Heightened tensions in Turkey as two Kurdish rebel suspects killed by police
TWO suspected Kurdish rebels have been killed in a police raid in south-east Turkey amid heightened tensions over a botched military raid that killed 35 civilians.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the rebels ignored calls to surrender and threw hand grenades at police surrounding their hideout in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. The agency said a firefight ensued, and the suspects died after jumping out of the building.
Iran open to new nuclear talks
IRAN has proposed a new round of talks about its controversial nuclear programme with the six world powers, the country's top nuclear negotiator has said.
Saeed Jalili said he has formally called on the six powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- to return to the negotiating table with Iran. The invitation comes in the wake of new sanctions recently imposed by the West over Tehran's uranium enrichment programme, which is a potential pathway to making nuclear arms.
The last round of negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in Istanbul, Turkey, in January ended in failure.
US departure a 'new dawn' for Iraq
IRAQ'S prime minister has said the end of the American military presence is a new dawn for his country.
In a celebration in Baghdad broadcast on state-run Iraqiya TV, Nouri al-Maliki declared the day a national holiday. He told the Iraqi people that the country has become free and called upon them to preserve its unity and sovereignty.
Ethiopian troops cross into Somalia
ETHIOPIAN troops have entered a border town in Somalia in what would be a third front against al-Shabab militants.
Resident Mohammed Abdi said hundreds of people fled the border town of Beledweyne after hundreds of Ethiopian and Somali troops moved in. Captain Hashi Nor, of the Somali military, confirmed that Somali and Ethiopian troops had moved in.
The movement appears to be a third front against al-Shabab, Somalia's strongest militant group. Kenyan troops are fighting al-Shabab in Somalia's south, and African Union troops in Mogadishu have mostly pushed al-Shabab fighters out of the capital.
Pakistan fires near Kashmir border
PAKISTANI troops fired small arms and mortars on an Indian patrol near the highly militarised Kashmir border in violation of a 2003 ceasefire accord between the countries and an Indian guard was wounded, an Indian official said.
JS Oberoi said Indian troops returned fire in the border's Samba sector, adding that India would lodge a formal complaint with Pakistani authorities.
Merkel: next year will be even worse
GERMAN chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that, despite the country's relatively stable economic situation and low unemployment, next year will be more difficult.
In her New Year speech, Mrs Merkel said the path to overcoming Europe's biggest crisis in decades will be "long and not without setbacks, but at the end of this path Europe will re-emerge stronger from the crisis than it was when it entered it".
Putin's New Year wishes for critics
RUSSIAN prime minister Vladimir Putin has sent New Year greetings to all Russians -- even those protesting over his 12-year rule and his plans to return to the presidency for at least six more years.
He said he wished wellbeing and prosperity "to all our citizens regardless of their political persuasion, including those who sympathise with leftist forces and those situated on the right, below, above, however you like" -- in Russian, clear sexual innuendo. Mr Putin often uses crude language, especially when speaking derisively of his critics.
President Dmitry Medvedev will give the formal New Year address, which is expected to be more conciliatory toward the Kremlin's opponents.