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Three Egyptian activists get prison terms

Egypt

Three activists get prison terms

An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced three prominent activists to three-year prison terms and heavy fines, in what was seen as the latest sign of the military-backed government's determination to suppress political dissent.

The three — Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohammed Adel — are best known for leading roles in the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic President Hosni Mubarak. They were arrested for demonstrating in November against a new law that in essence criminalizes street protests, and their sentences were the first ones levied under it.

Gamal Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, said there was little doubt that the military-backed leaders intended the sentences as a warning. "It is time to shut up, to stay quiet," he said, summing up the message. "There is only one choice — to support the military or to be in jail."

China

Apple deal will bring iPhone to big carrier

Apple said Sunday that it has reached a deal to bring the iPhone to China Mobile, the world's biggest phone carrier with 750 million accounts.

The deal ends a lengthy courtship and could boost sales of the iPhone in China. The iPhone, once hugely popular in China, has been eclipsed by the rise of lower-priced rival smartphones from Samsung and Chinese companies.

The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will go on sale Jan. 17 through China Mobile and Apple stores in China. That means the tech giant won't get a boost from China sales in the current quarter, which ends Dec. 31.

Apple has been steadily losing market share around the world, and specifically in China, to competitors that sell Android-based phones. Apple ranks fifth in China in smartphone sales. Analysts have long said that a deal with China Mobile was the single most important thing the company could do to re-ignite its rate of growth.

Elsewhere

Washington: The drive to end the bulk collection of phone records by the National Security Agency appears to be gaining strength, as Senate Democrats said Sunday that Congress will change the law to ban the practice if President Barack Obama does not do it first.

Bangladesh: Police charged the owners of a garment factory and 11 of their employees with culpable homicide in the deaths of 112 workers in a fire last year. The case is the first time the authorities have sought to prosecute factory owners in Bangladesh's garment industry.

Thailand: In one of the more provocative moves of Thailand's monthlong political crisis, antigovernment protesters marching through Bangkok on Sunday vowed to disrupt the coming elections in their campaign to rid the country of its most influential political family. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has rejected calls to step aside.

Israel: A bomb exploded on a bus near Tel Aviv on Sunday minutes after the passengers were asked to get off, preventing casualties. Police said initial evidence pointed to an attempted terrorist attack.

Times wires

Three Egyptian activists get prison terms 12/22/13 [Last modified: Sunday, December 22, 2013 11:51pm]

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