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.
PHOENIX (AP) - Tough-talking Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is warning civilians who embark on armed patrols in remote desert terrain that they could end up "seeing 30 rounds fired into them" by one of his deputies.
His unapologetically terse comments came Tuesday after a member of an Arizona Minuteman border-watch movement was arrested over the weekend for pointing a rifle at a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy he apparently mistook for a drug smuggler.
Court records say Richard Malley believed he had the right to aim the rifle at the deputy because he thought a crime was occurring. Malley was arrested for aggravated assault.
He was released on $10,000 bail and is to appear in court Aug. 26. It wasn't clear if Malley had an attorney, and telephone numbers listed for him were disconnected.