* Musharraf rejects emergency rule Pakistan has stepped back from imposing emergency rule, after mounting speculation that President Pervez Musharraf was considering the move.
* UN warns Gaza faces economic disaster The Gaza Strip will soon become entirely dependent on foreign aid and face "disastrous consequences".
* Missile interception system to be operational in 18 months Israel's short-range rocket-based missile interception system will become operational in 18 months.
* Peres: Misunderstanding with Syria could lead to conflict President Shimon Peres reiterated concerns expressed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Wednesday that a misunderstanding with Syria could lead to armed conflict.
* Canada joins rush to claim the Arctic Canada raised the stakes in the battle to claim ownership of the Arctic by sending Stephen Harper, prime minister, on a three-day trek to the region.
* 'Teheran counts on victory of Iraqis' Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Teheran and Baghdad share a "heavy responsibility" in establishing peace and security in the region.
* Security tight for Iraq pilgrims A huge security operation is under way in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, ahead of a pilgrimage that is expected to draw more than a million Shia faithful.
* Saudis might take Bibles from tourists Despite a series of initiatives aimed at generating foreign tourism, the Saudi Arabian government continues to bar Jews and Christians from bringing items such as Bibles.
* Diplomats press for Kosovo deal A top diplomat trying to settle the future status of Kosovo says the Serbs and ethnic Albanians may be facing their last chance to reach a deal.* Tribal council starts in Kabul A meeting of Afghan and Pakistani political and tribal leaders has opened in Kabul, but will not be attended by Pakistan's president.