Syria will attend talks, Russia says
Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has agreed "in principle" to participate in a U.S.- and Russian-sponsored peace conference aimed at ending the violence in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday. Moscow learned of the decision to take part during a recent visit by Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad, ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters in Moscow. There was no confirmation from Syria. Organizers hope to hold the peace talks early next month in Geneva.
Leader tells N. Korea to enter nuclear talks
The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, told a North Korean envoy Friday that his country should return to diplomatic talks intended to rid it of its nuclear weapons, according to a state-run news agency. "The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and lasting peace on the peninsula is what the people want and also the trend of the times," Xi said in a meeting with Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae, the China News Service reported.
Phoenix: A federal judge ruled Friday that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies had violated the constitutional rights of Latinos by targeting them during raids and traffic stops in Maricopa County.
Niger: Moktar Belmoktar, the mastermind of the January seizure of an Algerian gas plant that left dozens of hostages dead, has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings on Thursday in Niger that killed about 30 people.