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Friday, July 12, 2013

Deadly Riots and Prison Break at Indonesian Jail

At least 5 people were killed and about a hundred inmates escaped during violent riots in a jail on Sumatra Island, in western Indonesia. The riots were sparked by a power cut that left the prisoners without electricity or water. This, in a structure that is home to 2,600 inmates, but was built to house no more than 1,000 (other reports say 400).

The prisoners knocked down the door to the warden’s office, threw stones, and set the office on fire. Some set fire to other buildings, others held wardens hostage, and a couple hundred forced their way out of Tanjung Gusta Prison. 15 of those had been arrested on “terrorism” charges. Around 500 policemen and 300 soldiers have been deployed throughout the area.

 Egyptians Rally for Ousted President

Thousands of Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Nasr City district to protest the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi nine days ago. This comes after a bloody week in which more than 90 people have been killed in an increasingly divided nation. The Muslim Brotherhood has vowed to protest until Morsi is reinstated, a turn of events that seems increasingly unlikely, as Morsi is in detention along with the majority of the Brotherhood’s leadership.

Meanwhile, the interim government has begun an investigation into Morsi’s escape from prison, along with other members of the Brotherhood, during the uprising that unseated Hosni Mubarak. Morsi has been detained since the coup, and today, Germany and the United States called for his release. Anti-Morsi protesters were expected to gather for their own protest at sundown.

 Syrian Rebel Commander Killed by Al Qaeda Rivals

Kamil Hamami, who was on the Free Syria Army (FSA) Supreme Military Council, was ambushed and shot by an al Qaeda-linked rebel group at a checkpoint. He had been on his way to a meeting with them to discuss battle plans. The group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, called an FSA spokesman to announce that they had killed Hamami and would kill every member of the Supreme Military Council.

The murder is one more sign of the escalating armed struggle between hard-line and moderate rebel groups. Some FSA rebels declared the attack to be an act of war. As one BBC correspondent put it, a “civil war within a civil war” is brewing.

Taliban Campaign Against Girls’ Education Continues

Malala Youfzani, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for her eloquent support for education rights, appealed to the UN for compulsory free schooling for all children. Today is her 16th birthday. This speech is her first unmediated public appearance since the attack.

Back in Pakistan, sadly, the Taliban’s war on girls’ education has lead to attacks on more than 800 girls’ schools since 2009. Schools in Pakistan’s tribal belt routinely resemble military encampments – a tent pitched next to a bombed-out building, surrounded by a high wall manned by armed gunmen. The campaign simultaneously serves to frighten girls’ families enough to keep them out of school and to destroy buildings that could possibly be used for military bases.

 Ireland Legalizes Limited Access to Abortion

After months of heated debate and two marathon sessions that ran past midnight, Ireland’s parliament voted to allow abortion when the woman’s life is in danger. It covers women who are at risk of suicide, but makes no exception for victims of rape or incest. Groups on both sides of the debate are already threatening court challenges to the new law.

Prime Minister Edna Kenny’s governing party has faced down more rebels on this issue than on its harsh austerity measures. Five members of his own party refused to vote for the bill and have been expelled from the parliamentary grouping.

Weekend Read: Life in Solitary Confinement

Throughout America, 25,000 inmates are serving their sentences in solitary confinement. This is what their lives are like. NPR tells their story.

 

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