* North Korea missile launcher ready to fire A senior Japanese defense official said Thursday that North Korea's Musudan missile launcher has moved to firing mode and is ready for launch.
* Iraq national museum long way from public opening In Iraq's national museum, home to some of the world's most precious artifacts of ancient Mesopotamia, a caption beside a skeleton simply reads in English: "dated to very old time."
* Hamas wants bigger regional role Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal has set an ambitious agenda for his new term.
* New Syrian Refugee Camps in Turkey for Christians, Kurds Turkey is building new refugee camps for members of two minority groups in Syria, the Christians and the Kurds.
* G8 ministers condemn North Korea nuclear moves Tensions have risen on the Korean peninsula in recent weeks.
* Guatemala recognizes Palestine as a state Guatemala has recognized Palestine as a state, which it believes will help bring about a peace agreement with Israel.
* Is Syria turning into the Afghanistan next door? Something eerily familiar is taking place in Syria. A secular dictatorship is fighting an atrociously brutal civil war with rebels, and as the country disintegrates, local jihadi-Islamist fighters are joined by volunteers from abroad.
* Syria air strikes 'target civilians' - Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch says it visited 52 sites in north-western Syria, documenting 59 such unlawful attacks.
* Kotel Rav: 'Uproot the Divisive Women of the Wall' Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Kotel and the Holy Places, on Thursday called on the Israeli public to "condemn and remove from their midst" the Women of the Wall group.
* Hanging, decapitation: Capital punishment report for 2012 Amnesty's annual report has China topping list of executions with over 1,000, Iran second with 314, US fifth with 43.