From Washington, this is VOA news. Coming up, the latest on the Syrian conflict, Nawaz Sharif third time as Pakistan’s prime minister. Hello everyone, I’m Steve Norman.
Syrian rebels opposed President Bashar al-Assad appear to have fought a rare battle inside Lebanon, exchanging fire with members of the pro-Assad Lebanese group Hezbollah.
Predominantly Sunni Syrian rebels have threatened to attack the Shiite group Hezbollah in Lebanon in retaliation for Hezbollah sending fighters into Syria to bolster Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shia Islam.
Several rockets fired from Syria have struck Lebanese strongholds of Hezbollah such as the Bekaa Valley and southern Beirut in recent days.
Egypt’s high court has ruled that parliament and the group of lawmakers who wrote the constitution were not legally elected. VOA’s Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
The constitutional court says the nation’s Shura Council was elected under flawed election laws. But it ruled the body will stay seated until new elections are held.
Shura members are Egypt’s sole lawmakers, after the high court last year ordered the lower house, traditionally the more influential body, disbanded.
The court also ruled against the 100-member constitutional drafting panel, but it was not immediately clear what effect it would have on the document itself.
The rulings are the latest in a series of challenges lobbed back and forth between the government and Egypt’s judiciary.
Elizabeth Arrott, VOA news, Cairo.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked academic Rami Hamdallah to form a new Palestinian cabinet in the West Bank.
Hamdallah is President of Al-Najah University in Nablus, where he is also an English professor. He will be replacing Salam Fayyad, who quit in April and formally leaves office this month. Fayyad, a U.S.-educated economist, frequently clashed with Abbas. Hamdallah is a member of Mr. Abbas’ Fatah Party and is chairman of the Palestinian stock exchange and has led the Palestinian Election Commission since 2002.
Turkish anti-government activists rallied in major cities for a third day on Sunday as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed those involved in violent protests as what he called “looters.”
At least 1,500 demonstrators attempted to march in the capital, Ankara, prompting police to [fear] fire, that is, tear gas to break up the gathering. Hundreds of activists also returned to Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the focal point of more than 90 anti-government protests across Turkey on Friday and Saturday.
Thousands of Ethiopians have held a rare anti-government protest march on Sunday demanding that authorities free political prisoners but 10,000 people demonstrated in Addis Ababa.
Vietnamese police acted quickly on Sunday to break up an anti-China protest in the capital, Hanoi.
More than 100 protesters gathered in the center of the city to demonstrate against a recent incident in which Chinese navy vessels rammed a Vietnamese fishing boat in disputed waters of South China Sea.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister-designate Nawaz Sharif will review anti-terrorism cooperation with the United States soon after taking office. Ayaz Gul has details.
The newly-elected National Assembly on Wednesday will formally select Nawaz Sharif as the country’s prime minister for an unprecedented third time because his political party, the Pakistan Muslim League or PML-N, enjoys a majority in the lower house of parliament.
A member of the new parliament and key PML-N adviser on foreign policy, Khurram Dastagir Khan, tells VOA his party will waste no time in addressing the drone issue, in view of the widespread belief among Pakistanis that such attacks violate the country’s sovereignty and international law.
“One of the things that we are going to do in the first few days is to reassess our relationship with the United States in view of the war on terror, and part of it would be that drone strikes should cease forthwith.”
Drone strikes in Pakistan have sharply decreased this year.
Ayaz Gul for VOA news, Islamabad.
Japan will be providing $1-billion in aid over the next five years to Northern Africa for economic development and humanitarian efforts, including help with security and counter-terrorism measures.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the assistance on Sunday.
A strong earthquake on Taiwan left one man dead, injured several others and panicked residents throughout the island.
U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of Sunday’s tremor at 6.2 (centered)….
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