There were renewed fears that elements of the besieged Syrian regime of President Assad may be planning to use chemical weapons in its seemingly endless battle against rebels. World leaders reiterated their warning that such an escalation of violence could provoke a military intervention. Meanwhile the grim death toll continued to rise as government jets pounded suburbs of Damascus. After briefly controlling areas of the capital, rebels have been systematically driven out of the city.
Opposition to President Morsi continued in Egypt, with three advisors resigning in protest at his sweeping new powers. Violent protests continued in Cairo, with pro and anti Morsi groups being kept apart by riot police. Morsi’s moves place Western governments in an awkward position. The stability and relative pragmatism towards Egypt is very welcome, but his tolerance of anti-Christian mobs and his increasingly undemocratic style of leadership are a worrying divergence from the lofty ideals of the Arab Spring.
Spain formally requested assistance from the EU’s bailout fund. The same week thousands of disabled Spaniards protested in Madrid at cuts to their benefits. The protests are an unwelcome headache for the government, which is struggling to deal with crippling unemployment, a creaking banking system, an anaemic property market, and a resurgent separatism in Catalonia.
In the US, three men have pleased not guilty to a terrorism related charges for allegedly plotting to kill American’s overseas. Federal authorities claim the men planned to attack military bases, and they were arrested as they boarded a plane bound for Istanbul, en route to Afghanistan.
Utah’s highest court ruled that its adoption laws are ‘constitutionally defective’ following the case of a solider who returned home to find his daughter had been adopted without his knowledge. The mother had handed the child to a foster family while the father was out of the State. The father has since won custody, but the child’s adopted family are refusing to hand the child back. The case continues.
His Holiness the Pope, God’s representative on Earth and spiritual leader to over a billion souls, has joined Twitter. Claims of narcissism have been leveled against the Pontiff however, with his profile showing that he only ‘follows’ seven other accounts…his own…in seven other languages.