A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on Dec. 14, 2012
Russian does U–turn on Syria comments
Russia is backpedalling furiously a day after a senior official said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime's days may be numbered. A government spokesperson maintained today that Moscow has not changed its position on Syria and continues to insist on a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Russia's deputy foreign minister was widely quoted Thursday that the rebels have the upper hand in the conflict, comments interpreted by some that Russia was distancing itself from its long-time ally.
Here is a report by The Globe's Affan Chowdhry on the options – none good – facing Mr. Assad.
Canada's terror law under scrutiny
Canada's terror law will face a significant test today as the Supreme Court of Canada delivers rulings on three cases. The decisions – which include the case of Ottawa software engineer Momin Khawaja, the first person charged under Canada's post-9/11 laws – will deal with the legal definition of terrorism and could strike down, or require amendments to, the law.
U.S. send missiles, soldiers to Turkey
The United States announced today that it will send Patriot missiles to Turkey to defend its border with Syria – along with 400 soldiers. Under a plan approved last week by NATO, missile batteries – intended to protect against air and missile attacks from Syria – will be placed along the border and operated by United States, German and Dutch troops.
Rallies in Egypt as vote looms
Opposition and pro-government supporters staged rival rallies today in Egypt on the eve of the first day of voting on a controversial draft constitution that has thrown the deeply divided country into weeks of turmoil. Voting is being held tomorrow and next Saturday because there aren't enough judges to monitor all polling stations.
Kerry takes lead as Rice withdraws
Senator John Kerry has become the front-runner to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State after yesterday's withdrawal by Susan Rice. For more on the ins and outs of this political drama, read The Globe's Konrad Yakabuski.
Obama to NHL: Do the right thing
POTUS has weighed in on the NHL strike. In an interview with a Minneapolis TV station, President Barack Obama urged both sides in the protracted dispute to "do right by your fans." Meanwhile, leaks to the media point to a possible compromise in the standoff, The Globe's James Mirtle reports.
Big quakes hit offshore California
Two large earthquakes struck in the ocean off California and Mexico this morning. The quakes – with magnitudes of 6.4 and 6.1 – were recorded at shallow depths. No tsunami warning has been issued.