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  • Mursi aide sees violence from "coup" under way

    CAIRO, July 3 (Reuters) - The Egyptian president's national security adviser said on Wednesday that a "military coup" was under way and army and police violence was expected to remove pro-Mursi demonstrators.

    "In this day and age no military coup can succeed in the face of sizeable popular force without considerable bloodshed," said Essam El-Haddad, the president's national security adviser

    (Reporting by Paul Taylor, Shadia Nasralla and Yasmine Saleh)
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  • Egypt army parades near presidency

    CAIRO, July 3 (Reuters) - Several hundred Egyptian soldiers paraded on a main road near the presidential palace on Wednesday, a Reuters witness said, after President Mohamed Mursi's national security advisor said a coup was under way.

    They were accompanied by five armoured vehicles.

    (Reporting by Amr Dalsh; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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  • On one of Egypt's most sensitive issues: bread.

    Egypt faces struggle to maintain cheap bread program

    Egypt is treading a fine line in efforts to stave off a potential crisis in its subsided bread program as the cash-strapped government buys wheat on international markets for the first time since February and imported stocks hit historically low levels.

    Millers and bakers in the world's largest wheat importing nation say stocks of imported international wheat have sunk to levels that could reduce the availability of the flour they need to produce bread of an acceptable quality.

    Read the full report by Sarah McFarlane and Maha El Dahan here.
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  • REUTERS: MURSI'S MESSAGE TO ALL EGYPTIANS IS TO RESIST MILITARY COUP PEACEFULLY, "DO NOT USE VIOLENCE" -AIDE
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  • REUTERS: EGYPT AUTHORITIES PLACE TRAVEL BAN ON PRESIDENT MOHAMED MURSI, OTHER TOP BROTHERHOOD MEMBERS- SECURITY SOURCES
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  • An aerial view shows protesters against Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in Tahrir Square in Cairo, July 3, 2013. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

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  • U.S. defense secretary called Egypt's army chief Tuesday -Pentagon

    WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday and the two also spoke last week, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, declining to offer details of the conversations.

    Asked why the Pentagon had previously declined to disclose the calls, spokesman George Little told reporters: "I think you can understand the sensitivities of this situation and that's in essence the bottom line."

    "We made a decision to acknowledge the phone call and that's where we are."

    (Reporting by Phil Stewart and David Alexander; Editing by Eric Beech)
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  • Sexual violence in Egypt has reached "horrific levels," as at least 91 women have been assaulted in Tahrir Square over the past few days, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. Amnesty International blames Egyptian governments, including Mursi's, for failing to address the assaults. A blog posted today by Amnesty's Egypt researcher Diana Eltahawy explains the scale of the attacks:
    Testimonies from women caught up in the demonstrations, survivors from previous protests and those trying to help, point to a horrific chain of events: tens if not hundreds of men surround their victims, tearing-off their clothes and veils, unzipping trousers, groping breasts and backsides. Sticks, blades and other weapons are frequently used in such attacks.
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  • via The Guardian's Egypt correspondent @PatrickKingsley: "Turn your sound up: these guys like #Morsi. At the Rafaa rally in east Cairo."

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  • Huge roar In Tahrir as army helicopter flies over. It looks like the o e which filmed on Sunday.
  • A statement posted to the Facebook page of the Office of Assistant to President of Egypt on Foreign Relations calls events in Egypt a "military coup." Mursi's national security advisor Essam El-Haddad writes that he is "fully aware that these may be the last lines [he gets] to post":
    In this day and age no military coup can succeed in the face of sizeable popular force without considerable bloodshed. Who among you is ready to shoulder that blame?
    Read the full statement here.
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  • Statement by Assistant to the President on Foreign Relations Dr. Essam El-Haddad t.co #Egypt
  • READER COMMENT: Attempting to discern anything from the time elapsed post-deadline isn't going to be helpful; the importance of "getting it right" (whether that means negotiations with Morsi or consolidation of opposition movements) trumps any (reasonable) delay. I personally hope that the delay is being used to ensure that the transition is bloodless, which likely means getting the otherwise obstinate MB leadership to accept a diminished role while convincing the opposition that denying the MB a seat at the table will doom any 'roadmap.' Intransigence and ideological divisions can be overcome, but usually with a blended approach. As an aside- a military obsessed with deadlines and making the trains run on time is not precisely what anyone would want in Egypt.
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  • Unity here in front of presidential palace. Ppl pouring in. Men, women & families are camped out waiting for #Morsi to leave. #Egypt
  • Wary of Mursi, Gulf Arabs keen to appear neutral in Egypt crisis

    DUBAI/RIYADH - Gulf Arab rulers are resisting the temptation to gloat in public about the political woes of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, a group most of them mistrust, for fear of deepening unrest in a country that remains a potential ally in their standoff with Iran.

