Monday, January 31, 2011

Egypt protesters increase pressure

Opposition movement calls for "march of millions" on Tuesday in a bid to topple president Hosni Mubarak.


Egyptian Protesters have called for a massive demonstration and a rolling general strike on Tuesday in a bid to force out president Hosni Mubarak from power. 

The so-called April 6 Movement said it plans to have more than one million people on the streets of the capital Cairo, as anti-government sentiment reaches a fever pitch.

The call came as
Mubarak swore in a new cabinet in an attempt to defuse ongoing demonstrations across the country.

But opposition groups say personnel changes will not placate them and have said they will continue until the president steps down.

"The whole regime must come down," Hassan, a construction worker and protester told the Reuters news agency.

"We do not want anyone from Mubarak's retinue in the new government, which the people will choose. We want a civil government run by the people themselves."



Army presence

Up to 250,000 people are continuing to demonstrate in Cairo's Tahrir square after hundreds remained camped out overnight, defying a curfew that has been extended by the army.

There is a heavy army presence around the area, with tanks positioned near the square and officers checking identity papers.
However, the army said in a statement on Monday that it would not use force against the protesters.
One of Al Jazeera's correspondents said military attempts to block access to the square on Monday by closing roads was not working as more people were arriving in a steady stream.
"Protesters say they'll stay in this square for as long as Mubarak stays in power," she said.
Protesters seem unfazed by Mubarak's pledge to institute economic and political reforms. Our correspondent said people feel that such pledges "are too little, too late".
Al Jazeera reporters in Cairo also said police had been seen returning to the streets, directing traffic, after being absent since Friday.

"We are waiting for the minister of interior to announce in what form they are going to come back onto the streets and why they disappeared after Friday prayers, on the 'second day of rage'," one correspondent said. 
"The absence of police has given looters a free rein, forcing ordinary citizens to set up neighborhood patrols. Many people are wondering where the police disappeared to.
"There are two schools of thought as far as the police are concerned: One is that many of them decided to join the protesters.
"The other is that the regime was saying to the people, 'You want to protest. We'll pull back the police and you feel what anarchy feels like'," our correspondent said.
After deadly clashes in which around 125 people were killed in Cairo and other cities, protesters complained that police were using excessive force.
But an Al Jazeera correspondent said some locals greeted police as "long-lost friends" on Monday.
"It's almost as if the population of Cairo is suffering from selective amnesia ... We saw one small boy carrying a tray a of tea to a group of policemen. Another man got out of his car, kissed and hugged the policemen."

Panic and chaos

Meanwhile, many people are reported to be panic buying in Cairo amid the unrest.
"I walked into a supermarket and saw complete mayhem," an Al Jazeera correspondent said.

"People are stocking up on supplies as much as they can. There are very few
rations available in the stores. They are running out of basic supplies, like eggs, cheese and meat. Deliveries have not been coming for days."
Chaos has also been reported at Cairo's international airport, where thousands of foreigners are attempting to be evacuated by their home countries.
As the protests continue, security is said to be deteriorating and reports have emerged of several prisons across the country being attacked and of fresh protests being staged in cities like Alexandria and Suez.
Thirty-four leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood were freed from the Wadi Natroun jail after guards abandoned their posts.


Breitbart updates the Pigford story

On Saturday while at the Americans for ProsperityBig Journalism have turned up a slew of documents and depositions from an earlier FBI probe into the Pigford I and Pigford II settlements, and Andrew says he has evidence — on video and audio — that shows a great deal of fraud in pursuing the class action against the USDA. The people who wound up suffering were those black farmers who actually suffered discrimination and “torture” (Andrew’s word), and who are all but cut out of the money as a result of efforts to turn this into a cash cow.  I got a few minutes to talk to Andrew Breitbart about the story and the scandal of the Pigford settlements. It’s a very complicated story, as Andrew explains in this 20-minute interview just before an hour-long presentation to the conference, which has made it difficult for some to follow. His efforts at
Who benefits from this? Andrew explains, and also says that the story will be breaking wide open in the coming days. Be sure to watch this all the way through.



