[10:59 p.m.] United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the West Bank and Jerusalem on Saturday and called for an immediate end to Israeli settlement building. There was no immediate reaction from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
"All settlement activity is illegal anywhere in occupied territory and it must stop," he told reporters in Ramallah.
He called for those involved to make progress toward forging a lasting peace, saying plans for diplomatic discussion between the Israelis and Palestinians through intermediaries are "important," but do not obviate the need for direct negotiations.
"It's high time now that Palestinians and Israelis should be able to live side by side in peace and security," he said. "They can be good partners in working together to achieve peace."
[10:06 p.m.] Authorities in Iran sent in regular police to keep order at a demonstration outside the prison where jailed opposition supporters are held. About 100 family and friends of the prisoners gathered in the street to bring in the Persian new year.
More than 200 uniformed security personnel prevented the crowd from gathering in front of the prison. The demonstrators went to a nearby street, lighted scores of candles, and arranged a Haft Sin, the traditional table that's part of the Iranian new year ritual.
With the arrival of the new year, shortly after 9 p.m. local time, the crowd sang Yare Dabestani, a song made popular by Iran's student movement and often heard during anti-government demonstrations.
Security personnel peacefully dispersed the gathering shortly after the singing began.
A secular bloc eased ahead Saturday in the overall count of votes in Iraq's parliamentary elections, although the prime minister's coalition remained in front with the lead in several provinces.
Despite the overall vote count, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law coalition remained in the lead in seven of the country's 18 provinces, including Baghdad province, according to partial preliminary results released by the Independent High Electoral Commission.
British Airways was operating roughly half its flights Saturday despite a three-day strike by cabin crew members that started at midnight Friday. FULL POST