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UAE Royal Could Be Linked to Mohammed Morsi’s Death, French Former Spy Chief Claims



Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the younger brother of the UAE Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Zayed, could be involved in the sudden courtroom demise of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, claimed the former head of France’s external intelligence service.

Bernard Bajolet, who was in charge of France’s Directorate-General for External Security between 2013 and 2017, made the claim on Tuesday.

“The unofficial visit of the [UAE’s] Tahnoon bin Zayed to Cairo on 16 June may probably be related to Morsi’s suspicious death,” he tweeted, without going into further detail.

Tahnoon bin Zayed has been serving as the national security adviser to his brother since 2016. During his time in office, the UAE has beefed up security cooperation with the United States and pushed forward the idea of an anti-Iran collective security alliance, widely dubbed the “Arab NATO”.

Neither the UAE nor Tahnoon bin Zayed himself have commented on the matter so far.

In a separate tweet, Bajolet declared Morsi’s death as a “new starting point in the history of Islamic movements”.

Mohammed Morsi, the first democratically elected leader in Egypt’s modern history, died on Monday during a trial in a Cairo courtroom at the age of 68. Egyptian media described the cause of the death as a heart attack.

Morsi, who was a member of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, was elected in 2012 after Egypt’s long-time leader, Hosni Mubarak, was ousted during the Arab spring of 2011.

Morsi was forced from power in July 2013 by the military, led by General el-Sisi, in the wake of mass anti-government protests, and had been imprisoned ever since.

He had been tried on multiple charges, ranging from inciting the killing of protesters in December 2012 and spying for Qatar and Hamas to insulting the judiciary to breaking out of jail during the mass riots that overthrew Hosni Mubarak.

In June 2015, he was sentenced to death for the 2011 jailbreak but a higher court overturned the decision the following year and ordered a retrial. He also received a 20-year term in connection with the 2012 clashes between his supporters and protesters, and was serving a separate 25-year-term for allegedly leaking secret documents to Qatar.

Morsi was reportedly buried at dawn on Tuesday under heavy security in a remote part of Cairo.The Muslim Brotherhood accused the government of “assassinating” Morsi, while Turkish President Erdogan, a close ally of the late Egyptian leader, also suggested that Morsi was “killed” and that the Egyptian authorities failed to intervene to save him.

Erdogan also vowed to make sure that Egypt is tried in international courts over Morsi’s demise. The United Nations has called for an investigation, while rights advocates Human Rights Watch claimed that Morsi had been denied prisoners’ rights.

Egypt’s government dismissed allegations of medical mistreatment as unfounded and accused the UN of politicising his death. However, the Egyptian Prosecutor General has still ordered a probe into the case.

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Iran Blocks Nearly All Internet Access



Iran imposed an almost complete nationwide internet blackout on Sunday one of its most draconian attempts to cut off Iranians from each other and the rest of the world as widespread anti-government unrest roiled the streets of Tehran and other cities for a third day, The New York Times reported.

The death toll for the three days of protests rose to at least 12; hundreds were injured; and more than 1,000 people have been arrested, according to semiofficial news agencies like Fars News.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters, called the demonstrators “thugs” and endorsed the government’s decision to raise prices it sets for rationed gasoline by 50 percent as of Friday and by 300 percent for gasoline that exceeds ration limits. Even after the price hike, gasoline in Iran is still cheaper than in most of the rest of the world – now the equivalent of about 50 cents a gallon.

In a speech on Sunday, Khamenei said he would support rationing and increasing gas prices because heads of three branches of government had made the decision.

Khamenei also acknowledged that Iranians had taken to the streets to protest and that some had died – however, he blamed the protests on monarchists and opposition groups trying to destabilize Iran, the Times added.

The widespread discontent on display across the country marked yet another crisis for the country. Iran has been struggling with an economic crisis after the United States exited a nuclear deal and reimposed harsh sanctions that ban Iran’s oil sales.

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HASC Chairman Claims Legislation to Create a Space Force in 2020 ‘Still Possible’



House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said last week that negotiations on the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act are “proceeding reasonably well” but he expressed doubt that the NDAA will include language to authorize a Space Force as a separate military branch, SpaceNews reported.

“It’s still possible but by no means guaranteed,” Smith told reporters on Capitol Hill last week. When asked for specifics, Smith said, “I don’t think it would be helpful for me to make predictions.”

The biggest sticking point in the NDAA negotiations is language in the House version of the bill that restricts the use of military funds to pay for the wall that President Trump wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border, SpaceNews adds.

There are other dealbreaker issues. The authorization of a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces is one of them, Smith said. Other contentious matters include extending the “war powers” legislation that authorizes the president to use military force, and allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

Smith said the House and Senate NDAA conference in recent weeks worked on compromise language on hundreds of provisions and “reduced the stack significantly, and we’re down to a few really contentious issues.”

Smith characterized the Space Force as a “higher echelon” issue that is proving divisive. Both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate continue to have reservations about the administration’s Space Force proposal, said Smith. “There is bipartisan concern on the proposal and bicameral concern about the specifics of that proposal.”

The House version of the NDAA creates a Space Corps and is closer aligned with what the administration proposed. The Senate bill would rename the Air Force Space Command the U.S. Space Force and does not specifically authorize a sixth branch of the armed forces.

Smith noted that the House has been a proponent of a military space branch since 2017 while the Senate had adamantly opposed it. “In their bill they didn’t have the same language that we did. But the president has persuaded them to look at it differently.”

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Gunman Kills Four at California Backyard Party



Police in the California city of Fresno were investigating a mass shooting at a football game party on Sunday in which at least 10 people were shot, killing four, with five others left in critical condition and another wounded, Reuters informs.

Three men died at the scene and another died at a hospital, Fresno Deputy Police Chief Michael Reed said in a late night news conference. Six more were hospitalized, he said.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this thing,” Reed said. “This was senseless violence. We’re going to do everything we can to find out who the perpetrators were and bring them to justice.”

A gunman walked into a backyard and started shooting at a south Fresno home, where a gathering of about 35 family and friends was watching a football game before 8 p.m., said Reed. Neighbors soon flooded 911 dispatchers with calls for help, Reuters adds.

The suspect fled the scene and police were combing the neighborhood for witnesses and possible security camera footage, police said. Police did not release further information about the shooting in the city about 200 miles (320 km) north of Los Angeles, except that the dead were men between the ages of 25 and 35.

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