Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Jul 18, 2011 3:57 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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SYRIA

The discovery of three corpses with their eyes gouged out sets off a sectarian killing spree that leaves 30 people dead in a chilling sign that the Syrian revolt against President Bashar Assad is enflaming long-simmering religious tensions. The opposition accuses the president's minority Alawite regime of trying to stir up trouble among the Sunni majority to blunt the growing enthusiasm for the four-month-old uprising. The protesters have been careful to portray their movement as free of any sectarian overtones.

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EGYPT

Egypt's military rulers commission a top judge to form an electoral commission, starting the process of organizing the country's first elections after the popular uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak. The military decree sets a time frame for the first parliamentary elections in Egypt's transition to democracy. The commission begins work on Sept.18, with the vote expected to follow roughly two months later.

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LIBYA

The Libyan government spokesman says representatives of Moammar Gadhafi's embattled government held face-to-face talks with U.S. officials on repairing ties between the nations. There is no independent confirmation that such a meeting took place. Also, NATO forces destroy a radar tower at the Tripoli International Airport because it was being used to target its planes, the alliance says. Libyan officials counter that the radar system was not used for military purposes.

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YEMEN

About 100 journalists protest in the capital Sanaa against harassment and censorship by authorities. One newspaper editor says he was forced to distribute his daily in banana boxes to avoid government censors. The protest is held outside the residence of Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is acting head of state while the president is in Saudi Arabia recuperating from wounds he sustained in an attack on his compound.

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IRAN

A dissident Iranian actress and blogger was arrested a week ago as she prepared to leave for Germany to write a blog for the Deutsche Welle radio station about the women's football World Cup, the semiofficial ISNA news agency says. Pegah Ahangarani, 27, was arrested briefly in 2009 after the disputed presidential elections over charges of playing a role in the postelection riots.

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Prosecutors in the United Arab Emirates question two witnesses in the trial of five political activists who campaigned for democratic reforms in the Gulf nation and are accused of anti-state crimes. While the United Arab Emirates has not seen street protests like those that have roiled other Arab nations, authorities have moved to silence pro-reform advocates.

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TUNISIA

A 14-year-old boy is killed by a stray bullet fired during a violent protest in the Tunisian town where the uprisings that spread across the Arab world first began. The news came as a fresh jolt to Tunisia as it prepares for landmark Oct. 23 elections for a body meant to write a new constitution.