Egyptian president attempts to ease crisis over perceived power grab; Vietnam ejects new Chinese passports; Australian defense minister apologises to military personnel who were abused during their service; more than 200 killed in Bangladeshi clothing factory fire; Israeli defense minister to retire; and more

Top of the Agenda: Egypt Faces Crisis as Morsi Meets With Judges

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is set to meet senior judges on Monday in an attempt to ease a mounting crisis (BBC) over a package of decrees announced Thursday that grants him sweeping powers and places him above court oversight. The decree sparked violent protests nationwide as activists camped in Cairo's Tahrir Square for a third day on Sunday (AlJazeera), blocking traffic with barricades to protest what they said was a power grab by Morsi. Several prominent opposition leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, have said they will not engage in dialogue with the president until he rescinds the measure.

Analysis

"The transition was already in crisis: most non-Islamist forces had withdrawn from the panel writing the constitution, and some were hoping that it would be dissolved by the constitutional court which was to rule in early December. Mr Morsi's decisions gave the panel two more months to complete its work, as liberals had demanded; but it also protected an assembly dominated by Islamist forces," writes Roula Khalaf for the Financial Times.

"A full-blown retraction of the decree might be seen as an unbearable blow to Morsi's credibility, but he may be persuaded to scale back some of its more problematic provisions. Much also depends on whether protesters are willing to back down from their bottom-line demand -- Morsi's removal -- and settle for a more realistic compromise," writes Mara Revkin for Foreign Policy.

"[T]here is an accusation that the underlying aim is to enable the constitutional assembly - currently dominated by Islamists - to write an Islamist constitution for Egypt. That is why President Mursi's move has produced such bitter, and potentially dangerous, divisions in the country," writes Jon Leyne for the BBC.

 

PACIFIC RIM

Vietnam Rejects New Chinese Passports

Vietnam's passport control offices are refusing to stamp visa pages (VOA) in new Chinese passports that contain a map showing islands in the South China Sea as part of Chinese territory, issuing instead separate visa sheets. Vietnam and four other governments have claims to territories like the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea region.

AUSTRALIA: Australia's defense minister Stephen Smith apologized to military personnel who were sexually abused or mistreated during their service (AP), launching an inquiry into hundreds of allegations of abuse over six decades.

 

ELSEWHERE:

100 killed in Bangladeshi clothing factory fire

 Israeli defense minister to retire

 

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.

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