Egypt declares state of emergency after government crackdown

August 14, 2013

Egypt imposes curfew after deadly day, anarchists gain favor in Athens, and Japan plans tricky nuclear cleanup. Today is Wednesday, August 14, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @clarerrrr.

Cairo chaos.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi flee from tear gas and rubber bullets fired by riot police during clashes, on a bridge leading to Rabba el Adwia Square where they are camping, in Cairo, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt’s bloodiest day. Despite years of unrest which saw the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak and his democratically-elected successor Mohamed Mursi, today marked Egypt’s deadliest day in decades. Egypt declared a state of emergency and a curfew across several provinces, including in the cities of Cairo and Alexandria, following clashes between government forces and Mursi supporters.

While dead bodies wrapped in carpets were carried to a makeshift morgue near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the army-backed rulers declared a one-month state of emergency, restoring to the military the unfettered power it wielded for decades before a pro-democracy uprising in 2011. Thousands of Mursi’s supporters had been camped at two major sites in Cairo since before he was toppled on July 3, and had vowed not leave the streets until he was returned to power.

An assault on pro-Mursi camps by Egyptian security forces kicked off the violence, bringing to an end six weeks of stalemate. Interim Vice President and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei resigned from his post in response to the violence. By Wednesday afternoon, the death toll had reached at least 149 people. At least two journalists were among the dead, and a Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih was shot in the foot after capturing some of these images. Two Reuters journalists detailed the chaos and bloodshed of this morning’s crackdown on the camps.

Embracing anarchy.

A woman walks past graffiti on a wall in Athens in this April 28, 2013, file photo.  REUTERS/John Kolesidis/Files

Athens anarchists. Violent new anarchist groups are cropping up in Greece as the country’s crisis drives leftist extremism.

As Greece’s economy has declined, anarchist groups that aim to topple the political system, saying it serves the interests only of the rich, have attracted growing public support [...] Many self-proclaimed anarchists – the word stems from the Greek “anarchia” or absence of authority – say they are pacifist, but certain groups have few qualms about using violence. Six years of recession have fuelled a new wave of left-wing militancy, according to officials, anarchists and court testimony.

Police blame most of this year’s 254 arson and bomb attacks on such groups.

Gently does it.

Members of a Fukushima prefecture panel, which monitors the safe decommissioning of the nuclear plant, inspect the construction site of the shore barrier meant to stop radioactive water from leaking into the sea, near the No.1 and No.2 reactor building of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, in this photo released by Kyodo, August 6, 2013.  REUTERS/Kyodo

Never-before-seen clean. Over two years after a deadly earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan’s Fukushima plant, removal of used fuel rods will mean kicking a hornet’s nest of 14,000 times the amount of radiation released in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

The operation, beginning this November at the plant’s Reactor No. 4, is fraught with danger, including the possibility of a large release of radiation if a fuel assembly breaks, gets stuck or gets too close to an adjacent bundle, said Gundersen and other nuclear experts. That could lead to a worse disaster than the March 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant, the world’s most serious since Chernobyl in 1986.

A nuclear clean-up has never been tried on such a large scale.

Nota Bene: To fight surging al Qaeda, Iraq Kurds and the government consider the unthinkable.

Standouts:

Leech love - A Russian farm grows leeches for medical clinics. (LA Times)

Somalia shutdown - Doctors Without Borders will close all medical programs in the country due to attacks on its staff. (MSF)

Echoes of Tiananmen - An AFP photographer captures a veiled woman trying to stop a bulldozer. (Washington Post)

Gecko glamour - Up-close portraits make little reptiles look adorable. (Reuters)

High-rise retreat - A villa at the top of a 26-floor building in Beijing faces demolition. (CNN)

From the File:

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