— New U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said today that the U.S. has no interest in creating permanent military bases there and “and does not want to use the country as a platform to influence neighboring countries.” At the same time, Crocker said the U.S. is not rushing for the exits in Afghanistan.
— As more reports emerge from Norway about the writings of terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, his frequent references to U.S. “counterjihad” bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer has put a new spotlight on anti-Muslim writers in the U.S.
— The World Bank pledged more than $500 million for famine relief in Somalia as international aid groups warn that a majority of Somalis don’t have access to food.
— The Syrian cabinet approved a new law allowing the formation of political parties other than the Baath Party as security forces there arrested hundreds of anti-government protesters yesterday at rallies in Homs and the suburbs of Damascus.
— A North Korean envoy is expected to visit the U.S. this week to discuss a restart of talks seeking the end of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Discussions have been at a standstill since the Six-Party-Talks framework collapsed in 2009.
— The Pakistani government is cracking down on the free movement of foreigners who work there doing diplomacy and foreign aid work, increasing monitoring and rejecting official entreaties to visit troubled areas.
— U.S. Court of Appeals judges rejected a bid by a Yemeni man accused of fighting with the Taliban to challenge his confinement in a controversial prison at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.