Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Jun 15, 2011 4:34 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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SYRIA

Terrified Syrians run for their lives as elite army units sweep through a restive northern province, expanding a deadly operation to crush signs of dissent against President Bashar Assad. Farther south, tens of thousands take to the streets in the central city of Hama to show solidarity with victims of the military crackdown. Hama was the site of a 1982 massacre by the government of Assad's father and predecessor, Hafez Assad, whose forces shelled the city to crush a Sunni Muslim uprising.

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YEMEN

Al-Qaida-linked militants temporarily seize parts of a provincial capital in southern Yemen, the latest in a series of brazen attacks by extremists taking advantage of the turmoil in the poor Arab nation. The increasingly bold fighters are expanding their reach after wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh left Yemen for Saudi Arabia and cast the country into deeper chaos. Their gains in a nearly lawless region of southern Yemen lend urgency to U.S. efforts to bolster military capabilities that can be used to strike at the terrorist network.

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LIBYA

Britain's prime minister says time is running out for Moammar Gadhafi's forces, as the Libyan government tries to deny reports that rebels are making fresh gains toward the capital. Further rebel successes in the four-month-old uprising will depend heavily on NATO airpower, which has grounded Gadhafi's air forces and weakened his other military capabilities. Some ranking NATO officers suggested this week the mission was straining the alliance's resources.

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EGYPT

An appeals court clears Egypt's antiquities minister of failing to implement a court order, sparing the international face of Egyptian archaeology from a year in prison. Besides the legal challenge, Zahi Hawass has found himself at the center of other trouble since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February. Critics accused Hawass of being too close to Mubarak,

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LEBANON

Lebanon's president defends the country's long-delayed new government against accusations that it gives foreign powers Syria and Iran far too much sway. The Lebanese government is dominated by the militant group Hezbollah and its allies. Hezbollah, which has the strong backing of Syria and Iran, has risen over decades from a resistance group against Israeli to Lebanon's most powerful military and political force. "This government is 100 percent Lebanese, with a 100 percent Lebanese agenda," President Michel Suleiman says during the Cabinet's first meeting.

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TUNISIA

Tunisia's state news agency says 27 Libyan soldiers, among them seniuor officers, have fled fighting in Libya and taken boats to Tunisia. It says they arrived with 14 civilians aboard two boats in the Tunisian port of Ketf, near the Libyan border. The number of Libyans fleeing has mounted in recent days, with 6,330 Libyan refugees crossing into Tunisia from Monday to Tuesday.

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BAHRAIN

American officials are concerned about claims of abuses against detainees following Bahrain's crackdowns on Shiite-led protesters demanding sweeping reforms in the kingdom, a top U.S. rights envoy says. The State Department official, Michael Posner, also expresses hopes for proposed talks next month between Bahrain's Sunni rulers and opposition groups. At least 31 people have died since the unrest began in February _ inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the region _ yet Washington has made no moves to punish Bahrain's monarchy. Bahrain's rulers have waged a harsh campaign to crush dissent but also play host to the highly strategic U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet.