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Entries in Kuwait (54)


Middle East Today: Bahrain --- Cabinet Approves Bill to Stop US "Interference"

US Ambassador to Bahrain KrajeskiKuwait: 4 Sentenced to Life for Spying for Iran

The Supreme Court has upheld life terms on two Iranians, a Kuwaiti. and a stateless person on charges of forming a ring to spy for Tehran.

The court, whose rulings are final, upheld the acquittal of two Iranians, including the only woman among the defendants, and a Syrian.

In May last year, the appeals court reduced death sentences against three defendants to life and upheld the same term on the fourth.

The two Iranians and the Kuwaiti worked for the Kuwait's army at the time of their arrest in May 2010, while the stateless person was a former soldier.

The defendants were accused of passing information on the Kuwaiti and US military in the Gulf emirate to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and planning to blow up key oil pipelines.

The defendants denied the charges and insisted they had been tortured to extract confessions.

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Kuwait (and Beyond) Live: Riot Police Break Up Protests

1445 GMT: Bahrain. As journalists convene to cover the Formula 1 race, the Bahraini police have detained a team of foreign journalists as well as a Bahraini reporter.

Just after 2:30 pm local time, an ITN news team, along with Bahraini journalist Naziha Saeed and their driver, were stopped at a checkpoint and taken to Budaiya police station.

This is hardly the first time foreign journalists have been detained inside Bahrain. It's unknown whether or not the journalists will be released soon.

1010 GMT: Libya

A Libyan passenger plane with about 150 passengers on board was hit as it prepared to land at Tripoli airport on Wednesday evening but sustained no major damage.

The Buraq Air Boeing 737 was a few miles (kms) from the capital's airport when the incident occurred.

It was not immediately clear whether the episode was accidental fire or an attack.

"As the plane prepared to land at Tripoli airport, it was hit on the bottom, in the lavatory at the front of the plane," a Buraq Air source said. "The plane landed safely afterwards."

A second airline source added: "We do not know exactly what happened but we believe this was accidental fire. Security at the airport has been stepped up and so far nothing suspicious has been found."

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Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Court Suspends Parliamentary Elections

See also Iraq Feature: The US Pentagon is Linked to Torture Centres
Syria Live Coverage: Insurgent Brigade Kidnaps 21 UN Peacekeepers
Wednesday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Top Mubarak Ally Sentenced to 37 Years in Prison

2025 GMT: Tunisia. Prime-Minister designate Ali Larayedh has presented a new coalition Government to President Moncef Marzouki after two weeks of difficult negotiations.

Earlier today, the hopes of Larayedh and his Ennadha Party, the leading faction in the Government, appeared to be dashed when three political parties that had been asked to join announced they were pulling out of the talks. That left only Ennahda and its secular allies in the previous Government --- Marzouki's Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol -- -- to discuss a new Cabinet and a proposed Government programme.

Tonight's announcement comes a day before a Constitutional deadline to announce the proposed Government.

The current political crisis was sparked by the 6 February protest of opposition politician Chokri Belaid and subsequent protests. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned when he was unable to form an apolitical Government of technocrats.

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Kuwait Feature: Youth Take Up Battle Against Bureaucracy (Dickinson)

Photo:Stephanie McGehee/ReutersThe story spread like wildfire among young Kuwaiti friends because everyone could remember a similar experience. A young man, trying to renew his passport and tired of waiting, called his friend, who in turn knew someone who could help.

That wasta, or connection, wasn't a high-level official or even a bureaucrat. It was the expatriate server who poured tea for employees at the passport office. Sure enough, with the waiter on board, more wasta followed, and suddenly, the renewal was rushed through.

The story may have been told in jest, but one of the most common grievances among young Kuwaitis is not jobs, health care, or even politics. It is the bureaucracy.

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Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Is There Any Hope in the "National Dialogue"?

1918 GMT: Bahrain. The Information Affairs' Authority --- deliberately or unwittingly --- has built on a pro-regime disinformation campaign --- to warn about "direct threats" by an opposition which it calls "terrorist gangs and saboteurs".

Opposition groups, including Al Wefaq, have called for Bahrainis to refrain from shopping, banking, and fuelling their cars. Pro-regime activists have used that to put out fake flyers, in the name of the opposition, threatening people if they do not join the boycott.

A women's "Noise March" in Bahrain on Tuesday

See also Syria Live Coverage: Insurgents Take Another Airbase --- Next, a Major City?
Tuesday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Protesters Block Key Building for 3rd Day

1918 GMT: Bahrain. The Information Affairs' Authority --- deliberately or unwittingly --- has built on a pro-regime disinformation campaign to warn about "direct threats" by an opposition which it calls "terrorist gangs and saboteurs".

