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UNIS: Tunisia’s interim president named a new government of technocrats yesterday, the third caretaker administration since the overthrow of the north African country’s veteran leader. Key ministers from the previous government retained their post in the new cabinet led by interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi, who was appointed on February 27. Four ministers who resigned last week, including the international cooperation and industry ministers, were replaced. Tunisia’s has been struggling to restore stability since President Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali was ousted by mass street protests on January 14. Two previous caretaker administrations collapsed as they included members regarded by demonstrators as being too close to Ben Ali’s old guard, such as former interim premier Mohamed Ghannouchi. The members of the new cabinet will not be allowed to be candidates in future elections. By unveiling a new team entirely made up of technocrats rather than career politicians, Caid Sebsi is seeking to assert his authority and see through a delicate transition in which Tunisians will elect a constituent assembly on July 24 to rewrite the constitution.
More than 40 killed in south Sudan
KHARTOUM: Clashes between the southern army and a rebel militia group in south Sudan’s Upper Nile state have left more than 40 people dead, including seven soldiers, southern army spokesman Philip Aguer said yesterday.
“There was fighting on Sunday between the SPLA and a former militia group under Ulony, a militia commander who had been in the service of Khartoum for a long time,” the spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army said.ilitiamen attacked a group of SPLA soldiers who had gone to the market in Owach, a town west of Upper Nile’s state capital Malakal, killing one and wounding one, Aguer said.
Iraqis rally against Maliki govt
FALLUJA: Hundreds of Iraqis protested against their government yesterday in a “Day of Regret” on the anniversary of an election that resulted in a second term for Shia Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki. In the mainly Sunni town of Falluja in western Iraq, around 1,000 protesters gathered in the city centre, chanting against Maliki, who secured a new term in office less than three months ago after months of political wrangling.Gaza truckers protest at crossing
GAZA CITY: Hundreds of Palestinian truck drivers held a sit-in yesterday to protest against Israel’s plans to close one of the main entry points for imports into the Gaza Strip. The truckers gathered at the entrance to the southern Kerem Shalom crossing, shutting down the movement of goods into the coastal enclave to protest against Israeli plans to halt operations at the Karni crossing in northern Gaza. The Israeli military has said the conveyor belts at Karni are being shifted to the Kerem Shalom crossing because of security threats at Karni, which have already limited its operation to two days a week. Moving the crossing to Kerem Shalom would allow more produce, particularly gravel, to enter the Gaza Strip, a military spokesman said.
Tunnel collapse kills Gaza man
Gaza: A palestinian young man died yesterday inside a tunnel at the Egyptian border in southern Gaza, medics in the coastal enclave confirmed. Identified as Abdul Aziz Sabah, 18, from Der Al Balah, the teen was said to have been crushed wen a Rafah-area tunnel collapsed.
Medics retrieved the body and delivered it to the Abu Yousef Annajjar Hospital, medical officials announced. Israel has repeatedly attacked such tunnels considering them as illegal channels for smuggling weapons into the gaza strip.
Call for end to censorship in Jordan
AMMAN: Around 600 Jordanian journalists demonstrated yesterday in the capital to demand an “independent and free media,” rejecting government censorship. “No to censorship! Our freedom is protected despite government domination. Security services have tied our hands,” they chanted outside the government-owned Al Rai Arabic-language newspaper. Artists, MPs and also Information Minister Taher Adwan joined the demonstrators, who carried banners reading: “We want independent and free media, not government censorship.” “Direct and indirect government intervention in the press have killed journalists’ dreams in having free media to report the truth,” the protesters said in a statement.
Iran hangs three Afghan rapists
TEHRAN: Iran has hanged three Afghan nationals in a prison in Tehran after they were found guilty of raping an Afghan man’s pregnant wife, the governmental Iran newspaper reported yesterday. The report neither identified the culprits nor the victims, but said that the crime occurred around two years ago, and the men were sent to the gallows on Saturday.