Weekly Review — August 20, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

“We are cautious,” said General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, “about every drop of Egyptian blood.”

An American Mastiff.

An American Mastiff.

In Cairo on Wednesday, Egyptian security forces deployed armored vehicles and live ammunition to clear two protest encampments set up by supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi, killing 638 people and injuring 3,994, according to an official count from the country’s health ministry. Egypt’s interim government claimed that it had authorized only the use of tear gas and bird shot, the Muslim Brotherhood claimed that 2,600 people had died, and the relatives of victims claimed that government officials wouldn’t allow morgues to accept bodies with gunshot wounds. Muslim Brotherhood supporters organized a nationwide “day of rage,” during which at least 100 people were killed as they marched from 28 mosques following Friday prayers toward Cairo’s Tahrir Square. On Sunday, security forces killed 36 Islamist prisoners as they attempted to escape, and gunmen attacked two minibuses carrying police recruits, killing 25. “We are cautious,” said General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, “about every drop of Egyptian blood.” Interim vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei resigned, and the lawyer for former president and military commander Hosni Mubarak, who is awaiting trial on charges related to the deaths of hundreds of protesters in 2011, said that Mubarak will be freed on bail by the end of the week.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] Israel released 26 Palestinian political prisoners, approved the construction of nearly 1,200 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and conducted warplane strikes on two sites in Gaza from which it said rockets had been launched across the border. At an undisclosed location in Jerusalem, negotiators for Israel and Palestine met for the first round of peace talks in nearly five years. “We must prepare,” said a former Israeli negotiator, “for dead-ends and blow ups.”[12][13][14][15]

U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan told a court-martial that he had killed 13 people in an attack on the military base at Fort Hood, Texas, because he was protecting Taliban fighters overseas, and Army private Bradley Manning apologized to the United States for providing classified documents to WikiLeaks.[16][17] Citing British counterterrorism law, officials detained the boyfriend of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald for nine hours at Heathrow Airport and confiscated his cell phone, laptop, camera, flash drives, DVDs, and game consoles.[18] Iran announced that it would teach drone-hunting to high school students as a part of its “Defense Readiness” curriculum.[19] The Syrian Electronic Army hacked the website of the Washington Post, and a Syrian antigovernment group claimed responsibility for a bombing in a Beirut suburb that killed at least 22 people.[20][21] More than 20,000 refugees crossed on foot from Syria into Iraq, where at least 34 people died in a series of car-bomb explosions in Baghdad. “This battle,” said Iraq’s interior ministry, “is aimed at destroying the country and turning it into another Syria.”[22][23] At a family fair in Aleppo, a jihadist group handed out Spider-Man and Teletubbies dolls.[24] A sixty-foot-wide sinkhole swallowed a resort building near Walt Disney World.[25] Authorities in Beijing ordered the demolition of a luxury villa and imitation mountainside built atop a 26-story high-rise, and Sichuan Province defended a decision to reduce the duration of leases offered to landholding citizens from 70 years to 40 years. “Don’t think too long-term,” said one official. “We may not exist after 40 years.”[26][27]

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An unpaid intern for Senator Harry Reid (D., Nev.) started a crowdfunding campaign to subsidize her work.[28] Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the U.S. government would no longer seek the mandatory minimum sentences specified for low-level drug crimes, and a federal judge ruled that the stop-and-frisk tactics employed by the New York City Police Department amount to racial profiling and violate the Constitution. “When it comes to policing,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who opposed the decision, “political correctness is deadly.”[29][30][31] In Utah, an 18-year-old arrested last year for plotting to bomb his high school lost a bid to become his town’s mayor, and an 18-year-old beauty queen surrendered her title after she was arrested for throwing bombs at people from her car.[32][33] An Ohio gun-safety instructor demonstrating how to use a handgun accidentally shot one of his students, and anti-abortion activists petitioned for the closure of Wichita’s South Wind Women’s Center, where physician George Tiller was shot and killed by an extremist in 2009, on the grounds that the clinic attracts gun violence.[34][35] Oglala Sioux voted to allow the sale of alcohol on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge reservation and to use the tax revenue for treatment programs. “I consider this blood money,” said tribal president Bryan Brewer. “I hate to accept it.”[36] Police in Qingdao freed a Chinese man who had passed out inside a Los Angeles–bound cargo container he’d mistaken for his bed-and-breakfast, and a Russian surgeon was arrested for stealing heroin from the stomach of a patient. “The doctor,” said a police statement, “was intoxicated at the time of detention.”[37][38]


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    It’s inaccurate to call the 26 Palestinians released “political prisoners” which implies they were imprisoned for political speech or actions. As the CBS News article cited notes, most of them has been convicted of murder, assault, or kidnapping.

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