Where in the world is Edward Snowden?

June 24, 2013

No sign of Snowden on flight out of Moscow, Berlusconi sex trial wraps up with guilty verdict, and Mandela’s health worsens. Today is Monday, June 24, one year after Egypt inaugurated its first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Mursi. Here’s the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Snowden rushes to Russia despite Obama’s “reset.” NSA leaker Edward Snowden fled from Hong Kong to Russia on Sunday, en route to find a foreign government that will grant him asylum, leaving a diplomatic disaster for the U.S. in his wake:

Snowden flew out of Hong Kong, the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, early on Sunday after Hong Kong authorities rebuffed a U.S. request to detain him pending extradition to the United States for trial. Snowden has acknowledged leaking details of highly classified NSA surveillance programs. Beijing may merely have wished to get rid of a potential irritant in its multifaceted relationship with Washington. But Snowden’s next stop was Russia, a U.S. “frenemy” in which the friend factor has been harder to spot since President Vladimir Putin returned to power in May 2012.

Sources say Beijing pressured Hong Kong to allow Snowden to leave in order to avoid deciding whether to grant Snowden asylum – a defiant move that would harm ties with Washington – or bow to Washington’s will by extraditing him. By refusing to grant Snowden asylum, China would be returning a favor for the U.S.’ extradition of disgraced Chinese mayor Wang Lijun in 2012. Ecuador, which has hosted Wikileaks’ Julian Assange for about a year, said it would consider giving Snowden asylum as well. Still, it is unclear where Snowden is headed – there are no direct flights from Moscow to Quito and Snowden failed to make a flight to Havana. For Obama, the Snowden saga “completes the picture of a world less willing than ever to bend to U.S. prescriptions of right and wrong.”

A combo shows file photos of Karima El Mahroug of Morocco posing during a photocall at the Karma disco in Milan, November 14, 2010, and Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waving as he arrives for a meeting of the European People’s Party in Brussels, June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (L) and Sebastien Pirlet/Files

Bunga bunga trial comes to a close. The judges overseeing the case against former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is charged with paying for sex with a minor and using his political power to cover up his actions, found Berlusconi guilty and sentenced him to seven years in prison in addition to banning him from holding public office:

The verdict… closes a two-year trial that has mesmerized Italy with its accounts of the alleged “bunga bunga” sex parties at the billionaire’s private villa outside Milan while he was premier in 2010… The case is only part of Berlusconi’s legal problems. Last month an appeals court upheld a four-year jail sentence against him for orchestrating a tax fraud scheme in his business dealings – leaving him just one more appeal, at the Supreme Court, which could come within a year

Berlusconi has two opportunities to appeal the court’s decision, so it could be years before a final verdict is reached.

Men read a newspaper next to a stall in Soweto, June 24, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Mandela’s condition deteriorates. As South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela’s health worsens, a nation prepares to say goodbye to its beloved leader:

South Africans adopted a mood of somber resignation on Monday to the inevitability of saying goodbye to former president Nelson Mandela after the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader’s condition in hospital deteriorated to critical. Madiba, as he is affectionately known, is revered among most of South Africa’s 53 million people as the architect of the 1994 transition to multi-racial democracy after three centuries of white domination. However, his latest hospitalization – his fourth in six months – has reinforced a realization that the father of the post-apartheid ‘Rainbow Nation’ may not be around for much longer.

Mandela was hospitalized two weeks ago with a lung infection.

Nota Bene: Severe flooding in Calgary leaves cars almost entirely submerged and forces residents to evacuate their homes.


Baby steps – Reuters editor Hugo Dixon explains why Italy’s prime minister is doing his best at a bad job. (Reuters)

First at failure – Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace release an index of the world’s most failed states. (Foreign Policy)

TGIT – Saudi Arabia’s week will now end on Thursday instead of Wednesday. (BBC)

Silent majority – Discussions about sexual assault in the U.S. military overlook men. (The New York Times)

Sorry for the smog – Indonesia apologizes to Singapore and Malaysia for record levels of haze. (The Associated Press)

Still waiting – For Yemen’s revolutionaries, ‘transitional justice’ could mean justice denied. (Al Jazeera)

From the File:

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