The U.S. military has taken a step toward pulling combat troops from Iraqi cities, moving out of a Baghdad base that Iraqi officials said would be dismantled and converted back into a shopping mall.
Pakistani intelligence officials say they have arrested a senior Taliban official who was released by Afghanistan in 2007 in exchange for the Taliban's release of a kidnapped journalist.
The Israeli air campaign against Hamas has entered its second week, and UN officials say the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is deepening, despite Israel's increased truck deliveries of vital supplies amid the bombing.
The EU is feeling the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute, with Romania reporting a one-third drop in gas deliveries via Ukrainian pipelines, while Hungary, Bulgaria, and Poland are also feeling the pinch.
Russian natural gas supplies to Romania suddenly fell by 30-40 percent late on January 2 as a result of the Russia-Ukraine gas row, the head of Romania's state-controlled pipeline operator Transgaz said.
The United States has criticized the harassment in Iran of Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and said such actions were part of an "increasingly hostile campaign" that targeted activists.
Two explosions and violent protests rocked the flashpoint town of Mitrovica, destroying cars and damaging property in the latest bout of unrest triggered when a Serb teenager was hurt in a fight.
Jordanian and Egyptian riot police have cracked down on protesters demanding an end to Israel's attacks on Gaza and to ties with the Jewish state.
Kyrgyz opposition leader Abdygany Erkebaev has said that 2009 will be a year of opposition-organized public protest against the government.
Two Kyrgyz citizens have been stabbed to death in the Russian capital.
Turkey has launched its first 24-hour Kurdish-language television station, in what is seen as a marked shift of policy toward the country's Kurdish minority, whose language was officially banned as recently as 1991.
Britain has formally handed over responsibility for the running of Al-Basrah airport to Iraqi authorities, the Defense Ministry has said, a move that paves the way for Britain to withdraw from Iraq.