Egyptian Koran Controversy — Egyptian police detained last Sunday two Coptic Christian boys, ages 9 and 10, on charges that they defiled a Koran, The New York Times reports. The two boys were accused of tearing the pages of the holy book. Some news accounts report that they also urinated on it. The arrest builds tension as conflicts between Egyptian Muslims and the country’s Christian minority climb. In August a 14-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan was arrested after she was accused of burning Muslim religious texts.
Argentine Police Protest — Hundreds of police and members of the coast guard took to the streets of Buenos Aires and other Argentinian cities Wednesday to protest against a measure that would cut their salaries up to 70 percent, Reuters writes. In response to the protests, the government fired the heads of both uniformed services and assured the protestors that it would revise the measure.
France Plans to Tax the Wealthy — To narrow France’s deficit, President Francois Hollande announces a series of measures to make the wealthy pay more taxes, according to Bloomberg. If passed, the measures would require private-equity fund managers to be taxed up to 75 percent on their share of investment profit. It would also increase taxes on capital gains and reduce profits on leveraged buyouts. “We understand we need to contribute to the nation’s efforts, but if all these proposals are actually implemented, if means the death of private equity in France,” said Gonzague de Blignieres, a partners at a Paris-based equity firm.
On Time in Afghanistan – Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that the 2014 elections will be on time, Reuters reports. The election will mark the end of Karzai’s term, who says that his power will appear illegitimate if “prolonged by even a day.” The continuing insurgency and imminent NATO troop withdrawal have caused fears that Karzai would manipulate the election’s outcome to remain in power. Reuters adds that “Karzai’s increasingly unpopular government has been mulling a change in election timing to avoid overlapping with the drawdown of U.S.-led NATO forces due to be completed by the end of 2014.”
Turmoil near Turkey – The Turkish responded to a Syrian mortar attack, which killed five civilians in Turkey on Monday, by pounding targets inside of Syria on Tuesday, the New York Times reports. Local Syrian news sources reported that, “Turkish shells fell inside Syria on at least 10 occasions after midnight.” The shelling has many worried that Syria’s civil war will quickly escalate to a “regional conflict with international involvement.” Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that his country does not want a war with Syria, but it will do what is can to protect its borders and retaliate if necessary.
Guerrilla Hiking Holiday – A former Maoist insurgency leader recently launched a new tourist trail and guidebook based on routes and hideouts used by guerillas in Nepal, according to the BBC. The trek aims to attract more tourism to the impoverished country. The guidebook details three sections of western Nepal through “rugged mountains, caves, villages, rivers and paddy fields along the route where thousands of Maoist guerillas once dug trenches and ambushed the army.” The BBC estimates that about 16,000 people died in the 10-year war.