Nation and World News

Egypt

On Saturday, an Egyptian court dropped charges against former President Hosni Mubarak and seven other senior ex-officials over the killing of over 230 protesters during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.

Mubarak, his former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six others were convicted of conspiracy to kill protesters and were all handed life sentences in June 2012. A year later, a retrial was ordered on a technicality.

Shortly after the court’s decision, the former president said, “I did nothing wrong at all,” in a private phone interview to Sada al-Balad TV.

Hundreds of people gathered in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the 2011 uprising, to protest the court’s verdict. Security forces quickly moved to disperse the demonstrators using tear gas, water cannons and birdshot.

Mubarak, age 86, is currently serving a three-year sentence for embezzlement of public funds in a military hospital and is expected to serve his remaining months there.

 

Britain

British Prime Minister David Cameron introduced a proposal on Friday aimed at curbing immigration from European nations that would ultimately impact over 400,000 European Union (EU) immigrants in Britain.

Under Cameron’s plan, EU immigrants would have to wait for four years before being eligible for benefits, including tax credits and government-subsidized housing. The bill also stipulated that immigrants could be deported after six months if they are unable to find a job.

Cameron is up for re-election next May and his plan is largely seen as a concession to Britain’s anti-immigrant wing. Recent opinion polls show that immigration is the top concern for British voters, with many seeing the increase in immigration as an undue burden on education, health and welfare funding.

Cameron has promised to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU in the run-up to Britain’s 2017 referendum on whether or not to remain in the union.

“I will negotiate a cut to EU migration and make welfare reform an absolute requirement in renegotiation,” said Cameron in a speech on Friday. “If our concerns fall on deaf ears and we cannot put our relationship with the EU on a better footing, then of course I rule nothing out.”

 

Turkey

Pope Francis arrived in Turkey on Friday for his three-day trip aimed at promoting religious dialogue, marking the fourth visit by a pope to the Muslim-majority country.

Vatican officials have said that religious tolerance would be high on the agenda when the Pope meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, despite his political party being rooted in Islam.

Alongside President Erdogan, Pope Francis expressed his concern for the persecution of Christians in the region and said that such a dialogue could “deepen the understanding and appreciation of the many things which we hold in common.”

Against the backdrop of the advance of Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria and along the Turkish border, Pope Francis also spoke about the Middle East, saying that “for too long [it has] been a theatre of fratricidal wars.”