(Excerpts from featured stories; click the headlines for the links)
SADDAM HUSSEIN : CONVICTED FOR MASSACRES, FACES THE NOOSE
Saddam Hussein, Iraq's deposed dictator, was today sentenced to death by hanging for crimes against humanity.
Visibly shaken, Saddam shouted "God is great" as chief judge Raouf Abdul Rahman read out the court's verdict.
He was tried over the deaths of more than 148 Shia Muslim men and boys in reprisal for a 1982 assassination attempt on the Iraqi leader in the town of Dujail.
Two of Saddam's co-defendants were also sentenced to hang: his half-brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of the former revolutionary court. Former Iraqi vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan was sentenced to life in prison.
IRAN TEST FIRES MISSILES THAT CAN REACH ISRAEL - WARNS UNITED STATES TO BE CAREFUL IN THEIR OWN GULF EXERCISES
Iran test-fired three new sea missiles in the Persian Gulf today, indicating that the maneuvers should send a clear message to the U.S. not to conduct any more military exercises in the area.
Iranian state television broadcast footage of the Revolutionary Guards firing naval-warfare missiles with a range of about 106 miles.
The tests and exercises came only days after the U.S. conducted naval maneuvers in the Gulf...
"Our enemies should keep their hostility out of the Persian Gulf," said Adm. Sardar Fadavi, the deputy chief of the Revolutionary Guards navy. "They should not initiate any move that would make the region tense,"
Iran is widely believed to have bought missile technology from North Korea. Its ballistic missile, the Shahab-3, is thought to be based on North Korea's Nodong missile....
NATO FORCES BATTLE AFGHAN INSURGENTS NEAR KABUL
In a clash unusually close to the Afghan capital, Nato forces attacked an insurgent compound in the Tagab Valley, some 40 miles north-east of Kabul...fighting continued in the area yesterday.
The air strike on the compound, where eight to 10 insurgents were sheltering, is part of Operation Eagle...aimed at hunting down Taliban fighters.
Most of the fighting has been concentrated in Afghanistan's south and east, close to the Pakistan border...Taliban fighters, meanwhile, attacked a convoy of supply vehicles going to a Nato base in the eastern province of Khost, killing two Pakistani drivers.
SOMALIA PEACE TALKS FADE, HORN OF AFRICA BRACES FOR VIOLENCE
Earlier this week, a crucial third round of peace talks in Sudan, aimed at convincing the weak government in Baidoa and powerful Islamists in Mogadishu to open a dialogue for a power-sharing agreement, failed to take place, partly because the Islamists first demanded the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia.
Since the Islamists took power in Mogadishu in June and began expanding their power throughout southern and central Somalia, Ethiopia has repeatedly denied allegations that it has deployed troops to Somalia to protect the country's weak, secular government in Baidoa.
But Christian leaders in Addis Ababa, who say Islamist leaders in Mogadishu are led by extremists with ties to terrorist organizations, have also said that they would not tolerate the establishment of a fundamentalist Muslim theocracy in Somalia.
CLAIM : IRAQ WAR FIASCO STOPPED UNITED STATES FROM ATTACKNG IRAN
A few months ago, (Ex-CIA analyst Tyler Drumheller) was concerned that the (Bush) administration was headed towards a military strike against Tehran.
He now believes that such a path is not being pursued because the war in Iraq has “sucked so many resources out of the military and intelligence agencies” that both are badly depleted.
Iraq, he said, has shown that conquering and occupying a decent-sized country is a recipe for disaster.
JUNJAWEED MILITIA ATTACKS CONTINUE IN DARFUR, DOZENS DIE
In a report released Friday, the United Nations said at least 50 civilians, including 27 children, were killed in the latest round of attacks by militias known as janjaweed....in the Jebel Moon region in Western Darfur.
Fighting has displaced thousands of civilians in recent months, as the Sudanese army continues an offensive against rebels in the region.
....international ire is growing as Sudan refuses to allow a United Nations peacekeeping force to replace the African Union mission currently on the ground.
The tide of violence has risen since late August when the Sudanese government launched an offensive against rebels that have refused to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement.In recent weeks the fighting has spread to neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic, raising fears that the Darfur conflict could destabilize the already volatile region.
SOMALIA : ISLAMISTS DENY PLANS FOR SUICIDE ATTACKS, BLAME "AMERICAN/ZIONIST PROPAGANDA"
Somalia's powerful Islamic movement Friday denied US allegations that its supreme leader had authorized suicide attacks in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.
The Islamists, some of whom are suspected of links with Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda network, said that the "baseless warning" from Washington was part of a pro-Zionist, Israeli propaganda aimed at destabilizing the Muslim world.
"We know that America never favors Islamic movements anywhere in the world and such statements are part of a incorrect Zionist-inherited ideology," said Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, the Islamists' deputy defense chief.
"America misleads its own people by giving such baseless warnings but we will never falter because we stand ready to defend our religion and people from the enemy of Allah," Robow said.
The US warning came as the Islamists have declared jihad, or holy war, on neighboring Ethiopia for allegedly sending thousands of troops to Somalia to back the country's weak government and accused Kenya of siding with Ethiopia.
Earlier this year, a covert US program to support Somali warlords battling the Islamists for control of Mogadishu failed disastrously when the capital fell in June after months of fierce fighting.
The Islamists have since rapidly expanded their territory to include most of southern and central Somalia, where they have imposed strict Sharia law, fuelling concern of a Taliban-style takeover of the lawless country.
BUSH & BLAIR : THEIR IRAQ FANTASY BLASTED BY BLOODY REALITY
Hostility to the American and British troops has a direct and lethal consequence for the soldiers on the ground. The same poll shows that 92 per cent of Sunni and 62 per cent of Shia approve of attacks on US-led forces. This is the real explanation for the strength of the insurgency: it is widely popular.
...the refusal to admit, as the British army commander Sir Richard Dannatt pointed out, that the occupation generates resistance in Iraq, means that no new and more successful policy can be devised. It is this that is criminal.
The fantasy picture of Iraq purveyed by Mr Bush and Mr Blair is now being exposed. The Potemkin village they constructed to divert attention from what was really happening in Iraq is finally going up in flames.
But it is too late for the Iraqis, Americans and British who died because they were unwitting actors in this fiction, carefully concocted by the White House and Downing Street to show progress where there is frustration, and victory where there is only defeat.
Egypt Warns Israel That Attacks On Gaza Border Will Not Be Tolerated
China, Russia Refuse To Allow US To Include "Military Option" Wording In United Nations Sanctions, Resolutions On Iran
United States Claim Syria/Iran "Plot" To Overthrow Democracy In Lebanon
Kenyan, Ethiopian Troops Said To Be Gathering On Somalia Border
North Korea Defies US With Nuclear Test, But Offers Face-Saving Deal For New Talks To Begin
Israel Kills Dozens Of Palestinians In Gaza Operations - 12 Year Old Shot In Head By Sniper - Rockets Continue Landing In Israel