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Jordan Information Minister Quits over 'Restrictive' Laws

Jordan's Information Minister Taher Adwan said on Tuesday he has resigned because of laws he deemed "restrictive for freedom of expression."

"I submitted my resignation today to Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit in protest at a government decision" to debate new press and publication laws in parliament that he opposed, Adwan told Agence France Presse.

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Turkey, Israel in New Bid to Overcome Crisis

Israel and Turkey have been holding secret talks at several levels to end their diplomatic crisis, Haaretz newspaper reported on Tuesday, quoting a senior Israeli official.

The report, for which there was no confirmation, said an official representing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Feridun Sinirlioglu, undersecretary at the Turkish foreign ministry, were involved in the discussions.

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100 Yemen Troops Killed in Battle for Zinjibar

Battles raged Tuesday between Yemen's army and suspected al-Qaida militants for control of the southern city of Zinjibar, a military official said, as the toll of soldiers killed passed the 100 mark.

"We are engaged in fierce battles with terrorist elements from al-Qaida, leading to heavy losses on their part during the past three days," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Assad Orders New General Amnesty

President Bashar Assad on Tuesday ordered a new general amnesty, a day after an offer of "national dialogue" to end Syria's deadly unrest and as a huge crowd rallied in Damascus in his support.

"President Assad has issued a decree granting a general amnesty for crimes committed before the date of June 20, 2011," state news agency SANA announced without giving details.

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Huge pro-Assad Rally Held in Damascus

Tens of thousands of people rallied Tuesday in central Damascus in support of President Bashar Assad, a day after he offered a national dialogue to end Syria's political crisis, an Agence France Presse correspondent said.

Omeyyades Square was turned into a sea of pro-Assad demonstrators, waving Syrian flags and the president's portrait, chanting, "We will sacrifice ourselves for you, Bashar!"

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Kuwait Opposition Vows to Work to Oust PM

Kuwaiti opposition lawmakers have vowed to keep up their campaign to oust the prime minister who faces a key no-confidence vote on Thursday for having boosted ties with Iran.

"Yes, we have an agenda to rescue Kuwait from (Prime Minister Sheikh) Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who has destroyed the country," veteran opposition MP Ahmad al-Saadun told a gathering on Monday night.

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Car Bomb Attack on Iraqi Governor Kills 21 Policemen

Two car bombs ripped through a guard post outside the local governor's home in the central Iraqi city of Diwaniyah on Tuesday, killing at least 21 policemen, officials and a medic said.

A police colonel said the governor of Diwaniyah province, Salam Hussein Alwan, had been the target of the attack but was late in leaving home and thus escaped unharmed, as did his family.

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Turkey Says Assad Speech 'Not Enough', Urges 'Multi-Party System'

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should transform the autocratic regime in his country into a multi-party system, following a televised address by the Syrian leader to the nation Monday.

Gul told reporters late on Monday that Assad’s speech was “not enough.”

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Ben Ali, Wife Sentenced in Absentia to 35 Years

Toppled Tunisian president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his wife were sentenced in absentia Monday to 35 years in prison each in a trial for misappropriating public funds, a judge said.

Judge Touhami Hafi also fined the exiled ex-leader 50 million dinars (25 million euros) and his wife Leila Trabelsi 41 million dinars on the first day of the trial.

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Italy: Civilian Deaths put NATO Credibility at Risk

Italy's foreign minister warned Monday that NATO's accidental killing of civilians in the Libyan air war was endangering the alliance's credibility.

"NATO's credibility is at risk," Franco Frattini told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

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