AMMAN, JORDAN // A senior government official said Jordan's king has released 46 prisoners convicted on terrorism-related charges, including some with links to Al Qaeda.
The official said yesterday that King Abdullah II had issued a special pardon as a "gesture of good will" to give the prisoners another chance in life.
Kuwait extends detention of opposition activists
KUWAIT CITY // Kuwait's public prosecutor yesterday extended the detention of 24 opposition activists for three weeks for storming parliament.
Seven other activists were freed on bail of 1,000 dinars (Dh13,300), Al Humaidi Al Subaie, a defence lawyer, said.
Putin launches Russian presidential bid
MOSCOW // Russia's prime minister yesterday warned the West against interfering in the country's elections.
Vladimir Putin spoke before thousands of cheering supporters as he formally launched his presidential bid.
Mr Putin, who stepped down in 2008 after two presidential terms but kept his hold on power, announced in September that he intended to reclaim the top job next year and yesterday was formally nominated by his United Russia party.
The televised congress was also aimed at boosting support for Mr Putin's party.
Afghan forces to take over more areas
KABUL // The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has said security forces would start taking over from foreign troops in all or parts of 18 provinces, representing 50 per cent of the population.
This is the second step of a transition that will leave his forces in control by the end of 2014.
Chinese PM vows better school safety
BEIJING // The Chinese premier has pledged more support for school safety following a bus crash earlier this month that killed 19 children.
Wen Jiabao told a conference in Beijing that all types of harm to children must be avoided.