| Pit of Bones: Leg fossil has oldest yet human DNA!

Leg bone gives up oldest human DNA ~ Paul RinconScience editor, BBC News.

Sima de los Huesos remainsThe Pit of Bones has yielded one of the richest assemblies of human bones from this era.

The discovery of DNA in a 400,000-year-old human thigh bone will open up a new frontier in the study of our ancestors.

That’s the verdict of experts in human evolution on an analysis in Nature journal of the oldest human genetic material ever sequenced.

The femur comes from the famed “Pit of Bones” site in Spain, which gave up the remains of at least 28 ancient people.

But the results are perplexing, raising more questions than answers about our increasingly complex family tree.

The early human remains from the cave site near the northern Spanish city of Burgos have been painstakingly excavated and pieced together over the course of more than two decades by palaeontologists. It has yielded one of the richest assemblages of human bones from this stage of human evolution, in a time called the Middle Pleistocene.

Related Stories

We need all the data we can get to build the whole story of human evolution ~ Prof Chris StringerNatural History Museum

To access the pit, scientists must crawl for hundreds of metres through narrow cave tunnels and rope down through the dark. The bodies were probably deposited there deliberately – their causes of death unknown.

The fossils carry many traits typical of Neanderthals, and either belong to an ancestral species known as Homo heidelbergensis – or, as the British palaeoanthropologist Chris Stringer suggests – are early representatives of the Neanderthal lineage.

DNA’s tendency to break down over time means it has not previously been possible to study the genetics of such ancient members of the human family.

But the recent pace of progress in sequencing technology has astonished many scientists: “Years ago, geneticists said they wouldn’t be able to find DNA that was older than 60,000 years old,” said co-author Jose Bermudez de Castro, and a member of the team that excavated the Pit of Bones fossils.

“Of course, that wasn’t true. The techniques have advanced hugely.”

Siberia to Iberia

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, under the supervision of Prof Svante Paabo, have been helping drive those advances.

Prof Paabo, the institute’s director, said: “Our results show that we can now study DNA from human ancestors that are hundreds of thousands of years old,” adding: “It is tremendously exciting.”

The scientists were able to assemble a near-complete sequence of mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA (the genetic material contained in the tiny “batteries” that power our cells) from the ancient femur. But comparisons of the genetic sequence with those from other ancient and present-day humans yielded a surprise.

Rather than showing a relationship between the Spanish specimens and later Neanderthals, which might be expected based purely on physical features of the fossils and geography, the mitochondrial DNA was most similar to that found in 40,000 year-old fossils unearthed thousands of kilometres away at Denisova Cave in Siberia.

The Denisovans are a genetically distinct group of ancient humans, identified only from genetic material extracted from fragmentary bones at the cave. Their relationship to human groups already described in the fossil record is unclear; they are, as some researchers have remarked, “a genome in search of a fossil”.

From missing mutations in the old DNA sequences, the researchers calculated that the Pit of Bones individual shared a common ancestor with the Denisovans about 700,000 years ago.

Muddle in the middle

So there are several possibilities as to how Denisovan-like DNA could turn up in Middle Pleistocene Spain. Firstly, the mitochondrial DNA type from the pit came from an even more ancient population of humans ancestral to both the Spanish hominids and to Denisovans. This genetic lineage must later have been lost from the Neanderthal gene pool.

Secondly, interbreeding between the Pit of Bones people (or their ancestors) and yet another early human species brought the Denisovan-like DNA into this western population.

Prof Chris Stringer, from London’s Natural History Museum, told BBC News: “We need all the data we can get to build the whole story of human evolution. We can’t just build it from stone tools, we can’t just build it from the fossils. Having the DNA gives us a whole new way of looking at it.”

However, he points out, mtDNA is a small and unusual component of our genetic blueprint, from which only limited conclusions can be drawn. For example, no sign of the interbreeding we now know took place between Neanderthals and modern humans remains in the mtDNA of modern people.

To get the full picture, scientists had to sequence nuclear DNA (that kept in the nuclei of cells) from Neanderthals and compare it with that in present-day populations. Likewise, the true relationships between the Pit people and other ancient populations may only be known if and when nuclear DNA is available.

This will be a challenge given the age of the Spanish fossils, but their good state of preservation – largely a product of the fairly constant temperature inside the cave, gives hope.

