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The Cities This Week: Edition 29




Quake damage in Wellington. Source: news.com.au

Quake damage in Wellington. Source: news.com.au

CAIRO

  • Egypt braced for further unrest on Sunday after the Muslim Brotherhood called for fresh marches in Cairo and the military-backed government signalled a continuing crackdown and a defiant campaign to rebuff mounting international criticism of the killing of hundreds of Islamists over the last week.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood says it has cancelled protests in Cairo, claiming that army snipers had being placed on buildings along the planned routes.
  • Hours after the state-of-emergency curfew was lifted, traffic and signs of life began to appear by late morning on Thursday. But in some quarters, life was not going back to normal after at least 525 people were killed in the clearings in Cairo and ensuing clashes here and across the country.
  • There’s been strong international reaction to the violence in Egypt which left hundreds of people dead. Western governments, including the U.S., have condemned the crackdown by security forces on supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
  • Map of clash sites throughout Cairo.

WELLINGTON

Two powerful earthquakes have rocked the New Zealand capital, Wellington, but there were no immediate reports of major damage. The first quake, with a magnitude of 6.5, struck close to the South Island town of Seddon at 14:31 (02:31 GMT) and was followed by a 5.7 aftershock. The tremors were felt across central New Zealand, sending workers rushing from buildings in Wellington. Power cuts were reported and transport services briefly suspended. The website of the City Council in the capital, Wellington, advised people to be prepared for delays due to heavy traffic on the roads. Hundreds of people were said to be stranded as rail services were suspended.

BEIRUT

The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, says radical Sunni Muslim militants bombed a Beirut suburb, killing 22 people. Mr Nasrallah’s Shia group supports the government of President Assad in the civil war in neighbouring Syria. “I will go myself to Syria if it is necessary in the battle against the takfiris (Sunni radicals),” Mr Nasrallah said, on his own TV channel. A Syrian rebel group said it carried out Thursday’s bombing. Hundreds of people were injured in the evening attack claimed by the Battalions of Ayesha in a Shia area of Beirut known to be a stronghold of Hezbollah.

NEW YORK CITY

New York City on Friday took the first step towards appealing a federal judge’s ruling that its police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy is unconstitutional. The formal notice of appeal, filed in federal court in Manhattan, began what could be a lengthy legal battle over U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin’s decision this week to appoint a federal monitor to oversee sweeping reforms to the New York City Police Department’s tactics. City officials also said they will ask a federal appeals court to prevent Scheindlin’s order from taking effect while the appeal is pending. It remains unclear, however, whether the city will see the appeal through to the end. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has championed stop-and-frisk as a vital crime-reduction tool, will end his tenure at the end of the year, leaving his successor to decide whether to continue fighting Scheindlin’s ruling.

Also in New York City,

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested during his weekly radio address Friday that fingerprinting the residents of public housing would lead to a reduction in crime. “What we really should have is fingerprinting to get in,” Bloomberg said of New York City Housing Authority tenants. Soon after Bloomberg’s radio address, New York mayoral candidates slammed the fingerprint suggestion. Emerging frontrunner Bill de Blasio called it “outrageous and insulting,” Bill Thompson called it “disrespectful” and “disgraceful” and Christine Quinn called it “completely ludicrous and outrageous.”

CAPE TOWN

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says gang violence in Manenberg has reached a crisis point. Zille has outlined a joint intervention plan implemented by the provincial government and City of Cape Town in a bid to address the problem. Around 50 people have either been wounded or killed in the area in recent weeks. Schools have been closed since Thursday as teachers and learners fear for their safety due to the on-going shootings. But Zille says the schools will re-open tomorrow. “After having discussions with the affected educators from twelve schools in Manenberg the city and the province has worked out together with the schools and with the SAPS an intensified plan to ensure the safety of the Manenberg community.”

LOS ANGELES & SAN FRANCISCO

Entrepreneur Elon Musk has revealed designs for a supersonic Hyperloop transport system to link Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 30 minutes. Elon Musk, billionaire and founder of Paypal, electric-car firm Tesla Motors and space technology company SpaceX, has revealed designs for Hyperloop – a supersonic Jetsons-style transportation system for California. Travelling at over 700 mph, passengers would sit in a 1.35-metre-wide tube and be blasted through the 382-mile tunnel linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 30 minutes. After months of speculation, Musk revealed plans to use magnets and fans to shoot capsules that float on a cushion of air through a long tube. “Hyperloop is a new mode of transport that seeks to change [a] paradigm by being both fast and inexpensive for people and goods,” said Musk in the design study.

SAO PAULO

The Brazilian government is concerned that some hotels listed on FIFA’s website for the 2014 World Cup plan steep price hikes during the tournament and is reportedly considering investigating the FIFA-appointed agency in charge of accommodation. Brazil’s tourism board has notified the justice ministry after its research showed that rates will be up to 500 percent more expensive during the World Cup in some hotels offered by the agency MATCH Services on FIFA’s website. “It’s probable that MATCH is exercising intermediation fees that are a lot higher than usually exercised in the tourism market,” the board said in a document obtained by The Associated Press, “harming the rights of potential consumers.”

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Melissa Meyer

Future Cape Town London-based correspondent

Urbanist-in-training from Cape Town, currently working in London. MSc City Design & Social Science.

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