Monthly Archives: October 2011

Tunisian Islamist Party on course to win general election

Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, is claiming victory in the country’s first democratic elections. Official results are expected on Tuesday, but provisional results suggest that Ennahda will win most votes while falling short of a majority. Its main rival, the secular centre-left PDP party, has admitted defeat. International observers praised the conduct of Sunday’s election as free and fair. However, unlike its eastern neighbour Libya, Tunisia’s transition from authoritarian rule has been largely peaceful. Ennahda’s leaders have pledged to create a multi-party, secular democracy, and not an Islamist state. A spokeswoman for the party, Yusra Ghannouchi, said: “Tunisians have voted in fact for those parties that have been consistently part … Continue reading

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Obama miles ahead in campaign fund-raising for 2012

By Nicholas Confessori and Griff Palmer   President Obama is exploiting his early lead in campaign fund-raising to bankroll a sprawling grass-roots organization and information technology apparatus in critical general election battlegrounds. He is doing so even as the Republican candidates conserve cash and jockey for position in what could become a drawn-out nominating battle. Since the beginning of the year, Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee, for which the president is helping raise money to finance his party’s grass-roots efforts, have spent close to $87 million in operating costs, according to a New York Times analysis of campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. That amount … Continue reading

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Gaddafi loyalists in Tripoli firefight with the NTC

By Barry Malone Gun battles between supporters of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi and forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC) shook the Libyan capital on Friday, raising fears of an insurgency against the country’s new rulers. The clashes appeared to be isolated and involve only dozens of pro-Gaddafi fighters, but it was the first sign of armed resistance to the NTC in Tripoli since its rebel brigades seized the city and ended Gaddafi’s 42-year rule in August. Hundreds of NTC fighters in pick-up trucks shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) careered toward the Abu Salim neighbourhood, a repository of support for Gaddafi, and the two sides exchanged automatic and heavy … Continue reading

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Hamas prepares to release long-held Israeli prisoner

Israel and Hamas, two of the Middle East’s most implacable foes, announced Tuesday they had reached a tentative agreement brokered by Egypt to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held captive for more than five years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who summoned all 29 Cabinet ministers to vote on the agreement concerning the fate of the captive soldier, Staff Sgt Gilad Shalit, went on Israeli television beforehand to announce it, a sign that he was confident of Cabinet approval. “If all goes according to plan, Gilad will be returning to Israel in the coming days,” Mr. Netanyahu said. Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader based … Continue reading

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