“That is our next big here, to sequence at least part of the nuclear genome from the individual in the Sima de los Huesos,” Svante Paabo told BBC News.

“This will answer definitively the question of how they are related to Neanderthals, modern humans and Denisovans.”

_________________________________________________________________________

 

| MP John Hemming to raise Essex forced Caesarean claim!

MP John Hemming to raise Essex forced Caesarean claim ~ BBC News.

An MP is to raise the case of a woman who he says had her baby forcibly removed by Caesarean section, and taken by social services in Essex.

Liberal Democrat John Hemming said the Italian woman had had a panic attack linked to her bipolar disorder and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

She was sedated after authorities obtained a court order.

Essex County Council, which allegedly took the baby into care, said it could not comment on “ongoing” cases.

It is understood the woman was pregnant when she came to the UK to work for Stansted Airport in 2012.

Up for adoption

Mr Hemming, MP for Birmingham Yardley and chairman of the Justice for Families Campaign, said he planned to raise the case in Parliament.

He claims to have seen documents proving Essex social services obtained a court order for a Caesarean section, and for the child to be taken into care.

He said the girl, who is now 15 months old, was still in the care of Essex social services and was being put up for adoption.

Solicitor Brendan Fleming issued a statement in which he said he had been instructed by the woman’s lawyers but would not discuss the case.

“We remain committed to fighting for our clients and shall fight tooth and nail to help mother be reunited with her baby,” it said.

A council spokesperson said: “Essex County Council does not comment on the circumstances of ongoing individual cases involving vulnerable people and children.”

 

BBC Essex

________________________________________________________________________

 

| UK: ‘A million children growing up without fathers!’

‘A million children growing up without fathers’ ~ Hannah Richardson, BBC News education and family reporter, 10 June 2013.

A million UK children are growing up without a father in their lives, says a new report on family breakdown.

The Centre for Social Justice report says lone parent families are increasing by more than 20,000 a year, and will top two million by the next general election.

In some areas fatherlessness has reached such high levels that they are virtual “men deserts”, it adds.

And it accuses politicians on all sides of a “feeble” response.

The report says the number of single parent households has been rising steadily over the past 40 years, and that now 3m children are growing up predominantly with their mothers.

‘Tsunami of breakdown’

This has led to a huge number of children growing up without a meaningful relationship with their fathers – which the report defines as contact twice a year or more.

The absence of fathers is linked to higher rates of teenage crime, pregnancy and disadvantage, the report says, warning that the UK is experiencing a “tsunami” of family breakdown.

And it highlights areas of the UK with very high levels of lone parent households – although this does not necessarily mean the children living in them have no contact with their fathers.

In one neighbourhood in the Riverside ward of Liverpool, there is no father present in 65% of homes with dependent children. Liverpool has eight out of the top 20 areas with the highest levels of fatherless households.

‘Men deserts’

There are 236 pockets of towns in England and Wales where more than 50% of households with dependent children are headed by a lone mother.

And an area in the Manor Castle ward of Sheffield tops the lone parent league table – among households with dependent children, 75% are headed by a lone parent.

CSJ director Christian Guy says: “For children growing up in some of the poorest parts of the country, men are rarely encountered in the home or in the classroom. This is an ignored form of deprivation that can have profoundly damaging consequences on social and mental development.

“There are ‘men deserts’ in many parts of our towns and cities and we urgently need to wake up to what is going wrong.”


For children growing up in some of the poorest parts of the country, men are rarely encountered in the home or in the classroom”

The CSJ report recalls David Cameron‘s election pledge to lead the “most family-friendly Government ever”.

Yet, in power, the family stability agenda “has barely been mentioned”. Comprehensive action to tackle existing policy barriers to family stability “has been almost entirely absent”, it adds.

‘Transferrable tax allowance’

The report calls for concrete steps to encourage marriage, including transferrable tax allowances for married couples.

The Department for Communities, Local Government and the Regions responded highlighting its programme for highly troubled families.

A DCLG spokesman said the programme was helping to get thousands of children back into school, reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour and put parents on a path back to work, as well as reducing costs to the taxpayer.

“In the first year of the three-year programme councils had already identified 66,000 fully eligible families and were working with over 35,000. This is good progress considering many services have been established from a standing start and puts us on track to work with 120,000 families by 2015.”