Plot Thickens: Egyptian Protesters Reveal To CNN Hatred Of Israel And America

In case anyone needed convincing that the crisis in Egypt puts the United States in an extremely complex and difficult position, one need only watch Egyptian Opposition Leader ElBaradei describe the brutal, freedom-depriving dictatorship of President Mubarak and then compare that to this video where some protesters reveal exactly what they would do if they were granted freedom. It seems like for the United States not to choose sides, at least for now, may in fact be the wisest decision.
CNN reporter Nic Robertson hit the streets and interviewed Egyptian protesters who did not hold anything back with their revelations regarding why they were revolting and what “free” Egyptians might do.
One protester screamed:
“All the people hate him. He’s supporting Israel! Israel is our enemy. We don’t like him . . . Israel and America supported him. We hate them all. We don’t like them!”
Another protester revealed:
“The United States stands behind President Mubarak 100%, because they know if President Mubarak fails . . . the whole people in Egypt they are going to be be free. The people free in Egypt . . . they are going to destroy Israel. The country that controls the United States is Israel.”
Depending upon how widespread such thoughts are amongst Egyptians, it’s hard to conclude which outcome would best stabilize the region or whether the United States should be doing anything else?

Watch the clip from CNN below:


Mancow To Huckabee: ‘What’s Happening In Egypt Could Happen In America

Before entering the world of politics, and later opinion television, Fox News weekend host Mike Huckabee served as Pastor at Baptist churches in his native Arkansas. As such, his rhetoric typically seems kinder and gentler towards his political foes than other right-of-center “conflictanators.” However, on his eponymous weekend show on Fox News, he found a perfect proxy to deliver anti-Obama vitriol, Chicago shock jock Mancow Muller.
The interview between show host and Muller exhibits a fairly sharp turn for the normally congenial Huckabee, who appeared to encourage some extremely pointed criticism from his guest, much of which didn’t seem to be entirely correct. Take for example that, according to the Chicago-based radio personality, the White House wants a “kill switch” for the Internet, to avoid what’s happening in Egypt from happening here in America:
They create the problems and we react to fear — the the four letter f-word that controls the masses and they offer the solution, “they” being the government. They fear the social services or these social networking, Twitter, Facebook, all of this stuff, but oh, no, we must have it in Egypt, but we don’t want to have it in America.
We had 70% of people didn’t want health care, we’re going to get it, no matter what we say we get it. We didn’t want more spending, looks like we are he’ going to get more and more spending. look at unemployment. I put it at 17%, I don’t know where you put it, but this is what they have in Egypt. If this keeps going like that, I want to make the point what happens in Egypt could happen in America if politicians, what we talked about last night. If the politicians don’t start listening.
There is a proposed bill put forth by Senator Joe Lieberman President Obama the ability to “turn off the Internet.” But the White House position on this is fairly nuanced, and its simply wrong to suggest that the current administration in any way fears social networking services like Twitter and Facebook when in fact the White House has embraced social media. that would protect American Internet interests from cyber-terrorism and, in effect, give
Perhaps the more interesting take from the following video is how Mike Huckabee, a legitimate GOP candidate for president in 2012, is using Mancow Muller as proxy to take uninformed shots at the White House.
Watch the segment courtesy of Fox News below:



Egyptian Army: 'We Will Not Use Force' 

The Egyptian army has said it will not use force against protesters calling for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak ahead of a "million people" march.

The Egyptian army has said it will not use force against protesters calling for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak ahead of a “million people” march.
The military said it considers the people’s demands “legitimate”.
At almost exactly the same time as the announcement was made, several tanks blocking access to Cairo’s main square where protests have been taking place, rolled back some 500 meters.
Everyone was looking at each other in almost disbelief because the tanks had been stationed here for a few days.
One got the sense that they were withdrawing to perhaps to allow large numbers of people to come into the square uninhibited.


Egyptian Protesters Say Military Siding With Them, Calls For Islamic Law…

The military said it considers the people's demands "legitimate".

It comes as Egypt's new vice president, Omar Suleiman, says he has been asked by Mr Mubarak to begin a dialogue with the opposition for constitutional change.
Interestingly, it comes as those various political factions, which as a rule do not get on, said they are prepared to talk and work together to bring about change.
To many people it is being seen as an attempt by Mr Mubarak to cling onto power - to get his political opponents to do some type of deal with him by which he stays in place.
When the military made its announcement, several tanks blocking access to Cairo's main square where protests have been held, rolled back some 500 meters.
Everyone looked at each other in disbelief because the tanks had been stationed there for a few days.
There was the sense they were withdrawing to perhaps allow for a large number of people to enter the square uninhibited.
The army have always said they would not fire on protesters, but now they have made their position very clear and are saying they will not be involved in violent confrontation.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters have ignored a curfew, troops and police by returning to the capital's Tahrir (Liberation) Square in a seventh day of demonstrations.


