World News Brief, Tuesday December 11

Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi gives army power of arrest; North Korea delays rocket launch; Japan's Liberal Democratic Party rules out forming coalition with Democratic Party of Japan; Afghan police chief killed in latest Taliban attack; Hugo Chavez's cancer returns; and more

Top of the Agenda: Egypt's Military Question

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has given the army the power of arrest (BBC) and has ordered the military to protect state institutions after rescinding the decree that has plunged Egypt into political chaos. Morsi attempted to quell public anger Saturday by annulling the decree that gave him unprecedented power and suspending a large tax increase on the sale of a variety of goods, but rejected a call to scrap the December 15 constitutional vote, prompting opposition leaders to reject the move and call for protests on Tuesday (AlJazeera). It remains unclear if the opposition will boycott Saturday's referendum.


"Throughout the conflict, speculation has grown regarding the army's role in things and the possibility of a military intervention if the situation continued to deteriorate. ElBaradei among others openly warned of the possibility. A military statement, read on state television over the weekend, urged both sides to pursue dialogue but left a hint of possible intervention," writes Ashraf Khalil for TIME.

"Urging a 'no' vote would give the referendum legitimacy, especially if the draft is passed, as expected. Only a simple majority is needed for adoption. A boycott would allow the opposition to claim the vote was illegitimate, especially if staying away from the polls significantly reduces turnout," writes Hamza Hendawi for the Associated Press.

"The simple fact is that the very strategy necessary to open space for the Brotherhood's ascendance to power—not challenging the military's prerogatives, following Washington Consensus policies demanded by the IMF regardless of their negative impact on the majority of Egyptians, and supporting, however quietly, US policies in the region—will move it further away from its core poor, working class and petite bourgeois constituencies," writes Mark LeVine for Al Jazeera.



North Korea Delays Rocket Launch

North Korea said Monday it will extend the thirteen-day launch window (Yonhap) for its rocket by one week until Dec. 29, citing technical difficulties. The rocket has provoked international concern for what the United States and Asian neighbors see as a disguised ballistic missile test banned under UN resolutions prompted by the country's nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

CFR's World Next Week podcast discusses North Korea's planned rocket launch.

JAPAN: Japan's Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe on Sunday ruled out forming a coalition government (JapanTimes) with the Democratic Party of Japan, led by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, after the December 16 election.


Afghan police chief killed in latest Taliban attack

Hugo Chavez's cancer returns

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