Jordan sentences Zarqawi, 8 militants to death
AMMAN, Feb 15 (Reuters): Jordan handed down its fourth death sentence in absentia against al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Wednesday, after finding him and eight others guilty of plotting chemical attacks in the kingdom.
Jordan's state security court said it had evidence that Zarqawi oversaw plans to use suicide bombers to attack US and government targets. The plan was thwarted in April 2004.
He was shouted down by the defendants as he read the verdicts in a court room in Jweida prison, on the outskirts of the capital, where the militants were jailed.
Russia, Iran to hold nuke talks
MOSCOW, 2006 (AP): Russia and Iran will hold talks in Moscow Monday on Russia's offer to enrich uranium for Tehran, the Russian Embassy in the Iranian capital was quoted as saying Wednesday.
The Iranian government informed Russian officials about their intention to participate in the negotiations on Feb 20, four days later than originally planned, the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted an embassy official as saying.
Pakistan releases 562 Afghans as Karzai arrives
KARACHI (Reuters): Pakistan freed 562 Afghans held in detention for visa violations, in a goodwill gesture at the start of a visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai Wednesday.
Karzai, during his three-day visit, is expected to ask Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf to do more to stop Taliban fighters crossing into Afghanistan after a spate of suicide bomb attacks over the past few months.
Although both are allies in a US-led war against terrorism, Afghanistan has still to overcome distrust lingering on from Pakistan's support for the Taliban militia during its rule of Afghanistan between 1996 and late 2001.
While security issues are expected to dominate talks, the two sides will also look for ways to improve ties, and Afghan officials welcomed the release of their countrymen Wednesday.
Hamas plans to nominate cabinet before Israeli elections
GAZA CITY, (AP): Senior Hamas leaders said Wednesday the Islamic militant group would appoint a Cabinet in early March, or several weeks before Israeli elections - a timetable likely to play into the hands of hawkish Israeli parties.
Top Israeli officials, meanwhile, have launched a three-day brainstorming session to finalise their policy on dealing with the Palestinians as the new Hamas era dawns. An Israeli newspaper quoted Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz as saying Israel wouldn't deal with the Palestinians at all if Hamas tapped its own people to serve as prime minister and parliament speaker.