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Mubarak upright, upbeat in brief court appearance

CAIRO – Deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was back in the criminal dock Saturday, but only long enough for the court to adjourn the case until Oct. 19 and ban the live televising of what is expected to be sensitive testimony.

Mubarak, 85, is being retried on charges linked to the killings of hundreds of protesters during the massive 2011 uprising that ended his longtime autocratic rule. The court cited national security considerations in its decision to close next month’s sessions.

The former president was convicted last year of complicity in the protesters’ deaths and given a life sentence, but he appealed and was granted a retrial this year. His two sons and a former interior minister, among others, are also on trial.

Unlike some previous court appearances in which he was stretched flat on a gurney, Mubarak sat upright in a wheelchair. Clad in a casual khaki jacket, his hair still dyed its trademark jet black, he waved and smiled before watching the court proceedings from his place in the defendants’ dock, with its cage-like bars.

Jeweler charged in killing has broad online support

Paris – A jeweler in the southern French city of Nice who has been charged with murder for killing a robber has become a hero on social networking sites.

Nearly 1 million people have “liked” a Facebook page set up in solidarity with 67-year-old Stephan Turk, who opened fire on two youths who held up his store Wednesday, fatally shooting one of them as they attempted to flee by scooter.

The jeweler said he was acting in self-defense, but prosecutor Eric Bedos told reporters Friday he suspected the 67-year-old trader had aimed to kill the fleeing 19-year-old.

The victim and an accomplice held up Turk at gunpoint as he was opening his shop and forced him to hand over the contents of his safe. He opened fire on them as they fled, hitting one of them in the back. The victim had 14 previous convictions for petty crime. His brother told Nice Matin newspaper he was trying to raise money to support his pregnant girlfriend.

Spanish premier rejects Catalonia secession vote

Madrid – Spain’s prime minister has rejected a request by the leader of Catalonia to approve a referendum that would allow the northeastern region to decide whether to secede from the rest of the country.

In a written reply, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told Artur Mas, leader of the economically powerful region, “the ties that bind us together cannot be undone without enormous cost” and that the two politicians should hold talks instead.

Rajoy’s answer Saturday officially rebuffs the pro-separatist request Mas made in July. Spain’s constitution says only the central government can call a referendum.

Polls indicate about half of Catalonia’s 7.5 million inhabitants favor independence.


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