BBC news with Marion Marshall
Polls have closed in Egypt in the second and final stage of a referendum on a new constitution that has divided the country. The voting ends hours after the country's vice president, Mahmoud Mekki, announced his resignation, saying that politics didn't suit his professional background as a judge. Here's Bethany Bell in Cairo.
The voting is over, but Egypt's political crisis rolls on. President Morsi is expected to win an approval for the draft constitution, but the referendum has exposed deep divisions here. Several hours before the close of polling, the vice president, Mahmoud Mekki, a well-known judge, announced he was stepping down. He said he wanted to resign in early November, but he stayed on for the good of the country. It's thought he may have been unhappy with the president's policies and didn't want to be associated with the results of the referendum.
The government of Tunisia is putting up for auction property that had belonged to the ousted president, Zine al Abidine Ben Ali, and some of his relatives. Among the items on sale are nearly 40 luxury cars, including Mercedes worth about 2.5 million dollars. Officials expect the sale to fetch more than 10 million dollars. Tunisia's Social Affairs Minister Khalil Zaouia said the money would be invested in the country, but the sale also had symbolic value.
All the financial return will enter the government budget, which includes regional development, infrastructure and investment projects generally. But to be clear, it's not an oil well. The most important thing is not the financial return, but the path of the revolution.
Pope Benedict has granted a pardon to his former butler, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the theft of papal documents and for leaking them to a journalist. Paolo Gabriele had said he wanted to expose evil and corruption in the Vatican. David Willey reports.
This act of papal clemency had been widely expected and it’ll enable Mr. Gabriele to spend the Christmas holidays with his family. However, the bad news is that the butler who betrayed the Pope's trust will now have to find himself another job and can no longer live in the apartment which was assigned to him inside the walls of Vatican City. The so-called Vatileaks scandal, which erupted after publication of some of the confidential correspondences stolen from the Pope's desk, has been a major embarrassment to Pope Benedict this year.
The Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has dissolved parliament ahead of an election to be held in February next year. The move comes after the resignation of the Prime Minister Mario Monti on Friday. He was leading a technocrat government to implement austerity measures, but has lost the support of the party of the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Mr. Berlusconi has indicated that he would seek reelection.
World news from the BBC
A suicide bomber in Pakistan has killed at least eight people and injured about 20 others at a rally of the Awami National Party in Peshawar in the northwest of the country. The meeting was being attended by regional leaders of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Among those killed was a senior minister of the provincial government, Bashir Bilour. The Taliban said it was responsible for the attack.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Syria has now concentrated its chemical weapons in one or two centers. Mr. Lavrov's comments come after the United States and other countries had raised serious concerns last month that Syria was considering using chemical weapons against rebels. Steve Rosenberg is in Moscow.
Russia's foreign minister said that as far as Russia was aware, Damascus was doing everything to ensure those arsenals remain safe. The biggest danger, Sergei Lavrov warned, would come from chemical weapons falling into the hands of the Syrian rebels. Russia, he said, had no plans to offer President Assad asylum, although he revealed that several countries in the region had expressed willingness to give shelter to the Syrian leader and had asked Moscow to act as an intermediary. Russia has declined.
Russia has called on South Sudan to punish those responsible for shooting down a United Nations helicopter on Friday, killing all four Russian crew on board. The Russian Foreign Ministry said a proper investigation should be carried out. The U.N. said the helicopter was shot down in Jonglei state by the South Sudanese army.
Reports from Kenya say armed bandits have attacked a village near the northwestern town of Baragoi, stealing hundreds of heads of livestock. There was said to be some 200 attackers, many of whom were heavily armed. Many people are reported to have fled from the area. More than 40 police officers were killed by cattle rustlers in Baragoi in November. Kenya's parliament on Friday asked the government to set up an inquiry into the police killings, the most deadly in the country's history.
  下一页