* Arab League Tries to Score Points for Abbas, 'Endorses' Talks On Thursday, the Arab League published a letter backing direct talks with Israel.
* Arab League endorses direct talks Arab League foreign ministers on Thursday authorized the Palestinian Authority to enter into direct negotiations with Israel.
* Al-Qaeda Creating an Army in Yemen The heads of Al-Qaeda in Yemen claimed Thursday to be creating an army in the country's south.
* Egyptian Journalist Describes 'Absolute Prosperity' in Gaza With Hamas telling tales of deprivation and suffering in Gaza, Egyptian journalist Ashraf Abu al-Houl has added his report to others who were surprised to discover a “prosperous” Gaza.
* Syrian and Saudi leaders call for calm on Beirut visit The Syrian and Saudi leaders have called on Lebanon's rival factions to avoid turning to violence amid mounting political tensions in the country.
* China Becomes Second Biggest World Economy China has overtaken Japan to become the world's second-largest economy.
* Lebanon builds up troops near southern border after attacks on UN peacekeepers Officials said the Lebanese Army has been ordered to send a brigade, or about 1,500 troops, to the south.
* Majority of Pakistanis View US as Enemy A new opinion poll indicates that roughly six in 10 Pakistanis view the United States as an enemy, oppose the war in Afghanistan.
* Israel to lodge complaint with UN about Gaza rocket attack on Ashkelon The Foreign Ministry on Friday said that Israel would lodge a protest with the United Nations for a Grad rocket attack on Ashkelon earlier in the day.
* Israel believes Abbas will bide time on direct talks until settlement freeze nears end Officials in Jerusalem believe that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will attempt to delay at all cost the beginning of direct peace negotiations with Israel.