AFGHANISTAN: Parliament defies Karzai
The new parliament decided Thursday to convene as planned at the start of next week, in a defiant response to President Hamid Karzai ordering the opening session postponed by a month. The inaugural meeting of parliament, initially scheduled for Sunday, will test a relationship between Karzai and the country's elected representatives that has become strained enough to threaten the government's stability.
TURKEY: New Iran nuclear talks
The United States is joining five other world powers for talks with Iran this week publicly confident that international efforts have slowed Tehran's capacity to make nuclear arms and created more time to press Tehran to accept curbs on its atomic activities. But the Federation of American Scientists is warning against complacency. It says there have been impressive improvements in the performance of the Iranian machines that enrich uranium, an activity that has provoked UN sanctions because it could be used to make nuclear weapons.
THE KOREAS: OK, let's talk, South says
South Korea said Thursday it accepted a North Korean proposal to hold high-level defense talks a day after the leaders of the United States and China called for better communication between the two Koreas. The talks could prove significant if Seoul and Pyongyang can put aside military and political tensions that soared to their worst level in years in 2010 and lay the groundwork for a resumption of long-stalled international negotiations on ending North Korea's nuclear programs.
TUNISIA: Regime strives for calm
The fragile new government sought Thursday to calm compatriots seething at the party that reigned supreme for 23 years and to reunite a country scarred by deadly riots. The army fired warning shots to calm a noisy but peaceful protest in front of the long-ruling RCD party's headquarters. The government suggested that Islamists imprisoned under ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali would be amnestied and it pledged to make security the top priority.