* 'Syrian PM dismisses ME peace' Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari dismissed the chances of peace ever being achieved in the Middle East in an interview with Syrian media.
* Ankara denies plans to arm Hizbullah Turkish foreign ministry officials denied reports that Ankara had agreed to Iranian requests to transfer missiles.
* Palestinians to decide on direct talks in two days, PA official says The Palestinian Authority is to decide on whether or not it intended to agree to direct Middle East peace talks in the next few days.
* Obama backs controversial plan for mosque near Ground Zero U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday backed construction of a proposed mosque and Muslim cultural center near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York.
* Lebanon sets up fund to equip army Lebanon said on Saturday it was setting up a fund for Lebanese to help arm its under-equipped military, days after lawmakers in Washington blocked US military aid.
* Iran: Bushehr reactor to be activated mid September Iran said on Saturday that the nuclear reactor in Bushehr will be activated on September 16 despite Russia's announcement that it will be launched next week.
* Lebanese TV stations scrap Jesus show Two Shiite Muslim television stations in Lebanon canceled a controversial program about Jesus on Friday.
* Margaret Atwood / Mideast peace needs prophets, not yes-men "After I visited Israel and wrote "The Shadow Over Israel" for Haaretz, many people asked me what "my position" was.
* U.S. Sees North Korea as Rattling Sabers for Heir In the 16 years since he assumed his father’s role as North Korea’s sole leader, Kim Jong-il has been denounced by the United States as a vicious dictator who starves his people, runs gulags, sets off nuclear tests and orders attacks on South Korean ships.
* Hizbullah to give data to UN tribunal Hizbullah will provide the UN tribunal investigating the 2005 assaassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri with evidence.