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Egypt TV head denies inciting president’s murder

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A television channel chief and presenter denied calling for the murder of President Mohamed Morsi when his trial on incitement charges opened in the Egyptian capital on Saturday.

“I merely criticized President Morsi,” Tawfiq Okasha told judges at the court appearance, an AFP journalist reported.
“This is a political trial. The Muslim Brotherhood wants to silence all dissent and reproduce the system from before the revolution,” he said.

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Okasha added that he was in the dock for “revealing the Brotherhood’s involvement in attacks on police stations, courts and prisons during the revolution” in 2011.

Okasha’s Al-Faraeen channel, suspended on August 16, aired a show that was stridently anti-Morsi and anti-Muslim Brotherhood, the party from which the leader emanates.

The charges against him came at the same time that Islam Afifi, the editor of small independent newspaper Al-Dustour, was accused of spreading false news and inciting disorder.

Okasha arrived at court surrounded by his supporters who chanted “The people want Al-Faraeen!”

The court set the next session of the trial for October 3 after hearing the case for the defense, which argued that the complaints against Okasha were not filed by Morsi personally.

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Both Okasha and Afifi were banned from leaving the country in August.

Afifi was freed after spending several hours in custody on the day of his trial, after a decree signed by Morsi scrapped preventive detention for alleged publishing crimes.

Afifi was the first journalist to go on trial since the overthrow of veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak in February last year.

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After his inauguration on June 30, Morsi moved to bolster his power over the influential military and a state media that had been hostile towards his once banned but powerful movement.

He got the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated upper house of parliament to name new editors-in-chief for state media that had been hostile to him and the Islamist group.

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Morsi’s opponents accuse him of seeking to muzzle the press, and there has also been international concern.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the prosecutions of Okasha and Afifi ran counter to the spirit of last year’s revolution.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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WATCH: New Zealand prime minister unfazed as quake hits during an interview

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A moderate 5.6-magnitude earthquake rattled New Zealand's North Island early Monday but failed to crack Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's trademark composure as she conducted a live television interview.

The quake struck just off the coast before 8:00 am local time (2000 Sunday GMT) at a depth of about 52 kilometres (32 miles) near Levin, about 90 kilometres north of Wellington, the US Geological Survey said.

St John Ambulance and New Zealand Police both said there were no initial reports of injuries or damage. There was no tsunami warning.

But there was sustained shaking in Wellington, where Ardern was being interviewed on breakfast television from parliament's Beehive building, which is designed to absorb seismic forces by swaying slightly on its foundations.

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US farmers are starting to worry as crop prices dip during COVID-19 crisis: ‘It’s kind of glum’

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Dave Burrier steered his tractor through a field, following a GPS map as he tried to plant as much corn as possible amid the yellow and green rye covering the ground.

Striving to get a massive yield out of his crops in rural Maryland is how Burrier hopes to make it through yet another uncertain year, beset by market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed trade tensions between the United States and China.

"We've had so much price erosion that we're basically at below the cost of production. We've got to figure out how to manage and turn a profit," Burrier told AFP.

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‘It’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months’: Trump makes excuses for golfing during coronavirus pandemic

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President Donald Trump was blasted on Sunday for playing golf during the coronavirus pandemic, a dramatic economic recession and after proclaiming churches "essential."

Instead of joining his voters sitting in the pews, Trump went for the links, which drew criticisms for the hypocrisy.

"Sleepy Joe’s representatives have just put out an ad saying that I went to play golf (exercise) today. They think I should stay in the White House at all times. What they didn’t say is that it’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months, that Biden was constantly vacationing, relaxing & making shady deals with other countries, & that Barack was always playing golf, doing much of his traveling in a fume spewing 747 to play golf in Hawaii - Once even teeing off immediately after announcing the gruesome death of a great young man by ISIS!" tweeted Trump.

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