Egyptian Protesters Plan “Million Man March” 

on Tuesday…

A sea of protesters have flooded Cairo on Monday for a seventh day of demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and called for a rolling general strike until the veteran leader stands down.

Protest organizers said Tuesday would see a “march of a million” in the Egyptian capital after a week of revolt in which at least 125 people have been killed, upping the stakes in their bid to topple Mubarak’s creaking regime.
Tens of thousands of protesters carpeted Cairo’s Tahrir square, the epicenter for those calling for an end to the corruption, deprivation and police oppression indelibly associated with Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
“We will stay in the square, until the coward leaves,” the crowd chanted.
The army has positioned tanks around the area and was checking identity papers but letting protesters in. Civilian popular committee members were also checking papers to make sure no plain-clothes police get in.
“We are looking for police trouble makers, they want to come in and break our unity,” said a popular committee member who asked not to be named.
Nearby, soldiers scrubbed furiously at their tanks in a bid to wash off some of the anti-Mubarak graffiti they have been covered in over the last three days, as officers looked on.
Eid Mohammed, one of the protesters and organizers, told AFP: “It was decided overnight that there will be a million man march on Tuesday. We have also decided to begin an open-ended general strike.”

Protestors in Cairo remain on main square, prepare for million-strong rally





Twilight Landing at LAX

  (Cockpit View)


Smelly Ass


How would the world look from Earth?


Journalists censored, held in Sudan protests 

Reporters Without Borders expresses its deep concern over the recent worsening condition of press freedom in Sudan. The country is already hostile to the work of journalists and seizures of journals and arrests of media professionals yesterday in connection with popular demonstrations raise fears of a major return of repression.
“We condemn the wish of the Khartoum government to censor news by intimidating journalists and dissuading them from covering protest movements,” the press freedom body says.
“As in Tunisia and Egypt the people, and in particular students, want to give voice to their yearning for freedom by shouting slogans such as ‘Revolution against dictatorship’. As in the case of neighboring Egypt the security forces have put down the movement with severity and have tried to prevent the media from reflecting these events.”
Yesterday demonstrations were organized in several cities, in particular in Khartoum and Omdurman. They were initiated by social networks such as Facebook, where a group calling itself “January 30, a word to the sudanese youth” called for peaceful demonstrations. The protests demanded the end of “injustice and humiliation.”

Drawing inspiration from the recent revolution in Tunisia and the uprisings under way in Egypt the demonstrators expressed their anger against the political, economic and social running of the country.
Several dozen people were arrested, among them a number of journalists, including Hamza Baloul, correspondent of the Qatari newspaper Alsharq, Sarah Tag of the newspaper Alsahafa, Ali Haj Al-amin of Ajras Alhurrya, Hussein Khogali, editor of the daily Al-Wan, and Mohamed Amir Musa, from the Turkish news agency Al-ikhlas.
A photographer working for Agence France-Presse (AFP)AlsahafaAjras Alhurrya were seized, preventing them from publishing the following morning. was held by the military for almost two hours and a dozen journalists were told not to cover the demonstrations. Some Internet sites were also blocked, in particular those calling for demonstrations. Overnight 30 January the dailies and
"Sudan, which already occupies 172nd place out of 178 in our world press freedom ratings, continues to confirm its role as bottom of the class in press freedom,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“To be sure a diverse press does exist in Sudan but the moment it touches on sensitive subjects, repression is brutal. The demonstrators were protesting peacefully and the journalists who were arrested or prevented from doing their job were only carrying out their mission to inform. The authorities’ assertion that they were a threat to national security does not stand up.”
The forthcoming partition of the country after the self-determination referendum in the south gives rise to many debates that the government wishes to crush. The referendum process was tarnished by some press freedom violations. Reporters Without Borders condemned recently the detention and charging of two journalists in the east of the country who risk the death penalty.
The press freedom organization also recalls that five other journalists are at present in jail in Sudan: Gafar Alsabki Ibrahim, journalist with Alsahafa, held since 3 November 2010, Abdurrahman Adam, who works with Radio Dabanga, since 30 October 2010, and Abuser Al Amin, Ashraf Abdelaziz and Altahir Ibrahim (also known as Altahir Abugawhara), all three journalists working for the now-banned opposition daily Rai al-Chaab (The Opinion of the People), held since May 2010.






