Egypt voices: Constitutional referendum

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Egyptians are preparing to vote on a controversial draft constitution, on which opinion is deeply divided. Opponents have called for the referendum, drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly, to be scrapped. Here, people in Cairo give their views. Interviews and pictures by BBC Arabic's Marwa Nasser.

Read more at BBC

Egyptian military: Keeping order alarms liberals

   
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CAIRO — The military's role in post-revolutionary Egypt is being scrutinized as backers and foes of the country's Islamist president are organizing massive rallies for Tuesday.

The rallies are being planned to voice support and opposition in the runup to Saturday's referendum on a draft constitution that would give clerics a lawmaking role in this secular Arab nation.

   

Read more at The Washington Times

Egyptian constitution: Draft charter stirs clashes

   
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CAIRO — Egypt is bracing for more political tension this week, as supporters and opponents of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi plan for massive demonstrations Tuesday and a weekend deadline looms for a vote on a draft constitution that has split the country into hostile camps.

"We do not recognize the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," Sameh Ashour, a spokesman for the opposition National Salvation Front, said Sunday.

   

Read more at The Washington Times

Egyptian's constitution: Draft charter stirs clashes (2)

   
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CAIRO — Egypt is bracing for more political tension this week, as supporters and opponents of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi plan for massive demonstrations Tuesday and a weekend deadline looms for a vote on a draft constitution that has split the country into hostile camps.

"We do not recognize the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," Sameh Ashour, a spokesman for the opposition National Salvation Front, said Sunday.

   

Read more at The Washington Times

Syrian activists: Skeptical on chemical weapons

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ANTAKYA, Turkey -- Syrian activists criticized the hubbub over the regime's possible use of chemical weapons as a distraction, dismissing Western concerns over President Bashar Assad's crossing "a red line" as playing into the dictator's hands.

"I don't think the regime will use chemical weapons – it's just a media game for the purpose of prolonging the revolution, so the Syrian people become more divided and the regime has more time," said Walat Ahmae, a member of the Syrian National Council based in Antakya.

Read more at USA Today

Egyptian unrest: Morsi’s backers, foes clash in Cairo

   
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CAIRO — Clashes between supporters and opponents of Egypt's Islamist president erupted Wednesday outside his palace, where they attacked one another with clubs and firebombs in violence that pointed up the growing political division in the Arab world's most populous country.

At least two confirmed deaths were reported during the protests, and more than 120 people were injured, according to the Health Ministry.

   

Read more at The Washington Times

Egypt unrest: Morsi supporters attack opponents

   
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CAIRO — Tens of thousands of supporters of Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi took over the outside of the presidential palace Wednesday, some tearing down tents that had been put up by regime opponents during huge protests the past two days.

"All these people come to support Morsi against those who want to beat down the basic rules in Egypt," said Mohammad Anwar, an orthopedic surgeon, outside the presidential palace in Heliopolis, Cairo.

   

Read more at USA Today

Egypt freedoms: The constitutional showdown

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Cairo - "You are reading this message because Egypt Independent objects to continued restrictions on media liberties, especially after hundreds of Egyptians gave their lives for freedom and dignity."

That was the statement on one Egyptian newspaper’s website today as it participated with about a dozen other outlets in a news blackout to protest a new draft constitution championed by Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. A few hours later, Egypt's constitutional showdown reached an unprecedented peak, with tens of thousands of protesters marching on the presidential palace in Cairo, forcing President Morsi to flee in a motorcade that slipped out a back entrance.

Read more at The Christian Science Monitor

Egyptian protest: Violence near presidential palace

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CAIRO – Violence broke out between police and protesters Tuesday outside the presidential palace as part of escalating a crisis over the nation's new constitution and the future shape of the Egyptian state almost two years after the toppling of former despot Hosni Mubarak.

Thousands gathered for a final "warning" to President Mohammed Morsi, who self-issued a constitutional decree in November that opponents saw as a power grab but supporters viewed as vital to ensuring the path to stable democracy.

