Sudan (Southern): Minister of Cooperatives and Rural Development, Jimmy Lemi Milla, was shot dead today by his brother-in-law in Juba. (Bloomberg)
Tunisia: The Senate was considering granting Interim President Foued Mebaza the ability to sidestep parliament, made up mostly of followers of deposed Ben Ali, to decide key issues relating to the transition to democracy and the holding of elections within six months. (AFP)
Afghanistan: A government probe found that 16 private security firms were accused of violations that include hiring too many guards, failing to pay taxes, and keeping unregistered weapons and vehicles. (WaPo)
Korean Peninsula: The second day of talks between colonels of the North and South ended abruptly when the North left the table unilaterally with no improvement in relations.
The North was not willing to apologize for the sinking of the South’s ship last March nor was it willing to apologize for shelling an island in the South in November. (NYT)
Pakistan: Representatives Buck McKeon and John Kline told Pakistani leaders Congress would consider cutting aid unless diplomat Raymond Davis is freed. (AFP)
Russia: The Chechen capital of Grozny experienced blasts over the past 24 hours wounding 5 people, including 3 police officers. (Xinhua)
Spain: Two former FARC guerillas in a Spanish court said they were trained on how to use explosives by ETA separatists between 2002-2008. (AFP)
Colombia: Two Brazilian helicopters, marked with the Red Cross symbol, will be used in flying out 5 hostages to be released by the FARC. (AFP)
Venezuela: Provea human rights group said close to 14,000 people were murdered in Venezuela last year and the figure could be significantly higher due to rampant crime. (AP)
Iran: Opposition leader Karroubi said a demonstration next week will test both the government and the opposition.
For the opposition, it means carrying through on the 2009 post-election demonstrations, while the government is seeking to prove that the demonstrations will be in support of Islamic aspects of the protests in Egypt and Tunisia. (NYT)
Iraq: Three blasts struck outside the headquarters of Kurdish intelligence forces in Kirkuk killing 7 and wounding 80 people. (AP)
Syria: Facebook and YouTube are available for the first time in 3 years in the country after the government supposedly lifted a ban on the sites. (AP)
TECHNOLOGY & COMMUNICATION
Smartphones have come under increasing attack by hackers and spammers according to computer security firm McAfee. The last three months in 2010 saw a 46% rise in malware compared to the same period in 2009. (AFP)