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Yemen PM on Gulf Tour to Seek Financial Help

Yemen's Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa began a tour to the country's oil-rich Gulf neighbors on Monday to seek urgently needed aid for an economy approaching collapse.

Basindawa, formerly an opposition leader who is now leading a transitional government, heads in search of financial help while political tensions at home remain acute and protests continue against the deal that brought him to power.

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Pope Calls for 'Fruitful Dialogue' in Syria

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday called for a "fruitful dialogue" between political forces in Syria with independent observers present and said Arab Spring states should oppose discrimination.

"I pray for a rapid end to the bloodshed and the beginning of a fruitful dialogue between the political forces, encouraged by the presence of independent observers," he told 160 ambassadors to the Vatican in a speech.

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Turkey Urges Syria Opposition to Shun Violence, Warns of Civil War

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Monday of a "civil war" in neighboring Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's regime is persisting with a deadly crackdown on opponents.

"The situation that has emerged there is right now heading towards a religious, sectarian and racial civil war. This must be stopped," Erdogan said at a televised press conference.

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Iraq Police Mark 90th Birthday at Time of Tension

Iraq's fledgling police force, completely reformed after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, on Monday marked 90 years since its foundation at a time of raised sectarian tensions due to a political standoff.

The force, which has apologized for acts committed during the rule of now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein, held ceremonies in major cities such as Baghdad and Basra, after the army marked their 91st anniversary with a huge parade in the capital's heavily-fortified Green Zone on Friday.

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UAE Pipeline Skirting Strait of Hormuz Ready 'by June'

A pipeline being built by the United Arab Emirates to export oil from east coast terminals, avoiding the Iran-threatened Strait of Hormuz, will be operational by June, its energy minister said Monday.

"The pipeline is almost complete. It will be operational within six months ... by May or June," Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hameli told reporters.

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Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Accuses Arab League of Covering Up 'Regime Crimes'

The opposition Muslim Brotherhood accused the Arab League of seeking to "cover up the crimes" of the Syrian regime, after the pan-Arab organization decided to extend its observer mission.

"It is clear that the observer mission in Syria seeks to cover up the crimes of the Syrian regime by giving it the time and opportunity to kill our people and break their will," Brotherhood spokesman Zuhair Salem said.

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Yemeni Government Decrees Amnesty for Saleh

Yemen's interim government agreed Sunday to grant President Ali Abdullah Saleh amnesty against prosecution, paving the way for his departure in line with a Gulf plan to end deadly protests against his rule.

The government issued a draft law by which Saleh and his aides "who worked with him in all government, civil and military departments during the years of his rule, are granted amnesty against legal and judicial prosecution," it said in a statement carried by Saba state news agency.

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In Tunis, Haniya Promises 'Difficult Days' for Israel

The prime minister in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Sunday promised "difficult days" for Israel, and at a rally in Tunis urged Arab Spring revolutionaries to fight for an independent Palestine.

Ismail Haniya received an ovation from the crowd of some 5,000 men, women and children gathered in a stadium waving Palestinian, Tunisian and Hamas flags.

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Youths in Tunisia Uprising Flashpoint Heckle New Leaders

Youths in Kasserine, a town at the forefront of Tunisia's uprising a year ago, on Sunday heckled the men their revolution brought to power, radio reports and residents said.

President Moncef Marouzki and Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, who took office last month, were welcomed to the regional capital by a group of 200 to 300 youths chanting "go home".

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17 Civilians Shot Dead as Syria Deserters Kill 11 Troops in Daraa

Syrian security forces and pro-regime militias on Sunday shot and killed at least 17 civilians as troops and deserters engaged in deadly battles, activists and a human rights group said.

The latest violence came as the Arab League said its controversial observer mission in Syria would continue despite "harassment" by both the government and the opposition.

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