PAKISTAN VIOLENCE: Funeral services were held Sunday for two senior Pakistani military
officers who were killed when militants attacked army headquarters in
Rawalpindi (near the capital, Islamabad).
Gunmen in military camouflage attacked the headquarters Saturday,
killing six soldiers during a gunbattle at the main gate. Five
attackers were also killed. Two others were captured, but several
gunmen fled and took hostages in a nearby office building. The military said Sunday commandos stormed the building just before
dawn and freed 39 hostages held by the militants since Saturday
Army spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said three hostages were
killed during the rescue operation, along with four militants and two
soldiers. Another wounded militant was captured. No group has claimed responsibility. But Pakistani leaders blame the
Taliban for Saturday's attack, and have vowed to start a new offensive
against militants in the South Waziristan tribal region.
TURKEY-ARMENIA: Turkey and Armenia have signed an agreement to normalize relations
after a century of hostilities - despite a last minute glitch that
nearly derailed the landmark agreement. Strong differences between the neighboring countries stem from the mass
killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces during and after World
War One. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent several hours Saturday
working to resolve a last-minute dispute over statements to be made at
the signing ceremony in the Swiss city of Zurich. In the end, neither
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian nor his Turkish
counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, spoke after signing the protocols to
restore diplomatic ties and to reopen their sealed border. OSCE chairman Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said in a
statement Sunday that he commended the effort and political will
leaders of the two countries had invested to overcome differences and
work towards a more secure and stable region.
US-MIDEAST: Israeli officials say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with
U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell for a second time in three days.
Mr. Netanyahu's office says the meeting will take place Sunday in Jerusalem.
Mitchell met Friday with the Israeli prime minister in Jerusalem, and
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Mr. Netanyahu's office described the talks as "constructive," while Mr.
Abbas was quoted as reiterating his demand for a full Israeli
Mitchell is pushing for more talks between the two sides. He invited
them to send representatives to Washington to continue discussions in
an effort to revive the Middle East peace process.
IRAN-NUCLEAR: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the world will notwait
indefinitely for Iran to meet international obligations regarding its
nuclear program. She made the remarks after meeting Sunday with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in London. Miliband said Iran will never have a better opportunity to engage in normal relations with the rest of the world.
The meeting came a day after Iran said it will enrich its own uranium
if talks with world powers to provide the nuclear fuel break down.
IRAQ-PROTESTS : More than 1,000 people took to the streets across Iraq Saturday to
demand an open voting system in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The protests in the capital, Baghdad, the northern city of Kirkuk and
the southern port city of Basra came after a call by Iraq's top Shi'ite
cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Iraq's parliament has been considering adopting a closed voting system
in the January 16 elections that would list only party blocks and not
the individual candidates. Last week, al-Sistani said he supports open voting, raising the
possibility he might urge Iraq's majority Shi'ites to boycott the
elections if the voting system does not include the names of the