A self-styled international "court" under the auspices of the United Nations ruled Thursday that former Liberian war lord and ruthless dictator Charles Taylor - who worked with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for years - was guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone’s ghastly civil war. He could face life in prison when his sentence is announced next month.

Only weeks after the Muslim Brotherhood broke its promise not to enter a candidate in the upcoming presidential race in Egypt, that nation’s election commission has barred 10 candidates from participating — including the one chosen by the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, the ban of a former official from the Mubarak government and two Islamist extremists has removed the three front-runners in the contest, and with the election only a few weeks away, the ban raises the question of who will be on the ballot that will be acceptable to a majority of Egyptian voters.

With the death toll of the latest jihadist attack in Nigeria now at 41, Christians in that country can draw little consolation from the government’s assurances that the attack could have been far worse. Boko Haram — Nigeria’s most violent jihadist organization — has already murdered over 1,000 people since the beginning of 2011, and there is little evidence that its terror campaign will end any time soon.

Khairat al-ShaterWith Islamist extremists facing opposition as they consolidate their power within Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is looking abroad in the hope of gaining some unlikely allies. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party may have reneged on its promise to stay out of Egypt’s presidential election, and has driven Coptic Christians off the commission charged with drafting their nation’s new constitution, but promises of business opportunities may win the support of foreign businesses that see an opportunity to make a profit.

As concern grows within Egypt and abroad that the Muslim Brotherhood (emblem at left) is seeking for itself the same concentration of power which it once denounced when it was wielded by former President Hosni Mubarak, the handful of dissident voices within the new constitutional committee are resigning in protest.