Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Nov 22, 2011 1:48 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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EGYPT

Egypt's military ruler says the armed forces are prepared to hold a referendum on immediately transferring power to a civilian authority if people demand it. Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi also tells the nation in a televised address that presidential elections will be held before June 30, but does not specifically mention a date for the transfer of power. Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square immediately reject Tantawi's proposal with chants of "erhal," or leave.

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LIBYA

The International Criminal Court's prosecutor says Libya can put Moammar Gadhafi's son and one-time heir apparent on trial at home, but the international court's judges must be involved. Luis Moreno-Ocampo was in Tripoli for talks with Libya's new leaders about their plans for Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, captured Saturday in southern Libya and held by fighters in the mountain town of Zintan, southwest of the capital. Also, Libya's interim prime minister announces the formation of a transitional government that will lead the oil-rich country until parliamentary elections are held by the end of June.

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SYRIA

Turkey's prime minister says Syria's president must step down over the country's crackdown on dissent, increasing the pressure on the increasingly isolated Bashar Assad. Turkey's call comes as Syrian activists report that five people _ including four children _ were killed. "For the welfare of your own people and the region, just leave that seat," Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey says in a televised speech, reminding Assad of the bloody end of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and those of past dictators, including Adolf Hitler.

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YEMEN

The U.N. secretary-general's envoy to Yemen says all parties have agreed on a plan under which longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh would step down. Several times Saleh has agreed to the plan, sponsored by Gulf nations, but backed away at the last minute. U.N. envoy Jamal bin Omar tells reporters he is working on setting a date for signing the deal. Also, Yemeni separatists kidnap two foreigners and their Yemeni driver from a Red Cross vehicle in the country's south, where al-Qaida linked militants are gaining strength.

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BAHRAIN

The findings of an independent investigation into Bahrain's 10-month-old unrest are still under wraps, but the Gulf kingdom's leaders are working to control its possible fallout. Admissions of excessive force against protesters and promises of more inquiries are part of a pre-emptive narrative ahead of Wednesday's highly anticipated report on the Gulf's main Arab Spring uprising, which also has become a flashpoint between U.S.-backed Gulf states and rival Iran.

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TUNISIA

Tunisia's newly elected assembly holds its inaugural meeting, ready to start shaping the constitution and the democratic future of the country that sparked the Arab Spring uprisings. It doesn't take long for the legislators to feel one result of free speech: hundreds of people protest outside parliament, demanding everything from women's rights and a crackdown on security forces to limits on Qatar's influence over Tunisia's affairs. A moderate Islamist party, Ennahda (Renaissance), won the most seats in Tunisia's Constituent Assembly and has announced a coalition with a liberal and a left-of-center party.