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HeadlinesJune 25, 2012

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Muslim Brotherhood Candidate Wins Egyptian Election

Jun 25, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi has been declared the winner in Egypt’s presidential race one week after the vote was held. Morsi picked up 13.2 million votes, or 51 percent, beating out former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, who received 12.3 million. Tens of thousands of people flooded Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday after the result was announced. In his victory address, Morsi vowed to respect Egypt’s international obligations as well as human rights at home.

Mohamed Morsi: “We will respect agreements and international law, as well as Egyptian commitments and treaties with the rest of the world. We will work to establish the principle of Egyptians and its civil identity as well as human values, especially freedom and the respect of human rights, the respect of women and family rights, as well as children, and to do away with any discrimination.”

Morsi will become Egypt’s first freely elected president, but he’ll face major challenges under Egypt’s ruling military council. The council recently issued new restrictions on the incoming president’s authority and will retain control of Egypt’s budget and legislation.

Paraguayan President Ousted in Senate Vote

Jun 25, 2012

Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo has been ousted in what he has described as a parliamentary coup. On Friday, the Paraguayan Senate voted 39-to-4 to dismiss Lugo over his handling of a recent land dispute that resulted in at least 17 deaths. A former priest known for defending peasant rights, Lugo’s 2008 election ended more than 60 years of rule by the right-wing Colorado Party. Lugo has announced an alternative government, calling his replacement illegitimate. Latin American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile and Uruguay have also condemned Lugo’s ouster and recalled their ambassadors.

Activists Criticize Rio+20 Declaration at Summit’s Close

Jun 25, 2012

The U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, has concluded in Brazil. Over the weekend, negotiators unveiled an agreement that sets new development goals and lays the groundwork for future talks. Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang hailed the pact as a success.

Sha Zukang: “You laid down the groundbreaking guidelines on applying green economy policies as a useful tool in advancing sustainable development and ending poverty. You agreed to strengthen the environmental pillar of sustainable development by enhancing UNEP. You decided that we need a high-level political forum to address the three pillars of sustainable development in an integrated way.”

Many groups working on environmental and poverty issues have criticized the Rio+20 agreement for being too weak. Iain Keith of AVAAZ and Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace International had harsh criticism of the summit as it came to a close.

Iain Keith: “What has happened in Rio is weak language with no timelines to end these polluter payments. We’re here today demonstrating the fact that the wealth and the power of big oil, coal and gas speaks louder than people here at the Rio summit.”

Kumi Naidoo: “I think that it is criminal that we have close to a hundred heads of state come here and do not spend even one hour in negotiations with each other, that the whole process was left to civil servants and diplomats to actually negotiate an agreement with no effort by heads of state to actually say, ’It’s not good enough, we need more ambition,’ and so on.”

Syrian Forces Defect to Turkey as Border Tensions Grow

Jun 25, 2012

Tensions between Turkey and Syria are growing as the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues to strain the neighboring countries’ ties. Turkey says 33 more members of the Syrian military have defected, including a general and two colonels. The group is reportedly being hosted at a refugee camp near Turkey’s border with Syria. The news comes days after Syrian forces shot down a Turkish fighter jet in what Turkey says was international airspace. The U.N. observer mission, meanwhile, remains idle amid continuing violence throughout Syria. Earlier today, the head of the mission, Robert Mood, said he had met with both sides but that the observers will stay on the sidelines.

Robert Mood: “We haven’t made that decision yet, but I was able today to have a meeting, a good meeting, professional meeting, with the deputy minister of foreign affairs and the working groups. I conveyed my impressions from New York and Geneva, after having briefed the Security Council and after having discussed with Kofi Annan.”

Assange Calls for Guarantees on Avoiding U.S. Extradition

Jun 25, 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is calling for diplomatic guarantees he won’t be pursued by the United States should he end up being extradited to Sweden. Assange remains at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after seeking refuge in a last-ditch bid to avoid being sent to Sweden, where he faces questioning on allegations of sexual assault. Speaking earlier today, Assange suggested a deal could be reached if he were able to receive assurances the Obama administration would drop a grand jury investigation or that Sweden would deny his extradition into U.S. hands. Assange remains concerned the White House will target him for WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of leaked classified government cables.

Manning Attorney: Prosecutors Blocking Key Evidence

Jun 25, 2012

Attorneys for Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier accused of leaking classified U.S. diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, are accusing the United States of deliberately trying to prevent Manning from receiving a fair trial. In a new court filing, Manning’s civilian lawyer, David Coombs, says Army prosecutors have blocked access to key evidence assessing the leak’s impact worldwide. News reports have suggested internal government reviews have found the leak caused minimal damage, contradicting prosecutors’ contention that Manning harmed national security and aided U.S. foes. But Coombs says prosecutors have refused to hand over the assessments and misrepresented their contents in court.

DEA Agent Kills Drug Suspect in Honduras

Jun 25, 2012

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent has shot a man to death during a raid on an alleged smuggling operation in Honduras. The U.S. government says the victim had reached for his weapon, prompting the U.S. agent to open fire. It was the latest deadly incident involving U.S. agents following a raid that saw four people killed — including two pregnant women — last month. The latest shooting marked the first where the United States has acknowledged an American agent has killed a suspect.

Obama Touts Immigration Record in NALEO Speech

Jun 25, 2012

President Obama touted his record on immigration reform on Friday in a key appearance before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Obama’s speech came one day after rival Mitt Romney addressed the same crowd and one week after Obama had offered a limited respite for young immigrants facing deportation.

President Obama: “And what’s also needed is immigration reform that finally lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and as a nation of immigrants, and continues the American story of renewal and energy and dynamism that’s made us who we are. There will always be plenty of stubborn opposition in the way that says, 'No, you can't. No, you shouldn’t.’ But America was built by people who said something different, who said, 'Yes, we can,' who said, 'Sí, se puede.'”

11,000 Evacuated in Colorado Wildfire

Jun 25, 2012

In Colorado, more than 11,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from their homes as a massive wildfire continues to spread. The Waldo Canyon Fire in the Pike National Forest has swept through 2,500 acres of land. There were another 19 wildfires reported in the United States on Sunday, mostly in western states that are seeing high winds and scorching temperatures in the triple digits.


Sandusky Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing 10 Boys

Jun 25, 2012

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty of sexually abusing 10 young boys. On Friday, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts during a trial that saw many of his victims come forward to testify. The Sandusky case sparked a major scandal at Penn State after it was revealed longtime head coach Joe Paterno and top school officials failed to alert police after hearing of the abuse. Paterno was fired last November and died of cancer months later. After the verdict was announced, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Sandusky had caused lifelong damage to his victims.

Linda Kelly: “I have worked tirelessly for the last few years to bring these charges to light, to bring this case to court and to see the day that this defendant, a serial child predator who committed horrific acts upon his victims causing lifelong and life-changing consequences for all of them, has been held accountable for his crimes.”

Sandusky’s lawyers say they plan to appeal the verdict. Two top Penn State officials still face criminal charges for failing to inform police about Sandusky’s abuse of young boys and then lying about it before a grand jury.

13 Arrested Protesting Family’s Eviction in Minneapolis

Jun 25, 2012

Thirteen people have been arrested in Minneapolis while preventing the eviction of a family from their foreclosed home. The incident was the latest in a series of actions by the group Occupy Homes to block authorities’ efforts to seize the property. Scores of people have been arrested at the home since the first eviction was attempted last month. Among those arrested in the latest protest was the Minneapolis-based rap artist, Brother Ali.

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