Shaking off years of political apathy, Egyptians turn out in long lines at voting stations in the first parliamentary elections since Hosni Mubarak's ouster, a giant step toward what they hope will be a democracy after decades of dictatorship. Some voters bring their children along, saying they wanted them to learn how to exercise their rights in a democracy as they cast ballots in what promises to be the fairest and cleanest election in Egypt in living memory. With fears of violence largely unrealized, the biggest complaint is the hours of standing in long, slow-moving lines.
A U.N. investigation accuses Syrian forces of killing and torturing children and other crimes against humanity over the past eight months as President Bashar Assad's regime tries to crush an unprecedented uprising. The investigation adds to mounting international pressure on Assad. On Sunday, the Arab League approved sweeping sanctions to push his embattled regime to end the violence against mostly unarmed protesters.
A U.N. report says former Libyan revolutionaries are still holding about 7,000 people, and some reportedly have been subjected to torture and ill treatment. A report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon circulated before a Security Council briefing about Libya says that many of the inmates have no access to due process in the absence of a functioning police force and judiciary. It says that sub-Saharan Africans, in some cases accused or suspected of being mercenaries who worked with Moammar Gadhafi's regime, constitute a large number of those held.
Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman urges the International Criminal Court prosecutor to launch an investigation into the violent crackdown on protesters in Yemen by the country's outgoing president. Karman also laments that her request stands little chance of success, since Yemen is not a member of the court. She calls for a stronger mechanism for bringing to account dictators who turn on their own people to cling to power. Because Yemen has not signed the court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, the only way the prosecutor could launch an investigation is if the United Nations Security Council tells him to.
A civilian court in Bahrain postpones a highly anticipated ruling on the appeal of two protesters sentenced to death by a security court during a wave of anti-government protests earlier this year. Another high-profile case resumes _ the retrial of doctors and other medical professionals who treated protesters injured during the Shiite majority's campaign for greater rights in the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Five United Arab Emirates political activists receive presidential pardons and are released after eight months in prison, just a day after they were convicted of anti-state crimes. The activists, including a prominent blogger and an economics professor, were convicted on Sunday of insulting the UAE's top leadership, endangering national security and inciting people to protest at time when uprisings against authoritarian rulers raged across the Middle East.
Kuwait's ruler accepts the resignation of the country's scandal-battered government Monday, but then directs it to remain in office as a caretaker Cabinet, a slap at opposition groups seeking to bring down the prime minister over a corruption scandal. The boomerang political tactics by Kuwait's leadership could deepen tensions in the oil-rich nation, where a broad coalition ranging from Islamists to liberals is pressing for reforms from the government, at a time when the U.S. is considering posting thousands of troops there after its year-end pullout from Iraq.