PARIS - France's lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a ban on wearing burqa-style Islamic veils Tuesday, part of a determined effort to define and protect French values that has disconcerted many in the country's large Muslim community.

PARIS - France's lower house of parliament appeared ready Tuesday to approve a ban on burqa-like Islamic veils, a move that is popular among French voters despite concerns from Muslim groups and human rights advocates.

PARIS - As France's parliament debates whether to ban burqa-like Muslim veils, one lawmaker compares them to muzzles, or "walking coffins." Another proclaims that women who wear them must be liberated, even against their will.

ANKARA, Turkey - The Turkish parliament narrowly approved Friday a series of constitutional amendments that opposition parties say are designed to give the Islamic-rooted government leverage over the largely secular judiciary.

BAGHDAD - In a nation where religion and politics have become nearly inseparable, can a secular politician be prime minister of Iraq? The question has moved to the heart of Iraq's complex politics after a coalition led by secular Shiite Ayad Allawi emerged as the biggest vote winner in last month's elections, winning 91 of the legislature's 325 seats, edging out a bloc led by the incumbent, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, by only two seats.
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