The new Afghan government is to sign a deal on today that will permit a reduced contingent of US troops to remain in the country beyond 2014.An aide to newly inaugurated President Ashraf Ghani says The Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) will be signed by a senior minister. The BSA allows for some foreign special forces to stay in the country to conduct "counter-terror operations" and others to support and train Afghan forces. The total number of troops in the US-led mission at the start of next year will be around 12,500, with the remainder coming from allies such as Germany and Italy. The previous president, Hamid Karzai, refused to sign the deal, straining US ties and raising security fears
The rainy season in West Africa is compounding difficulties in getting supplies delivered and new treatment centres built as donors rush to isolate people infected with the deadly Ebola virus and stop its rapid spread. Nancy Powell, newly appointed as the US State Department's envoy to co-ordinate its Ebola response, said the top priority is to isolate as many people as quickly as possible. But that faces significant logistical hurdles. The July to September rainy season is coming toward its end, but October is known for heavy thunderstorms that can drench the region and turn roads to mud and this complicates complicate getting supplies to treatment centers.
The International Organization for Migration says more than 3,000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year making Europe the most dangerous destination for "irregular" migrants. This year's total is more than double the previous peak in 2011, and exceeds last year's estimate over four times. Since January, 4,077 migrant deaths have occurred worldwide with 75% of fatalities happening in Europe. The IOM’s findings come just weeks after one of the worst recorded wrecks, when a migrant boat carrying 500 passengers sank near Malta. It is believed that more than 40,000 migrants have died since 2000. Of the toll, 22,000 were trying to reach Europe.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that a nuclear Iran is a bigger threat to the world than Islamic State militants. In a speech at the UN, he said that to defeat IS but ignore Iran would be "to win the battle but lose the war". Mr Netanyahu also urged the West not to be fooled by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's "charm offensive". Talks between Iran and world powers on its nuclear programme ended on Friday with no breakthrough. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Mr Netanyahu said a nuclear-armed Iran would pose the "gravest threat to us all".
Representatives from rival factions in Libya's new parliament have held talks for the first time in the western oasis town of Ghadames. The talks were brokered by the recently-appointed UN special envoy to Libya, who described the talks as "very constructive and very positive". The talks involved about a dozen sitting members of the House of Representatives and a dozen elected members who had chosen not to travel in Tobruk because of political disagreements. The parliament was elected in July but has been hampered by an upsurge in political violence across the country. Militia groups, some of them remnants of forces which helped oust Gaddafi, have been fighting for power among themselves. Libya has been plagued by instability since the overthrow of Col Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.