Egypt’s Mursi to address the public ahead of massive protests

By Danielle Wiener-Bronner
June 26, 2013

Mursi’s political survival is on the line, World Cup spending stokes Brazil protests, and Australia gets a new prime minister. Today is Wednesday, June 26, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” address. Here’s the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Anti-Mursi protesters sit outside their tents during a sit-in demonstration in front of the Ministry of Defense in Cairo, June 25, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Mursi’s last stand? Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi will address the public in a televised speech on Wednesday, ahead of protests expected to draw millions and intended to remove Mursi from office:

Mursi has given no hint of the contents of what aides called an “important speech,” to start around 9:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. EDT) at a Cairo stadium before an invited crowd. Some speculate he may reshuffle his cabinet to try to defuse the anger against him. Some observers fear Egypt may be about to erupt again, through a combination of political polarization since the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak and an economic slump that means Mursi’s government is fast running out of cash.

The army is ready to step in to prevent violence if necessary, and Egyptians are stocking up on food and fuel in anticipation of unrest. Two years after ousting Mubarak and one year since Mursi became president, liberal Egyptians believe the Muslim Brotherhood has governed so poorly that ousting Mursi and holding new elections would work in their favor. Pro-Mursi Islamists, who say state institutions are out to get Mursi, plan to show support in a rally in Cairo on Friday.

A general view of the Mineirao stadium during its inauguration in Belo Horizonte, December 21, 2012.  REUTERS/Washington Alves

The cost of Copas. Brazilian protesters are expected to gather in droves during a soccer match in Belo Horizonte today. The demonstrations are the latest manifestations of popular discontent with public spending on projects for the World Cup:

Brazil has been hit by a wave of nationwide protests as it hosts the eight-team Confederations Cup, a dry-run for next year’s World Cup which will be staged in 12 different cities. Although the protesters have a multitude of grievances, one of their main complaints has been the contrast between shiny new stadiums and shambolic state of public services including health, education and transport. They are also angry that Brazil has broken a promise not to spend public money on stadiums, while failing to build many of the planned infrastructure projects.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called for a referendum to calm protesters on Monday, a move legal scholars say would be unconstitutional.

Australia’s newly elected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (L) gestures next to Anthony Albanese as he talks to the media after winning a Labor Party vote at Parliament House in Canberra, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Taylor

Australia’s new prime minister a familiar face. The Australian Labor Party voted Julia Gillard out of the job today, returning the title to Kevin Rudd in hopes that he will be able to unite a divided party:

Kevin Rudd returned as Australian prime minister on Wednesday, executing a stunning party room coup on Julia Gillard almost three years to the day after being ousted by his former deputy and less than three months out from a general election. The reinstatement of Rudd was a last-ditch effort to shore up support by the governing Labor Party, which opinion polls show faces catastrophic defeat at a poll scheduled for Sept 14.

Gillard promised to step down if she lost the parliamentary vote in light of her weak popular support. Gillard took power from Rudd in June 2010, and barely held on to the position in August 2010 elections.

Nota Bene: Rotting corpses contaminating water sources after massive flooding spark fear of an epidemic in India.

Standouts:

A fragile peace - Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown discusses the dangerous implications of Taliban school attacks. (Reuters)

Biscuit-bingo kingpins - British expats in Portugal were fined for hosting bingo games where winners receive biscuits and drinks. (BBC)

Guilt trip - For some, Obama’s trip to Africa is already a let-down. (Foreign Policy)

No safe space - A woman in New Delhi discusses the dangers of being female in India. (The Los Angeles Times)

Arctic adventure - Hunters stranded on an Arctic ice floe return safely to shore. (CBC)

From the File:

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