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Egypt in push to end Sudan confrontation over oil

By Alexander Dziadosz /Reuters KHARTOUM/CAIRO: Egypt is mounting a diplomatic offensive to defuse tensions between Sudan and South Sudan that have raised fears the two former civil war foes could return to a full-blown conflict. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr arrived at Khartoum airport on Sunday for talks after the two countries clashed during …

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Top contenders fight to stay in presidential election

By Agencies CAIRO: Three top contenders for Egypt’s presidency were scrambling to stay in the election race after the authorities disqualified them on technical grounds, prompting one to say that a “major crisis” threatened the landmark vote. The election is seen as the last step to democracy after more than a year of unstable army …

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First Assange TV show to be aired next week

By AFP LONDON: The first episode of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s new TV interview show will be broadcast on Tuesday on Russia Today and online, the whistleblowing website said on Friday. WikiLeaks remained tightlipped on the identity of Assange’s interviewee in the first of the 12-episode weekly series entitled “The World Tomorrow.” It has promised …

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Syrian truce marred as Assad forces kill four

By Dominic Evans / Reuters BEIRUT: Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad killed at least four people as the opposition tried to stage protests after Friday prayers, marring a ceasefire brokered by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan. Syrians took to the streets across the country in small demonstrations after prayers, trusting that the truce, …

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Despite PA approval, political exclusion clause seen as unconstitutional

By Safaa Abdoun CAIRO: While Egyptians applauded the People’s Assembly’s (PA) decision to pass amendments to the law regulating political participation barring top Mubarak-era officials from running for president, the jury is still out on whether the law will be implemented. On Thursday, the PA agreed to add a fourth clause to Article 3 of Law …

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Thousands protest against former regime candidates in Cairo, Alexandria

By Ahmed Hazem CAIRO: Thousands of protesters affiliated with Islamist groups gathered Friday in Tahrir Square, demanding that figures of the former regime be banned from practicing their political rights and be disqualified as presidential candidates. In Alexandria, thousands of protesters affiliated with Islamist groups or parties also demonstrated. In answer to a call for protest …

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Hail the politics of exclusion

By Rania Al Malky CAIRO: Is it too late to salvage what’s left of Egypt’s so-called revolution? Is it too late to go back to the drawing board? Judging by the People’s Assembly’s decision to amendment political participation Law 73 of 1956, it’s not. But there’s a catch. The PA can decide all it wants, …

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Women heralding the winds of change in Pakistan

By Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam KARACHI, Pakistan: From a country where terrorism, extremism, inner strife and polarization continue to eat at its roots, good news is reaching out globally from a perhaps unexpected source — its women. Pakistani women are fighting for more than just the empowerment of women. They are taking center-stage in Pakistan’s fight against …

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Eurozone Chutzpah and the IMF

By Simon Tilford LONDON: Eurozone policymakers and politicians are in no doubt: they have done their part to support the currency union’s struggling members by increasing the size of its rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Now it is time for the rest of the world — that is, the International Monetary Fund — …

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The Arab Spring: Youth, freedom and the tools of technology

By  Megan Martin Wielding mobile phones and computers, the young activists across the Middle East have altered the way the world approaches popular mobilization, social networks and Internet freedom. The Internet can be a transformational force for societies and individuals, allowing for organization on a mass scale and the free flow of information. However, we …

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Analysis: Egypt in tough final leg of transition

By Tom Perry / Reuters CAIRO: The final leg of Egypt’s transition from military to civilian rule has turned into a bitter power struggle that is feeding a sense of crisis and confusion among Egyptians, who fear their democratic dawn could be at risk. Just weeks before a presidential election in May, divisions are hardening in …

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Yemen army clashes with Islamists, 34 killed

By Reuters ADEN: At least 34 people, mostly Islamist militants, were killed near the southern Yemeni city of Lawdar on Friday in clashes between government forces and an Al-Qaeda linked group, official and tribal sources said. Yemen’s military launched an offensive five days ago against Islamic insurgents who attacked a military camp outside Lawdar. The …

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Ousted Tunisian strongman’s kin says ready to face justice

By AFP TUNIS: The exiled brother-in-law of ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali regrets his role in the dictatorship and is prepared to face justice at home, news reports said Friday, quoting an open letter. “I have written this letter to apologize, even if I know that in the eyes of many Tunisians, if …

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Defying ban, Egyptian Christians visit Jerusalem

By Diaa Hadid / AP JERUSALEM: After the death of their spiritual leader, more than 2,000 Egyptian Copts have poured into the Holy Land for the Easter holidays, defying a ban he imposed on visiting Jerusalem and other Israeli-controlled areas. The influx — after decades when Egyptian pilgrims were a rarity — adds a new element …

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Gold eases towards $1,670/oz as dollar recovers

By Jan Harvey / Reuters LONDON: Gold eased towards $1,670 an ounce on Friday, pausing in its biggest one-week rally since late February, as the dollar recovered lost ground against the euro on concerns over Spain’s financial health and after Chinese growth data missed forecasts. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,672.80 an ounce at …

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Jordan’s anti-business backlash scares investors

