World Cup fever is sweeping across Asia as hundreds of millions of fans in the football-mad region count down to the start of an event that's a surefire winner for pubs, clubs and bookmakers.
From Seoul to Sydney, Beijing to Bangkok, preparations are underway for Friday's kick-off thousands of miles away in South Africa, heralding a month of late nights and bleary-eyed mornings for many Asian fans.Full Story
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led a chorus of defiant Iranian criticism of new U.N. sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic on Wednesday, saying they deserved to be "thrown in the trash bin."
"These resolutions are not worth a dime for the Iranian nation," he said.Full Story
NATO blamed the Taliban on Thursday over an attack on an Afghan wedding that killed more than 40 people in an area U.S.-led troops are massing to dislodge insurgents from their fiefdom.
The cause of the carnage has been unclear, but the government said initial reports indicated that a suicide bomber strapped with explosives had walked into the party reportedly attended by members of an anti-Taliban militia.Full Story
Russia is freezing a contract to deliver S-300 air defense missiles to Iran after the adoption of the new UN sanctions against Tehran, a Russian source told the Interfax news agency on Thursday.
"It is compulsory to fulfill a decision by the U.N. Security Council and Russia is not an exception here," said the source in the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, which supervises Russian arms sales.Full Story
Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla for Gaza was a tragedy that demands detailed investigation and must not be repeated, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Agence France Presse in an interview.
"What is especially tragic is that this act was carried out in neutral waters," the Russian prime minister said in a discussion late Monday in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.Full Story
Israel on Wednesday was discussing the format of an investigation into its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted soldiers would be off-limits.
Israel was in talks with "several members of the international community" about the investigation, Netanyahu said, stressing that it should focus on "the pro-Palestinian activists who fought the naval commandos with knives and clubs."Full Story
President Barack Obama Wednesday pledged unwavering commitment to forge significant progress in the Middle East this year, despite the furor whipped up by Israel's raid on a Gaza aid flotilla.
Welcoming Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House, Obama promised the "full weight" of U.S. diplomacy on the latest crisis and to push Israelis and Palestinians out of a "dead end" and into direct peace talks.Full Story
Israel hailed the U.N. Security Council's decision on Wednesday to slap a fourth set of punitive sanctions on Iran but said more must be done to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
"It's an important step in the right direction, but the new sanctions are not sufficient," Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told public radio.Full Story
Hizbullah blasted Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman for a testimony in which he said Hizbullah is the most technically-capable terrorist group in the world.
Feltman "plays the role of an Israeli official in America," Hizbullah said in a statement.Full Story
Hizbullah MP Hussein Moussawi on Wednesday saluted veteran U.S. reporter Helen Thomas' "courage" for her comments against Israel, which sparked a furor Washington and forced her to retire.
"Respected American journalist Helen Thomas' answer shows ... a courageous, bold, honest and free opinion which expresses what people across the globe believe: that Israel is a racist state of murderers and thugs," Moussawi said in a statement.Full Story