In brief

October 14, 2013


Leader calls for

academic freedoms

Iran’s president stepped up his challenge to the country’s hard-line factions on Monday, calling for the lifting of restrictions on academic freedoms and for granting Iranian scholars more opportunity to take part in international conferences.

The message from Hassan Rouhani underscores the increasing friction between his moderate-leaning camp and entrenched forces such as hard-line student organizations that have questioned the scope of the new president’s overtures to Washington.

Rouhani has pushed to break Iran’s standoff with the international community over its contested nuclear program, the subject of renewed talks with world powers due to resume on Tuesday in Geneva.

Some Iranian hard-liners oppose any detente with the U.S., and on Monday made their voices heard by disrupting a speech by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani with shouts of “death to the U.S.,” semiofficial news agency Mehr reported. Days earlier the elder statesman had urged Iranians to stop using the popular chant at rallies in order to aid Rouhani’s outreach.


Morsi won’t

quit presidency

A senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party was arrested Monday on the eve of a major Muslim holiday, while the family of the organization’s jailed leader issued a defiant statement saying he wouldn’t renounce his claim to Egypt’s presidency.

As Egyptians prepared to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, which begins Tuesday, neither the Brotherhood nor the military-backed interim government showed any sign of moving toward a political compromise.

Most of the Brotherhood’s leadership has been in jail for months, and Egyptian authorities have been moving to systematically sweep up those who remain at large.


Abortion lawsuits

cost about a million

Kansas has paid more than $913,000 to two private law firms that are helping the state defend anti-abortion laws enacted since conservative Republican Gov. Sam Brownback took office, and such expenses appear likely to grow.

The attorney general’s office disclosed the figures in response to requests from The Associated Press. More than $126,000 in legal fees stem from two lawsuits filed this summer against restrictions enacted just this year.

Kansas has enacted sweeping limits on abortion and providers since Brownback took office in January 2011, though it hasn’t attempted to ban abortions in the earliest weeks of pregnancies, as Arkansas and North Dakota have.


Libyan arrives to

face terror charges

After a weeklong interrogation aboard a U.S. warship, a Libyan al-Qaida suspect is now in New York awaiting trial on terrorism charges, U.S. officials said Monday.

Abu Anas al-Libi was grabbed in a military raid in Libya on Oct. 5. He’s due to stand trial in Manhattan, where he has been under indictment for more than a decade on charges he helped plan and conduct surveillance for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.

President Barack Obama’s administration took criticism years ago when it decided to prosecute admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York, rather than at the naval prison at Guantanamo Bay. After reversing course, however, the government has successfully prosecuted several terrorism cases in civilian courts.