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A court in the Egyptian city of Alexandria is to hear an appeal on December 7 from 14 Islamist women protesters sentenced to 11 years in jail, their lawyer said Saturday. Ayman Dali told AFP that an appeal by seven other girls, all under the age of 18 and part of the same case, will also be heard that day by a separate court for juveniles. On Wednesday, an Egyptian court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria sentenced the women who it said were members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement to 11 years in jail. The verdicts triggered an outcry from activists and rights groups, with some calling on Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour to pardon them.
Major carmakers and parts suppliers showed up in Tehran on Saturday to assess the Iranian market's "considerable potential," just one week after Iran's historic nuclear agreement with world powers. The International Conference of the Automotive Industry, the first such event in Iran, has brought together more than 150 companies from around the globe, according to organisers. The key industry has been battered for more than a year by Western sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme. Iran and world powers reached an interim deal last week in Geneva, with Tehran agreeing to partially roll back its nuclear work in exchange for limited sanctions relief, including measures imposed on the car industry.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has unveiled a trove of pictures and film captured over more than 60 years chronicling the collective memory of those who fled or were forced into exile. Established in 1949 to help Palestinian refugees who lost their homes when the state of Israel was created a year earlier, UNRWA has digitised the archive and put it on display in east Jerusalem. Called "The Long Journey," a collection of the works has been on display at the Al-Ma'mal Centre in east Jerusalem since Thursday. "This project is important for the history of Palestine and Palestinians, in order to defend and preserve their identity," UNRWA commissioner general Filipo Grandi said at the launch of the exhibit.
Pope Francis will visit Jordan during a trip to the Holy Land next year, the state Petra news agency reported on Saturday, citing a senior Vatican source. "During his (August) visit to the Vatican, King Abdullah II invited His Holiness to visit Jordan," Petra quoted Vatican foreign affairs official Dominique Mamberti as saying in Amman. "The pope's visit to the Holy Land will begin in Jordan," Mamberti said after meeting Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
Six people, including a child, drowned on Friday after a boat carrying illegal immigrants trying to reach Greece capsized off western Turkey, according to officials and reports. The sinking is the latest fatal tragedy in European waters that has sparked calls for action over the vast tide of illegal immigration from the Middle East and Africa. "Acting on a tip-off at 2:30 am (0030 GMT) the coastguard seized the boat and recovered five bodies," Turkish coastguard official Arslan Dede told AFP. Turkey, which hosts about 600,000 Syrians who have fled the civil war in their country, has become a hub for illegal immigrants who aspire to reach Europe in the search for a better life.
Turkey's once all-powerful prime minister is battling problems both domestic and international that threaten to diminish his popularity ahead of an election cycle next year, analysts say. With three straight election wins under his belt, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics for 11 years and enjoyed a free hand in crafting government policy. But the tough-talking leader known as "the Sultan" who took office promising bold reforms has become an increasingly polarising figure in Turkey, and cracks are emerging in his government ahead of local polls in March. "Since he took office, the prime minister has gradually shifted from pragmatist tendencies to ideological ones, from team work to personal decisions, from democracy to authoritarianism, from thought-out policies to impulsive ones," Ilter Turan, professor at Istanbul's private Bilgi University, told AFP.
By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - The implementation of a landmark deal between Iran and world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program in return for some sanctions relief is expected to start by early January, its envoy to the U.N. atomic agency said on Friday. Israel, believed to be the region's only nuclear-armed state, has denounced the deal as an "historic mistake" since it does not dismantle its arch foe's uranium enrichment program. The Jewish state sees Iran as a threat to its existence. Israel's ambassador to the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency told an IAEA board meeting that "the increasing concerns regarding Iran's activities related to nuclear weapons should be thoroughly investigated and clarified".
By Mariam Karouny BEIRUT (Reuters) - Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have recaptured a Christian town on the main highway north of the capital, the army said, putting them back on the offensive in the strategic region near the Lebanese border. Assad's forces have made advances in recent months and are trying to secure the highway linking Damascus to the coastal heartland of his Alawite minority sect, but faced a setback last week when they lost the town of Deir Attiya to al Qaeda-linked fighters. The town is in the mountainous Qalamoun area overlooking the highway near the Lebanese border, a region that has emerged as the main battleground as Assad and his opponents try to secure a strategic advantage ahead of a peace conference in January. Assad's military campaign in Qalamoun was jolted last week by twin suicide attacks from al Qaeda-linked groups on army posts in the nearby town of Nabak.