Egypt police told to break up rallies

Interim leadership says “gradual steps” will be taken to disperse crowds amid continuing pro-Morsi protests.

Last Modified: 01 Aug 2013 06:50

Egypt’s interim government has authorised police to break up protests which have been continuing since Mohamed Morsi was removed from power, saying that officers will take “gradual steps” to disperse crowds.

Weeks-long rallies in support of the deposed president extended in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares in Cairo early on Thursday morning, despite the interim leadership’s warning.

“The continuation of the dangerous situation in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares, and consequent terrorism and road blockages are no longer acceptable given the threat to national security,” a statement from the interim government said on Wednesday, adding that it has told police to take “all necessary measures” to disperse crowds.

Congo’s rare mountain gorillas could become victims of oil exploration

WWF warns of environmental disaster and permanent conflict if British firm begins drilling for oil inside Virunga national park

The Virunga national park, home to rare mountain gorillas but targeted for oil exploration by a British company, could earn strife-torn DR Congo $400m (£263m) a year from tourism, hydropower and carbon credits, aWWF report published on Thursday concludes.

But if the Unesco world heritage site that straddles the equator is exploited for oil, as the Congolese government and exploration firmSoco International are hoping, it could lead to devastating pollution and permanent conflict in an already unstable region, says the conservationbody.

Congo has allocated oil concessions over 85% of the Virunga park but Soco International is now the only company seeking to explore inside its boundaries. This year Unesco called for the cancellation of all Virunga oil permits.

Uruguay comes one step closer to legalising marijuana after President Jose Mujica’s bill goes through congress

The bill would make Uruguay the first country to have a government led legal marijuana industry

 

Uruguay’s proposal to create a government controlled legal marijuana industry has made it halfway through congress, giving President Jose Mujica a long-sought victory in his effort to explore alternatives to the global war on drugs.

All 50 members of the governing Broad Front coalition approved the proposal in a party line vote just before midnight on Wednesday, keeping a narrow majority of the 96 lawmakers present after more than 13 hours of passionate debate over the issue of legalisation.

The measure will now go to the Senate, where Mr Mujica’s coalition has a larger majority and the bill is expected to be passed within weeks, making Uruguay the world’s first nation to create and regulate a legal marijuana market.

HUMAN RIGHTS

No release in sight for Tymoshenko


For the last two years, Ukraine’s ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been sitting behind bars. Western governments have demanded her release, but further charges against her make that unlikely.

In April, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the detention of Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was unlawful and condemned the imprisonment. On Wednesday (31.07.2013), that ruling will become legally binding, after the Ukrainian state decided not to file an appeal against the verdict.

Tymoshenko had filed a suit with the court against the decision of a Kyiv judge who had her arrested while she was on trial. Later, Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and fined millions for abuse of office. She was found guilty of signing gas contracts with Russia without government approval. Two years later, Tymoshenko is still in prison.


Al-Qaeda leader vows to break out Muslims held in Guantanamo following similar terror jail breaks in Middle East

August 1, 2013 – 11:25AM

Carol J. Williams

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has vowed in a video released Wednesday to break out Muslim prisoners from US penitentiaries and the heavily fortified compound for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The blustery threat to retaliate for US “crimes” against al-Qaeda warriors was probably inspired by recent attacks on prisons in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan that freed more than 2000 detainees, many of them allied with the global terrorism network that has been headed by Mr al-Zawahiri since the 2011 assassination of its founder, Osama bin Laden.

But security at the crude prisons breached in the Middle East by al-Qaeda-aligned suicide bombers over the last week pales in comparison with the US detention sites’ concentric rings of armed guards, concrete walls and electrified, concertina wire-topped fences.

Middle East

     Aug 1, ’13

Syrian war reaches explosive stage
By Victor Kotsev 

For many Syrian rebels, the unthinkable happened this week, when a key neighborhood of the centrally located city of Homs was recaptured by the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The fall of Homs, dubbed the rebel “capital,” seems inevitable, and while that will not end the brutal civil war in the country, it will almost certainly usher in a new stage. 

Syria’s fragmentation can no longer be contained inside the country. To the north, the Kurds are threatening autonomy and fighting viciously with al-Qaeda affiliates at the Turkish border – the Turkish army, under a partial media blackout, was also drawn into these heavy three-way exchanges. To the south, Israel is at guns

drawn, and periodically launches an air strike or two into Syria proper.