* Syria opposition rebuffs Russian call for talks Russia invited the leader of Syria's opposition on Friday to visit for the first time.
* Iranians begin Strait of Hormuz naval drill Iran's state TV is reporting the country's navy has begun maneuvers in the area of the Strait of Hormuz.
* Hinting at war crimes charges, UK minister attacks Israel for East Jerusalem construction plans A British minister on Thursday harshly condemned Israel for its plans to expand construction in East Jerusalem.
* Fatah gets okay to celebrate anniversary in Gaza A day after canceling anniversary celebrations in Gaza, Fatah officials said the movement would be allowed to celebrate in the Hamas-controlled Strip after all.
* Next stop for the Arab Spring? Sudan and Jordan are perfectly situated to be next the countries to go through Arab uprisings.
* A nation once again? Kurds gain from regional tectonic shift in northeast Syria following the Assad regime's retreat back to Damascus.
* Norman Schwarzkopf, retired US general, dies aged 78 Retired US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led troops in the 1991 Gulf War, has died aged 78.
* China approves tighter rules on internet access China has tightened its rules on internet usage to enforce a previous requirement that users fully identify themselves to service providers.
* Abbas Threatens to Disband PA if Peace Talks Don't Resume Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas threatened on Thursday that he will disband the PA unless there is Israeli movement toward renewing peace talks after Israel's elections on January 22.
* On Payroll After 'Resignation', Another 'Lie in Web of Lies The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee slammed the State Department on Thursday over a report that officials who were said to have resigned over the attacks in Benghazi are still on the payroll.