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No bid from Snowden

MOSCOW -- As of Saturday, Edward Snowden had not yet formally applied for political asylum in Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"We are not in contact with Edward Snowden," Lavrov said in televised remarks during a visit to Kyrgyzstan. "Russian legislation provides for a certain procedure, the first step in which is an official application to the Federal Migration Service."

On Friday, Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who revealed Washington's secret efforts to track international communications, summoned Russian human rights activists and lawyers to Sheremetyevo International Airport to give him assistance in gaining asylum in Russia.

The White House reacted strongly to the meeting, accusing the Russian government of providing Snowden with a platform to spew propaganda despite its previous declarations of neutrality.

 

Bid to reinstate Morsi

 

CAIRO, Egypt -- Islamist lawmakers in Egypt's disbanded upper house of parliament demanded Saturday the army reinstate ousted President Mohammed Morsi, and called on other legislatures around the world not to recognize the country's new military-backed leadership.

Morsi's supporters, including his Islamist allies, remain steadfast in their rejection of the military coup that toppled the president nearly two weeks ago after millions took to the street to demand his ouster. They have staged a series of mass protests in Cairo to push their demands and are vowing to stay in the streets until he is returned to office.

Speaking at a mass rally staged by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, the two dozen former parliamentarians, all Islamist members of the Shura Council that was dissolved by court order after the coup, accused the military of attempting to restore a "corrupt and dictatorial" regime.

The Brotherhood's website published a statement by the former lawmakers, in which they said the Shura Council's dissolution was invalid and claimed to have held a session at the rally.

 

Cow's plunge kills man

 

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Police say a cow fell through the roof of a small house in southeastern Brazil killing a man and narrowly missing his wife.

A police officer in the town of Caratinga says Joao Maria de Souza and his wife were sleeping when the one-tonne cow fell through the asbestos roof and on top of the victim. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

The officer said Souza died of internal bleeding at a nearby hospital. The incident occurred on Wednesday.

He said the cow apparently was grazing on a hill above Souza's home.

 

Abortion clinic in peril

 

HOUSTON -- Dr. Howard Novick winces as he recalls treating two and three women a week for infections and complications from botched abortions. It was the early 1970s, before the procedure was legalized, and the experience persuaded him to devote his life to this area of medicine.

Now, more than 40 years later, new abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature could force Novick to close the Houston abortion clinic he opened in 1980 because, he says, he does not have $1 million to $1.5 million to convert his run-of-the-mill medical office into a fully loaded surgical centre with wide corridors and sophisticated air-flow systems.

"I have saved some women's lives. They are so grateful we're here for them and nonjudgmental," Novick said. "I really feel a kinship for this."

The legislation, passed early Saturday following weeks of mass protests and a high-profile filibuster, allows abortions only in surgical centres, requires doctors who perform them to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, dictates when abortion pills are taken and bans abortions after 20 weeks unless the woman's life is in imminent danger.

 

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 14, 2013 A6

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