Egyptian President-Elect Takes Oath in Tahrir Square and More

Egypt's Islamist President-elect Mohamed Mursi (R) delivers a speech while surrounded by his body guards in Cairo's Tahrir Square, June 29, 2012. Mursi took an informal oath of office on Friday before tens of thousands of supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, in a slap at the generals trying to limit his power. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egyptian President-Elect takes oath in Tahrir Square

New TV - Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi took an oath before the Egyptian people in Tahrir Square, and vowed to respect the constitution and the law. In the evening, he took an oath to begin his term under the eyes of the Military Council; and away from formalities and the usual protocol, the Egyptian president-elect chose to address his opponents before his supporters. He went to Tahrir Square, which is packed with Egyptians denouncing military rule. Morsi began his presidential term from al-Azhar al-Sharif Mosque, where he performed Friday prayers amongst thousands of Egyptians. The holy mosque was packed with Egyptians who welcomed him in their own way. Al-Azhar’s courtyard held a demonstration giving their allegiance to the president-elect, on a Friday that Egyptians named "The Friday of Handing over Power."

Saudi women launch campaign to defy driving ban

BBC Arabic - The "My Right to Dignity" campaign, in which many Saudi women are active, continues to promote "The Friday of Women Driving". It is an attempt to urge the women in the kingdom, and those in solidarity with them, to drive in the streets of the kingdom today, in order to push for a lift of the driving ban imposed on them. It is a ban among many others, social and political, that are imposed on Saudi women. Advocates for women's driving rights insist that the key to the car may be the key to change in the kingdom.

Sudanese opposition fails to sign post-Bashir political charter

Dubai TV - International condemnation did not prevent Khartoum's government from waging a new arrest campaign targeting Sudanese opposition parties, especially since they started a new movement under the banner of "toppling the regime." But the meeting that was held to sign two proposed charters to manage the country during the transitional period following the regime's collapse, was postponed until next week after they failed to reach an agreement.

UN warns of rising sectarian killings in Syria as gunmen attack pro-Assad TV channel

BBC Arabic - Emad Sara, Director of the news channel Al-Ekhbariya, denounced the attack on the channel. He said the opposition has no desire to convey the opinions of others. He said "Three of our journalists were martyred, and of course, their only crime was conveying words; words that you all know well, words of truth, words that express the other point of view. They conveyed the message of their freedoms in their own way. As such, they were targeted". Human rights investigators in the United Nations released a report today that says the violence in Syria is spiraling out of control. According to the report, the Syrian government is using combat helicopters and artillery to shell residential neighborhoods. It points to the increasing number of sectarian attacks. The report adds that a number of Syrian regions have descended into civil war since the UN-backed ceasefire this past April.

Yemenis take to streets of Sanaa in a massive car rally

Al-Alam - The streets of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, witnessed demonstrations that were the first of their kind, in the form of a procession of cars. Protestors chanted slogans demanding the ouster and trial of those loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, stressing the importance of continuing to mobilize the revolutionaries. Revolutionary youths say that it symbolizes the beginning of a new revolutionary mobilization with the aim of protecting the revolution through various methods.


Image: Egypt's Islamist President-elect Mohamed Mursi (R) delivers a speech while surrounded by his body guards in Cairo's Tahrir Square, June 29, 2012. Mursi took an informal oath of office on Friday before tens of thousands of supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, in a slap at the generals trying to limit his power. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh


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Palestinians Honor Their Returned Dead and More

REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Palestinians honor the dead returned by Israel

Al Jazeera -  The Palestinian Authority received the remains of 91 Palestinian martyrs, including 12 from the Gaza Strip. For years, the remains were nothing but a number in a mass grave inside Israel. Today, they are reclaiming their identities. And on their tombs, a story of life, revolution, and martyrdom will be written. The oldest remains belong to seven martyrs who carried out the Savoy Hotel Operation in Tel Aviv in 1975. The Palestinian Authority hopes to receive another wave of martyrs in a few weeks.

Angry Egyptian portesters torch Shafiq's campaign headquarters

Al Alam - Egyptians took to the streets to express their anger towards presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, who is participating in the runoff round, and possibly becoming Egypt's first president after the revolution. Once again, the revolutionaries took to the squares in different governorates to protect their revolution, which would be at stake if Shafiq won the elections, given that he was one of the figures of the regime they revolted against.

The enraged protestors reached Shafiq's campaign headquarters in several governorates and set them on fire, throwing his campaigns'advertisement materials outside his headquarters in the Dokki area in Cairo, where some of his supporters gathered.

