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Egypt: The Day the Revolution Died

This is arguably Egypt’s deepest crisis since the revolution — a coup by the legal system. Egypt’s supreme court, which is seen as siding with the military and packed with Mubarak appointees, issued two rulings today that effectively nullified parliamentary elections conducted earlier this year. “Egypt’s highest court ruled Thursday that much of the country’s Islamist-dominated parliament was elected illegally, a decision that will force the dissolution of the legislative body and that plunged the country into turmoil on the eve of a landmark presidential election. Local newspapers and Arabic television channels reported that Egypt’s military rulers would seize legislative power and planned to announce that the lower house was being disbanded. The lower house, known as the People’s Assembly, is the most powerful part of the parliament. The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls just under half the seats in the lower house, stands to lose the most from the decision. The court also ruled Thursday that Ahmed Shafiq, a former ally of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, is allowed to run for president, invalidating a law that had banned members of the disgraced dictator’s party from participating in political life.” (WaPo http://wapo.st/KYPLYq)

50 Aid Groups Demand Israel Lift Gaza Blockade

It was five years ago this week that Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza following Hamas’ takeover. Yesterday, 43 aid groups and seven U.N. agencies signed a letter urging Israel lift the restrictions on Gaza.  Two years ago, Israel started allowing imports of most consumer goods, but continues to ban virtually all Gaza exports and travel through Israeli crossings. Israel has said the blockade is meant to prevent Hamas from building up its military arsenal and Gaza militants from carrying out attacks on Israel. The Hamas founding charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and over its 25-year history, the group has killed hundreds of Israelis in shootings and bombings. However, international aid agencies say the blockade mainly punishes ordinary Gazans by crippling the territory’s economy, forcing foreign donors to spend money on humanitarian relief instead of investing in the economy. (ABC News http://abcn.ws/LovGqJ)

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