Syria on Monday denied ever using chemical weapons in its four-year-old civil war, telling a global watchdog it was cooperating fully with the destruction of its toxic stockpile. Damascus's rebuttal comes amid growing accusations it is not being transparent with the world's chemical watchdog and as United Nations efforts are stepped up to track down the perpetrators of deadly chlorine gas attacks in the war-torn country last year. "We wish here to state categorically that we have never used chlorine or any other toxic chemicals during any incidents or any other operations in the Syrian Arab Republic since the beginning of the crisis and up to this very day," Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Moqdad told the annual meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Jury selection began on Monday for the trial of the first of six police officers charged in the April death of a black man in police custody that set off rioting in the city and inflamed an already tense U.S. debate on race and justice. Officer William Porter, 26, faces charges including manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office for the death of Freddie Gray, 25. Porter, who is black, is accused of ignoring Gray's requests for medical aid and not putting a seatbelt on him, even though he was shackled and handcuffed.