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Thursday, November 27, 2014

World Briefs

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Egypt
As the presidential election in Egypt nears, former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday urged Egyptians to turn out to vote. Allies of the Muslim Brotherhood, which ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, continue to urge people to boycott the election, according to Reuters. Al-Sisi, who seems to be the crowd favorite, will run against leftist Hamdeen Sabahi in the election. Elections will be held on May 26 and 27, Reuters reported. Al-Sisi led the deposition of Mursi in July.

Hungary
his year’s “March of the Living,” an annual event in Budapest that commemorates the death of Hungarian Jews during World War II, attracted tens of thousands of Hungarians on Sunday. The huge turnout came after far-right political party Jobbik won 21 percent of all votes in the national elections three weeks ago, and participants warn that anti-semitism might again be on the rise in the country, according to Reuters. Although Jobbik does not identify as anti-semitic, “its followers are often openly hostile to Jews,” Reuters reported.

Moldova
Continuing with its push for closer ties with Eastern Europe, the European Union on Sunday announced that, starting today, Moldovan citizens can visit most EU-member countries without a visa. Moldovans will need a biometric passport to access the union’s Schengen zone, which also includes non-member states Norway and Switzerland, according to Reuters. Reuters reported that the E.U. issued this initiative in response to the crisis in Ukraine, which first sparked in November because of Ukraine’s push for membership in the union.

Philippines
After arriving in the Philippines as part of his Asian tour, U.S. President Barack Obama will sign the 10-year Enhanced Defense Cooperation agreement in Manila today. The agreement would allow the American military to further access bases and to position fighter planes and ships in the country in advance, according to the Associated Press. The agreement did not specify the number of additional soldiers to be deployed to the country and stated that it would depend on “the scale of joint military activities to be held in the camps,” the AP reported.

Saudi Arabia
Eight more people died from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a lethal SARS-related virus in the country, Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry announced Sunday. These additional deaths raised the total death toll for the virus to 102 since September 2012, the AP reported, and since Saturday, the ministry has detected a total of 16 cases of the MERS corona virus. Latest fatal victims include a child in Riyadh and three people in Jiddah. Authorities do not know how MERS is transmitted and have yet to find a vaccine for the virus, according to the AP.

Ukraine
On Sunday, pro-Russian separatist rebels released a Swedish hostage in the battleground city of Slaviansk. The separatists are still holding captive seven other people, who are European monitors, and announced that they do not intend to release the hostages, Reuters reported. Obama has called for the EU’s collaboration to impose more sanctions against Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the AP.