Abbas downplays health concerns after US hospital visit

Above, Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas speaks at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, February 20. Abbas called for the convening of an international conference by mid-2018 to pave the way for recognition of Palestinian statehood as part of a wider Middle East peace process. (AFP)
Updated 23 February 2018
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Abbas downplays health concerns after US hospital visit

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas appeared on local television Friday to downplay concerns over his health after undergoing what were described as routine tests in the US.
In an interview with Palestine TV while in the US, 82-year-old Abbas rejected reports he had been rushed to hospital during his visit.
“It was a suitable opportunity to be here to conduct some medical tests, and these tests have been conducted and now we left,” he said after leaving the hospital.
“Thank God all the results are positive and reassuring.”
The health of the longtime smoker has long been the subject of speculation, with no clear successor identified.
Abbas was in the US to meet with political allies amid a breakdown of communication with the US administration following President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Palestinians, who see the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state, have said the US has disqualified itself as a mediator in talks with Israel and cut political ties with the administration.
Trump is expected to propose a peace plan in the coming months.
Abbas has been in power since winning presidential elections in 2005.
He has remained in the role despite his initial mandate expiring as splits between the Palestinian factions have made fresh elections impossible.


Egypt court removes judge who got Mubarak’s sons detained

Updated 20 September 2018
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Egypt court removes judge who got Mubarak’s sons detained

CAIRO: An Egyptian court has accepted a defense motion to remove a judge who ordered the detention of former President Hosni Mubarak’s two sons in connection with their ongoing trial on insider trading charges.
The legal basis for Thursday’s verdict wasn’t immediately known. It came less than a week after judge Ahmed Aboul-Fetouh ordered the two younger Mubaraks detained — wealthy businessman Alaa and Mubarak’s one-time heir apparent Gamal — before he adjourned their hearings until Oct. 20.
Also unknown is whether legal proceedings would now begin to secure their release.
Separately, the two and their father were detained in 2011 and later sentenced to three years each for embezzling funds meant for maintenance of presidential palaces.
The sons were released in 2015 for time served. Mubarak was freed last year.