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High stakes as restive Benghazi votes in Libyan local polls

BENGHAZI (Reuters) - Libyan voters went to the polls on Saturday to elect municipal council members in 15 cities, including Benghazi, the country's second city, which is seeking greater autonomy for the eastern seaboard region. With 41 more municipalities due to vote in the next three weeks, the elections pose an organizational and security challenge for a country that is still riven by factional fighting, nearly three years after the civil war that toppled veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Gunmen kidnap Tunisian diplomat in Libya

By Feras Bosalum and Tarek Amara TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - A Tunisian diplomat was kidnapped on Thursday in the Libyan capital Tripoli, Libya's foreign ministry said, two days after gunmen seized Jordan's ambassador. Kidnappings have become commonplace in the oil producer, with foreign officials often the targets.

Gunmen kidnap Tunisian diplomat in Libya

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A Tunisian diplomat was kidnapped on Thursday in the Libyan capital Tripoli, Libya's foreign ministry said, two days after gunmen seized Jordan's ambassador. Kidnappings have become commonplace in the oil producer, with foreign officials often the targets. The weak government has been unable to disarm former rebels and Islamist militants who fought to depose leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and who have formed increasingly powerful and violent militias.

Kidnappers of Jordan's ambassador in Tripoli demand prisoner release

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The kidnappers of Jordan's ambassador in Tripoli on Tuesday demanded the release of a Libyan who is serving a life prison sentence in Jordan, a security source said. Essam Baitelmel, a member of the Libyan team investigating the abduction, said they had demanded the release of Mohamed Dersi and said the diplomat was not harmed and in good health. Baitelmel said they still do not know the identity of the kidnappers, who had called on the ambassador's phone, which he had left in his car.

Jordan ambassador to Libya kidnapped: Tripoli government

Hooded men travelling in two cars on Tuesday abducted the Jordanian ambassador to Tripoli, Fawaz Aitan, the Libyan foreign ministry said. "The Jordanian ambassador was kidnapped this morning. His convoy was attacked by a group of hooded men on board two civilian cars," ministry spokesman Said Lassoued told AFP. The government in Amman said it was investigating the reported kidnapping. "The Jordanian authorities are investigating information that the Jordanian ambassador in Libya, Fawaz Aitan, has been kidnapped," foreign ministry spokeswoman Sabah Rafae said.

Libyan parliament asks Prime Minister Thinni to form new cabinet within one week

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's parliament has asked Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to form a new cabinet within one week, parliamentary spokesman Omar Hmeidan said on Tuesday. "The General National Congress appointed Abdullah Al-Thinni as the prime minister under a condition of forming a government within week," he told Reuters. Once a cabinet had been formed, the congress would decide whether Thinni and his minister could stay until a general vote expected for later this year, he said.

Libya's government, rebels agree to reopen two occupied oil ports: minister

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's government has reached a deal with federalist rebels to reopen the occupied Zueitina and Hariga oil ports, which account for around 200,000 barrels per day of crude exports, the justice minister said on Sunday. The reopening of two terminals will be a major breakthrough in the eight-month blockade of key ports by rebels that has cost the OPEC country billions of dollars in lost oil revenues.

Libyan rebels to reopen two eastern oil ports on Sunday

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan rebels will reopen the seized eastern oil ports of Zueitina and Hariga on Sunday after reaching an agreement with the government, according to a copy of the deal. The government will pay financial compensation to the rebel fighters, drop charges against them and remove its threat of a military offensive, the agreement, signed by the country's justice minister and rebel leader Ibrahim Jathran, said. (Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Libyan bank staff start two-day strike after colleague shot dead at work

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Employees at one of Libya's biggest banks began a two-day strike on Wednesday, demanding greater protection after a colleague was shot dead at work, staff and state media said. Libya's government has been unable to control militias who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and refuse to disarm, and alongside the deteriorating security situation, the number of bank robberies have increased in the past few months.

East Libyan rebels to end oil port blockage within days: senior leader

By Feras Bosalum and Ulf Laessing TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A rebel group in eastern Libya has agreed with the government to end its seizure of vital oil ports within days, a senior leader told Reuters on Tuesday, raising hopes for an end to an eight-month stalemate that has dried up state income and fuelled chaos. There was no immediate comment from the Tripoli government which has been trying since summer to end the blockage of three eastern ports, which previously accounted for more than 600,000 barrels a day of oil exports.
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