Egypt: With No Internet Access, Users Get Creative

Unable to access the Internet after the their dictator shut down access nationwide,  Egyptian citizens are coming up with alternative ways to organize themselves despite being digitally cut off from each other.
“They’re using old-fashioned word of mouth,” says Neil Hicks, policy adviser of the non-profit advocacy group Human Rights First. “They’re aware of the possibilities of surveillance if they use these technologies. So they get on a motorbike or car, and go to the next neighborhood and arrange things.”
A widely circulated document has served as a manual; it has illustrated instructions for everything from basic communications, to what to wear to a protest, to how to minimize injury while being attacked by police, says Hicks. (USA Today)
While it may notsound as “cool” as finding ways to hack around the system, bloggers may want to consider alternative methods of communication (like radio) just in case their government decides to implement something similar within their own country.
Although there are Egyptians finding ways around the blanket cut off via satellite phones or from landlines (who are dialing into free servers), hopefully political leaders in other nations can convince the Egyptian dictator to lift the cut off in the near future.


Some weekend work that will (hopefully) enable more Egyptians to be heard

Like many people we’ve been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help people on the ground. Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection.

We worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company we
acquired last week, to make this idea a reality. It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to

We hope that this will go some way to helping people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time. Our thoughts are with everyone there.


How Egyptian Protestors Use BlackBerrys in a Tech Blackout

While mobile phone service to much of Egypt was shut off this past weekend, BlackBerry devices quietly continued to work (mostly), offering a crucial portal to the outside world. Will other countries pressure RIM to slam shut the access?

Egyptian protesters have discovered a powerful tool: BlackBerry devices. Stellar encryption appears to have allowed users of the devices to escape (for the most part) the Egyptian government's crackdown on communications with the outside world.
Shutting down BlackBerrys requires access to an entirely separate set of servers than other mobile units. This loophole indicates a possible motivation for earlier clashes between BlackBerry creators Research in Motion (RIM) and the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.
These governments all demanded access to encrypted data sent via BlackBerry servers.
In most cases RIM gave in, which implies to observers a connection between the firm's attempts to stay in business within these countries and helping these governments shield against potential future protests organized via BlackBerry.
BlackBerry devices have also been used to organize terrorist activities, such as the 2008 Mumbai attacks. This has been a frequently cited fear of governments in regard to BlackBerry encryption.
However, some governments such as the United Arab Emirates seem to primarily target civil society protesters who make use of the devices.
The Egyptian government never demanded access to BlackBerry data. The government is believed to lack access to decrypting messages and data sent by BlackBerry Internet Service.
While the servers used by RIM for Egyptian BlackBerry service are located inside the country, access to data sent by BlackBerry appears to be outside the government's hands. Users of BlackBerry devices faced intermittent service outages during the events of the past weekend, but nothing compared to users of conventional mobile devices.
The outages seem to have varied from service provider to service provider. Users of conventional mobile phones faced a complete service outage. (BlackBerry's market reach within Egypt has been limited due to the product's high price point, and most Egyptians illegally accessing the internet did so through anonymizers such as the Tor Project and anonymous dial-up points).
If the motivations of the UAE, Indonesia, and others in their efforts to monitor BlackBerries isn't now apparent in the wake of Egypt, the goals of both India and Pakistan now are. The nations appear to have been spooked by the massive unrest in Egypt. The volatile Kashmir region has long faced the potential for large-scale civil unrest and Pakistan has been plagued by terrorism in recent months. Both countries have announced new demands this morning for BlackBerry creators Research in Motion: to give the two governments the ability to monitor and decrypt secure corporate e-mails sent via the devices.
While much divides the two countries, both agree that BlackBerry's secure data transmission constitutes a threat. In the wake of the protests in Egypt, it seems that fear of secure, encrypted data that cannot be accessed by government authorities is crossing borders.
The question now is whether RIM will make agreements in South Asia similar to those it inked with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. India is a huge market for BlackBerry, and it is unclear whether RIM will stand down and allow likely government surveillance under threat of a service ban.
As of Monday morning Egyptian time, local cell phone providers Vodafone and Mobinil have restored the service, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Attempts to immediately reach Research in Motion were unsuccessful.


