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EU Sanctions, Arms Ban on Syria to Take Effect Tuesday

An arms embargo and sanctions against 13 Syrian officials deemed responsible for the regime's savage crackdown on protesters has been officially adopted and will come into force Tuesday, an EU statement said.

"The (EU) Council has adopted a regulation and a decision providing for an embargo on exports to Syria of arms and equipment that could be used for internal repression, as well as a visa ban and an assets freeze," the statement said Monday.

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Egypt Sectarian Deaths Slammed amid Civil War Fear

Egyptian media on Monday accused "anti-revolutionaries" of trying to trigger sectarian conflict, as a top cleric warned the country could be engulfed in civil war.

The government has vowed to use an "iron fist" to ensure national security after Saturday's deadly clashes in Cairo, branded by Nobel peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei as "religious extremism of the Middle Ages."

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NATO Says Gadhafi's Time Up as Misrata Fighting Rages

Time is running out for Libyan leader Moammer Gadhafi, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, even as the strongman's forces laying siege to Misrata intensified their assault on the lifeline port.

"The game is over for Kadhafi. He should realise sooner rather than later that there's no future for him or his regime," the NATO secretary-general told CNN's "State of the Union" program late Sunday.

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U.N. Team Blocked from Syria's Daraa as Regime Arrests 'Thousands' in Banias

Syrian authorities have stopped a U.N. humanitarian team from visiting the protest city of Daraa where hundreds are said to have been killed in a government crackdown, a U.N. spokesman said Monday.

"The U.N. humanitarian assessment mission has not been able to get into Daraa," U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.

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North, South Sudan Agree Abyei Troop Withdrawal

North and south Sudan have agreed to start withdrawing unauthorized troops from the flashpoint Abyei border region, the United Nations said, a week after clashes there left 14 people dead.

The two sides agreed that the pullout would begin from Tuesday and be completed within a week, the U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said in a statement late on Sunday.

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Two Dead as Yemen Teachers Demo Dispersed

Yemeni security forces fired tear gas and live rounds on Monday to break up a demonstration in Taez, south of the capital, killing two protesters and injuring dozens, witnesses and a medic said.

The security forces moved to disperse a sit-in which had overnight blocked the main road in Taez, firing tear gas and live rounds, witnesses said.

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Iran's Conservatives Turn Up Heat on Ahmadinejad

Iran's ruling conservatives have increased the pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to "obey" the Islamic republic's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying his latest pledges did not go far enough.

"The president said he would dishearten the enemies of the regime (in accepting Khamenei's authority) but that is not enough. We are waiting for him to act on his words," said influential religious authority Hojatoleslam Kazem Sediqi, widely quoted in Sunday papers.

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Yemen Opposition Sets 2-Day Deadline for Gulf Plan

Yemen's main opposition warned that a Gulf-led transition plan could end unless the president agreed to it within 48 hours as local officials said three more protesters were killed Sunday.

The Common Forum, an alliance of parliamentary opposition groups, repeated its support for the plan to end three months of political unrest but insisted President Ali Abdullah Saleh also commit himself.

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Fresh Clashes between Protesters and Police in Tunis

Police used teargas to disperse protesters taking part in another anti-government demonstration in Tunis Sunday.

About 200 protesters gathered outside the municipal theater and along the Habib Bourguiba Avenue in central Tunis and sang the national anthem to galvanize support.

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Bahrain to Lift State of Emergency on June 1

King Hamad on Sunday ordered an early end to Bahrain's state of emergency declared in mid-March to tackle Shiite-led protests, as leading opposition figures went on trial in a court set up under the law.

The announcement came as top opposition figures appeared in the court to face charges of trying to topple the ruling Sunni monarchy and of forming a terrorist organization.

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