Tunisia buries leftist politician amid crisis Syrian rebels set to move on capital Protests turn violent in Egypt Accused witch burned alive
TUNIS, Tunisia -- The funeral of an assassinated leftist politician drew hundreds of thousands of mourners chanting anti-government slogans to the Tunisian capital Friday -- as well as gangs of armed youths who smashed cars and clashed with police just outside the cemetery.
Hours later, the prime minister insisted he'd try to form a new government despite his own party's opposition, threatening to resign if his proposal wasn't accepted.
The events added to the growing turmoil in Tunisia, where the transition from dictatorship to democracy has been shaken by religious divides, political wrangling and economic struggles. It's been a perilous stretch for a country many hoped would be a model for other post-revolutionary Arab states.
People from across the nation flowed into Tunis to lay to rest 48-year-old Chokri Belaid, a lawyer and top figure in the Popular Front alliance who was shot dead Wednesday. Thousands helped carry the coffin of the so-called "defender of the poor" from his parents' home to the Jellaz Cemetery a few kilometers away.
BEIRUT -- Syrian rebels brought their fight within a mile of the heart of Damascus on Friday, seizing army checkpoints and cutting a key highway with a row of burning tires as they pressed their campaign for the heavily guarded capital, considered the likely endgame in the nearly 2-year-old civil war.
The clashes raised fears that Damascus, a major cultural center and one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, could fall victim to a protracted battle that would bring the destruction seen in other major cities and trigger a mass refugee exodus into neighboring countries.
Aleppo, Syria's largest urban center and main commercial hub, has been convulsed by violence since the summer, when rebels launched an offensive to take control of the city. Since then the fighting has been locked in a deadly stalemate, with the war-ravaged city carved up into government- and opposition-held strongholds.
CAIRO -- Egyptian security forces backed by water cannons fired tear gas at rock-throwing protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Friday while demonstrators clashed with riot police in cities across the country in marches against Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The protests are part of a wave of opposition-led demonstrations over the past two weeks that have frequently devolved into street clashes. The violence has left more than 70 people dead and hundreds wounded, and plunged the country into a fresh cycle of bloodshed and political turmoil.
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea -- A mob stripped, tortured and bound a woman accused of witchcraft, then burned her alive in front of hundreds of horrified witnesses in a Papua New Guinea town, police said. It was the latest sorcery-related killing in this South Pacific island nation.
Bystanders, including many children, watched and some took photographs of Wednesday's brutal slaying.
In rural Papua New Guinea, witchcraft is often blamed for unexplained misfortunes. Sorcery has traditionally been countered by sorcery, but responses to allegations of witchcraft have become increasingly violent in recent years.
Kepari Leniata, a 20-year-old mother, had been accused of sorcery by relatives of a 6-year-old boy who died in a hospital on Tuesday.