NEED TO KNOW
Welcome to Egypt's "Friday of Rejection." Today's the day the Muslim Brotherhood calls on its supporters to take to the streets and reject the "usurpers" who've been in charge since the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi.
The army calls it enforcement of the will of the people, the Brotherhood cries coup. With an elected president under house arrest, a constitution suspended, media paid visits by soldiers and air force planes overhead, it may look, sound and smell like a coup — but ceci n'est pas un coup. Got that? And to prove it, the military has assured that its opponents will be allowed to demonstrate today, as is every Egyptian's right; just so long as they remain peaceful.
WANT TO KNOW
Plane foolish. What started as a hold-up for the Bolivian president has now become a major headache for the United States: President Evo Morales is threatening to close the US embassy in Bolivia after his jet was prevented from flying through European air space over suspicions that Edward Snowden, America's most wanted whistleblower, was on board.
Morales has demanded an explanation from the four European countries reportedly involved. But for Bolivia and its allies Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay and Argentina, the government really to blame is Washington, which Morales accuses of acting the bully. "This was an open provocation toward a continent, not just a president," Morales warns. Well, that escalated quickly.
No news is good news. Nelson Mandela remains in the same condition he's been in for the past two weeks: "critical but stable." The South African government has pointedly reiterated the diagnosis in response to reports, since denied, that the former president was in a "permanent vegetative state."
Meanwhile, away from Mandela's bedside, his family members continue their increasingly bitter dispute. The squabble has focused on family graves, but at its core is the question of who will succeed Mandela as head of the clan — all a bit unseemly as the elderly icon remains, fragile but alive, in hospital. Before he eventually rests in peace, can't we leave him in peace?
The name's John Paul, Saint John Paul. The Vatican has confirmed that the late John Paul II is to be canonized. The current pope, Francis, has formally approved the second of the two miracles that every would-be saint must have to their name before they make the grade. (We still don't know exactly what John Paul's were, for the record.)
It's the quickest turnaround in holy history: until now, no one has made sainthood in any less than 27 years; just eight have passed since John Paul's death.
STRANGE BUT TRUE
Making the Founding Fathers proud. The true meaning of July 4th is, of course, competitive eating, and this Independence Day the US celebrated two true American champs: Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, both of whom defended their titles in Coney Island's annual hotdog-scoffing contest.
Thomas downed 69 weiners in 10 minutes, while Thomas managed 36.75 in the same time. (We wouldn't like to see the 0.25 that got away.) Because true freedom means the right to scarf until you're sick.