“For children growing up in some of the poorest parts of the country, men are rarely encountered in the home or in the classroom”

________________________________________________________________________

family2

 

FamilyStick1

| Curiosity’s pictures find ancient history of flowing water on Mars!

Mars pebbles prove water history ~ Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent, BBC News.

Scientists now have definitive proof that many of the landscapes seen on Mars were indeed cut by flowing water.

The valleys, channels and deltas viewed from orbit have long been thought to be the work of water erosion, but it is Nasa’s latest rover, Curiosity, that has provided the “ground truth”.

Researchers report its observations of rounded pebbles on the floor of the Red planet’s 150km-wide Gale Crater.

Their smooth appearance is identical to gravels found in rivers on Earth.

Rock fragments that bounce along the bottom of a stream of water will have their edges knocked off, and when these pebbles finally come to rest they will often align in a characteristic overlapping fashion.

Curiosity has pictured these features in a number of rock outcrops at the base of Gale Crater.

It is confirmation that water has played its part in sculpting not only this huge equatorial bowl but by implication many of the other landforms seen on the planet.

“For decades, we have speculated and hypothesised that the surface of Mars was carved by water, but this is the first time where you can see the remnants of stream flow with what are absolutely tell-tale signs,” Dr Rebecca Williams from the Planetary Science Institute, US, told BBC News.

The American space agency first announced the discovery of the pebbles in September last year, barely seven weeks after Curiosity had landed in Gale.

Researchers have since been studying the robot’s pictures in more detail and have now written up a report for Science magazine – the first scholarly paper from the surface mission to make it into print; and the study reinforces the initial interpretation.

Link The team only has pictures from the rover’s main cameras. Attempts will be made to get close-up, high-resolution imagery of Gale’s conglomerates in the weeks ahead using the Mahli “hand lens”.

It describes the nature of the outcrops, and estimates the probable conditions in which their sediments were laid down.

The pebbles range in size from about two to 40mm in diameter – too big to have been blown along by the wind.

These clasts, as scientists will often call them, are cemented together in a sandy matrix to make a rock type referred to as a conglomerate.

In many places, the clasts are touching each other, and the pictures show examples of so-called imbrication – an arrangement where elongated pebbles stack like a row of toppled dominos. It is a classic sign of past river activity.

Precisely dating landforms on Mars is not possible, but the rock outcrops seen by the rover are almost certainly more than three billion years old.

Curiosity’s pictures have enabled the team to make some informed statements about the speed and depth of the water that once flowed across the crater floor.

Reull Vallis
So many surface features look from orbit to have been cut by flowing water.

“We estimate that the flow velocities were walking pace, approximately – it’s not something we can absolutely reconstruct, but it gives us a rough idea, and these are minimum values,” explained Prof Sanjeev Gupta from Imperial College London, UK.

“And we can also say that the water depths ranged from ankle-deep to waist-deep.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to do this quantification [on the Red Planet]. It is routine to do this on Earth, but to do it on Mars by looking at ancient rocks is just remarkable.”

River gravelsAncient river deposits on Earth. Note the predominantly sandy layers. These indicate there was a drop in the speed of the water, meaning only the smallest particles could be carried and deposited downstream.

The pebbles come in a variety of dark and light shades, further indicating that they have been eroded from different rock types and transported from different locations.

Using its Chemcam remote-sensing laser, the rover was able to detect feldspar in the lighter toned clasts.

Feldspar is a common mineral on Earth that weathers quickly in the presence of water.

This suggests past conditions were not overly wet and that the pebbles were carried only a relatively short distance – probably no more than 10-15km.

This fits with satellite observations of what appears to be a nearby network of old rivers or streams spreading away from the mouth of a channel that cuts through the northern rim of Gale Crater.

This valley – or Peace Vallis as it is known – is the probable route down which the water flowed and later dumped its load of rounded gravels.

Curiosity is due to drive back on itself in the coming weeks as it makes for the big peak, Mount Sharp, at the centre of the crater.

Scientists hope this will take the vehicle past similar rock outcrops so that additional pictures can be obtained.

