EGYPT

Court Clears Morsi of One Life Sentence

Egypt's highest court overturned a life sentence against ousted President Mohammed Morsi and cleared 18 other senior Muslim Brotherhood officials in a long-running espionage case.

The court dropped all verdicts against the group, found guilty in June 2015 of spying for Hamas, the Islamist political and military group that controls the Gaza Strip.

Thousands of officials and supporters from the Islamist group have been subject to mass trials since the 2013 military coup that deposed him and brought former defense minister Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to power. Hundreds of the party's sympathizers of the party have been killed by security forces.

Tuesday's verdict effectively clears Mr. Morsi of the most severe sentences he faced, after the court last week overturned a death sentence against him.

But he is still serving a concurrent 40-year sentence on charges he spied for Qatari and a 20-year sentence for alleged involvement in antigovernment clashes in 2012. He has repeatedly denied all charges against him.

--Dahlia Kholaif

GERMANY

Schäuble Pushes Back on Calls for Stimulus

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble sharply criticized the European Commission's call for more fiscal stimulus, arguing that Germany had invested more over the past 10 years than the eurozone average.

The commission, the European Union's executive body, this month called on countries with fiscal leeway to spend more and focus less on austerity to boost the region's recovery.

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici didn't single out Germany, butthe country is viewed as well-placed to step up spending and investment because of its budget surplus.

Mr. Schäuble, speaking at a German parliamentary debate, said the commission's recommendations were "directed at the wrong European political player."

He said Germany raised investment by 3.9% annually over the past decade, against a eurozone average of 0.7%, while German spending rose 2.3% annually, versus a eurozone average of 2.5%.

The commission recommended eurozone countries pursue fiscal expansion of up to 0.5% of gross domestic product in 2017.

--Andrea Thomas

EUROZONE

Consumers Look Past Rising Political Risk

European consumers became more optimistic about their prospects in November, shrugging off the uncertainties created by the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president and the growing support for populist parties across their continent.

The European Commission said its measure ofconsumer confidence across the 19 countries that use the euro rose from minus 8.0 in October to minus 6.1, its highest level since December 2015. The scale of the improvement was a surprise, since economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal last week had expected a rise to minus 7.8.

--Paul Hannon

SYRIA

U.S. Claims Airstrike Killed al Qaeda Leader

A U.S. military drone strike in Syria on Nov. 18 killed an al Qaeda leader with ties to militant movements across the Middle East, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook identified the leader as an Egyptian named Abu Afghan al-Masri. Mr. Cook called him a senior al Qaeda leader in Syria who joined the organization in Afghanistan several years ago and had a hand in attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Mr. Cook said the strike was carried out Nov. 18 by a U.S. military drone aircraft. It was the latest in a series of attacks aimed at eliminating al Qaeda leadership.

--Associated Press

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 23, 2016 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)

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