Muslim Brotherhood

♦ In Syria, loyalists proclaim their success, but there are plenty of reminders that their progress is limited and potentially reversible.
♦ In Egypt, critics accuse Mohamed Morsi and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood of ineptitude and authoritarianism that has damaged the economy and fuelled public discontent.
♦ Greece is struggling to avoid the collapse of a second big privatisation – bidders for the state gaming monopoly want to change the terms of a deal agreed last month.
♦ The New York Times looks at how Barack Obama engaged with Nelson Mandela’s history.
♦ The former second ranking officer in the US military is now the target of a Justice Department investigation into the leak of information about a covert US cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear programme.
♦ DNA testing has gained in popularity as people go searching for their African roots.
♦ Eric Lewis, a partner at an international litigation firm, argues based on the Supreme Court’s decisions this week that, “
Even with the jubilation surrounding the defeat of DOMA, this has been a strange and sad week for the Court and the nation.” Read more

The Boston aftermath

♦ Police in Boston said they had found fragments of nylon bags, shrapnel and the remnants of a pressure cooker at the site of Monday’s bombing, report Geoff Dyer and Robert Wright. Time’s Swampland blog put together a short history of pressure cooker bombs.

♦ Within hours of the attack, some US media outlets were discussing the possible involvement of a 20-year-old man seen running – along with almost everyone else who could – from the scene. He was later declared to be only a witness, but not before his apartment had been searched. So why was he singled out? Probably because he’s Saudi, says Amy Davidson.

♦ “There’s not much to say about Monday’s Boston Marathon attack because there is virtually no known evidence regarding who did it or why,” writes Glenn Greenwald. “There are, however, several points to be made about some of the widespread reactions to this incident.

♦ David Kenner muses on the difference between the Muslim Brotherhood’s official response to the bombs, and the message posted by a senior Brotherhood leader, Essam el-Erian, on his facebook page. El-Erian condemned the attack — but also linked it to the French war in Mali, the destruction in Syria and Iraq.


♦ A senior Chinese auditor told Simon Rabinovitch that local government debt is “out of control” and could spark a bigger financial crisis than the US housing market crash. But don’t worry – there won’t be any sudden collapse in China’s financial system, says Jamil Anderlini in today’s Global Insight column – it’ll be slow.

On the theme of accountancy in China, Simon Rabinovitch and Adam Jones looked at how homegrown auditors are eroding the influence of established western firms in China.

♦ India’s first major theme park opens on Thursdsay. Among its rides is “a gigantic six-armed animatronic Hindu god, standing astride a trio of curly-horned fire-breathing rams”. Yes you should go – but in the meantime, read James Crabtree’s report.

♦ The 2013 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography has been awarded to five photographers from the Associated Press – Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen – for their “compelling coverage of the civil war in Syria, producing memorable images under extreme hazard.” You can see the images on the Pulitzer website (warning: some are graphic).

♦ InsideClimate News may be the leanest news start-up ever to be presented with a Pulitzer, says Brian Stelter – and they don’t even have a newsroom. Read more

♦ Cuts to welfare payments in the UK will hit northern communities as much as five times as hard as the Conservative heartlands of the south. Take a look at the FT’s Austerity Audit interactive to see all the research and reporting on the effects of the current government’s radical reforms.

♦ Brazil is grappling with a Congress where “foxes” are often in charge of the henhouse.

♦ The Egyptian armed forces participated in forced disappearances, torture and killings during the 2011 uprising, despite publicly declaring their neutrality.

♦ Mona Eltahawy explains why satire is a serious subject in Egypt: “What is satire if not a marriage of civil disobedience to a laugh track, a potent brew of derision and lack of respect that acts as a nettle sting on the thin skin of the humourless? And what is revolution if not the ultimate act of derision against the established powers.”

♦ Marc Lynch wonders if his initial assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood was wrong: both academics and policymakers need to recognize that the lessons of the past no longer apply so cleanly, and that many of the analytical conclusions developed during the Mubarak years are obsolete.”

♦ Robert Driessen, one of the world’s most successful art forgers, tells his story (from Thailand, out of the reach of European authorities).

♦ Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who plans to run in the 2018 presidential election, will be put on trial next week. Georgy Bovt explains why he will go to jail.  Read more

Today’s reading picks from the world news desk…  Read more

Here’s what we’ve been chatting about after the weekend:


Image by Getty

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi has claimed victory in Egypt’s first presidential election since Hosni Mubarak’s downfall last year, but this comes in the wake of some aggressive moves from the military to retain political control.

The official results will be announced on Thursday. In the meantime, get the background on the two organisations fighting for political control in Egypt. Read more

Members of the ruling military council, Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Assar, left, listens as Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Shahin, speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, June 18, 2012. Al-Assar, a senior member of the ruling council, said the generals would transfer power in a "grand ceremony." He did not give an exact date or mention Morsi by name. He said the new president will have the authority to appoint and dismiss the government and that the military council has no intention of taking away any of the president's authorities. "We'll never tire or be bored from assuring everyone that we will hand over power before the end of June," al-Assar told a televised news conference. (AP Photo/Sami Wahib)

Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Assar, left, and Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Shahin, during a press conference in Cairo on Monday, June 18. AP Photo/Sami Wahib

The Egyptian daily newspaper, al-Masr al-Youm, summed up the country’s predicament brilliantly on Monday.

The military transfers power to the military,” read the headline.

While Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate, and Ahmad Shafiq, the generals’ favourite, battled it out all day, each claiming to have won the weekend presidential vote, the ruling military council had already decided who would be the real ruler: the generals themselves. Read more


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Here is what the world desk is reading and chatting about today:

If you find the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt confusing, I suspect that is entirely intentional. The Brotherhood is now the largest organised political force in Egypt, but it currently operates from ramshackle offices in a Cairo suburb. It has sweeping ambitions and a grand vision for the entire Middle East. But it has promised not to seek a majority of seats in the coming parliamentary elections in Egypt or to run a candidate for president.

Essam el-Erian, the brotherhood’s spokesman, embodies the contradiction. He is smiling and welcoming to foreign visitors and he speaks about conciliation and pluralism in Egypt. But get him on international affairs and something much darker and angrier emerges. The Obama administration may hope that it gained credit by urging President Mubarak to step down. But not in the eyes of El-Erian. He insists that America is actively working to overturn the Egyptian revolution and adds – “The Americans always lie. They say one thing and do the opposite.” Read more