    Officials and analysts said official Gulf Arab silence reflected a longstanding belief among the mainly small, U.S.-allied Sunni Muslim-ruled oil producers that their security is closely linked to that of Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab World, which is also Sunni.

    For most of the past 30 years Egypt has been a strategic ally for Gulf Arab states worried about being dominated by the much bigger, Shi'ite Muslim Islamic Republic across the Gulf.

    Now, with the stakes so high and Egypt's situation so volatile, the official thinking seems to be that public meddling might only make things worse, analysts say.

    Read the full article by Sami Aboudi and Angus McDowall here.
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  • Now 30 mins past deadline that military imposed on #Morsi. Supporters at Rabaa al Adawiya sit in upbeat and defiant.
  • June '13 is not Jan '11. Egypt's generals, burned once before, likely to be a lot more circumspect this time around http://fam.ag/1b3YpP2
  • Egypt presidency gives no ground in last-minute statement

    CAIRO, July 3 (Reuters) - The Egyptian presidency said on Wednesday a coalition government should be part of a solution to the country's political standoff but appeared to offer no new compromises as a deadline set by the army for a powersharing agreement elapsed.

    A statement reiterated that President Mohamed Mursi held opposition parties responsible for obstructing a political initiative that would also set up a panel to prepare amendments to the constitution passed into law last December.

    (Reporting by Tom Perry/Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)
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  • Egypt's army chief turns on the president who promoted him


    Egypt's Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seen during a news conference in Cairo on the release of seven members of the Egyptian security forces kidnapped by Islamist militants in Sinai, May 22, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer  
    by Clare Richardson on Jul 3, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    When President Mohamed Mursi swept aside the ageing commanders of Egypt's military a year ago and named a soft-spoken, deeply religious younger general to head the armed forces, it was a demonstration that the military was now subordinate to Egypt's first freely elected leader.

    Fast forward one year, and now it is the general, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who appears poised to sweep aside the president.

    At the time of his appointment last August, the choice of Sisi, 58, seemed to suit both Mursi and the younger generation of army commanders seeking promotion after years under older generals, like 78-year-old Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak's defence minister for two decades.


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  • Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group President Mohamed Mursi hails from, says the military is planning a coup ahead of a deadline to fix the country's political crisis. Jessica Gray reports.

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  • Stage at pro- #Morsi sit in in Rabaa Adawiya leads crowd in chant of "say it, don't be afraid, Sissi has to leave!"
  • Military's deadline has passed in #Egypt and heavy waiting continues for army's meeting to end w/national figures. Nerve wracking.
  • Huge roar from pro-Morsi crowd when announced that katatni & other mb leaders refused to meet army.
    "we won't negotiate under threat!"
  • State TV has resorted to a rotating montage of protest footage, overlaid w patriotic music. #Egypt
  • Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth tweets Egyptian police are "abdicating their duty to protect protesters and stop violence." Read the full report here: With ongoing chaos and violence in Egypt, where are the police?
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  • Egyptian activist Wael Nawara argues in Al Monitor that the Muslim Brotherhood's restrictive cultural policies are the driving force behind the protests.
    It's not the economy, stupid. It is not just about the fuel shortages, power outages, deteriorating economy or soaring prices. Western media rarely, if ever, mention the Muslim Brotherhood's assault on Egyptian identity, culture and way of life as a core cause of protests. Could something so intangible motivate such massive demonstrations?
    Read the full article here.
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  • Protesters, who are against Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, gather in Tahrir Square in Cairo, July 3, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Crisp

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  • There was no way this could end well.
    Magdi Abdelhadi writes for The Guardian that Egypt's military council would do well to avoid repeating past mistakes.
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  • Egypt's turmoil puts Obama in precarious position
    Washington and its ambassador in Cairo have emerged as lightning rods. Those calling for the dismissal of Morsi say the United States became too cozy with the Muslim Brotherhood, the political and social movement that brought the Islamist leader to power. The Brotherhood, meanwhile, warns that the United States is failing to speak out loudly and clearly against a military coup in the making.
    - Ernesto Londoño in The Washington Post.
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  • #tahrir square filling up. Anti morsi demonstrators getting ready for victory celebration. #egypt http://pbs.twimg.com/media/BOQUUd1CEAEn--_.jpg

  • Egypt army meets with religious, other figures

    The general command of the Egyptian armed forces is meeting with religious, national, political and youth figures, the army said on its official Facebook page on Wednesday, as a deadline loomed for President Mohamed Mursi to yield to mass protests and share power or give way.

