DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- Secretary of State John Kerry is calling for an urgent political resolution to the war in Syria. He says unless the bloodshed stops, the region could descend into a chaotic sectarian conflict.
Kerry met in Qatar (GUH'-tur) today with 10 of his counterparts from Arab and European nations to coordinate aid to the rebels trying to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. He says all the nations in attendance agreed to step up aid to the rebels.
Without offering specifics, Kerry said the assistance would help change the balance on the battlefield, where regime forces have scored recent victories.
It was Kerry's first meeting with his counterparts about aid to the Syrian rebels since President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would send lethal aid to the opposition despite concern that weapons could fall into the hands of Islamic extremists in Syria.
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Jordan's prime minister says the country is hosting 900 U.S. military personnel to bolster its defense capabilities against potential threats from the Syrian civil war.
The first Jordanian public official to speak publicly of the numbers of U.S. troops in the kingdom, Abdullah Ensour told reporters Saturday that 200 of the personnel were experts training for how to handle a chemical attack.
He said the remaining 700 are manning a Patriot missile defense system and F-16 fighter jets which Washington deployed this month in case the Syrian war worsens.
Jordan is concerned its larger northern neighbor would use chemical weapons against Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and other neighboring countries, or that the stockpile may fall into the hands of al-Qaida or other militants if President Bashar Assad loses control.
ISTANDBUL (AP) -- The intense conflict in Turkey between the government and protesters spread today from Istanbul to the capital of Ankara.
In Instanbul, police wielded water cannon to break up thousands of demonstrators who had gathered in Taksim Square to observe a memorial for four people killed during recent anti-government protests. The officers later fired tear gas and rubber bullets to scatter demonstrators who regrouped in side streets.
The police move came as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that foreign-led conspirators he alleges are behind the anti-government movement in his country also are fomenting the recent unrest in Brazil.
The Dogan news agency reported that police in Ankara also sprayed tear gas and pressurized water to break up hundreds of protesters who gathered in two neighborhoods, wanting to march to the city's main square.
Last week, police had used water cannon as well as tear gas and rubber bullets to clear Taksim Square and end an occupation of Gezi Park by activists. But the demonstrations had largely subsided in Istanbul in recent days, with many protesters using a new, more passive approach of standing motionless in the streets to air their grievances.
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's largest opposition grouping is reaching out to members of Hosni Mubarak's ruling party as it gears up for a protest campaign against the current Islamist president.
Members of the ousted autocrat's National Democratic Party have been derided as "feloul" or the "remnants" by both current President Mohammed Morsi and the liberal groups that are his most active opposition. A yet-untested "political isolation" clause in the new constitution may ban senior officials in the now-dissolved party from top posts.
But opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei told a Cairo conference on Saturday, "I can't isolate millions of Egyptian people because they were part of the National Democratic Party."
ElBaradei made his call in advance of mass protests planned by the opposition for June 30 to demand Morsi's ouster.
Worst of haze shifts from Singapore to Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysian authorities are declaring a state of emergency in a southern district where a smoky haze blamed on Indonesian forest fires has triggered one of the country's worst pollution levels.
The worst of the smog has shifted from Singapore to southern Malaysia, where noxious fumes have drifted across the sea this past week from Indonesia's Sumatra island.
The Malaysian government's index for air pollution reached a measurement of 746 on Sunday in the southern district of Muar. It was far above the threshold of 300 for hazardous air quality.
Environment Minister G. Palanivel said authorities would issue instructions for residents to remain indoors and for schools to close.
Singapore reported pollution readings that fluctuated between "moderate" and "unhealthy" classifications Sunday, far below peak measurements recorded Friday.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australia expects the International Court of Justice will outlaw Japanese whaling in the Antarctic before the next whale hunting begins in January.
Australia's case against Japan will begin hearing in the United Nations court in The Hague on Wednesday.
Australian Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said on Sunday he expects to win before the next southern hemisphere summer. The whaling fleet generally leaves Japan each December to begin harpooning whiles in January in the Antarctic Ocean where Australia has declared a whale sanctuary in 1999.
Commercial whaling has been banned around the world since 1986 under an International Whaling Commission moratorium. But various exceptions are allowed, including whaling for scientific research which Japan says is the motivation for its annual hunt.
Rare case of gun deaths in China
BEIJING (AP) -- In a rare case of gun violence in China, a man fatally shot five people and beat a sixth to death, including some of his factory colleagues and a soldier, according to police.
Police in Shanghai said Sunday that the 62-year-old man's killing spree started when he used unspecified tools to beat a colleague to death over an economic dispute. The Shanghai Public Security Bureau said on its microblog that the man identified as having the surname Fan killed his colleague on Saturday afternoon at a chemical factory in Shanghai's Baoshan district.
The bureau said Fan then took a hunting rifle that was hidden in his dormitory, asked a driver to take him to another district and then shot him on the way. After killing the man, Fan drove the vehicle back to Baoshan and killed a soldier who was guarding the entrance to a barracks. He also took the soldier's gun.
Fan then returned to the factory and fatally shot three more people with his hunting rifle, including a manager. Police said they captured him in the factory about six hours after his killing spree started.
Guns are hard to come by in China. Firearms are tightly controlled and private ownership is for the most part illegal.
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Police say gunmen have killed 11 foreigners who were climbing one of the highest mountains in the world in northern Pakistan.
Local police chief Barkat Ali says the climbers from Russia, China and the Ukraine were killed before dawn Sunday as they set off to climb Nanga Parbat in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Nanga Parbat is the ninth-highest mountain in the world and is notoriously difficult to climb.