“What’s exciting is that when we made this discovery our highest resolution camera – the hand-lens camera, Mahli – hadn’t even been commissioned. It has now. So, if we find similar rocks on the way to Mount Sharp, we will be able to get much better images with fantastic detail,” said Prof Gupta.

Sanjeev Gupta will be discussing the explorations and discoveries of the Curiosity rover on Mars with astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell at next week’sTimes Cheltenham Science Festival on Sunday 9 June. A huge panorama of Mount Sharp built from Curiosity pictures is going on display at the Visions of the Universe exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in London from Friday 7 June.

Gale Crater

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

Related Internet links

_______________________________________________________________________

 

Related articles

| World’s most detailed scans will reveal how brain works!

World’s most detailed scans will reveal how brain works ~ Pallab Ghosh,Science correspondent, BBC News.
________________________________________________________

Scientists say they have published the most detailed brain scans “the world has ever seen” as part of a project to understand how the organ works.
________________________________________________________

Scientists say they have published the most detailed brain scans “the world has ever seen” as part of a project to understand how the organ works.

The aim of the project is to determine how a person’s brain structure influences their talents and behaviour.

Researchers involved in the so called Human Connectome Projecthave published the scans of 68 adults in the study.

They eventually hope to scan 1,200 people and also collect details of their behavioural traits and DNA.

The information is made freely available to neuroscientists in their quest to unlock the secrets of the human brain.

The project leader, Prof David Van Essen of Washington University in St Louis, told BBC News that sharing the data with the international community of researchers would spur rapid advances in brain science.


We hope to uncover how interactions between different regions of the brain might control people’s behaviour”

Dr Tim BehrensOxford University

“We are very optimistic that as the community delves in and begins working on these data sets, they will reveal new insights into the brain circuits of healthy adults,” he said.

Subjects involved in the project have their brain scanned for a total of four hours. For part of that time, they carry out a battery of tasks, which include arithmetic, listening to stories, gambling and moving parts of their body.

Volunteers also engage in tests that assess their skills and abilities. In addition, DNA samples are taken.

The scans are essentially a wiring diagram for each person’s brain.

They show how different parts are connected by nerve fibres and also the thickness of the bundles, which is thought to be an indication of the importance or strength of a particular connection- a so-called “structural map”.

Scanning can also show which parts of the brain are activated for particular tasks – known as a “functional map”.

With all this information, researchers will be able to see if an individual’s brain wiring is related to their skills, such as musicality, sociability and aptitude for science or maths.

Neural circuitryAccording to Oxford University’s Dr Tim Behrens, who is collaborating with Prof Van Essen, the study will “uncover which neural pathways are important in determining human behaviours”.

The eventual aim of the project is to understand how the healthy human brain is wired and how differences between individuals make each person unique – shaping their personalities and their capacity to think and feel.

Prof Van Essen is excited by what may be revealed.

The BBC’s Pallab Ghosh gets a look at how his brain is wired

“We have the highest quality data of the entire human brain that the world has ever seen. The question is that with more cutting edge (scanning) methods, how much can we decipher the circuits that give us our distinctive capabilities?” he said.

By learning more about how the healthy human brain works, the research will inevitably be of use to those studying brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.


This could lead to a transformative set of developments that could accelerate our knowledge of the brain”

Prof Van EssenWashington University

Among those who will be delving through the data is Ed Bullmore, a professor of psychiatry at Cambridge University. He believes that psychiatric problems, such as schizophrenia, drug addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder are generally arise from irregular brain development.

Dementia”We’ll have a better opportunity to understand these disorders once we have a better grip on normal brain development”, he told BBC News.

The research data is also likely to help those seeking to stem or slow down dementia. The study will undoubtedly lead to better ways of identifying those most at risk from their brain scans.

An important aim of the £26m ($40m), five-year, US-government-funded project is to share the data with scientists across the world.

Those behind the project were inspired by the way that the sharing of information gleaned by the Human Genome project has spurred the acceleration of genetic science. But this concept has been lower to take hold in brain imaging, and the associated emerging field of neuroinformatics.

The problem has been the sheer complexity of the data and the ensuing processing and analysis of the information.

For example, the images just released of the 68 subjects take up about two terabytes of computer memory, which is two thousand billion bytes, enough to fill several hundred DVDs.

The Human Connectome Project has therefore developed a database called ConnectomeDB to make sharing of brain images much easier.

