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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Leaker Bradley Manning to learn his fate

Pfc Bradley Manning, the man accused of the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history, will learn after three years in custody whether he is guilty of aiding the enemy. The verdict from the judge in the court-martial is to be announced at 1 p.m. ET. Manning could be sentenced to life in prison. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges that could put him in jail for up to 20 years. About three quarters of a million pages of classified documents and videos could have been shared by Manning with site WikiLeaks.

The material covered U.S. military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan and revealed leaked cables of the U.S. State Department diplomacy. Manning said he leaked the information because it ”upset” or “disturbed” him. He said he didn’t think any of it would harm the United States if it became public. He allegedly tried and failed to give the information to The Washington Post and the New York Times. That, he says, was what made him give the data to WikiLeaks — an organization whose leader might face extradition to the U.S..

European banks raise capital and concern grows in the market

Britain’s Barclays and Germany’s Deutsche Bank announced they will comply with tougher rules on risk by issuing $9 billion or putting out a fresh purge of assets. That decision raised concerns that regulators will make other European banks take similar action. Investors think these banks are under an even heavier impact of the economy crisis. Also today Fitch rating agency said that Italian mid-sized banks might have to raise more equity because of a deep recession and rising bad debts.

Barclays was exposed enough to be required to raise an extra £ 12.8 billion of capital in the next year. To meet the new target, it will have to tap shareholders for £ 5.8 billion, shrink its loan book by £ 65 to 80 billion and sell £ 2 billion worth of bonds. Deutsche Bank said it had could cut additional 250 billion euros in assets to meet new bank safety rules. Both stocks were doing badly after the announcements.

EU envoy says ousted Morsi is doing well

Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi is “well”, said Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, after meeting him for two hours. It was his first known contact since he was toppled earlier this month. Ashton said Morsi “has access to information, in terms of TV, newspaper”. She said she wouldn’t represent his views to the public. Egyptian authorities say he is being investigated for accusations of  murder.

Ashton said European diplomats would try to mediate an end to the crisis. She said Egyptian politicians had to “make the right decisions”. Millions of Egyptians took to the streets in rival rallies for and against military rule established after Morsi was ousted. More than a hundred people were killed at a rally in support of Morsi on Saturday.

Obama meets negotiators to restart Mideast peace talks

U.S. President Barack Obama met privately with lead Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Washington. Israeli and Palestinian representatives had their first peace talks in three years on Monday, sided with Secretary of State John Kerry. Obama hasn’t been very active in this process so far. The talks might go into 2014, when the U.S. will hold midterm elections.

There are still big disagreements between Israelis and Palestinians in issues such as borders and security. Kerry met separately with each side on Monday. The two main negotiators seated side by side. Speaking in Cairo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he did not want a single Israeli citizen or soldier on Palestinian land.

Veteran Hussain elected Pakistani president

Mamnoon Hussain, a 73-year-old politician and ally of prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has been elected president. The decision was made by legislators. He will be sworn in on 9 September. Asif Ali Zardari is stepping down at the end of his five-year term. The new president was chosen by members of the two houses of parliament and assemblies in Pakistan’s four provinces.

Hussain won easily in three provinces and got 277 out of 311 votes in the upper and lower houses of parliament. He resigned his membership of Sharif’s party after the results were announced so he can be seen as a non-partisan. Under his presidency, Zardari was stripped of powers. Zardari will lose his immunity as head of state when he steps down.

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