* Mitchell holds talks with Abbas as hopes for ME peace fade The US envoy to the Middle East was holding talks with the Palestinian leader on Friday afternoon, even as hopes are fading that Washington could restart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations anytime soon.
* Israel hopes NIE will pressure Iran Israel is anxiously awaiting the publication of an updated United States National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.
* More names on Iraq election ban Iraq's election commission chief has said more candidates are likely to be banned from running in parliamentary elections on 7 March.
* Hezbollah on high alert for fear of Israeli attack Hezbollah has raised the alert level among its fighters due to maneuvers conducted by the Israel Defense Forces in northern Israel.
* US welcomes EU's new foreign policy powers US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has welcomed the upgrading of EU foreign policy under the Lisbon Treaty at a meeting with the union's recently-anointed foreign relations chief, Catherine Ashton.
* Clinton urges Internet freedom, condemns cyber attacks U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday called for an unfettered worldwide Internet and urged global condemnation of those who conduct cyber attacks.
* Obama Administration Lifts US Ban on Muslim Brotherhood Leader The Barack Obama administration has decided to lift a ban preventing Muslim Scholar Professor Tariq Ramadan from entering the United States.
* 4 Israeli women work tirelessly to save Dead Sea Scrolls For the past two and a half months, Tania Treiger, a conservator with the Israel Antiquities Authority, has been pouring over a piece of parchment about 20 centimeters square.
* EU mandarins drafting blueprint for diplomatic corps Senior figures in the EU Council and the European Commission have filled the majority of seats on a committee responsible for designing the EU's diplomatic corps.
* New EU-Mediterranean club opens in Barcelona A new club of regional and local officials from European, North African and Middle Eastern countries - "Arlem" - was inaugurated on Thursday (21 January) in Barcelona.