5 minute read
Vivienne Walt; Cleo Brock-Abraham; Andrew Katz; Amanda Taselaar

Is Tunisia the Next Egypt?


Compared with the chaos in Egypt and Libya, the one Arab Spring revolution that seemed to have a shot at success was the one in Tunisia, the tiny Mediterranean country whose uprising in 2010 kick-started a protest wave across the region. Now even that nascent democracy looks shaky.

After gunmen assassinated the secular politician Mohamed Brahmi on July 25–the second such hit this year–thousands of enraged Tunisians stormed the streets and burned barricades, demanding the resignation of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party (which was freely elected in 2011 but which Tunisians accuse of cozying up to hard-liners). Said Brahmi’s distraught sister: “Ennahda killed my brother.”

The government blamed extremists with al-Qaeda ties, telling reporters the gunman was a 29-year-old Salafist weapons smuggler from France. Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said the same gun was used to kill opposition leader Chokri Belaid in February.

Tunisia’s militants hardly seem cowed by the mass fury. Insurgents ambushed a military patrol in the remote western mountains on July 29, killing eight government soldiers, the worst such attack in many years. Looking shaken, secular President Moncef Marzouki appealed to Tunisians to remain united, saying militants were trying to destroy their “lifestyle,” which for years has included easygoing tolerance of alcohol and bikini-clad tourists. Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh refused to resign, saying he would face voters’ discontent in elections on Dec. 17.

Tunisians seem in no mood to be soothed. It is likely to be a bloody few months before they head to the polls.

Walt is a TIME contributor and North Africa correspondent based in Paris



The city’s fire brigade has responded to some 1,300 “trapped or stuck” incidents since 2010, each costing taxpayers $445


For people trapped in handcuffs


For children with their heads stuck in toilets


For people with hands wedged in blenders


For a child with a Lego stuck on his finger

Four Essential Facts About

Russia’s Crackdown On Homosexuality

Critics of President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay-rights campaign say it’s becoming more alarming.


Parliament recently made it easier to arrest foreigners suspected of being gay or “pro-gay,” barred same-sex couples from adopting Russian children and made it illegal to expose children to gay “propaganda,” which could include gay-rights protests held in venues where children might see them.


Days after dozens of gay-rights supporters were assaulted in St. Petersburg, Putin said the antipropaganda law was meant to protect youth, not to impose sanctions on gays.


After activists called for a boycott of Russian products, gay bars in Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Sydney and Vancouver stopped serving all Russian vodkas.


Russia may get pressure from gay-rights groups in February when it hosts the Olympics; activists have called for a pride parade at the Games.

World’s Greatest Prison Breaks

It’s been a rough summer for security in the Middle East, with prison breaks in Iraq (about 500 inmates on July 22) and Pakistan (243 inmates on July 30), both instigated by militants, and one in Libya (more than 1,000 inmates on July 27) whose cause is still undetermined. Here’s a look at how they stack up against some of history’s biggest:


Libby Prison

109 Union soldiers escaped from a Confederate prison in Richmond, Va., after digging a tunnel to freedom and hiding the entrance under straw.

MAY 1938

San Cristóbal

During the Spanish Civil War more than 1,000 Loyalist fighters and political prisoners escaped from the fort where they were held by Franco’s forces.


Sobibor Concentration Camp

300 Jewish inmates escaped the camp in occupied Poland and fled into the forest after overwhelming a dozen SS soldiers. But many were caught and killed.

JUNE 2008

Sarposa Prison

About 1,000 prisoners escaped when the Taliban used a truck bomb to blow up the main entrance of the Afghan facility.


Piedras Negras Prison

More than 130 inmates tied to the Zetas drug cartel escaped in broad daylight. Staffers at the Mexican prison have been accused of aiding in their escape.

Burning Issue


A leopard skin catches fire in Mumbai on July 30 as officials and activists burn wildlife contraband–including bones, pelts and elephant tusks–as part of a global campaign to save tigers. The World Wildlife Fund reports that more than half of the world’s estimated 3,200 wild tigers live in India, where conservation efforts aim to stop poachers who kill the cats to sell their pelts and also their body parts, which are used in Chinese medicine.



Amount Carla Bruni-Sarkozy charged French taxpayers to set up her charitable website during her husband’s presidency


‘They had orders to shoot to kill.’

GEHAD EL-HADDAD, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, after authorities killed at least 74 pro-Islamist demonstrators on July 27; a day earlier, tens of thousands of Egyptians marched in support of the military government and its de facto leader, General Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, who asked them for a “mandate” to fight terrorism

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Pakistani TV introduced Burka Avenger, a burqa-clad cartoon superhero


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While monitoring the sky for airspace violations, India’s army reportedly mistook Jupiter and Venus for Chinese spy drones


Ex–IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged with “aggravated pimping” for his alleged role in a 2012 prostitution ring

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