By Marissa CalhounNEW YORK -- Over the past 11 years, 41-year-old Iranian journalist Parisa Hafezi has been beaten, harassed and detained for what she describes as just doing her job. Hafezi is Bureau Chief for Reuters in Tehran. There, Hafezi is responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of a 14-person news division tasked with reporting, among many other things, the truth about the Iranian government. She is also one of four female journalists from news organizations all over the world being honored by the International Women's Media Foundation for her courage in the field of journalism. Continue »
After announcing this month the complete drawdown from troops in Iraq by the end of the year, the Pentagon is planning to increase its military presence in the Persian Gulf region, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times, the move - which could result in the addition of combat forces in Kuwait and naval warships in the region's international waters - means to protect U.S. interests in the region in the event of a security conflict in Iraq or Iran.
The plans come in the wake of criticism that the Obama administration's decision to withdraw from Iraq fully despite concerns that doing so could lead to instability in the region.
According to the Times, the administration will seek to bolster ties with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman as a new "security architecture" for the region.Continue »
The paper, citing security officials, is reporting informants have already helped Mexican authorities capture or kill about two dozen drug traffickers.
Officials told the Times that over the last two years, Drug Enforcement Administration agents developed several "highly-placed confidential sources" with access to the "command and control" ranks of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas.
One of the paid informants, authorities say, was approached last spring by Mansour Arbabsiar, who is now charged in an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador. Arbabsiar reportedly reached out to him as to whether Los Zetas would be willing to engage in terrorist attacks in the U.S.Continue »
The Australian city of Brisbane isn't supposed to see a full moon for another two weeks, but a 22-year-old construction worker reportedly decided to change that in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's visit Monday.
A British television network plans to broadcast the story of a man who referred to himself as "Tuten-Alan" after volunteering his body to be buried in the ways of Tutankhamun.
Just in time for Halloween, Britain's Channel 4 has been promoting the Monday premiere of its documentary about a modern-day mummy. "Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret" will show scientists using the mummification techniques of the ancient Egyptians for the first time in 3,000 years, the Agence France Presse news agency reported Tuesday.
Former cab driver Alan Billis had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer when he decided to donate his body for the project, the AFP reported.
More than 450 Palestinians were transferred from Israeli prisons to the West Bank and Gaza, where massive celebratory rallies festooned with green Hamas flags were held. In Gaza City, tens of thousands crammed into an open lot where a huge stage was set up, decorated with a mural depicting Schalit's capture in a June 2006 raid on an army base near the Gaza border. The crowd exhorted militants to seize more soldiers for future swaps.
The rest of the prisoners -- about 550 more -- are to be released in a second phase in two months.Continue »
HAVANA--Housewife, school teacher and eventually one of Cuba's best known political activists Laura Pollan died Friday evening just a week after being hospitalized with respiratory problems.
Pollan, 63, was the founder of Ladies in White, relatives of political prisoners who broke government controls to stage weekly protest marches in Havana's upscale Miramar neighborhood demanding the release of their loved ones.
Her widower, former political prisoner Hector Maseda told the press his wife died of a "cardiorespiratory attack". Doctors, he said, had worked unsuccessfully for nearly an hour to revive her.Continue »
Pakistan has set free a top-level al Qaeda prisoner who spent years guarding and fighting alongside Osama bin Laden, according to two senior Pakistani police officials, who tell CBS News Amin al-Haq was not a "key player" in the terror group, and "had no information of great value".
"Eventually there was nothing that could be used to keep holding him in custody," said one of the officials, both of whom spoke to CBS News' Farhan Bokhari on condition of anonymity.
British daily The Telegraph was first to report the release on Thursday. Their report also cites a senior Pakistani security official, who told the paper al-Haq was "arrested mistakenly, therefore, the police failed to prove any charge of his association with Osama bin Laden and the court set him free."
Al-Haq's release raises more questions about Pakistan's commitment to tackle Islamic militant groups which operate within parts of the nation with near impunity.Continue »
Pakistani and American officials have kept secret the details of a 2007 shooting attack that left one U.S. Army Major dead because both sides know it was Pakistani forces behind the well-planned assault, and relations between the two nations were viewed as too valuable to risk, according to a report in the New York Times.
U.S., Afghan and Pakistani representatives were at a meeting in Teri Mangal, in the volatile tribal region of northwest Pakistan, along the Afghan border, to settle a border dispute on May 14, 2007.
