Saturday, July 17, 2010


* Security by third party, equitable land swap - Abbas' conditions for direct talks In clearest statement yet of demands, Palestinian President says that if Israel agrees to conditions 'in principle' direct talks could begin.

* Human Rights Watch: No freedom, no rights in Syria Report on Assad's failures during 10-year reign maintains that Syria's secret police detain people without arrest warrants and torture 'with complete impunity.'

* Ashton: Israel, open Gaza crossings Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, starts her second Mideast tour in four months Saturday, trying to restart the stalled peace talks and push Israel into making good on a promise to open border crossings with Gaza.

* Assad reaffirms Turkey's role as mediator Syrian president says other countries 'can play supportive role, not alternative one' in mediation in Israel-Syria peace talks.

* Turkey unveils first drone plane Turkey on Friday unveiled its first drone airplane, a surveillance craft able to fly for 24-hour stretches over the rugged mountains where Kurdish rebels are waging a deadly insurgency. Engineers boast that it is as capable as the Israeli-made Heron.

* US: Iron Dome will work A US-backed rocket shield is on track to protect Israeli towns against rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, a senior State Department official said Friday.

* Iran's President Renews Pressure on Conservatives Having successfully suppressed the opposition uprising that followed last summer's disputed presidential election, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters are now renewing their efforts to marginalize another rival group - Iran's traditional conservatives.

* Gaza flotilla organizer: We'll send convoys to Gaza on land Head of IHH, Turkish activist group behind recent aid flotilla that tried to reach Gaza, promises 'surprises' to be revealed soon.

* Endgame It's an idea for solving the conflict that sounds like a vision of the end of days: Grant Israeli citizenship and equal rights to all the Palestinians in the West Bank. And who is proposing the one-state solution? Right-wingers and settlers.

* African Union summit starts in Uganda a week after bombings The African Union summit started in Uganda on Saturday, nearly a week after triple bombings in the nation's capital killed more than 70 people.