Egypt opposition leader calls for election boycott
CAIRO – Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei called Saturday for a boycott of parliamentary elections, drawing immediate criticism from some within his movement who said it was a hasty decision.
The dispute showed the fragility of a fairly new opposition front forged after the deeply fragmented movement found little success at the polls since it led the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Opposition infighting would only help ensure that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group remains Egypt’s dominant political force after the next vote.
“(I) called for parliamentary election boycott in 2010 to expose sham democracy. Today I repeat my call, will not be part of an act of deception,” Nobel laureate ElBaradei, who leads the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF), wrote on his Twitter account.
The comment reiterated a frequently heard opposition sentiment that democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi is acting like Mubarak.
Iran claims capture of ‘enemy drone’
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said Saturday that it had captured a foreign unmanned aircraft during a military exercise in southern Iran.
Gen. Hamid Sarkheili, a spokesman for the military exercise, said the Guard’s electronic warfare unit spotted signals indicating that foreign drones were trying to enter Iranian airspace. Sarkheili said Guard experts took control of one drone’s navigation system and brought it down near the city of Sirjan.
Sarkheili did not say whether the drone was American.
In Washington, a CIA spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.
Thousands protest Spanish austerity
MADRID – Tens of thousands of people marched on Spain’s parliament Saturday to protest austerity measures, a demonstration that came on the 32nd anniversary of a failed attempt by the armed forces to overthrow the government.
Protest groups joined forces under the slogan “Citizens’ Tide, 23F,” referring to the Feb. 23, 1981, attack by the armed forces on the parliament. Organizers said that Spain “is under a financial coup” and called on people to march against what they said was government favoritism toward financial institutions at the expense of ordinary citizens.
Many Spaniards have been enraged by austerity cutbacks and tax hikes introduced by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a bid to reduce the deficit, ease market pressures on government borrowing and try and avoid a full financial bailout. Spain is in its second recession in three years and has 26 percent unemployment.