Jul 1 In Egypt, massive demonstrations have been taking place, the demonstrators hoping to drive President Morsi from power – as happened last year with President Mubarak. Many Egyptians support Morsi and see the demonstrators as anti-democratic, and they are also in the streets. Anti-Morsi people have served their emotions by setting fire to Morsi's headquarters. In 2012, secularists were less successful than the Muslim Brotherhood at electoral politics: organizing for elections.
Jul 1 Population figures indicate that the US population grew again by more than 2 million between July 2011 and July 2012 – nearly the same as the growth between 2010 and 2011. And today's US population is about 2.5 million more than it was in July 2012. This is more than fourteen cities of 500,000 (309.35 million in July 2010; 316.67 million in July 2013). Meanwhile population figures in Europe and Japan have been steady while populations in less developed countries have continued to expand. Egypt's growth rate is more than twice that of the United States. At the top of the list in growth rate are Libya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The average birth rate is more than twice the average death rate.
Jul 2 In Egypt yesterday, according to Reuters, "General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delighted President Mursi's opponents by effectively ordering the president to heed the demands of demonstrators." The demonstrators are celebrating. President Morsi's supporters are describing it as a military coup, and Morsi is reported as having rejected the military's ultimatum. He complains that the military hasn't consulted with him and that he will pursue his own plan for national reconciliation.
Jul 3 In Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region, a US drone strike kills 17, according to reports. The targeted are described as members of the most dangerous faction fighting US soldiers in Afghanistan. Pakistan's President Sharif has demanded an end to such attacks, complaining that they are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty. The question remains whether the attacks add up to a plus on the side of eliminating "enemies" of the US or, on the other hand, accomplish little or nothing by harming the image of the US while creating more hostility.
Jul 4 After five or six days of gigantic demonstrations against President Morsi and demonstrations supporting Morsi, and some violence between the two sides, Egypt's army has taken power. Today, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmud Mansour, is sworn in as leader of an interim government. A new constitution is to be created and new elections are promised. Morsi supporters describe what has happened as a military coup. BBC News reports that the anti-Morsi protesters accused Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood "of pursuing an Islamist agenda and of failing to tackle Egypt's economic problems." Morsi is described as "in military custody." One protester said he didn't like being told how to be a good Muslim.
Jul 4 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proclaims success, saying his opponents have failed to oust him and that he and his government will survive the civil war, having endured everything his opponents could do to topple him. He adds that "only the distant prospect of direct foreign military intervention could change that." He says he will serve out the rest of his term as president. The next election, a referendum, for another seven-year term, is scheduled for May, 2014.
Jul 5 The leader of Morsi's opposition, Mohamed ElBaradei, describes the military's ouster of Morsi as necessary to prevent a civil war. A few others are expressing regrets. Abdullah Al-Arian, a professor at a US university, writes "...we have lost, possibly forever, the opportunity to witness the Muslim Brotherhood humbled through its preferred method of political contestation." In other words he would have preferred Morsi and the Brotherhood being defeated in elections that so many didn't have the patience to wait for. Anti-democratic forces, Al-Arian writes, "have won the day... Consumed by their euphoria, the anti-Morsi movement has failed to see the dangerous path that lay ahead."
Jul 6 Some Morsi supporters are defying Egypt's military. This morning, according to BBC News, "cities were left strewn with rocks, glass and bullet casings ... after almost 24 hours of violence which left 30 dead and more than 1,100 injured." Meanwhile Egypt's ambassador to the US, Mohamed Tawfik, has described the military's position, which faults Morsi and his supporters. Tawfik accuses the Morsi group of having incited their supporters, a week ago, into facing off against the many anti-Morsi people in the street. The army, he said, had to intervene "before terrible clashes got out of control." Tawfik describes the military as peacekeepers, against violence by members of the public and especially against the incitement of violence.
Jul 7 In Egypt, a spokesman for the interim presidency says that the Muslim Brotherhood will have a voice and be able to assert their influence in new elections. The strategy of the Brotherhood is not to wait patiently till then. Patience has been in short supply in Egypt's so-called transition to democracy. The Brotherhood's revered leader, Mohammed Badie, hot with emotion, vows to restore former president Morsi to office somehow sooner, saying Egyptians will not accept "military rule" for another day. We shall see.
Jul 9 In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood is describing the deaths of 51 protesters fired upon by soldiers as a massacre. The army shows footage of the protesters with guns and claims the soldiers were firing in self-defense. Someone who had been somewhere with the protesters claims in a rage before a television camera that he knows for sure there was no firing on the soldiers. Egypt's media responds with support for the military's view of the event. Charged up emotionally, according to BBC News, the Brotherhood rejects "a timetable for new elections laid out by interim president Adly Mansour, saying it is illegitimate." Some believe that the Brotherhood is responding to events against its interests.
