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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Egyptian Military Chief Calls on Citizens to Give Army a ‘Mandate’

Egyptian military commander-in-chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who deposed democratically-elected Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi on July 3, has asked Egyptian citizens to take to the streets and give the army a “mandate” to put an end to the “violence and terrorism”. Speaking at a military graduation ceremony in Alexandria broadcast on state television, el-Sissi said that his call “nevertheless does not mean I am advocating for violence or terrorism. I call on all political powers to join the efforts for national reconciliations”. The first round of national reconciliation talks, to be held on Wednesday and chaired by interim president Adly Mansour, will be boycotted by the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of the deposed president. “El-Sissi and the intelligence are instructing the interior ministry to commit those crimes against peaceful protesters who are being punished for merely saying no to the military coup”, said Mohammed el-Beltagy, a leading member of the MB.

Snowden Asylum Request Still Under Review

US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden received a certificate from the Russian immigration authorities on Wednesday that does not yet give him the right to leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport’s international transit zone, but is a clear sign that his status is under review by Russian authorities. His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told state news channel RT that Snowden could decide to become a permanent resident in Russia instead of travelling on to Latin America if his asylum request was granted. “He’s planning to arrange his life here. He plans to get a job. And, I think, that all this further decisions will be made considering the situation he found himself in”, said Kucherena. He also said Snowden was amused by the support he is getting from the Russian people. “When I told him that girls calls him, he laughed and asked to give them his personal thanks for caring about him”, said the lawyer. Meanwhile, an employee at the airport’s capsule hotel said that Snowden had already checked out. “If I’m not mistaken he is not here”, said the employee.

Poster Campaign Aimed at Tracking Nazi War Criminals Launched in Germany

A poster campaign has been launched in Germany aimed at locating the last surviving Nazi war criminals and bringing them to justice. Created by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, the campaign entitled “Late, But Not Too Late” wants the public’s help in finding concentration camp guards and members of SS mobile death squads. Efraim Zuroff, head of the organisation, thinks that approximately 60 are still alive and fit for trial. “There’s no reason to ignore them, just because their passport says they were born in 1917 or 18, or 20, or 22 or 23 or 24″, said Zuroff. He added that worthwhile information could be rewarded with up to €25,000. The idea for the campaign emerged after former extermination camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk was convicted in Munich two years ago. He was sentenced despite not being directly involved in specific incidents of criminal activity.

Burma Frees Another 73 Political Prisoners

Burmese authorities announced on Wednesday that they would release 73 political prisoners immediately, part of a promise by President Thein Sein to free all political dissidents by the end of the year. An estimated 100 political prisoners continue held in Burmese jails. “Political prisoners are released today under a presidential amnesty. Thirteen of them were released from Myit Kyee Nar prison, where I met them myself”, said government minister Aung Ming. The general amnesty for political prisoners is part of a group of reforms introduced by president Thein Sein since the elections of November 2010, when a civilian government replaced the ruling military dictatorship. Bo Kyi, secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in the country, welcomed the move. “It is good that the government has released these prisoners. But if the president wants national reconciliation, he has to release all other prisoners immediately and stop arresting anyone else”, he said.

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