Thursday, July 4, 2013
People across Punjab continue to suffer due to prolonged power outages amid scorching heat in the province. Major cities have been facing up to 12-hour loadshedding with no letup in the hot weather. LESCO Chief has said for the first time a modern computerized centre has been established to monitor loadshedding. He said that they had been receiving 2300 megawatt electricity quota. The LESCO chief said that they had been resorting to 10 hour loadshedding in all sectors to ensure equitable power outages. He, however, conceded that sometimes the duration of power outages could increase due to technical faults in some areas.
Edward Snowden saga: Bolivia accuses Europe of 'kidnapping' Bolivian president in forcing Evo Morales' plane to land in Vienna
French officials deny refusing to let Bolivian president's plane cross its airspace as fugitive is not found on boardBolivia has accused Austria of “kidnapping” their president after refusing to allow a plane carrying Evo Morales into their airspace amid suggestions NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board.
President Barack Obama is to hold high level meetings with the German government in an attempt to assuage concerns about reported US surveillance of their European allies. The European Union has previously demanded an explanation as to the claims by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the United States' intelligence service spied on the offices of foreign allies in New York. Responding to the deepening dissatisfaction voiced by French and German officials, a White House statement said yesterday that the President had spoken by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where it was agreed the two governments would meet to discuss the allegations. "The president assured the chancellor that the United States takes seriously the concerns of our European allies and partners," the White House said, noting U.S. and EU officials would discuss intelligence and privacy issues as soon as Monday. Germany’s Interior Minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, confirmed the county would send ministerial officials to investigate the claims in Das Spiegel that the US bugged EU offices and embassies. The concession comes after President Obama promised earlier this week to supply all the information requested by European allies regarding the accusations, which he said Washington was still evaluating. Speaking after Snowden’s claims were made public, Chancellor Merkel delivered her strongest rebuke of the US to date. "We are no longer in the cold war," her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said. "If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable."
http://www.voanews.com/The United States celebrates Independence Day Thursday.
Members of New York's Egyptian community descended on the coffee shops, delis and Hookah bars of "Little Egypt" on Wednesday to celebrate the overthrowing of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi after one year in office. Some people gathered on the sidewalks of the neighborhood in Astoria, Queens, but most congregated inside the public places and their homes, eyes glued to Arabic-language news programs and TV images of demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square. "We gave him a chance for one year and he didn't do anything," said Abdilmoniem Mohamed, 55, a Bronx resident who was at the Arab Community Center in Astoria watching coverage of the events. Mohamed, who moved to New York in 1979, said he had considered the toppling of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 the happiest day of his life, until Wednesday, and would now be comfortable allowing his girls, both in their 20s, to visit Egypt. As word spread up and down the streets of Little Egypt, friends and neighbors greeted each other with effusive congratulations. Egyptian flags were displayed on sidewalks and in store fronts. Outside one cafe, a group of men sang "lift your head high, you're an Egyptian." Egypt has been in turmoil since Mubarak's fall, arousing concern among allies in the West and in Israel, with which Egypt has a 1979 peace treaty. On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of anti-Mursi protesters in Tahrir Square erupted into cheers, set off fireworks and waved flags after Egypt's top army commander announced the suspension of the Islamist-tinged constitution. The reaction was more subdued in Little Egypt, where the fall the first freely elected president for the Arab world's most populous country, raised some concerns for the safety of friends and family in Egypt and for military rule. "I'm not happy. I'm not sad. I'm confused," said Ehab Mohamed, owner of Zaitoun, a small store a couple of doors from the community center, who added, "He came in the legal way. They should have made a new election." Ehab Mohamed said he had voted for Mursi, but was not pleased with his presidency. He also said he did not trust the armed forces to not try to assert a more permanent position. Heba Khalifa, 35, a medical interpreter who lives in Queens, said she believed Mursi supporters were mostly "in hiding" in the neighborhood. "Believe me they are around, but today they are playing the victim," she said. Khalifa said she was optimistic about Egypt's future and saw Mursi's ouster as a "curve" in the road to democracy. "Is this the last curve? No. There are more curves ahead," she said. Her husband, Amr Khalifa, said he was of two minds: "The Egyptian in me is elated," he said, while the intellectual was "aware of the complexities" of the military takeover. Amr Khalifa said he also was deeply concerned about the safety of his family, most of whom live in Cairo and Alexandria. "Whether the Islamists strike tonight, tomorrow, next week, believe you me, it will happen," he said.
