Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Jun 12, 2011 4:33 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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SYRIA

Elite Syrian troops backed by helicopters and tanks regain control of a town where police and soldiers joined forces with the protesters they were ordered to shoot. Troops led by the president's brother shell Jisr al-Shughour as the gunships hover overhead, clearing the way for scores of tanks and armored personnel carriers to roll in from two directions. The developments, and actions by opponents of the Syrian government, mark a major departure from what had been a largely peaceful protest movement. Among them: the discovery of a mass grave filled with uniformed bodies and the increasing willingness of mutineers and outgunned residents to fight back.

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LIBYA

Resurgent rebel forces fight street by street to retake the Mediterranean port city of Zawiya, a prize that would put them within striking distance of the capital and cut off one of Moammar Gadhafi's last supply routes from Tunisia. It appears the rebels may have been coordinating attacks on several fronts nationwide but poor communications make it impossible to confirm such reports from opposition voices outside Libya. The United Arab Emirates says it has recognized the Libyan rebels' political group as the sole representatives for the country. The UAE moves comes just three days after hosting an international gathering on ways to aid the rebels and their Transitional National Council based in eastern Libya.

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EGYPT

Egyptian authorities detain an alleged Israeli agent and are interrogating him on suspicion of spying and trying to influence protesters during the popular uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, a court official and the prosecution spokesman say. The prosecution spokesman says the suspect is being interrogated by the state security prosecution. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor says he is "totally unfamiliar" with the report.

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BAHRAIN

A 20-year-old woman who recited poems critical of Bahrain's rulers and later claimed she was beaten in jail is sentenced to a year in prison as part of the kingdom's crackdown on Shiite protesters calling for greater rights. The ruling by a special security tribunal sends a strong message that Bahrain's Sunni monarchy is not easing off on punishments linked to the unrest, despite appeals for talks with Shiite groups in the strategic Gulf island nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

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JORDAN

Jordan's king bows to popular demands for elected Cabinets but gives no timetable, saying that sudden change could lead to "chaos and unrest" in this country that has averted the turmoil seen in other Arab nations. It's the first time that King Abdullah II has made such a concession to Jordanians, who have taken to the streets during six months of pro-democracy protests to demand a greater political say in this key U.S. Arab ally. Many Jordanians want the king to loosen his absolute grip on power, which includes appointing prime ministers and Cabinets.