    "The General Command of the Armed Forces is currently meeting with a number of religious, national, political and youth icons ... There will be a statement issued from the General Command as soon as they are done," the army said.

    (Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)
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  • Supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi hold up his posters during a rally to show support to him at the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in Cairo, July 3, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

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  • Suez Canal secured, unaffected by Egypt events -statement

    The Suez Canal waterway is completely secure and the rate of ships passing through is normal, the head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Memish said in a statement on Wednesday.

    "The average number of passing ships in term of quantity and cargo is in the normal range and has not been affected by any events," he said.

    Egypt has been facing mass demonstrations since June 30 by opposition calling for the resignation of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and his supporters which resulted in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.

    In the last two days, 80 ships passed through the canal, the authority said, close to the daily average of 40 to 50 vessels.

    (Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Paul Taylor)
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  • Former militant group calls for calm in Egypt

    A hardline Egyptian Islamist movement allied to President Mohamed Mursi called on its supporters to remain peaceful on Wednesday and said more time was needed to mediate an end to the country's political crisis.

    The Gamaa Islamiya, which waged an armed insurrection in the 1990s but renounced violence more than a decade ago, said any transfer of power must happen via constitutional means, but more time was needed to reach an agreement.

    Gamaa Islamiya said it was trying to narrow the differences between the presidency and the army, which has said it will unveil its own plan for ending the political crisis if the politicians do not agree by 5 p.m. (1500 GMT). "Getting through the current crisis requires more time so the parties and political forces can reach a complete agreement," it said.

    (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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  • Muslim Brotherhood party refuses to meet Egypt army chief

    The political wing of Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood refused an invitation to meet the armed forces commander on Wednesday, hours before an army deadline for Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to yield to mass protests or quit, military and party sources said.

    "We do not go to invitations (meetings) with anyone. We have a president and that is it," said Waleed al-Haddad, a senior leader of the Freedom and Justice Party told Reuters.

    (Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Paul Taylor)
    by Reuters_RossChainey edited by Clare Richardson 7/3/2013 1:35:53 PM
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  • Supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi perform prayers during a rally to show support to him at the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in Cairo July 3, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

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  • Supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi take part in a drill during a protest at the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in Cairo, July 2, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

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  • Egyptian army secures state TV studios - sources

    Egyptian troops with armoured vehicles have secured the central Cairo studios of state television on Wednesday, security sources said.

    As a deadline approaches when the army high command is expected to step in and reorder Egypt's political institutions, the sources said staff not involved in working on live broadcasts had left the building.

    (Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)
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  • Mursi thinks better to "die standing like tree" - aide

    A spokesman for Mohamed Mursi said the president believed it would be better to die "standing like a tree", defending the electoral legitimacy of his office, than to go down in history as having destroyed Egyptians' hopes for democracy.

    Saying that Mursi was not seeking to cling to office for its own sake, spokesman Ayman Ali told Reuters that, in his overnight speech to the nation, the president had defied calls to resign in order to "defend the democratic system".

    "It is better for a president, who would otherwise be returning Egypt to the days of dictatorship, from which God and the will of the people has saved us, to die standing like a tree," Ali said, "Rather than be condemned by history and future generations for throwing away the hopes of Egyptians for establishing a democratic life."

    (Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)
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  • Armoured army vehicles guard the Egypt state TV building, while staff not working on live productions have left, according to security forces.
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  • The Egyptian president's spokesman says it is better for Mursi to die in defence of democracy than be blamed by history - statement
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  • Egypt opposition, religious leaders meet army chief - sources

    Egyptian liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei met army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday hours before an army deadline for Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to yield to mass protests or quit, two political sources said.

    The heads of state Islamic institute, Al-Azhar, and the Egyptian Coptic Church also joined the meeting, a government source said. Political sources said two members of the "Tamarud - Rebel!" youth group that is leading the anti-Mursi protests also attended, as did members of the hardline Muslim fundamentalist Nour Party.

    Al-Azhar's Grand Sheikh, Ahmed al-Tayeb, endorsed the army's position, calling on political leaders to heed anti-government protesters. Pope Tawadros, spiritual leader of some 10 percent of Egypt's 84 million people, tweeted his blessing for the anti-Mursi revolt on Tuesday.

