Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2011 4:58 PM

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YEMEN

Government forces and tribal fighters exchange gun and artillery fire in Yemen's capital, sending the crackle of gunfire and resounding booms over the city in fresh fighting that kills at least 41 people. The fighting spreads to new areas, with tribesmen from the powerful Hasid confederation seizing buildings in neighborhoods in the city's south and northwest. The urban battles over the last week pose a new threat to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule. For nearly four months, thousands of Yemenis have filled the streets daily, calling for democratic reforms and Saleh's ouster. The mostly peaceful protests gave way last week to violence between Saleh's security forces and fighters loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, head of the country's largest tribal coalition.

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LIBYA

A car explodes next to a hotel where foreign diplomats stay while visiting Benghazi, a rare attack in the Libyan rebels' de facto capital. The blast causes no injuries or deaths. The burning car sent plumes of black smoke into the air. Rebels assume it was carried out by elements of the regime of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. His regime takes another blow when Libya's oil minister appears in Rome and confirms he has defected.

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SYRIA

The Syrian government frees hundreds of political prisoners and promises to investigate the death of a 13-year-old boy whose apparent torture and mutilation turns him into a symbol of the uprising calling for an end to President Basher Assad's regime. In its latest attempt to blunt the 10-week revolt, the government also forms a committee to lay the groundwork for Syrians to discuss their political future. The concessions would have been unimaginable only months ago, but protesters had already rejected the amnesty as too little, too late. The government announcements are coupled with a crackdown on two towns in Syria's center and south that kill at least 33 people, including an 11-year-old girl shot dead by troops during a fierce shelling.

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EGYPT

Former President Hosni Mubarak, who held absolute power in Egypt for nearly 30 years, goes on trial Aug. 3 charged with corruption and intentionally killing protesters. The ousted leader's two sons will be tried at the same time on charges of corruption. Abdel-Aziz Omar, head of the Court of Appeals, set the trial date that will put Mubarak and his sons in the dock six months after the former president transferred power to a military council on Feb. 11.