Fierce battles in central Syria amid Russian airstrikes
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes seized a village in central Syria on Saturday amid fierce clashes with rebels, part of a ground offensive launched earlier this week.
Asia's largest film festival closes with record visitors
BUSAN, South Korea (AP) — A typhoon and a government budget cut did not stop cinema lovers from flocking to Asia's most influential film festival.
Iran announces London oil conference in February
Iran on Saturday announced dates for a three-day oil and gas conference in London in February designed to attract foreign investors awaiting new contract terms to be unveiled next month. Oil majors have expressed interest in returning to Iran as soon as international sanctions linked to its nuclear programme are lifted, but they are currently still barred from signing any deals. A nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, struck in July, is due to be implemented in December or January and a top official said the timing had influenced the London event.
Netanyahu offered vague terms for West Bank withdrawal: former U.S. negotiator
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the United States five years ago that Israel could withdraw from most of the West Bank if his country’s security needs were met, former U.S. Middle East peace negotiator Dennis Ross recounts in a book to be published next week. Prodded by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010 to say what he could do to advance peace talks and citing Israeli security needs, “he said that Israel could withdraw from most of the territory,” Ross writes in “Doomed to Succeed: the U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama.” “He did not want to give percentages, but he understood what the Palestinians wanted, and if the Israeli security needs were accepted by us and met, he could be generally responsive.” Ross has advised Republican and Democratic presidents, including Democratic President Barack Obama.
New U.S.-Russia military talks seen on Syria air safety
By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Friday it expected to hold new talks with Russia's military on pilot safety in Syria's war as soon as this weekend, as the former Cold War foes seek to avoid an accidental clash as they carry out rival bombing campaigns. Russia's entry into Syria's civil war last week has complicated America's more than year-old campaign of airstrikes against Islamic State, leading to at least one U.S. jet to course-correct to avoid an incident. The United States, which opposes Moscow's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has ruled out cooperation with Russia but has agreed to work on air safety procedures.