Food staples starting to run out in Egypt


CNN) -- While discontent, resentment and nationalism continue to fuel demonstrations, one vital staple is in short supply: food.
Many families in Egypt are fast running out of staples such as bread, beans and rice and are often unable or unwilling to shop for groceries.
"Everything is running out. I have three children, and I only have enough to feed them for maybe two more days. After that I do not know what we will do." school administrator Gamalat Gadalla told CNN.
The unrest has paralyzed daily life in Egypt with many grocers closing shop and spotty food shipments.
"With the curfew, there are no restaurants, food or gas. Basic goods will soon be in shortage," Sandmonkey, an Egyptian blogger said via Twitter.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has ordered a curfew in Egypt to be extended from 3 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Monday, further stifling normal life in the embattled nation.
Egyptian state-run Nile TV has set up a hotline for citizens to call in and report bread shortages. There has been no other indication of what the Egyptian government is doing to address the crisis.

Tunisian Islamist leader says 'I'm no Khomeini' after returning from exile

TUNIS, Tunisia — The leader of a long-outlawed Tunisian Islamist party has returned home after two decades in exile, telling The Associated Press in his first interview on arrival that his views are moderate and that his Westward-looking country has nothing to fear.
Rachid Ghanouchi and about 70 other exiled members of Ennahdha, or Renaissance, flew home from Britain two weeks after autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced from power by violent protests. At the airport on Sunday, thousands of people welcomed him, cheering, shouting "God is great!" and drowning out his attempt to address the crowd with a megaphone.
Ghanouchi rejected any comparison to more radical figures, including the hardline father of the Iranian Revolution.
"Some Western media portray me like (Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini, but that's not me," Rachid Ghanouchi told the AP.
During 23 years in power, Tunisia's ousted president cracked down on opponents, including proponents of political Islam, jailing them and sending many into exile. As Tunisians protests over corruption and repression, Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14.
With Ben Ali gone, Ennahdha has moved quickly to carve out a place in the political scene, taking part in demonstrations and meeting with the prime minister.
Some Tunisians fear that a revival of Islam could hurt their hard-won gains and quality of life, or inspire an extremist movement like the al-Qaida-linked network that has waged an insurgency in neighboring Algeria.
But, while Ennahdha was branded an Islamic terrorist group by Ben Ali, it is considered moderate by scholars. Experts say Ben Ali used a fear of Islamists to seduce Western allies keen for a bulwark against terrorism in a volatile region, and win their blessing despite widespread repression.
Though the ban on Ghanouchi's party hasn't officially been lifted, the new interim government has been more tolerant of it.
Ghanouchi said he wants his party to help Tunisia carry out democratic reforms, though he is not interested in standing in elections expected in upcoming months.
"I am not going to run for president of Tunisia, nor as a minister nor as a parliamentarian," he said in an interview at his brother's home, where family members celebrated with a festive meal of couscous. Another long-exiled opponent — Moncef Marzouki, a secular leftist and human rights activist — was there to welcome him.
Ghanouchi, 69, left the country as Ben Ali came to power in 1987. In 1991, he was convicted in absentia to life in prison, as were most of the party's leaders. Ben Ali banned the party, accusing it of conspiring to kill him and establish a Muslim fundamentalist state. Ennahdha denied those accusations.
The new activism by Islamists — who want a role for Islam in their country's politics — is feeding jitters that extremism may be on the rise in Tunisia, long a nation proud of its modern identity: Women enjoy widespread freedoms, Muslim headscarves are banned in public buildings and abortions, a deep taboo in most Muslim societies, are legal.
Ghanouchi said he seeks to reinforce women's rights set out by Tunisia's Westward-looking modern-day founder, Habib Bourguiba. In 1956, Tunisia abolished polygamy and gave women the right to divorce their husbands. Ghanouchi said his party still supports that historic turning point, along with freedom of religion.
"So why are (certain) women afraid of me?" Ghanouchi said. In a reference to Muslim headscarves, he also asked: "Why don't 'liberated' women defend the right of other women to wear what they want?"
Asked about his view on abortion, he dodged the question, saying the issue was complicated.
Ghanouchi compared his politics to those of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Despite Erdogan's Islamist roots, he has been widely viewed as a pragmatist largely loyal to the legacy of Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who sought to create a secular, modern state.
"Why do people want to compare me to (Osama) Bin Laden or Khomeini, when I am closer to Erdogan?" Ghanouchi said.
The unrest that toppled Ben Ali in Tunisia has spread to Egypt, where protesters are calling for the departure of President Hosni Mubarak.
In Tunisia, meanwhile, the interim government has been trying to stabilize the country after weeks of unrest — fueled by widespread corruption and repression — that led to Ben Ali's flight.
Tunisia has issued an international arrest warrant for Ben Ali, accusing him of taking money out of the country illegally.
Swiss prosecutors said Sunday they have launched a money laundering investigation into accounts belonging to Ben Ali and his family. The Federal Prosecutors Office said the accounts blocked two weeks ago contain tens of millions of Swiss francs. Prosecutors in Paris are also probing the family's assets in France.


