* Ahmadinejad downplays Israel's threats on Iran Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday downplayed the Israeli threat to launch a military attack on Iran.
* Hamas Seeks Advanced Weapons through New Tunnels Defense officials have warned that Hamas is building large weapons smuggling tunnels for the smuggling of advanced missiles that could reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
* Four Cups of Blood? Hamas 'Celebrates' Passover with Libel Hamas actors, several days before the Passover holiday, performed in Gaza its version of an old blood libel against Jews.
* Iran set to unveil nuclear latest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to announce advances in his country's nuclear programme in a speech to mark national nuclear day.
* 'US, Russia mustn't compete for allies' Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that the United States and Russia should not force former Soviet republics to choose between an alliance with Washington and Moscow.
* Pirate stand-off over US hostage Negotiations are continuing for the release of an American captain held by Somali pirates in a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean off the Horn of Africa.
* U.S. to join nuclear talks with Iran, State Department says In a dramatic break from previous policy, the United States will join direct talks between U.N. and European powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.
* Shia crowds decry US role in Iraq Tens of thousands of supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr have rallied against the US presence in Iraq, six years after Saddam Hussein's fall.
* Obama to host Seder Thursday night US President Barack Obama will celebrate Passover Thursday night with staff and friends in what is believed to be the first White House seder attended by an American president.
* Italy extends quake rescue effort The Italian government has extended the duration of its search for survivors of Monday's earthquake in the Abruzzo region as far as Sunday.