Top news: Militiamen briefly abducted Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan on Thursday, apparently in retaliation for consenting to an American Special Forces operation aimed at capturing a suspected al Qaeda militant over the weekend. Zeidan was kidnapped before dawn at a Tripoli hotel and released by early afternoon. His captors, according to a statement from the prime minister's office, were members of a semiautonomous militia hired by the government to provide security in the capital.
The prime minister's abduction followed comments by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, insisting that "the Libyan government was aware of the operation" that captured Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, also known as Abu Anas al-Liby, who is wanted in connection with the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Zeidan denied that his government had advanced notice of the U.S. raid and issued a statement demanding an explanation for "the kidnapping of a Libyan citizen" on Libyan territory.
The episode underscores both the vulnerability of Zeidan's government and the seriousness of the security vacuum that has replaced Muammar Qaddafi's regime, overthrown by rebels and NATO forces in 2011.
Shutdown: The standoff between the White House and congressional Republicans that has shut the government down for more than a week showed signs of relenting on Wednesday, as President Barack Obama agreed to meet with 18 Republican lawmakers to discuss a possible short-term increase in the debt ceiling.
- An Egyptian court on Wednesday set a trial date for ousted President Mohamed Morsy for Nov. 4, while the United States announced plans to suspend part of its annual military aid to Egypt.
- Women on Saudi Arabia's advisory Shura Council have called for a discussion of "excuses" for banning women from driving in the Kingdom.
- A suicide bomber killed himself, three soldiers, and a police officer on Thursday at a checkpoint outside the coastal city of el-Arish in Egypt's volatile Sinai Peninsula.
- The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution Thursday that would approve a new African Union peacekeeping force in war-torn Central African Republic.
- The Kenyan government on Wednesday requested that President Uhuru Kenyatta's trial at the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity be held via video link.
- The British government announced on Thursday that former Liberian President Charles Taylor, convicted in the ICC of crimes against humanity, will serve his jail time in Britain.
- A Pakistani court on Wednesday released former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on bail, paving the way for him to leave the country.
- South Korea on Thursday indicted 100 people, including a vice president at the Korea Electric Power Corp, in a corruption case involving fake safety certifications for nuclear reactor parts.
- At the annual U.S. session of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Brunei on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry apologized for Obama's absence but said the U.S. president remains fully committed to "rebalancing" toward Asia.
- Human rights groups filed a lawsuit against the United Nations on Wednesday, seeking $2.2 billion in compensation for the Haitian victims of a cholera epidemic allegedly introduced by U.N. peacekeepers.
- Protesters disrupted a visit by Fifa Secretary General Jerome Valcke on Wednsday to the World Cup stadium in western Brazil.
- Cuba replaced the editors of its top two newspapers on Wednesday in a decision the ruling Communist Party described as a "renewal."
- Wilfried Martens, nine-time Belgian prime minister and former EU parliamentarian, died Wednesday night at his home in East Flanders.
- British MI5 chief Andrew Parker said Wednesday that recent spying leaks by NSA contractor Edward Snowden handed an "advantage to the terrorists."
- Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban last year for campaigning for women's education, won the EU's top human rights award on Thursday.