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Chatter: Egypt counts down to potential coup

Egypt waits to see what an army ultimatum will bring, Edward Snowden will take asylum anywhere that'll have him — except Russia, Obama wraps up his tour of Africa, and undutiful Chinese children, beware.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

The clock's ticking in Egypt. President Mohamed Morsi has not one but two deadlines looming: the one set by opposition protesters demanding his resignation, and the 48-hour ultimatum the army has issued, threatening to intervene unless the government heeds "the will of the people."

Luckily for Morsi, he's not the type of guy to let a time limit stress him out. He said today that he'd continue down his own path to national reconciliation, and in his own sweet time. Members of his cabinet aren't all willing to join him: at least five ministers have resigned, most notably Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr. The army insists its threatened intervention won't constitute a coup; whatever it is, it's on its way, and soon.

WANT TO KNOW

The asylum diaries. What's a wanted whistleblower to do when his passport's been revoked and he's stuck in Moscow airport? Why, fill out as many visa application forms as he can find. That seems to be how Edward Snowden's spending his long, long stay in the terminal: according to WikiLeaks, the loose-tongued former National Security Agency contractor has filed a total of 21 asylum requests to countries as diverse as Ecuador, Iceland, China, Brazil, France and Venezuela.

The list of potential new homes is already down to 20, however. Snowden has withdrawn his application to Russia after President Vladimir Putin insisted he'd have to stop leaking US secrets if he wanted to stay. Any government who's willing to take Snowden in had better be prepared for him to keep blowing that whistle.

Remembering Tanzania. Two very different US presidents came together today to honor the 11 Americans killed in Al Qaeda's 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam. Barack Obama and George W. Bush joined in a moment of silence at the memorial that stands at the new embassy compound, a mile from where the attack took place.

Bush is in Tanzania on one of these charitable missions former presidents are so fond of, but Obama is there on business. It was his last stop on a six-day, three-country trip that constituted his first major tour of the continent. Here's how he did.

Misadventures in space. There are red faces at Russia's mission control today, after yet another attempt at a satellite launch ended in disaster. The unmanned Proton-M booster rocket suffered engine failure moments after it blasted off and exploded into flames, destroying 200 million dollars' worth of satellite and releasing a cloud of toxic gas along the way. But hey, it was in Kazakhstan!

It's the third such mishap in six years for Russia, which, we note without judgment, plans to sink more than 9 billion dollars into its satellite navigation program by 2020.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Imagine a world where it was illegal not to visit your ageing parents. Where your grandpa could take you to court for not paying him enough attention. That world exists, and it's called China. As of this week, the country has a new law that forbids "overlooking or neglecting the elderly."

It's not clear what exactly lies in store for you if you don't, and many Chinese internet users have criticized the legislation as unworkable and overly moralizing. But anyone commenting online, we might fairly assume, probably isn't one of the old people the law is intended to protect. At least one senior citizen has already used it to her advantage: a 77-year-old woman from Wuxi successfully petitioned a court to order her daughter to spend time with her "at least once every two months, and on at least two of China's national holidays." What happy occasions those will be.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-egypt-counts-down-potential-coup

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