http://www.pajhwok.com/Afghanistan and Pakistan should have coinciding interests in reducing the role of the Taliban in both countries and reducing the level of violence, a top UN official said on Wednesday, hoping political leaders in Kabul and Islamabad would soon start a political dialogue. “Political logic tells me that Pakistan and Afghanistan should have coinciding interests in reducing the role of the Taliban in both countries and reducing the level of violence, which we have seen so drastically and so tragically,” UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson told a news conference in New York. Having just returned from a five-day trip to Afghanistan, where he met top Afghan leaders including President Hamid Karzai, Eliasson hoped talks between Kabul and Islamabad would continue. “There is hope that there could be a new start with the new government of Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan. There have been invitations in both directions. They have not agreed on the sequence of visits. But there is a dialogue on several levels, and I would very much hope that one would have an open and very, very honest discussion about future interests here,” he said. “It is an historically very complicated relationship, and you have also difficulties with both sides having indications that the border is not fully respected, and that is also related to the movements of the Taliban. So it is a very complicated issue,” he said in response to a question. He believed the future of Afghanistan would, to a great degree, be determined by Afghans themselves. But it was important that regional actors also played a positive and constructive role, and that there should be cooperative ties Afghan and Pakistani governments. Reflecting on his interactions with people in Afghanistan, he heard one theme that came back in practically all his meetings was the importance of protecting the achievements of the past decade. “You have progress in health, education, human rights and women, as compared to the previous period and several other countries in the region,” Eliasson said. “It is, of course, extremely important for the people of Afghanistan, but also for the United Nations and the many nations that have contributed to this transition, that the country does not fall back into the nightmares of war and the extreme poverty and violations of human rights that we saw earlier,” he said. The official said he had conveyed that the intention of the United Nations was to continue its partnership with Afghanistan based on the wishes of the government and people. The UN would provide support where and when needed, following modalities that respected Afghan leadership and sovereignty," he concluded.
http://www.rferl.org/Pakistan's new administration has ended a moratorium on executions. Interior Ministry spokesman Umer Hameed said on July 4 that the new government "has decided to deal with all cases of execution on merit." He added that "there will be no general amnesty for the convicts waiting for execution." Under the previous government led by President Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party, a 2008 presidential order imposed a moratorium on the death penalty. The freeze expired on 30 June. Amnesty International, which opposes capital punishmen in any instance, has called the development a "shocking and retrograde step." It called for an immediate restoration of the moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The organization estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row. Most of them have exhausted the appeals process and could now be executed.
Showing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) resolve for creating Seraiki province, former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday that his party will not inch back from its stated position on the province. Gilani said this while talking to a delegation of Seraikistan National Council (SNC) that called on him at Gilani house. On the occasion, he said that the PPP had given identification to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and now it would give Seraiki people their identity. He said that it was an important issue for them, adding that they would never surrender their geographical and cultural identity. He thanked the delegation for showing concern on the abduction of his son Ali Haider Gilani on 9th May from Farrukh Town of Matital area. SNC delegation demanded prompt arrest of the accused involved in Haider's abduction. SNC also invited the former prime minister to attend a solidarity conference to be held on 6th July at Multan Press Club in this connection. The delegation comprised of Prof Shaukat Mughal, Zahoor Dhareja, Haji Hameed-u-Din Ansari and Shahid Hameed Ansari.
