Saturday, February 23, 2013


* New port marks China's growing presence in the Persian Gulf region China and Pakistan recently signed an agreement granting Beijing the operating rights to the Gwadar port facilities in western Pakistan.

* 'Israel monitors weapons transfers to Syrian rebels' Israel is closely monitoring the transfer of certain kinds of weapons to Syrian rebel groups.

* Iran's Revolutionary Guard begins military exercise Iran's Revolutionary Guard has begun a three-day ground and air military exercise aimed at "upgrading its combat readiness."

* Iran selects 16 new sites for nuclear plants Iran has selected 16 locations for the construction of nuclear power plants as part of a plan to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity at multiple sites over the next 15 years.

* Russia accuses US of double standards over Syria Moscow criticizes US over response to Syria car bomb, backs Assad while Washington blames him over conflict.

* Religious Affairs: Papal attraction Back in 1415, with the decadent Borgio papacy nearly 80 years away and the Reformation's challenge more than a century away, there was no hint that catastrophe was approaching Catholicism itself.

* Mali conflict: 'Many die' in Ifoghas mountain battle Thirteen Chadian soldiers and 65 Islamist insurgents have been killed in heavy fighting in a remote part of northern Mali.

* North Korea warns U.S. forces of "destruction" ahead of war drills North Korea on Sunday warned the top U.S. military commander stationed in South Korea that his forces would "meet a miserable destruction" if they go ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korean troops.

* Pro-Obama think tank downplays regional threat of a nuclear Iran A U.S. think tank regarded as close to the administration of President Barack Obama has played down the repercussions of an Iranian nuclear weapons arsenal.

* Egyptian Brotherhood hits back at opposition leader The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood responded Saturday to leading opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei's threat that he would boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.