An Egyptian lawyer says he and others have filed a court case to force the country’s parliament to debate amending a constitutional clause that bars President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi from seeking a third term in 2022. The lawyer, Ayman Abdel-Hakim Ramadan, told the Associated Press that a court in Cairo will hold its first hearing in the case Dec. 23.
Sissi has said he will not seek a third term but has not been categorical about it — saying, for example, that he will not stay on unless Egyptians want him to do so. Egypt’s constitution allows a maximum of two four-year terms.
Ramadan said his “love” and “admiration” for a leader who has done so much for Egypt motivated his filing. But the case could be the first step in a campaign to engineer a climate receptive to the idea of amending the constitution. It could also help gauge popular sentiment on the issue.
— Associated Press
Stampede at nightclub kills 6, injures more than 100: Six people, including five teenagers, were crushed to death in the early hours of Saturday in a stampede at a packed nightclub near Ancona on Italy's Adriatic coast, officials said. The deaths occurred when a walkway leading out of the Lanterna Azzurra nightclub in the town of Corinaldo collapsed, causing dozens of people to fall into a trench below. More than 100 other people were injured, 13 of them seriously. Local officials said witnesses reported seeing a hooded man spray a substance like pepper spray or tear gas into the crowd, triggering the rush.
Yemeni rebels report progress at peace talks: Yemeni-rebel delegates at peace talks underway in Sweden reported progress on the key issues of reopening the airport in the capital, Sanaa, and implementing an agreement reached in recent days on the exchange of prisoners. The U.N. special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, struck a positive note, saying in a brief statement that the two sides were demonstrating a "positive spirit" in the talks, held in the town of Rimbo, north of Stockholm. The United Nations has long led a push to resolve the conflict — now in its fourth year — which has pushed the country to the brink of famine, but past attempts at talks yielded nothing.
Head-on bus collision in Bolivia leaves at least 17 dead, 10 injured: Two buses collided head-on Saturday on a highway in Bolivia's highlands, leaving at least 17 people dead and 10 injured. Police said passengers were trapped in the wreckage of the buses, which collided Saturday in Bolivia's Andes Mountains near Achacachi, about 50 miles west of La Paz. A police report said the collision was caused by excessive speed and did not rule out that one bus had crossed the centerline. Deadly bus crashes are common in Bolivia's highlands, where narrow highways sometimes wind through mountain ranges near steep precipices.
Cardinal holds beatification ceremony in Algeria: A cardinal dispatched by the Vatican to Algeria held an unusual beatification ceremony Saturday for 19 monks, nuns and other Catholics who were killed during Algeria's civil war in the 1990s. It was the first such ceremony in the Islamic world, according to Algeria's religious affairs minister. It came after Pope Francis recognized all 19 as martyrs in January, paving the way for Saturday's ceremony in the western Algerian city of Oran. Beatification is a step in the process of declaring someone a saint. Those honored include seven French Trappist monks who were abducted from the monastery of Tibhirine, south of Algiers, in 1996. Soon afterward, their skulls were discovered nearby; their bodies were never found. A radical group was blamed for their beheadings, but some observers have suggested that Algeria's military was responsible. The Algerian president agreed to allow and co-organize the beatification, despite lingering tensions.
Israel reports finding another Hezbollah tunnel: Israeli forces say they have uncovered another Hezbollah tunnel dug from southern Lebanon. It is at least the second cross-border tunnel discovered since Israel began an operation in the past week to detect and "neutralize" attack passageways dug into northern Israel by the Iranian-backed group. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said explosives were placed in the tunnel to prevent infiltration into Israel, adding that Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible "for the activities and all Hezbollah violations." Israel also said it fired at three people believed to be Hezbollah militants as they neared where the Israeli soldiers were working.
Two more die amid bank robbery attempt in Brazil: Authorities said two more people have died after armed men tried to carry out bank robberies in northeastern Brazil, bringing the death toll to 14. Brazil's military police said the group of assailants took as hostages people who were traveling on federal highway BR-116 about 2 a.m. Friday. The highway leads to Milagres, a city of 30,000 in the state of Ceara. Military police said the criminals were planning to take the hostages to two banks but came under police fire that led to a shootout. They said eight robbery suspects and six hostages between the ages of 13 and 60 were killed.
— From news services