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Sunday
Apr102011

Gadhafi Accepts Cease-Fire; Is This Time Different?

Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Moammar Gadhafi has accepted an outline for a cease-fire with rebels, according to South African President Jacob Zuma, who met with the Libyan leader Sunday to present the African Union's road map for resolving the months-long conflict.

The road map includes an immediate and verifiable cease-fire, and ultimately a transition to a new government in Libya.

The African Union delegation, led by Zuma, says it will travel to Benghazi on Monday to meet with rebel leaders, who must also accept the AU's proposal.

Gadhafi has in the past announced his own cease-fires, only to immediately break them.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr102011

French Burqa Ban Takes Effect

Abid Katib/Getty Images(PARIS) -- They are an unusual sight on the fashion forward streets of Paris. Muslim women covered head to toe, even much of their faces concealed. And starting Monday,  the French government plans to make this religious garb even rarer.

“It shocks the French culture deeply,” said Jacques Myard, a conservative member of French Parliament. “Because never in our history, any person, male or female, has got a cloth on her face.’’

The French Parliament passed a new and controversial law forbidding women to cover their faces in public. Women wearing the burqa will be warned, then fined about $200. There's a $43,000 fine for any man caught forcing a woman to wear the burqa or cover her face.

The French government argues that the clothing violates the principles of equality for its citizens and poses a threat to public safety. Criminals in the past have used the burqa for cover.

What’s happening in France might be a model for countries trying to push back against the influx of Islamic culture.  Sarkozy says the clothing is “not a religious symbol. It is a sign of enslavement .”

But many Muslim women disagree, saying that the burqa is a sign of modesty and symbolizes their respect for God.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr102011

Syria: Death Toll Rises, President Says Reform Coming

ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images(BANIAS, Syria) -- The bloodshed continued in Syria on Sunday, as security forces continued to clash with protesters in different parts of the country.

On Sunday, there were reports that a Syrian security officer was killed and another wounded after a Syrian armed forces unit was ambushed by armed protesters in the city of Banias. As army tanks surrounded Banias, there were also reports of security forces opening fire on a group of people gathered outside a mosque, killing at least three people and wounding several others, according to published reports.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that Syria is on course for comprehensive reform and that he hopes the country can benefit from the experiences of European countries, according to a report by state television.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr102011

Mubarak Speaks Out, Denies Corruption Allegations

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is speaking out for the first time since being forced out of office in February.

In a statement broadcast Sunday on Al Arabiya television, Mubarak shot down allegations that he was a corrupt leader and denied having amassed assets overseas. Mubarak said he only holds accounts in one Egyptian bank and threatened to sue anyone who “defames” him or his family, or anyone who attacks him or attempts to undermine his reputation.

“I agree to anything that would help uncover any businesses or real estate belonging to my entire family globally,” Mubarak said in the statement broadcast on Al Arabiya.

Mubarak and his two sons have been summoned by a state prosecutor to face questioning on charges of killing demonstrators and corruption.

Mubarak stepped down from office on February 11, following intense protests calling for his resignation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr102011

American Soldier Dies in Northern Iraq

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- A U.S. soldier died on Saturday while serving in Iraq.

According to a military press release, the U.S. service member succumbed to injuries suffered in a non-hostile incident in the northern part of the country.

The soldier’s name was not immediately released.

This latest fatality brings the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq during the month of April to six.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr102011

NATO Wipes Out 25 Gadhafi Tanks, Rebels Take Ajdabiya

Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images(AJDABIYA, Libya) -- NATO forces continued to mount attacks against Moammar Gadhafi’s forces Sunday, with airstrikes reportedly destroying over two dozen Gadhafi regime tanks, and helping rebel forces take control of the city of Ajdabiya.

NATO says its forces wiped out a total of 25 tanks on Sunday, with 11 of those tanks being destroyed as they approached Ajdabiya, and 14 tanks destroyed on the outskirts of Misratah. Particular attention was reportedly devoted to those areas as officials felt those cities were the most threatened.

“We are hitting the Regime logistics facilities as well as their heavy weapons because we know Gaddafi is finding it hard to sustain his attacks on civilians,” said Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, Commander of NATO’s Operation Unified Protector.

The fighting between Libyan rebels and Gadhafi forces has been described as a see-saw type of battle, and on Sunday, NATO’s attacks tipped the battle in favor of rebels by weakening Gadhafi forces and enabling rebels to push the regime back and seize control of Ajdabiya.

On Sunday, an ABC News crew came across an injured member of Gadhafi’s troops at a hospital. The wounded soldier was reportedly involved in combat and found himself surrounded by rebels after being left behind by his fellow soldiers. The soldier reportedly shot himself in the neck, severing his own spinal cord.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr102011

Qatari Leader Says Gadhafi Must Leave Power

Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As the United States and NATO continue to enforce a no-fly zone over Moammar Gadhafi's Libya they are joined by one country with a tiny air force: Qatar.

The small but very rich country on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula was the first Arab county to join the U.N. effort to support the rebel forces in Libya. And while the Qataris are used to striking a delicate balance in the Middle East, the stakes have never been higher.

“We decided to take this position after we see that Gadhafi is using air force, using all the heavy artillery against his people,” Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin al-Thanisim al-Thani said on ABC's This Week.

Al-Thani is adamant that the Libyan conflict must end with Gadhafi’s removal.

"For us, the decision (to support the rebels) is as long as is necessary," he said. "The people of Libya and the international community will not accept any solution except that he leave power."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr092011

Gunman Storms Dutch Mall, Leaves Bloody Scene

Thinkstock Images/Comstock(ALPHEN AAN DEN RIJN, Netherlands) -- A gunman opened fire on shoppers at a Dutch mall Saturday, leaving at least five people dead and 11 others wounded before taking his own life, officials said.

The suspect used what appeared to be a machine gun to shoot people at random, according to one witness quoted by BBC News. Authorities described the weapon simply as “automatic.”

Four of the injured were in critical condition, officials said.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the attack. The shooter’s identity was not released.

The shopping center – about 15 miles southwest of Amsterdam – was placed on lockdown after the shootings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr092011

Israel Continues Retaliatory Attacks, At Least a Dozen Dead

AFP / Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip this weekend has left at least 13 Palestinians dead. This comes a day after a missile hit an Israeli school bus, wounding two people.

Israel has since retaliated against the militant Islamic group Hamas, saying that the group went too far by attacking a school bus. Hamas on Saturday denied intentionally targeting the bus.

Among those killed over the past two days were several civilians including a mother and her daughter, a farmer and an 11-year-old boy.

Hamas has announced a ceasefire, but Israeli forces continue to attack, saying it needs to prevent further attacks from Gaza.

Ten others were injured.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr092011

Egyptian Military Cracks Down on Protesters, Kills Two

AFP / Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Hundreds of Egyptian troops used guns and electric batons to break up several hundred protesters Saturday in Tahrir Square. The crackdown left two people dead and at least 15 wounded.

The troops came in around 3 a.m., targeting overnight protesters in a tent camp who were violating a 2 a.m. local curfew time. Most overnight protesters were still in the area from a peaceful protest that took place Friday.

The protesters tried to form a human chain upon the troops' arrival, but most scattered when troops began firing weapons.

The violence comes as tensions continue between pro-democracy groups and the military rule that has led the country since Hosni Mubarak left office in February.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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