Slatest PM: Snowden's Stop-and-Start Journey

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 9 2013 4:53 PM

Slatest PM: Snowden's Stop-and-Start Journey

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Activists of the organization Campact demonstrate in front of the German Chancellery in support of fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden , on July 4, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.

Photo by KAY NIETFELD/AFP/Getty Images

Snowden Still Stuck: Reuters: "Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has not yet formally accepted asylum in Venezuela, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said on Tuesday. … WikiLeaks ... said that states involved in deciding an asylum destination for Snowden, who fled the United States last month, 'will make the announcement if and when the appropriate time comes.' Snowden, who is wanted in the United States on espionage charges after revealing details of secret surveillance programs, is believed to be holed up in the transit area at a Moscow airport where he arrived on June 23 from Hong Kong."

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Where All the Confusion Came From: The Hill: "NSA leaker Edward Snowden has accepted Venezuela's offer of asylum, a key Russian lawmaker tweeted Tuesday. Alexei Pushkov, the chairman of Russian Duma's international affairs panel, tweeted that Snowden had accepted the offer from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The tweet was deleted soon after it was posted. ... Pushkov later tweeted that his information came from a Russian newcast. 'Address your questions to them,' he tweeted."

A Stop-and-Start Journey: The New Yorker: "That is somehow of a piece with how Snowden’s entire stop-and-start journey has gone: his flight has been improvised not out of bits and pieces but out of very large geopolitical parts barely held together with a schoolroom glue stick, or whatever you can buy in the transit zone at Sheremetyevo airport. ... But you can’t take up asylum in Venezuela if you can’t get to Venezuela. Morales is unlikely to have his plane stopped for a while, but the airspace issue is tricky. Already having gone through Hong Kong and Moscow, Snowden might find himself deciphering terminal signs in a few more languages before landing in a Spanish-speaking country."

Happy Tuesday. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and scanning the horizons for summer storms. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.

New Government in Egypt: Washington Post: "Interim President Adly Mansour appointed a new prime minister and vice president Tuesday as Egypt braced for a potential backlash a day after security forces gunned down more than 50 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. In a recorded statement broadcast on Egyptian television Tuesday, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, chief of Egypt’s armed forces, told the nation that the new president’s earlier constitutional declaration and road map for elections and a new charter provided 'more than enough assurance' that the country was moving in the right direction."

Egyptian Aid: Reuters: "Saudi Arabia approved $5 billion in aid to Egypt on Tuesday and the United Arab Emirates has offered $3 billion in desperately needed support for the economy after the army ousted the Islamist president last week. The Saudi funds comprise a $2 billion central bank deposit, $2 billion in energy products, and $1 billion in cash, the Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf told Reuters. Egypt has struggled to pay for imports since the 2011 uprising that pushed Hosni Mubarak out of the presidency drove away tourists and foreign investors, two of its main sources of foreign currency."

FBI Nominee Denounces Waterboarding: New York Times: "James B. Comey, President Obama’s nominee for F.B.I. director, said on Tuesday that although he authorized the use of waterboarding when he was a deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush, he believes that the technique is torture and illegal. ‘When I first learned about waterboarding when I became deputy attorney general, my reaction as a citizen and a leader was, this is torture,’ Mr. Comey said in testimony during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. ‘It’s still what I think.’"

No, [Bleep] You: ABC News: "A Boston federal courtroom sounded more like a South Boston street corner today as foul-mouthed threats were exchanged between alleged gangster James "Whitey" Bulger and his former right-hand man Kevin Weeks as they accused each other of being 'rats.' Weeks was nearing the end of his second day on the stand recalling drug deals, extortions and murders he said that he had committed alongside Bulger. ... "Because we killed people that were rats and I had the biggest rats right next to me,'' Weeks testified, looking at Bulger, who records show was an informant for the FBI, but which he debies. That prompted Bulger to mumble, 'You suck.' Weeks, 57, then yelled, 'F*** you, okay.' Bulger, 83, shouted back, 'F*** you too.'

Gay Marriage Fight Moves to Pennsylvania: Washington Post: "Less than two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled the U.S. government could not deny federal benefits to legally-married same sex couples, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a challenge to Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage in federal court. The ACLU is representing 23 plaintiffs... in a lawsuit it filed Tuesday in Harrisburg, Pa. James Esseks, who directs the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project, said the group hopes to secure the right for gay couples to marry in Pennsylvania, force the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and ratchet up the legal pressure on the Supreme Court to ultimately rule on the question of whether same-sex marriage should be legal across the nation."

Zimmerman Defense Brings in Expert: Associated Press: “A nationally renowned gunshot wound expert testified Tuesday that Trayvon Martin's gunshot wound was consistent with accused murderer George Zimmerman's story that the teen was on top of him and leaning over when he was shot. George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain standing trial in the teen's shooting death, has said Martin attacked him and was on top of him just before the fatal gunshot. Prosecutors have argued Zimmerman profiled the teen and started the confrontation.”

Asiana Execs Defend Pilots: Los Angeles Times: "Asiana Airlines on Tuesday defended the experience of the pilots who were at the controls when Asiana Flight 214 crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport last week, killing two and injuring scores of others. Lee Kang-kook, the captain who was in training on the Boeing 777, had previously flown in to SFO 29 times as a co-pilot on Boeing 747s, Asiana President Yoon Young-doo told reporters at a briefing Tuesday in Seoul. The co-pilot on the flight, Lee Jung-min, had flown into the airport 33 times, Yoon said. 'They each had 33 and 29 times of operational experience,' Yoon said before boarding a flight himself for San Francisco, calling the men 'excellent pilots.' 'I can tell you that they were sufficiently qualified pilots.'"

A Few More Quick Hits from Slate:

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