenda or who will participate.
Turkey has warned that any Syrian forces approaching its border will be treated as a military target following the shooting down of a Turkish fighter plane by Syria last Friday. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the rules of engagement for Turkish forces had changed. From Istanbul, here's Jonathan Head.
This was a vintage performance by the Turkish prime minister, arousing speech to his party in parliament which combines denunciation of Syria's actions on Friday with a broader defense of his government's foreign policy in the region. He repeated his government's arguments that the F-4 reconnaissance plane was unarmed, clearly identifiable, and outside Syrian airspace when it was shot down. Mr Erdogan went on to define the Assad government as a security threat, not just to its own people, but to Turkey as well.
The European Union is to consider proposals that would give it a much greater say in the economic affairs of countries using the European single currency. The plan was unveiled by the head of the European council, Herman Van Rompuy. Here's Andrew Walker.
Mr Van Rompuy's vision is of a much more integrated eurozone with increased, though not complete central control over government budgets. He stopped short of calling for a move to joint borrowing by issuing Euro bonds, but he does suggest it be considered. He also proposes an integrated approach to banks through deposit guarantees and arranges for dealing with failing banks – what has been called a banking union. The idea is politically challenging for many countries as the significant public concern about further European integration.Andrew Walker reporting.
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Nigerian soldiers serving in the United Nations and African Union missions in Sudan have threatened trouble unless they're brought home within a week. The tour of duty of the troops who have been acting as peacekeepers in Darfur ended in May. The soldiers blamed the delay in their repatriation on negligence on the part of the Nigerian authorities.
The ordeals of a Chinese woman forced to have an abortion seven months into her pregnancy has taken a new turn with the disappearance of her husband. News of the abortion prompted a public outcry inside China and abroad. Now, relatives say that her husband has been forced into hiding.
A German district court has ruled that it is an offense to circumcise young boys for non-medical reasons. The court said that circumcision contravene the interest of the child to decide on his religious beliefs later in life. The decision has angered Muslim and Jewish groups, for whom circumcision is a religious obligation. Steve Evans reports from Berlin.
Every year, thousands of young Muslim and Jewish boys are circumcised in Germany as part of the religious ritual of both faiths. But prosecutors in Cologne brought criminal charges against the doctor who performed the procedure on a 4-year-old. Initially, the doctor was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm, because he'd acted with the consent of the parents. But a higher court has now overturned that decision, because as the judgment put it, the fundamental right of the child of bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents.
The Mexican Navy says it's searching for one of its helicopters which disappeared four days ago over an area where drug cartels are active. The navy said air traffic controllers had lost contact with the helicopter with four crew on board as it was travelling in the west of Mexico.