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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

What Is Happening Today 4-12-2012

News in pills. The latest events worth knowing

That Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, is newly pregnant and in hospital with a rare and acute morning sickness you already know, but it's just a starter.

The Pope has his new personal Twitter account, @pontifex (Latin word for "pontiff"), in 8 languages, starting tweeting in just over a week. The description: "Welcome to the official Twitter page of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Vatican City ·". No tweet yet in his account, but already over 300,000 followers in the first 24 hours, which are at this moment approaching 400,000, and still counting.

Today thousands of Egyptians marched on the presidential palace in Cairo to protest the assumption by Islamist president Morsi of almost unrestricted powers for himself as well as a draft constitution, hurriedly adopted by his allies, that will establish Egypt as a Sharia state, burying any vestige of democracy. Is this "the Death of the ‘Arab Spring’", as Robert Spencer describes it, nearly 2 years after it started?

Obama held a reception party for Led Zeppelin, David Letterman and Dustin Hoffman while discussions to avoid the fiscal cliff continue. Many commentators observed that he could have waited until the fiscal cliff talks were done and a deal had been reached. This is not the first time that Obama puts being a celebrity and hanging out with celebrities (or playing golf) ahead of doing his job. If America goes over the fiscal cliff, millions of Americans will suffer. But the president doesn’t seem to care.

In Sudan, Christians living in the Nuba Mountains continue to be the target of bombers as the government continues to fight a rebel group in the region. Will the world speak up to protect the Christians in the Nuba Mountains? Don't hold your breath.

A mortar slammed into a school in the Damascus suburbs today, killing 29 students and a teacher, according to Syria's state media. Obama and other world leaders warn Syria against using chemical weapons. Nato has now given the go ahead for Patriot surface-to-air missiles to be deployed along Turkey's border with Syria.

In the meantime, in another "Arab Spring" country, Yemen, an Amnesty International report released today details ‘horrific’ abuses. It documents that in its 16-month rule between February 2011 and June 2012, during which it took over parts of southern Yemen, Al Qaida beheaded an alleged sorcerer, crucified a man accused of spying and amputated a man’s hand for stealing, in a “human rights catastrophe”. The report also accuses Yemen’s government of abuses.

In the US, Iraqi refugee were arrested for bombing Arizona Social Security office with IED. The mainstream media are silent about it.

Still in America, Speaker John A. Boehner initiated yesterday a small purge of rebellious (mostly conservative) Republicans from prominent economy committees, sending a harsh message before the approaching vote on a fiscal cliff deal.

Christians in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh continue to face persecution at the hands of Hindu radicals. Police remain complicit to the violence perpetrated against Christians.

The highest US military court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, yesterday ousted the judge in the Fort Hood shooting case for “bias”. It ruled that Col. Gregory Gross didn't appear impartial while presiding over the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 shootings on the Texas Army post that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others. The "bias" consisted in the judge's order to have the suspect's beard forcibly shaved before his court-martial, which the court threw out.

In the US, a newly-released colour photo showing George Zimmerman with bloody injuries, allegedly taken on the night of his altercation with Trayvon Martin which ended up with Zimmerman shooting the 17-year-old dead, could prove that the killing was an act of self-defense and that "media coverage of the story was an exercise in manufactured race-baiting".

In Mali, Jihad gang boss Oumar Ould Hamaha declares war on all music everywhere. He says: "We are in a struggle [Jihad] against all the musicians of the world".

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