Tuesday, October 21, 2008


* Top US, Russian military chiefs meet American and Russian military leaders met Tuesday for unannounced talks in Finland, the highest-level military meeting between the two countries since Russia's war with US ally Georgia in August, a US Embassy official said.

* Libya seeks Russian arms Interfax quotes Russian arms source, says OPEC member may buy more than $2 billion in weapons, including surface-to-air missiles.

* Iran, Russia, Qatar mull forming OPEC-style natural gas cartel Iran, Russia and Qatar discussed the formation of an OPEC-style cartel among some of the largest natural gas producing nations on Tuesday, a prospect that has unnerved energy-importing nations in Europe and the United States.

* Iran sanction talks produce no result Senior diplomats from six world powers discussed on Monday the possibility of imposing new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, but they failed again to reach consensus on how or whether to continue, US officials said.

* Abbas hints he might not leave office when his term ends Palestinian Authority Preisdent Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he was not intending to step down from office when his term ends in January 2009, hinting also that he would run again for PA president in 2010.

* 3 oil countries face a reckoning As the price of oil roared to ever higher levels in recent years, the leaders of Venezuela, Iran and Russia muscled their way onto the world stage, using checkbook diplomacy and, on occasion, intimidation.

* Russia set to invest heavily in space industry Russia will spend billions of dollars over the next three years to consolidate its leading role in the space industry, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

* Somali Piracy Shakes Confidence in Suez Canal Route The rise in piracy off the coasts of Somalia has shaken confidence in the Suez Canal as a safe passage linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and has prompted shipping companies to seek out alternative routes that avoid the dangerous East African Horn waters.

* Iraq-U.S. Security Pact Fate Hangs in the Balance An Iraqi-U.S. security pact that would determine the presence of the U.S. forces in Iraq beyond the end of this year is hanging in the balance after Iraqi leaders refused to endorse what was to be the "final draft," as further negotiations are expected to be held to resolve the toughest issues on which neither side seems to be budging.

* Switzerland, a Possible Target of Islamist Terrorism? Once considered the safest country in Europe, if not the world, Switzerland is now a potential target of a terrorist attack.

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