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Monday, December 9, 2013

Trial of Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Leader Begins Today

Supreme Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Badie and leaders Essam El-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagy will be tried today in a court in Cairo. All face charges of inciting violence and murder during protests in July, which left five people dead. At least 15 other co-defendants have also been charged with “terrorism, illegal assembly, murder, damaging private property and possession of weapons.” Egypt’s military-backed interim government has accused many other members of the political opposition of similar crimes in the months following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi. The trial of the deposed president is set to resume in early January.

Statue of Tutankhamun’s Sister Recovered

Egyptian authorities have recovered a 3,500-year-old statue, which was stolen from the a museum in southern Egypt during riots in August after President Morsi was deposed. The statue, which is believed to be of Tutankhamun’s sister Ankhesamon, was eventually traced to the owner of a small coffee shop in Khan el-Khalili, a popular tourist market in old Cairo. The artifact was found in decent condition and will be put on display in a new museum devoted to the family of Tutankhamun. Over 1,050 artifacts have been stolen or have gone missing during Egypt’s recent political upheaval over the summer; 800 have since been recovered.

Nile Dam Negotiations Between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan

On Sunday, the second round of negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan began in Khartoum about the ramifications of Ethiopia’s proposed dam.  Egypt’s government believes that the dam will drastically impact their water supply, and has pushed for a plan that would submit Ethiopia’s proposal to an international committee. Ethiopia is arguing for a tripartite committee composed of experts from the three countries. The negotiations hope to replace a colonial era agreement which granted the majority of Nile water rights to Egypt and Sudan.

Foreign Reserves Continue to Drop

Egypt’s foreign reserves, which stood at $36 billion right before the January 25, 2011 revolution, have fallen to $17.76 billion as of the end of November. According to the Central Bank of Egypt, the reserves fell from $18.59 billion in October, marking the third month in a row of significant losses. Foreign reserves were boosted by $12 billion after Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates pledged significant financial support to the new, military-backed interim government in Egypt, following the ouster of Mohammed Morsi.

Civil Uprising Grows in Ukraine

Hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets on Sunday to demand the resignation of Ukranian President Viktor F. Yanukovich. The demonstrations culminated in the destruction of the iconic statue of Lenin in downtown Kiev, a symbolic act condemning the current president’s close relationship with Russia and refusal to sign political and trade agreements with the European Union. President Yanukovich only exacerbated public anger when he met with Russian president Vladmir Putin last week. International concern continues to grow over the protests, and many are speculating about whether the president will declare a state of emergency.

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