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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Egypt Orders Arrest of Muslim Brotherhood Leader Badie

Egyptian state prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Mohammed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of deposed president Mohammed Morsi, as well as more than 200 other senior figures. Badie and fellow party members are accused of inciting the violence which prompted clashes and the death of more than 50 protesters in Cairo on Monday, as well as carrying unlicensed weapons and disrupting the public order. The Brotherhood claims their protesters were peaceful and had been taking part in dawn prayers when they were attacked by the army. “This is nothing more than an attempt by the police state to dismantle the Rabaa protest”, said party spokesman Gehad el-Haddad, referring to the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque where Morsi supporters have been gathering for days.

Landslides Kill at Least 40 in China’s Sichuan Province

A landslide triggered by the worst rainstorms to hit southwest China in five decades has buried at least 40 people in Sichuan province, as well as trapping hundreds in a highway tunnel, washing away bridges and destroying a memorial to victims of the 2008 earthquake that struck the same region. The area of the landslide is approximately 2 kilometres long, with 1.5 million cubic metres of mud, rock and debris, according to Qiao Jianping, a researcher with the Institute of Mountain and Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Sichuan province had only recently recovered from the 2008 earthquake that left 87,000 people dead or missing and experts have argued against the continued development of cities along the Min and Jian rivers which sit at the bed of steep canyons in the region.

UN to Question the Vatican Over Sex Abuse

The United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the body of experts that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the UN’s member states, has released a detailed “list of issues” it wishes officials from the Vatican to address. These include “detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns or brought to the attention of the Holy See” and cases “where instructions were given not to report such offences, and at which level of the clergy”, as well as “where children were silenced in order to minimise the risk of public disclosure”. The CRC also wants details of all “the investigations and legal proceedings under canon law against perpetrators of sexual crimes”. Pope Francis announced shortly after his election to the pontificate that he wanted the Vatican to “act decisively” regarding cases of sexual abuse, bringing about “necessary measures against the guilty”.

UK Plans to Float Royal Mail

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has detailed to Parliament his plans to float a majority stake in Royal Mail “in this financial year”, but did not disclose how much will be sold. He also said the 150,000 postal workers would be given 10 percent of the shares, with the condition that they should be held for three years. “The Government’s decision is a practical, legal and commercial decision to put Royal Mail’s future on a sustainable basis. It cannot be right for Royal Mail to come cap in hand to ministers each time it wants to invest and innovate. The public will always want government to invest in schools and hospitals ahead of Royal Mail”, said Cable. Some estimates put the value of Royal Mail at between £2.5billion and £3 billion, with the government possibly being able to receive £1 billion for its majority stake.

Koreas End Kaesong Talks with No Agreement

North and South Korean officials have ended talks on the reopening of the Kaesong industrial complex, shut after North Korea withdrew its workers amidst tensions in mid-April, without reaching a deal. “Talks have been concluded without any agreement reached”, said a spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry, but the country’s chief delegate Suh Ho said that the parties had at least agreed that “the complex should be maintained and further developed”. The Kaesong Industrial Zone employs approximately 53,000 North Korean workers and is an important source of foreign currency for the communist regime. The BBC’s correspondent in Seoul, Lucy Williamson, said there were still big differences to be bridged, but that the visit of 100 South Korean delegates to North Korea on Wednesday, including government officials, businessmen and engineers, was a positive sign of thawing relations.

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