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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Egypt Swears In New Leader Amidst Mass Arrests of Former Morsi Party Members

The Chief Judge of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmoud Mansour, has been sworn in as the country’s interim leader hours after democratically-elected former president Mohammed Morsi was toppled from power by the country’s armed forces and placed under house arrest. “I swear by God to uphold the Republican system and respect the constitution and law and safeguard the people and protect the nation. The revolutionaries of Egypt are everywhere and we salute them all, those who prove to the world that they are strong enough, the brave youth of Egypt, who were the leaders of this revolution”, he said as he was sworn in. He also said the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) would not be excluded from the political process, despite the arrest of 300 of its leaders and members overnight. Egyptian authorities have now begun investigating whether Morsi and other 15 MB party members insulted the judiciary. All have been placed under a travel ban as a result of the investigation. “This is a military coup. We will remain and deprive it of legitimacy until it is corrected”, said Mohammed El-Beltagy, a senior MB leader.

Portugal Crisis Talks Continue, ECB Says Country ‘In Safe Hands’

Portuguese political leaders resume talks on Thursday in an effort to save the governing coalition and avoid delays to reforms and cost-cutting measures that would underpin the country’s €78 billion bailout plan. Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho met with members of the CDS-PP party, who would deprive the government of a majority in parliament if they quit the coalition. “The conversations are ongoing in a very positive atmosphere”, said a government spokesman. Meanwhile, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi said the bank would not buy Portuguese government bonds, essentially leaving the country to its own devices amidst the crisis. Portugal “has been going through a difficult path, but has achieved some excellent results”, he added. Draghi also said he had full confidence in Portugal’s new Finance Minister, Maria Luís Albuquerque. “She has been a regular participant of Eurogroup meetings and we know her characteristics. Portugal is in safe hands”, he said.

Ecuador Embassy Bug Not Planted by Security Services, Say Experts

Security experts have told the Guardian that the microphone planted in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been staying, is unlikely to have been planted there by British security services. The bug was revealed by Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño during a press conference in Quito on Wednesday, where he said the microphone had been planted by Surveillance Group, a British security company based in Worcester. He said the device had been installed in the office of ambassador Ana Alban with the purpose of listening to her conversations. The company later posted a statement on its website denying the allegation. “We do not do plug sockets, that’s old hat. It’s the first place people look. The bug is one you can buy off the shelf. If we do something, most likely we would custom build it. My first thought is it would not be a state agency”, said an expert in covert techniques interviewed by the Guardian.

SARS-like Virus Kills Qatari Man in London

A 49-year-old Qatari man has died at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London after being infected with a SARS-like respiratory illness. He had been brought to the UK in an air ambulance from Qatar last September and his death pushes the death toll associated with the Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-nCV) to 41. The patient had travelled to Saudia Arabia before he become ill and died despite being connected to an artificial lung last Friday. “Guy’s and St Thomas’ can confirm that the patient with severe respiratory illness due to novel coronavirus (MERS-nCV) sadly died on Friday 28 June, after his condition deteriorated despite every effort and full supportive treatment”, said a hospital spokeswoman. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said last May that the virus was a “threat to the entire world” and that experts said the disease was spreading “faster than our understanding”.

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