13 candidates are named for egypt election
Egypt's presidential race is boiling down to a contest between Hosni Mubarak's former foreign minister and two Islamists with strong bases of support after the election commission on Thursday released the final list of 13 candidates. None of the front-runners represents the largely liberal and secular youth who drove the uprising that toppled Mubarak's autocratic regime 14 months ago, dimming their hopes that the winner will bring dramatic democratic change in the country.
Ruling council fires Cabinet in Libya
Libya's interim ruling council has fired the nation's Cabinet just five months after it took office, citing incompetence, two senior officials said Thursday. National Transitional Council official Fathi Baja said 65 of the NTC's 72-members approved a no-confidence motion Wednesday against Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib. It's the latest blow to Libya, struggling to reorganize after the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The move puts into question the country's ability to hold its first national election in June to pick a 200-member assembly to form a government and prepare to write a new constitution.
Fingers pointed in deadly blast
U.N. observers on Thursday inspected the site of an explosion that flattened a block of houses in the central city of Hama and killed at least 16 people, while the government and the opposition traded blame over the cause of the blast. Syrian state-run media said rebel bombmakers accidentally set off the explosives. Anti-regime activists said intense shelling by government forces caused the damage. The spokesman for U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, Ahmad Fawzi, didn't immediately say what observers saw.
Newspaper office bombings kill 7
A suicide bomber and a man armed with explosives attacked two Nigerian newspaper offices on Thursday, killing seven people and wounding at least 26. The radical Islamic sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility.
Medal of Freedom recipients named
The first female secretary of state, a former astronaut and a musical pioneer are among this year's recipients of the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. President Barack Obama will award the medals at the White House this spring. This year's recipients include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; John Glenn, the third American in space and the first American to orbit Earth; and legendary musician Bob Dylan. Obama said of the honorees, "They've challenged us, they've inspired us and they've made the world a better place."