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U.N. Raises Libya Aid Appeal to $407.8 Million

The United Nations on Wednesday raised its aid funding appeal to $407.8 million from $310 million to help over two million people affected by the Libyan conflict.

The sum would extend aid to September 2011, and would help 1.6 million people within Libya, as well as 500,000 others who have fled the country.

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Berri Meets Asarta: Israel’s Massacre in the South Major Violation of Resolution 1701

Speaker Nabih Berri described on Tuesday the clashes at Maroun al-Ras as an “Israeli massacre in the South.”

He said after holding talks with United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon Commander General Alberto Asarta: “The massacre is a major violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 and a threat to the security and stability of the region.”

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Aoun: Miqati Unaware of Rules of Government Formation Process

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun stated on Tuesday that no new developments have taken place in the government formation process.

He said after the movement’s weekly meeting: “There is no desire to form a government or an initiative to facilitate its establishment.”

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Russia Tells Gadhafi Envoys to Obey U.N. Resolution

Russia on Tuesday hosted an envoy of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, telling Tripoli to obey a U.N. resolution on Libya as Moscow seeks to position itself as a mediator in the conflict.

The visit to Moscow by Mouhammad Ahmed al-Sharif, general secretary of the World Islamic Call Society, the Libya-based group founded by Gadhafi, comes as Russia is also preparing to hold talks with rebels fighting the regime.

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Williams Shocked by Number of Deaths, Use of Disproportionate Force by Israel in Maroun al-Ras

United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams has expressed “shock” at the number of deaths in the border town of Maroun al-Ras when Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrators on Nakba Day on Sunday.

“I am shocked by the number of the deaths and the use of disproportionate, deadly force by the Israeli Defense Forces against apparently unarmed demonstrators,” Williams said Monday after holding talks with Premier-designate Najib Miqati.

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World Court Prosecutor Seeks Gadhafi Arrest Warrant

The U.N. war crimes court's chief prosecutor said Monday he would seek arrest warrants against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam and his intelligence head for crimes against humanity.

"Today, the office of the prosecutor requested the International Criminal Court (issue) arrest warrants," Luis Moreno-Ocampo said at a press conference in The Hague, where the International Criminal Court is based.

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Israel Unblocks Frozen Palestinian Authority Funds

Israel will resume the transfer of Palestinian tax revenue funds that it froze after a unity deal between rival Fatah and Hamas, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon said Monday.

"We have unblocked the funds because we have established that the agreement between Fatah and Hamas has had no effect, the security cooperation (between Israel and the Palestinian Authority) continues on the ground," Yaalon told Israeli public radio.

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Ahmadinejad: Israel is Cancer that Must be Removed

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad branded Israel a cancer cell that must be removed Sunday, after Israeli gunfire killed 12 people and wounded hundreds as Palestinians marched in a mass show of mourning over the creation of the Jewish state.

"On the anniversary of this regime, people demonstrated in various places, but there were dead and wounded and this regime once again showed its real nature," he said in a television interview.

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UNRWA Suspends Most Syria Operations

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday said it had suspended operations for 50,000 people in central and southern Syria in the face of the persistent violence sweeping the country.

A U.N. Relief and Works Agency spokesman said the organization had stopped providing services in a refugee camp in the central city of Homs, a hub of anti-regime protests, and had also closed down its operations in and around the southern city of Daraa.

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21 Dead in Homs, Daraa as Syria Withdraws U.N. Rights Council Bid

Syrian security forces and unidentified gunmen killed at least 19 civilians on Wednesday, as authorities pressed a deadly crackdown on protest hubs across the country, human rights activists said.

Among the dead was an eight-year-old boy, the head of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, Ammar Qurabi, told Agence France Presse.

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