Early election results in Mexico indicate the PRI candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, has won the presidential vote, but his chief rival, the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has refused to concede. Peño Nieto belongs to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, the party that ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000.
Egypt has sworn in its first freely elected civilian president, Mohamed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood candidate took the oath of office under the watch of Egypt’s ruling military council, which has expanded its own authority since Morsi won a run-off vote late last month. One day before his official inauguration, Morsi addressed a massive gathering of supporters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. In remarks clearly directed at the military, Morsi said no authority is above the will of the Egyptian people.
President Mohamed Morsi: “No institution, no authority, none can be above this will — the will of you, your will. You are the source of the powers. The nation is the source of the power. The nation is the one to decide. And the nation is the one to give unity. And the nation is the one to appoint and hire. And the nation is the one to fire.”
At his inauguration ceremony the following day, Morsi sounded a more conciliatory tone, praising the Egyptian military for its role in the transition from the Mubarak regime. Morsi also renewed his vow to respect all of Egypt’s international obligations.
President Mohamed Morsi: “We carry a message of peace to the world, and we carry with it a message of righteousness and justice. And as we have always promised, we emphasize Egypt’s commitment to international treaties and agreements. We will look after these treaties and agreements.”
At least eight people have been killed in the latest U.S. drone attack inside Pakistan. The victims were killed when four U.S. missiles struck a village near the Afghan border. Pakistani officials say the dead were suspected militants.
The latest attack comes amidst reports major U.S. military firms are lobbying the government to loosen restrictions and open up foreign markets to U.S.-made drones. According to the Los Angeles Times, companies, including Northrop Grumman, have waged an effort for the United States to drop its obligations under the 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime, which limits the sale of pilotless aircraft. Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California says the Obama administration will roll back export rules on technology sales to foreign countries, and he expects drones to be covered. According to recent estimates, drone spending across the globe is expected to almost double over the next decade, hitting $11.4 billion in 2022. Speaking recently before the U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, raised concerns about the drones' legality.
Navi Pillay: “It is unclear that all persons targeted are combatants or directly participating in hostilities. I remind states of their international obligation to take all necessary precautions to ensure that the use of drones comply with international law. I urge them to conduct investigations that are transparent, credible and independent, and to provide victims with effective remedies.”
At least 13 people have died and more than three million have been left without power after violent storms and a record-setting heat wave hit the eastern United States. Emergencies were declared in Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., after a massive storm unleashed hurricane-force winds. Power grids in Ohio, Virginia and Maryland suffered major damage. The head of the utility company Pepco said residents in Washington and Virginia could be without power until Friday.
Thomas Graham: “Our crews continue to work around the clock to restore service to each customer. They estimate a restoration time — the global estimated restoration time we’re provided — we’re going to provide today is 11 p.m. on Friday, July the 6th. That will represent restoration for the vast majority of our customers. So at least 90 percent of those customers will have their service restored by Friday evening.”
Power grids were further strained as a heat wave from the Great Plains to the Mid-Atlantic brought record temperatures. More than two dozen cities across 10 states set or tied all-time highs, including 106 degrees in Atlanta and 104 degrees in Charlotte.
In New York, the heat wave pushed temperatures into the 90s, and power grids faced further strain after the power utility Con Edison locked out thousands of unionized workers in a labor dispute. The two sides remain at an impasse over a new contract.
As the East Coast endures a brutal heat wave in the storms’ aftermath, residents of Colorado are beginning to return to charred communities hit by the worst wildfire in the state’s history. The Waldo Canyon Fire has burned nearly 350 homes and displaced tens of thousands of residents in Colorado Springs, the state’s second largest city. Firefighters say they finally have the blaze under control after eight days of unrelenting wildfire. The firefighting effort was initially hampered by record-high temperatures and by winds that fanned the flames. The extreme weather across the country continues a pattern that scientists and environmentalists have linked to global warming.
Thousands of people marched across Japan over the weekend to protest the country’s resumption of nuclear power. Japan halted nuclear production earlier this year for the first time since the 1970s but resumed on Saturday by bringing the shuttered Oi plant back online. Oi is Japan’s first nuclear power plant to restart since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Protester Akiko Kondo criticized the Japanese government’s decision.
Akiko Kondo: “While saying they’re going to restart, there continue to be various problems even with Oi nuclear power plant. When I hear about this, and under these circumstances, to have the plant running, all I can really say is that the government and all those involved really shock me.”
Tens of thousands of people took part in an annual rally for democracy and economic equality in Hong Kong on Sunday amid the swearing in of the city’s new chief executive, Leung Chun-ying. Chinese President Hu Jintao came under protest as he presided over the ceremony when a demonstrator rushed the stage. Chun-ying is Hong Kong’s third chief executive since China regained control of the city in 1997 after over a century of British rule.
At least 140 people were killed over the weekend in violence across Syria. The clashes came amidst an international gathering in Geneva that yielded a call for a new transition plan to end the crisis. Russia and China agreed to endorse the proposal after it omitted reference to the exclusion of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from a new Syrian government. Iran, a close ally of Assad, was left out of the meeting at the insistence of the United States.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared parts of the West Bank city of Bethlehem and its Church of the Nativity to be endangered World Heritage sites. The Palestinian Authority had sought the designation in a bid to speed up urgently needed repairs and help protect the city from Israeli occupation.
The European Union has enacted new sanctions against Iran following their approval earlier this year. The measures ban imports of Iranian oil and hamper efforts by other countries to trade with Iran. Speaking at the United Nations, Iranian ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said his government remains committed to negotiations and a nuclear-free Middle East.
Mohammad Khazaee: “We believe that going toward or moving toward having nuclear bomb is a damage for our credibility and also the stability in the region. That’s why we emphasize that we should have a Middle East free zone of nuclear weapons.”
The chair of the banking giant Barclays has resigned in the aftermath of an interest-rate fixing scandal that will likely spread to other firms. Marcus Agius announced his departure just days after Barclays was fined $453 million by U.S. and British authorities for manipulating key interest rates. A British probe found Barclays conspired to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, which provides the basis for rates on trillions of dollars in transactions across the globe. The manipulation meant millions of borrowers paid the wrong amount on their loans. A Justice Department probe of Barclays is continuing, and other banks could be implicated as well.
Large crowds marched in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles on Saturday to protest the retail giant Wal-Mart’s plan to open a new store. Construction on the store began last week with plans to open next year. Critics say it will devastate local businesses while bringing in low-paying, non-union jobs. Labor unions are challenging the store in court after Wal-Mart averted a city council effort to block construction.
A federal judge has blocked an effort by the state of Mississippi to close its last remaining abortion clinic. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization faced closure under a new state law that would have forced all physicians who perform abortions to be OB-GYNs with the power to admit patients to local hospitals. The Jackson clinic does employ OB-GYNs, but only one has been able to obtain the necessary hospital privileges. Critics say the law would have forced women to drive hundreds of miles out of state in order to obtain an abortion. On Sunday — the day before it was to take effect — Judge Daniel Jordan of Federal District Court temporarily blocked the law and set a hearing for later this month.
Hundreds of people began converging in Philadelphia over the weekend for a national gathering of the Occupy movement running through July 4. Organizers say the Occupy National Gathering will focus on “direct actions, movement building and the creation of a vision for a democratic future.”