Syria faces diplomatic backlash over Houla massacre

BBC Arabic - The Geneva-based UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that in its preliminary investigations, at least 20 of the victims in the Houla massacre, which took place last Friday, were killed in artillery shelling. A spokesman for the U.S. State Department told the BBC that the U.S. administration decided to expel the Syrian charge d'affaires in Washington, Zuheir Jabbour. French President Francois Hollande announced the expulsion of the Syrian ambassador in Paris, and Australia also announced that it has requested the charge d'affaires, as well as other diplomats in the Syrian embassy in Canberra, to leave Australia within 72 hours, all in response to the massacre.

UAE revokes citizenship of seven rights activists

Al Alam -  A United Arab Emirates court issued its final decision, withdrawing the citizenship of seven activists. Another Emirati court is looking into the case of blogger Ahmed Abdel Khaleq, who is expected to be exiled to the Comoros Islands. Media and legal reports indicate that in 2009, the Emirates paid 200 million dollars to the Comoros Islands to issue Comorian citizenship to residents of the Emirates who do not have one, or the stateless who are subject to persecution, abuse and are deprived from citizenship rights. It is a chronic problem in the Emirates and several countries of the Persian Gulf.

Six bomb attacks in Baghdad kill at least 17 people

Dubai - In the bloodiest attacks on the Iraqi capital in weeks, six bombings rocked Baghdad today, killing at least 17 people and wounding dozens. These attacks broke the weeks of relative calm in Baghdad as the country is witnessing conflict inside the Iraqi government over a political crisis that threatens to fuel sectarian strife again. The bustling residential neighborhood of Shuala in the northwestern part of Baghdad was the most targeted by a wave of bombings that also hit the areas of al-Ghazaliya, al-Ameriya, al-Yarmouk, al-Zafaraniyah and al-Dora. As usual, booby-trapped vehicles and explosive devices claimed the lives of dozens of innocent people, and a state of emergency was declared at the hospitals in the Iraqi capital amid today's new wave of violence targeting civilians.


Image: A Palestinian woman shouts as others carry a flag-covered coffin containing the remains of a Palestinian militant following a ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah May 31, 2012. The remains of 91 Palestinian militants whose attacks killed hundreds of Israelis were returned to the West Bank and Gaza on Thursday in a gesture Israel said it hoped could help revive peace efforts. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside


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This Week's Headlines 05/04/12

REUTERS / Asmaa Waguih
Egyptian troops and protesters clash in Cairo as thousands rally

Al Jazeera - Over 20 people were injured in confrontations between the Egyptian security forces and protesters attempting to reach the headquarters of the Defense Ministry in Cairo. Al Jazeera correspondent reported that 20 armored trucks amassed in al- Abbasiyah Square after pushing the protesters away from the surroundings of the Defense Ministry. Tahrir Square hosted a demonstration against the Military Council, and so did al-Abbasiyah Square that received even more protesters.

Syrian troops storm Aleppo University killing four and arresting hundreds

BBC Arabic - Syrian opposition activists say a number of students at Aleppo University were killed by the gunfire of Syrian security forces when they stormed the campus.The university's president announced classes will be suspended until May 13th. Following these incidents, demonstrations broke out in and around as the faculties of Aleppo University in solidarity with the targeted students. Other demonstrations erupted in various areas as well.  
Israeli court postpones Palestinian hunger strikers' appeals

Palestine TV - After Bilal Diab and Thaeir Halahla entered their 68th day of their open-ended hunger strike, a hearing was held today in the so-called Israeli Supreme Court, where their trial was postponed indefinitely to review the demand of their release. During the trial session, Bilal and Tha'ir's defense attorney presented the judge with his argument which condemns the so-called administrative detention, which allows the detention of the prisoners without any charges.

Blasts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Taliban claims responsibility

Dubai - US President Barack Obama visited Afghanistan for six hours and met with his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai. The two leaders signed a strategic partnership pact for cooperation between Washington and Kabul. Following Obama's visit, Kabul was rocked by a series of explosions that claimed the lives of 6 people. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, and warned they will launch an offensive against NATO on Thursday.

Al Alam - At least 20 people were killed, and 45 others were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself at a market in Bajur, leading to the killing and injury of dozens of people. He targeted a police checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan. Among the dead were a number of policemen and civilians.


