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Egypt

Egyptian Speaker Convenes Parliament Session, But Building Still Sealed By Military

BBC NEWS (UK), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

CAIRO - Egyptian parliamentary speaker Saad al-Katatni told the state news agency on Monday that Parliament would meet on Tuesday even though Army generals ordered it dissolved last month and took over legislative power, according to Reuters. The move could threaten Egypt's political stability and herald an open confrontation between the new Islamist civilian power and the military more than a year after the ousting of the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Al-Katatni's announcement came after newly-elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsi issued a decree on Sunday ordering Parliament to reconvene, openly defying the military generals who had ordered its dissolution last month because of electoral irregularities for independent seats. On Monday afternoon the Egyptian high court ruled that the Parliament's dissolution was binding and applied to all branches of power, rejecting Morsi's decree.

Al-Katatni and Morsi are both former members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's dominant political force.

It is unclear how the representatives would meet since MPs were still barred on Monday from entering Parliament by military forces keeping the building sealed, the BBC reports, even though the army withdrew units, enabling some MPs to enter.

Fears of a inevitable clash between Morsi and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) were slightly assuaged when the president appeared with the head of the military at a relaxed television event on Monday morning, Reuters reports.

Morsi also said on Sunday that new elections would be held as soon as Parliament approved a new constitution. The army had assumed power after Mubarak's downfall in January 2011, but the historic election of Morsi - a civilian - to the presidency last month has pushed Egypt into uncharted territory.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Wagner's MIA Convicts: Where Do Deserting Russian Mercenaries Go?

Tens of thousands of Russian prisoners who've been recruited by the Wagner Group mercenary outfit have escaped from the frontlines after volunteering in exchange for freedom. Some appear to be seeking political asylum in Europe thanks to a "cleared" criminal record.

Picture of a soldier wearing the Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Soldier wearing the paramilitary Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Source: Sky over Ukraine via Facebook
Anna Akage

Of the about 50,000 Russian convicts who signed up to fight in Ukraine with the Wagner Group, just 10,000 are reportedly still at the front. An unknown number have been killed in action — but among those would-be casualties are also a certain number of coffins that are actually empty.

To hide the number of soldiers who have deserted or defected to Ukraine, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is reportedly adding them to the lists of the dead and missing.

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Some Wagner fighters have surrendered through the Ukrainian government's "I Want To Live" hotline, says Olga Romanova, director and founder of the Russia Behind Bars foundation.

"Relatives of the convicts enlisted in the Wagner Group are not allowed to open the coffins," explains Romanova.

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