“In my optimistic view, I believe this will spur an acceleration in neuroinformatics which will be able to acquire and analyse data [from brain scans] in more powerful ways than has been possible up to this point.

“This in turn could lead to a transformative set of developments that could accelerate our understanding of the brain,” Prof Van Essen told BBC News.

Follow Pallab on Twitter

More on This Story

Related Stories

Related Internet links

__________________________________________________________________

Brain Scan 1

 

| Delhi gang-rape victim dies in hospital in Singapore!

Delhi gang-rape victim dies in hospital in Singapore ~ BBC News.

A female student gang-raped on a bus in India‘s capital Delhi has died at a Singapore hospital, doctors say.

“The patient passed away peacefully at 4:45am on 29 Dec 2012,” a statement from the hospital said. The patient’s family had been by her side, it added.

The 23-year-old had arrived in Singapore on Thursday after undergoing three operations in a Delhi hospital.

The attack earlier this month triggered violent public protests in India that left one police officer dead.

Six men have been arrested and two police officers have been suspended following the 16 December attack.

“The patient had remained in an extremely critical condition since admission to Mount Elizabeth Hospital,” a statement from hospital chief executive Kelvin Loh said.

“She had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain. She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome,” the statement went on.

“We are humbled by the privilege of being tasked to care for her in her final struggle,” Mr Loh said.

The Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore, where the victim was being treated
The victim died in the early hours of Saturday morning, a hospital official said

A team of eight specialists had tried to keep the patient stable, but her condition continued to deteriorate over the two days she was at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, he added.

Officials from the High Commission of India had also been present when the patient passed away. The Indian home minister said the government had decided to send the victim overseas on the recommendation of her doctors.

Demonstrators shout slogans as they are surrounded by the police during a protest rally in New Delhi
The woman’s case has sparked public debate as well as several days of protests across India

Arrangements are being made to take her body back to India, Indian high commissioner to Singapore TCA Raghavan told reporters, according to the Associated Press.

Rising angerThe victim and her friend had been to see a film when they boarded the bus in the Munirka area of Delhi, intending to travel to Dwarka in the south-west of the city.

Police said she was raped for nearly an hour, and both she and her companion were beaten with iron bars and thrown out of the moving bus and into the street.

On arrival at the hospital in Singapore, doctors said that as well as a “prior cardiac arrest, she also had infection of her lungs and abdomen, as well as significant brain injury”.

The government has tried to halt rising public anger by announcing a series of measures intended to make Delhi safer for women.

These include more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants, and the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains.

The government has also said that it will post the photos, names and addresses of convicted rapists on official websites to shame them.

It has set up two committees – one looking into speeding up trials of cases involving sexual assaults on women, and the other to examine the lapses that might have led to the incident in Delhi.

But the protesters say the government’s pledge to seek life sentences for the attackers is not enough – many are calling for the death penalty.

Since the Delhi incident, several cases have been highlighted of authorities failing to respond to reported rapes.

On Wednesday, a woman committed suicide in the state of Punjab, after having tried to report to police an rape which allegedly took place last month, local media reports said.

At least one police officer involved in the case has been sacked, according to local officials.

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

_____________________________________________________________

Shame1

| Missing murder + mayhem: How did New York City manage one day without violent crime?

Who, What, Why: What happened to crime in New York City? ~ Kate Dailey, BBC News Magazine.

Police men and a police dog stand next to a police van

New York City recorded a day with no violent crime. When did Gotham get so safe?

For more than 36 hours in New York City, no-one was shot, stabbed, or otherwise killed. The crime freeze began after 22:25 on Sunday, when a man was shot in the head, and continued until another man was shot at 11:20 on Tuesday.

Though the break in violent crime marked the first time in recent memory such an event had occurred, the figure doesn’t surprise criminologists.

“I’m surprised it’s just the first day this has happened,” says Alfred Blumstein, a professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Considering, says Blumstein, that there were only 472 homicides in New York last year, with this year on track for even fewer, the odds of a violent-crime free day are favourable.

“That’s an average of about 1.5 homicides a day. Some days you might have three, or five or 10, and some days you have none,” he says.


