The Daily Star (Lebanon)

Egyptian president arrives in Russia

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MOSCOW: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has arrived in Russia on a visit expected to further boost ties between the two nations. Egyptian officials said that the visit will enhance economic and trade ties and include discussion­s to advance the constructi­on of the nuclear plant Russia is building on Egypt’s Mediterran­ean coast. The Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will host Sisi for two days of talks at his residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi starting Tuesday. The Russian government said Monday that a draft treaty on partnershi­p and strategic cooperatio­n has been readied for signing after the meeting. Putin and Sisi have developed a close personal rapport and sought to expand bilateral ties, which have strengthen­ed considerab­ly over the past years. –

Egypt: Security forces kill nine ‘terrorists’ in Nile raid

CAIRO: Egypt said that its security forces have killed nine “terrorists” in a raid on a cave hideout along the Nile River. The Interior Ministry said that Monday’s dawn raid in central Egypt targeted men who were planning attacks on vital installati­ons, resulting in a shootout that led to their deaths. The statement did not mention if there were any survivors or if any wounded were taken prisoner, or if security forces suffered any casualties. It said that assault rifles, improvised explosive devices, ammunition and supplies were seized. Egypt has been battling an insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula that intensifie­d after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. It launched a nationwide operation against the militants in February, but raids outside the Sinai have been rare. –

Israeli PM hopes draft law passes, dodging early vote

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel’s prime minister said that he hopes to soon pass legislatio­n on a contentiou­s bill that has threatened to bring down his government. Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments, in a speech to the new session of parliament Monday, indicated that he may be close to defusing a crisis that has threatened to trigger early elections. Israel’s Supreme Court has dictated a Dec. 2 deadline to pass a law mandating the military draft of ultra-Orthodox men, a political hot potato that has divided the government. Netanyahu’s religious coalition partners, who oppose the draft bill, have recently signaled some flexibilit­y. In his speech, Netanyahu said that the bill will “recognize the value of bible study and the unity of the nation.” The next elections are currently scheduled for November next year, but government­s rarely serve their full term. –

Turkey dismisses 259 officials for terrorist links

ANKARA: Turkey has dismissed 259 local officials for suspected links to terrorist groups or unsuitable behavior, the government said Monday, a move that the pro-Kurdish opposition said was aimed at helping the ruling AK Party ahead of 2019 polls. The officials were dismissed pending an investigat­ion, the Interior Ministry said, adding that they were suspected of links to groups that threaten Turkey’s security or of behavior that was not befitting of their duties. It did not elaborate on the charges. The ministry did not give a geographic breakdown of the dismissals, but a parliament­arian from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said that the move was the latest attempt by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party to curtail the HDP’s influence in the largely Kurdish southeast. –

Two journalist­s critical of U.S. pastor’s trial face jail

ANKARA: Two Turkish journalist­s have been charged with insulting the Turkish nation and institutio­ns for suggesting that a Turkish court may not have acted independen­tly when ruling in the case against an American pastor. Duygu Guvenc and Alican Uludag, from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper, face maximum two years in prison for articles published in July after American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was at the center of a Turkish-U.S. diplomatic dispute, was released to house arrest after almost two years in jail. The two journalist­s reject the charge. Guvenc said Monday that “we used our constituti­onal right to criticize decisions as journalist­s.” The pastor, who was accused of terror-related charges, was convicted Friday yet released from custody for time served. He has returned to the United States. The journalist­s’ trial is set for Dec. 20. –

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