Reading Digest – 13 August 2012   Leave a comment

“Lisa, you got a letter.” – Marge Simpson
“It’s from my pen pal, Anya.” – Lisa Simpson
“Dear Lisa, as I write this I am very sad.  Our president has been overthrown and-” – Anya
“-replaced, by the benevolent General Krull.  All hail Krull and his glorious new regime!  Sincerely, little girl.” – General Krull

General Krull Overthrown:

aljazeeralogo1 Crowds in Cairo praise Morsi’s army overhaul:

The Egyptian president has ordered the powerful head of the army and defence minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and several senior generals into retirement and canceled constitutional amendments issued by the military restricting presidential powers.

bbclogo1 Egypt President Mursi explains army chief replacement:

"The decisions I took today were not meant ever to target certain persons, nor did I intend to embarrass institutions, nor was my aim to narrow freedoms," Mr Mursi said during a speech to mark the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"I did not mean to send a negative message about anyone, but my aim was the benefit of this nation and its people," he said.

The president also praised the armed forces, saying they would now focus "on the holy mission of protecting the nation".

nytimeslogo1 In Upheaval for Egypt, Morsi Forces Out Military Chiefs:

Still, it was unclear on Sunday whether the generals would accept Mr. Morsi’s latest moves. One top general said the reshuffle was made in “consultations” between Mr. Morsi and the military. There was no sign of a backlash by the military on Sunday night, as the president’s supporters held large rallies in Cairo. And other figures from across the political spectrum hailed Mr. Morsi’s decision. 

“We had been chanting, ‘Down, down with military rule,’ ” said Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, a liberal political activist. “Today it came true.”

As usual, Juan Cole is among the best English language sources on this, and even he’s not really sure what’s going on, concluding simply “stay tuned”.  For an indication of just how much Tantawi doesn’t like Morsi, consider this telling detail:

That same morning, President Morsi was to be sworn in before the Supreme Constitutional Court. He would, as part of standard protocol, be saluted by Field Marshal Tantawi, as chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. For a military man to salute an Islamist in public would, in Egypt, be understood by many as a defeat, and a source told Reuters that Tantawi would never allow such a sight to be seen. We wondered how they would maneuver their way out of this one. It was announced, some minutes before the swearing-in, that the session would be recorded and broadcast later. Only state tv cameras would be let in. The salute, so it was understood, would be edited out.

In the end, after a two-hour delay, the swearing-in was broadcast live—at the insistence of the judges, who alleged that it was President Morsi who was the one who had not wanted to be seen swearing the oath before the very court that had dissolved the Parliament. In the end, Morsi swore the oath four times over the course of two days, and he was, eventually, saluted once.

Earthquake in Iran:

One of these headlines is not like the others:

bbclogo1 Iran steps up relief efforts after Saturday’s quakes

aljazeeralogo1 Iran earthquake death toll continues to rise

nytimeslogo1 Iran Government Criticized Over Earthquake Response

The Al Jazeera link has the requisite slideshow of rubble porn, if that’s your thing.


bbclogo1 Pope’s ex-butler Paolo Gabriele to stand trial:

The 46-year-old has been living under house arrest at his family’s Vatican flat, where police discovered a stash of confidential correspondence taken from the Pope’s Secretariat of State.

Mr Gabriele’s lawyer said his client confessed to stealing the papers but told investigators he thought he was acting in the interests of the Catholic Church.

And why would he think that?  Well . . .

aljazeeralogo1 Vatican rules Pope’s butler must stand trial:

The leaks scandal broke in January when Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi revealed letters from a former top Vatican administrator who begged the pope not to transfer him for having exposed alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions of euros in higher contract prices.

The prelate was transferred and is now the Vatican’s US ambassador.

In the cross dressing cosa nostra, made guys who rock the boat get cushy jobs in America while the help gets to go on trial with the possibility of six years in prison.  Good to know. 

Australian Hospitality:

bbclogo1 Australian Premier Backs Plan to Accept More Refugees:

Australia should set up offshore processing centres for asylum seekers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, and "pursue" a refugee agreement with Malaysia, a panel says.

However . . .

nytimeslogo1 Australian Premier Backs Plan to Accept More Refugees:

Monday’s proposal was immediately rejected by the Greens, a party that usually votes with Labor but is vehemently opposed to offshore processing, meaning that any legislation will have to gain the approval of the opposition Liberal-National coalition. The coalition has thus far refused to compromise over the issue, although there were some signs that it backed aspects of the new report.

Australia is due to have another election before the end of next year, so don’t be surprised if they bump along without changing policies much until after that happens.  It’s not like the refugees are going to stop trying. 

Ugandan Helicopters:

bbclogo1 Uganda search for missing helicopters in Kenya:

A search is under way in Kenya for two Ugandan military helicopters which have gone missing with 10 crew members on board, Uganda’s army spokesman says.

The helicopters were among four which were due to make a stop in Kenya, but only one landed in the town of Garissa.

aljazeeralogo1 Uganda helicopter crew rescued:

Two other helicopters came down hard after being dispatched to strengthen peacekeeping troops in Somalia, Associated Press news agency said quoting a Ugandan military spokesman.

Col Kulayigye said in Kampala that there were no fatalities, but did not say where the helicopters landed or how many military personnel they were carrying. He said two made a “hard landing”.

Fit to Print:

nytimeslogo1 Problems Riddle Moves to Collect Credit Card Debt:

As they work through a glut of bad loans, companies like American Express, Citigroup and Discover Financial are going to court to recoup their money. But many of the lawsuits rely on erroneous documents, incomplete records and generic testimony from witnesses, according to judges who oversee the cases.

Lenders, the judges said, are churning out lawsuits without regard for accuracy, and improperly collecting debts from consumers. The concerns echo a recent abuse in the foreclosure system, a practice known as robo-signing in which banks produced similar documents for different homeowners and did not review them.

If it’s anything like the robo-signing foreclosure scam, you might want to replace the word “Problems” in the headline with “Fraud” or “Extortion”. 

nytimeslogo1 Facebook’s Stock Has Suffered, but Some Investors See Long-Term Value – Facebook sucks, and people who bought its stock are suckers.  Screw ’em. 

nytimeslogo1 Syrian Jets Continue to Pound Rebels in Aleppo – Egypt is getting all the press today, but this is still a thing. 

Posted August 13, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Reading Digest, The Simpsons

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