Top of the Morning: Typhoon Bopha Decimates Philippines Town; Obama Warns Assad on Chemical Weapons; Israel Continues New Construction

Top stories from the global news aggregation service DAWNS Digest. 

Obama Warns Assad on Use of Chemical Weapons

Several news outlets reported today that Syria was taking preliminary steps to assemble its chemical weapons stockpiles. Amid this news, president Obama delivered a stern warning to Assad. “’We simply cannot allow the 21st century to be darkened by the worse weapons of the 20th century. And today I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and anyone who is under his command…If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.’” (BBC )

Israel Defies International Calls to Halt New Settlement Construction

Even though the Obama administration is admonishing Israel over the new settlement construction, it seems that Israel will not yet relent. “Israel says it will not give in to international pressure to halt plans for 3,000 new settler homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel would continue to stand by its ‘vital interests” and would not change its decision. The UK, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden summoned Israeli ambassadors in protest at the plans. The US also called on Israel to “reconsider” its decision. ‘We urge Israeli leaders to reconsider these unilateral decisions and exercise restraint as these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations,’ White House spokesman Jay Carney said.” (BBC

Typhoon Bopha Decimates Philippines Town

This according to a reporter on the scene: “Typhoon Bopha killed 43 people in one hard-hit Philippine town Tuesday, local television station ABS-CBN reported from the scene. “I’ve counted 43 bodies on the floor,” reporter Vina Araneta told the station by telephone from a government building in New Bataan town on the southern island of Mindanao. Officials, who could not immediately confirm the television report, earlier said eight other people were killed by the cyclone elsewhere in Mindanao. The reporter said the town mayor, Lorenzo Balbin, told her many of the dead had come from a nearby village where flash floods swept away a Philippine Army patrol base.” (AFP