Foreign articles

Countries evacuate citizens as Egyptian crisis worsens

Countries evacuate citizens as Egyptian crisis worsens

PARIS – Countries around the globe stepped up evacuation of foreign tourists and workers from Egypt on Monday as anti-government protestors called for further pressure to make beleaguered President Hosni Mubarak quit. In Washington, Assistant Secretary of State Janice Jacobs said at least 2,400 Americans in Egypt have asked US officials for help in leaving as the first 42 landed in Cyprus.
“We want to make sure that anyone who needs our help is getting that, and so, yes, I do

Police return to Cairo streets

CAIRO – Police were back on the streets of the Egyptian capital on Monday, smiling at motorists and sticking close to each other, a stone’s throw away from burned-out shells of their police vans. Their two-day vanishing act remains unexplained officially, but it left the city prey to looters and jail-breakers, as residents formed self-defence groups to protecting their patches.
The authorities announced on Sunday night that the men in berets and black pullovers would be

EU energy chief says Egyptian regime ‘incomprehensible’

BRUSSELS – The EU’s energy commissioner broke ranks on Monday when he labelled the Egyptian authorities’ handling of mass street democracy protests as careless beyond belief. While European Union foreign ministers meeting at the same time deliberately shied away from criticising President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, focusing on the need for elections, German commissioner Guenther Oettinger spoke bluntly.
“We are all very worried about what is happening in Egypt, with the images”

EU urges Mubarak to immediately talk to opposition

BRUSSELS – EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to immediately hold talks with the opposition Monday and respond to the aspirations of anti-government protesters.
“The legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people should be responded to. Their aspirations for a just, better future should be met with urgent, concrete and decisive answers, and with real steps,” Ashton said.
“There needs to be a peaceful way forward,” she told reporters.

Big turnout urged as Niger votes for new leader

NIAMEY – Niger’s junta leader called on voters for a massive turnout on Monday to close the door on military rule by electing a new, civilian president to head one of the world’s poorest countries. The Sahelian country’s 6.7 million registered voters must choose between three former allies of deposed ex-president Mamadou Tandja and a longtime opponent of the former leader.
The new president will have the task of leading one of the world’s top uranium producers out from under the

Arab rebellions puncture Qaeda propaganda

LONDON – Revolts in Egypt and Tunisia have struck a blow against Al Qaeda’s call to violence as a means of overthrowing autocratic governments, showing “people power” to be a more effective weapon. The adaptable militant group, with strong roots in Egypt, will work hard to exploit any sense of disappointment if the eventual outcome of the uprising there does not deliver better lives for the Arab world’s most populous country, analysts say.
But for now the group has no easy

Myanmar opens junta-dominated parliament

NAYPYIDAW – Myanmar’s new junta-dominated parliament opened on Monday as lawmakers assembled in secrecy following a widely panned election for the country’s first legislative session since the late 1980s. No foreign media representatives were allowed to witness the event or even take photographs of the new parliament building where elected and designated lawmakers convened in the military regime’s purpose-built capital, Naypyidaw.
Police manned checkpoints and barricades leading

Kazakh leader rejects referendum, calls snap poll

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Monday unexpectedly rejected a plan to hold a referendum on prolonging his rule until 2020, saying that he would instead call early presidential polls. The announcement stunned Kazakhstan after parliament earlier this month agreed the controversial referendum should go ahead but also came after rare criticism of the ex-Soviet state by its Western ally the US.
The referendum was backed by the ruling Nur-Otan party which sees

Indian navy investigates warship collision

MUMBAI – Indian defence officials began a probe on Monday into a collision between a warship and a merchant vessel near Mumbai, in the latest incident in the busy waters outside the city, an officer said. The INS Vindhyagiri suffered damage and a fire broke out near the engine room as she returned to the city’s naval dockyard on Sunday with the families of navy personnel on board.
“The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained. That will only happen subsequent to the naval

Student dies from wounds after Khartoum clashes

KHARTOUM – A student beaten by police during violent anti-government demonstrations in Khartoum has died of his wounds in Omdurman hospital, protesters said on Monday. “Mohammed Abdulrahman, from Ahlia University, died last night in Omdurman hospital as a result of his … wounds after he was beaten by police,” an activist who took part in Sunday’s protest told AFP.
“This morning (Monday) both Ahlia University and the Islamic University of Omdurman have been closed by a

US, India, Turkey to evacuate nationals from Egypt

CAIRO – The US, Turkey, India and Iraq on Sunday started organising the evacuation of their nationals from Egypt as an angry anti-government revolt raged into a sixth day amid increasing lawlessness and mass jail breaks.
“The US embassy in Cairo informs US citizens in Egypt who wish to depart that the department of state is making arrangements to provide transportation to safehaven locations in Europe,” an embassy statement said, as other countries issued travel warnings and

South Sudan chooses to secede

JUBA – Close to 99 percent of south Sudanese chose to secede from the north in a landmark 9-15 January referendum, according to the first complete preliminary results announced on Sunday.
Earlier partial results had put the outcome of the vote beyond doubt but official figures were announced publicly for the first time during a ceremony attended by president Salva Kiir in the southern capital Juba. The discreet leader, who is to steer southern Sudan to statehood in July after

Iran backs Egypt’s ‘revolution of the noble’

TEHRAN – Iran on Sunday praised Egypt’s “revolution of the noble” and slammed Western governments’ “backward” reaction to the uprising in the Arab nation, state media reported.
“The voice of the brave people of Egypt is the voice of revolution. The start of this revolution has astonished the despotic regimes of the region,” parliament speaker Ali Larijani was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
“The parliament supports the uprising of the Tunisian and

Israeli analysts fear Islamic takeover in Egypt

JERUSALEM – Israel’s leaders anxiously watched events in Egypt on Sunday as analysts warned that if a new leadership was dominated by Islamists it could threaten 30 years of peace between the two neighbours.
As the wave of unprecedented protests continued to engulf Egypt, Israeli officials have been nervously eyeing the developments and assessing the likely impact on ties with the Jewish state. “We are attentively following what is going on in Egypt and in our region,” Israeli

Israel aims to maintain ‘stability’ of region: PM

JERUSALEM – Israel is watching developments in Egypt carefully and its efforts are focused on maintaining the “stability and security” of the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
“We are attentively following what is going on in Egypt and in our region,” Netanyahu told reporters at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting after holding late-night talks with top intelligence officers and key ministers.
“Our efforts are focused on preserving the stability

South Africans light candles for ‘stable’ Mandela

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans lit candles and prayed for Nelson Mandela at church services around the country as officials said the anti-apartheid hero was in stable condition and resting at home.
A national campaign promoted by a group of media organisations encouraged South Africans to “Light a Candle of Hope” for Mandela’s recovery from an acute respiratory infection. Officials said Mandela, 92, was still in stable condition at his home in Johannesburg after being discharged

Al Jazeera: powerful counter to Mideast regimes

DUBAI – Al Jazeera television, banned in Egypt on Sunday, has often angered Arab governments with its coverage of dissent and served as a counterweight to regimes which accuse it of stirring dissent.
Egypt’s official MENA news agency said the outgoing information minister, Anas al-Fikki, ordered Al Jazeera’s closure in Cairo after its blanket coverage of anti-government protests sweeping the country. The Doha-based Al Jazeera slammed the move as an attempt at “censoring and