The Nigerian suspected of attempting to bring down Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day reportedly met with the expatriate radical cleric whose fingerprints are being discovered all over the corpus of terror in America. Anwar al-Awlaki is an American-born Islamic imam with recognizable ties to al-Qaeda in Yemen and he admitted to a freelance journalist that he indeed met with Umar Abdulmutallab, the man formally charged with attempting to kill almost 300 passengers and crew with a chemical bomb secreted into his underwear. The transcript of the interview the journalist conducted with Awlaki reveals that Abdulmutallab and the fugitive fundamentalist met last fall in Yemen.

VOA News reported on January 29 that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who was in Paris meeting with senior French officials — said that China is under pressure to join in new sanctions against Iran over Tehran's refusal to reveal details of its nuclear-fuel enrichment program. Iran has consistently denied that it is developing nuclear weapons.

One of Saddam Hussein's most notorious henchmen, Ali Hassan al-Majid — known as "Chemical Ali" for masterminding the poison-gas killing of some 5,000 ethnic Kurds in a village in northern Iraq — was executed January 25, a week after receiving his death sentence by an Iraqi court. Majid, 68, was Hussein's cousin and one of the last high-ranking officials in the regime to be tried and sentenced.

Reuters news reports that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will make a long-awaited appearance before an inquiry into the Iraq War on January 29. Britain originally sent a force of 45,000 troops to Iraq, as part of the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

During a news conference held in New Delhi, India, on January 20, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that al-Qaeda, and what he called its "syndicate" in South Asia, could provoke a new war between India and Pakistan.