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Jordanian Youths Condemn 'Terrorizing' of Media

More than 300 Jordanian youths demonstrated in Amman Friday to condemn government "oppression" and "terrorizing" of the media, a week after several journalists were beaten up as they covered a pro-reform sit-in.

"No to government intimidation, oppression and terrorizing of the press," the youths chanted as they marched from Al-Husseini mosque in central Amman to the nearby city hall.

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Syria Clamps Down on Damascus Ahead of Anti-Assad Protests

Syrian security services deployed in force in Damascus ahead of mass Friday protests called in support of Homs after a deadly crackdown on dissent in the central city, rights activists said.

"Elements of the army and security forces are deployed in the districts of Qabun and Rukneddin. Barricades were set up at the entrances, limiting exits and entries," said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Salehi Hopes for End to 'Misunderstandings' with Saudi Arabia

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Friday that he hoped "misunderstandings" with Saudi Arabia could be resolved after a war of words erupted over its military intervention in Bahrain.

Salehi said that Iran respected the sovereignty of Sunni-ruled Shiite-majority Bahrain and hoped that a national dialogue launched by King Hamad after the March crackdown on Shiite-led protests would bear fruit.

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Iran: Dialogue of 'Equals' Possible with U.S.

Iran may consider dialogue with the United States as long as it is between "equals" and Washington respects its people's rights, Foreign Minster Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview Friday.

"We have not ruled out establishing relations with other countries barring the Zionist regime (Israel), but it is possible that our relations are in an unusual situation with countries like the United States," Salehi told the official IRNA news agency.

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Two Killed in Homs as Syrian Troops Tighten Screws

Syrian security forces shot dead two people on Thursday as they pressed their clampdown on dissidents in the central city of Homs, the capital and elsewhere, activists said, calling for mass protests.

"There was heavy gunfire in the al-Khalidiyeh, Baba Amr and al-Nazhine quarters (of Homs), and two people were killed," said Abdul Karim Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for Human Rights.

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New Egypt Cabinet Sworn in as PM Seeks to Appease Protesters

New ministers in a sweeping reshuffle of Egypt's cabinet were sworn in before the military ruler on Thursday, as the prime minister sought to appease protesters over the pace of reform.

"The new ministers in the government of (Prime Minister) Essam Sharaf took their oaths ... in front of the commander of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi," the official MENA news agency reported.

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Yemen Republican Guards Kill Protester in Taez

Yemeni Republican Guards shot dead one protester and wounded three in the second-largest city of Taez on Thursday, medics said.

The Guards opened fire as thousands of people protested against the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in central Taez, a flashpoint city south of the capital Sanaa, according to organizers.

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Israel Refuses to Apologies to Turkey over Flotilla

Israel will not "take responsibility" for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals by apologizing to Ankara over its botched 2010 raid on a ferry heading for Gaza, a senior cabinet minister said Thursday.

"We are not ready to apologize as apologizing is taking responsibility," Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters in Jerusalem.

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Tunisia Court Launches Fresh Trial of Ousted Ruler

A Tunisian court on Thursday opened two more trials of ousted president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, now living in exile in Saudi Arabia, accusing him of corruption and property fraud.

Ben Ali's daughter Nesrine and son-in-law Sakher el-Materi are also charged in the first case.

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Shots, Arrests as Syrian Troops Tighten Screws on Homs

Syria's security forces Thursday pressed a clampdown against dissidents in the central city of Homs, where shots were heard, arrests were made and many streets were deserted, rights activists said.

"(Security forces) entered houses and made arrests," said Rami Abdel Rahman of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reached by telephone.

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