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Arab Unrest, High Food Prices Cast Pall on Ramadan

From Syria to Libya and Egypt, the uprisings and unrest gripping the Arab world have cast a pall on the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month when the traditional focus on piety will likely be eclipsed by more unrest.

Food prices — part of the economic hardships that catalyzed the ouster of the Egyptian and Tunisian leaders — are still climbing. And protesters have shown little patience for conciliatory gestures by governments after decades of empty promises.

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Mubarak to be Tried at Cairo Police Academy

Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who faces trial next week accused ordering troops to fire on protesters, will appear in court at the Cairo Police Academy, the appeals court said Saturday.

The trial would open on Wednesday and be held "inside the Police Academy in Masr el-Gedida" in northern Cairo for security reasons, said the court's president, Abdel Aziz Omar.

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Tens of Thousands Rally for Unity at Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Tens of thousands of Egyptians rallied in Cairo's central Tahrir Square on Friday seeking to unify their demands despite rifts over key issues between liberal activists and Islamist groups.

Protesters carrying banners, flags and umbrellas to shield them from the punishing Cairo sun filled the square in one of the largest demonstrations since the popular uprising pushed President Hosni Mubarak from power in February.

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Clashes as Egypt Protesters Pelted with Rocks, Bottles

Fierce clashes broke out on Saturday in Cairo between protesters angry at the ruling military's handling of the transition from Hosni Mubarak's regime and army loyalists, an Agence France Presse correspondent said.

Around 1,000 protesters had tried to reach the defense ministry, the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces-- which took power when Mubarak was ousted-- but were blocked by barbed wire and armored personnel carriers.

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Egypt Army Accuses Activists of Sowing Strife After Friday March

Egypt's military rulers on Saturday accused the April 6 pro-democracy group, which helped launch the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, of sowing strife after hundreds tried to march to the defense ministry.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces -- which took power when former president Mubarak was toppled in February -- accused April 6 of "driving a wedge between the people and the army."

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Hundreds Spend the Night in Cairo's Tahrir Square

Hundreds of protesters spent the night in Cairo's Tahrir Square, an Agence France Presse reporter said on Saturday, after mass nationwide rallies to press the new military rulers to make good on promises of reform.

Dozens of tents were pitched in the square -- the focus of protests that ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak in February -- and traffic was blocked around the usually busy plaza where music blasted from loudspeakers.

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Sonic Boom Causes 'Explosion' Panic in Tense Cairo

Egypt's interior ministry said Wednesday that a sonic boom from an overflying aircraft was the cause of a loud "explosion" that sent Cairo's residents in a panic.

"The sound of the explosion in the (southern neighborhood) of Maadi and in central Cairo was the sound of a plane that broke the sound barrier," deputy interior minister Murad Mohsen said in a statement.

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Verdict in Egypt Police Brutality Case Delayed

An Egyptian court on Thursday postponed issuing a verdict in a high profile police brutality case until September, amid mounting frustration over the slow pace of reform since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

A large security presence had been deployed outside the courthouse in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria where dozens of activists had gathered to hear the ruling in the trial of two police officers accused of beating to death 28-year-old Khaled Said last year.

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Ex-Egypt Trade Minister Sentenced in Absentia for Embezzlement

Former Egyptian trade and industry minister Rashid Mohammed Rashid was sentenced in absentia on Saturday to five years in prison for embezzlement of public funds, state news agency Mena reported.

Rashid, who is the subject of an international search warrant, was also ordered to pay a fine of more than nine million Egyptian pounds (over a million euros).

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Fatah, Hamas to 'Finalize' Unity Govt. Next Week

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in Cairo next week to finalize a new government put together by the two factions, a top official of his Fatah movement said Tuesday.

The meeting was announced as Palestinian factions were in Cairo for reconciliation talks aimed at choosing a prime minister to head the unity government.

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