CAIRO – Hosni Mubarak is slipping in and out of consciousness eight days after the ousted Egyptian leader was sent to prison to begin serving a life sentence, a security official said on Sunday.
With rumors of the former president’s death spreading rapidly, authorities granted his wife, former first lady Suzanne Mubarak, and the couple’s two daughters-in-law special permission to visit him in Cairo’s Torah prison early that morning.
“The former president’s health is in decline, but now it’s stable in its deteriorated state,” the official said. Since his wife’s visit, Mubarak has suffered from an irregular heartbeat and required assistance in breathing.
The official told the Associated Press that the former president now lives only on liquids and yogurt. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Mubarak’s health is reported to have collapsed since his June 2 conviction for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising that overthrew him in 2011. His life sentence saw him transferred immediately to a prison hospital, instead of the military hospital and other facilities where he had been held since his April 2011 arrest.
Hollande’s leftists lead parliamentary vote
President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party, bolstered by leftist allies, stands positioned to take control of the lower house of parliament so he can revamp a country his partisans see as too capitalist for the French, and push to save the eurozone through growth, not austerity.
The conservative party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, which has controlled the 577-seat National Assembly since 2002, will likely lose its grip on power in the final round of voting in a week. Sarkozy was defeated in the May 6 final round of the presidential race.
Hollande will likely not get his wish for a pure Socialist Party sweep of the seats of power in France, but he need not fret.
Polling agency projections after Sunday’s first round of voting in legislative elections show the Socialists slightly behind Sarkozy’s UMP party. But other leftist parties expected to support Hollande – including the communist-inspired Leftist Front and the main environmental party – did well Sunday.
A leftist victory in the voting, five weeks after Hollande took office, would brutally jar the French political landscape.
Leftists are forecast to take between 300 and 366 seats in the next parliament, and the conservatives between 210 and 270 seats, according to the CSA and TNS-Sofres polling agencies.
That would be a sharp shift from the current parliament, where the conservative UMP and its allies had 346 seats and leftists 226 seats.
Government minister among dead in crash
NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya’s internal security minister was killed with five other people when the police helicopter they were traveling in crashed in a forest near Kenya’s capital, officials said.
Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and his deputy, Orwa Ojode, were among the six killed in the Sunday crash, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said. Two pilots and two bodyguards also died in the crash, officials said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the accident.
Saitoti, an American-trained economist and mathematician, was one of the most visible figures in Kenyan politics. For over a decade he was a deputy to former President Daniel arap Moi.
Saitoti announced last year that he would seek the Kenyan presidency in 2013.
Earthquake shakes areas of Greece, Turkey
ATHENS, Greece – A powerful earthquake shook Greece’s island of Rhodes and southwestern Turkey on Sunday. No deaths or serious damage were reported, but officials said six people were hurt in Turkey by jumping out of buildings.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 struck at a depth of 23 miles in the Aegean Sea at 3:44 p.m. Sunday. That is between the Greek island of Rhodes and western Turkey.
Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory gave a stronger preliminary magnitude of 6.0, with aftershocks of 4.9 and 4.7. Areas of Turkey shaken by the quake included the popular Aegean resort town of Oludeniz, the Aegean port of Izmir, and the Mediterranean city of Antalya.