- - Tuesday, May 10, 2011


NATO planes strike command center in capital

TRIPOLI - NATO warplanes struck a command center in Tripoli early Tuesday in the heaviest bombing of the Libyan capital in weeks.

The NATO planes struck what the alliance called a command-and-control facility in downtown Tripoli, Italian Brig. Gen. Claudio Gabellini said.

“All NATO targets are military targets,” said Gen. Gabellini, who serves on NATO’s planning staff at the headquarters in Naples.

He denied that NATO was targeting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

“We have no evidence about what Mr. Gadhafi is doing right now, and to tell you the truth we’re not really interested,” he said.


Six orphan girls get flogging after attack

RIYADH - Six orphan girls ages 12 to 18 were flogged after being convicted of attacking the head of their orphanage, an official said Tuesday.

The girls received 10 lashes each under the country’s strict interpretation of Islamic law at a women’s prison in Medina, Islam’s second-holiest city.

The Arabic-language newspaper Okaz said the girls had been convicted of “acts of mischief” and attacking the director of the orphanage.

The girls defended their actions, saying they were harassed by the director.


Kuwait to replace Syria on human rights panel

UNITED NATIONS - Kuwait will replace Syria as a candidate for a seat on the U.N.’s top human rights body in what would be a victory for human rights groups and many governments opposed to the ongoing crackdown by President Bashar Assad’s security forces, Western diplomats said Tuesday.

An intense behind-the-scenes campaign has been waged to prevent Syria from being elected to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council since the government’s attempts to crush a seven-week uprising challenging the Assad family’s 40-year rule.

One Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because no public announcement has been made, said Tuesday that Kuwaiti officials told diplomats in Kuwait they will replace Syria as a candidate in the May 20 secret-ballot election in the U.N. General Assembly.


Authorities release leaders of opposition, lawyer says

DAMASCUS - Syrian authorities freed six Syrian opposition figures, including five arrested in a crackdown on protests, a human rights lawyer and a rights group said Tuesday.

Three opposition figures - author Fayez Sara, communist party leader Georges Sabra and activist Kamal Sheikho - were released Tuesday, the lawyer, Michel Shammas, said.

Mr. Sabra was arrested April 10, and the next day Mr. Sara was seized. Mr. Sheikho had been jailed since March 16, he said.

They were each released on bail of $100, Mr. Shammas said.

Lawyer Hassan Abdel Azim, 80, and journalist Hazem al-Nahar were freed Monday night, he added.



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