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Libya's Foreign Minister Seeks 'Political Solution'

Libya's foreign minister expressed hopes for a "political solution" to end the two-month conflict in his country, his Cypriot counterpart said after the pair held talks on Thursday.

Abdelati Laabidi reiterated a "commitment to the initiative of the African Union and the wish for a political solution to be achieved," Cypriot Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou told reporters in Nicosia.

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World Offers Cash, Defense Means to Gadhafi Foes

World powers offered cash to Libya's rebels and the means "to defend themselves" as they issued fresh demands for strongman Moammar Gadhafi to relinquish power, at a meeting in Doha on Wednesday.

In a final statement after the day-long gathering, the international contact group on Libya decided to set up a "temporary financial mechanism" to aid the rebels seeking to oust Gadhafi.

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Ailing Mubarak, Two Sons Detained for 15 Days

Hosni Mubarak, in hospital after a heart attack, and his two sons were placed under detention Wednesday in a probe into violence against protesters who brought about the ouster of the ex-Egyptian president.

A statement on the public prosecutor's Facebook page said chief prosecutor Abdel Magid Mahmoud authorized the detention for 15 days "as part of an inquiry into the use of force against protesters during the unrest in January and February."

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Protests Spread to Aleppo, Syria's Second City

Protests for greater freedoms spread Wednesday to Aleppo, Syria's second city, where hundreds of university students clashed with police and a smaller protest took place in the capital, rights activists told Agence France Presse by telephone.

Meanwhile, thousands of women blocked a stretch of a main coastal road in the north of the country demanding authorities release hundreds of people arrested during a crackdown on the flashpoint towns of Banias and in Baida, London-based rights activist Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP by phone.

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Germany Expels Five Libyan Diplomats

The German foreign ministry said Wednesday that five Libyan diplomats were being expelled because of "pressure" being exerted on Libyans living in Germany.

"The foreign ministry today (Wednesday) summoned the Libyan ambassador in Germany. He was informed that five Libyan diplomats have been expelled and have seven days to leave Germany," a statement said.

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Women Block Road in Syria after Hundreds Arrested

Thousands of women staged a sit-in Wednesday on a main highway in northeastern Syria to demand the release of hundreds of people arrested in protest towns in the region, a rights activist said.

"More than 5,000 women are gathered on the main road linking the towns of Tartus and Banias to demand the release of hundreds of people arrested yesterday in Baida by security forces," Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France Presse.

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Syria Accuses 'Armed Gangs' of Preventing Medical Access

Armed gangs were responsible for preventing injured security forces victims of pro-reform protests receiving medical treatment, Syrian authorities said on Wednesday.

"Certain media have compiled baseless accusations saying the Syrian authorities prevented the injured from going to hospital for treatment," an Interior Ministry statement said.

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Seven Dead in Yemen Clashes

At least seven people were killed in Yemen, including four police who clashed with a dissident army unit, military sources and medics said on Wednesday.

"Police attacked an army checkpoint in Amran province," 170 kilometers north of Sanaa late on Tuesday, "killing one officer and wounding two soldiers," a military official told Agence France Presse.

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Mubarak and Two Sons Detained for 15 Days

Egypt's ex-president Hosni Mubarak has been placed in detention for 15 days, prosecutors said Wednesday shortly after state media reported his two sons had also been detained.

In a statement on the public prosecutor's Facebook page, a spokesman said the prosecutor Abdul Maguid Mahmoud authorized the detentions "as part of an inquiry into the use of force against protesters during the unrest in January and February."

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Gulf States Want Baghdad Summit Scrapped, Says Bahrain

Gulf Arab states have demanded the cancelation of an Arab summit due in Baghdad next month, Bahrain's official BNA news agency quoted the foreign minister as saying on Tuesday.

"Gulf Cooperation Council countries have demanded that the Arab summit which is due to be held in Iraq be cancelled," BNA quoted Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa as saying.

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