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Jumblat on Govt Formation: Demands of Some Parties Have Become Absurd

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat has noted that the demands of some parties concerning shares in the new cabinet “have become absurd and are apt to protract the vicious state of procrastination the country is going through, amid the growing political, financial, economic and social challenges.”

In his weekly column in his party’s mouthpiece Al-Anbaa newspaper to be published Tuesday, Jumblat described the illegal construction of houses on public property as “an infringement of the State, its image and its role,” stressing that “it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.”

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Hamas Condemns bin Laden Killing

Ismail Haniya, the head of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, on Monday condemned the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid in Pakistan.

"We condemn any killing of a holy warrior or of a Muslim and Arab person and we ask God to bestow his mercy upon him," Haniya said during a meeting with journalists in Gaza.

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Osama bin Laden Killed in U.S. Raid, Obama Says Justice is Done

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was shot dead deep inside Pakistan in a night-time helicopter raid by U.S. covert forces, ending a decade-long manhunt for the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

"Justice has been done," U.S. President Barack Obama declared in a dramatic televised address late Sunday, sparking raucous celebrations across the United States, after an operation that officials said lasted less than 40 minutes.

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Obama Extends National Emergency on Syria over Lebanon Meddling

U.S. President Barack Obama has extended the national emergency with respect to the actions of the Syrian government, saying that its support for Hizbullah and Hamas and meddling in Lebanon makes it a threat to national security.

Syria’s ongoing pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, support for anti-Israel groups and interference in Lebanon make it a "continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," said a White House statement.

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Key Senators Press Obama to Say Assad Must Go

U.S. President Barack Obama must declare that his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, has squandered his legitimacy and must step down, three key senators urged Thursday.

"We urge President Obama to state unequivocally -- as he did in the case of (Libyan leader Moammar) Gadhafi and (Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak -- that it is time for Assad to go," Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joe Lieberman said in a joint statement.

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Influential U.S. Senator Says Assad Has 'Lost His Legitimacy'

Influential U.S. Senator John McCain declared Wednesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has "lost his legitimacy" and called for U.N. sanctions to force him to halt attacks on his people.

But McCain told Agence France Presse he could not see any opening for U.S. military action to topple the Syrian regime, and regretted that Assad was not yet facing an armed revolt like the one fighting to oust Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.

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U.S. Eyes Possible Sanctions on Syrian Officials

The United States is considering targeted sanctions against Syrian officials to respond to "completely deplorable" violence used by Damascus's forces to crush dissent, an official said Monday.

Signs of a more muscular U.S. response to violence in Syria followed an assault by Syrian troops backed by tanks in the flashpoint town of Daraa, which killed at least 25 people, as a building crackdown reached new heights.

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Armenia Remembers Genocide Amid Impasse with Turkey

Armenians on Sunday marked 96 years since the mass killings of their ancestors under the Ottoman Empire amid apparent deadlock in the process of normalizing relations with modern Turkey.

Armenia contends the killings were a genocide -- a label supported by some countries but vehemently opposed by Turkey -- and the controversy has poisoned ties between Yerevan and Ankara to this day.

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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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U.S. Says Assad Must ‘Do More, or Allow Others to do More’

Syrian President Bashar Assad must "do more, or allow others to do more" if he is going to satisfy the reform demands of the Syrian people, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Thursday.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner was responding to questions about comments from former Syrian vice president Abdel Halim Khaddam, who told an Egyptian newspaper that Assad's crackdown on demonstrators will eventually lead to the Syrian leader's ouster.

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