A senior Russia official Sunday took exception to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s threat of “consequences” if Bashar Assad fails to speed up the removal of his chemical weapons. Kerry said only 4 percent of Assad’s chemical stockpile had been removed, whereas the Russian claimed the Syrian rulere was meeting his obligations. According to the Sunday Times of London, the Assad regime has hidden large stocks of chemical and biological weapons at secret hideouts in the Alawite districts of western Syria, assisted in the transport operation by Iranian and North Korean officers.