News and Analysis (2/22/14)

“Rights groups say courts have failed to hold police accountable for the deaths of over 840 protesters during the 18-day uprising.” Egypt’s military is just as eager to acquit its murderous minions …

… as it is to prosecute its elected leaders and peaceful demonstrators:

“[W]e disagree with that conclusion of the New Jersey district court” — Arthur Eisenberg, legal director of the NY ACLU …

… while in Turkey, laws are proposed to allow its “National Intelligence Agency greater eavesdropping and operational rights and access to personal data without court orders. Journalists publishing leaked documents would face jail terms. The agency would not be prosecuted” without permission of the PM:

The US may begin to ease its strident rhetoric against Iran … after a senior Iranian diplomat” complained that recent US statements, “especially those portraying Iran as the loser in an interim agreement signed in Geneva in November, was making it difficult to ‘convince’ Iranians it was a win-win deal”:

“A resolution … to add the interrogations ban to the agenda of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) legislative body received the support of 53% of representatives to the group’s biannual convention. That didn’t clear the two-thirds threshold required to add the proposed ban to the agenda”:

“Laws restricting alcohol sales, strip clubs, pornography stores, prostitution, blasphemy and consensual sexual behavior, as well as laws that treat women differently from men, are familiar in American history.” When unconstitutional “they are struck down”, but when not, “they are simply democracy in action”:

“Weapons meant for the Somali army could have been used by the militants in Friday’s attack. A confidential report by the UN … said this month that … [i]n at least one case weapons were sold by a military commander directly to an al-Shabaab commander”:

As Syrian troops make advances into rebel-held territory, the refugees continue to languish and the UN loses patience with both sides’ failure to cooperate on humanitarian aid, and the Asad regime tussles over how much time is needed after missing the deadline to remove its chemical weapons:

“The Dubai meetings are the first, fresh Afghan-initiated efforts to restart peace talks aimed at bringing a negotiated end to the conflict ahead of the final withdrawal of international combat troops due at the end of this year. But they also reflect deepening divisions among Taliban leadership”:

The UAE fatwa committee’s concern that a one-way trip to Mars is an act of suicide, has “irked some Muslim scholars” and the NGO organizing the mission  asks that the fatwa be cancelled and argues that only once the “outpost is established will human lives be risked”:

 

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