international news briefs

Arab League places sanctions on Syria

The Arab League has finalized details on economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria, as unrest continues and the Middle East country inches closer to civil war.

Ministers from the 22-nation Arab League met in Qatar on Nov. 3 to formalize details of the week old sanctions, reported the Globe and Mail. These include a list of Syrian officials barred from entering Arab league nations as well as the exemption of certain goods from the trade ban to avoid harming the Syrian people.

The sanctions are aimed at pressuring President Bashar Assad’s government to stop the bloody crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 4,000 people in eight months of turmoil. November was the deadliest month yet, with activist groups reporting at least 950 people were killed in gun battles, raids and other violence.

The U.S., European Union and Turkey have also imposed sanctions on Syria.

Islamists pull ahead in Egyptian elections

Islamist parties had a strong showing in the first round of Egyptian elections last week, reported CNN.

In the first election since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party captured 40 per cent of the vote. The second highest total belonged to the more hard-line Muslim party, Al Noor Salafi Movement, which received 20 per cent.

The election results are similar to those of Egypt’s North African neighbours Tunisia and Morocco, where moderate Islamist parties had a strong showing in recent elections.

The vote is one of many in a multi-step process that will see Egyptians go to the polls several more times before the presidential elections, which are slated for June of next year. Voter turnout was initially reported to be 62 per cent, but that number is being disputed.

The country had been ruled by the military since Mubarak’s forced resignation in February.

Herman Cain suspends U.S. presidential campaign

U.S. Republican presidential candidate hopeful Herman Cain has suspended his campaign due to allegations of sexual misconduct, reported the Globe and Mail.
The announcement came five days after a 46- year-old woman came forward claiming she and Cain had an affair for more than a decade. The claim was the latest in a series of allegations against the Atlanta businessman since he rose to the top of the polls a few weeks ago.

Several women have claimed Cain sexually harassed them in the past, including two who were paid settlements by the National Restaurant Association when Cain was the president of the organization.

Cain, who is married, called the accusations “false and unproved” but decided to suspend his campaign to avoid any further damage to his family. His resignation leaves Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich as the two frontrunners for the Republican nomination.