Obama says Gaddafi's departure from Libya inevitable
TRIPOLI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday it was inevitable Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi would have to leave power and only then could a democratic transition in the North African state proceed. Obama was speaking as part of a major address in Washington about the Middle East, which has seen a series of uprisings this year including ones that have toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt as well as a three-month-old revolt in Libya.
Troops enter Syrian village, ignorning U.S. pressure
BOQAYA, Lebanon (Reuters) - Syrian troops backed by tanks deployed in a border village Thursday, witnesses said, ignoring growing pressure from Washington, which has imposed sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad for rights abuses. Looking across the border from the Lebanese village of Boqaya, Syrian soldiers could be seen deploying along a stream in Arida village and entering homes. Lebanese soldiers fanned out on their side of the frontier.
Whistleblower says Russian troops fed dog food
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Interior Ministry troops were fed dog food earlier this year to save money, a former officer in the ministry said Thursday. A rare whistleblower in Russia's expansive security forces, ex-Major Igor Matveyev said officers tried to cover up the scandal and other alleged wrongdoing at the Interior Ministry troops base where he served in the far east city of Vladivostok.
Former Irish PM Garret FitzGerald dies at 85
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Garret FitzGerald, Ireland's most popular elder statesman who twice served as prime minister and played a crucial role in paving the way for peace in Northern Ireland, has died at the age of 85, his family said on Thursday. Known universally as Garret and much loved for his dotty professor persona, the erudite economist played an important role in shaping modern Ireland.
Yemen ruling party says deal may be signed on Sunday
SANAA (Reuters) - A Gulf-mediated transition of power deal in Yemen that would ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office within a month may be signed on Sunday, a ruling party official said. "Maybe it will be signed on Sunday," the official said of the deal, which had appeared to fall through on Wednesday after hitting last-minute snags over details.
Police open fire to disperse Afghan protests
TALOQAN, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Protesters spilled into northern Afghan streets on Thursday, a day after at least 14 people were killed and scores wounded in wild protests that underscored deep tensions between Afghans and foreign troops. The second day of outcry came as the NATO-led force in Afghanistan said some of its troops had fired during protests on Wednesday, during which at least 80 people were also wounded, although the circumstances were unclear.
Opposition gains ground in South African vote
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's main opposition made gains on Thursday in early results from key local government polls which could indicate frustration with the ANC which has ruled for almost 20 years since apartheid ended. The African National Congress is still expected to storm to victory given its domination of the political scene, but analysts see the results as putting pressure on the ruling party to try to win back disenchanted voters, which could lead to more spending and further pressure on the budget.
Al Qaeda releases posthumous bin Laden audio recording
CAIRO (Reuters) - Al Qaeda released a posthumous audio recording by Osama bin Laden in which he praised revolutions sweeping through several Arab countries, and called for more Muslim "tyrants" to be toppled. Islamists have conspicuously been absent in the uprisings in the Middle East that have largely been led by ordinary citizens angered by autocratic rule, corruption and mismanaged economies.
Europe's south bashes Merkel for "work harder" quip
ATHENS (Reuters) - Southern Europeans lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, accusing her of twisting the facts to score cheap political gains when she urged them to take fewer holidays and retire later. Politicians, media and labor unionists from Mediterranean countries bashed Merkel for playing up Europe's north-south divide to appease German voters who are angry at having to bail out euro zone periphery countries in deep debt trouble.
EU set sharply to expand Iran sanctions: diplomats
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is expected to expand its sanctions against Iran significantly Monday, reflecting growing frustration among Western powers with a lack of progress in nuclear talks with Tehran, EU diplomats said. The 27 member governments are set to add about 100 companies to the bloc's embargo list -- including German-based bank EIH, which specializes in business in Iran -- at a meeting in Brussels.