Women march in Karzakan in Bahrain on Monday
See also Iraq Analysis: Protests, Politics, & A Prisoner Release --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24 br>
Bahrain Opinion: A Nobel Peace Prize for the AlKhawaja Family? br>
Syria Live Coverage: Scores Die in Mass Killings and Aleppo Blasts br>
Tuesday's Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Counter-Attack, Move Closer to Capital
2003 GMT: Mali and Algeria. One of the attackers who seized 41 staff of energy companies, killing two others and injuring six, said they had come from northern Mali. He said, "We belong to the Khaled Abul Abbas brigade led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar," a veteran leader of smuggling and kidnap gangs in the Sahara.
The insurgents said their hostages included seven Americans and French, British, and Japanese citizens. A Norwegian and an Irish citizen are also thought to be among those held captive. The gas plant is jointly operated by BP, Statoil of Norway and Algeria's state-run energy company Sonatrach.
1842 GMT: Mali. Amnesty International has welcomed the announcement by International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensoud of an investigation into crimes under international law committed over the past year.
In July, the Malian Government asked the ICC to investigate crimes carried out since January 2012, including extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, torture, enforced disappearances, and the use of child soldiers.
The Tuareg movement in northern Mali, Islamist armed opposition groups, and Malian security forces have all been accused of human rights abuses.
1722 GMT: Algeria. A spokesman for Islamist insurgents has said, "Forty-one westerners including seven Americans, French, British and Japanese citizens have been taken hostage," after today's assault on staff of the oil company.
He said five of the hostages were being held at the gas plant, while the others were in a housing complex on the site.
A French national and a British national were reportedly killed in the dawn attack on a bus, with six people wounded.
The spokesman said the attack was "a reaction to Algeria's flagrant interference in allowing French planes into its airspace to launch raids on northern Mali".
1602 GMT: Turkey. With three slain Kurdish activists --- including a co-founder of the insurgency PKK --- being buried today, there have been a series of political statements.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned against "provocation", undermining the Government's talks with imprisoned PKK Abdullah Ocalan, "Some want to dynamite the peace process. This nation need not pay the cost of their internal feud."
The minister overseeing Turkey's application to join the European Union added, "We have focused on the peace process with our government, opposition, saints, and thugs."
Ahmet Turk of the pro-Kurdish party BDP has pointed to Iran as the culprit behind last week's assassination of the three women in Paris. He said that Turkey, without its Kurdish problem, will be a regional power.
"Sixteen F-16 fighter jets took off from their base in Diyarbakir in the southeast at around 2000 GMT Tuesday and bombed the targets in Qandil mountain in northern Iraq, 90 kilometres from the border," military sources said. "More than 50 targets were hit in the three-hour operation."
Turkey claims about 2,000 insurgents are hiding in the mountainous region on the Iraqi side of the border.
Building plans for 6,676 residential units were approved in 2012, compared to 1,607 in 2011 and several hundred in 2010.
Among the housing construction plans approved were 3,500 residential units for the controversial E-1 corridor near East Jerusalem.
The men received prison terms of up to 18 months for their posts.
In the past two weeks the Appeal Court has upheld verdicts in 29 cases, sending 28 people to prison for a jail term from six months to one year. The appellants were among 42 activists and bloggers on trial.
Early reports said five Frenchmen and a Japanese national had been seized, but a Western diplomat said those abducted included British and Norwegian staff.
AFP said the Algerian army had launched an operation to free the hostages.
Jadad was instrumental in organising and leading pro-reform protests in Dhofar in 2011 and has pursued changes through his blogging and support of petitions. In April 2012, he attended human rights meetings in Brussels organised by the GCHR and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
The number of displaced persons has increased by 30,000 during fighting this month between Islamist insurgents and Mali Government troops backed by French air power. In the central town of Konna, taken by Islamist forces last week, an estimated 5,000 people --- half the population --- have fled across the Niger river.
Meanwhile the World Food Programme said it needed $129 million to meet the population's needs.
During a visit to Cairo last week, the Prime Minister promised to deposit an additional $2 billion in the Egyptian central bank and grant the country $500 million outright.
"We don't want to see the biggest country in the Arab world bankrupt. I don't think this is wise. I think it is in the interest of the World Bank and the international community not to see Egypt brought down," Al-Thani said.
Egypt is currently in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure a $4.8 billion loan for budgetary assistance. A technical team is expected to arrive in Cairo in the next two weeks to work out the details.
The Central Bank has said the country's reserves have reached a critical level, covering only three months of imports.
1129 GMT: Iraq. Back from an academic break to find reports of today's attacks in Kirkuk and Baghdad.
Medical officials said at least 50 people died and more than 100 injured in explosions in and near the northern city of Kirkuk, including suicide bombings at the offices of the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
Police said at least five people were shot to death in the capital.
Yesterday French media reports that a large portion of Paris's commitment of 2500 troops will establish a base in the city.
The six --- Dr Suliaman al-Rashudi, Dr Saud al-Hashimi, Saif al-Din al-Sharif, Dr Musa al-Qirni, Abdul Rahman al-Shumayri, and Abdul Rahman Khan --- are among 16 men who were offered a royal “pardon” if they sign pledges renouncing their public activism and thanking the King. They are serving sentences of five to 30 years for forming a secret organization, attempting to seize power, incitement against the King, financing terrorism, and money laundering.
Some of the 16 prisoners triedd to set up a human rights association in Saudi Arabia. Most of the group were held in pre-trial detention for up to 3 1/2 years before they were officially charged. Many have been held in prolonged solitary confinement, and at least two of the men were alleged to have been tortured.
Meanwhile, CNN interviews economics professor Mohammed Al-Qahtani as he and fellow activist Abdullah Al-Hamid face nine charges, including breaking allegiance to the Saudi king, describing Saudi Arabia as a police state. and turning people and international bodies against the kingdom:
We have a number of cases where people are thrown in prison arbitrarily, torture, forced disappearances....Whatever rights abuses (you could think of), you could find in Saudi Arabia.
0725 GMT: Bahrain. Justin Elliott, writing for ProPublica, presents documents under the headline, "Revealed: America’s Arms Sales To Bahrain Amid Bloody Crackdown":
Defense Department documents...give the fullest picture yet of the arms sales: The list includes ammunition, combat vehicle parts, communications equipment, Blackhawk helicopters, and an unidentified missile system.
The documents, which were provided in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and cover a yearlong period ending in February 2012, still leave many questions unanswered. It’s not clear whether in each case the arms listed have been delivered. And some entries that only cite the names of weapons may in fact refer to maintenance or spare parts.
A State Department spokesman said, “We continue to withhold the export of lethal and crowd-control items intended predominately for internal security purposes, and have resumed on a case-by-case basis items related exclusively to external defense, counter-terrorism, and the protection of U.S. forces.”