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Moroccan King Wants Quick Election, Improved Algeria Ties

Morocco's King Mohammed VI called Saturday for speedy elections and the reopening of his country's border with Algeria in his first throne speech since a referendum voted to curb some of his prerogatives.

In the July 1 referendum, more than 98 percent of Moroccans approved a set of political reforms backed by the king following a series of youth-led, pro-democracy demonstrations in several cities.

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Suicide Bomber Blows Self Up in Algeria to Avoid Arrest

A suicide bomber blew himself up to avoid arrest in the eastern Algerian town of Bouhamza, causing no other casualties, newspapers reported Wednesday.

According to El Watan's online edition, the suspect set off an explosives belt he was wearing when local security encircled him as he left a shop after buying large quantities of food on Tuesday.

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Libyan Rebels Warn Algeria: 'Stop Backing Gadhafi'

Libya's rebel council issued a blunt warning to neighboring Algeria on Sunday, insisting that it must "stop supporting Gadhafi," as tensions between the North African countries bubbled to the surface.

Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of Libya's National Transitional Council, accused Algeria of supporting Moammar Gadhafi militarily in the early days of the near five-month-long war, and that it continued to support him politically.

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Vatican Fears Increasingly Unstable Arab World

A Vatican expression of concern over the violence in Syria this week was the latest sign of deep misgivings in Catholic circles about Arab uprisings seen as a threat for Christian minorities.

"The pope has been rather silent on the Arab revolutions," said Marco Politi, a Vatican specialist for Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano.

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Protesters Brave Riot Police in Algerian Capital

An Algerian opposition deputy was badly hurt in clashes with riot police as protesters tried to rally in a central Algiers square Saturday and was thought to be in a coma, his party said.

Tahar Besbes, of the Rally for Culture and Democracy, was hit in the stomach by a policeman and hit his head on the pavement when he fell, party spokesman Mohsen Belabbas said.

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Algeria to Lift State of Emergency before End of February

Algeria said Wednesday it will lift by the end of February the state of emergency slapped on the country 19 years ago at the start of a decade-long bloody conflict with Islamist militants.

"The lifting of the state of emergency will take place before the end of the current month along with the announcement of several measures regarding housing, jobs and administration management," the state news agency APS quoted Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia as saying.

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Algerian Forces Kill Senior Islamic Militant

Algerian forces have killed a senior Islamic militant linked with two attacks in 2007 in the capital Algiers that left dozens dead, local media reported on Sunday.

Kamel Bourihane, also known as Abou Hafs, was ambushed by the Algerian army on Friday while travelling in a vehicle in the Bouira region, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) southeast of Algiers, the El-Khabar newspaper reported.

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Italian Woman Abducted in Southern Algeria’s Sahara

An Italian woman tourist traveling with a driver and a tour guide has been kidnapped in the Sahara desert region of, security sources said Friday.

The 56-year-old Italian who has not been identified was abducted Wednesday around 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) in Alidem, an area 130 kilometers south of Djanet, the main town in southeastern Algeria, the security official in the region contacted by Agence France Presse said.

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