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WORLD IN BRIEF: Egypt officially recognizes moderate Islamic party

Egypt officially recognizes moderate Islamic party

CAIRO — A moderate Islamic party outlawed for 15 years was granted official recognition Saturday by an Egyptian court in a sign of increasing political openness after the fall of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.

Al-Wasat Al-Jadid, or the New Center, was founded in 1996 by activists who split off from the conservative Muslim Brotherhood and sought to create a political movement promoting a tolerant version of Islam with liberal tendencies. Its attempts to register as an official party were rejected four times since then, most recently in 2009.

The founder of the newly recognized party, Abu al-Ila Madi, said Saturday’s ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court was ‘‘a positive fruit of the Jan. 25 revolution of the freedom generation.’’

Nearly 100 killed in Libyan crackdown

CAIRO — Libyan forces opened fire on mourners leaving a funeral for protesters Saturday in the flashpoint city of Benghazi, and a medical official said 15 people were killed, with bodies piling up in a hospital and doctors collapsing in grief at the sight of dead relatives.

The deaths pushed the overall estimated death toll to 99 in five days of unprecedented protests against the 42-year reign of Moammar Gadhafi. Government forces also wiped out a protest encampment and clamped down on Internet service throughout the North African nation.

As relatives buried their dead, they fell victim to a mixture of special commandos, foreign mercenaries and Gadhafi loyalists armed with knives, Kalashnikovs and even anti-aircraft missiles trying to quell the demonstrations, witnesses said.

Tunisia: Islamist party condemns slaying of priest

TUNIS, Tunisia — The Tunisian government and a long-banned Islamist party both denounced Saturday the grisly slaying of a Roman Catholic priest, while several hundred people gathered outside the French embassy in the capital to demand the recall of France’s new ambassador.

The 34-year-old priest Marek Marius Rybinski was found on Friday with his throat slit and stab wounds in the parking lot of the religious school in the Tunis suburb of Manouma.