Following days of sustained, massive protests, the Egyptian army made good on its threats against the government today, ousting President Morsi and appointing the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court as head of state. The situation on the ground is still developing, but here’s what we know about the historic coup that is unfolding in Egypt:
Bye Bye, Morsi: New York Times: “Egypt’s military on Wednesday deposed Mohamed Morsi, the nation’s first freely elected president, suspending the constitution, installing an interim government and insisting it was responding to the millions of Egyptians who had opposed Mr. Morsi’s Islamist agenda and his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood… In an announcement read on state television, the military said it had taken the extraordinary steps not to seize power for itself but to ensure that ‘confidence and stability are secured for the people…’ Ahramonline, the government’s official English-language Web site, said the military had informed Mr. Morsi that he was no longer head of state. There was no word on Mr. Morsi’s whereabouts.”
The “Road Map” Ahead: Reuters: “The president of the supreme constitutional court will act as interim head of state, assisted by an interim council and a technocratic government until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held. ‘Those in the meeting have agreed on a roadmap for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division,’ [General Abdel Fattah] Sisi said in a solemn address broadcast live on state television. After he spoke, hundreds of thousands of anti-Mursi protesters in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted into wild cheering, setting off fireworks and waving flags. Cars drove around the capital honking their horns in celebration.”
Morsi Responds via Twitter: CNN: “A post on the Egyptian presidency’s official account, attributed to Morsy, says the military’s move represents a ‘full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation.’ The account also ‘urges civilians and military members to uphold the law & the Constitution’ and ‘not to accept that coup which turns #Egypt backwards.’ This was posted just moments after the country’s top military officer announced his ouster. Morsy’s account ‘urges everyone to adhere to peacefulness and avoid shedding blood of fellow countrymen.’”
Weigel: Coup We Can Believe In
The Slatest: Tunisia Catches Protest Fever
It’s Wednesday. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and getting excited for the long weekend ahead—and for fireworks. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.
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Major Obamacare Provision Delayed: CBS News: “The delay of a key provision in President Obama’s health-care law is being called a major setback for the president’s signature issue. The controversial provision that requires companies with more than 50 employees to provide coverage or face fines is being delayed by a year. The rule is now on hold until 2015 - after the 2014 midterm elections… The concerns that the health-care law was going to hurt workers and the economy were widespread. Some small business owners said they would lay off workers so they had less than the 50 employees that brought them under the new law.”
US Postal Service Documents Every Piece of Mail: New York Times: “The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was created after the anthrax attacks in late 2001 that killed five people, including two postal workers. Highly secret, it seeped into public view last month when the F.B.I. cited it in its investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. It enables the Postal Service to retroactively track mail correspondence at the request of law enforcement. No one disputes that it is sweeping. ‘In the past, mail covers were used when you had a reason to suspect someone of a crime,’ said Mark D. Rasch, the former director of the Justice Department’s computer crime unit, who worked on several fraud cases using mail covers. ‘Now it seems to be ‘Let’s record everyone’s mail so in the future we might go back and see who you were communicating with.’ Essentially you’ve added mail covers on millions of Americans.’”
Assange’s Hideout Bugged: Reuters: “Ecuador has found a hidden microphone inside its London embassy, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is living, and will disclose on Wednesday who controls the device, its foreign minister said. Ricardo Patino said the microphone was found inside the office of the Ecuadorean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ana Alban, at the time of a visit to the embassy by Patino to meet with Assange on June 16. Assange lives and works in a different room within the embassy.”
Turkish Court Rules on Taksim: BBC: “A Turkish court has ruled against an Istanbul construction project that triggered nationwide unrest, it has been revealed. The plan to redevelop Taksim Square was blocked by the court in a ruling made on 8 June - as anti-government protests raged. It is unclear why the ruling has only now been released.”
No More Tuition, Student Loans in Oregon? New York Times: “This week, the Oregon Legislature approved a plan that could allow students to attend state colleges without paying tuition or taking out traditional loans. Instead, they would commit a small percentage of their future incomes to repaying the state; those who earn very little would pay very little. The proposal faces a series of procedural and practical hurdles and will not go into effect for at least a few years, but it could point to a new direction in the long-running debate over how to cope with the rising cost of higher education. While the approach has been used in Australia, national education groups say they do not know of any university in the United States trying it.”
Cleveland Captor Fit to Stand Trial: NBC News: “The Cleveland man who allegedly kidnapped and held captive three women in his basement for more than a decade has been deemed mentally fit to stand trial. A judge said during a hearing Wednesday morning that an examination found that 52-year-old Ariel Castro is mentally able to understand the charges and assist attorneys in his defense. Castro has pleaded not guilty to a 329 count indictment that includes multiple kidnapping and rape charges. He’s being held on an $8 million bond.”
Texas Abortion Bill Advances: BBC: “Contentious Texas anti-abortion legislation previously blocked by a marathon delaying speech has advanced amid vigorous demonstrations. A state House committee passed the bill after Republicans limited testimony and refused to allow Democrats’ amendments… The legislation is widely expected to pass both houses of the Republican-controlled legislature and become law.”
A Few More Quick Hits from Slate:
BrowBeat: Vegans Aren’t That Vindictive
MoneyBox: Can JC Penney Make a Comeback?
FutureTense: This Is What Global Warming Sounds Like
That’s all for today. Happy 4th of July. Until next time, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.