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NightWatch 20120620

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For the night of 20 June 2012

Greece: Greek conservative party head Antonis Samaras was sworn in as prime minister Wednesday. He leads a three-party coalition that pledges to honor Greece's international commitments, provided they are renegotiated and the three parties can agree on the composition of a government.

Comment: Greece has a government leader who does not yet have a government. The political crisis is far from over because the government shows no signs that it will last. The economic crisis will not be over in a generation because the numbers of Greek pensioners and entitlement receivers exceed the numbers of workers who pay taxes.

The net effect of the election process is to kick the can of accountability down the road, using time, diverting public attention and accomplishing nothing of value. The political leaders that got Greece into its economic catastrophe are still in power!

This is condign punishment for the Germans who extended easy credit to enable Greeks to buy German goods, never expecting Greeks would not pay their bills as the Germans do. (Note: This is a perfect example of the effects of mirror imaging across cultural and national boundaries, but this time by financial and economic analysts.) The Germans will never get paid.

Egypt: Election update. The Elections Commission said in a statement that announcing results will be postponed from Thursday because a panel of judges has to look into some 400 complaints over voting submitted by both Shafiq and Mursi's campaign. The Commission gave no new date.

Some of the complaints were presented on Wednesday night, shortly before the commission released its statement. It said that for five hours, the commission listened to lawyers from both camps. Shafiq's lawyers claimed fraud in 14 of Egypt's 27 provinces where they said ballots sent to polling centers were already marked in favor of Mursi.

Mursi's lawyers said that the voters' lists included soldiers, who are barred from voting, and the names of dead people.

Security officials said several employees of the state press, where election ballots were printed, were being questioned by prosecutors over allegations that thousands of the ballots were marked in favor of Mursi. Already, three heads of polling centers in different parts of the country have been arrested for questioning about alleged vote rigging.

National Defense Council

Egypt's new president will head the newly-reconstructed National Defense Council, according to a decree issued by head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

Under the decree, the Council will include the People's Assembly Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Defense Minister, Military Production Minister, the Interior Minister, the Finance Minister, and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.

It will also include director of the Egyptian General Intelligence, Chief Naval Commander, the Air Force Commander, the Commander of Air Defense Forces, the Assistant Defense Minister, the Chief of the Operations Authority of the Armed Forces, the Chief of the Military Judiciary, and the Director of Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance.

Any meeting should be attended by the absolute majority of the members, and any decision should be approved also by the absolute majority of the attending members, the decree stated.

Comment: The Council is not yet functional because Egypt has no parliament and the announcement of the new president has been delayed. The Council will, of course, be subject to the terms of the constitutional declarations that subject defense decisions to approval by the SCAF.

Mali: Update. Islamist rebel group Ansar Dine, which jointly controls the country's north, said Wednesday it was not interested in proclaiming an independent state but only in the implementation of sharia. "We have handed (regional mediator) Blaise Compaore a letter by Iyad Ag Ghaly," said a source close to the Ansar Dine delegation which has been holding talks with the Burkina Faso president in Ouagadougou.

Comment: The al-Qaida affiliates might not want an independent state, but the Tuaregs do and want it to span present national boundaries. Today's statement indicates the rift between Tuaregs and Islamists has widened. Regardless, northern Mali is beyond the ability of the Bamako people to control, whomever they are. 

End of NightWatch for 20 June.

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