KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel offered no hints Sunday about likely U.S. response to Syria's purported use of chemical weapons, telling reporters traveling with him in Malaysia that the Obama administration is still assessing intelligence information about the deadly attack.
"When we have more information, that answer will become clear," he said when a reporter asked whether it was a matter of when, not if, the U.S. will take military action against Syria.
Hagel spoke at a news conference after meeting with his Malaysian counterpart, Hishamuddin bin Tun Hussein, on the first leg of a week-long trip to Southeast Asia.
The Syria crisis illustrates the difficulty for Hagel, trying to spend more time in Asia and the Pacific even as security challenges continue to flare up across the Middle East. He participated Saturday in a White House meeting on Syria by a video teleconference link from Kuala Lumpur.
Mideast defense chiefs meeting: The Pentagon said U.S. Central Command and the Jordanian Armed Forces are co-hosting Mideast defense chiefs in Jordan over the next few days to discuss the region's security environment. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, is attending. A Defense Department spokesman, George Little, said the exchange is designed in part to increase the collective understanding of the impact of regional conflicts on nations. The conference runs through Tuesday.
Egypt courts hear cases: Egyptian courts on Sunday heard separate court cases against former President Hosni Mubarak and top leaders of his archrival, the Muslim Brotherhood, both over allegations of killing protesters in separate instances. Egyptian media portrayed the prosecution of longtime foes as "trials of the two regimes," an attempt to show that both Islamists and secular-leaning Mubarak authoritarian regimes are alike after a July 3 military coup toppled President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood member.
Powell calls verdict "questionable": Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the jury verdict that cleared the killer of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin "questionable" and urged President Barack Obama to speak more on issues of race during an interview that aired Sunday. The first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Martin verdict soon would be forgotten but said Obama -- and all presidents -- have a responsibility to discuss the nation's history of racial injustice. Powell spoke as Washington marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s march that included the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.
Military removes commander: The Air Force has removed Col. David Lynch, the commander of a nuclear weapons unit at a Montana base, following a failed safety and security inspection that marked the second major misstep this year for one of the military's most sensitive missions. Military leaders said the decision to relieve Lynch of command at Malmstrom Air Force Base stems from a loss of confidence. They say it is not the result of the failed inspection this month first reported by Associated Press on Aug. 13. Lynch will transition into retirement, a base spokesman said
Boy now on ventilator: Family members of a 12-year-old Florida boy who was infected by a rare and deadly amoeba said he's on a ventilator. Zachary Reyna has fought the brain infection for weeks. Family members said he was infected while knee boarding with friends in a ditch near his family's LaBelle home on Aug. 3. His uncle, Homer Villarreal, said doctors told family members on Saturday that the boy's brain isn't showing any activity. "The doctors did all they could do. It's up to the good man upstairs," he said, adding that the family was praying. "I just wish a miracle would happen."
Mom says Pa. girl off oxygen: The mother of a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl recovering from two double lung transplants said the girl has been taken off oxygen and is doing well. Janet Murnaghan told Associated Press on Sunday that her daughter Sarah was taken off oxygen but still gets support from a machine that helps her breathe. Murnaghan says that in the last few days Sarah has started to walk around the hospital with the aid of a walker and has even gone outside briefly.
Prosecutor urges "severe" sentence: China's most sensational trial in decades ended Monday with disgraced politician Bo Xilai hinting at a love triangle involving his wife and former right hand man -- both key witnesses against him -- as he made last-ditch efforts to redeem his reputation. The prosecution countered by saying Bo should be severely punished because he showed no remorse in the five-day corruption trial in this eastern China city that offered lurid glimpses into an elite Chinese family's underhanded enrichment and sordid unraveling. Bo hints at a love triangle involving his wife, Gu Kailai, and his former police chief, Wang Lijun -- both of whom testified against the ex-Politburo member -- came after he had denounced both as either crazy or dishonest during the proceedings.
Instagram, other sites go down: Amazon's unit that runs Web servers for other companies had problems Sunday that coincided with outages or slowdowns on several popular websites. AirBnB says its site was one of those affected. Other services that were slow or unavailable included Instagram and Twitter's Vine video-sharing application. Online home rental service AirBnB tweeted at 4:32 p.m. that it was one of several websites and apps that were temporarily down because Amazon server problems. At 7 p.m. ET videos posted to Vine appeared to be working. Instagram and AirBnB were functioning but slow.