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi /Reuters AMMAN: At a meeting in the royal palace last month, Jordan’s King Abdullah did not disguise his exasperation with his officials as he listened to a chorus of complaints from foreign investors. Among the frustrated investors was Abu Dhabi property developer Al Maabar, whose plan to build a resort in the granite …

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Orascom asks for arbitration on Algeria dispute

By Shaimaa Fayed / Reuters CAIRO: Orascom Telecom (OTH) said on Thursday it had submitted a formal arbitration notice against the Algerian government, the latest twist in a long and bitter dispute over Orascom’s local mobile phone unit. It follows years of acrimony between the Egyptian group and Algeria, which has hit the local subsidiary …

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Islamists rally in Cairo against Mubarak old guard

By Tom Perry and Marwa Awad /Reuters CAIRO: Thousands of Egyptians packed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday to protest against a run for the presidency by former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, in an Islamist show of strength against Hosni Mubarak’s old guard. The Muslim Brotherhood — the biggest group in parliament — called the protest …

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Analysis: Egypt’s Brotherhood raises stakes by excluding IMF

By Patrick Werr /Reuters CAIRO: In all but ruling out an early agreement on an IMF loan, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has dramatically raised the stakes in its struggle with the army-led administration for control of a country still reeling from a year of political turmoil. The Brotherhood’s candidate for president, Khairat Al-Shater, said this week the …

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Iraq electoral commission chief arrested for graft

By Raheem Salman /Reuters BAGHDAD: The head of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and one of its members were arrested by police on Thursday on corruption charges, IHEC officials said, in the latest apparent move for more government control of independent bodies. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki won a court ruling in January 2011 that …

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Iran, powers prepare for high-stakes nuclear talks

By Fredrik Dahl and Justyna Pawlak /Reuters ISTANBUL: Iran and the six world powers prepared on Friday for rare talks aimed at easing fears that a deepening dispute over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program could plunge the Middle East into a new war. Officials from Iran and the six major powers arrived in Istanbul ahead of …

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Motor racing: F1 chiefs give green light to Bahrain GP

By Alan Baldwin /Reuters SHANGHAI: Formula One chiefs gave next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix the green light on Friday despite security concerns and calls from anti-government activists for the race to be cancelled. The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) declared in a statement that the race, cancelled last year after a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protestors …

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Sudan, South Sudan troops on edge as fighting ebbs

By Waakhe Wudu / AFP JUBA: Fierce border clashes between South Sudan and Sudan appeared to ease Friday, although the rival armies steeled themselves for fresh violence amid international fears of full-scale conflict. World powers have urged restraint following the latest round of heavy fighting that first broke out Tuesday, with waves of aerial bombardment hitting …

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Buttered Up: Hasselback potatoes and the cloudberry girl

By Sarah Khanna When I was in the 6th grade, a beautiful girl, blond and bright-eyed, walked into class midday to unknowingly capture the hearts of boys that we had marked as our own for the future. There was not a girl in class that did not feel the sting, an abrupt glitch in our hearts. …

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Syria truce takes shaky hold, Annan presses Syria

By Mariam Karouny and Dominic Evans /Reuters BEIRUT: Syrian troops held their fire on Thursday after a U.N.-backed ceasefire deadline passed, giving respite to rebellious towns that have suffered heavy bombardments, but international envoy Kofi Annan pressed Damascus to pull its forces back entirely. “Syria is apparently experiencing a rare moment of calm on the ground,” …

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PA approves amendment barring top Mubarak official from political life

By Safaa Abdoun CAIRO: The People’s Assembly approved Thursday amendments to the law regulating political rights participation in a bid to bar top officials from the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak from running for office. “After a joint session was held between the legislation and constitution committee and the complaints and suggestions committee which went …

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Appeals against candidates processed amid calls for Friday demonstrations

By Heba Hesham CAIRO: The Presidential Election Committee began Thursday to consider objections presented by candidates over the eligibility of fellow contenders, as political powers called for a million-strong demonstration Friday to protest the nomination of members of the former regimes and law clauses giving the PEC legal immunity. On Wednesday, the committee said it received …

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Verdict does not confirm nationality of candidate’s mother, says official

By Heba Hesham CAIRO: The verdict handed down by Administrative Court Wednesday doesn’t confirm whether the mother of presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail had dual citizenship, according to Councilor Gamal El-Farash, vice head of the State Litigation Authority. The Administrative Court of the State Council ordered Wednesday the Ministry of Interior to provide evidence …

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Maspero victims’ lawyers quit military trial of 3 conscripts citing bias

By Mennatallah Fouad Youssef CAIRO: Rights groups and lawyers representing the victims of the Maspero crackdown said Wednesday they withdrew from the ongoing military trial of the soldiers accused of running over protesters by armed personnel carriers last October. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and the Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence …

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Al-Shater’s economic policies may attract US support, say experts

By Omnia Al Desoukie CAIRO: While it remains unclear how well last minute contenders Omar Suleiman and Khairat Al-Shater will do in the presidential election, experts argue that the US is leaning towards the latter for his economic policies. In post-Mubarak Egypt, the US administration was forced to engage in dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood which …

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