The Overflow for July 30th

International News

The Traitor's Cemetery

Captain Mehmet Karabekir's body was not washed before burial, and nobody recited prayers from the Koran before he was laid to rest in a hastily dug hole. He is among the dozens of Turkish soldiers accused of trying to overthrow President Tayyip Erdogan and the government in a failed military coup this month, his fate a sign of the fury felt over a night of bloodletting that killed more than 240 people.

Karabekir lies with no tombstone next to three other deep holes prepared with a mechanical digger. He was the first to be buried in a plot of land of about a quarter of an acre sectioned off last weekend in a disused part of a construction site on the eastern outskirts of Istanbul.

Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas called it "The Traitor's Cemetery" - established, he said, specifically for coup plotters in the military.

While the crackdown has drawn concern and criticism from Western capitals, rights groups and some domestic opponents of the government, most Turks have shown unity in their opposition to the coup attempt, with regular rallies of solidarity. But, for many people, the retribution across the country has gone too far with the "Traitor's Cemetery".

There has been widespread criticism this week, not just from rights groups, but also from Turks who took to social media to express their opposition.

Even though Turkey's religious authority has said it will not provide Islamic funeral services for coup soldiers, a spokesman told Reuters that top cleric Mehmet Gormez did not support the establishment of a burial ground for traitors, saying it was hurtful to the families of the dead.

On Thursday Mayor Topbas, who was among the local officials who came up with the idea, told reporters that he had ordered the removal of its "Traitor's Cemetery" signage - though it was unclear if the plot would continue to be used for the same purpose.

There is no suggestion that Erdogan or the central government had any link with the municipal decision to establish the Istanbul burial ground.

Local media reported that Karabekir's family refused to claim his body, prompting the authorities to bury him in the makeshift grave on Monday. His sister-in-law said the family did not want to make any comment and requested privacy.

 

Justice in Brazil

Brazil's ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will stand trial for obstruction of justice, documents from a federal court in Brasilia showed on Friday. Lula was previously under investigation in various jurisdictions in a sprawling corruption probe focused on state-run oil company Petrobras but is now officially a defendant.

The case dates to last November, when the founder and former CEO of BTG Pactual was arrested for allegedly trying to stop a jailed former Petrobras executive from collaborating with Brazil's largest-ever corruption investigation.

Lula has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, though prosecutors say a multibillion-dollar graft scheme originated during his 2003-2011 presidency and continued during the presidency of his chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff.

Brazil's largest engineering companies are accused of overcharging Petrobras for work and passing on kickbacks to executives and politicians. They are also being investigated for graft on venues for the 2014 World Cup and upcoming Olympics, events awarded to Brazil under Lula.

On Thursday, Lula's lawyers petitioned the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the grounds his rights had been violated in the corruption investigation.

 

Pre-Olympics

The Australian team said they evacuated their building at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro because of a fire in the basement on Friday, one week before the Games open. The fire, which filled the stairwells of the building with smoke, caused no injuries and the team was back in the building after around half an hour.

It was the latest incident in a tense week at the Olympic Village, where Australia and several other teams complained about unfinished and dirty rooms before moving in.

"We are all accounted for," said Mike Tancred, director of media and communications for the Australian Olympic Committee, adding that the fire did not appear to have been serious. "It was a good drill for us. We cleared all 23 floors of the building," he added.

Kitty Chiller, the head of the Australian delegation, had complained on Sunday about exposed wiring and blocked toilets, saying accommodation at the Village was "not safe or ready" for the Games, which open on Friday. Chiller had initially refused to let her team stay in the Village, but moved athletes in this week after organisers deployed a task force of 600 workers to tackle repairs.


UK News

Nuclear News

Britain has cast doubt on an £18 billion project with EDF to build the UK's first new nuclear plant in decades, delaying a final decision on the plan just weeks after the Brexit vote ushered in a new prime minister.

The surprise decision to review the Hinkley Point C project was made public hours after the board of French state-controlled EDF voted to proceed with it. The British government, which had been expected to sign contracts on Friday, said instead that it wanted to give the plans further consideration, postponing its verdict until early autumn.

The review came little more than a month after Britons voted to leave the EU in a referendum that forced the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron - whose administration gave the initial go-ahead to the project. The vote, and the resulting economic uncertainty, threw doubt on the future of major British infrastructure projects, including the nuclear plant.

The two new reactors at Hinkley Point, in south-west England, would provide around 7 percent of Britain's electricity, helping to fill a supply gap as the country's coal plants are set to close by 2025.

The pouring of the first concrete is scheduled for mid-2019 but the plant's start-up date has been delayed several times due to regulatory hurdles, the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and EDF's deteriorating financial position.

Analysts and unions said the review under new Prime Minister May would likely delay the project further.

 

New Housing

The number of new homes registered for construction in Britain rose in the second quarter to its highest since the financial crisis as building plans picked up before the EU referendum. Registration of new homes rose 1% in the second quarter of 2016 versus a year ago to 41,222, making this the highest since the fourth quarter of 2007.

"We were concerned at Q1 that maybe with the EU referendum coming up, maybe there would be a fall back in activity and we are not seeing that," Mike Quinton, chief executive of NHBC told reporters. "There is no impact of any sort of concern pre-EU referendum within our Q2 numbers."

The data contrasts with other recent housing figures showing activity has waned. Earlier this month, official data showed construction output fell sharply in May, while an industry survey showed the Brexit vote had an immediate impact on the housing market.


Long Read

Do you want to go on a treasure hunt? There's one open in the Rocky Mountains, with a prize supposedly worth around £1.5 Million. The search has attracted thousands of hunters in the years since it's inception, and now Randy Bilyeu is the man that disappeared in the search.

There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.
— John Steinbeck