Prosecutor asks Mubarak about gifts
An Egyptian prosecutor placed a new detention order on Hosni Mubarak on Saturday after the ousted ex-president was questioned over valuable gifts he allegedly received from the country's top newspaper as a show of loyalty while he was in power, a security official said. The public funds prosecutor ordered Mubarak to be held for 15 days pending investigation, the official said. The former president is already serving a life sentence after being convicted for failing to stop killings of protesters during the 2011 uprising that overthrew him. But he is scheduled to hear a ruling on his appeal today, and the detention order could prevent him from walking free pending retrial were the appellate court to rule in his favor.
Governor declares flu an emergency
With the nation in the grip of a severe influenza outbreak, New York state declared a public health emergency Saturday, making access to vaccines more easily available. There have been nearly 20,000 cases of flu reported statewide this season, officials said. "We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. Under the order, pharmacists will be allowed to administer flu vaccinations.
Rock removal puts river in ship shape
Crews have completed the most critical phase of removing bedrock that threatened barges along a crucial stretch of the drought-starved Mississippi River, staving off the shipping industry's fears that the treacherous channel could close to traffic, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Saturday. Using excavators and explosives, corps-hired contractors cleared 365 cubic yards of limestone and added two vital feet of depth to the channel near Thebes, Ill., about 130 miles south of St. Louis, the corps said. That phase, which began last month, addressed the most pressing threat to mariners and additional rock removal is expected nearby, the corps said.
Kurds demand justice in killings
Thousands of Kurds from across Europe descended upon Paris on Saturday, demanding justice for three activists shot dead in the French capital last week. One of the victims was a founder of the Kurdish rebel group that has been battling the Turkish government for three decades. Activists have demanded that Turkey help investigate who carried out the killings.
West Bank: Palestinian protesters who pitched tents at a strategic West Bank site to protest plans to build a Jewish housing project there were evicted early today, police said.
Los Angeles: The cold snap that has brought unseasonably cold temperatures to California has engulfed several other Western states, threatening some vegetation and crops.