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Sisi may revive strongman era to quell Egypt unrest

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is assured of winning Egypt's forthcoming presidential vote but at the cost of reviving the era of strongman rule as he faces a dilapidated economy and rising militancy. Analysts say Field Marshal Sisi, who on Wednesday announced he was quitting the army to run for president, was certain to continue the crackdown on Islamists that started when he overthrew elected president Mohamed Morsi in July.

US 'shocked' by Egypt death sentences

The United States expressed shock Monday after an Egyptian court handed down death sentences against 529 supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi after a two-day trial. An Egyptian court handed down the sentences earlier Monday, amid a sweeping crackdown on supporters of the Islamist president, who was overthrown by the army last July. "We are deeply concerned -- and, I would say, actually pretty shocked -- by the sentencing to death of 529 Egyptians related to the death of one policeman," said Marie Harf, deputy US State Department spokeswoman.

Algeria's Bouteflika offers 'democracy' if re-elected

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's campaign chief promised on Sunday that constitutional changes would create a "broad democracy" if the ailing incumbent wins re-election next month. Former prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal gave scant details of the long-promised changes as he opened the re-election campaign with a speech in the southern desert town of Adrar. Sellal was one of six senior regime figures who fanned out across the vast North African country to campaign on behalf of the president, who is too sick to take to the hustings himself.

Tunisia looks to win back tourists with image makeover

Tunisia is working against the clock to salvage its 2014 tourist season after three turbulent years, by revamping the country's image -- with the help of online media and a few Star Wars characters. "To change a country from one that is relatively inexpensive to a top-end tourist destination will take 10 or 15 years," said Amel Karboul, Tunisia's new tourism minister.

Arab League: a factfile

The Arab League, whose annual summit opens in Kuwait on Tuesday, represents over 370 million people in 22 countries, including Syria which was suspended in 2011 over its brutal response to protests. The pan-Arab bloc was created in Cairo on March 22, 1945. It comprises Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine, currently represented by the Palestinian Authority.

Deadly sectarian violence cripples Algeria desert city

Daily life has ground to a halt in Ghardaia, a picturesque Algerian city on the edge of the Sahara turned into a ghost town by a wave of sectarian violence. The UNESCO world heritage site, some 600 kilometres (370 miles) south of Algiers, has been rocked since December by clashes between the Chaamba community of Arab origin and the majority Mozabites, indigenous Berbers belonging to the Ibadi Muslim sect.

Tunisia Salafist gets suspended sentence for unauthorised preaching

A Tunisian court has given a controversial hardline Salafist a three-month suspended prison sentence for preaching at a mosque without permission, a judicial source said Friday. The ruling comes as authorities seek to regain control of certain mosques they say have fallen under the influence of radical Islamists. The district court in Mateur, in northern Bizerte province, "gave Khamis Mejri a three-month suspended jail sentence, and he is still being prosecuted in three separate cases," said Mongi Boulares, spokesman for the public prosecutor in Bizerte.

US urges Sudan to safeguard rights after student demo death

The United States on Thursday urged Sudan to safeguard the right of peaceful assembly, after security forces allegedly shot and killed a university student. Ali Abaker Mussa Idris died on Tuesday following a University of Khartoum demonstration for peace in Sudan's violence-plagued Darfur region. "The cornerstone of a democracy is the ability for citizens to exercise their right to peacefully assemble and express their views without fear of retribution," the US embassy said in a statement expressing "deep regret" at the loss of life and injuries.

Tear gas confronts 'revolution' call at Sudan funeral

Sudanese police fired tear gas Wednesday when mourners called for "revolution" following the funeral of a student allegedly gunned down by security forces at a protest against violence in Darfur. The incident came after about 1,000 mourners had buried Ali Abaker Mussa Idris in a south Khartoum cemetery. An AFP reporter said police resorted to tear gas as the angry crowd, shouting anti-government slogans, began moving out of the burial ground.

Tear gas confronts 'revolution' call at Sudan funeral

Sudanese police fired tear gas Wednesday when mourners called for "revolution" following the funeral of a student allegedly gunned down by security forces at a protest against violence in Darfur. The incident came after about 1,000 mourners had buried Ali Abaker Mussa Idris in a south Khartoum cemetery. An AFP reporter said police resorted to tear gas as the angry crowd, shouting anti-government slogans, began moving out of the burial ground.
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