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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Muslim Brotherhood Rejects Egypt Transition Timetable

Officials in toppled Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), have strongly rejected a timetable set for new elections in the country by caretaker leader Adly Mansour, branding it “invalid and illegitimate”. The timetable would see a panel formed within two weeks to review the constitution, with amendments put to a referendum in four months. New parliamentary elections would be held in early 2014 and presidential elections would be held as soon as the new parliament convened. Issam el-Erian, deputy chairman of the party, said the timetable amounted to a “constitutional decree by a man appointed by putchists” which took Egypt “back to square one”. Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said that more protests and sit-ins would be held across the country in memory of the more than 50 Morsi supporters killed on Monday in front of the barracks where the former president is believed to be held in Cairo.

Spanish PM Rajoy Hit by Corruption Scandal

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has once again been implicated in a corruption scandal by a document published by El Mundo newspaper which apparently shows illegal payments made to him while he was a minister in the cabinet of former prime minister José Maria Aznar. He is alleged to have received two payments of 2.1 million pesetas, or €12,600 in 1998. The scandal had first been ignited by documents revealed by El País in January, which purported to show secret slush fund payments made to a number of ruling Popular Party (PP) officials between the years of 1997 and 1999. Such payments were outlawed by Spain in 1995 when a law made it illegal to make supplementary payments to members of the government. A PP spokesman said that it did not recognise the documents, adding that “it does not know of the notes nor their content, and it does not in any way recognise them as the accounts of this political organisation”. They were  supposedly part of accounting ledgers compiled by former party treasurer Luis Barcenas, who is now facing corruption charges. The prime minister’s office did not comment on the documents published by El Mundo.

More Than 50 Hurt by Bomb Blast in Hezbollah Stronghold in Beirut

A car bomb exploded in a Hezbollah stronghold in the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding 53 people on Tuesday. Most were women and children out shopping in the last day before the Islamic month of Ramadan begins. There were no fatalities, according to Health Minister Hassan Khalil, and none of those hit by the bomb were seriously wounded. The blast happened close to a shopping mall in Bir al-Abed, home to Hezbollah officials and their offices, but the damage could not be verified because gunmen belonging to the Islamist group only allowed reporters belonging Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV channel to get close to the area. Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said the attack was aimed at “creating strife” in the country, as it could be linked to the sectarian fighting in Syria, where the Hezbollah has been supporting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. “This is the work of agents trying to create strife in Lebanon”, said Hezbollah parliamentary deputy Ali Meqdad.

IMF Lowers Global Growth Forecast By 0.2 Percent

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its global economic growth forecast for 2013 for the fifth consecutive time on Tuesday, citing weaker emerging-market economies and growing recession in the eurozone. According to the projections, the world’s economy should grow 3.1 percent in the current year, while the estimate made in April was of growth of 3.3 percent. Lower demand, increased financial market volatility and rising interest rates should lead to capital outflows, equity price declines, rising local yields and currency depreciation, said the IMF. The institution raised the forecast for the UK from 0.7 percent to 0.9 percent, which according to the British Treasury shows that the economy was moving from “rescue to recovery”. However, the IMF’s overall warning was that all major economies should undergo structural reforms to stimulate growth and reverse financial fragmentation. The growth projection for 2014 is set at 3.8 percent, also down 0.2 percent.

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