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Chatter: US builds case for military action in Syria

Russia and China issue warnings as the US and its allies make a case for military action in Syria, Yosemite fire threatens San Francisco's water supply, and how a Vancouver woman stole her bicycle back.
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NEED TO KNOW

The case against Syria. As UN inspectors continue their probe into a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, the United States and its allies appear to be building a case for military strikes.

The alleged poison gas attack last week in the suburbs of Damascus left hundreds dead. US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday called the use of chemical weapons in Syria "undeniable" and a "moral obscenity." 

In an apparent response to Kerry's comments, Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem this morning rejected "utterly and completely" that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons.

Meanwhile Germany has toughened its language on Syria, while a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has cut short a holiday to deal with the crisis, said the UK is making contingency plans for military intervention.

But amid the saber-rattling, there are growing warnings from Russia, Iran and China. Moscow has said that any such action in Syria would have "catastrophic" consequences for the region, while China's state news agency, Xinhua, has accused Western powers of rushing to conclusions.

WANT TO KNOW

Yosemite burns. Wildfires are continuing to rage in and around Yosemite National Park in California, and are now threatening San Francisco's famously pure drinking water supply.

The Rim Fire is raining ash onto a key reservoir that supplies water and hydroelectric power to San Francisco. City officials are moving water to lower reservoirs and monitoring for possible contamination.

The fire is also threatening thousands of homes and some of the park's iconic giant sequoias, with strong winds causing flames to reach the tops of these towering trees.

But firefighters say they are beginning to make progress in battling the mammoth blaze. "It's been a real tiger," a spokesman for the US Forest Service said. "He's been going around trying to bite its own tail, and it won't let go but we'll get there."

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Call it the wheels of karma. When Kayla Smith's bicycle was stolen, she thought she would never get it back. But a day later, there it was — for sale on Craigslist.

So the 33-year-old Vancouver woman contacted the seller and arranged to meet him at a McDonald's parking lot, quickly spotting some distinctive stickers and special brakes on the bike that marked it as hers.

Smith asked to take the $1,000 bike for a test ride around the parking lot, and said the man had one request: "Yeah but don’t take off…"

"My heart was pounding and I had no idea what to do," Smith wrote in a post on Reddit, "so I just got on the bike and was like f**k this guy and started to ride."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-us-builds-case-military-action-syria