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Egypt’s former president Morsi quietly buried in Cairo

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Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was buried Tuesday as calls mounted for an independent investigation into the causes of his death after he collapsed in a Cairo courtroom.

The Islamist leader, who was overthrown in 2013 after a year of divisive rule and later charged with espionage, was buried at a cemetery in eastern Cairo’s Medinat Nasr, one of his lawyers said.

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Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said family members had washed Morsi’s body and prayed the last rites early Tuesday morning at the Leeman Tora Hospital.

That lies near the prison where Egypt’s first civilian president, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member, had been held for six years in solitary confinement and deteriorating health.

The prosecutor general’s office said the 67-year-old leader had collapsed and “died as he attended a hearing” in a retrial hearing Monday over alleged collaboration with foreign powers and militant groups.

Abdel Maksoud told AFP only around 10 family members and close Morsi confidants were present, including himself.

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An AFP reporter saw a handful of mourners entering the cemetery complex, accompanied by police officers, but journalists were prevented from entering the site.

The graveyard is in the same suburb as the largest massacre in Egypt’s modern history, the August 2013 crackdown on an Islamist sit-in at Rabaa Square, weeks after Morsi’s ouster by the military.

Over 800 people were killed in a single day as security forces moved against protesters calling for Morsi’s reinstatement.

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The attorney general’s office said Morsi, who appeared “animated”, had addressed the court Monday for five minutes before falling to the ground inside the defendants’ cage.

Another of Morsi’s lawyers, Osama El Helw, said other defendants had started banging loudly on the glass, “screaming loudly that Morsi had died”.

The attorney general said he had been “transported immediately to the hospital”, where medics pronounced him dead, a version of events confirmed by a judicial source.

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– ‘Killing him slowly’ –

Since Morsi’s overthrow on July 3, 2013, his former defence minister, now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has waged an ongoing crackdown that has seen thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters jailed and hundreds facing death sentences.

Rights groups have called for an independent probe into Morsi’s detention conditions and death.

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The Brotherhood’s political wing — the Freedom and Justice Party — accused Egyptian authorities of “deliberately killing him slowly” in solitary confinement.

“They withheld medication and gave him disgusting food,” it said in a statement. “They did not grant him the most basic human rights.”

AFP / Khaled DESOUKI Morsi was buried in eastern Cairo on Tuesday under heavy police guard

The Egyptian government has not officially commented on his death, but private television channels slammed the Brotherhood as a “terrorist group” and played a looping tagline: “The Brothers are liars”.

His death barely rated a mention in local press, which referred to him by his full name but not his position as former president.

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Morsi last saw his family in September 2018. A month later, one of his sons, Abdallah, was arrested.

Abdel Maksoud was the last member of his defence team to see him, in November 2017.

Rights group Amnesty International urged Egyptian authorities to open “an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation” into his death.

Human Rights Watch echoed that demand, saying Morsi had suffered years of “insufficient access to medical care”.

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“The United Nations Human Rights Council… should establish an investigation into ongoing gross violations of human rights in Egypt, including widespread ill-treatment in prisons and Morsi’s death,” it said.

– ‘Premature death’ –

A group of British parliamentarians in March 2018 warned that his detention conditions had not met international standards and could lead to his “premature death”. Other Brotherhood leaders have also died in custody.

Allies such as Qatar and Turkey paid tribute to Morsi, while Iran’s Foreign Ministry called his death “sad and unfortunate”.

Internationally he received some support, but in his homeland, Morsi has a chequered legacy.

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He spent just one turbulent year in office after the 2011 uprising, before being toppled by the military after millions took to the streets demanding his resignation.

He has been in prison since his ouster, on trial on charges including for spying for Iran, Qatar and militant groups such as Hamas.

Morsi was also accused of plotting terrorist acts.

Egyptian Presidency/AFP/File / –Egypt’s then president Mohamed Morsi meets then defense minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi — the man who would ultimately topple him a year later

He was sentenced to death in May 2015 for his role in jailbreaks during the uprising that ousted his predecessor, longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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Morsi’s turbulent rule was marked by widening schisms in Egyptian society, a crippling economic crisis and often-deadly opposition protests.

His death comes days before Egypt hosts the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, starting Friday.

Authorities have been on high alert, announcing on Facebook Monday that thousands of forces would be deployed to secure venues.


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Federal judge overturns ObamaCare’s transgender protections, because Jesus

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A U.S. District Court judge in Texas has overturned the protections written into ObamaCare for transgender people, ruling they violate the religious rights of healthcare providers who hold religious beliefs that oppose the existence of transgender people.

On Tuesday Judge Reed O'Connor, appointed by President George W. Bush, "vacated an Obama-era regulation that prohibited providers and insurers who receive federal money from denying treatment or coverage to anyone based on sex, gender identity or termination of pregnancy," The Hill reports.

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Sanctuaries protecting gun rights and the unborn challenge the legitimacy and role of federal law

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In June 2019, the small Texas town of Waskom declared itself a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”

Waskom’s city council passed an ordinance that labels groups – like Planned Parenthood, NARAL and others – that perform abortions or assist women in obtaining them “criminal organizations.”

The ordinance borrows from a similar resolution passed in March by Roswell, New Mexico. Unlike the merely rhetorical Roswell resolution, however, the Texas law bans most abortions within city limits. There are no abortion providers in the town, so it is not clear how the town would enforce the ordinance. It might, perhaps, deter an organization from opening a clinic.

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Quantum dots that light up TVs could be used for brain research

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While many people love colorful photos of landscapes, flowers or rainbows, some biomedical researchers treasure vivid images on a much smaller scale – as tiny as one-thousandth the width of a human hair.

To study the micro world and help advance medical knowledge and treatments, these scientists use fluorescent nano-sized particles.

Quantum dots are one type of nanoparticle, more commonly known for their use in TV screens. They’re super tiny crystals that can transport electrons. When UV light hits these semiconducting particles, they can emit light of various colors.

That fluorescence allows scientists to use them to study hidden or otherwise cryptic parts of cells, organs and other structures.

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