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Libya starts trial of ex-Gaddafi officials, but sons absent

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan prosecutors on Monday began the trial of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons and former regime officials in a major test for the North African state's transition to a democracy. Neither Saadi Gaddafi or Saif al-Islam were in the courtroom at Tripoli's Al-Hadba prison, but Gaddafi's ex-spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi was among the former officials sitting behind a fenced-off section before the judge, a Reuters reporter said.

Kadhafi sons due to stand trial in Libya

Top figures from ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi's regime, including two of his sons, are due to stand trial Monday over abuses committed during Libya's uprising which toppled him. The hearing is likely to be postponed for a second time, however, an official in the state prosecutor's office said Sunday. He said the court still had to decide whether some defendants being held outside Tripoli, where the trial is to take place, can appear via videolink.

Libya's western Zawiya oil port, refinery shut by protests

By Feras Bosalum and Julia Payne TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's bid to resume normal oil exports after blockades at eastern ports that have lasted months stumbled on Friday when the oil terminal and refinery at Zawiya in the west were closed by fresh protests. A blockade by local citizens late on Thursday prevented oil workers from discharging several oil product deliveries and forced the 120,000-barrel-per-day refinery to shut down, according to a government statement and a state oil company spokesman.

Libya rebels hand over oil ports to army

The Libyan army said it had taken control Wednesday of two oil ports under a weekend deal to end a crippling nine-month blockade by rebels seeking autonomy in the country's east. Colonel Ali al-Shikhi, spokesman for the army general staff, said men under its command had taken control of Al-Hariga and Zueitina ports. The rebels' seizure of four eastern oil terminals last July in pursuit of their campaign for restored autonomy for the eastern Cyrenaica region slashed exports from 1.5 million barrels per day to just 250,000 bpd.

Libya rebels hand over oil port to army

Rebels in eastern Libya ceded control of the oil port of Al-Hariga Wednesday, in the first handover under a weekend deal to end a crippling nine-month blockade, the army said. A port official said exports could resume from the terminal as early as Sunday if the National Oil Company gave the necessary approvals, restoring a much-needed revenue stream for the weak central government following the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi.

Libya officer killed, family wounded when car explodes

A Libyan air force officer was killed Wednesday, and his wife and daughter seriously injured, when a bomb placed under his car exploded in the eastern city of Benghazi, officials said. Benghazi was the cradle of the 2011 revolution that ousted long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, and has since been plagued by violence that has killed dozens of members of the security forces, judges and foreigners. Wednesday was the fourth day of a general strike to denounce the lack of security, as well as to call for the suspension of parliament and early elections.

Libya parliament wants new government, cabinet demands more power

By Ahmed Elumani and Ulf Laessing TRIPOLI, April 8 (Reuters) - Libya's parliament asked Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni on Tuesday to form a new government within a week after the cabinet demanded more powers to tackle the disorder crippling the OPEC country. The weak central government, which must be reconfirmed by parliament every two weeks, has asked for a longer mandate to deal with Libya's competing political parties, rival militias, regional demands and rebels disrupting the oil industry.

West urges rapid opening of ports under Libya oil deal

Western states on Monday called for a rapid reopening of oil terminals in eastern Libya after rebels agreed to gradually lift a nine-month blockade. The rebels seeking regional autonomy agreed Sunday to allow the reopening of two of four oil terminals which they have blockaded since July. The blockades have denied the country vital revenues, as the weak central government struggles to impose law and order following the 2011 uprising that ended Moamer Kadhafi's four-decade reign.

General strike in Libya's Benghazi over insecurity

Residents of the restive Libyan city of Benghazi observed a general strike Monday to protest against militant violence, as youths blocked streets of the capital in a show of support. It was the second day of the strike civic groups called to denounce Benghazi's lack of security, and to demand the General National Congress's suspension as well as early elections. Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 revolt that toppled Moamer Kadhafi, has been plagued by violence that has killed dozens of members of the security forces, judges and foreigners.

Libyan rebels, government agree to reopen two occupied oil ports

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's government reached a deal with rebels on Sunday to reopen two occupied oil ports accounting for 200,000 barrels per day of crude exports in a major breakthrough to end an eight-month blockade. Zueitina and Hariga ports - the two smallest of four terminals seized by rebels demanding more autonomy from Tripoli and a greater share of oil wealth - will be reopened on Sunday, according to the agreement.
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