Chatter: Egypt's parliament isn't as dissolved as the military would like




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Need to know:
The Egyptian parliament met today
 – which wouldn't be a big deal, except that the country's supreme court and military last month ordered it to dissolve.

Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi, instructed parliament to reopen in defiance. Today it did, convening for less than an hour – just long enough to approve a proposal to appeal to a different court  against a ruling that Morsi's efforts to reinstate the parliament were an affront to the rule of law.

The gathering puts Egypt's elected leaders on a collision course with the ruling military council and the Mubarak-era Supreme Constitutional Court, which asserted yesterday that all its rulings are final, binding, and not subject to appeal.

Want to know:
The International Criminal Court has sentenced Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in jail for recruiting and using child soldiers.

He denies the charges. The ICC, however, unanimously convicted Lubanga in March of enlisting child soldiers to fight in the ethnic conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003. Boys were trained to kill, while girls were forced into sexual slavery.

Prosecutors had originally pushed for a longer sentence: 30 years, "in the name of each child recruited." In the end, counting time already spent in custody, Lubanga will serve another eight years.

Dull but important:
In other legal news: Israel's former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has been cleared of two charges of corruption, but found guilty on one lesser count.

A Jerusalem court today convicted Olmert of breach of trust over allegations that he granted personal favors to his old law partner while he was still Industry, Trade and Labor minister.

Judges acquitted him, however, of accepting alleged bribes from US businessman Joe Almaliah, and of double-billing Israeli charities and the state for trips overseas – some of the accusations that led Olmert to resign as PM, in 2009.

It's the first time a former Israeli prime minister has been convicted in a criminal trial. But it might not be the last: Olmert is one of several officials accused of taking hefty bribes in exchange for speeding up approval of a luxury Jerusalem housing project.

Just because:
It's a tale that could be straight out of Kafka, if Kafka lived in Colombia and had a feeling for revolutionary politics. 

During seven years as a hostage of Marxist guerillas, Colombian politician Sigifredo Lopez endured forced marches, wretched food, abusive guards who chained him to trees, and the constant threat of execution.

He was freed in 2009 – only to be placed under house arrest. He stands accused of helping the captors to plot his own kidnapping as part of a mass abduction that led to the deaths of 11 of Lopez's fellow state legislators.

The charges have shocked Colombians; but leaked evidence suggests there's plenty of reason to doubt them. GlobalPost reviews a truly strange case.

Strange but true:
Items not allowed in hand luggage include: liquids over 100ml, scissors, tweezers, and live human babies.

It seems some people need reminding: a couple from Egypt have been arrested for trying to smuggle their five-month-old baby past airport inspectors in the United Arab Emirates.

Immigration officials denied the parents entry because they had no visa or passport for their child. Rather than wait for the visa office to open, the  couple zipped the boy inside a carry-on bag and tried to sneak him through security scanners – where staff, naturally, picked up on the suspiciously wriggling, baby-shaped object.

Terrible idea, guys. Really, the worst.