* Iraqi PM hails vote as 'victory' Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has hailed a largely peaceful vote for new provincial councils across the country as a victory for all Iraqis.
* Hamas must be brought into peace process, says Tony Blair Hamas must somehow be brought into the Middle East peace process because the policy of isolating Gaza in the quest for a settlement will not work.
* Obama's Unnecessary Apology Every new president flatters himself that he, kinder and gentler, is beginning the world anew.
* Hamas: Blair's suggestion 'testifies to his stupidity' After Middle East Quartet envoy to the region Tony Blair said in in an interview to The Times that Hamas must be involved in the peace process, the movement and its leaders issues statements.
* Iranians mark Islamic revolution Iran has begun 10 days of celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that overthrew the US-backed former ruler, the Shah.
* Thousands protest across Russia Thousands of people have held rallies across Russia protesting against what they describe as the government's mismanagement of the economy.
* Turkish PM Erdogan says 'Palestine today is an open-air prison' Fresh off his public spat with President Shimon Peres in Davos, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to make waves in the murky waters of Middle East diplomacy.
* US 'actively seeks' Mid-East deal The US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, has said Washington is committed to "actively and aggressively" seeking lasting peace.
* Hamas Plans Alternative Authority to PLO The Hamas leadership in exile has publicly declared its intention to form an alternative representative authority to replace the decades-old Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).* Pope's Silence Fuels Holocaust Controversy Ever since Pope Benedict XVI allowed schismatic bishops back into the Catholic fold a week ago, his decision has been met with abundant expressions of outrage.