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Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta (left), is welcomed with flowers as China’s Chief of the General Staff Gen. Ma Xiao Tian (right), and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke stand by Monday in Beijing. Mr. Panetta is on his third trip to Asia in 11 months, reflecting the Pentagon’s shift to put more focus on the Pacific region. (Associated Press)

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Say hello, Assad: See the Navy warships off the coast of Syria

The Navy has sent four warships — USS Ramage, USS Mahan, USS Gravely and USS Barry — armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid violence in Syria. Navy ships are capable of a variety of military actions, including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles as they did against Libya in 2011.