Image: A member of security forces jumps before throwing a stone back at protesters near Egypt's Defence Ministry May 4, 2012. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih


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The Latest From the Middle East

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Bahraini activists demand a 'stop to bloody Formula One'

BBC Arabic - The Bahraini opposition escalated its protests, in a number of Shiite villages in and around al-Manama, on the eve of the opening of the Formula One car race. The demonstrations that started Wednesday night continued until Thursday morning. The authorities are heightening the security measures ahead of the event, but denying they expect the protests to impact the sporting event. Eyewitnesses say security forces were forced to use teargas and stun grenades to disperse protesters who threw Molotov cocktails and stones at the police in confrontations that left dozens injured.
Egypt rises against military rule on the 'Friday of self-determination'

Press TV reports that earlier this week, Egypt's electoral body rejected appeals filed by candidates disqualified from running for the May presidential election. Three main disqualified candidates are Egypt's former main intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, Khairat al-Shater from the Muslim Brotherhood, and the ultra-conservative Salafist, Hazem Abu Ismail.

Future TV - Under the banner of self-determination, tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square, in the center of Cairo, to demand the protection of the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak over a year ago. This Friday's protest also demanded the transfer of power, and the unification of all political and revolutionary factions. Activists called for the protest today to demand that those who worked with the former president be prevented from running in the presidential elections, the first round of which will be held next month.


However, the Islamists joined the demonstration under the banner "protecting the revolution." And, as an indication that protesters are intent on pushing the ruling military council to fulfill the promise of transferring power to an elected president, the stage set up by the Muslim Brotherhood in the square included a banner that read, "power-transfer on June 30th."

Sudan declares 'liberation' of Heglig as Juba pulls out

Dubai TV -  The Sudanese defense minister has announced that Heglig was "liberated" from the grips of Juba's army, confirming the region was recaptured by force, ten days after South Sudan seized control of the area. This announcement was intended to refute a South Sudanese army statement claiming that its forces voluntarily withdrew from Heglig. Meanwhile, demonstrations broke out in a number of northern cities to celebrate the North's victory in the battle. President Omar al-Bashir stressed the victory marks the beginning of a war to liberate the South from the rule of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

UN chief calls for an expanded monitoring mission in Syria

New TV - On the fourth day of the international observers' presence in Syria, Damascus signed an initial agreement with the United Nations on the terms of the team's work. And in a closed-door meeting, the Security Council discussed sending an expanded monitoring mission to Syria, consisting of 300 observers, for three months. The team will monitor and encourage the halt of armed aggression in all its forms and from all parties, and comes as part of the Annan plan. The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed this agreement comes within Syrian efforts aimed at ensuring the success of Annan's plan, and facilitating the observers' mission within the context of Syrian sovereignty and commitment to the concerned parties. The spokesman for UN envoy Kofi Annan announced that his office is holding similar negotiations with representatives from the opposition on the obligations and responsibilities of the armed opposition.


Hunger Striker Khader Adnan's hometown celebrates his release

Palestine TV - It was "a national wedding," "a massive popular festival," "the festival of the dawn of freedom." These were the names given to the celebration in Jenin organized in honor of freed prisoner Khader Adnan, who underwent an open-ended hunger strike that lasted 66 days in protest of his administrative detention in an Israeli jail. Thousands of citizens from all provinces and political factions, both official and popular, attended the festival to honor him.

1,200 Palestinian Prisoners begin an open-ended hunger strike in Israeli jails

Al-Alam - In occupied Palestine, events were held to mark the Prisoners' Day. 1,200 Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons began an open-ended hunger strike in protest of their maltreatment and continual detention. Participants in the events demanded to release the prisoners. At the Prisoners' Day festival, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council called for escalating the armed resistance to free the prisoners.


Image: Protesters chant slogans after police used a flashbang stun grenade during an anti-government rally in Manama April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah


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This Week's Headlines 4/13/12


South Sudan refuses to withdraw troops from oil-rich town

Al Jazeera - South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit refused to withdraw his forces,from the oil-rich region Heglig, and threatened to take over Abyei if the Sudanese forces do not retreat from the area. Sudan announced it will mobilize its forces to recover the Heglig region. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said the Sudanese army is capable of resolving any aggression on his country,in a response to South Sudan's People's Liberation Army's taking over Heglig. The UN Security Council called on Sudan and South Sudan to halt the border battles, and return to negotiations, in order to avoid further deterioration of the situation by the border.

Bahrain protestors rally to demand realse of dying activist al-Khawaja

Al-Alam - Bahraini regime forces crushed demonstrations, held across various provinces, in solidarity with detained activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been on a hunger strike for more than two months. Fourteen international organizations called for mounting pressure on al-Manama to release al-Khawaja. The rights groups said that the court's ruling against al-Khawajah, and other activists, is a blatant violation of their rights to freedom of expression, and the freedom to hold public gatherings and assemblies, under the provisions of the international law. Bahraini protestors are demanding the downfall of the regime, which has failed to bring about a solution to the political crisis in the country and are vowing to continue their mobilization, until all of their rights and demands are attained.

