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Ben Ali to Complain to U.N. over Seizure of His Property

Tunisia's ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali plans to take a complaint about the seizure of his property to a United Nations committee, his lawyer said Friday.

In a statement, Akram Azoury condemned "the illegal actions of the Tunisian authorities who have confiscated all the fixed and moveable assets of president Ben Ali, including his personal house," under a decree signed by then interim president Fouad Mebazaa last March 14.

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13 Dead as Syrians Take to Streets in Support of Rebel Army

Thousands demonstrated in support of the rebel Free Syrian Army on Friday, as activists said security forces shot dead 13 people in several regions and longtime Damascus ally Moscow kept up its opposition to calls for tougher action against the regime.

The Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said regime troops shot dead two people in the northern province of Aleppo, one in the central province of Hama, one in the eastern oil hub of Deir al-Zour, five in the central opposition bastion Homs, one in the southern province of Daraa and two in the Damascus suburb of al-Damir.

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Tunisian President Will Pardon More than 1,000 Prisoners

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki will pardon more than 1,000 prisoners on Saturday's anniversary of the fall of the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the justice ministry said.

Priority will be given to aged people and adolescents, it said Friday, adding that some other detainees will benefit from conditional release and reduced sentences.

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France Opens Murder Probe into Journalist's Killing in Syria

France on Friday opened a murder probe into the killing of a French journalist in Syria, amid suspicions of regime collusion in the first death of a Western journalist since protests began 10 months ago.

Judicial sources said a murder enquiry had been opened into the killing on Wednesday of 43-year-old France 2 television reporter Gilles Jacquier during a government-organized trip to Homs, a flashpoint for anti-regime protests.

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Rights Group Slams Kuwait Ban on Stateless Demo

Human Rights Watch on Friday strongly criticized a decision by the Gulf state of Kuwait to bar stateless people from protesting, saying the order denies them their rights and should be revoked.

Kuwait's interior ministry has issued three statements this week warning stateless people, locally known as illegal residents or bidoons, not to demonstrate or they will be punished.

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Protesters Hurt as Bahrain Police Disperse Demo

Bahraini police forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse a Shiite-led protest in the capital, wounding several people, activists said on Friday.

The Sunni-ruled kingdom's interior ministry said in a statement published by state news agency BNA that security forces "had to disperse" a group taking part in an "illegal demonstration" after they were given several warnings to end their rally.

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Turkey: Russian Ship Carrying Arms Reached Tartus

A Russian ship, allegedly carrying tons of weapons, made a dash for Syria after Cypriot officials allowed it to leave their waters, Turkish officials said Thursday.

The ship had made an unscheduled stop in Cyprus Tuesday, technically violating an EU embargo on arms shipments to Syria, which has killed thousands in a crackdown on dissent.

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Israeli Tank Fire Wounds Two on Gaza Border

Israelis and Palestinians fought across the Gaza border on Friday, with Israeli tank fire wounding two men at the frontier and Palestinians firing a rocket into southern Israel, medics and the army said.

Israeli tanks fired at a group of Palestinians who appeared to be attempting to plant explosives along the border fence, in the early hours of Friday a military spokeswoman told Agence France Presse.

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Syria NTC, Rebels Form Direct Channel of Communication

The main Syrian civilian opposition umbrella group agreed to work more closely with the armed rebels as activists called for nationwide demonstrations in support of the Free Syrian Army on Friday.

Syrian National Council leader Burhan Ghaliun met with rebel chief Colonel Riad Asaad on Thursday and "extensively discussed the situation on the ground and the organizational capacity of the FSA", an SNC statement said.

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British PM, Saudi King Discuss Syria, Iran, Yemen

British Prime Minister David Cameron held talks with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud in Riyadh on Friday, as tensions soar between the West and Tehran, the oil-rich kingdom's arch-rival in the Gulf.

The two leaders "discussed the importance of the UK-Saudi bilateral relationship and agreed to strengthen cooperation in a range of areas," Cameron's office said in a statement.

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