Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Jun 17, 2011 5:22 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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SYRIA

Security forces kill a teenage boy and at least 15 other civilians across the country as protesters poured into the streets to protest President Bashar Assad's autocratic regime. Meanwhile, refugees arriving in Turkey say security forces have been conducting summary executions and indiscriminate killings. A French official says the European Union is preparing new, expanded sanctions that would target "economic entities" in Syria.

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LIBYA

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi vows that NATO will be defeated, giving a fiery speech that dares Western forces to keep up their bombing runs. In his outburst, Gadhafi labels as cowards the rebels fighting to oust him and those politicians and soldiers who had defected from Gadhafi's cause. NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu says there are no indications Gadhafi would stop attacking the opposition.

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MOROCCO

Morocco's king delivers a speech presenting constitutional reforms he says will turn the North African country into a constitutional monarchy with a strengthened parliamentary system. King Mohammed VI, however, maintains much of his power by remaining the head of the army and a council making security policy. Pro-democracy activists dismiss many of the changes as cosmetic.

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YEMEN

A ruling party official says Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh plans to return home within days after undergoing treament in Saudi Arabia for serious injuries sustained during an attack on his palace. Yemen's opposition parties are trying to persuade the ruling party to join them in a transitional leadership that would effectively shut out Saleh, who has resisted tremendous pressure at home and abroad to step down. But loyalists insist the president will return and resume his duties.

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TUNISIA

An attorney for Tunisia's ousted dictator dismisses his upcoming trial as politically motivated. Tunisia has asked Saudi Arabia to extradite Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, but the request has gone unanswered, so the longtime strongman is slated to be tried in absentia starting next week. He is to face charges including money laundering, abuse of power and drug trafficking.

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SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi women defiantly drive through the capital in a rare grass-roots challenge to the Saudi monarchy as it tries to ride out the Arab world's wave of change. The campaign shows how the Arab uprising is taking root in different forms _ even turning a driver's seat into a platform for a powerful statement on women's rights. The number of Saudi women who drove apparently was small; no arrests or violence were immediately reported.