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Egyptians are voting for a third and final day on constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to remain in office until 2030.

The referendum is virtually guaranteed to be approved, as the government pushes for high turnout to grant it legitimacy.

Authorities have waged a wide-scale crackdown on dissent since el-Sissi led the military overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The referendum is widely seen as another step toward restoring authoritarian rule eight years after a pro-democracy uprising.

Opposition parties have called on voters to reject the measure, but they have little influence in parliament, which is packed with el-Sissi supporters and overwhelmingly approved the changes.

Polls reopened at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Monday. The results are expected within a week.

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An international rights group says the widespread use of land mines by Yemen’s Houthi rebels not only kill civilians but block aid to the most needy, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

Human Rights Watch says in a new report Monday that at least 140 people, including children, have been killed in the two governorates of Taiz and Hodeida since 2018, as the Houthis have blanketed farmlands, wells, and roads with anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines.

HRW researcher Priyanka Motaparthy says the Houthi mines have “not only killed and maimed numerous civilians, but they have prevented vulnerable Yemenis from harvesting crops and drawing clean water desperately needed for survival.”

She says the mines have also “prevented aid groups from bringing food and health care to increasingly hungry and ill Yemeni civilians.”

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the Afghan president to express disappointment over the indefinite postponement of talks with the Taliban and to condemn the insurgent’s latest “spring offensive.”

The Afghan-to-Afghan talks in Qatar were scheduled to start last week when they were scuttled after a falling out over who should attend. It would have marked the first time that Taliban and Kabul government officials sat together.

The State Department says Pompeo called President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday and condemned the Taliban’s recent announcement of starting another offensive in the spring. The Taliban have, however, managed to keep up a steady tempo of attacks even during the harsh winter months.

Pompeo also encouraged both sides to agree on participants, saying the talks are Afghanistan’s best chance at peace.

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Tensions are rising in Sudan after talks broke down between protesters and the country’s military rulers who earlier in April ousted President Omar al-Bashir after months of street protests against his rule.

Large crowds lit up the night sky with their cellphones, singing and chanting as protest leaders delivered fiery speeches in the capital, Khartoum, on Sunday night.

The protest organizers — the Sudanese Professionals Association — said they suspended talks with the ruling military council because it failed to meet their demands for an immediate transfer to a civilian government.

The protesters fear the military intends to cling to power or put another general in charge.

Qurashi Diefallah, a protester, said they’re disappointed because the army is “just an extension of the regime which stole 30 years from us.”

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The Latest on Sudan, where protests drove long-ruling President Omar al-Bashir from power earlier this month (all times local):

9 p.m.

The organizers of Sudan’s protests say they have suspended talks with the ruling military council because it has failed to meet their demands for an immediate transfer to a civilian government following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir.

Mohammed al-Amin Abdel Aziz, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, says Sunday that the political committee of the military council is too close to al-Bashir, who has been jailed in Khartoum. He repeated the group’s call for an immediate transfer to a transitional civilian government that would rule for four years. The group called for more protests.

The military removed al-Bashir from power earlier this month after four months of protests against his 30-year rule. The protesters fear the military intends to cling to power or replace al-Bashir with another general.

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7 p.m.

A leading organizer says Sudan’s protest movement hopes to “exert more pressure” on the ruling military by announcing the composition of a civilian transitional council Sunday.

Mohammed al-Asam of the Sudanese Professionals Association tells The Associated Press that “we are ready with a clear plan for a transition with qualified names.”

The association drove four months of protests that led to the ouster and arrest of Sudan’s leader Omar al-Bashir earlier this month. Al-Bashir was replaced by a military council. Protesters demand a speedy transition to civilian rule.

Al-Asam, a 28-year-old doctor, said in an interview late Saturday that the military council is becoming more powerful every day and that “this is dangerous to the revolution.”

He says protesters also demand the arrests of additional members of the al-Bashir regime.

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The Arab League has pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority to make up for funds withheld by Israel because of payments made to the families of Palestinian attackers and prisoners.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday as part of a diplomatic effort to rebuff the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, which American officials indicate could be released this summer.

Abbas says “the Arabs need to be engaging actively at this critical time.”

Abbas says the Palestinians reject the deal and demand Israel fully withdraw from all occupied territories.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.

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Iran’s supreme leader has appointed a new head to the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, just after the U.S. designated the paramilitary force a terrorist group.

State-run Iranian media gave no reason for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s decision to replace the Guard’s commander.

Taking over will be Gen. Hossein Salami, a 59-year-old who had been serving as a deputy commander in the Guard.

He replaces Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, who had been in charge of the Guard for over 11 years.

The Revolutionary Guard is a separate force from Iran’s standing military. It also oversees the country’s ballistic missile program and runs its own intelligence operations.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration designated the Guard a terrorist organization. Iran responded by designating the U.S. military’s Central Command as a terrorist organization.

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Saudi Arabia says four gunmen were killed and three security officers were wounded in an attack on a security building north of the capital, Riyadh.

The state-run al-Ekhbariya news channel reported Sunday that police had foiled the attack in Zulfi, a city about 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of the capital.

No one immediately claimed the attack, and authorities have not offered details on the identity of the assailants.

Other state-linked media said the attackers had tried to ram a car through the front of an Interior Ministry building but were stopped by security in a shootout.

State-linked media also reported videos circulating on social media showing dead gunmen with machine guns and explosive devices.

Source: Fox News World

Bahrain’s king has reinstated the citizenship of 551 people convicted amid a crackdown on dissent on the island.

The surprise royal decree, announced Sunday by the state-run Bahrain News Agency, gave no explanation for King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s decision.

However, the report said those stripped of their citizenship had been convicted in cases brought over the “protection of society against terrorist acts.”

Bahrain has faced widespread international criticism for mass trials that resulted in hundreds losing their citizenship on this island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia.

Last week, 138 people lost their citizenship in a mass trial.

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said then that the verdict brought to 990 the number of people ordered stripped of their nationality since 2012.

Source: Fox News World

Protesters have attacked the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party during the funeral of a soldier who was slain during clashes with Kurdish rebels.

Television footage on Sunday showed some protesters hitting Kemal Kilicdaroglu on the head as security officials tried to escort him away from the crowd.

The attack comes weeks after Kilicdaroglu’s pro-secular Republican People’s Party took control of the key cities of Ankara and Istanbul in Turkey’s March 31 local election away from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party.

Erdogan had led a highly divisive electoral campaign, portraying the elections as a matter of national survival and equating opposition parties with terrorists.

The soldier was among four killed Saturday in a clash against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party rebels near Turkey’s border with Iraq.

Source: Fox News World


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