Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: May 17, 2011 2:33 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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SYRIA

Syrian protesters a one-day nationwide general strike, urging students to skip school and workers to bring commerce to a halt in a new strategy of defiance against government crackdowns that appear to be turning more brutal and bloody. The strike, planned for Wednesday, marks a shift by opposition forces to strike at President Bashar Assad's regime from new angles: its economic underpinnings and ability to keep the country running during two months of widening battles. A sweeping popular acceptance of the strike call would be an embarrassing blow to Assad and show support for the uprising in places, such as central Damascus, where significant protests have yet to take hold and security forces have choked off the few that have taken place.

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LIBYA

Four journalists detained in Libya since early April complete an administrative hearing and are to be released, a government spokesman says. He gave their names as James Foley, who had been covering the conflict in Libya for the Boston-based news agency GlobalPost, and Clare Morgana Gillis, a freelance journalist who wrote for The Atlantic and USA Today. He also named Manu Brabo, a Spanish journalist picked up with Foley and Gillis on April 5 near the town of Brega.

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EGYPT

Egypt's Justice Ministry orders the wife of deposed President Hosni Mubarak released from custody without bail, after she relinquishes her disputed assets. Suzanne Mubarak, 70, has turned over her property and money to the state valued at some $4 million. The move aimed to settle corruption allegations against her, but it was unclear whether she still faces trial. Anti-corruption prosecutors claim Mubarak's wife had millions in bank accounts in Egypt and owned a villa where she and her husband lived. It is not clear how much money the Mubaraks may have abroad. Some estimates range into the tens of billions of dollars.

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YEMEN

Two Yemeni soldiers and a civilian are killed when armed men believed to belong to al-Qaida attack security posts in the eastern city of Mukalla. Yemen's active al-Qaida offshoot has taken advantage of three months of popular protests calling for the ouster of longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step up operations in the country's weakly governed provinces. Yemen is reeling from three months of protests demanding that longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down. Saleh snubbed a regional initiative to diffuse the crisis. Instead, he has pressed on with a crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 150 people. Demonstrations continue across Yemen, and dozens of protesters are injured by security forces.