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Iraq (and Beyond) Live Coverage: At Least 25 Killed in Attack on Campaign Rally

Syria Live: A Funding Crisis for the Refugees
Friday's Turkey (and Beyond) Live: A Peace Deal with the PKK?

1959 GMT: Lebanon. New Prime Minister Tammam Salam has said he will work to unite the country and prevent the civil war in Syria from spilling over the border.

Salam, a former Minister of Culture, was named Prime Minister after receiving the support of 124 of 128 MPs. He was chosen after two days of consultations, following last month's resignation of Najib Mikati.

“I start from the necessity of taking Lebanon out of divisions and political tensions that were reflected in the security situation,” Salam said in his first public statement after being chosen.

1332 GMT: Mali. A Malian soldier has been killed and a policeman wounded in the capital Bamako by a police officer who refused to disarm.

Security forces have tried to take the weapons of those deemed too close to a March 2012 coup.

1325 GMT: Mali. In an apparent shift of position, France has proposed keeping a permanent force of 1000 troops in Mali to fight insurgents.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, visiting the Malian capital Bamako, said on Friday that France was pushing ahead with plans to reduce its 4000-strong military presence from the end of this month but planned to keep a combat force in Mali to support a future UN peacekeeping mission.

French officials had previously spoken of a full withdrawal.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called last week for the deployment of a UN mission of 11,200 troops and 1440 police in Mali once major combat ends. This would include thousands of African troops already in Mali in support of France's three-month military campaign.

Ban's plan also referred to a parallel force to tackle insurgents directly. Diplomats had said this would likely be French.

A diplomatic source in Paris said France hoped to have the peacekeeping force approved by the Security Council within three weeks, and to have it deployed by the end of June or early July in time for scheduled Presidential elections.

A combined French-Malian forces swept insurgents out of northern towns and cities in February, but fighting has continued in mountains on the Algerican border and the insurgents have struck on occasion in urban areas.

1239 GMT: Egypt. Al Jazeera English reports on the effect on the Government's curb of subsidies on butane gas, which have raised prices 60-100%:

1235 GMT: Egypt. Five people were killed and eight wounded during clashes between Christians and Muslims in a town near Cairo, security sources said.

Four Christians and one Muslim were killed when members of both communities started shooting at each other in Khusus,.

The sources said the violence broke out late Friday when a group of Christian children were drawing on a wall of a Muslim religious institute.

1225 GMT: Iraq. At least 25 people have been killed and 60 wounded by a coordinated attack, including a suicide bomber, on an open-air election campaign meeting in Baquba, 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of Baghdad.

The crowd had gather for Muthanna Ahmed Abdulwahid, a Sunni Arab candidate for the Azimun Ala al-Bina (Determined to Build) party, a small local list.

As they were meeting, an insurgent threw a grenade before a suicide bomber blew himself up.

Last year 560 people were killed in Diyala Province, of which Baquba is the capital --- the highest per capita rate of civilian deaths in the country.

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