Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

Posted May 14, 2011, at 6:12 p.m.

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SYRIA

Hundreds of Syrians flee to neighboring Lebanon to escape a violent crackdown against an anti-government uprising that has claimed the lives of more than 800 civilians, Lebanese security officials and a leading human rights group say. President Bashar Assad, meanwhile, reportedly sets up a committee to lead a dialogue with the opposition, the latest offer by the regime as it struggles to end the unrest threatening his family’s 40-year-old dynasty. Protesters have been taking to the streets in many cities for the past two months to try to force Assad to introduce reforms or resign. The government has responded by sending the army onto the streets to counter the demonstrators.

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LIBYA

Mourners vow revenge and rattle off heavy gunfire in a Tripoli cemetery as they bury nine men they say were Muslim clerics and medics killed in a NATO airstrike in mostly rebel-held eastern Libya. The Libyan government gives one account of why the men had traveled from the capital to the eastern front; a cleric at the funeral who says he witnessed the attack in the oil town of Brega gives a different version. NATO has been intensifying airstrikes against Gadhafi’s troops in several areas of Libya in a bid to weaken his brutal crackdown against a rebel uprising. The sound of another apparent NATO airstrike is heard in Tripoli on Saturday night, with Libyan state TV saying it targeted a site at the Bab al-Aziziya military base that includes Gadhafi’s residence.

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YEMEN

Gunmen kill six soldiers and wound a seventh in a central province, a Yemeni security official says. Activists say police clash with protesters in the southern city of Taiz, injuring 15 during a rally calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ouster. The official says the soldiers are attacked at a checkpoint in the town of Radda in Bayda province, and the assailants flee.

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EGYPT

Egypt’s ex-first lady Suzanne Mubarak is in stable condition after treatment for a “panic attack” and has effectively been put under arrest in the hospital pending further investigation of corruption allegations, officials say. Mrs. Mubarak fainted and suffered chest pains after a three-hour interrogation Friday which ended with a decision to detain her for 15 days as prosecutors looked at the sources of her wealth. The wife of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been accused of taking advantage of his position for personal gain.

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BAHRAIN

An envoy for Bahrain’s rulers says they hope to pursue dialogue with opposition groups after emergency laws are removed next month. Abdulaziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa says the planned June 1 lifting of the measures — which give wide powers to the military — offer a chance for talks with Shiite-led protesters in the Gulf kingdom, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

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TUNISIA

Protesters blockade employees inside the offices of Tunisia’s largest natural gas producer, Britain’s BG Group, and block factory operations before being cleared out, the company says.

A weekslong standoff over jobs at BG has highlighted the uncertainty about Tunisia’s long-stable and prosperous economy four months after protests brought down the country’s longtime president and prompted anti-government protests around the Arab world.

 

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