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Report: U.S. Prepares Sanctions Against Syrian Officials

The U.S. government is preparing sanctions against senior officials in the entourage of Syrian President Bashar Assad who are overseeing a violent crackdown against protesters in the country, The Wall Street Journal reported late Sunday.

Citing unnamed officials, the newspaper said the administration of Barack Obama was drafting an executive order empowering the U.S. president to freeze the assets of these officials and ban them from any business dealings in the United States.

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Easter Church Blast Wounds Four in Baghdad

A roadside bomb explosion wounded four people, including two policemen, near a small church in the Iraqi capital on Easter Sunday, medical and security officials said.

The bomb went off near the entrance of the Sacred Heart church, which is surrounded by concrete blast walls, near Tahriart Square in central Baghdad.

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Yemen Protesters Snub U.S.-Backed Transition, Tribesmen Kill 4 Troops

Yemen's protest movement on Sunday insisted on the quick exit of President Ali Abdullah Saleh after his ruling party accepted a Gulf plan for him to quit in 30 days in a move hailed by Washington.

The United States had urged a peaceful transition after Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) party said late Saturday it accepted a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) plan under which he would quit following months of protests.

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3 Killed in Syria as Human Rights Watch Urges U.N. to Probe Friday Deaths

Security forces raided homes across Syria, arresting regime opponents, as funerals were held on Sunday for protesters and mourners killed in a bloody crackdown which activists said cost 120 lives.

Despite a relative lull, security forces killed three more people in the Mediterranean town of Jableh, near the port city of Latakia, Facebook page The Syrian Revolution 2011, a driving force behind the protests, reported.

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55 Killed in Armed Clashes in South Sudan

Clashes between south Sudan's army and rebel militiamen killed at least 55 people, a government official said Sunday in the soon to be independent state gripped by a bloody wave of unrest.

The fighting raged for about three hours on Saturday in Jonglei state between the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and gunmen led by former militia leader Gabriel Tang, also known as Tang-Ginye.

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Yemen President Agrees to Step Down in 30 Days

Yemen's embattled president agreed Saturday to a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators to step down within 30 days and hand power to his deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a major about-face for the autocratic leader who has ruled for 32 years.

A coalition of seven opposition parties said they also accepted the deal but with reservations. Even if the differences are overcome, those parties do not speak for all of the hundreds of thousands of protesters seeking President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster, and signs were already emerging that a deal on those terms would not end confrontations in the streets.

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Israeli Killed in West Bank Shooting

At least one Israeli was killed and four wounded when a Palestinian policeman opened fire on a vehicle near a flashpoint West Bank shrine on Sunday, the Israeli army said.

In a statement, the Israeli military said Palestinian officials confirmed the shooter in the incident was a Palestinian policeman who opened fire "after identifying suspicious movements."

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Syrians Bury their Dead in New Bloody Rallies

At least eight mourners were shot dead on Saturday as Syrians swarmed the streets to bury scores of demonstrators killed in massive protests and world leaders denounced the bloodshed.

Activists said the death toll from Friday's nationwide protests could reach 100 and expected fresh protests to form after the funerals.

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Condemnation Mounts of Syria Crackdown

International condemnation of Syria mounted Saturday after its security forces reportedly killed more than 80 people in one of the bloodiest days of a month-long uprising.

Russia, Italy and Greece joined the chorus of criticism which includes U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, as well as France and the European parliament.

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At Least Five Killed in Syria Funeral Processions

At least five people were killed Saturday in Syrian funeral processions, including three shot dead by snipers as they marched to bury their dead in a local cemetery, witnesses said.

Snipers opened fire from roof-tops as a funeral procession made its way to a cemetery, killing at least three mourners and wounding one, a witness and a human rights activist in the Damascus suburb of Douma told Agence France Presse by telephone.

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