1. GOING IN CIRCLES

    U.S. Freezes Drones Over Pakistan

    A Pakistani youth from outlawed Islamic hard line group Jamaat ud Dawa (JD) holds a banner of a US drone during a protest in Lahore against drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas in Lahore on July 5, 2013.  A US drone attack struck a compound of the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, killing at least 17 militants on July 3, Pakistani officials said. Security officials told AFP that Afghan and Pakistani militants were among the dead at the compound in the town of Miranshah, but that there was no immediate confirmation of any high-value target. AFP PHOTO / ARIF ALI        (Photo credit should read Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty

    The U.S. has agreed to an informal halt on the use of its drone program in Pakistan and says it will reserve drone-launched missile strikes only for Al Qaeda operational leaders. The pause began in late December. The agreement follows a November strike that killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud days before scheduled peace talks between Pakistan and the Taliban, which the latter ultimately canceled. Pakistan accused the U.S. of straining its diplomatic attempts, which led to the U.S. agreeing to this informal pause. However, a U.S. official did stress that this “doesn’t impact our list for core Al Qaeda,”

    Read it at Los Angeles Times