Authorities plan to break up sit-ins by Morsi supporters

Authorities outlined plans Friday to break up two sit-ins by supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, saying they would set up a cordon around the protest sites, and riot police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators threatening a TV complex.

Morsi backers also showed their defiance by briefly setting up a third camp near the airport, but later folded their tents and left.

The military-backed interim government seeks to end a political stalemate that has paralyzed Egypt and deeply divided the country. Supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood say they will not disperse until he is returned to power.

Also Friday, Amnesty International reported cases of alleged killings and torture at the hands of Morsi supporters inside the protest camps, saying that one man had his throat cut and another was stabbed to death.


Former government officials to face off in runoff election

Two former government officials will take part in a presidential runoff election in Mali after a first round of voting in which no candidate won an outright majority, according to provisional results announced Friday.

The election is an attempt to usher in stability and peace after a military coup and rebellion saw half the country fall into the hands of al-Qaida-linked militias last year.

Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 69, will face former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse, 63, in the Aug. 11 vote.

Keita, known as IBK, won just over 39 percent of the vote Sunday, compared with 19 percent for Cisse. More than 51 percent of registered voters took part, a high turnout by Malian standards.

The provisional results must be confirmed by the constitutional court before the runoff can go ahead.

There had been suggestions in recent days that Keita could be declared the winner after the first round, which probably would have caused some tension. Cisse’s supporters said that there was widespread election fraud and indicated they would not accept the result if there was no runoff.

After more than two dozen candidates took part in the first round, Keita and Cisse probably will be looking to make deals with the losers, offering jobs and favors in return for support in the next round.

Sunday’s election was peaceful despite threats by an al-Qaida-linked militia, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa.


Salad mix linked to illnesses at restaurants in two states

The Food and Drug Administration says an outbreak of stomach illnesses in Iowa and Nebraska is linked to salad mix served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in those states and supplied by a Mexican farm.

The outbreak of cyclospora infections has sickened more than 400 people in 16 states. The agency says it is working to determine whether the salad mix is the source of illnesses in the other 14 states.

The FDA traced illnesses from the restaurants to Taylor Farms de Mexico, a processor of food service salads. The agency said its investigation has not implicated packaged salad sold in grocery stores.


High court refuses to delay release of 10,000 inmates

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday paved the way for the early release of nearly 10,000 California inmates by year’s end despite warnings by Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials that a public safety crisis looms.

The majority of justices refused Brown’s emergency request to halt a lower court’s directive for the early release of the prisoners to ease severe overcrowding at California’s 33 adult prisons.

A panel of three federal judges previously ordered the state to cut its prison population by nearly 8 percent to roughly 110,000 inmates by Dec. 31 to avoid conditions amounting to cruel and unusual punishment.

Court-appointed experts reported that the prison system had a suicide rate that worsened last year to 24 per 100,000 inmates, far exceeding the national average of 16 suicides per 100,000 inmates in state prisons.

– From news service reports


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