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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Al Jazeera Initiates Legal Action Against Egypt

The Qatar-based news network announced that it would take legal action against Egypt in the international court of law at the UN. Since President Morsi was ousted in early July, Al Jazeera says its journalists have been the victims of a campaign of “harassment and intimidation” in the country. The news network is seen by many Egyptians as being partisan toward the Muslim Brotherhood, and under the new army-backed interim government, Egyptian authorities have detained and deported Al Jazeera’s journalists, and the Al Jazeera Egypt channel offices have been raided and closed.The Egyptian government has also reportedly jammed Al Jazeera’s satellite signals.

Syrian Disarmament Plan Moves Forward

Earlier today, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirmed that he plans to hand over chemical weapons to international monitors, saying “Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision.” US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian foreign minister are meeting today to discuss how to move forward with the Russian proposal; Kerry brought a large team of technical experts with him to the Geneva meeting, which is expected to last two days. Meanwhile, the US Senate put aside the resolution on the military strike in Syria for the time being; the world is waiting to see what, if anything, will come out of the Russia proposal.

Trains Stopped Across Egypt

The military-backed interim government in Egypt extended the state of emergency two more months today, state media reported, and no trains have run in Egypt since it went into effect in August. The President declared the state of emergency after Egyptian security forces violently dispersed hundreds of protesters from sit-ins across Egypt and several hundred people died in ensuing clashes. Egyptians have witnessed several retributive attacks and bombings by Morsi supporters and other groups against state institutions, police and politicians over the last few weeks. Over a million Egyptians rely on train transportation daily; they are now forced to use taxis and microbuses. Zeinab Al-Hadidy said that life has been harder and taxi drivers have been charging higher rates since the trains stopped running. “Every time we are told by the press that the trains will run again on a certain date, it gets postponed, so I have no idea when there will be trains again,” she said.

Ancient Egyptian Artifacts Stolen

261 artifacts were stolen from two galleries in Mit-Rahina last week. Investigators discovered the theft when they found that the ceilings of the two galleries were broken, and an anonymous source said that the thief was probably an archeologist, since papers relating to the artifacts were stolen as well. Mit-Rahina, or Memphis, was the capital of Ancient Egypt for thousands of years.

Egypt Court Acquits Police Accused of Killing Protesters

In a move that may increase political tensions in Egypt, 14 people who stood accused of killing protesters during the 2011 January revolution were acquitted by an Egyptian court today. Pro-Morsi groups, the Muslim Brotherhood and human rights activists have accused the military-backed government of trying to recreate the deep security state that existed under former President Hosni Mubarak, and some fear that these latest acquittals are only one more step in that direction.

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