Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Dec 21, 2011 3:00 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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SYRIA

Government forces surround residents of a restive Syrian village and kill all those trapped inside _ more than 100 people _ in a barrage of rockets, tank shells, bombs and gunfire that lasts for hours, The attack pushes the death toll for two days of violence across Syria to more than 200, and is one of the deadliest single events of the entire nine-month uprising against President Bashar Assad's authoritarian rule. The White House reacts by renewing its call for Assad to step down.

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EGYPT

Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood, leading in parliament elections, refuses to join calls by secular and liberal activists for the ruling military to move up its handover of power to civilians. Activists are seeking to capitalize on anger over the military's heavy-handed crackdown on protesters in Cairo the past week to pressure the ruling generals to step down before the current target of the end of June.

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YEMEN

Nearly 200 people, among them 15 foreigners, have been killed in clashes over the past few weeks between an ultraconservative Islamist group and former Shiite rebels in northern Yemen. Four Russian citizens are among the dead. The tension between the Salafi Islamists, who are Sunni, and the former Hawthi rebels, who are Shiite, escalated in late November just as Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a U.S.-backed proposal to transfer power to his vice president in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Saleh agreed to step down after a 10-month uprising.

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LIBYA

Moammar Gadhafi's captured son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, is being treated well but has not had access to a lawyer, an international rights group says after visiting the prisoner. Seif al-Islam, who has been charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, was captured in November by fighters from the town of Zintan in Libya's western mountains. Libya's national leadership in Tripoli is insisting on trying him at home, though they have yet to establish a functioning court system.

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BAHRAIN

The U.N.'s top human rights official urges Bahrain to release political detainees as a step toward reversing "deepening mistrust" between authorities and anti-government protesters. Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, says Bahraini authorities must unconditionally release those convicted in military tribunals or awaiting trial merely because they exercised their "fundamental rights" of expression and assembly.