Curfew hours extended in Egypt as turmoil continues

Egyptian authorities moved on Sunday to extend curfew hours in the Arab country amid violence, but thousands continue defying the calls for order, national television said.
The curfew, which was introduced on Friday, has been extended by one hour to start at 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) instead of 4 p.m. and will end at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT), the report said.
The Egyptian military urged citizens on Sunday to follow the curfew, warning that fire will be opened against those who refuse to do so. Police started returning to the streets in Cairo to protect public security and property.
Egyptian residents were forced to form vigilante groups armed with sticks to protect their homes, shops and hospitals amid looting which has engulfed the country.
Anti-government protests continued for the sixth day on Sunday in Egypt. At least 150 people have been killed and about 4,000 injured in the riots, Al-Jazeera TV channel said.

CAIRO, January 30 (RIA Novosti)


Propaganda department 

in attack on 

“false news”

Chinese journalists are to undergo six-month training courses that will teach them how to “eradicate false news, improve the feeling of social responsibility and reinforce journalistic ethics.”
“In short, to make journalists themselves actors in censorship,” Reporters Without Borders commented.
The initiative comes from the Propaganda department, directly linked to the Communist Party, and follows its announcement of 10 directives relating to the press in 2011.
Reporters Without Frontiers condemns this escalation in the control of information.
“The Propaganda Department shows itself to be ever more inventive in working out new directives to put pressure on journalists,” the press freedom organization said. “This training takes the form of banning among journalists any critical sprit and making out of them state employees in the service of state ideology.”
On 26 January Zhai Huisheng (翟惠生), the secretary general of the Official Association of Chinese Journalists, made public the new campaign to control the media.
The training arrangements will be the responsibility of several bodies, including the central propaganda bureau, the Association of Chinese Journalists (中国记协), Renmin Ribao (人民日报, People’s Daily) and the Xinhua news agency (新化社). It will be up to them to control the process in 14 provinces and to ensure the smooth running of this operation, which will allow journalists to “recognize and avoid politically sensitive topics.”
Reporters Without Borders also condemns the abusive use of the notion of “false news” ("虚假报道"), which justifies a large number of cases of maltreatment on the part of the authorities in respect of defenders of free expression such as Long Can(龙灿) of the Chengdu Shangbao (成都商报), and Chang Ping (长平) of the Nanfang Baoye Jituan (南方报业集团), unjustly removed from their jobs.
Long Can, a well known investigative reporter from the daily Chengdu Shangbao (Chengdu commercial Daily), was fired on 21 January, on charges that he produced “false news.” He had revealed that the authorities in Huangshan, in Sichuan province, had ignored three appeals for rescue from 18 students from Fudan University in Shanghai whose lives were in danger during a visit to the Huangshan mountains.
Under pressure from the central propaganda department the Chengdu Shangbao was forced to dismiss its staff reporter. Within the newspaper, editor Zhang Feng was fined 1,000 yuan (110 euros). Executive editor Zeng Xi was also fired. Zhang Quanhong, an editor on the news desk, was stripped of his duties and subjected to a searching inquiry. Wang Qi, a member of the editorial team, was fined 3,000 yuan (333 euros), as was chief editor Chen Shuping.
On 28 January, Chang Ping, a talented and daring journalist, was forced to quit his job with the Nanfang Baoye Jituan for refusing to change certain passages in his articles. Chang Ping has a policy of refusing any compromise with the government.
His press group, based in Guangzhou, has a reputation for the high quality of its investigations and the boldness of its editorial choices. Once again the authorities exerted pressure on the management of the group to fire the journalist after he published “false information.” He had already lost his job as editor in chief for his articles highlighting the role of the Chinese government during the uprisings in Tibet in 2008.


