Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef said on Monday he has cancelled his television show which mocked ex-army chief and president-in-waiting Abdel Fattah al-Sisi because of "enormous" pressure. The heart surgeon turned comedian, often compared to US satirist Jon Stewart, had moved to Saudi-owned channel MBC last year after his show was suspended by the private Egyptian broadcaster CBC. MBC's Egyptian affiliate which aired the weekly show Al-Bernameg (The Programme) said in April the show would be taken off air in May to avoid "influencing" the presidential election that Sisi won. Sisi won last week's election with more than 90 percent of the vote, riding a wave of nationalistic fervour after deposing the elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.
Israel threatened Monday to impose new sanctions against the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority after a new unity government was sworn in under a deal with Gaza rulers Hamas. A security cabinet meeting called to discuss the new Palestinian government decided "to authorise the prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) to impose additional sanctions on the Palestinian Authority," Netanyahu's office said, without elaborating. It added that Israel would hold the PA entirely responsible for any attacks on the Jewish state. The long-awaited unity government took the oath before president Mahmud Abbas after a landmark reconciliation deal in April with the Islamist movement Hamas.
Seven soldiers and several other people were killed Monday in clashes between the Yemeni army and Shiite Huthi rebels close to the capital, tribal and medical sources said. The clashes erupted after troops tried to expel rebels from a strategic position near Amran controling the road to Sanaa, local officials said. Rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam, contacted by AFP, declined to give a death toll. And in Sanaa, unknown gunmen opened fire on the home of Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa, without causing injury, a security source said.
By Bernie Woodall DETROIT (Reuters) - The United Auto Workers union opened a four-day convention on Monday where 1,100 members will select a new president and decide whether to approve the first dues increase since 1967. Dennis Williams, the union's 61-year-old secretary-treasurer, is expected to be elected president on Wednesday. While Gary Walkowicz, a union official at a Ford Motor Co plant in Dearborn, Michigan, opposes Williams on the ballot, Williams is expected to win easily. Walkowicz four years ago ran against Bob King, the UAW's outgoing president, and received only a handful of votes.
The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that an international chemical weapons treaty should not have been invoked against a woman who tried to poison her rival in a love triangle. In November, the top panel considered the case of an American microbiologist who put arsenic and potassium dichromate on the mailbox and car controls of a friend who had an adulterous fling with her husband and got pregnant. Carol Bond was arrested in the failed attempt to kill the other woman, pleading guilty in 2007 to two counts of the federal crime of having used a chemical weapon. Bond then appealed her conviction to the US Supreme Court, saying the law was supposed to stop terrorists from using chemical arms, not to prosecute individuals.
Blantyre (Malawi) (AFP) - Malawi, traditionally dependent on Western aid donors, will look for "new friends" in countries such as China and Russia, newly elected President Peter Mutharika said at his inauguration Monday. The ceremony at a stadium in the commercial capital Blantyre was boycotted by outgoing president Joyce Banda, who was soundly beaten by Mutharika in disputed elections held on May 20. Mutharika, who takes power in one of the world's poorest countries where 40 percent of the budget comes from aid, said the donor nations were "welcome to stay here".
Syria geared up Monday for an election expected to keep Bashar al-Assad as president but derided as a "farce" and only staged in regime-held parts of the war-ravaged country. A "security plan" has reportedly been put in place in Syrian cities since Sunday, aimed at preventing possible attacks against voters and polling stations, with Tuesday's election being held only in areas under the regime's control. More than 9,000 polling stations have been "secured" across the country, the daily said, advising voters not to be concerned about their safety on election day. For some time, rumours have swirled that polling places in Damascus would be targeted by insurgents positioned in the nearby countryside.
The United States said Monday that Russia is continuing to support the pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine, despite US sanctions aimed at punishing it for its alleged interference in its neighbor. "There is evidence that Russia continues to allow the free flow of weapons, funds, and fighters across its borders and President (Vladimir) Putin's next steps are still not clear," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said, in a speech in Washington. Lew said the United States had worked with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and its G7 partners to coordinate a response to the crisis and provide Ukraine with financial and technical assistance. "Our goal was to impose a cost on Russia for its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea and to deter Russian military intervention in Ukraine," he said, according to prepared remarks for an event at the Center of Strategic and International Studies.
At least 50 people, including nine children, were killed in two days of rebel mortar and rocket fire on regime-held areas of Aleppo in northern Syria, a monitoring group said Monday. The latest toll from the main northern city comes the day before a presidential election expected to keep incumbent Bashar al-Assad in power. "At least 50 people, including nine children, were killed in mortar and rocket fire on regime-held areas of Aleppo on Saturday and Sunday," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Britain-based monitoring group said the casualties on Saturday and Sunday came after 230 people had been killed in two months of rebel bombardments of areas of Aleppo controlled by the government.
From old-school family values to women's rights and gay marriage, Spanish society was transformed in the four decades of King Juan Carlos's reign. The democratic rebirth he oversaw spawned fast but fragile economic growth that later plunged Spain into economic crisis, however. When a 37-year-old Juan Carlos was crowned on November 22, 1975, he took the throne of a deeply conservative society. After 40 years under the dictator General Francisco Franco, Spain was just starting to reap the fruits of industrial development.
Attacks across Iraq, including in the normally peaceful south, killed nine people Monday after unrest a day earlier left 40 dead, the latest in a protracted surge in nationwide bloodshed. The violence comes as political leaders jostle to build alliances amid what is expected to be a months-long period of government formation following April elections, with bloodletting at its worst since Iraq emerged from a brutal Sunni-Shiite sectarian war. A spate of bombs went off around Baghdad and in restive Sunni-majority Salaheddin province Monday, as well as in Najaf and Dhi Qar in the typically quiet Shiite-dominated south, officials said. South of Baghdad, a roadside bomb near a secondary school in Mahmudiyah killed a male pupil, and a car bomb near a Shiite mosque in Iskandiriyah killed two people.
Lucknow (India) (AFP) - Indian police fired water cannon on Monday at a group of mainly women protesting against the gang-rape and lynching of two girls in the country's largest state. Several hundred protesters were demanding an end to violence against women outside the office of the chief minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh, when riot police tried to disperse the crowd by hosing them, footage broadcast on Indian television showed. The protests came amid a growing uproar over last week's killings in Uttar Pradesh, with the United Nations saying violence against women should be regarded as a matter of basic human rights. "There should be justice for the families of the two teenaged girls and for all the women and girls from lower caste communities who are targeted and raped in rural India," said Lise Grande, the UN's resident coordinator for India.