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More Surprises From Morsi, As Cairo Stays On Edge



CAIRO – Attempting to tame the wave of rage that erupted last week in the capital, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi continued his weekend maneuvering into the early hours of Monday morning, imposing and quickly rescinding a new consumption tax.

On Saturday, Morsi announced he would annul the constitutional declaration that he issued on Nov. 22 that had conferred him extraordinary executive and legislative powers. Nevertheless, he stood by his decision to call a Dec. 15 referendum on a new Constitution that some critics say would cement his new authority, according to Al Jazeera website.

Again on Sunday night, Morsi surprised many by calling for an increase of consumption taxes on some goods, including alcohol.

[rebelmouse-image 27086093 alt="""" original_size="500x334" expand=1]

Egyptian beer (cani&porci)

Activists immediately denounced the proposal, saying it again contradicts the demands of the Arab spring pro-democracy revolution. Masrawy published a list of the goods that were to be subjected to this increase: local and imported cigarettes, beer, soft drinks, oil, driving licenses, commercial licenses, water, electricity, gas, touristic transportation services, telephone communications and others.

A few hours later, around 2:30 a.m., the presidency declared that this decision is annulled without giving any details. Al Masrawy reported the text of his about-face: “The president of the Republic understands the needs of Egyptians and realizes how much the burden is heavy on citizens during these economically difficult times. Issuing decisions concerning the increase of taxes on some goods and services led to fear of the increase of the cost of living. Since the President does not accept that the Egyptian citizen support any extra burden unwillingly, he decided to annul these decisions and to charge the government to discuss the matter with experts in order to evaluate the extent of acceptance or refusal of this increase by the public opinion. The Egyptian people will forever have the last say.”

Reacting on this declaration, Nader Bakkar, spokesman of the Nour Salafist party, tweeted: “The timing of the annulation of this decision does not necessarily reflect an immediate response to the people’s will, but a deficiency in political decision-making.”

توقيت إلغاء الرئيس لقرار زيادة الضرائب لا يعني بالضرورة استجابة �ورية لحالة الر�ض الشعبي قدر مايعني خللا واضحا �ي عملية صناعة القرار السياسي

— نادر بكار (@naderbakkar) December 10, 2012

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Why Poland's Break With Ukraine Weakens All Enemies Of Russia — Starting With Poland

Poland’s decision to stop sending weapons to Ukraine is being driven by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party's short-term electoral calculus. Yet the long-term effects on the world stage could deeply undermine the united NATO front against Russia, and the entire Western coalition.

Photo of ​Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Bartosz T. Wieliński


WARSAW — Poland has now moved from being the country that was most loudly demanding that arms be sent to Ukraine, to a country that has suddenly announced it was withholding military aid. Even if Poland's actions won't match Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s words, the government has damaged the standing of our country in the region, and in NATO.

“We are no longer providing arms to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland,” the prime minister declared on Polsat news on Wednesday evening. He didn’t specify which type of arms he was referring to, but his statement was quickly spread on social media by leading figures of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

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When news that Poland would be withholding arms to Ukraine made their way to the headlines of the most important international media outlets, no politician from PiS stepped in to refute the prime minister’s statement. Which means that Morawiecki said exactly what he meant to say.

The era of tight Polish-Ukrainian collaboration, militarily and politically, has thus come to an end.

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