1 Egypt erupts again (Hamza Hendawi, Sarah El Deeb & Maggie Michael in San Francisco Chronicle) Hundreds of thousands thronged the streets of Cairo and cities around the country Sunday and marched on the presidential palace, filling a broad avenue for blocks, in an attempt to force out the Islamist president with the most massive protests Egypt has seen in 2½ years of turmoil.
In a sign of the explosive volatility of the country's divisions, a hard core of young opponents broke away from the rallies and attacked the main headquarters of President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Fears were widespread that the two sides could be heading to a violent collision in coming days. Morsi made clear through a spokesman that he would not step down and his Islamist supporters vowed not to allow protesters to remove one of their own, brought to office in a legitimate vote.
The protesters aimed to show by sheer numbers that the country has irrevocably turned against Morsi, a year to the day after he was inaugurated as Egypt's first freely elected president. "Mubarak took only 18 days although he had behind him the security, intelligence and a large sector of Egyptians," said Amr Tawfeeq, an oil company employee marching toward Ittihadiya with a Christian friend. Morsi "won't take long. We want him out and we are ready to pay the price." Protesters believe the military would throw its weight behind them, tipping the balance against Morsi. The country's police, meanwhile, were hardly to be seen Sunday.
2 How US is bugging European allies (Ewen MacAskill &Julian Borger in The Guardian) US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae.
Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.
The documents suggest the aim of the bugging exercise against the EU embassy in central Washington is to gather inside knowledge of policy disagreements on global issues and other rifts between member states. Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, demanded an explanation from Washington, saying that if confirmed, US behaviour "was reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war".
The demand for universal suffrage, a widening income gap and soaring property prices are expected to drive the march as protesters focus their anger on unpopular Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. "The main goal of the rally is to push through for genuine democracy and to ask for Leung Chun-ying to step down," Jackie Hung of the Civil Human Rights Front, which is organising the march, said.