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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Egyptian Commander Calls for Friday Demonstrations

The commander of Egypt’s armed forces, General Abdul- Fatteh el-Sisi, called for mass demonstrations to give the army what he called a “mandate” to fight terrorism in the violence-ridden nation. He pleaded to military graduates, “I’m asking you to show the world. If violence is sought, or terrorism is sought, the military and the police are authorized to confront this.” The violence he is pleading army supporters to protest includes Monday’s attacks on anti-Morsi protestors in Tahrir Square, for which 22 Morsi supporters were arrested.

Amid these calls for protests, Egypt’s chief prosecutor Hisham Barakat issued warrants for the arrest of seven senior Muslim Brotherhood figures for inciting violence. Dr. Wael Haddara, a senior aide to former President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi, expressed concern that Friday’s demonstrations would incite the same violence they are intended to discourage: “The expectation is that the protesters will be painted as terrorists, with all stops then pulled out to get rid of them, on the pretext of ridding the country of terrorism.”

Obama Gives Major Economic Speech

U.S. president Barack Obama gave an address on the state of the economy today at Knox College, the site of his first major speech as a U.S. senator in 2005. In his speech, the first in a series of major economic speeches, the president defended the government’s economic record and implored Congress to invest in infrastructure and education.

“…[A]s a share of our economy, we invest less in our infrastructure than we did two decades ago. That’s inefficient at a time when it’s as cheap as it’s been since the 1950s,” Obama said as he made the case for infrastructural investments. House and Senate Republicans are unlikely to be impressed with the president’s plan, however; before the speech, Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said, “With all the buildup, you’d think the president was unveiling the next Bond film or something. But in all likelihood it will be more like a midday rerun of some ‘70s B-movie. Because we’ve heard it all before. It’s old.”

Federal Judge Suspends Challenges to Detroit Bankruptcy

Judge Steven Rhodes, a federal judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court, froze all litigation against Detroit and declared that the federal bankruptcy court has “exclusive jurisdiction” over the Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceeding. In doing so, Rhodes effectively denied creditors’ attempts to delay the bankruptcy proceedings in state courts.

Rhodes was quick to point out that this ruling has no bearing on whether or not Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. This ruling simply states that all bankruptcy-related issues must be argued and decided in federal, not state, courts.

Edward Snowden’s Temporary Asylum in Russia Delayed

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked confidential details about the U.S. government’s vast surveillance program, will likely be able to leave the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Contrary to news reports from Russian news outlets, however, his paperwork has not yet been granted. Once he is allowed to leave the airport, the Russian government will ensure that he only stays in pre-designated places, citing concerns for his safety.

Before leaving Snowden in the transit center, his attorney, Anatoly Kucherena, gave him a copy of Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic novel. Explaining his literary gift to Russian news agency Rossiya 24 TV, Kucherena said, “I bought him Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, because I think that he should read about Raskolnikov…I am not saying there is a similarity of their inner conflicts, but nevertheless, this world classic should be interesting for him.”

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