FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - The Army psychiatrist on trial for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood says the deadly attack was provoked by American soldiers being deployed to "engage in an illegal war."
Maj. Nidal Hasan told a military judge on Wednesday that the shooting wasn't in the heat of passion. He says jurors shouldn't have the option of convicting him of voluntary manslaughter.
Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others at the Texas Army post in the deadliest mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Hasan is acting as his own attorney, and his statements marked one of the rare moments that he's spoken during the 12-day trial.
Jurors were not in the courtroom at the time.
BEIRUT (AP) - Two Syrian pro-opposition groups are claiming that government forces carried out a "poisonous gas" attack near the capital Damascus, leaving dozens of people dead.
The two groups quote activists as saying that regime forces fired "rockets with poisonous gas heads" in the attack on Wednesday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the shelling was intense and hit the eastern suburbs of Zamalka, Arbeen and Ein Tarma.
It says "tens of people" were killed. The Local Coordination Committees said hundreds of people were killed or injured in the shelling. Such different figures are common in the immediate aftermaths of attacks in Syria.
There was no government comment on the claims and the reports could not be independently confirmed.
BEIJING (AP) - Chinese state media say a flash flood swept through a construction site and killed at least 21 workers in the northwestern Chinese province of Qinghai. Three workers are still missing.
The official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday that rescuers are searching for those missing from Tuesday's disaster in Wulan county, and that seven injured people had been sent to hospitals. The remote region lies amid high mountains, 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) west of Beijing.
Elsewhere in China, heavy flooding in the extreme south and northeast has left more than 200 dead or missing in recent days.
Flooding and landslides in southern China have been chiefly caused by rains brought by last week's Typhoon Utor. Another storm was bearing down on Taiwan and expected to arrive on mainland China sometime Thursday.