Protesters’ trial begins
Three activists at the forefront of the 2011 uprising went on trial on Sunday over an unlicensed and violent demonstration. After an opening session that lasted almost four hours, the court said it would deliver its verdict on Dec. 22 in a case that has widened opposition to the government beyond the Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel are the first secular activists to go on trial amid a massive months-long crackdown on Islamists. All three defendants were leading dissidents under former president Hosni Mubarak and supported the military’s overthrow of Morsi.
FARC sets ceasefire
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels on Sunday declared a 30-day unilateral ceasefire and urged the government to do the same, in a surprise move after a deadly bombing blamed on the guerrillas. The announcement, effective on Dec. 15, came in a statement issued in Havana, Cuba, where the FARC and the Bogota government are in talks to end their bloody decades-long conflict.
TV anchor given new post
President Vladimir Putin has appointed a controversial news anchor known for his ultraconservative views to head a newly restructured state news agency. A decree published yesterday on the Kremlin’s Web site announced the appointment of Dmitry Kiselyov to be head of Russia Today, which will replace RIA Novosti in a major structural overhaul of the company. The TV anchor has been known for his controversial and conservative views. In one August episode of his show, he said he believed that the organs of homosexuals were not fit for transplants, and should be burned.
Judge’s decision appealed
Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and Google are blasting a federal judge’s decision in a defamation lawsuit by a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader convicted of having sex with her former high school student. The Internet giants recently filed briefs in the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio. The briefs are part of a lawsuit involving ex-Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones against an Arizona-based Web site thedirty.com. A jury found in July that posts on the site about Jones were substantially false and awarded her US$338,000. The companies say that if upheld, the judge’s ruling in favor of the former cheerleader has the potential to “significantly chill online speech” and undermine a 1996 federal law that provides broad immunity to Web sites.