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Egypt Court Sees New Evidence in Jazeera Trial

Egyptian prosecutors submitted Tuesday new evidence including audio tapes against defendants in a trial of Al-Jazeera journalists accused of links with the banned Muslim Brotherhood, although lawyers disputed their quality.

At the trial's last hearing, prosecutors had aired video footage and showed random photographs that were not linked to the case in which the authorities accuse 20 defendants of Brotherhood links.

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Berber Protesters Clash with Algeria Police

Fresh clashes erupted between protesters and security forces in the mainly Berber Kabylie region east of Algiers on Monday, as the authorities announced an inquiry into allegations of police violence.

The security forces confronted around 400 demonstrators in the region's main city Tizi Ouzou, firing tear gas and making a number of arrests, an Agence France Presse journalist reported.

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New Syria Chemical Claims Emerge as Election Announced

New claims have emerged that President Bashar Assad's regime may have launched attacks with an industrial chemical earlier this month, despite an international agreement to eliminate Syria's chemical arsenal.

The latest evidence, cited by U.S. and French authorities, comes as Syria plans to hold a June 3 presidential poll, which the United Nations and the Syrian opposition have slammed as a "farce" that flies in the face of efforts to end the country's three-year war.

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U.N. Slams Syria's Announcement of Presidential Elections

The United Nations sharply criticized Syria's decision Monday to hold a presidential election June 3 in the midst of war, saying it would torpedo a political resolution of the conflict.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi have both warned against elections in the current circumstances, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

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Syria Opposition Rejects Presidential Poll 'Farce'

Syria's opposition condemned Monday's announcement of a June 3 presidential election expected to keep Bashar Assad in power despite tens of thousands of deaths in an anti-regime revolt since 2011.

"The Assad regime's announcement today that a 'presidential election' would be held in June should be treated as a farce and be rejected by the international community," said the office of opposition National Coalition leader Ahmad Jarba.

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Dozens Killed as Yemen, U.S. Mount Air War on Qaida

An "unprecedented" U.S. and Yemeni aerial campaign in Yemen killed at least 68 al-Qaida militants in a bid to head off attacks by the network's local affiliate, officials said Monday.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been linked to a number of failed terror plots against the United States, and its leader has appeared in a rare video in which he vowed to attack Western "crusaders ... everywhere in the world".

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Saudi Health Minister Sacked as MERS Toll Rises

Saudi Arabia dismissed its health minister on Monday just days after he visited a hospital at the center of growing concerns about the kingdom's handling of the MERS virus.

Abdullah al-Rabiah was named adviser to King Abdullah and replaced by Labor Minister Adel Fakieh, a royal decree carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said.

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Supreme Court Takes Up Status of Jerusalem

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday decided to hear the case of an American born in Jerusalem, once again taking up the sensitive issue of the status of the contested city.

The justices will hear arguments in the case in the fall before deciding on the constitutionality of a 2002 law that directs the State Department to give Israel as the country of birth in passports of Americans born in Jerusalem.

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Britain Says Syrian Election Will Have 'No Value'

Britain on Monday dismissed the Syrian presidential election called for June, saying that holding it during a civil war means the result "will have no value or credibility".

Parliament speaker Mohammad al-Lahham announced the poll, which is expected to return President Bashar Assad to office, for June 3 despite the ongoing conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.

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Bahrain Sacks Prisons Chief after Two Inmates Escape

Bahrain's interior minister, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, ordered Monday the dismissal of the country's prisons chief after two inmates escaped from a main jail, his office said.

Sheikh Rashid formed a committee to investigate the jailbreak from the Jau prison, in southeastern Bahrain, to assess shortfalls in security measures, the ministry said.

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