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Dec. 3, 2012 at 12:02 PM   |   Comments

Clinton warns Assad about chemical weapons

ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday the United States would "take action" if Syria used chemical weapons against its people.

"This is a red line for the United States," Clinton said in a warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"I am not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur."

In response, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the government "would not use chemical weapons, if it had them, against its own people under any circumstances," The New York Times reported. The response was carried by Syria's state broadcaster.

On the fighting front, witnesses told CNN an unknown number of people were killed or wounded Monday when Syrian warplanes bombed Ras al-Ain, a town near the country's border with Turkey.

One witness told CNN fearful civilians, many "with arms and legs missing," were fleeing to the border where they were being picked up by ambulances.

Clinton commented on Syria after meeting in Prague with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, indicating the two diplomats had discussed Syria, including a potential chemical weapons threat.


Court delays review on same-sex marriage

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday indicated it has delayed a decision on whether to hear argument in any of an array of cases dealing with same-sex marriage.

Eight challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a similar Arizona law and California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, were considered during the high court's closed conference last Friday.

But a check of the Supreme Court's docket Monday showed the cases have been rescheduled for a conference this Friday.

DOMA, enacted in 1996, says federal benefits and considerations for married couples apply only to heterosexual unions. The Obama administration is enforcing the 1996 act, but is one of the main challengers in court.


George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized

HOUSTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Ex-President George H.W. Bush was in high spirits in a Houston hospital but will stay there until a persistent cough is "under grips," a hospital official said.

Jim McGrath of The Methodist Hospital said Bush, 88, has been treated since Nov. 23 because of the cough, the Houston Chronicle reported Sunday.

"Spirits are high and he got a good night's sleep," McGrath said.

"But he's still got a little bit of a cough and until we get that under grips we're not looking at any discharge date."

The former president's doctors have said Bush was hospitalized as a precautionary measure and that his condition was never considered life-threatening.


Pope to start tweeting

VATICAN CITY, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI is set to open his own Twitter account, with his first tweet to be sent Dec. 12, the Vatican said Monday.

The pope's first official tweet will coincide with the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

The account will be in seven languages. The Italian twitter account is @pontifex_it.


Prince William, Kate expecting a baby

LONDON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, are expecting their first child, St.James Palace announced.

A palace spokesman said Kate was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London with acute morning sickness and was expected to be hospitalized for several days, the BBC reported Monday.

Information about when the baby is due was not reported.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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