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Russian Patriarch Begins Syria Peacemaking Bid

Russian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Kirill on Saturday started a peacemaking bid to unrest-swept Syria for talks with President Bashar Assad and other leaders, officials said.

"I am deeply convinced that all the problems can be solved peacefully and through dialogue," Kirill told journalists at Damascus airport, the Russian news agencies RIA Novosti and Interfax reported.

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Cell Planning Attacks in Bahrain Busted

A cell planning attacks in the Sunni-dominated Gulf kingdom of Bahrain troubled by a Shiite-led opposition movement, has been broken up, the interior ministry spokesman said on Saturday.

Four members of the cell were detained in Qatar and turned over to Manama, while a fifth Bahraini was arrested inside the country, spokesman General Tareq al-Hasan said.

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U.S., Britain Hail Arab League Decision on Syria

U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday praised the "leadership" of the Arab League after the grouping suspended Syria in a move that deepened the Damascus government's isolation.

The League said the suspension will remain in place until President Bashar Assad implements an Arab deal to end violence against protesters, and called for sanctions and transition talks with the opposition.

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Morocco Gears Up for Poll with Eyes on Islamists, Turnout

Morocco opened its campaign for November 25 legislative elections Saturday, with moderate Islamists seen as possible winners and fears of a low turnout in the country's second vote this year.

In the last parliamentary elections in 2007 turnout was a mere 37 percent, a sign of Moroccans' lack of interest in public affairs.

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Tunisia's New Assembly to Take Office Nov 22

Tunisia's constituent assembly will meet for the first time on November 22, officials announced Saturday, beginning a process of political and constitutional reform in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

Interim president Foued Mebazaa will sign a decree summoning the assembly and "outlining the procedures for a successful inauguration", said officials.

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Arab League Suspends Syria, Damascus Considers Decision ‘End to Joint Arab Action’

The Arab League suspended Syria on Saturday until President Bashar Assad implements an Arab deal to end violence against protesters, and called for sanctions and transition talks with the opposition.

Syrian envoy Youssef Ahmed angrily denounced the move as illegal, saying Damascus had already implemented the deal and claiming the United States had ordered the suspension.

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13 Dead amid Defections, Clashes in Northwest Syria

At least 13 people were killed in northwest Syria on Saturday, mostly security personnel, as activists reported clashes and military operations following the defection of dozens of soldiers.

Two civilians were killed in the restive central city of Homs.

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Clashes, Protests for 2nd Day in Yemen as Saleh Holds Onto Power

Fierce clashes erupted in Yemen's second city Saturday as protesters in the capital Sanaa condemned international silence in the face of a government crackdown that left more than 15 dead the previous day.

"Oh world, the children and women of Taez are being killed...where is your conscience?" chanted tens of thousands of protesters in Sanaa who for 10 months now have been calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

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Huge Military Base Blast in Iran Kills Guards Commander, 16 Others

A massive explosion at a Revolutionary Guards base just west of the Iranian capital on Saturday killed 17 members of the elite force, including a top commander, officials said, revising the toll down from 27.

"Unfortunately the fax that I received from the site of the incident was not legible, and the figure 27 was announced, whereas the number of martyrs stands at 17," Commander Ramezan Sharif said.

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Deadly Crackdown on Syrian Protestors Puts Pressure on Arabs to Act

A week of deadly violence in the central Syrian city of Homs piled pressure on Arab foreign ministers gathering for an emergency meeting in Cairo Saturday to take action against Damascus for failing to honor an Arab League peace deal.

President Bashar Assad's regime agreed on November 2 to an Arab roadmap which called for the release of detainees, the withdrawal of the army from urban areas and free movement for observers and the media, as well as negotiations with the opposition.

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