Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: May 05, 2011 4:01 PM

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SYRIA

Syria's army says it has begun withdrawing from a city at the heart of the country's uprising, but the regime expands its crackdown elsewhere by deploying soldiers and arresting hundreds ahead of a new wave of anti-government protests expected Friday.

Residents, however, report tanks and troops are still in Daraa, the city that set off the six-week-old uprising and which has been under siege for 11 days. A U.N. official says a humanitarian team will be going to Daraa in the coming days.

Witnesses also say military units are deploying around the coastal town of Banias, home to one of Syria's two oil refineries. A rights activist says Syrian security forces have also arrested more than 200 people in a suburb of the capital, Damascus.

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LIBYA

Several hundred tribal elders gather in the Libyan capital in what a government official says is a show of widespread support for Moammar Gadhafi.

In Rome, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. is trying to free up part of $30 billion it has frozen in Libyan assets so it can better support opponents of Gadhafi. She says the best way to protect Libya's people is to get Gadhafi to leave power.

Rebels say they need up to $3 billion in the coming months for military salaries, food, medicine and other basic supplies.

Meanwhile, Libyan troops fire Grad rockets toward the outskirts of the rebel-held town of Nalut in a remote western mountain area. And a government official says Gadhafi forces won't allow any ship to come into Misrata port without permission. Misrata is the biggest rebel stronghold in western Libyan.

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EGYPT

Former President Hosni Mubarak's top security official, who led a much-feared security apparatus blamed for widespread rights abuses, is convicted of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The conviction of former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly marks the start of a broad reckoning with the legacy of Mubarak's three-decade authoritarian rule, which was brought to an end on Feb. 11 by a popular uprising. About dozen Mubarak-era Cabinet ministers and regime-linked businessmen are in detention.

The country's Central Bank says Egypt's net international reserves fell $2 billion in April, the fourth consecutive month of declines, as the nation's economy reels from the aftereffects of the mass uprisings. Net international reserves fell to $28 billion in April from $30.1 billion the previous month.

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YEMEN

Thousands of protesters hit the streets to demand that Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down, marching in south and central Yemen.

In the central city of Bayda, activists say supporters of Saleh burned tents in a protest camp in the city's square as protesters prayed.

In the town of Damt, in the southern province of al-Daleh, supporters of Saleh, waving automatic rifles and sticks, storm a record store, beating its owner for playing anti-Saleh songs. They also attack an ice cream vendor who had wrapped his head in a national flag with the word "go" scribbled over it.

Security and tribal officials, meanwhile, say a suspected U.S. drone aircraft fired a missile at a car in southern Yemen, killing two brothers believed to be al-Qaida militants.

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BAHRAIN

Bahrain's security court convicts a Shiite opposition activist and sentences him to five years in prison for the attempted murder of a policeman during anti-government protests in the Gulf kingdom.

Abdulla Mohammed Habib can appeal his sentence. Another activist is acquitted of the same charge in the court, which was set up after emergency rule was imposed in March.

Bahrain's king declared martial law March 15 to crush weeks of demonstrations by the island's Shiite majority, which has campaigned for greater freedoms and an elected government in the Sunni-ruled nation.

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TUNISIA

Police fire tear gas at participants in an anti-government demonstration in the heart of the Tunisian capital, Tunis.

Security forces succeed in breaking up the demonstration of several hundred people in about an hour. An Associated Press photographer covering the protest, Hassene Dridi, is beaten up and briefly detained by police officers.

The protesters complain Tunisia's new caretaker government has not followed through with the people's revolutionary aspirations.