* 'Israel will make Hamas suffer if Gaza rocket fire continues' The Islamist Hamas movement is probably not responsible for a recent upsurge in rocket fire out of Gaza where it rules, but will be made to suffer if the salvoes continue.
* In Iran, Basij paramilitary holds sway With a presence in nearly every city and town across Iran, the paramilitary Basij volunteer corps has an ever-increasing influence on life in the Islamic Republic.
* Jordan's king urges Israel to seize moment created by Kerry Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to Jordan on Thursday for talks with the king on the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiation.
* American Aid to Egypt May be Restored Congress is prepared to allow U.S. President Barack Obama to restore $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt.
* China's Treasury Holdings Climb to Record in Government Data China's holdings of U.S. Treasuries increased $12.2 billion to a record $1.317 trillion in November.
* UN panel confronts Vatican on child sex abuse by clergy The Vatican has been confronted publicly for the first time over the sexual abuse of children by clergy, at a UN hearing in Geneva.
* France 'underestimated' Central African Republic hatred Gerard Araud told a UN meeting on Wednesday that African Union and French forces were confronting a "nearly impossible" situation.
* 'Reform or we leave EU,' warns British chancellor The UK will leave the European Union if the bloc refuses to reform.
* EU should confront Russia on Ukraine Much has been said about the sins of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
* 'Israel Has Given Up All Moral Boundaries on Abortion' Israel's newly-passed health budget for 2014 includes a significant increase in government funding for legal abortions.