Read more at USA Today

Syrian Kurds: Find refuge in Iraq’s Kurdish region

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CAMP DOMIZ, Iraq — Ethnic Kurds fleeing Syria are finding a safe haven among Iraq's Kurdish population, but divided loyalties and distrust of Turkey leave open questions as to how the refugees will align themselves as the Syrian civil war drags on in its 20th month of bloodshed.

Kurds live in large swaths of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. In northern Iraq, they enjoy self-rule, and the local government of the Kurdish Autonomous Region has ready cash, thanks to the region's oil wealth.

Read more at The Washington Times

Egypt's constitution: Hangs in balance

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Cairo - On Sunday, Egypt's highest court suspended its work in protest over perceived pressure after Islamist demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse. Later in the day, the national judges union followed up by calling on its members not to monitor the referendum to pass the constitution into force.

The showdown between the judges and the Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohamed Morsi is the latest wrinkle in the unfolding battle to define Egypt's new constitution, and more broadly over how power will be divided as Egypt moves forward. Mr. Morsi has scheduled a referendum for Dec. 15 on Egypt's new constitution, drafted by Islamists over the objections of Egyptian secularists and leftists.

Read more at The Christian Science Monitor

Massive protests: Egypt’s political crisis deepened

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CAIRO — Egypt's political crisis deepened over  the weekend, as judges shut down the country's highest court Sunday after crowds  of Islamists backing the government surrounded the courthouse.

The judicial showdown followed massive protests in Cairo on Saturday when  100,000 people rallied in support of President Mohammed Morsi and demonstrations late last  week when more than 200,000 opponents protested his seizure of vast powers and a  draft constitution they fear will undermine civil rights.

Read more at The Washington Times

Massive protests: Egypt’s political crisis deepened (2)

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CAIRO — Egypt's political crisis deepened over  the weekend, as judges shut down the country's highest court Sunday after crowds  of Islamists backing the government surrounded the courthouse.

The judicial showdown followed massive protests in Cairo on Saturday when  100,000 people rallied in support of President Mohammed Morsi and demonstrations late last  week when more than 200,000 opponents protested his seizure of vast powers and a  draft constitution they fear will undermine civil rights.

Read more at The Washington Times

U.N. vote: Palestinians happy, but some worry

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CAIRO — The streets of the West Bank erupted in jubilant celebration following a U.N. General Assembly vote Thursday granting Palestine non-member state status by an overwhelming majority.

"We Palestinians are very happy. This vote means that we have a place under the sun," said Badia Dweik a community organizer from Hebron. "We are very thankful to all the countries who supported this vote — but we will also not forgot those who did not."

Read more at USA Today

Constitution approved: Protesters stay in Cairo

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CAIRO -- Egyptians in Tahrir Square expressed anger Friday that an Islamist-dominated committee voted to approve a new Egyptian constitution they say is an unacceptable power-grab by President Mohammed Morsi.

"It doesn't represent all of the people in the country," said Yasser Waly, standing near a clump of plastic chairs sprawled across the square.

Read more at USA Today

Syrian rebels: Battled regime troops

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IDLIB, Syria – Syrian rebels battled regime troops south of Damascus on Friday and Internet and most telephone lines were cut for a second day. But the road to the capital's airport reopened, a sign the fighting was lessening, activists said.

The general manager of the Syrian Civil Aviation Agency, Ghaidaa Abdul-Latif, said the airport was operating "as usual" on Friday. On Thursday international flights were canceled because of the violence. Some land lines were working sporadically.

Read more at USA Today

Egypt's legislation: New law rises tensions

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CAIRO — Tensions heightened in advance of massive anti-government protests scheduled for Friday and Saturday after an Islamist-controlled panel hurriedly approved Thursday a final draft of Egypt's constitution that, among its new dictates, would grant Muslim clerics a role in interpreting some legal matters — angering critics and worrying minorities in this secular Islamic nation.

