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Egypt’s cabinet resigns amid strikes

Egypt’s interim prime minister Hazem el Beblawi has announced the resignation of his entire cabinet, BBC reports.

Beblawi gave no clear reason for the decision, but it could be designed to allow army chief Abdel Fattah al Sisi to run in April’s presidential elections.

Field Marshal Sisi needed to resign from his position as defence minister before any presidential bid could be announced.

A limited reshuffle to allow his resignation had been planned for weeks – so Monday’s announcement surprised many.

“Today the cabinet took a decision to offer its resignation to the president of the republic,” Beblawi said in a televised statement.

Beblawi was appointed interim prime minister last July after the army toppled president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests.

The government stepping down comes amid widespread strikes in the country.

Public transport workers and bin collectors are picketing and there have been media reports of shortages in cooking gas.

Beblawi has been criticised for failing to resolve the country’s economic woes.

There was also criticism for his security forces following terror attacks blamed on militants sympathetic to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

While acknowledging some difficulties, the outgoing prime minister claimed Egypt was a better place now than when he took office.

“The cabinet has, over the past six or seven months, shouldered a very difficult responsibility,” he said.

“In most cases the results were good.”

The resignations were delivered to interim president Adly Mansour, who will remain head of state until April’s elections.

Uganda’s President signs controversial anti-gay bill into law

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed into law a bill that toughens penalties against gay people and defines some homosexual acts as crimes punishable by life in prison, CNN reports.

Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda, and Museveni had gone back and forth recently about whether he would sign the controversial bill in the face of vocal opposition from the West.

At the public signing of the bill Monday, a defiant Museveni declared that he would not allow the West to impose its values on Uganda.

“We have been disappointed for a long time by the conduct of the West, the way you conduct yourselves there,” he told CNN. “Our disappointment is now exacerbated because we are sorry to see that you live the way you live, but we keep quiet about it. Now you say ‘you must also live like us’ – that’s where we say no.”

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