Why One Egyptian ISP is Still Online
For all intents and purposes, Egypt is currently cut off from the Internet. Even today, though, the Noor Group’s DSL service in Egypt remains available (though it experienced some downtime earlier today). Why is Noor, which has about an 8% market share in Egypt, allowed to continue to operate while the rest of the country’s ISPs went dark days ago?
While it would be nice to be able to write a story about how one ISP defied the government’s orders in Egypt to provide its users with an essential service, the reality seems to be far more mundane.
According to France’s Le Monde, Noor provides essential services to the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo. Thanks to this, the stock exchange’s site is one of the few Egyptian sites still available online. In addition, Le Monde also writes, Noor provides services to large multi-national corporations, including Coca-Cola, Pfizer and Exxon Mobile. Domestically, Noor also provides network services to Egypt Air. Because of this, Noor is likely considered to be an important economic asset and will probably continue operating throughout this crisis. We have to wonder, though, why the company wasn’t able to keep these business services up and running and cut its regular subscribers off at the same time.
Noor’s own website makes absolutely no mention of the current unrest in the country. Instead, the site’s news ticker proudly announces the network’s support for IPv6 and the availability of Linux hosting services.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fighter Jets Fly Above Egypt Protesters 

Fighter jets have swooped low over Cairo in an apparent attempt to assert control over anti-Mubarak protesters, as a leading opposition leader tells them they "cannot go back".

Video: Sky correspondent Stuart Ramsay reports from Cairo.

The appearance of the air force was considered to be part of efforts to send demonstrators back to their homes before the night curfew.
Several tanks were also seen rumbling into the city center and the suburbs while the jets made multiple passes overhead.
However, troops made no attempt to move the thousands of people in Tahrir Square calling for the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.
One of the leading opposition figures Mohamed ElBaradei has now joined the protesters in the square.
He told them: "You have taken back your rights and what we have begun cannot go back.
"I bow to the people of Egypt in respect. I ask of you patience, change is coming in the next few days."
The developments in the capital comes after a day of chaos that saw armed gangs attack several jails and free scores of inmates.
The increased military presence in Cairo could be read as a signal to the Egyptian people that enough is enough.

Mohamed ElBaradei arrives at Tahrir Square to join the anti-government protesters

After six days of unrest some analysts have claimed Mr Mubarak is no longer in charge, despite clinging to his title.
The military combination of troops, tanks and the air force suggests that the president can not control the crowds without them.
Elsewhere, Egypt's defense minister Mohamed Tantawi was seen entering the state TV building near the city center.
TV images showed him meeting Mr Mubarak and military commanders in the presence of new vice-president Omar Suleiman.
The state news agency said they were reviewing security operations.
But a huge crowd remains in Tahrir Square, which has become a rallying point for their demonstrations.
"Hosni Mubarak, Omar Suleiman, you are agents of the Americans," protesters chanted.
Earlier on Saturday, Muslim militants and other prisoners were freed from at least four jails by armed gangs.

  The Abu Zaabal prison in Cairo after a mass breakout

Reports said 34 members of banned Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood,walked out of a prison near Cairo after guards left their posts amid the turmoil.
Another breakout at Abu Zaabal prison saw 14 people killed, with one witness telling reporters two of the dead were police officers and the rest convicts.
The angry demonstrations are directed at the regime of Mr Mubarak, which is seen by many as anti-democratic and corrupt.
With the political unrest ongoing, many countries - including Britain - have urged their citizens not to travel to Egypt unless absolutely necessary.
Foreign Office advice for British tourists was being updated daily and people are asked to check the website.
Foreign Secretary William Hague urged Mr Mubarak to "initiate a transformation" – whatever the personal consequences for him as leader.
He said British nationals in Cairo, Suez and Alexandria should catch a commercial flight home unless they have essential reasons for remaining.
As the turmoil engulfed other parts of Egypt, residents took on the roles of vigilantes to protect their homes and businesses from looters and criminal gangs.
With an almost non-existent police presence, an air of lawlessness has fallen upon the country.
Gangs and thieves have been raiding homes and stores, making off with TVs, bottles of alcohol and furniture from casinos.
Armed with clubs and sticks, residents have set up checkpoints and formed barricades to ward off those approaching their properties.
With the police presence diminished, armored personnel carriers and tanks belonging to the army have surrounded government buildings and archaeological sites in Cairo.
The military presence has been mostly welcomed by protesters - a stark contrast to the reception police received during the unrest.

Cairo protesters stand their ground 

Warplanes and helicopters flew over the main square and more army trucks appeared in a show of force but no one moved.

