Egypt

Update at 11:05 a.m. ET: There's been a fourth blast in Cairo. We've added that development to the top of this post.

At least 200 refugees, mostly women and children, have drowned in South Sudan after a ferry sank as they were trying to cross the Nile River to escape fighting near the northern town of Malakal.

Army spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said the group was in an "overloaded" boat. The New York Times, which places the number of dead at between 200 and 300, reports that it is the worst such ferry accident to date as tens of thousands of residents have sought refuge.

The trial of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi opened and then was quickly adjourned Monday in Cairo.

The judge ordered a delay to Jan. 8 after Morsi refused to recognize the court's legitimacy or wear a prison uniform, and after Morsi and other defendants disrupted the proceeding with chants that included "down with military rule, this is a state not a military camp."

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

NPR assigned correspondent Kelly McEvers to Iraq in 2010 with instructions not to miss a day ahead of the expected troop withdrawal by the end of 2011.

“Then in late 2010, a young man in Tunisia set himself on fire, and literally changed everything,” McEvers says. “At first I was watching it on TV in Baghdad, sitting there thinking, ‘Do we really have to stay in Baghdad? C’mon, you know? Put me in coach!’ asking to be sent out on the stories.”

(We put a new top on this post at 11:50 a.m. ET and added a new development being reported by the AP at 2 p.m. ET.)

The Obama administration is still reviewing U.S. assistance to Egypt and it's incorrect to say that such aid has been "secretly" put on hold, the White House said Tuesday.

This post was updated 1:00 a.m. ET Monday

The Egyptian government says at least 36 people were killed Sunday — Islamists who had been in custody of security forces, according to a report in The New York Times.

World Views: August 16, 2013

Aug 16, 2013

On Thursday President Obama canceled joint military exercises with Egypt. Samer Shehata, a University of Oklahoma professor of Middle East Studies and an expert on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, says while the move was the least President Obama could do, it was still necessary. 

Foreign aid to post-conflict countries usually focuses on rebuilding physical infrastructure. Peter Weinberger says in countries where there are deep divisions between religious, ethnic, or tribal groups, social reconstruction is more important, and can be much more difficult to achieve, than physical reconstruction.

Amanda Lucidon / The White House

On Thursday President Obama canceled joint military exercises with Egypt – saying U.S. cooperation with that country can't "continue as usual" amid the violence that claimed more than 600 lives since Wednesday. 

Samer Shehata, a University of Oklahoma professor of Middle East Studies and an expert on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, says while the move was the least President Obama could do, it was still necessary.

“It isn't terribly costly for the United States or for the Egyptian military,” Shehata says. “I think the larger questions, the more important questions, are will U.S. military assistance to Egypt, which is on the tune of $1.3 billion annually, will that be suspended or ended?”

"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government" that have led to civilians "being killed in the streets," President Obama said Thursday from Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where he is vacationing with his family.

He called on Egypt's interim government to lift the state of emergency it has declared and said the U.S. has canceled joint military exercises with Egypt that had been scheduled for September.

"Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual while civilians are being killed in the streets," Obama said.

Egypt is ramping up threats of a wider crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who have refused to end a sit-in a day after at least 80 anti-government protesters were killed in two cities in street clashes with security forces.

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