UNITED NATIONS

New approach sought for Syria aid

Australia, Luxembourg, and Jordan are planning to circulate a new U.N. Security Council resolution that diplomats say would authorize the delivery of humanitarian aid into Syria through four border crossings without approval from President Bashar Assad’s government. Australia’s U.N. Ambassador Gary Quinlan told reporters after a council briefing Thursday on the humanitarian crisis that 90 percent of aid currently “goes to government-held areas,” and Syrians in opposition-controlled zones aren’t getting food and medicine.

ENGLAND

King’s spinal difficulties revisited

He may have had a twisted spine, but England’s King Richard III was no hunchback, according to a new analysis of the medieval king’s skeleton. After the bones of the 15th-century king were discovered under a parking lot in central England in 2012, scientists scanned the remains of Richard III’s back and created replicas of each bone to reconstruct his spine. The researchers said while Richard III had a severe case of scoliosis, he was far from the limping “hunchbacked toad” with a withered arm depicted in William Shakespeare’s play.

ECUADOR

Ex-president sentenced in absentia

Ecuador’s Supreme Court has sentenced in absentia former President Jamil Mahuad to 12 years in prison for misappropriating public funds during the country’s late 1990s banking crisis. In its ruling the court said that it had settled on a severe punishment because the consequences of Mahuad’s crimes are still hurting Ecuadorean depositors. The ruling can be appealed.

EGYPT

Presidential vote deemed landslide

Nearly a year after he ousted Egypt’s first freely elected president, former military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was elected president by a landslide of 92 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results released by his campaign Thursday. Although his victory was never in doubt, questions over the authorities’ drive to boost turnout threatened to stain el-Sissi’s victory.

IRAN

Country reports first virus fatality

Iran has suffered its first fatality from the Middle Eastern respiratory virus, its official news agency reported Thursday, a day after the first cases in Islamic Republic were publicized. The IRNA news agency quoted Health Ministry official Mohammad Mahdi Gouya as saying the virus killed a 53-year-old woman in Kerman, a city in southeastern Iran. On Wednesday, the daily newspaper Hamshahri quoted Gouya as saying two sisters in Kerman contracted the virus.

Compiled from wire reports.