Hagel says U.S. commitment to Middle East security endures
By David Alexander MANAMA (Reuters) - Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told Gulf Arab leaders on Saturday that the United States has a proven and enduring commitment to Middle East security, backed by diplomatic engagement as well as warplanes, ships, tanks, artillery and 35,000 troops. The U.S. defense secretary, speaking at a regional security forum, acknowledged Gulf leaders' concerns about the direction of U.S. policy in the Middle East, especially negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. But he said the U.S. emphasis on diplomacy should not be misinterpreted. Leaders in the region fear that the United States will lose focus on the Middle East as it strategically rebalances to Asia.
Cops: NH teen missing 2 months wrote letter to mom
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A teenager who disappeared nearly two months ago mailed her mother a letter several weeks after she was last seen, law enforcement officials said Friday.
Air traffic glitch sparks big flight delays in UK
LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled at Britain's busiest airports Saturday after a technical glitch left the main air traffic control center unable to operate at full capacity.
Putin spokesman: customs union not discussed
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The presidents of Russia and Ukraine didn't discuss Ukraine joining a Russian-led customs union, one of the issues driving large protests now in their third week in Kiev, at a meeting this week, their representatives said Saturday.
Sports-mad South Africa salutes Mandela "The Captain"
By Ed Stoddard and Ed Cropley JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Sports-mad South Africa saluted Nelson Mandela on Saturday with smiles and moments of silence in honor of the late anti-apartheid leader, who inspired people to pursue the impossible from politics to the playing field. The tributes stretched across the sporting spectrum, from club cricket and fun runs to top fixtures such as a League Cup final between Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates, the Soweto giants believed to have been Mandela's favorite soccer side. Saturday's Cup final will be preceded by a ceremony in honor of South Africa's first black president, whose early sporting prowess, particularly boxing and soccer, was cut short when he was jailed for 27 years by the apartheid government. On Saturday, many recalled Mandela's central role in arguably South Africa's greatest sporting triumph - winning the 1995 rugby World Cup just one year after the multi-racial elections that ended decades of white-minority rule.