By Mahmoud Mourad CAIRO (Reuters) - A prominent Egyptian poet could face up to three years in jail over a Facebook post in which she criticised the slaughter of animals at a Muslim festival, a case which rights activists say shows how the government is muzzling free speech. Fatima Naoot described the Prophet Abraham's dream - in which, according to Islamic belief, God tells him to sacrifice his son as a test of his faith - as a "nightmare". "A massacre which is repeated every year because of the nightmare of a righteous man about his good son." The poet - whose trial began on Wednesday - has been charged with contempt of Islam, spreading sectarian strife and disturbing public peace, judicial sources and Naoot said. "The loser will be the cultural movement." Rights groups say a crackdown launched by the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, following the toppling of Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, has muzzled freedom of expression.
JERUSALEM (AP) — When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved his unwieldy coalition and called new elections last month, he appeared almost certain to be returned once more to office. But a new center-left alliance has surged past his Likud party in the polls, turning the March 17 contest into a toss-up.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan was studying the latest message purportedly from the Islamic State group, which extends the deadline for Jordan's release of an Iraqi prisoner, while officials worked feverishly Thursday to try to free a Japanese journalist held by the militant group.