How Mursi could have made it

July 17, 2013

EU deal could have saved Mursi, smugglers take Rohingya on deadly journeys, and vocal Assad-supporter killed in Lebanon. Today is Wednesday, July 17, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi carry posters of Mursi during clashes on the Sixth of October Bridge over the Ramsis square area in central Cairo, July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egypt’s road not taken. Egypt’s president Mohamed Mursi could still be in office if he’d signed on to an EU deal aimed at smoothing things over among Egypt’s political parties in April, politicians and diplomats told Reuters. By rejecting the offer, Mursi failed to compromise on pacifying measures and threw water on the EU’s efforts to raise its profile in the region.

Under a compromise crafted in months of shuttle diplomacy by EU envoy Bernardino Leon, six secular opposition parties allied in the National Salvation Front would have recognized Mursi’s legitimacy and agreed to participate in parliamentary elections they had threatened to boycott. In return, Mursi would have agreed to replace Prime Minister Hisham Kandil and five key ministers to form a technocratic national unity cabinet, sack a disputed prosecutor general and amend the election law to satisfy Egypt’s constitutional court.

On Tuesday, Egypt’s transitional leaders swore in a new cabinet of ministers without a single representative from the two main Islamist groups. The interim government appears focused on quelling protests instead of balancing the budget, and may bolster welfare programs rather than enact unpopular measures to combat the country’s significant debt. Egypt remains unstable as pro-Mursi protesters continue to demonstrate in support of the deposed leader following a surge in violence this week.

Narunisa, a 25-year-old Rohingya woman, is reunited with her children after returning to a shelter for Rohingya women and children in Phang Nga, June 18, 2013. MYANMAR-ROHINGYA/ REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Smugglers cash in on refugees. The mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar has created a ripe opportunity for smugglers, who sometimes work in conjunction with the Thai navy to transport refugees to Malaysia.

A Reuters investigation, based on interviews with people smugglers and more than two dozen survivors of boat voyages, reveals how some Thai naval security forces work systematically with smugglers to profit from the surge in fleeing Rohingya. The lucrative smuggling network transports the Rohingya mainly into neighboring Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country they view as a haven from persecution. Once in the smugglers’ hands, Rohingya men are often beaten until they come up with the money for their passage. Those who can’t pay are handed over to traffickers, who sometimes sell the men as indentured servants on farms or into slavery on Thai fishing boats. There, they become part of the country’s $8 billion seafood-export business, which supplies consumers in the United States, Japan and Europe. Some Rohingya women are sold as brides, Reuters found. Other Rohingya languish in overcrowded Thai and Malaysian immigration detention centers.

Reuters chronicles the experiences of survivors of one deadly passage, most of whom are still struggling to pay off the cost of the voyage to smugglers. Read the full Reuters report here.

Fatima (L), daughter of Mohammad Darro Jamo, mourns his death as she is comforted by a relative in Sarafand, southern Lebanon, July 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Assad ally shot dead across the border. A prominent Assad-supporter was killed by in Lebanon today, highlighting how Syria’s civil war is spreading throughout the region:

Mohammad Darra Jamo, a commentator who worked for Syrian state media and often appeared on Arab TV channels to press Assad’s cause, was riddled with bullets by gunmen at home in the southern town of Sarafand, Lebanese security sources said. It was the first assassination of a pro-Assad figure in Lebanon since Syria’s conflict started more than two years ago and follows a series of attacks in recent weeks against the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah, which has thrown its weight behind Assad on the battlefield in Syria.

Lebanese officials say they suspect that Syrian rebel operatives are behind the attack. Syrian rebels have threatened to take the conflict across borders as Hezbollah continues to provide manpower to pro-Assad forces. A car bomb exploded in a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut on Tuesday, injuring 53 people.

Nota Bene: Free school lunches poison children in India, killing at least 22.


Summer shake-up – Reuters columnist John Lloyd argues that Britain is undergoing a quiet revolution. (Reuters)

Gang justice – A Japanese woman takes mobster to court for a refund. (BBC)

Social savior – The Pope offers indulgences in exchange for Twitter followers. (The Guardian)

Left behind – Abenomics may be bad news for Japan’s husbands. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

After Apple – China’s high tech employees work hard and play hard. (The New York Times)

From the File:

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