Jul 10 The king and crown prince of Saudi Arabia congratulate Muslims across the world on the advent of Ramadan, and they denounce divisive sectarianism. Their message, read on television, states that Saudi Arabia will not tolerate extremism, and adds: "We have learned from the great Muslims of the past that Islam is a religion of love and tolerance and it promotes dialogue and peace."
Jul 10 Egypt's new interim government orders the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and nine others, for inciting violence against Egyptians. Badie is an emotionally charged "Supreme Guide" who has denounced peace efforts with Israel, saying the "enemy knows nothing but the language of force." It was he who said three days ago that Egyptians will not accept "military rule" for another day.
Jul 12 Yesterday, anti-Assad Islamists killed another Free Syrian Army leader, a top commander, Mohammed Kamal al-Hamami. Other FSA leaders call it tantamount to a declaration of war. "We will not let them get away with it," says a senior FSA commander. The FSA was begun by army deserters who chose self-defense and defeat of the Assad regime rather than shoot at innocent civilians. Now they have another war to fight.
Jul 15 In the US the media is dominated by news of a jury in Florida having found no convincing evidence that George Zimmerman, 29, acted other than in self-defence in his shooting and killing an unarmed Trayvon Martin, 17. In many cities people have been demonstrating peacefully. A few have found pleasure in rioting – in Oakland, California, for example, where cars were smashed and fires set. Proclamations of vigilante justice have been made: predictions that Zimmerman will go from being found innocent to being found dead. Some fault Zimmerman for having racially profiled Martin by assuming he was up to no good because he was black. A complaint has been expressed that whites are perceived as able "to stand their ground" but blacks not. Ann Coulter reacts to the jury's verdict in front of TV cameras with the word "Hallelujah," and she speaks of a "media-led mob" trying to make Zimmerman a sacrificial lamb, and with others she finds reason to fault President Obama.
Jul 16 Fervent authoritarian faith of the aggressive and violent kind takes a hit in Bangladesh. Islamist leader Ghulam Azam has been convicted of war crimes by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh. He has been sentenced to 90 years in jail for his involvement in mass killings and rape during Bangladesh's struggle for independence from Pakistan in 1971. Azam supported Pakistan. Today in Bangladesh he is still seen as a spiritual leader. On the eve of the verdict, reports BBC News, "there were sporadic clashes in different parts of the capital [Dhaka] with reports of some injuries. "
Jul 17 On a North Korean ship passing from Cuba through the Panama Canal, weapons are found under a shipment of sugar. The ship is seized by Panama authorities, looking for illegal drugs. The ship's crew now faces charges of illegal weapons smuggling. The weapons included are mid-20th century missiles, parts for MIG aircraft and anti-aircraft weaponry. Cuba has announced that "The weapons are ours." Arms trafficking expert, Hugh Griffith, speaks of renewed military co-operation between Cuba and North Korea. Meanwhile the Danes remember the suggestion during the height of Cold War tensions in Europe that their defense department be reduced to a tape recorder that repeats "we surrender" in Russian. No such humor is expected from political leaders in North Korea or Cuba.
Jul 18 China's recent GDP decline from a 7.7 percent annual growth rate to 7.5 percent has created international buzz. The decline is perhaps intended. Prime Minister Li Keqiang has said the Chinese economy needs to slow down. Mark Buchanan for Bloomberg News writes of China's leaders complaining that, "Too much money is flowing into unproductive investments." According to Buchanan, "Li means to encourage a focus on the quality rather than the quantity of growth." He wants "a gliding slowdown in which consumption, not misdirected investment and white-elephant projects, becomes the primary driver of growth."
Jul 19 A Pakistani Taliban commander, Adnan Rasheed, has written a letter (dated July 15) to Malala, the teenage education heroine honored by the United Nations. He writes, "The Taliban never attacked you because of going to school or you were [an] education lover." Rasheed claims Malala was attacked for running a smear campaign to malign their efforts to establish an Islamic education system in Pakistan's Swat district. He describes the Taliban as "not against the education of any men or women or girl." He complains of British imperialism trying to make "all human beings English ... because Englishmen are the staunch supporters of Jews." Rasheed speaks up for an education system "based on noble thoughts noble curriculum" and faults Malala for backing an education system to "produce more and more Asians in blood but English in taste, to produce more and more Africans in color but English in opinion, to produce more and more non English people but English in morale." He continues: " This so called education made Obama, the mass murder[er], your ideal. isn't it?" He ends: "All praises to Allah the creator of the universe."