Pakistan has requested a new bailout loan package from the International Monetary Fund following weeks of talks with an IMF delegation, a finance ministry source said on Thursday,it also highlights a sense of urgency for Pakistan at a time when its central bank has only about $6.25 billion left in reserves, enough to cover less than six weeks of imports. Lodging a request is the first step in a potentially long process which involves holding more talks on the size of a loan as well as a set of reform commitments from Pakistan's side. “Talks are still ongoing but we will have to wait for results after the IMF team returns to Washington and reviews Pakistan's terms,” a senior finance ministry official told Reuters. “For the IMF, broadening the tax net and decreasing subsidies on the energy sector will be the make-or-break steps it wants Pakistan to commit to.” Anxiety over the nation's struggling economy is one of the many challenges facing its new government. With reserves shrinking by around $500 million a month and with many Pakistanis already angry over unemployment, high food prices and crippling power cuts,any IMF reform package, which usually comes with conditions attached, could also prove unpopular, adding to concerns over instability at a time when Pakistan is already under pressure to contain a growing insurgency.
By Sara AliThe Federal Shariat Court has reaffirmed that nowhere do the Quran and Sunnah prohibit the use of DNA tests and instead strongly encourage recourse to such scientific methods It is not Islam, it is the self-proclaimed custodians of Islam who are insensitive to women. The controversial recommendation by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) declaring DNA as an insubstantial proof for conviction in rape cases has triggered an intense debate among lawyers, politicians and civil society representatives. Rape is not addressed in the Quran, it only mentions zina. Zina in the Quran is generally equated with fornication and adultery and it is believed that it entails within its meaning non-consensual sex in the Quran and fiqh as well. When interpreting the status of rape in Islam, Pakistan closely aligned rape with fornication and adultery, with the result that rape victims are frequently punished for committing zina while the rapists get away scot-free. The Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, VII of 1979, also called the Zina Ordinance, criminalised zina and included adultery, fornication, rape and prostitution in it. It proposed similar Islamic conditions for evidence needed to prove rape as in zina, which further endorsed the belief that the ordinance is a dangerous play of misogyny. The juxtaposition of rape with fornication and adultery is widely criticised as it undermines the uniqueness of ‘rape’ as a heinous crime distinct from zina. Rape victims have been exposed to brutal injustices primarily due to the requirement of producing four male witnesses. In Islam, the wisdom behind four male witnesses was to protect chaste women from false accusations of zina, certainly not to exploit victims of sexual assault. But its custodians have used the verses of the book in a way to circumvent rape convictions, therefore further aggravating the plight of the sufferer. A woman in Pakistan from birth till her marriage is expected to be a symbol of pride and honour for her family. This entails maintaining her virginity till the time she is given to a man in nikah (marriage) and during these years if she is raped she is left to suffer in silence. A victim who stands up for her rights or registers an FIR in a police station is censured, and in some cases even disowned by her family and society. The attitude of many in Pakistan towards a rape victim is not only atrocious but in certain instances quite agonising. We must inculcate empathy and understanding for those who have been through such a traumatising event in their lives as no one chooses to get raped. The circumstances for a rape victim are exacerbated with the CII’s recent statement declaring DNA evidence as supporting evidence and not the primary proof in a rape case. The alternative offered by the CII of producing four male witnesses against the rapist has generated a ruckus in civil society. The