The Egyptian military has deposed President Mohamed Morsi. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, announced the suspension of the constitution and a roadmap for a return to democratic rule under a more inclusive framework. Adli al-Mansour, Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, will be sworn in as interim head of state tomorrow. Morsi, himself, was believed to be installed at a Republican Guard barracks in the capital. The SCAF surrounded the barracks with barbed wire, barriers and troops, but for much of today it was unclear whether he was under arrest. Supporters of Morsi have gathered in a Cairo suburb; security guards formed a cordon around the encampment. Denouncing al-Sisi, some shouted: “Sisi is void! Islam is coming! We will not leave!” The army has deployed in several pro-Morsi bastions around the country, securing the state broadcasting building, and the presidential palace. The Egyptian military intelligence has also issued travel bans on several former government officials. Despite a massive surge of demonstrators into the streets, both pro- and anti- Morsi, as of yet, there is no sign of large-scale violent resistance to what amounts to an Egyptian pronunciamiento. At press time, there were suggestions that Morsi, along with many other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been taken into custody.
Latin American Governments Outraged at Morales Diversion
Latin American leaders called for an emergency meeting of the Union of South American Nations tomorrow, following the extraordinary diversion of the airplane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales as the he tried to return home from a conference in Russia. After Morales had suggested his government was open to accepting an asylum request from an NSA whistleblower, French, Italian and Portuguese authorities denied Morales’ plane permission to cross into their airspace, effectively denying the plane passage homeward. Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, said the meddling in typical flight paths had “vestiges of a colonialism that we thought was completely overcome.” These refusals came moments before the plane was to enter French airspace. The plane was subsequently forced to refuel in Vienna, where an Austrian Interior Ministry spokesperson, Karl-Heinz Grundböck, said Austrian border authorities carried out a search the plane to ensure that Edward Snowden was not aboard. It’s unclear how exactly the European governments came to be under the impression that the whistleblower could be in Morales’ plane; diplomatic aircraft use Russian government’s Vnukovo Airport, while Snowden is widely believed to be ensconced in the commercial Sheremetyevo airport. Any plane seeking to ferry the former NSA contractor would have had to make an easily verified scheduled stop at the cross town airport. Despite this, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who at the same conference in Moscow, ended his interview with Russia Today saying “It’s time for me to go; Snowden is waiting for me.”
Rouhani Outlines Reform Goals
Iranian President-elect, Hassan Rouhani called this morning for a cessation of interference in the private lives of Iranians, an unencumbered internet, and the restoration of an independent media. Despite a strong conservative majority in parliament, Rouhani made clear his goal of reform, saying, “The power of the government lies in improving popular trust and…offering services, decreasing problems, setting the stage for further development of all citizens to help meet the needs of the people and desire for change.” He added, “A strong government does not mean a government that interferes and intervenes in all affairs. It is not a government that limits the lives of people. This is not a strong government.” As of yet, the hardline conservative bloc, which was somewhat fractured by campaigning before recent elections, has not castigated the mild reformist President. Rouhani, himself a mid-level cleric and early follower of Ruhollah Khomeini, said that the clergy and the government should move towards these goals jointly, “there shouldn’t be any rift or division between the government or the clergy especially at a time when people have pinned their hopes on seeing some sort of change in society.” Despite his bold plans, Rouhani may have trouble yoking the popular Irani desire for liberalizing change with the conservative establishment; as he said earlier, “We have a lot of problems facing us. No government in the history of Iran has faced the problems that this government is facing. The problems cannot be solved in a matter of days or months.”
Albert II of Belgium to Abdicate
Albert II, King of the Belgians, has announced his abdication. Citing poor health, the regent has indicated that, after nearly two decades as constitutional monarch and despite the objections of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, he will step down in favor of Crown Prince Philippe. While the monarchy is largely ceremonial in Belgium, Albert II did intercede a few years ago, when after 541 days of deadlock, Belgian politicians proved incapable of forming a government. Last year the king denounced the separatist tendencies of the Flesmish and French constituencies in Belgium, saying “in these troubled times we live in, we should remain vigilant and see through populist arguments”. Populists were, he said, “trying to find scapegoats for the crisis, whether foreigners or compatriots from another part of the country […] the crisis of the 1930s and the populist reactions of that time must not be forgotten.”
Weekend Read: The Rock ’n’ Roll Casualty Who Became a War Hero
In 1989, Jason Everman was in Nirvana and Soundgarden. By 1990, he was in neither. Jason’s one time friend, Clay Tarver recounts how Everman shrugged off both mortal rejections and became something different altogether, in the New York Times Magazine.