* Battles rage for Mumbai hostages Fresh explosions and gunfire have been heard at Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace hotel, one of several sites targeted in attacks that have killed at least 130.
* At least five Chabad House hostages have been killed Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said there is "no room for great optimism" about the fate of Israeli hostages inside a Jewish center in Mumbai.
* Iraqi parliament backs US pullout The Iraqi parliament has voted to accept a deal on the future presence of US troops in the country.
* Iran, Lebanon sign 5-year security pact Iran and Lebanon have signed a security agreement, according to which Iran will supply the Lebanese army with weapons and equipment over the next five years.
* Olmert refuses to take leave of absence Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday he did not plan on submitting to an appeal made by Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni.
* Terrorism has truly become war, and we need to rethink how we fight it The terror attack in Mumbai should serve as a sign to decision-makers and strategic analysts in recognizing that the accepted approach to terrorism has become anachronistic and mistaken.
* Al-Qaida No. 2 to US: Overcome meltdown with Islam Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader appeared in a new video posted Friday calling on Americans to embrace Islam to overcome the financial meltdown.
* Pope Benedict may visit Holy Land next year Pope Benedict XVI may visit the Holy Land next year.
* Medvedev in Cuba to improve ties Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is in Cuba for the final stop in a tour of Latin America intended to strengthen Russian influence in the region.* Arab League FMs urge Abbas to stay in office The Arab League foreign ministers on Thursday called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose term expires on January 9, to stay in office until the dispute between Fatah and Hamas is resolved.