2115 GMT: The Guardian of London is claiming that the Libyan regime has sent Mohammed Ismail, a senior aide to Muammar Qaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, to London for confidential talks with British officials.
The newspaper, saying the discussion is "believed to have been one of a number between Libyan officials and the west in the last fortnight", believes this is a sign that the Libyan regime is seeking an exit strategy to step down from power.
2025 GMT: Video of Syrian military in positions in Daraa, the southern town which has been the flashpoint of protests and violence over the last two weeks:
2110 GMT: Bahrain's official news agency has announced that blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif has been released from custody after he was questioned by "concerned authorities".
Al-Yousif was seized, along with other activists and journalists, in raids on Wednesday.
2030 GMT: Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has replaced the leadership of seven state-owned newspapers, appointed 17 journalists as chairmen of boards and chief editors.
The move is being seen as a clean-out of men who were appointed to bolster the political position of Gamal Mubarak, the son of the former President Hosni Mubarak.
“The new names indicate that the government is responding to the demands of the revolution by removing all corrupt journalists who transformed the state-owned media that belongs to the people into a platform to serve the former regime,” said Salah Abdel Maksoud, chargé d'affaires of Egypt’s Journalists’ Syndicate.
2020 GMT: Al Jazeera English's sources on the Tunisian border claim Libyan head of intelligence Abu-Zayed Dordah and Minister of Oil Shukri Ghanim have crossed in the past few days.
As NATO investigates claims that 40 civilians have died from its airstrikes, an opposition spokesman has said that regime forces shelled Misurata on Thursday and that dozens of residents have been killed this week when their homes were hit by fire.
2010 GMT: Two photos from today's protest in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, remembering slain demonstrators and challenging President Saleh:
2005 GMT: Audio from a witness that the opposition-held town of Zintan, in the far northwest of Libya near the Tunisian border, is still besieged by regime forces on three sides.
1955 GMT: Libya's opposition National Transitional Council has issued a statement expressing support for "the Islamic identity of the Libyan People, its commitment to the moderate Islamic values, its full rejection of extremist ideas and its commitment to combatting them in all circumstances", while refusing allegations associating it with Al Qa'eda and denouncing "terrorism in all its forms and manifestations".
The statement follows speculation, especially in US media, that a significant number of Al Qa'eda members are within the Libyan opposition.
1945 GMT: In Yemen, thousands of anti-regime demonstrators have come out on the streets of Sanaa, remembering dozens of people killed in weeks of protests.
The demonstrators filled "Change Square", chanting slogans against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
At the same time, tribe members opposed to Saleh attacked electricity pylons in the central province of Maarib, triggering hours of power outages in parts of Sanaa, the southern port of Aden, and the Red Sea city of Hudeida.
1630 GMT: Human rights and mine experts have claimed that Qaddafi forces have planted land mines, including Brazilian-made anti-personnel mines and Egyptian-made anti-tank mines, in areas around Ajdabiya in east Libya.
Monitors discovered two minefields following Saturday's retreat of regime troops, believed to have been laid during their 10-day occupation.
1535 GMT: The Libyan regime's spokesman says Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa left the country for medical treatment, and it has not been officially notified of his resignation.1530 GMT: A day after President Bashar al-Assad failed in a national speech to offer any reform of a 1963 Emergency Law, the Syrian state news agency said the regime will study the idea of lifting the state of emergency. It also claimed al-Assad has ordered the Supreme Judicial Council to form a committee that would conduct "an immediate investigation in all cases that killed a number of civilians and military personnel".
The committee exploring the lifting of the emergency law, made up of senior lawyers, is expected to complete the study before 25 April. It will "study and draw up a legislation that secures the preservation of the country's security, the dignity of citizens and combating terrorism in preparation for lifting the state of emergency".
1420 GMT: NATO formally took sole command of air operations in Libya today, but even this development was overtaken by the news of US covert operations inside the country. Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, said the presence of foreign intelligence personnel does not violate the UN resolution authorizing action in Libya.
The resolution prohibits "occupation forces," a term that "has a quite clear meaning," Di Paola said at a news conference.
1345 GMT: Back from an academic break to find an intriguing message from British Foreign Minister William Hague about the defection of former Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa:This part of Hague's spin is expected, "We encourage those around [Libyan leder Muammar] Qaddafi to abandon him and embrace the better future for Libya that allows political transition and real reform, that meets the aspirations of the Libyan people."
This part is the reassurance that Koussa, implicated in a series of human rights abuses over the decades, has not gotten absolution: "Moussa Koussa is not being offered any immunity from British or international justice, he is voluntarily talking to British officials at the moment."
This is the part that raises an eyebrow: "Moussa Koussa is one of the most senior members of the Qaddafi regime, he has been my channel of communication to the regime in recent weeks and I’ve spoken to him several times on the telephone, most recently last Friday."
So the British Government, despite the open conflict with Tripoli, has had an open channel to one of its top officials?
