Gates: U.S. troops could stay after 2011
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, visiting Iraq on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, said Friday the United States would entertain a range of requests from Iraq to extend the U.S. troop presence. After meeting with Massoud Barzani, president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Gates said the Kurds are interested in an extended U.S. military presence, though the central government in Baghdad has publicly indicated that Iraqi security forces can stand on their own after the scheduled U.S. departure Dec. 31. Also Friday, Iraq security forces raided the settlement of an Iranian exile group, The People's Mujahedeen Organization, that the Shiite-led government has long tried to oust and at least 10 people were killed, officials said.
Gbagbo loyalists regroup in attacks
Fighters backing Ivory Coast's strongman Laurent Gbagbo have regrouped and resumed attacks against U.N. peacekeepers, civilians and forces loyal to his rival, President-elect Alassane Ouattara, the top U.N. peacekeeping official said Friday. The development represented a dramatic reversal of fortune for Gbagbo, who earlier this week appeared on the verge of defeat amid intense fighting in the city of Abidjan.
El Paso, Texas: A Cuban former CIA operative accused of lying during a U.S. immigration hearing was acquitted on all charges Friday, with jurors taking just three hours to reach a verdict after enduring 13 weeks of often-delayed testimony. The decision ends four years of attempts by the U.S. government to convict 83-year-old Luis Posada Carriles.
Boston: Members of the Kennedy family gathered with former staff members and elected officials on a blustery stretch of Boston's oceanfront Friday to break ground on the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
India: A blast outside a mosque in the Indian portion of Kashmir on Friday killed a prominent Muslim religious leader, Moulvi Showkat Ahmed Shah, and wounded a bystander, police said.
Kazakhstan: President Nursultan Nazarbayev was sworn in for a new five-year term Friday after securing a devastating victory in an election criticized by international observers.