Violence Erupts in Egyptian Cities
Egyptian riot police fired tear gas and live rounds of ammunition at thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters attempting to march on Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest the military-backed government. Heavy gunfire and explosions were heard as the police blocked off the square with armored vehicles and barbed wire. Meanwhile, supporters of the military threw rocks at and clashed with Morsi supporters. These clashes, in addition to those in the cities of Alexandria and Giza, have left at least 5 protesters dead and over 40 injured.
The Brotherhood is escalating protests leading up to Sunday, the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Its opponents say they will also take to the streets.
Riots in Kenya after Imam Killed
Gunmen killed a Muslim cleric and three others in Mombasa one year after his predecessor had been killed in the same manner, on the same road. Sheikh Ibrahim Omar’s car was riddled with more than a dozen bullet holes, and his supporters claim he is the latest in a string of extrajudicial killings of Muslims by Kenya’s security forces. Kenya’s police are suspected of carrying out around 1,000 extrajudicial killings in the past four years.
The imam’s death has triggered riots in which young Muslim men set fired to a church, burned tires and clashed with police. At least four people have been killed – all by gunshot wounds – and another seven have been wounded.
Boehner Wraps Debt Ceiling into Government Shutdown Fight
Despite a report yesterday that Speaker of the House John Boehner had privately reassured Republican lawmakers that he would not allow the nation to go into a crippling default, he suggested today that he would do just that. During a press conference, Boehner implied that pushing the US into default was on the table if the GOP doesn’t get additional, even harsher budget cuts. This, despite yesterday’s report from the Treasury Department that hitting the debt ceiling could create “a recession more severe than any seen since the Great Depression.”
Despite Republicans steadfastly refusing to meet with Obama or any Democrats during the lead-up to the shut-down, Boehner said, without a shred of self-awareness, “All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a discussion, reopen the government…”
Swiss to Vote on Base Income for Every Adult
A grassroots initiative in Switzerland has successfully called a referendum on whether the Swiss government should provide all adults with an unconditional monthly income to provide a safety net for the population. The stated sum would amount to about $2,800 per person a month and would be partly funded through the country’s social insurance systems. The bill will likely be up for a vote sometime next year.
The movement is a further example of Swiss public activism against wealth inequality, as voters passed the world’s strictest controls on executive pay in March.
Ecuador Votes to Allow Amazon Drilling
After 10 hours of debate, Ecuador’s congress voted overwhelmingly to allow oil drilling in the Amazon’s pristine Yasuni National Park. The vote comes after rich countries failed to raise more than a small fraction of the cost to preserve it. President Rafael Correa has played down the potential environmental impact, but the plan remains unpopular with indigenous peoples and environmental activists. The area is expected to hold 800 million barrels of oil, and could eventually produce 225,000 a day, increasing Ecuador’s oil production by half.
Weekend Read: Freedom of Information
The newspaper that took on the NSA: The Guardian wants to take its aggressive investigations global, but money is running out. via The New Yorker.