    ElBaradei was chosen to represent the opposition National Salvation Front coalition and youth groups leading anti-Mursi street protests to negotiate with the army on their behalf.

    "In the meeting, ElBaradei will urge the armed forces to intervene to stop the bloodshed," one opposition source said.

    A military source denied the meeting was taking place.

    More than 20 people have died and hundreds have been injured in clashes between Mursi's supporters and opponents since the eruption of mass protests on June 30.

    (Reporting by Yasmine Saleh and Asma Alsharif, writing by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Paul Taylor)
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  • Mursi's hardline allies call on him to give ground

    By Tom Perry

    CAIRO - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi's hardline Islamist allies in al-Gamaa al-Islamiya want him to call a referendum on early presidential elections to avoid bloodshed and a military coup, Tarek al-Zumar, a senior member of the group said on Wednesday.

    The former armed group that is one of Mursi's few remaining allies has been advising the head of state to call for the vote in the two days since the army issued a deadline for politicians to resolve the political conflict by Wednesday.

    "We find ourselves faced with the necessity of convincing the president to accept a referendum on early presidential elections," Zumar told Reuters in a telephone interview. "This is what we hope will be reached in the next few hours."

    Mursi did not propose the idea of an early presidential election a speech to the nation on Tuesday, calling instead for parliamentary polls.

    But Zumar, asked if he was calling for early presidential elections, answered: "Yes, and that is to preserve the constitution and so that the situation of Egyptians does not deteriorate more than it already has."

    "This peaceful, constitutional transfer (of power) will spare blood," Zumar said, adding that it would also protect the constitution that was passed into law in December.

    He said the army's statements appeared to presage a coup, but this "can be avoided if the president decides to hold a referendum on early presidential elections".

    Asked if he feared more violence unless a solution is agreed, Zumar said: "Of course, there are many parties that playing with Egypt's security, and which want to exploit the current moment to set off sectarian struggles and civil wars."

    The Gamaa Islamiya, which renounced the armed struggle more than a decade ago and formed a political party after the 2011 uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, has taken part in recent rallies in support Mursi.

    The president's appointment of a Gamaa Islamiya member as governor of the historic central city of Luxor, where the group staged its bloodiest attack on foreign tourists in 1997, fuelled anger at Mursi ahead of protests demanding he resign.

    Indicating differences of opinion within the Gamaa Islamiya over the next step, the group later issued a statement denying it had called for an early presidential elections.

    "Any solution will be in the framework of legitimacy. But any directives or pressure or announcement of a road map from the military establishment, is a matter with very, very serious consequences," Safwat Abdel Ghani, another member of the movement, said on state TV.

    (Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Paul Taylor)
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  • Saudi Grand Mufti urges Egyptians to avoid bloodshed

    RIYADH - Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority in the birthplace of Islam, urged Egyptians on Wednesday to cooperate in order to avoid bloodshed as an army deadline nears to resolve the country's political crisis.

    "Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, called on the intellectuals and reasonable people of Egypt to cooperate with each other to put right the situation the country is going through, and to resolve the problems with wisdom and reflection, to suppress bloodshed," state news agency SPA reported.

    It added that Al al-Sheikh urged Egypt's opposing sides to meet to urgently find a solution to the crisis.

    His statement came hours before a deadline set by the army for Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to yield to mass protests and share power or give way.

    Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Egypt before its 2011 revolution, has not commented on the crisis in Egypt.

    Although the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia's official Wahhabi school are both proponents of austere versions of Sunni Islam, they have very different political philosophies.

    (Reporting by Angus McDowall, editing by Gareth Jones)
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  • Egyptian opposition leader ElBaradei is meeting with army chief Al-Sisi - opposition sources

    CAIRO - Egyptian liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei met army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday, two political sources said, hours before an army deadline for Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to yield to mass protests or quit.

    ElBaradei was chosen to represent the opposition National Salvation Front coalition and youth groups leading anti-Mursi street protests to negotiate with the army on their behalf.

    "In the meeting, ElBaradei will urge the armed forces to intervene to stop the bloodshed," one opposition source said.

    More than 20 people have died and hundreds have been injured in clashes between Mursi's supporters and opponents since the eruption of mass protests on June 30.

    (Reporting by Yasmine Saleh and Asma Alsharif, writing by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Paul Taylor)
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China lodges protest after Trump call with Taiwan president

BEIJING/WASHINGTON China lodged a diplomatic protest on Saturday after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, but blamed the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own for the "petty" move. | Video