Chatter: Mohamed Morsi becomes Egypt's first freely elected president




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Need to know:
Egypt finally has a new president: Mohamed Morsi.

The victory that he and his Muslim Brotherhood party claimed days ago was officially confirmed yesterday. According to Egypt's electoral commission, Morsi took 51.7 percent to Ahmed Shafiq's 48.3 percent, defeating his rival by just under 900,000 votes.

"I stand here as first freely elected president of Egypt," a triumphant Morsi told the nation. "I couldn't be here without god's blessing, and the sacrifices of others… Egypt needs to unite forces."

As GlobalPost witnessed in Cairo, Morsi's victory was greeted with fireworks and dancing in Tahrir Square, where supporters hailed it as a triumph of the revolution over the regime. Yet for all the jubilation, Egypt's new president faces an uphill battle in the quest to govern free of military rule — and in a deeply polarized nation in the midst of profound, ongoing upheaval.

Want to know:
Several senior members of the Syrian military have defected to Turkey, Turkish media is reporting.

More than 30 servicemen, including a general, two colonels and two majors, are said to have crossed the border into southern Turkey last night. If so, they're among more than 33,000 Syrians who have sought refuge in Turkey since the anti-government uprising began last spring.

The reported defections come as Turkey prepares to announce what action it will take after Syria shot down one of its jets. Ankara says the plane was in international airspace; Damascus claims it was trespassing. The Turkish cabinet meets today to discuss their response. NATO will hold an emergency summit the day after. 

Dull but important:
Indian police have arrested a man suspected of playing a key role in the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai.

The man identified variously as Abu Hamza, Sayeed Zabi ud Deen and Abu Jindal was detained at Delhi airport as he arrived on a flight from the Gulf. An Indian national, he is accused of acting as the "handler" of the ten gunmen who stormed Mumbai's main railway station and several hotels in late November 2008, killing 166 people and injuring 300.

While Jindal is thought to have been Pakistan during the 60-hour assault, police believe he gave the attackers instructions via telephone – and even taught them Hindi beforehand so they could blend in with the local population.

Just because:
When Brazil discovered massive offshore crude oil reserves in 2007, the president at the time said the find "proves God is Brazilian."

The deepwater deposits – the America's biggest oil find in three decades – have the potential to make Brazil one of the largest oil producers in the world, and a global energy power.

The target market: the United States, which hopes that a friendly, oil-rich neighbor like Brazil could be the solution to its unhealthy dependency on other, more volatile suppliers. Not to mention the profits that an oil boom could make for US companies.

In a new series, Crude Awakening, GlobalPost ask whether Brazil can meet its ambitious targets – and what stands to get in the way.

Strange but true:
Goodbye Lonesome George, the last of the Galapagos Islands' Pinta tortoises.

The giant tortoise, the only known member of his subspecies, was found dead yesterday at the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador. He is thought to have been around 100 years old, which in tortoise terms made him a young adult.

Conservationists' attempts to get George to reproduce were never successful. With his death, we lose not only a symbol of one of the world's most unique habitats, but an entire subspecies.