The Answer

  • Crime has been on the decline in New York City since the 1990s
  • That coincided with a nationwide drop in crime, but New York’s crime showed steeper and longer declines
  • Criminologists credit better policing, but don’t have the data to ascertain what specifically works

While violent crimes like stabbing and non-fatal shootings are more common, it’s still well within the realm of possibility that some days would be violent-crime free.

Still, it’s important to note that crime statistics – especially when it comes to assaults and injuries – can be imprecise.

“The police department count of non-fatal shootings and stabbings is probably an undercount,” says Frank Zimmering, chair of the criminal justice research programme at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of The City That Became Safe: New York’s Lessons For Urban Crime and Its Control.

“Somewhere in New York City it is not unlikely that someone was shot or stabbed.”

The truth is that New York’s crime rate has been on the decline since the 1990s, when crime overall declined in the US by 45%, in part due to a tapering off of the crack-cocaine problems in the 1980s.

Shoppers walk outside of a toy store.
Times Square, once seedy and dangerous, is now a commercial tourist attraction

“That tailwind helped New York, too – but then the New York reductions lasted longer and were twice as big,” says Zimmering.

“And while the rest of the country saw a stabilisation of crime rates in the 2000s, New York City’s numbers continued to drop.

“[In 2007] the talking heads were predicting big trouble on the crime front because the economy went to hell in a hand basket and the country was letting out as many people in prison as it put in.”

“What happened as a consequence is that crime went down. What I can tell you is that it has been a pretty general pattern. What I can’t tell you is what is the dynamic that is driving that general pattern.”

In his book, Zimmering finds that demographic shifts don’t account for the changes.

Minority populations are typically the victims of violent crime, but crime went down as New York’s minority populations increased. Nor were there significant drops in drug use.

The answer seems to lie with more and better policing – but what constitutes “better” policing is still up for debate.

Graph: Global Murder rates

Thanks in part to Comstat, a sophisticated statistics tool, New York police were better able to identify crime patterns and violent “hotspots” in the 1990s.

From there, top brass in the police force were able to meet together to develop a more consistent battle plan against the city’s crime.

“It was much more of an attempt at being more sophisticated at policing than had typically been the case,” says Blumstein.

These strategies included increased police presence, busting of outdoor drug peddling, and more controversial methods like “stop-and-frisk” where young men in high-crime areas are stopped and patted down for illegal weapons and drugs.

Graph: New York murder rate

But it’s difficult for criminologists to determine which of these methods work and how effective they are individually.

“What scares the hell out of me is that we’re not rigorously testing anything,” says Zimmering.

Perhaps it’s possible that the lower crime rate has allowed police to focus on a more altruistic approach.

At around the same time that New York’s crime-free wave was making headlines, a New York City police officer became a viral sensation after he was photographed giving a pair of new boots to a barefoot homeless man.

__________________________________________________________________

liberty1

 

| Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘spare tyre’ Mursi beats throwback to old guard Shafiq to win Egypt’s presidency!

Muslim Brotherhood’s Mursi declared Egypt president ~ BBC News.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi has been declared the winner of Egypt’s presidential election run-off.

He won 51.73% of the vote, beating former PM Ahmed Shafiq, the Higher Presidential Election Commission said.

The head of the panel of judges, Farouq Sultan, said it had upheld some of the 466 complaints by the candidates, but that the election result still stood.

The announcement prompted scenes of jubilation in Cairo‘s Tahrir Square, where Mr Mursi’s supporters gathered.

They have been maintaining a vigil there in protest at the series of decrees and appointments by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) designed to reduce or constrain the power of the president, and entrench the power of the military.

On 13 June, the military-controlled government gave soldiers the right to arrest civilians for trial in military courts until the ratification of a new constitution.

Four days later, just as the polls were closing in the presidential run-off, the generals issued an interim constitutional declaration that granted them all legislative powers and reinforced their role in the drafting of a permanent constitution. The document also exempted the military from civilian oversight.

Then on Monday, the head of the Scaf, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, announced the re-establishment of a National Defence Council, putting the generals in charge of Egypt’s national security policy.
Supporter of Muslim Brotherhood holds up a picture of Mohammed Mursi (23 June 20120

Supporter of Mohammed Mursi have been camped out in Tahrir Square.


Egypt votes

_____________________________
WATCH NOW: Al Jazeera English: Live Stream

_____________________________