– White House Budget and Treasury Department officials, not the Pentagon, will decide which Defense contractors get paid and when if the nation were to default next week.
– Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas called for massive Arab Spring-inspired rallies to support his bid for a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood.
– In a video released on the web, new al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri praised Syrian demonstrators in the months-long uprising against the secular Ba’athist dictatorship of Bashar Al Assad.
– An online activist group said that nearly 3,000 Syrian demonstrators have disappeared in the uprising there, amounting to about one missing person per hour since the protest movement started.
– North Korea repeated its calls for a peace treaty with South Korea ahead of exploratory talks this week in New York to revive the Six-Party-Talks negotiating framework.
— African Union forces killed six people in an offensive to protect famine relief efforts in Somalia after al-Shabab militants killed men who tried to escape the famine with their families.
— Eritrea orchestrated a plot to attack an Africa Union Summit in Ethiopia in January and provides funding for al Qaeda-linked Somali militants according to a U.N. report.