CII recommendation has also challenged a recent ruling of the Supreme Court (2013 SCMR 203). Mr Salman Akram Raja in the Supreme Court (2013 SCMR 203) has submitted that the administration of a DNA test should be made mandatory in rape cases. Mr Raja in his submission has placed reliance on the case of Muhammad Shahid Sahil v The State (PLD 2010 FSC 215) where the DNA test’s admissibility was accepted to determine the paternity of the child born to a rape victim in the Federal Shariat Court. The Federal Shariat Court in that case has reaffirmed that nowhere do the Quran and Sunnah prohibit the use of DNA tests and instead strongly encourage recourse to such scientific methods. Moreover, it is believed that allowing the DNA test and making it mandatory does not violate Article 13 of the Constitution, which guarantees protection against self-incrimination. From the Supreme Court case it can be maintained that DNA is the only authentic source that can assist in deciding a rape case. A widely acknowledged belief is that when rape is committed, the offender’s DNA is left on the survivor’s body, and it can be easily obtained from the victim’s saliva, hair, semen, sweat or blood. Hence, DNA in all circumstances is critical to bringing rapists to justice. DNA administration is only feasible and viable if the victim has not showered, combed her hair or cleaned up the crime scene. It is an important tool in deciding rape cases as it can be stored for years and has the capacity to last long without degradation at room temperature. An immense friction exists between the laws of Pakistan and the CII resolution on rape. Even under the Women’s Protection Act, it has been stated that rape cases should be tried under the Pakistan Penal Code and not under the Hudood Ordinance. At this point it is vital to note that resolutions of the CII are not binding in nature; the Council has more of an advisory role to play. The Constitution of Pakistan while explaining the role of the CII said that it will guide the government in respect of Islamic teachings, their implementation and propagation. Its chairman and members are appointed by the president. The constitution reiterates its role, saying that although its advice is not binding, yet it is not easy for any government to ignore or overrule its recommendation regarding any idea. With regards to the rape laws, Pakistan is now at a crossroads. Rape is indeed a harrowing phenomenon that continues to haunt Pakistan and is likely to generations to come. If we are really concerned about giving redress to rape victims, it is imperative to resolve the rift between the CII and other segments of society. The need is to bridge the gap between the CII and civil society organisations, and for once sit down and see where both the CII and civil society are coming from. A serious effort is required to remove any misunderstanding of Islam. The focus should be on engaging erudite and serious Islamic scholars. At the end of the day it is not about the CII, or a lawyer, or a civil society representative, it’s about Pakistan and its people. It is about justice and the rule of law. It’s about a society where tranquillity should prevail and where Islam is followed in its true sense. The writer is a lawyer and a researcher at the Research Society of International Law
At least five security personnel were killed and eight others injured when a checkpost was attacked by a suicide blast in Pakistan's northwest tribal area of North Waziristan on Thursday afternoon, reported local Urdu TV channel Geo. Firing started following the blast, said the report. The attack reportedly took place at about 2:00 p.m. local time when an explosive-laden car rammed into a checkpost in the Datta Khel area, some 14 kilometers away from North Waziristan's capital town of Miransha. Other details about the attack are not immediately available as the checkpost is located in a remote area near Afghan border. Early Wednesday morning, US drones fired four missiles at a house and a vehicle near Miranshah, killing at least 17 suspected militants including a Haqqani network commander, reports said. Thursday's suicide attack in the nearby area of Miransha could be a retaliation for Wednesday's US drone strike, it added.