Jul 20 A Norwegian interior designer on a business trip to Dubai, after a night out with colleagues on March 6, reported to police that she was raped. Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, is still in Dubai, living under the protection of the Norwegian Seaman's Center. Her money and passport were confiscated and she was charged with having extramarital sex, drinking alcohol and perjury and sentenced to 16 months in prison. The man she accused of rape was sentenced to 13 months for extramariital sex and drinking alcohol. Norway's foreign minister is protesting.
Jul 22 Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls on the Assad regime and opposition to work together to expel all "terrorists and extremists" from Syria. A war between opposition groups is still underway, and a compromise between the Assad regime and those who are not al-Qaeda oriented would be a beginning to ending Syria's civil war. Meanwhile, Russia is telling the Assad regime of possible loans to help Syria's battered economy.
Jul 23 World Bank reports that the African continent suffers from confusion over land governance. BBC News reports the Bank saying "farmers' inability to prove ownership, legal disputes and land grabs [have] held back cultivation." The Bank recommends governments securing land tenure rights for communities and individuals. This comes a couple of weeks after President Obama toured Africa and spoke up for its economic development.
Jul 24 An eleven-year-old Yemeni girl, Nada Al-Ahdal, has spoken with verve on video against her arranged marriage. She is reported as having fled her home to her uncle. Her video, with English captions, is reported as having had more than 5.6 million views in two days. Nada's father is reported as having responded by changing his mind and pledging not to give her away in marriage until she is seventeen. The video is here.
Jul 24 Goldman Sachs is getting more negative media attention. In the New York Times on July 21 David Kocieniewski writes that by warehousing aluminum, Goldman Sachs has raised the price of cans of beer and cola the world over.
Jul 25 While visiting Morocco to promote business ties, King Juan Carlos of Spain hails Morocco's stability. Morocco has its conflict between Islamist and less Islamist or almost secular citizens. It has a problem right now with its Islamist prime minister having lost parliamentary support. With King Mohammed VI looking on, the prime minister will be trying to form a new coalition. Morocco's constitutional monarchy has provided the country with a stability obviously greater than exists in the republics of Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Yemen — while Britain has just finished gleefully celebrating the birth of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge (born on 22 July ), who might someday become King George VII.
Jul 25 In a narrow vote, the US House of Representatives has supported the Obama administration's position on continuing the National Security Agency's data collections. It was done with the help of Republicans while a majority in Obama's party, the Democrats, voted to end the NSA practice. There was argument before the vote that the government had gone too far in the name of national security and that the program is inspired by exaggerated fear. People supporting the Obama administration on the issue see an exaggerated fear in the claim that the NSA program threatens personal privacy.
Jul 25 A Gallop poll among Whites and non-Hispanic Blacks claims an 87 percent approval of Black-White marriages, up from 4 percent in 1958. Whites alone are described as approving at a rate of 84%, up from 61 percent in 1997 and 17 percent in 1969.
Jul 26 In France, parliament ends a law against insulting the nation's president. To defend himself in a court of law a president still has issues available to others: slander or defamation. In March this year, a man was fined for telling President Sarkozy to go .... himself. According to the World Press Freedom Committee, laws "that make it a criminal offense to 'insult' the honor or dignity of public officials are used in dozens of countries to prevent and punish journalistic scrutiny of public records and official actions... Insult laws are clearly incompatible with Article 19 of the UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
Jul 29 The world is focused on Egypt, where millions took to the streets over the weekend (it's Monday) both for and against the Muslim Brotherhood's ousted president, Morsi. At least 83 Morsi supporters are reported as having been killed in clashes with the military. Evidence exists that the military was fired upon, and the military, of course, claims self-defense. Morsi supporters are planning more and greater demonstrations. Some were demonstrating early today. The army is warning protesters not to approach military facilities. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on Egypt's security forces to respect the right to free speech and assembly and urges protesters to demonstrate peacefully.
Jul 30 Self-appointed moral police of the religious kind strike again. In Kano, the major city in northern Nigeria, bombers strike at bars, in the Christian part of town. The city has a Muslim majority. The Islamist group Boko Haram is considered suspect. Twelve people are reported as having been killed.
Jul 31 Kuwait's ruling monarch in this month of fasting and forgiveness (Ramadan) announces a pardon for persons given jail time for insulting him. Many are in prison under this charge, including a woman teacher sentenced in June to eleven years for using her mobile phone to insult the king and call for regime change. The monarchy faces displeasure from both "liberals" and Islamists. In elections last week, liberals won three seats in the 50-member National Assembly, up from no seats. Kuwait does not allow political parties. Candidates run either as independents or affiliated unofficially with a tribe. Shi'ite representation fell from 17 seats to 8. (Shi'ites are 30 percent of the population.) Sunni tribal groups gained, with a shift toward greater support for the monarchy.
Copyright © 2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.