Egypt widens Muslim Brotherhood crackdown; missile attack kills 10 in Syria

December 31, 2013
EGYPT
Crackdown against Brotherhood widens

Egyptian security forces arrested the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader on charges of inciting violence, the latest move in a crackdown against the group.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s interim government has ordered the assets of more than 500 Brotherhood and Islamist leaders seized, senior judicial and security officials said Tuesday. The court order allowed the government to form the committee that inventoried the group’s finances and ordered its confiscation.

The Interior Ministry said Anas Beltagi was arrested with two others in an apartment in Nasr City, the same district where security forces in August broke up protests calling for the reinstatement of Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader who was ousted from the presidency by the army in July.

They were found in possession of a shotgun and ammunition, the Interior Ministry said. Beltagi’s father, Mohamed Beltagi, is in jail facing trial. He is accused of inciting violence along with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

— Reuters

Central African Republic
Mob takes over airport runways

Thousands of people flooded the runway of the international airport in the chaotic capital of the Central African Republic, shouting slogans against the nation’s Muslim president, who grabbed power in a coup nine months ago.

French forces deployed at the airport were unable to stop them, and international flights appeared to have been suspended.

The Central African Republic has been in a state of near-anarchy since an attack on the capital, Bangui, in December by a Christian militia aiming to overthrow Michel Djotodia, the Muslim coup leader. That attack unleashed a wave of communal violence.

The number of displaced people in Bangui has increased 70 percent in the past two weeks, from 214,000 to 370,000, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Between 70,000 and 100,000 people have sought refuge at the airport, the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

— Associated Press

SYRIA
Missile hits bus, killing 10 in Aleppo

A missile struck a bus Tuesday in a rebel-held area of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, setting it on fire and killing at least 10 people, activists said.

Another missile struck nearby in the al-Bab area of Aleppo as residents rushed to carry out the wounded from the bus, the ­British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syrian forces have killed more than 500 people, mainly civilians, since Dec. 15 in a bombing campaign in Aleppo, mostly by dropping crude explosive-filled barrels over rebel neighborhoods. The al-Bab area has been a frequent target. The bombings constitute one of the most intense attacks on residential areas since the uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad began three years ago.

— Associated Press

NORTH KOREA
Kim Jong Un hails elimination of ‘filth’

Kim Jong Un boasted Wednesday that North Korea enters the new year on a surge of strength because of the elimination of “factionalist filth” — a reference to the young leader’s uncle, whose execution in December has raised questions about Kim’s grip on power.

In his annual New Year’s Day message, Kim also called for improved ties with Seoul. There is widespread worry about the country’s future since Kim publicly humiliated and then executed his uncle and mentor.

North Korea’s “resolute” action to “eliminate factionalist filth” within the ruling Workers’ Party has bolstered the country’s unity “by 100 times,” Kim said in a speech broadcast by state TV. He did not mention by name his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, long considered the country’s No. 2 power.

— Associated Press

Burma releases political prisoners: Burma, also known as Myanmar, freed five prisoners Tuesday and more are expected to be released next week as part of a pledge by the country’s president to free all political prisoners. They were freed after President Thein Sein granted a pardon Monday to those convicted of or charged with a variety of political offenses, such as unlawful association, high treasons, and violations of the peaceful assembly law.

Latvia adopts euro: Latvia has become the 18th member of the euro zone. The euro became the country’s official currency as of Wednesday.

— From news services

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