By HAMZA HENDAWI and LEE KEATH
Disillusioned by democracy, other groups may chose bullets over ballots in future standoffsEgypt was the centerpiece of the Islamist movement’s vault to power in the Arab world’s sweeping wave of uprisings. Winning election after election here, the Islamists vowed to prove they could govern effectively and implement their vision of political Islam, all while embracing the rules of democracy. Mohammed Morsi was their pillar: the veteran of the Muslim Brotherhood, the region’s oldest and most prestigious political Islamist group, who became Egypt’s first freely elected president.That is what makes his ouster after barely a year in office, with a gigantic cross-section of Egypt’s population demanding he go, such a devastating blow to Islamists on multiple levels, not only in Egypt but across a tumultuous region. Morsi, his Brotherhood and their harder-line allies say they played by the rules of democracy, only to be forced out by opponents who could not play it as well as them at the ballot box and so turned to the military for help. The lesson that the Islamists’ extreme fringe may draw: Democracy, which many of them viewed as “kufr” or heresy to begin with, is rigged and violence is the only way to bring their dream of an Islamic state. But to the millions of Egyptians who marched in the street against Morsi, the Islamists failed at democracy: They overreached. The protesters became convinced the Islamists were using wins at the polls to centralize power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood far beyond their mandate and treat the country as if it accepted the “Islamist project.” Even worse, for many of the protesters, the Islamists simply were not fixing Egypt’s multiple and worsening woes. That is a serious setback for their dreams, calling into doubt the argument by Islamists across the region that political Islam is the remedy to their society’s ills. The damage to their prestige echoes widely, from Gaza where the Hamas rulers who saw in Morsi a strong ally, to Tunisia where a Brotherhood branch holds power, to Libya and Syria where Islamists push for power. “The Brotherhood in Egypt is now a cautionary tale,” said Michael W. Hanna of the Century Foundation in New York. “Morsi’s abysmal performance during their short tenure is a tale of how not to guide and rule.” The irony is, the Brotherhood knew the risks going in. After the 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, the group vowed not to try to dominate parliament and not to run a candidate for president, knowing the backlash if it seemed to be grabbing power or if it led a government that failed to fix a broken Egypt. It went back on each of those promises, every time saying its hand was forced into doing so. Morsi himself recognized the power of the street as he vowed to be a president for all the people. The day before his formal inauguration on June 30, 2012, he first delivered a symbolic oath of office in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolt that overthrew his autocratic predecessor. “You are the source of power and legitimacy,” he told the crowd. Nothing stands above “the will of the people. The nation is the source of all power. It grants and withdraws power.” In the broad range of the political Islam movement — from moderates to militants — the Brotherhood eventually emerged as the central force arguing that Islamists can be democrats. Their influence drew in harder-line groups to participate at the ballot box. Ultraconservatives who once refused elections that could potentially bring any law but God’s law took their chance at the polls. In an impassioned Facebook post just before the army pushed Morsi out Wednesday, one of his top advisers Essam el-Haddad argued that what was happening was irrevocably damaging democracy itself, saying the Brotherhood had been unfairly treated. He insisted history would show the Brotherhood tried to include others in its administration but was shunned. “Increasingly, the so-called liberals of Egypt escalated a rhetoric inviting the military to become the custodians of government in Egypt,” he wrote. “The opposition has steadfastly declined every option that entails a return to the ballot box.” But amid multiple complaints, opponents point to a key factor that turned many against the Brotherhood: the post-Mubarak constitution. Morsi had vowed a consensus on the landmark document, but Islamists dominated the panel writing it. Liberals, leftists, secular politicians and Christians steadily dropped out, complaining Morsi’s allies were forcing their vision. In the end, Morsi unilaterally decreed himself and the assembly untouchable by the courts to ensure judges did not dissolve the panel, while Islamists hastily finished writing the charter in an all-night marathon session. It was rushed to a referendum, where it passed with a hearty 63 percent of the vote — but only just over 32 percent of the electorate casting ballots. Meanwhile, Brotherhood members and other Islamists were steadily were given more posts across the government, fueling a perception that they were taking over institutions — though they constantly faced resistance on many fronts from the entrenched bureaucracy. Islamist rhetoric from officials and clerics on TV rang in the ears of many as divisive and harsh. Morsi’s ouster could