Observers feared an outbreak in violence between protesters and supporters of President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist political movement that has planned a large pro-government demonstration for Saturday.

Read more at The Washington Times

Power struggle: Egypt raises fear of civil war

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CAIRO — The power struggle between Egypt's Islamic and secularist forces intensified Wednesday, with some analysts warning of civil war and supporters of the Islamist government planning to march Saturday on a central square in Cairo where opponents have been holding a sit-in for more than a week.

Fears of violent street clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi grew a day after more than 200,000 demonstrators crowded into Tahrir Square, the iconic scene of last year's Arab Spring protest, to denounce the president for decrees he issued last week that put him above any oversight, including the judiciary.

Read more at The Washington Times

African Migrants: Tell of Abuse in Morocco

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RABAT, Morocco — A long car ride north of the center of Morocco's capital, Rabat, behind a market and through a maze of narrow alleys in a densely populated northern suburb, Takadoum, is a crumbling building. Here, illegal sub-Saharan migrants share tea and swap stories of assault, rape and daily encounters with hostility.

At a gathering in October on the roofless terrace of the building, a couple of dozen illegal migrants sat on a mattress or on little stools beneath a blue plastic sheet to protect them from the rain, and shared harrowing accounts of their lives in Morocco.

Read more at The New York Times

Muslim Brotherhood: Rule threatened by massive protests in Egypt

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CAIRO -- The 200,000 people who filled Tahrir Square - birthplace of the Egyptian revolution - represent the most serious challenge to the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Angry chants filled Tahrir Square as people protested a recent decree issued by President Mohammed Morsi granting him sweeping powers.

Read more at USA Today

Massive protests: Angry protesters fill Tahrir Square

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CAIRO — Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered Tuesday in the center of Cairo to protest their democratically elected president's recent decrees granting himself near-absolute power, chanting slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood and accusing him of trying to become Egypt's new dictator.

Protesters filled Tahrir Square — the heart of Egypt's 2011 revolution — and called on President Mohammed Morsi to step down in a scene reminiscent of the popular uprising that led to the ouster of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Massive protests were held in other cities throughout the country.

Read more at The Washington Times

Gaza conflict: Leaves winners and losers

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JERUSALEM – Last Wednesday's cease-fire between Israel and Hamas ended eight days of intense fighting but not the debate over the conflict's winners and losers.

While Israeli and Palestinian civilians both paid a heavy price in terms of lives lost and property destroyed, the short war is already having consequences for the region's political leaders.

Read more at USA Today

West Bank: Support for Hamas appears to be growing

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GAZA CITY — With rocks, slingshots and song, young Palestinians took on the Israeli military in scenes unusual in the West Bank these days.

That's because in the wake of the worst hostilities between Israel and Hamas in four years, emotional respect for Hamas has been recently boosted among Palestinians — also in the West Bank.

Read more at USA Today

Morsi's Egypt: Presidents powers throw country into turmoil

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CAIRO — Egypt remained divided Sunday over a constitutional decree issued by President Mohammed Morsi that grants him sweeping powers, a move that brought protesters out on the streets again as the nation undergoes a deeply polarized political transition.

"We are all shocked," said Mohamed Abou El-Ghar, president of the liberal Egyptian Social Democratic Party who joined other leaders in uniting against Morsi's recent action. "Actually the whole of Egypt is divided, and the country is at a standstill."

Read more at USA Today

Gaza Strip: Support for Hamas remains strong

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GAZA CITY — Rain poured down on the city Thursday as people cleaned up from the aftermath of the violent conflict between the Israeli military and Hamas that ended with a cease-fire Wednesday night.

"It's complete destruction," Omar Esbeh said, looking at the ruins of a building that was obliterated in an Israeli airstrike this week near his hummus and falafel shop.

Read more at USA Today

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