A lot happened in Egypt last week. Ten Egyptians, including a journalist working for a Muslim Brotherhood newspaper, were each sentenced to a year in jail for protesting against a constitutional referendum. In the meantime, a son of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi will face trial for alleged possession and use of hashish. The day after, Gaza’s Hamas rules sharply criticized Egypt’s closure of the Rafah border crossing, saying Cairo’s tightening of restrictions on the Palestinian territory was a ‘crime against humanity’.
And on Saturday, a trial began leading to a court decision sentencing 529 supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to death after a mass trial.
While Syria's government decided to establish a "space agency" to conduct scientific research despite the civil war that has torn the country apart and devastated its economy, Lebanon’s schools come to help 270 000 school age Syrians in Lebanon and give them education. The country is staggering under the burden of sheltering nearly a million refugees from Syria.
In Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he saw “signs” that a long-term nuclear deal could be reached with major powers after the latest round of talks in Vienna.
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Israel has moved forward in planning for more than 2,000 new housing units in six West Bank settlements, which is likely to further endanger peace talks with the Palestinians.
During an election rally Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared, “We will wipe out Twitter. I don't care what the international community says.” Some hours later the micro-blogging site was blocked in the country causing outrage around the world, social media reacted right away.
On a more light-hearted note…
Sudan's rich but under-developed archaeological heritage has received an unprecedented $135 million in funding from the Gulf state of Qatar.