now send the Brotherhood into disarray for years to come, just as a major crackdown on the group did in 1954. Morsi and many of his advisers have been put under house arrest, and he could face trial for escaping prison during the 2011 uprising. Two top leaders of the group, including the head of its political party Saad el-Katatni, were arrested and at least 30 more were expected to meet the same fate. The danger now could be that a heavy crackdown will turn into forcibly excluding them from politics once more. The Brotherhood was banned for much of its 83-year existence. But it still maintains a powerful, organized and disciplined network of members nationwide. “The forceful removal of the nation’s first democratically-elected civilian president risks sending a message to Islamists that they have no place in the political order; sowing fears among them that they will suffer yet another bloody crackdown; and thus potentially prompting violent, even desperate resistance by Morsi’s followers,” the Brussels based International Crisis group warned in a statement
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMONTwo years ago the world was ecstatic over Mubarak's fall, and now the same has happened Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi. Time is up – the Muslim Brotherhood is being removed from power. Does this mean the “Arab Spring” is over? Are we witnessing the comeback of the nationalist military dictatorship model that former president Hosni Mubarak represented? Two years ago, the world was ecstatic over his fall, now there is praise for the return of military rule. The constitution has been suspended and the army is to announce a road map and oversee a transitional period and elections. Muslim Brotherhood leaders remained defiant. Gehad El-Haddad, a senior political adviser for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, asked on Twitter late Wednesday night: “Egypt enters another military coup cycle. Will the [people] of Egypt take it. Again!!” The question for the US and Europe is how to react. Will they support the coup or will they condemn it because it overran a democratic government? If the army does not remain steadfast, it could leave enough room for the Muslim Brotherhood to wage a violent uprising or protests. If this happens, the country will move toward economic ruin, and become paralyzed in some kind of civil war. What if, after the coup, the economy crashes, and then the Muslim Brotherhood brings its supporters to the streets and fills Tahrir Square again? David P. Goldman reports at PJ Media that we have now reached the worst-case scenario: “chaos in politics, violence in the streets, complete cessation of tourism, and economic breakdown.” Goldman quotes statistics from the World Health Organization in 2011 stating that around 20 percent of Egyptians suffer malnutrition. He goes on to predict that a military regime would probably do a better job of dealing with the economic issue because it would be more likely to receive aid from the Gulf states, besides Qatar, which “might decide to provide funding for a military regime that suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood.” The Gulf states are status quo powers for the most part (except Qatar) and strongly fear any revolutionary movements, and for that reason the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, and Shi’ite Iran should be controlled and resisted. However, it is interesting that the Gulf states have no problem with supporting the Sunni Islamists fighting far away or against Shi’ites. For example, in Syria they are funding the Islamist-dominated opposition. The spiraling economic disaster combined with what may be a Muslim Brotherhood struggle against the military – possibly including terrorism, urban warfare, assassinations and mass protests – may be difficult to manage even with billions of aid money. Qatar already gave Morsi’s regime $5 billion and it only served to postpone a much worse situation. Max Singer of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) and a co-founder of the Hudson Institute told The Jerusalem Post, “I never believed in the Arab Spring,” so he does not see it as being reversed. The Brotherhood, he said, rejects democracy, as it does not believe in free speech or freedom to organize, for example. Democracy is not just about holding an election, he said. Israel and Egypt “are better off with the army and democrats than with the Islamists,” said Singer, warning that there still will remain problems with the army and the opposition, “but the Islamists are a more dangerous enemy.” Asked about what the coup could mean for US policy, he responded that President Barack Obama has taken the position that the Brotherhood is not the enemy. This is a big mistake, Singer said. Zvi Mazel, who served as Israel’s sixth ambassador to Egypt and who is a contributor to the Post, told the Post that the army worked with the protesters to fix the revolution. Dialogue between the Brotherhood and the opposition became impossible because Morsi refused to cooperate, wishing to push his party’s agenda. “The Muslim Brotherood are in shock – they cannot believe it,” said Mazel adding that in time the Islamists will “wake up and there may be violence.” The Islamists now will begin planning for a struggle to return to power, he asserted.
