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Aoun: Collapse of Syrian Regime Will Harm Christians and Muslims

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun noted on Wednesday that the fall of the Syrian regime will not benefit Christians or Muslims, saying that the solution to the crisis lies in change and stability.

He told UPI: “Should the Syrian regime be overthrown, then the Christians and Muslims won’t have any freedom.”

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Riot Police Clash with Tunisian Migrants in Italy

Riot police clashed with hundreds of Tunisian immigrants on Wednesday during a protest against conditions at a reception center on the tiny island of Lampedusa, Italian media said.

Police with shields and batons herded the immigrants into the corner of a raised terrace and beat them, forcing many to drop four meters into a courtyard to escape the blows, according to images published by SKY TG 24 television.

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Erdogan Vows 'No Free Rein for Israel in Mediterranean'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Thursday in Tunisia that his navy would patrol the Mediterranean and keep Israel in check.

"Israel will no longer be able to do what it wants in the Mediterranean and you'll be seeing Turkish warships in this sea," Erdogan said after a meeting with his Tunisian counterpart Beji Caid Essebsi.

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Tunisia Poll Favorite Unveils Islamic Program

The Ennahda party tipped to dominate Tunisia's first post-revolution polls next month on Wednesday unveiled a campaign program vowing to build a democracy based on Islamic values.

"Today's and tomorrow's Tunisia need to be based on the country's Arab-Muslim identity," Ennahda chairman Rached Ghannouchi told around 1,000 people gathered for the launch of his party's program.

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Arab Spring Financial Aid to Rise to $38 Billion

International institutions agreed Saturday to raise their financial support to Arab nations in transition to democracy to $38 billion, France's finance minister said.

Nine international institutions agreed at a G8 meeting in Marseille to "bring the financial aid available to $38 billion in the period 2011-2013 to Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Jordan", Francois Baroin said.

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Tunisian Former Justice Minister Arrested

A former justice minister in Tunisia, Bechir Takkeri, has been detained for alleged witness nobbling in the case of a yacht stolen in France in 2006, the TAP news agency reported Friday.

A judicial source confirmed to AFP that Takkeri was arrested early on Thursday evening.

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Turkey PM to Embark on Arab Spring Tour Next Week

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to embark on a tour of Arab Spring countries next week including Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, a government official said.

"The prime minister had already planned a visit to Egypt but negotiations and preparations are under way for this trip to include Tunisia and Libya as well," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Agence France Presse on Wednesday.

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Tunisian Troops Clash with Libyans

Tunisian troops clashed with a group of armed Libyans overnight in southwest Tunisia, an official said Saturday, as a former Libyan prime minister reportedly made it to Italy after fleeing Tripoli.

Abdessalam Jalloud, who was a former prime minister ostracized from Moammar Gadhafi's regime, is thought to have fled Libya through Tunisia, in another sign that the Tripoli regime may be hanging by a thread.

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Two Dead in Tunisia Military Chopper Crash

The two crew of a Tunisian military helicopter were killed when it crashed Saturday near the Libyan border in the south of the country, a government source said, blaming a technical failure.

The accident happened at Rbayh, 30 kilometers (12 miles) from Ben Guerdane, in an area where the Tunisian army presence has been strengthened in anticipation of an influx of refugees from war-torn Libya.

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Explosions Rock Tripoli as Libyan Regime Urges Truce

Strong explosions rocked Tripoli early Friday as Moammar Gadhafi's shaky regime called for a immediate ceasefire in Libya and rebels claimed control of a key oil refinery not far from the capital.

A slew of explosions were heard around 1:00 am (23:00 GMT) in the heart of the seaside capital where Gadhafi's residential complex is located, as well as in several areas in the west of the city.

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