Protesters have rejected the president's cabinet reshuffle and are demanding 
that he resign

Egyptian air force fighter planes buzzed low over Cairo, helicopters hovered above and extra troop trucks appeared in a central square where protesters were demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's rule.
State television said that a curfew has been imposed in the capital and the military urged the protesters to go home. 
But the thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square chose to stay on Sunday.
The show of defiance came as Egypt entered another turbulent day following a night of deadly unrest, when looters roamed the streets in the absence of police.
There were also reports of several prisons across the country being attacked and of fresh protests being staged in cities like Alexandria and Suez.
Thirty-four leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood were freed from the Wadi Natroun jail after guards abandoned their posts.
An Egyptian army soldier gestures 
to a crowd in Cairo

The protesters in Cairo, joined by hundreds of judges, had collected again in Tahrir Square on Sunday afternoon to demand the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president.
Al Jazeera's correspondent, reporting from the scene, said that demonstrators confronted a fire truck, at which point army troops fired into the air in a bid to disperse them.
He said the protesters did not move back, and a tank commander then ordered the fire truck to leave. When the truck moved away from the square, the thousands of protesters erupted into applause and climbed onto the tank in celebration, hugging soldiers.
Main roads in Cairo have been blocked by military tanks and armored personnel carriers, and large numbers of army personnel have been seen in other cities as well.
Reporting from Cairo earlier on Sunday, Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan said it was a "long way from business as usual" in the Egyptian capital on the first working day since protests peaked on Friday.
He said that extra military roadblocks had been set up in an apparent attempt to divert traffic away from Tahrir Square, which has been a focal point for demonstrators.
"It's still a very tense scene to have so much military in the capital city of the country."
Earlier in the morning, Al Jazeera's Jane Dutton, also in Cairo, reported that the city appeared deserted in the early hours.
"The streets are very dirty, there is debris everywhere. The police have just disappeared. Any security at this stage is in the hands of the army."

Al Jazeera's correspondents in the port city of Alexandria have also said that anti-government protests have begun there, with hundreds of people on the streets.

The air force in Cairo has been attempting to disperse protesters, with fighter planes flying low over Tahrir Square on Sunday.

Al Jazeera correspondents say the noise from the planes was deafening and that the planes repeatedly flew over the crowds.

The security situation in the capital has prompted the country's interior minister to hold meetings with top officials on Sunday.

Habib al Adli met Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the defence minister, and vice president Omar Soliman, state television reported.

As the police withdrew from streets across Egypt, Adli has been the target of growing criticism by the protesters who have called on him to resign.

The absence of police has given looters a free rein, forcing ordinary citizens to set up neighborhood patrols.
According to Dina Magdi, an eyewitness, unidentified men on Sunday morning came out of the interior ministry compound in a car and dumped a body on a street. They then opened fire on people present in the area and fled. There were no immediate reports of casualties in that attack.
'Chaotic' scenes
Al Jazeera's sources have indicated that the military has now also been deployed to the resort town of Sharm el Shaikh.
Sherine Tadros, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the city of Suez, said the city had witnessed a "completely chaotic night", but that the streets were quiet as day broke.
She reported that in the absence of police and military, people were "tak[ing] the law into their own hands", using "clubs, batons, sticks, machetes [and] knives" to protect their property.
"People are trying to get back to normal, but of course this is anything but," she said, adding that as the day wore on, the military had set up several checkposts in an attempt to "show people that they are here and ... will provide some kind of security".
Rawya Rageh, our correspondent in Alexandria, reported similar scenes, saying that people were particularly concerned about their personal safety and that of their property. 
She reported that the military in Alexandria was not focusing on protesters, attempting instead to prevent any further damage or theft of property.
Anti-Mubarak protests have engulfed Middle East's most populous nation since last Tuesday. More than 150 people have been killed in the unrest.
On Saturday, an embattled Mubarak sacked his cabinet and appointed a vice-president and a new prime minister. But the move has failed to douse anger on the streets

However, Egypt's opposition groups have agreed to support opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei to negotiate with the government, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood said on Sunday.

"Political groups support ElBaradei to negotiate with the regime," Essam el-Eryan told Al Jazeera.

ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, came back to Egypt on Thursday.

Dutton said that protesters are unlikely to stop demonstrating, as they "want one thing, and one thing only: they want the leadership to go".
As international powers express concern regarding events in Egypt, the US state department has reduced its diplomatic presence in Egypt, saying it had authorized the voluntary departure of dependents of diplomats and non-essential workers.