Bahrain PM Khalifa, world’s longest-serving, dies at 84
Bahrain's Prince Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the world's longest-serving prime minister who had held the post since independence in 1971, died Wednesday at the age of 84, state media announced. Prince Khalifa was a controversial figure during his five decades in office -- and deeply unpopular with the Sunni-ruled kingdom's Shia population. When Shia-led protesters occupied Manama's Pearl Square for a month in 2011, before being driven out by Saudi-backed security forces, their main demand was for Khalifa to step down. He played a key role in Bahrain's political and economic affairs, including setting the stage for a referendum that put paid to the Shah of Iran's claims to the tiny Gulf archipelago. Prince Khalifa died at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in the United States, the official Bahrain News Agency said.