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Chatter: Egypt prepares to protest

Egypt counts down to a weekend of rival protests, the US has a new leaker to fret about, a scandal's brewing at the Vatican bank, and finally, a solution to the eternal question of how to pay for stuff in space.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Egypt prepares to protest. President Mohamed Morsi's supporters have begun massing in Cairo in preparation for "open-ended" rallies in support of his government. It's a gauntlet thrown in the direction of Morsi's detractors, who are planning protests of their own this Sunday to demand that the president resign, one year to the day since he was sworn in.

As Egypt counts down to the scheduled "Tamarod" (Rebellion), Morsi is rallying his Islamist base, hoping that they will act as a counterweight to the secular and liberal opponents gearing up for his ouster. It may be the weekend but in Egypt, the showdown's just beginning. 

WANT TO KNOW

The general who said too much. The US government has a new leaker to worry about, if reports are to be believed, and it's not some "29-year-old hacker": it's one of the Pentagon's own.

According to unnamed sources, Marine General James "Hoss" Cartwright — now retired, but between 2007-11 vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — is suspected by the Department of Justice as the source of classified information about the infamous Stuxnet worm, which targeted Iran's nuclear systems in 2010. Suspiciously detailed accounts of the cyber attack appeared in the US media last year, and the DoJ's probing has reportedly identified Cartwright as a target of its investigation. The general, formerly one of President Barack Obama's "inner circle," has yet to comment.

Speaking of 29-year-old hackers. They may not be worth the presidential jets, but they have a knack for causing trouble. Edward Snowden, Washington's least favorite fugitive right now, has already caused a spat between the US and Ecuador, the country he's asked for asylum: threatened with the withdrawal of trade privileges if it took him in, the Ecuadorean government has called America's bluff and canceled their export pact in defiance of US "blackmail."

And this is before Ecuador has even decided whether to put Snowden up. It's not the only Latin American country considering receiving him and thumbing its proverbial nose at the US. Here's our rundown of the tropical getaways Snowden could get his pick of

Bishops, brokers and billions. A Vatican accountant was arrested today, accused of trying to sneak some $26 million in cash into Italy. (No one needs that much change.) Nunzio Scarano, the bishop of Salerno, has been detained along with two alleged accomplices — a broker and a member of Italy's secret services.

The swoop comes just two days the Pope ordered an unprecedented inquiry into the Vatican's financial dealings, which it must be said are far from holy. Francis said the probe was designed to "learn more about the legal position and activities" of the Vatican bank; on this evidence, he may not like what he finds.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Move over, Bitcoin: there's a new new currency in town. Space travel is fun, but all those freeze-dried ice creams, moon buggy rides and anti-radiation fashion gear don't come cheap. If the Moon and Mars become tourist destinations as space entrepreneurs are hoping they will, travelers will need to be able to pay for stuff there. But bank transfers won't work in space and fumbling for coins in zero gravity isn't so funny after the first few times. So what's a spendthrift astronaut to do? 

Luckily for us, PayPal is on it. The internet payment company has announced that it's funding an initiative called PayPal Galactic to figure out what currency can be used and how commerce should be regulated off Earth. Let the good times roll, or rather float weightlessly into the eternal void.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-egypt-prepares-protest