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Gadhafi Forces Retreat after Western Airstrikes

Libyan government forces pulled back 100 kilometers from rebel-held Benghazi but showed they still had plenty of fight on Monday as they easily beat off a rebel advance.

The forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had retreated overnight to the key town of Ajdabiya, south of the city of Benghazi, after Western-led air strikes destroyed much of their armor, leaving dozens of wrecked tanks along the road.

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Putin Slams West for Libya 'Medieval Crusade', Medvedev Says Remarks Unacceptable

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday slammed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's comments on military action against Libya as "unacceptable", in the most public clash yet between Russia's ruling tandem.

Putin earlier Monday denounced the U.N. resolution allowing military action on Libya as resembling a "medieval call to crusade", in one of his most virulent diatribes against the West in years.

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Thousands March in Syrian Protest Town

Thousands of Syrians marched Monday in the southern town of Daraa after the funeral of a protester killed in the previous day's demonstration inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, a resident said.

The resident said "a mass of demonstrators started to march from the cemetery towards Al-Omari mosque after the burial" of Raed Akrad, who was killed by security forces on Sunday when they used live ammunition to break up a protest.

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Jordan Islamists Urge Morocco-Style Reform

Jordan's Islamists urged King Abdullah II on Monday to carry out reforms similar to measures taken this month by his Moroccan counterpart, saying there was no need for a dialogue commission.

"King Abdullah knows the meaning of real reform, which does not need a committee to initiate dialogue," Zaki Bani Rsheid, head of political office of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), told Agence France Presse.

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Mass Resignations Threaten Yemeni President’s Regime

Tanks were deployed in the Yemeni capital on Monday as top generals pledged allegiance to the "revolution" and the country's main tribal leader demanded President Ali Abdullah Saleh's exit from power.

Tanks took up positions in key locations across Sanaa including at the presidential palace, the central bank and the ministry of defense, but it was unclear what their orders were or who was in command.

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HRW: Syria 'Excessive Force' Killed Five Protesters

Human Rights Watch Monday accused Syrian authorities of using "excessive force" in a crackdown on anti-regime protesters that killed five people over the past three days.

The U.S.-based rights watchdog said in a statement that "Syria should cease use of live fire and other excessive force against protesters" following the violence in Daraa, 100 kilometers south of the capital Damascus.

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Bahrain’s King Says ‘Foreign Plot’ Against Gulf Foiled

Bahrain has foiled a "foreign plot" to target Gulf countries, King Hamad said in a possible reference to Iran, after security forces crushed Shiite-led unrest, the state news agency reported Monday.

He said there was a "foreign plot being prepared over a period of 30, maybe 20 years... so that if it works in one of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, it could spread," the king was quoted as saying.

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Yemen President Sacks Cabinet, Crowds Bury 'Martyrs'

Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh sacked his government on Sunday as mourners massed in Sanaa to bury many of the 52 people gunned down by his loyalists, and more regime figures quit over the killings.

Tens of thousands of people turned out for the funerals in what witnesses said was the largest gathering of Saleh's opponents since protests against his autocratic regime erupted in late January.

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77% of Egyptian Voters Approve Constitutional Changes

Egyptians voted 77% in favor of the military's plans for a swift return to civilian rule after mass protests ousted president Hosni Mubarak last month, official results showed on Sunday.

They approved a package of limited changes to the Mubarak-era constitution intended to guide the Arab world's most populous nation through new presidential and parliamentary elections within six months, in a keenly fought referendum.

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1 Killed, 100 Injured as Police Fire on Thousands of Protestors in Syria’s Daraa

One person was killed and more than 100 people were wounded as Syrian security forces fired live bullets and tear gas at thousands of demonstrators in the town of Daraa on Sunday, a human rights activist at the scene said.

"The security forces backed by police fired live rounds at the demonstrators, numbering more than 10,000," the witness told Agence France Presse by telephone. "They are also firing tear gas mixed with toxic products."

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