The initial account from Pakistani security officials blamed militants for the attack on the various representatives as they left the meeting. The Times report says when they were pressed to investigate further, the Pakistanis said it was one rogue troop from their ranks that opened fire on his allies.
They stuck by that line Tuesday.
"The Pakistan army thoroughly investigated the incident and came to the conclusion that the incident involved one individual who was clearly out of line," a Pakistani security official familiar with the details of the incident told CBS News' Farhan Bokhari.
"In these past four years, never has anyone from the U.S. suggested to us that this was anything other than a lone warrior. Since that incident we have had a number of engagements with the U.S. military which have taken place without any problem. If this was such a big problem, then there should have been other incidents too. This was one lone one (incident)," said the official, who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity.
However, the newspaper claims Tuesday that both American and Pakistani officials have been well aware since the shooting that it was the same Pakistani forces who hosted the meeting who then launched the deadly attack, forcing the U.S. forces to flee in a "blood-soaked Black Hawk helicopter".Continue »
As the U.N. Security Council takes up discussion Monday of the Palestinian bid for statehood, President Obama has some tough decisions to make about how to proceed with the peace process in the Middle East.
Mr. Obama's address to the U.N. General Assembly was supportive of Israel, and clear on the U.S. threat to veto the Palestinians' bid in the U.N. Security Council -- making it impossible for Palestine to become a state member of the U.N.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Mr. Obama for his speech, and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman congratulated him. But President Obama proposed no specific plan, leaving it to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- in her role as U.S. representative to the Middle East Quartet of the U.S., Russia, the U.N. and the European Union -- to plot the next steps.Continue »
Thousands of Palestinians Friday gathered in the streets of West Bank cities to watch President Mahmoud Abbas address the U.N. General Assembly on giant screens in a festive atmosphere. On hearing Abbas' confirmation of the region's request to become a U.N. member state, the crowd roared.
"With our souls, with our blood, we will defend Palestine," some people said.
The same crowd earlier set fire to U.S. flags in protest to President Obama's remarks about vetoing the Palestinian bid in the Security Council.
Nyad, who marked her 62nd birthday at the end of August just weeks after giving up nearly half-way through the 103-mile swim, is spending the day preparing with her support team, packing in the carbohydrates and hitting the pool to keep her muscles loose.
"I think at the age of 62, I honestly believe, I'm in the best shape of my whole life," Nyad told the media at a marina named for Ernest Hemingway on the outskirts of the Cuban capital.
In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, President Obama is set to focus on the "transformational nature of the past year," the White House said, meaning the transitions to democracy around the world since he was the at General Assembly a year ago. He has a tough audience to calm, both at home and with world leaders. Dominating the agenda this year have been the Palestinian statehood issue and the intense negotiations to restart Middle East peace talks.
There is a sense of urgency at U.N. headquarters in New York. Meetings about terrorism, nuclear safety, and the impact of an economic downturn on poor nations have packed the agenda, but as the clock ticks toward Friday with the expectation of a formal application for statehood at the U.N. by the Palestinians, world leaders are hoping to hear a way out of a high stakes confrontation.
Obama is expected to focus instead on the positive, the changes of government from despots to democratic leaders and the continuing battles in the Middle East and Northern Africa in what has come to be called the "Arab Spring," in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya -- and to spotlight the need for change in Syria and Iran.Continue »
King of Jordan Abdulla II ibn Al Hussein on Tuesday called for two-state negotiations between Israel and Palestine and argued that tensions between the two countries threaten security in the region.
King Abdullah, speaking at an IBM conference in New York, said "the central threat in the region remains the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."
He added that a two-state agreement between the two countries was needed. Israel and Palestine tensions have mounted in recent days over the settlements as well as refugees.Continue »
As the clock ticks toward Friday and the Palestinians' looming formal application for statehood at the U.N., all sides involved -- the Palestinians, the Israelis, the European Union negotiators, and President Obama -- know how high the stakes have become in this face-off.
Palestinian leaders have said it is essentially too late to put the brakes on the request, but feverish negotiations continue to find a solution that would avert the spectacle of a failed bid for statehood in the Security Council.
"The key thing is to see if we can find a way out of the possibility of a great showdown confrontation, and get to a situation where there is a big advance for Palestinian statehood and a renewed negotiation," former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is now Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, tells CBS News in an exclusive interview.Continue »