QATAR

Mall fire kills 19

Qatar’s Interior Ministry said 13 children were among 19 people killed in a fire that broke out in one of the country’s fanciest shopping malls on Monday, raising questions about building safety in the booming Gulf state. At least some of the victims died as rescuers struggled to reach a child-care center at the Villaggio mall in the capital Doha, according to Qatar officials. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

JAPAN

Nuclear energy criticized

In an unusually stark warning, Japan’s prime minister during last year’s nuclear crisis told a parliamentary inquiry Monday that the country should discard nuclear power as too dangerous, saying the Fukushima accident had pushed Japan to the brink of “national collapse.” In testimony to a panel investigating the government’s handling of the nuclear disaster, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan also warned that the politically powerful nuclear industry was trying to push Japan back toward nuclear power despite “showing no remorse” for the accident.

SYRIA

U.N. envoy arrives

International efforts to pressure Syria intensified Monday, as the U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan began negotiations in Damascus and the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff warned that continued atrocities could make military intervention more likely. Annan traveled to Syria seeking to salvage his peace plan, which appeared more precarious than ever after the massacre of at least 108 villagers in the Houla area of Syria. Annan was scheduled to hold talks with President Bashar Assad today.

AFGHANISTAN

Three NATO troops killed

A helicopter crash killed two NATO service members in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, and a third died in an insurgent attack in the south, the U.S.-led coalition said. Authorities were investigating the cause of the crash, but initial reports indicate there was no enemy activity in the area at the time the helicopter went down, the coalition said.

Compiled from wire reports