And beyond that, were Hague and Koussa just chatting formally as Foreign Ministers or was that some mention that Qaddafi's ally might be switching sides?
Sanad's lawyer says the activist is detained for 15 days pending an investigation on charges of "insulting the military institution and publishing false news about it" and "disturbing the public security". He faces a possible sentence of three years in prison.
In April 2009, Sanad founded the "No to Compulsory Military Service Movement". He was arrested on 12 November 2010 by military police but released two days later, and he was finally exempted from military service on medical grounds.
Sanad was also briefly detained during the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak.
0830 GMT: A Saudi Arabian human rights group claims authorities have arrested a university professor,Dr Mubbarak bin Zuair, a day after he called for the release of political prisoners.
The Human Rights First Society said bin Zuair was going to break good news to the relatives of prisoners, protesting in front of the Ministry of Information, that some of the detainees would be released. However, the professor was arrested on his rally to the protest.
0825 GMT: Opposition fighters, massed outside the oil port Brega in east Libya, say they are still fighting Qaddafi troops for control town.
Regime forces, reversing opposition gains earlier this week, have swept into Bin Jawad, Ras Lanuf, and Brega in the last 48 hours.
0740 GMT: Two Reuters journalists, correspondent Suleiman al-Khalidi and photographer Khaled al-Hariri are missing and believed detained in Syria.
The two men have not been in contact since Monday. Diplomatic sources said they were held by Syrian authorities in Damascus on Tuesday.
0710 GMT: Bahrain's state news agency says four CNN reporters were arrested at a security checkpoint in the Northern Governorate when they "failed to produce any document proving their identity".
The four journalists, who entered the country on Monday to prepare a programme on social media, were released after signing an undertaking "not to exceed the limits of their mission or violate rules or regulations".
0600 GMT: The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said yesterday that in addition to the detention of prominent blogger Mahmood Al Yousif (see Wednesday's updates), activist Sana Abdul Razzaq al-Zinedine and student and poet Scarlet were seized.
0555 GMT: Al Jazeera English's Sue Turton reports on the opening of the crisis in Libya with the protests of 17 February in Benghazi, as regime troops "fired indiscriminately" into crowds, killing unarmed demonstrators, and raiding houses and stealing provisions.
0550 GMT: David Kirkpatrick of The New York Times takes on the regime's line of civilian casualties from coalition airstrikes:
Standing at the grave of an 18-month-old baby on Wednesday, officials of the Qaddafi government presented the first specific and credible case of a civilian death caused by Western airstrikes.
But relatives speaking a few yards away said they blamed Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and welcomed the bombs.
“No, no, no, this is not from NATO,” one relative said, speaking quietly and on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The Western planes had struck an ammunition depot at a military base nearby, he said, and the explosion had sent a tank shell flying into the bedroom of the baby, a boy, in a civilian’s home. “What NATO is doing is good,” he said, referring to the Western military alliance that is enforcing a no-fly zone in Libya.
The testimony of the boy’s parents, a hole in the wall, damage to the house, quietly grieving family members, and a baby-sized and freshly covered grave appeared to confirm the relative’s account of the death.
0520 GMT: Overnight airstrikes by coalition jets reportedly hit Tajoura. The eastern suburb of Tripoli, with a number of military installations, has been repeatedly targeted since the strikes began.
Jana, the official Libyan news agency, said "a civilian site in Tripoli has been the target tonight of bombing from the colonialist crusader aggressor" and repeated the recent line of state media, "The price of any bomb or missile launched by the crusaders on the Libyans is paid for by the Qatari and Emirati governments."
0510 GMT: Bahrain's Minister of Interior Sheikh Rashed Al Khalifa has rejected claims that security forces have targeted any religious group in their crack-down on protest.
Al Khalifa told Parliament on Tuesday, "The measures are not imposed against any religious sect as some have said, but rather they are used against those who have broken the law. We are not trying to spread evil, but good, and outlaws will meet justice."
More than 60 per cent of Bahrainis are Shiites, and the protests have been framed by the monarchy as an Shi'a uprising fostered by foreign influences, notably Iran.
The opposition party Wefaq has said 250 people were arrested and 44 are still missing since the crackdown on 16 March, which was accompanied by the entry of foreign troops, notably from Saudi Arabia.
0500 GMT: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have taken the headlines during the day with his speech --- which, in the end, was a pep rally for his supporters and a blunt slap in the face of protesters with no concessions --- but it was Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa who dramatically moved to centre stage last night.
Koussa, a former Minister of Intelligence and close ally of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, showed up in London to announce that he could no longer represent the regime. It was a stunning move, possibly orchestrated with the British Foreign Ministry which announced the news, which had taken days: Tunisia's TAP news agency said Koussa crossed the border from Libya on Monday, and British authorities said the former Foreign Minister flew into a British airfield yesterday afternoon.
The Libyan regime appeared to be caught off-guard. A spokesman insisted, before confirmation of the defection, "[Koussa] is on a diplomatic mission."
Al Jazeera English's report of the news: