Kuwait names ambassador to Iraq for first time since Gulf War

BAGHDAD - Kuwait on Thursday named its first ambassador to Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War, in a major step toward healing the two countries' painful past and boosting regional ties with Baghdad's post-war government.

The announcement came as the Sunni leader of Lebanon's parliamentary majority met Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki - also reflecting Iraq's efforts to reconcile with aloof Arab neighbors and tamp down sectarian tension across the region.

Judge OKs first Guantanamo detainee trial

WASHINGTON - The first war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay can begin Monday, a federal judge ruled, saying civilian courts should let the military process play out as Congress intended.

The decision is a victory for the Bush administration, which plans to use military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects, including those charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Had the trial been delayed, it would have been a sign that the entire process might crumble.

Newly freed prisoners vow to fight Israel

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Five militants freed in a prisoner swap with Israel prayed and laid wreaths at the grave of a slain Hezbollah commander Thursday, vowing to fight Israel as supporters showered them with rice.

At the same time, eight tractor-trailers loaded with coffins carrying the remains of 199 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters returned by Israel in the swap made their way from south Lebanon to the capital Beirut. Villagers showered rice and rose petals on the coffins wrapped in Lebanese and Hezbollah flags and covered with flowers.

Pope: 'Insatiable consumption' scarring planet

SYDNEY, Australia - Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday that mankind's 'insatiable consumption' has scarred the Earth and squandered its resources, telling followers that taking care of the planet is vital to humanity.

The 81-year-old pontiff, appearing rested and in good form, gave his first major speech for Roman Catholicism's World Youth Day before adoring crowds who had traveled from 168 countries to see him in Australia's largest city.