* Middle East direct peace talks begin in earnest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have begun direct peace talks in Washington.
* Settlers end freeze, resume construction While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington to launch direct peace talks with the Palestinians, tensions are mounting in the West Bank.
* IDF warns of wave of violence as Hamas vows to sink peace talks The Israel Defense Forces on Thursday warned of a possible wave of attacks as Hamas militants try to sabotage Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
* UN chief 'very encouraged' by Israel-Palestinian talks Ban Ki-moon calls on both sides to show sincerity, flexibility ahead of Netanyahu-Abbas meeting in Washington.
* 'Hamas won't let the PA reach a peace agreement' Yishai says renewed negotiations will lead to nowhere, as Hamas won't honor Abbas's agreement; Shas declares opposition to building freeze.
* Iraq on high alert for spike in Al Qaida attacks following U.S. exit Iraq is bracing for an escalation in Al Qaida mass-casualty suicide attacks, following the withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops.
* Islamist Turkey government finds arms requests being blocked by Congress Turkey has been concerned over delays in its arms requests from the United States.
* Peres, Pope to Discuss Peace Talks President Shimon Peres plans to meet Thursday with Pope Benedict XVI in Italy. The two are to discuss the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
* Stephen Hawking: God did not create Universe There is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe, Professor Stephen Hawking has said.
* 'You got the Belgians running Europe?' Bush asked Blair Ex-UK prime minister Tony Blair has burst back onto the media landscape in the UK after a three-year absence with the publication of his keenly awaited memoir.