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Egypt hangs 15 militants for killing security forces in Sinai: security sources

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 05:03

 security sourcesEgypt hanged 15 men convicted of attacks that killed security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, security sources said on Tuesday, in what appears to be the largest number of executions on a single day since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014. A military court issued the sentences and interior ministry officials carried out the executions simultaneously at Borj al-Arab and Wadi al-Natroun prisons, the sources said. Most of the militants were from Sinai region and were accused of "joining militant groups and taking part in carrying out, planning and assisting in killing a number of army and police personnel in Sinai," the sources said.


British tourist jailed for three years in Egypt after mistakenly confessing to smuggling drugs

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 05:02

British tourist jailed for three years in Egypt after mistakenly confessing to smuggling drugsA British woman has been sentenced to three years in prison in Egypt after mistakenly confessing to smuggling drugs. Laura Plummer, 33, from Hull, was arrested at Hurghada airport in October carrying 290 Tramadol tablets in her suitcase for her Egyptian husband whom she said suffered from back problems. The strong opioid painkiller is available on prescription in the UK but is illegal in Egypt, where it is often abused as a recreational drug. The hearing lasted half a day and the judge at Safaga Criminal Court in the Red Sea resort deliberated for an hour before returning his verdict. British holidaymaker Laura Plummer, 33 The 33-year-old shop assistant sobbed as police guards led her in handcuffs back to her cell on Tuesday. “I just can’t believe it, she couldn’t do three months, now it’s three years,” Roberta Sinclair, Ms Plummer’s mother, told the Telegraph. “I’m in shock, I’m really in shock,” she added. “She (Ms Plummer) can’t believe it either. She said 'mum, there must be a mistake'. It’s not fair. She wanted to help, he is the kindest person.” Ms Plummer’s defense team said that they will appeal the decision as soon as the judge submits his reasoning, which could take up to 60 days. Standing before the judge in court on Christmas Day, Ms Plummer was asked: “You are accused of smuggling and possessing Tramadol to Egypt?” Misunderstanding the question, she replied “yes” and the judge then instructed the session clerk to record that she had confessed. Laura Plummer pictured with her sisters Rachel Plummer and Jayne Synclair But when the defence translator later explained the question again, she denied she was guilty. The case was adjourned for a day after Ms Plummer became too distraught to continue. In court on Tuesday, her legal team attempted to clear up the confusion, which they said was down to an inexperienced translator. They also submitted to the court her clean criminal record, a character reference from her employer, a letter from the Foreign Office indicating that Tramadol did not appear on Egypt’s travel advice on banned medicines, as well as a medical report for her husband showing he suffered back problems. Omar Abdel Azim, her husband, had testified before the court earlier on Tuesday morning, saying he had suffered from a herniated disc for five years. “I loved her (Ms Plummer) and she loved me. “She is my wife and she wants to relieve my pain. She had brought me ointments before,” he told the judge. “Last time, she was visiting, my pain had increased. She was trying to help.” Mr Dia al-Bassal, Ms Plummer’s lawyer, said there was a lack of criminal intent because she was unaware that the pills were banned in Egypt. He said the court could also not prove she brought them into the country to sell them. “It’s not logic that a British citizen would trade five boxes of Tramadol. The ticket she brought to come to Egypt cost more than the value of the Tramadol she was caught with,” Mr Bassal said. The family has previously said Ms Plummer had no idea that what she doing was illegal and was just "daft". They said she did not try to hide the medicine, which she had been given by a friend, and she thought it was a joke when she was pulled over by officials after arriving for a holiday with her partner. Mrs Sinclair said her daughter was being held in terrible conditions in a cell with no beds, sharing with up to 20 other women. Her family had been told that she could face up to 25 years in jail, with one lawyer even mentioning the death penalty. Reacting to news of the sentence, Karl Turner, MP for the family’s constituency Hull East, said the court's decision was "devastating". "Laura, most of all, will be absolutely devastated," he said, "She's not been well lately, she's sleep deprived and she's been very anxious. "I think it's a damning indictment about good sense and fair play."  


60 Books We Can't Wait To Read In 2018

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 05:01

60 Books We Can't Wait To Read In 2018As 2018 approaches, there’s a lot to look forward to: the end of a hellish 2017, the Winter Olympics, “The Bachelor: Winter Games,” 2017 being over, midterm elections, and 2017 finally drawing to a close.


A digital solution when children can’t find books in their mother tongue

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 05:00

A digital solution when children can’t find books in their mother tongueFor some students at Umubano Primary School, located just outside Kigali, Rwanda, being bilingual is a necessity. Although the school offers some lessons in Kinyarwanda, physical learning materials in the language aren’t easy to come by. The number of books available in Kinyarwanda is limited, says educator Amy Barnecutt, and the few owned by the school tend to be flimsy and in poor condition. For the past two years, Umubano has partnered with Library for All so students can access a robust cloud-based library filled with culturally relevant books in Kinyarwanda and other languages.


In break with tradition, Trump doesn't host a state dinner

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 04:21

In break with tradition, Trump doesn't host a state dinnerWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump couldn't stop talking about the red carpets, military parades and fancy dinners that were lavished upon him during state visits on his recent tour of Asia. "Magnificent," he declared at one point on the trip.


Man who sent manure to US treasury secretary for Christmas compares himself to Jesus

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 04:17

Man who sent manure to US treasury secretary for Christmas compares himself to JesusA man who says he sent a box of manure to Donald Trump’s treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin in protest against the Republican tax bill has compared his actions to those of Jesus. Robby Strong has claimed responsibility for the gift-wrapped box containing horse manure, which was delivered to former hedge fund manager Mr Mnuchin’s Los Angeles home on Saturday. The package sparked a bomb scare, with authorities including Secret Service agents reportedly dispatched to the property.


Vietnam escapes damage after typhoon takes heavy toll in Philippines

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 04:11

Vietnam escapes damage after typhoon takes heavy toll in PhilippinesHANOI (Reuters) - A storm that battered the Philippines killing more than 230 people in floods and landslides lost its power on Tuesday as it passed over Vietnam where hundreds of thousands had taken cover. Vietnam, like the Philippines, is regularly battered by typhoons that form over the warm waters of the Pacific and barrel westwards into land. The storm entered Vietnamese water but weakened to a tropical depression and did not cause any casualties, the disaster prevention committee said. ...


2017's Rohingya Crisis In Photos

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 04:01

2017's Rohingya Crisis In PhotosA violent, ongoing campaign of state-sanctioned persecution has driven more than 655,000 Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar’s Rakhine State in the last four months of 2017.


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