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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Egypt Declares State of Emergency After Scores Die in Clashes

Egypt’s military government declared a month-long state of emergency on Wednesday after 95 people were killed and 874 were injured in clashes between the country’s forces and supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi. His supporters dispute the official death toll, saying that hundreds have died. Egypt last spent 54 years under a state of emergency between 1958 and 2012, with an 18 month break in 1980 and 1981. The violence began when armed bulldozers moved in to flatten a makeshift camp outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque just after dawn. The daughter of a leading Muslim Brotherhood figure, 17-year-old Asmaa el-Beltagy, was killed, as well as a cameraman working for Sky News, Mick Deane, and a reporter for Gulf News, Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz. UN spokesman Martin Nesirsky said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged “all Egyptians to concentrate their efforts on promoting genuinely inclusive reconciliation”.

Eurozone Emerges from Recession Pulled by Germany and France

The eurozone has emerged out of recession in the three months to June, expanding by 0.3% in the second quarter of 2013. Data released by Eurostat, the EU statistical agency, showed that despite the growth there were severe disparities in growth among the member states and that the positive figures were mainly due to the performance in Germany and France. “Yes, this slightly more positive data is welcome – but there is no room for any complacency whatsoever. I hope there will be no premature, self-congratulatory statements suggesting the crisis is over. For we all know that there are still substantial obstacles to overcome: the growth figures remain low and the tentative signs of growth are still fragile”, said Ollie Rehn, EU economic commissioner.

Eighteen Sailors Trapped in Submarine After Series of Explosions in Mumbai

A Russian-built Indian submarine was rocked by a series of explosions at its dock in Mumbai early on Wednesday, leaving 18 sailors stranded inside it. The INS Sindhurakshak had already suffered another accident in 2010 while it was docked in Visakhapatnam, killing one sailor. “Just short of midnight, there were two rapid and near- simultaneous major explosions on board the submarine, which resulted in a major and rapid spread of fire on board. It is some of the ordinance on board that seems to have exploded”, said Navy Chief Admiral D.K. Joshi. “There is a possibility, however remote it could be, of an air pocket. There is a possibility, however remote it might be, of someone having grabbed a breathing set”, he told a news conference in Mumbai.

Médecins Sans Frontières Pulls Out of Somalia Over ‘Extreme Attacks

The medical NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has announced it would suspend all medical programmes in Somalia after 22 years of activity following a series of “extreme attacks” on its staff. “In choosing to kill, attack, and abduct humanitarian aid workers, these armed groups, and the civilian authorities who tolerate their actions, have sealed the fate of countless lives in Somalia. We are ending our programmes in Somalia because the situation in the country has created an untenable imbalance between the risks and compromises our staff must make, and our ability to provide assistance to the Somali people”, said MSF international president Dr Unni Karunakara. The organisation had provided more than 600,000 medical consultations and helped over 30,000 malnourished local children in 2012 alone.

Vietnam to Offer Free Courses on Marxism-Leninism

The Vietnamese government will waive university fees for students who agree to take courses in Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh studies. Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decree stipulating the removal of all fees, which also includes waivers for students who decided to focus on TB, leprosy, mental illnesses and the surgical sciences. We set a target of 120 students each year, but never get enough applications. We have had to lower the admission benchmark”, said Pham Tan Ha, head of admissions at the Social and Human Sciences University in Ho Chi Minh City. Comments on the BBC Vietnamese Service’s Facebook page said the waiver would not necessarily translate into more students taking these courses. “It is not difficult to find a job if you study those subjects – it is impossible!”, said user Hot Ga.

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