Monday 18 December 2017

Egypt's reformer leaves presidential race in protest at military's failure

Egypt's reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei said yesterday he was pulling out of the country's presidential race to protest against the military's failure to put the country on the path to democracy.

The 69-year-old Nobel laureate, who has been seen as a driving force behind the movement that forced former president Hosni Mubarak to step down, said the conditions for a fair presidential election were not in place.

Mr ElBaradei said the military rulers who took over from Mubarak had governed "as if no revolution took place and no regime has fallen".

The leader of Qatar has said that Arab troops should be sent to Syria to stop a deadly crackdown that has claimed the lives of thousands of people over the past 10 months.

Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani's comments are the first by an Arab leader calling for the deployment of troops inside Syria. They come amid growing claims that a team of Arab observers dispatched to the country to curb the bloodshed has failed in its mission.

A bomb killed at least 55 Shia pilgrims and wounded another 110 near the southern port city of Basra, Iraq, yesterday.

It was the latest in a series of attacks during Shia religious commemorations that have killed scores of people and threaten to further increase sectarian tensions just weeks after the US withdrawal.

British police say a man was arrested close to the home of singer Kate Bush, amid media reports a fan broke into her home in Devon and attempted to propose marriage.

Police say the man was Frank Tufaro, 32, from New York, who had flown to Britain with a $4,500 engagement ring. He was detained on December 26 and later deported. The singer was not at home at the time of the incident.

Police in Anaheim, California, detained a man in connection with the latest stabbing death of a homeless man as a task force investigated if there were any links to the slayings of three other homeless men, all killed since December 20. Police suspect all three were victims of a serial killer.

Another Tibetan in south-west China set himself on fire yesterday in the latest in a series of apparent protests against Chinese rule.

The self-immolation in the town of Aba, in Sichuan province, was followed by clashes between security forces and local Tibetans. At least 16 Buddhist monks, nuns and other Tibetans are now believed to have set themselves on fire in recent times, including four in the past week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said downgrades by Standard & Poor's reinforce Germany's position that European leaders must redouble efforts to resolve the debt crisis, even as she downplayed the decision.

Ms Merkel said the downgrades would not "torpedo" efforts to provide financing to indebted member states by weakening the current bailout fund. The EFSF could provide firepower even if its credit-worthiness sinks below AAA status, she said.

Sunday Independent

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