** Syrian Opposition Pledges to Attend Rome Summit**
Syrian opposition leaders say they will attend an international conference in Rome this week, after considering a boycott because of what they deemed a lack of action by other nations to end the violence in Syria.
In a statement on his Facebook page late Monday, Syrian National Coalition head Ahmed al-Khatib said his fellow opposition leaders had decided to stop their suspension of any visit to the Friends of Syria conference set for Thursday.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the decision, saying the meeting is an important opportunity for the opposition to share its view of the crisis. He told Khatib during a telephone call Monday that the conference will also be a way to discuss how to aid the opposition and the Syrian people.
The White House says new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will also meet with opposition members.
Kerry said Monday after talks in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague that the continued violence in Syria is evidence that President Bashar al-Assad needs to leave office. He also condemned what he called the "indiscriminate killing" in "the strongest terms."
British Foreign Secretary Hague called for increased support for Syria's opposition, saying that "our policy cannot be static" in the face of the violence. Hague said that in the coming weeks Britain would be pushing for a new package of assistance to support the Syrian National Coalition.
In Moscow, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said that the Syrian government is open to dialogue with those who want to take part.
** Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 19 in Egypt**
A hot air balloon has crashed near the Egyptian city of Luxor, killing 19 tourists on board.
Two other people, including the pilot, survived after the balloon caught fire and exploded Tuesday while traveling at an altitude of 300 meters over the west bank of the Nile River.
Officials said the dead included people from France, Britain and other countries.
The area where the balloon went down was a capital of ancient Egypt, and draws tourists to see temples, palaces and tombs, including the burial site of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO designated it a World Heritage site in 1979.