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Reports: Syrian Women Among Several Arrested in Homs

Syrian security forces on Saturday arrested several civilians, including women, in the flashpoint central city of Homs where gunfire was also heard, activists told Agence France Presse.

"Gunshots were heard in al-Khalidiyeh neighborhood and security forces have been making arrests," Abdel Karim Rihawi, the head of the Syrian League for the Defense of Human Rights, said by telephone.

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South Sudan Rebel Leader Gatluak Gai Shot Dead

South Sudan rebel leader Gatluak Gai was shot dead in Unity state on Saturday, the army and a rebel source said, just a week after agreeing to a ceasefire and as the newly independent country renewed its amnesty offer.

It was unclear how Gai was killed, with the SPLA, the army of the south, insisting he was shot by his own men after reneging on the agreement, and a rebel source saying he was "murdered" by the SPLA.

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Egypt Army Accuses Activists of Sowing Strife After Friday March

Egypt's military rulers on Saturday accused the April 6 pro-democracy group, which helped launch the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, of sowing strife after hundreds tried to march to the defense ministry.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces -- which took power when former president Mubarak was toppled in February -- accused April 6 of "driving a wedge between the people and the army."

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Erdogan: No Normalization Unless Israel Apologizes over Flotilla Raid

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday it was "unthinkable" for Ankara to normalize relations with Israel until it apologized over its bloody raid on a Turkish ship heading for Gaza.

"As long as Israel does not apologies to Turkey, pay compensation to the families of the victims and lift its blockage on the Gaza strip, a normalization of relations is unthinkable," he said at the opening of a meeting of Palestinian ambassadors in Istanbul in the presence of President Mahmoud Abbas.

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Abbas: U.N. Bid Forced on Palestinians by Israeli Refusal to End Occupation

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday the Palestinians' bid to win U.N. backing for statehood was forced upon them by Israel's refusal to halt settlement building and end its occupation.

"We are going to the United Nations because we are forced to, it is not a unilateral action," he said in a speech in Arabic in Istanbul, where he is meeting Palestinian diplomats from around the world.

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Syria Accuses Saboteurs of Train Derailment

A passenger train has derailed and caught fire in central Syria, killing the driver and wounding several passengers, after "saboteurs" tore out part of the tracks, the state-run news agency, SANA, said.

The train with 480 passengers on board was traveling Saturday from the northeastern city of Aleppo to the capital Damascus.

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U.N. Alarmed by Possible Crimes Against Humanity in Syria

U.N. special advisers on human rights have said that violations reportedly committed by security forces in Syria may qualify as crimes against humanity.

Francis Deng, the special adviser to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the prevention of genocide and Edward Luck, the special adviser on the responsibility to protect, said Friday that Syrian security forces have reportedly continued to kill civilians and make arbitrary arrests.

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Saudi King Appoints Son Deputy Foreign Minister

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has appointed his son deputy foreign minister with the rank of minister, the official SPA news agency said on Friday.

"The king appoints Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz as deputy foreign minister with the rank of minister," SPA quoted a royal decree as saying.

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8 Dead in Syria as More Than 1.2 Million March in Hama, Deir Ezzor

Eight civilians were killed on Friday when Syrian security forces and regime agents used violence to disperse anti-regime demonstrators, as more than 1.2 million protesters flooded streets in the northern city of Hama and Deir Ezzor in the east, activists said.

"More than 1.2 million people marched: in Deir Ezzor there were more than 550,000, and in Hama more than 650,000," Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding the security forces were notable by their absence during the protests.

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Egypt Protesters Back in Tahrir to Push for Change

Hundreds of Egyptian protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to push for reforms, as Islamists held a separate demonstration calling for stability.

Pro-democracy activists had called for a rally in Tahrir Square -- the epicenter of protests that toppled president Hosni Mubarak -- after a cabinet reshuffle failed to satisfy their demands.

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