Campaigning for Iraq's April 30 general election opened Tuesday. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki bids for a third term as his government grapples with the country's worst bloodshed in years.
On the same day Lebanon's parliament passed a law making domestic violence a criminal offence, after a years-long campaign by civil society groups in a sectarian Arab country steeped in conservativism.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had documented the deaths of 150,344 people. Of them, 51,212 were civilians, including 7,985 children since the conflict began in March 2011.
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Former Lebanon warlord Samir Geagea, a staunch opponent of Syria and the Shiite movement Hezbollah, will stand for the presidency in May, his Christian Lebanese Forces party said on Friday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Israel would take unilateral measures against the Palestinians if they go ahead with applications to adhere to international treaties.
Authorities launched a massive polio vaccination campaign on Sunday in Iraq, Syria and Egypt after health officials found a suspected case of the virus in a young boy near Baghdad.