1. Bahrain increases punishment for terror acts to death penalty
    DUBAI – Bahrain’s King Hamad has decreed stiffer penalties for “terror acts” in the country rocked by a Shiite-led uprising since 2011, the official BNA news agency said Thursday.
  2. Government Seeks ‘Enlightenment’ for Displaced Shiites Before Returning to Sunni Sampang
    Surabaya. The government says it is nearing a solution to repatriate Shiite Muslim families driven from their homes by Sunni hard-liners in Sampang district on Madura Island, following a meeting late on Thursday between the president and local clerics.
  3. Shiite drawback in Kuwait
    In the sixth parliamentary election of Kuwait over 7 year, the previously strong Shiite party seems to be losing popularity, and lost half of their parliamentary seats. Instead, Sunni and liberal parties are more popular and gained more votes. This signals a Shiite drawback in Kuwait, unprecedented so far in the country.
  4. Iraq seeks to promote tourism despite deadly violence
    BAGHDAD (AFP) ― As it trundles down busy roads, the minibus packed with tourists would be unremarkable except for two things ― its passengers are Westerners and the city they are in is Baghdad.
  5. Two rockets explode near Beirut
    Beirut: Two rockets fired from an unknown location exploded on Friday outside Beirut, a security source said, with one landing just metres from an entrance to the presidential palace.
  6. Syria Rebel Council Bans Croissants In Aleppo As Forbidden By Islam
    As forces loyal to embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are launching continuing assaults on Aleppo, some fighters in the city have set their sights on a new enemy: croissants.
  7. UN probes allegations that Syrian rebels killed dozens of captured regime soldiers
    United Nations experts are investigating allegations that rebels killed dozens of Syrian soldiers in a village near Aleppo after they captured it from government troops, an incident that could amount to a war crime, the world body’s human rights chief said Friday.
  8. Tit-for-tat kidnappings sweep Bekaa Valley
    HERMEL, Lebanon: Negotiations are underway to solve the latest round of retaliatory hostage-taking in the Bekaa Valley, which has seen three separate incidents of kidnapping in the last 24 hours.
  9. Senator Seeks Contingency Plan for Bahrain Base
    MANAMA, Bahrain — Years of political unrest in Bahrain have repeatedly raised questions about the future of the U.S. 5th Fleet’s strategic naval base here, and a senator is now asking the Defense Department about contingency plans should the U.S. presence on the tiny island nation become untenable.