Egypt's election commission delays the announcement of final results for first-round parliamentary elections until Friday. The commission previously said results from the two-day balloting would be announced late Thursday. But the state MENA news agency quotes election commission chief Abdel-Mooaez Ibrahim as saying a large voter turnout has slowed down the counting process.
Also, Judges supervising the vote say near-final results show the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood taking up to 45 percent of the contested seats. This will likely give Islamist parties a majority.
The U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, says Syria has entered a state of civil war with more than 4,000 people dead and an increasing number of soldiers defecting from the army to fight President Bashar Assad's regime. Civil war has been the worst-case scenario in Syria since the revolt against Assad began eight months ago. Damascus has a web of allegiances that extends to Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement and Iran's Shiite theocracy, raising fears of a regional conflagration.
Activists say up to 22 people were killed Thursday, adding to what has become a daily grind of violence.
Clashes between Yemeni soldiers and armed tribesmen in the restive southern city of Taiz kill 13 people, the Defense Ministry and a security official say. A hotbed of opposition to the government and Yemen's second-largest city, Taiz has been regularly shelled by the military responding to hit-and-run attacks by tribesmen, and the latest bout has been going on since Tuesday. The fighting has raged despite longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh's agreement to step down.
Tunisia's central bank is warning about the state of the economy and urging the swift formation of a government to bring investment back to this North African country. Tunisians overthrew their long-ruling dictator in January. The ensuing months of turmoil, including strikes and sit-ins, has damaged the economy, especially the vital tourism sector. The bank says the new government could send a clear signal to investors by passing a new finance law and budget for 2012.
Bahrain's Interior Ministry says a former Miami police chief will lead training programs for the Gulf kingdom's forces as part of reforms after an independent report detailed abuses against pro-reform protesters. John Timoney will head a team of law enforcement advisers from the U.S. and Britain. Bahrain's Sunni monarchy has promised to address shortcomings noted in last month's independent commission report, which cited examples of torture and excessive force against Shiite-led demonstrators demanding greater rights.