Opposition groups, including Al Wefaq, have called for Bahrainis to refrain from shopping, banking, and fuelling their cars. Pro-regime activists have used that to put out fake flyers, in the name of the opposition, threatening people if they do not join the boycott.

Now the IAA has put out the statement:

Some internet webpages and social media accounts in Bahrain circulated news about direct threats being sent by terrorist gangs and saboteurs to various individuals, groups, families, workers, shops and companies intended to compel citizens and residents to stay at home and refrain from going to work or business as usual on Thursday February, 14, 2013 in a desperate bid to forcibly impose a de facto public strike in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

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Tunisia (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Prime Minister Threatens Resignation if New Cabinet Not Accepted

See also Syria Live Coverage: Assad Changes His Ministers Amid Economic Crisis
Saturday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Overnight Clashes In and Beyond Cairo

1900 GMT: Mali. French and Malian troops fought running gun battles with Islamist insurgents in northern town of Gao today.

The French-Malian force took the town earlier this month, as insurgents --- who had moved in last April --- withdrew.

Gunfire broke out in the area of the central market and police station, hours after French and Malian forces reinforced a checkpoint that had been attacked for the second time in two days by a suicide bomber.

French helicopter gunships flew overhead.

"Islamists who have infiltrated the town are trying to attack our positions, but we're fighting back," a Malian army officer said. Another Malian soldier said one group of rebel infiltrators had come in on motorbikes.

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Iraq (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Dozens Killed in Attack on Police Headquarters

Today's opposition rally in Bahrain "Change is Coming"

See also Syria Live Coverage: Diplomatic Breakthrough? Opposition Leader Meets Russia & Iran Foreign Ministers
Saturday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Beatings, Molotovs, & a Death in Clashes

2102 GMT: Mali. French warplanes have carried out airstrikes in the far north near the Algerian border.

Thirty jets targeted insurgent training and communication centres around Tessalit in a mountainous area.

The French forces are trying to remove insurgents from their last urban foothold in the north, the town of Kidal. Paris's troops captured the airport on Wednesday, but --- contrary to some reports last week --- have not taken the centre of the town from an insurgent group, the MNLA, which is part of the Tuareg people.

Malian Interim President Dioncounda Traore has offered to hold talks with the MNLA to help secure Kidal.

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Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: Gas Plant Siege Ends with 23 Hostages, 32 Attackers Killed

See also Bahrain Propaganda 101: Regime Looking for a Few Good Women on Twitter
Israel Feature: The Settlers and the Politician Trying to Re-Make the Jewish State
Syria Live Coverage: "Darayya is Being Pounded to Dust"
Saturday's Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: Hostage Situation Continues at Gas Plant

2241 GMT: Egypt. Protesters have set a courthouse in Alexandria on fire after the suspension of the trial of six senior police officers for deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising.

Young men threw rocks at police, who responded with tear gas. Two trucks that transport riot police was set ablaze.

Judge Mohammed Hammad Abdel-Hadi resigned from the case on Sunday, giving no reason. His resignation means a new trial for the officers accused of using excessive force.

Since President Hosni Mubarak was deposed in February, almost 100 police officers have been brought to trial on charges of killing and wounding protesters. All were acquitted or received suspended sentences.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Assad Addresses the Nation

Iranian cartoonist Maya Neyestani on Syrian President Assad's New Year

See also Syria 1st-Hand: Fire and Ice in the Refugee Camp
Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Back to the War of Attrition

2055 GMT: Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out a general amnesty for Kurdish insurgents on Sunday but said Turkey official would continue to talk to the detained leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan.

Erdogan's chief adviser said last week that the officials had been discussing disarmament with Ocalan, after decades of armed struggle for Kurdish independence, and on Thursday two Kurdish lawmakers paid a rare visit to the PKK leader in his island prison.

Erdogan said Turkey was taking a two-pronged approach, with the State intelligence agency meeting Ocalan: "Talks with Ocalan is not a new process....I have said before that we will negotiate with (Kurdish) politicians and struggle against terrorism."

The Prime Minister said, "General amnesty for those who have been involved in terrorist activities is out of the question. House confinement for (Ocalan) is also out of the question."

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Kuwait Analysis: Has the Emir Halted the Protests? (Herb)

With his decree the Emir stole the momentum away from the parliamentary opposition. The opposition, fearing that the new rules would dilute the influence of political groups (and larger tribes) boycotted the December 1 parliamentary elections. Kuwait now has a solidly pro-government National Assembly for the first time in years. This is probably, however, a temporary victory for the government. To understand why, it helps to look not only at what the emir did, but also what he did not do.

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