BRUSSELS - The European Union reached outline agreement on Friday to impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behaviour in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for the crucial gas sector. | Video
MOSCOW - Russian authorities accused Ukraine of trying to kill law enforcement officials who were checking reports of cross-border shooting on Friday by firing a volley of mortar rounds over the frontier into Russia.
WASHINGTON - Evidence that Russia is moving more weapons into Ukraine to arm rebels is likely to trigger more U.S. sanctions against Moscow once the European Union likely agrees its own sanctions next week, senior U.S. officials said on Friday.
BEIRUT - Fighters from al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State killed at least 50 Syrian army soldiers and took over parts of their base on Friday outside the northern city of Raqqa, as the radicals escalated their attacks on government forces, a monitoring group said.
GAZA/JERUSALEM - Israel has rejected international proposals for a ceasefire in its fight against Islamist militants in Gaza, a government source said on Friday, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said no formal proposals had yet been put forward. | Video
CAIRO - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that there were still disagreements on the terminology for a Gaza truce and called for a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday next week.
CAIRO - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel will begin a 12-hour pause in Gaza hostilities starting at 7 am Israeli time (12 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, a U.S. official said on Friday.
BAGHDAD - Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric urged political leaders on Friday to refrain from clinging to their posts - an apparent reference to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has defied demands that he step aside. Speaking through an aide who delivered a sermon after Friday prayers in the holy city of Kerbala, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said leaders should show flexibility so that political deadlocks could be broken and Iraq could confront an insurgency.
BAGHDAD - Iraq's top cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on political leaders on Friday to refrain from clinging to their posts, in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has defied demands that he step aside.
KIEV - Ukraine's prime minister has launched what promises to be a bitter election campaign that could divide pro-Western parties and complicate their efforts to fight pro-Russian rebels in the country's east.
Regardless what voters decide in the November elections, there will be a major changing of the guard next year in the U.S. Congress as result of a number of key retirements.