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Chatter: Afghanistan looks after itself

Afghan forces take over responsibility for their country's safety, Brazil's protests get bigger, Turkey's protests get quieter, and Egyptian TV gets manlier.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Afghans in charge. As of today, Afghanistan is officially responsible for its own security. Afghan police and soldiers formally took over from NATO troops at a ceremony this morning, marking the first time in more than 20 years that goverment forces have been in charge of maintaining security throughout the whole of Afghanistan.

Analysts say the main significance of today's handover—the final step in a process begun two years ago—is symbolic rather than practical. If so, another powerful symbol came with it: just as the Afghan army's watch was beginning, Kabul was picking up the pieces of another suicide bombing that left three more people dead.

WANT TO KNOW

Occupy Brazil. Another day, another protest. But Brazil's are bigger than most, and growing. Like many things, it started small: people in Sao Paulo didn't like being asked to pay an extra 9 cents for a bus ride. Like many things, it got big: by last night, rallies had spread to as many as 11 cities, including Brasilia and Rio. Some 200,000 people took part, decrying everything from poor public services to corruption, police violence to the cost of the 2014 soccer World Cup.

They're calling them Brazil's biggest protests in 20 years. The government says everyone has a right to protest peacefully—so long as it doesn't disrupt next year's sporting bonanza, or indeed the smaller Confederations Cup going on right now. 

Unoccupy Turkey. Turkish police have arrested more than 100 people they accuse of violence during ongoing anti-government protests. Reports say dozens of houses were targeted in police raids this morning, as well as the offices of two media organizations.

More than two weeks into the rallies, authorities have stepped up their efforts to clear protesters out of their hub in central Istanbul. The crowds in Taksim Square are smaller now, but some still remain. Among them, one man who stood for eight hours without moving or speaking in a silent protest against the government's crackdown. They call him "Standing Man."

You're never too old to be guilty. Prosecutors in Hungary have charged a 98-year-old man, Laszlo Csatary, with assisting Nazi war crimes. He is accused of torturing, murdering and helping to deport more than 15,000 Jews as a Nazi police officer during World War Two. 

Missing since 1997, Csatary was the Simon Wiesenthal Center's most-wanted Nazi suspect until he was tracked down in Budapest last year. He denies committing the horrors he's accused of. Prosecutors face a race against time to prove otherwise; his trial is expected to start within three months.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

How do you solve a problem like misogyny? Simple: get rid of women. That's the solution one Egyptian TV network has hit upon, anyway. Its new soap opera, 'Coffee Shop,' will feature an all-male cast in the interests of "cleaner art."

Al Hafez, the channel behind the drama, is one of Egypt’s new Salafi broadcasters, devoted to promoting an austere version of Islam that seeks to imitate the lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad and early Muslims. Its says its new, 15-episode comedy show with not a single female role is exactly the kind of thing pious Egyptians want to watch. Now, we're no producers—but we don't see 'Desperate Househusbands' topping the ratings any time soon.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-afghanistan-looks-after-itself

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