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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!”

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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.

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.

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

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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2020 Election

Will Trump peacefully vacate the Oval Office if he loses the presidential election in 2020? A lesson from 1800

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As primary season heats up in the United States, the Democrats are anxiously debating the best path to unseat Donald Trump in 2020. But the question of how to beat Trump is perhaps less urgent than the issue of whether he will accept defeat.

Trump has already questioned his loss of the 2016 popular vote with baseless accusations of voter fraud. He has also repeatedly toyed with the idea of extending his presidency beyond the eight-year limit enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, even trumpeting Jerry Falwell Jr.’s assertion that his first term be extended by two years to compensate for the Russia investigation. Perhaps most ominously, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen warned while testifying before the House Oversight Committee in February 2019:

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Something is killing galaxies — and science is on the case

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In the most extreme regions of the universe, galaxies are being killed. Their star formation is being shut down and astronomers want to know why.

The first ever Canadian-led large project on one of the world’s leading telescopes is hoping to do just that. The new program, called the Virgo Environment Traced in Carbon Monoxide survey (VERTICO), is investigating, in brilliant detail, how galaxies are killed by their environment.

As VERTICO’s principal investigator, I lead a team of 30 experts that are using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) to map the molecular hydrogen gas, the fuel from which new stars are made, at high resolution across 51 galaxies in our nearest galaxy cluster, called the Virgo Cluster.

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Trudeau in blackface: A symptom of Canada’s widespread anti-Black racism

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The news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau performed in blackface when he was a student and a teacher has once again made blackface the topic of the day — this time in the middle of a Canadian election campaign.

The revelation that, as a 29-year-old teacher, Trudeau appeared in blackface at an “Arabian Nights” fundraiser at his school has made news around the world. Other images subsequently surfaced that showed a young Trudeau performing in blackface at high school talent shows.

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