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Britain to Upgrade Palestinian Diplomatic Status

Britain will upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation to London to the level of a mission in line with a number of other EU countries, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday.

"Given the extent of our aid to the Palestinian Authority and our work with them, we will join many other countries in upgrading the status of the Palestinian delegation to London to the level of a mission," he told parliament.

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Gulf States Call for U.N. No-Fly Zone over Libya, Urgent Arab Summit

Gulf Arab states announced their support for imposing a no-fly zone over Libya in a statement on Monday, amid divisions among the major powers over military intervention in the North African nation.

"The Gulf Cooperation Council demands that the U.N. Security Council take all necessary measures to protect civilians, including enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya," the six-nation bloc's statement said.

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Iran, Syria in Hot Seat at U.N. Atomic Watchdog Meet

Iran and Syria found themselves in the spotlight Monday as the U.N. nuclear watchdog convened for its traditional week-long spring meeting.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-member board of governors was set to discuss two new reports showing little or no progress in the watchdog's long-running investigations into Iran's controversial atomic program and allegations of illicit nuclear activity on the part of Syria.

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Britain, France Preparing U.N. Resolution on Libya No-Fly Zone

British Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed Monday that Britain was working to draft a U.N. resolution on a no-fly zone over Libya to counter Moammar Gadhafi's offensive against rebels, but said it must have regional support and a "clear legal basis".

"At the U.N. Security Council we are working closely with partners on a contingency basis on elements of a resolution on a no-fly zone, making clear the need for regional support, a clear trigger for such a resolution and an appropriate legal basis," Hague told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

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Hundreds Attend Pro-Democracy Rallies in Morocco

A few hundred people, mainly youths, attended a quickly improvised pro-democracy rally in front of the Moroccan parliament Sunday, calling for the rule of law and radical political reform.

The demonstration, called on social networking site Facebook, was backed by human rights activists who gathered in central Rabat before heading for the parliament building.

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13 Syrian Human Rights Activists Go on Hunger Strike at Adra Prison

Thirteen jailed Syrian human rights activists, including lawyers Haytham Maleh and Anwar Bunni, are staging a hunger strike at Adra prison, near Damascus, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights announced Monday.

"We have launched a hunger strike because we demand an end to political detention and injustice, as well as the recovery of stolen civil and political rights," said the activists in a joint statement published by the rights monitor.

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Kuwait Braces for Pro-Democracy Rallies

Kuwait braced for demonstrations against the government on Tuesday as youth groups promised to take their campaign to oust the prime minister to the streets of the oil-rich emirate.

The Fifth Fence youth group has been using micro blogging website Twitter to urge its supporters to join a rally coinciding with parliament's first meeting after a six-week break.

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Gadhafi Accuses France of 'Interference'

Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi accused France of interference in the country's internal affairs and blamed Al-Qaeda for the revolt against his regime, in an interview aired Monday by France24 television.

When asked about France's backing for the national council -- the embryonic provisional government formed by rebels in the second city of Benghazi -- Gadhafi said: "It makes one laugh, this interference in internal affairs.

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Dozens of Bahrainis Protest at U.S. Embassy

Dozens of activists protested at the U.S. embassy in Manama on Monday, calling for Washington to press Bahraini authorities for democratic reform after weeks of demonstrations.

Activists gathered at a small fence set up in front of the embassy, chanting slogans such as "down down Hamad" -- a reference to the Gulf state's king -- and "down with the monarchy! People want democracy!"

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7 killed, 50 Injured in Battle for Bin Jawad Control in Libya

At least seven people were killed and more than 50 wounded in clashes between Libyan rebels and supporters of Moammar Gadhafi at the coastal hamlet of Bin Jawad, hospital figures showed Monday.

The casualty list posted at Ajdabiya hospital, where most of the wounded were taken after Sunday's clashes, reported seven dead and about 52 people hurt.

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