* Russia to supply missiles to Syria Russia plans to supply air-defense missile systems valued at $250 million to seven countries including Syria, Libya and Venezuela.
* China begins anti-piracy mission Three Chinese naval ships have set sail for waters off Somalia to protect Chinese vessels from pirate attacks.
* Hamas: Our leaders do not fear death Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip said Thursday that they were not worried about the possibility that Israel might assassinate the movement's top leaders.
* Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border Pakistan began moving thousands of troops away from the Afghan border toward India on Friday amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks.
* Iran to send aid ship to Gaza Iran's Red Crescent is sending a shipment of aid to the Gaza Strip in the face of a blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory by Islamic republic's archfoe Israel.
* Israel moves closer to Gaza invasion Israel moved closer to invading Gaza, saying Thursday it had wrapped up preparations for a broad offensive.
* UN steps up Lebanon border patrols after rockets found UN peacekeepers and Lebanese troops have stepped up patrols along the border with Israel after rockets were discovered aimed at the Jewish state and ready to fire.
* Ahmadinejad says Jesus would be on his side Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a Christmas message on a British television station that Jesus would be on his side.
* Iranians join Bush shoe protest Dozens of Iranians in the country's capital Tehran have held their own shoe-throwing rally in protest at US President George W Bush.* Maliki faces accusations and rumors With provincial elections scheduled for the end of January, Iraq appears to be plagued by political troubles.