**Bomb Wounds 3 Near UN Hotel in Syrian Capital**
Syrian state television says a bomb has exploded near a hotel used by United Nations observers in Damascus, wounding three people.
The report said the blast Wednesday was caused by a bomb planted on a fuel truck.
U.N. officials did not immediately comment, but none of the wounded are believed to be U.N. staff.
The U.N. Security Council is due to discuss the situation in Syria on Thursday, days before the observer mission's mandate expires on August 19.
China's official People's Daily newspaper on Wednesday criticized Western nations for talking about the prospect of a no-fly zone of Syria, saying such comments undermine U.N. mediation efforts and harm the unity of the Security Council.
The paper also reiterated China's commitment to a diplomatic solution to the crisis. China has joined Russia in vetoing U.N. Security Council resolutions threatening Syria with sanctions for using heavy weapons against civilians.
** Japan Ministers Visit War Shrine**
Two Japanese cabinet ministers have visited a war shrine seen by many as a symbol of Tokyo's imperialist past, in a move likely to anger China and South Korea.
National Public Safety Commission Chairman Jin Matsubara and Land Minister Yuichiro Hata on Wednesday paid homage at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine.
The visit, which comes on the 67th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, is the first by a cabinet minister since the Democratic Party came to power in 2009, pledging improved relations with Tokyo's Asian neighbors.
Though economic ties between Seoul and Tokyo are strong, anti-Japan sentiment is widespread in South Korea. Japan imposed harsh colonial rule on South Korea and parts of China during much of the first half of last century.