Top judge Mansour has been sworn in as Egypt interim president, hours after Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in a military coup following huge protests against his one-year rule. Adly Mansour took the oath of interim president on Thursday, as his democratically elected predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, was held in an unspecified military barracks along with senior aides. Before the constitutional court, Mansour said: "I swear by God to uphold the Republican system and respect the constitution and law... and safeguard the people and protect the nation." Separately, Mansour was made head of the supreme constitutional court - a position he was due to take on June 30, when protests against Morsi's one year in power began in earnest. “I swear by the great God, to respect the constitution and the law and to rule justly,” Mansour said on his appointment to the court. Morsi was overthrown by the military on Wednesday. According to a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi was being held in a military facility with top aides. "Morsi and the entire presidential team are under house arrest in the Presidential Republican Guards Club," Gehad El-Haddad, the son of a top Morsi aide, told AFP news agency on Thursday. Haddad's father, Essam El-Haddad, widely seen as Morsi's right-hand man, was among those held, he added. Morsi was believed to be at a Republican Guard barracks in Cairo but it was not clear whether he was under arrest. Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood officials were also reported to have been arrested, with many senior leaders being held in the Torah prison in Cairo - the same prison holding Hosni Mubarak, who was himself deposed in the 2011 revolution. In a televised broadcast, flanked by military leaders, religious authorities and political figures, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi effectively declared the removal of Morsi. Early elections Sisi called for presidential and parliamentary elections, a panel to review the constitution and a national reconciliation committee that would include youth movements. He said the roadmap had been agreed by a range of political groups.Islamist supporters of Morsi who have gathered in a Cairo suburb reacted angrily to the announcement by the army. Some broke up paving stones, forming piles of rocks. Muslim Brotherhood security guards in hard hats and holding sticks formed a cordon around the encampment, close to a mosque. Men and women wept and chanted. Denouncing military chief Sisi, some shouted: "Sisi is void! Islam is coming! We will not leave!" At least 14 people were killed when opponents and supporters of Morsi clashed after the army announced his removal, officials said. Eight of those died in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh, including two members of the security fources. Three people were killed and at least 50 wounded in Alexandria, state news agency MENA reported; a woman stabbed in the stomach, and two men killed by birdshot. Three people were also killed and 14 wounded in the southern city of Minya, including two police, MENA said. 'Revolution re-launched' Speaking shortly after Sisi's announcement, liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said the "2011 revolution was re-launched" and that the roadmap meets the demand of the protesters. Egypt's leading Muslim and Christian clerics also backed the army-sponsored roadmap.Pope Tawadros, the head of the Coptic Church, said the plan offered a political vision and would ensure security for all Egyptians, about 10 percent of whom are Christian. Egypt's second largest Islamist group, the Nour party, said in a statement that it agreed to the army roadmap in order to avoid further conflict. Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, came under huge pressure in the run-up to Sunday's anniversary of his maiden year in office, with his opponents accusing him of failing the 2011 revolution by concentrating power in Islamist hands. The embattled 62-year-old proposed a "consensus government" as a way out of the crisis. That was not enough for the army, and Mansour, a previously little known judge, was installed as the country's interim leader.
http://www.egyptindependent.com/Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fighting to crush a two-year-old uprising against four decades of rule by him and his late father, said on Wednesday the upheaval in Egypt was a defeat for political Islam. "Whoever brings religion to use in politics or in favor of one group at the expense of another will fall anywhere in the world," Assad was quoted as telling the official Thawra newspaper, according to an official Facebook page. "The summary of what is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is called political Islam." Relishing the possible downfall of one of Assad's most vocal critics, Syrian television carried live coverage of the huge street demonstrations in Egypt demanding the departure of President Mohamed Mursi. Assad's late father, Hafez al-Assad, used the military to crush an armed insurgency against his rule led by the Muslim Brotherhood, killing many thousands in the conservative city of Hama, which became a centre of pro-democracy demonstrations when the uprising against the younger Assad erupted in March 2011. Thousands of leftists were also jailed and tortured. The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood became one of the most powerful factions behind the mostly Sunni Muslim uprising against Assad, who belongs to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, and is being helped by Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah militia. Morsy has expressed support for foreign intervention against Assad and attended a rally two weeks ago calling for holy war in Syria. A month ago, Syrian authorities responded to a wave of protests against Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, another fierce opponent of Assad, by calling on him to halt what it said was violent repression and step aside.