* Abbas wants Orient House reopened Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has appointed a special adviser on Jerusalem affairs.
* Iraq welcomes Mehdi Army 'freeze' The Iraqi government has welcomed the move by radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr to freeze the activities of his Mehdi Army militia for six months.
* Army denies reducing level of forces in the Golan Contrary to various news reports, senior defense officials said Wednesday that the IDF had not reduced its level of forces on the Golan Heights.
* Gul approves pro-EU Turkey cabinet Turkey's new president has approved a cabinet with a mix of AK party and secular members.
* PA chairman urges US to map out peace plan Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned Wednesday that a US-sponsored international peace conference planned for November could fail.
* EU resumes treaty wrangling as political issues remain As the deadline for political agreement on the new European treaty draws closer, EU officials believe that while the treaty outline is relatively tight, up to seven remaining issues are political.
* 'Russia caused tensions between Israel, Syria' Russia was partly responsible for the heightened tension between Israel and Syria at the beginning of the summer.
* New book challenges US support for Israel An upcoming book that challenges whether diplomatic and military support for Israel is in the United States' best interests is set to spark fresh debate on Washington's role in the Middle East.
* U.S. coordinator plans 5 new Palestinian battalions in W. Bank A new plan by the U.S. security coordinator in the territories, General Keith Dayton, calls for the deployment of five new Palestinian battalions throughout the West Bank.* Gul receives cold reception from Turkey military Ex-Islamist Abdullah Gul's first encounter as president with the staunchly-secularist Turkish army got off to a shaky start.