Clashes near Turkish border on second day of fragile Syria truce

BBC Arabic - Two days after a ceasefire took place in Syria,the Syrian Revolution's General Commission said eight civilians were killed in different parts of Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said clashes erupted in the morning between Syrian forces and members of the Free Syrian Army in Idlib province, near the Syrian-Turkish border. Damascus said what happened near the border is part of the implementation of Annan’s plan, and a redeployment of its forces. As for the breach, it said it was caused by yesterday’s attack on a military vehicle.

Egyptians rally against former regime candidates

Al-Alam - Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians demonstrated in a million-man march to protect the revolution in Tahrir Square in the center of the Egyptian capital Cairo. This comes in response to a call by the country's Islamist parties and groups. The protestors affirmed the revolution is still continuing against anyone who tries to steal it, and they expressed their rejection to the idea of boycotting the presidential elections. They also stressed the Egyptian people will overthrow the regime's remnants through the ballot box.

Arab Hero Ahmed Ben Bella dies at 96

New TV - Ahmed Ben Bella was a figure more esteemed than a revolutionary hero, and seen as a prisoner with a will stronger than his warden's. He lives in the Arab consciousness as one of the most important figures of this nation’s recent history. Soaring from his position as a fighter in the Algerian million-martyr revolution, and reaching his destination as the first president of the republic established following the country's victory. He restored Algeria's natural status in the heart of the nation's struggle, and restored his people's stolen identity. Ben Bella departed the world as a history maker, and he goes down in history as one of the most glorious leaders of this nation. 


Image: Supporters of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) take part in a rally in support of South Sudan taking control of the Heglig oil field, in Juba April 13, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer


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Palestinians Killed at Nakba Rallies

(Al Jazeera English: 1534 PT, May 15, 2011) Several people have been killed and scores of others wounded in the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, Ras Maroun in Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as Palestinians mark the "Nakba," or day of "catastrophe."


The "Nakba" is how Palestinians refer to the 1948 founding of the state of Israel, when an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled following Israel's declaration of statehood. Al Jazeera's Nisreen El Shamyleh reports.



Egypt Police Fire Tear Gas at Nakba Protest

(Al Jazeera English: 1707 PT, May 15, 2011) Egyptian police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo, after a group of demonstrators reportedly attempted to storm the building. Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith reports.



Marking Nakba

(Press TV: 0509 PT, May 16, 2011) Analysis of the Nakba protests from Iran's Press TV.





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Army Vehicles Deployed on Streets of Cairo

(Euronews: 0549 PT, May 9, 2011) The Egyptian Army is demonstrating its promised "iron fist" in Cairo, after two days of deadly clashes between Coptic Christians and Muslims. At least 12 people were killed and more than 200 injured.


Clashes flared between Christians and Muslims in the capital on Saturday and Sunday. Stones were thrown and there were reports of gunfire and bullet wounds; 190 people were arrested. The army's aim now is to reassure the people.



Deadly Sectarian Clashes Erupt in Cairo

(Al Jazeera English: 1610 PT, May 8, 2011) Christians marching against the military in the Egyptian capital and calling for more rights have come under attack. While some blamed hardline Muslims, others said the attack is symptomatic of rampant lawlessness in the country following the revolution that overthrew long-time leader, Hosni Mubarak. Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reports from Cairo.



Rising Sectarian Tension in Cairo

(Democracy Now! 0752 PT, May 9, 2011) Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports from Cairo, where 12 people died and more than 180 were wounded during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo over the weekend.


"This was a major attack," says Kouddous. "What many people, many Coptic people in particular, do not understand is why the military, who was present at the scene while the violence was happening stood by while the worst of it took place and did not intervene."




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Israel Opposes Palestinian Reconciliation Deal

(Euronews: 0410 PST, April 28, 2011) Palestinians in Hamas-ruled Gaza have been celebrating the news of a provisional agreement with the rival Fatah group to end their bitter feud. But reaction in Israel has been less positive, due to fears the more militant Hamas will take control of the West Bank.




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Fatah and Hamas Strike Deal to Form Unity Government

(Euronews: 1154 PST, April 27, 2011) Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah say they have resolved their deep divisions. Holding talks in the Egyptian capital Cairo, the two groups reportedly thrashed out a deal opening the way for a unity interim government and general elections.


A spokesman for Hamas in Gaza told Reuters news agency that both sides had signed initial letters on an agreement and all points of differences had been overcome. The reported deal came as thousands of protesters gathered in the West Bank and Gaza calling for reconciliation.




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Day of Protests in Middle East

(Al Jazeera English: 0227 PST, April 8, 2011) More mass protests are planned across the region following noon prayers on Friday. Al Jazeera has a liv report from Egypt and Syria.




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