Refugees on the Syrian-Turkish border
Libya Event: Literature and Life After Qaddafi --- Three Authors at the Birmingham Book Festival br>
Jordan Video Discussion: An Escalation of Tension? br>
Syria Feature: A Movement Trying to Bridge the Sectarian Divide br>
Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Renewed Shelling of Homs
The Government may remain without permanent, democratically-elected leadership for some time, while a new Prime Minister assembles a Cabinet.
Abushagur was rejected by 125 of 200 members of the Libyan General National Congress, with 44 supporting him and the remainder abstentions or no-shows. Abushagur, criticised last week for proposing a Cabinet that critics said was filled with political unknowns, presented a new slate today.
“Your terms contradict my values and terms for forming my cabinet,” Abushagur told the legislature before the vote. “I’m not going to submit to your conditions.”
The rare demonstration was organized by the Judges’ Club, formed in August 2011 to push for judicial reform. The group has been officially banned, but is tolerated by the regime.
“We have no protection, no rights, we have a miserable salary, we work in catastrophic conditions,” said judge Nazik Bekkal. “Above all we are not autonomous, very simply, and that’s what is most important. It’s the autonomy, the independence of the judiciary, that’s what we really are looking for.”
Yassine Mkhelli, the founder of the Club, said more than 2,200 judges --- about two-thirds of the country’s total --- had signed a petition calling for reforms.
2008 GMT: Syria. The Local Coordination Committees claim 121 people have been killed today by security forces, including 62 in Damascus and its suburbs, 23 in Aleppo Province, and 15 in Homs Province.
The LCCS have named some of the 38 people whom it claims were field-executed in Hameh near Damascus today.
1932 GMT: Bahrain. As detained activist Nabeel Rajab completes the second day of his hunger strike, a reminder of the context for his protest....
On Thursday, Rajab was released to attend the first day of his mother's three-day funeral --- while there, he made this statement. Authorities subsequently refused to release him on the Friday or Saturday.
Al-Madani was allegedly killed 10 days ago but the body is still with the intelligence security, the relative said.
The Local Coordination Committees and other activist groups said Nimr had been working as a "secret correspondent" for foreign news channels.
The LCC says 30 of the fatalities were people who were "field-executed" in Hameh near Damascus.
1512 GMT: Syria. Insurgents prepare for another assault on the Hanano military barracks in Aleppo.
The fighters briefly took over the building this summer, seizing weapons and freeing regime soldiers who were detained after they refused to attack the opposition.
1455 GMT: Syria. Claimed footage of capture by insurgents of a 1st Lieutenant in the Syrian Army:
A short time later, at least six mortars were fired from Turkey.
No casualties were reported.
1402 GMT: Bahrain. The wife of detained activist Nabeel Rajab, who has started a hunger strike over his treatment by authorities, reports, "In a call with Nabeel, he said that he started feeling very weak and had difficulties in moving. [He had] pain in his stomach and was urinating blood."
1400 GMT: Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa could replace President Assad as the head of a transitional Government.
Davutoğlu told Turkish State TV, "Faruq al-Shara is a man of reason and conscience and he has not taken part in the massacres in Syria. Nobody knows the system better than he."
The Turkish minister stressed that the Syrian opposition "is inclined to accept Shara" as the future leader of an administration.
Shara is the most visible Sunni Muslim figure in the Alawite-led Government. Reports that he had defected in August were denied by Damascus, but some opposition leaders claim he is under house arrest.
The dissolution of the assembly has been a main demand of the opposition. Attention now turns to a possible early election.
The 2009 pro-Government assembly was dissolved in December following protests and allegations of corruption against some of its members and former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who resigned.
The opposition won in February polls, but four months later the Constitutional Court nullified the vote and reinstated the 2009 assembly.
The cabinet recommended on Wednesday that Parliament be dissolved.
Under Kuwait's constitution, fresh general elections must be held within 60 days.
0910 GMT: Syria. Echoing a story earlier this week in The Independent of London (see separate EA feature), Robert Worth of The New York Times writes of limits on arms supplies to insurgents from outside states.
However, while The Independent focused on Turkish and Qatari restraint amid tension over which groups to arms, fuelled by suspicion of Saudi-backed factions, Worth emphasises an American veto:
For months, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling money and small arms to Syria’s rebels but have refused to provide heavier weapons, like shoulder-fired missiles, that could allow opposition fighters to bring down government aircraft, take out armored vehicles and turn the war’s tide.
While they have publicly called for arming the rebels, they have held back, officials in both countries said, in part because they have been discouraged by the United States, which fears the heavier weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists.
As a result, the rebels have just enough weapons to maintain a stalemate, the war grinds on and more jihadist militants join the fray every month.
0800 GMT: Bahrain. Detained human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has entered the second day of a dry hunger strike, in protest at authorities refusing to allow him to attend the funeral of his mother.
Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Center of Human Rights, is also refusing medicine.
On Thursday, Rajab was allowed to go to the first of the three days of mourning; however, amid public protests on Friday, he was refused permission.
Rajab's wife Sumaya writes, "The ban order came from Public Prosecution and when I asked him about the reason behind it, he told me that he doesn't know why."
0720 GMT: Syria. After Friday's drama of the exchange of fire between Turkish and Syrian forces and the tension of regime assaults on Homs and the Damascus suburbs, news was sparse on Saturday.
A Syrian mortar landed in a rural Turkish area early Saturday morning, but Ankara's response was limited to general rhetoric about the danger of continued shelling. Around Syria's largest cities, the situation was tense but it was difficult to establish, beyond videos showing smoke rising above the areas, the intensity of the regime offensive.
Meanwhile, the Local Coordination Committees claimed that 105 people had been killed by security forces, including 31 in Damascus and its suburbs, 24 in Aleppo Province, and 22 in Homs Province.