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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Protesters Await Resignation Deadline, Morsi Says Moves Cause ‘Confusion’

Protesters in favour and against the rule of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have begun gathering in the country’s main cities ahead of the Tuesday deadline set by the Tamarod (Rebel) movement for his resignation. The crowds waved Egyptian flags and cheered military helicopters who flew overhead with huge banners, chanting “the people brought down the regime”. Tamarod spokesman Mahmoud Badr said the army had “sided with the people” and hoped the move would bring early presidential elections. The country’s political forces are also under another deadline, set by the army, to find a solution to the impasse or face a military “roadmap”. Morsi met the head of the armed forces, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi on Tuesday, but no details of the talks were given. The president had earlier criticised the deadline set by the military, saying it “might cause confusion”. Six ministers resigned from his cabinet late on Monday, increasing pressure for his resignation.

Snowden Applies for Asylum to 21 Countries, Sees Options Dwindle

US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden is seeing his escape routes dwindle after applying for asylum to 21 countries and seeing little success. Sarah Harrison, the WiliLeaks legal advisor who has been accompanying Snowden since he departed Hong Kong, sent written requests to Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela. Some, like Ecuador, could respond positively but require Snowden to enter their territories before considering his case, a route made more difficult by the cancellation of his US passport by US authorities. Twelve countries have flatly refused to consider his request, some have said his application lacked the proper documentation, like Italy, while Brazil declined to even respond to his application. Venezuela is one possible safehaven for the whistleblower, with President Nicolás Maduro having already stated that Snowden should be offered “the world’s protection”. He remains sequestered inside the international transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport at this time.

Palestinian Teenager Killed During West Bank Clashes

A Palestinian teenager was shot and hit by an Israeli military jeep during clashes with Israeli troops in the southern West Bank late on Monday. Mo’ataz Edris Al Sharawnah, a 19-year-old freshman at the Palestinian Security Studies Academy in Jericho, had apparently gathered with friends to watch a military operation and some witnesses said Israeli soldiers shot at group in order to disperse them. “The Israeli forces fired live bullets directly at the youth to disperse them and the youth ran away without hurling a single stone at the Israeli forces”, said Eisa Al Namourah, an eyewitness, to the Gulf News newspaper. An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokeswoman confirmed that a young Palestinian man was shot, but said Israeli troops had come under attack first. “They began climbing a military vehicle. The security forces warned the suspects and used riot dispersal means. Finally, with no other option, they responded with fire at one of the suspects and the incident is currently being investigated”, she said.

Microbes Set to Be Earth’s Last Survivors

The last living creatures on Earth will be organisms living deep underground, according a study by scientists at the University of St Andrews. As the Sun becomes hotter and brighter with passage of time, only microbes would be able to cope with extreme conditions brought about by the extreme heat and lack of oxygen. “They need to be able to survive in low or zero-oxygen environments, high pressures, and high salinities because of evaporating oceans”, said Jack O’Malley James, coordinator of the study. “Once you get to this tipping point, you get a lot more water in the atmosphere and because water vapour is a greenhouse gas, that sets this runaway greenhouse effect and you end up with the Earth heating up to 100C or more plus what we experience today”, he added. But as conditions became harsher they too would eventually vanish, leaving Earth devoid of life in approximately 2.8 billion years.

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