Top of the Morning: Rumors that Hosni Mubarak Will be Acquitted; Ethnic Clashes in South Sudan; Iran Saber Rattling

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Rumors-a-Swirlin’ that Hosni Mubarak May Beat the Rap

On Thursday, a Cairo court acquitted policemen on trial for killing protesters last year. Some worry that this is a prelude to a decision to dismiss the case against Hosni Mubarak. The court is stacked against the prosecution, and it may be that the legal system is incapable of meting out justice against the former president. “During the break, lawyers for slain protesters had tried to dismiss chief judge Ahmed Refaat, whom they accused of bias towards the defence, but failed. Relatives of the victims say their hopes of seeing Mubarak sentenced have been dashed by a string of prosecution witnesses who mostly confirmed the defence’s case that Mubarak never gave orders to shoot protesters. The most senior witness, a former assistant to the interior minister, said that Adly had ordered police to use tear gas and water cannon against protesters during the most violent day of protests on January 28.” (Al Jazeera

Up to 50,000 Displaced in Tribal Clashes along the Sudan-South Sudan border

There are some very ugly reports of horrific acts of violence over the weekend in Jonglei state, Southern Sudan. Several people have been killed and an MSF hospital was torched — its local staff have gone missing. Accusations of cattle rustling was the spark that ignited long simmering ethnic tensions in eastern Southern Sudan. “On Monday, some 6,000 armed members of the Lou Nuer tribe attacked the remote town of Pibor in Jonglei state bordering north Sudan after days of clashes with the rival Murle tribe, U.N. sources said. Lise Grande, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, said tens of thousands of civilians had fled Pibor and nearby towns to escape the violence. ‘We are worried about their conditions. They are without water, shelter and food. They are hiding in the bush. I think it is between 20,000 and 50,000. This is an estimate only,’ she told Reuters. She had no information about casualties. South Sudan’s armed forces are sending reinforcements to Pibor, army spokesman Philip Arguer said. ‘They attacked the town this morning. Civilians were evacuated from Pibor three days ago,’ he said, without giving further details. (AlertNet

Iran Test Fires Long Range Missiles; Says they Made a Key Nuclear Advance; AND Threatens US Navy.

The saber rattling continues. “Iran has raised the stakes in its confrontation with the West by test-firing a missile it said could not be detected by radar and claiming a breakthrough in its nuclear program. Responding defiantly to the imposition of fresh US sanctions, officials in Tehran announced on Sunday that they had successfully produced and tested nuclear fuel rods in an advance Western experts had long stated was beyond Iran’s technological capabilities. If true, the development would be an important step in Iran’s efforts to complete the nuclear fuel cycle, bringing it significantly closer to being able to produce a bomb.”  (Sydney Morning Herald

Money Quote from a Donor: The Food and Agriculture Organization has a new chief, Graziano da Silva of Brazil: “Hunger eradication was the first of five strategic priorities he intended to pursue at FAO, Graziano da Silva said. The others were: move towards more sustainable systems of food production and consumption; achieve greater fairness in the global management of food; complete FAO’s reform and decentralization; and expand South-South cooperation and other partnerships.” (FAO