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Friday, October 25, 2013

Egyptian Government Shrinks Curfew

In a hopeful sign for Cairenes who have felt stifled by Egypt’s nightly curfew, the government announced that it was reducing curfew hours so that they extend from 1:00 am until 5:00 am everyday with the exception of Fridays, when the curfew will continue to be in effect from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am. The interim military-backed government instituted a curfew after Egyptian security forces violently dispersed pro Morsi sit-ins in several locations around the country on August 14. In the ensuing clashes, more than 600 people died, the majority of them protesters. According to an Egyptian Cabinet advisor, the state of emergency is due to be lifted on November 14.

Sisi Mania Spreads to Jewelers, Chocolatiers

After General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and members of the Egyptian armed forces deposed former President Mohamed Morsi in early July, the general (or, Sisi, as he is popularly known in Egypt) has become the focal point of much public admiration. Hawkers sell posters and t-shirts celebrating Sisi, Chocolatiers have embedded his face on their candies, parents have named their newborn children after him, and this week Aswat Masriya reported that a jeweler in Cairo has designed necklaces featuring the Egyptian general’s name. Rumors continue to swirl over whether or not Sisi will run for president in the next election cycle, slated to occur early next year.

Groups Call for Massive Protests on Morsi’s Trial Date

The Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a coalition of groups that support deposed president Mohamed Morsi, have called for massive protests on November 4, Morsi’s designated trial date. An Egyptian judge said that the charges against the former president include “inciting the killing and torture of protesters in front of the Etihadeya (presidential) palace.” The event in reference occurred in December of last year when 12 protesters died in clashes with security officers. Protesters were demonstrating against a presidential decree that drastically expanded the powers of the office.

US Spying Leads to Significant Diplomatic Fallout

The US has found itself in the midst of a controversy this week after evidence emerged that it had spied on the private phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Yesterday,  The Guardian published information that indicates that the US monitored phone calls of various world leaders in 2006 and likely afterward. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have demanded official talks with the US over the revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored their government communications. Other European governments have expressed outrage as well. The former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said that this type of espionage was a real scandal. “A new agreement is needed between the EU and the US,” he said in a recent television interview. “This cannot continue.”

Weekend Read

Newsweek writer David Cay Johnston discusses the coming information revolution in his feature article Glenn Greenwald and the Future of Leaks in this week’s online magazine.

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