andres-se asks: Can you please briefly summarize the whole Egypt story and current situation?
We admit to loving a challenge. And while we’re not going to go too crazy here, here’s a bunch of bullet points explaining the main points of this whole mess. In terms of the political background, we’re just going to refer you to this article. Otherwise, here goes:
what In the wake of a series of other protests and uprisings throughout the Middle East, thousands of Egyptians have protested throughout the country, the most populous in the region.
why While a general sense of political frustration with Hosni Mubarak’s regime has been lasting, a number of economic issues (including high food prices) have pushed things over the edge.
reaction The Internet is in a major uproar for the people of Egypt, especially on Twitter and Tumblr, while the United States has been on a modest course to push Mubarak out of power.
“WILL OLDHAM: Do you watch 30 Rock?
R. KELLY: No. What’s that?
OLDHAM: It’s a television show, a comedy, that takes place in all of these hallways. It’s pretty funny. It’s, like, a good sitcom. It’s got Alec Baldwin. You know Alec Baldwin?
KELLY: Alec Baldwin? Yeah! Don’t he have a brother and they all kind of look alike?
OLDHAM: They’re, like, four brothers. KELLY: Steve Baldwin…”—R Kelly - Interview Magazine • OMG! I knew I loved R. Kelly — mentioning Stephen Baldwin first really makes it so. (via interweber) … and of course, the fact that Will “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy" Oldham is interviewing him makes it a win on six different levels.
“In a 22-kilometer (14-mile) route from our suburb to the airport we had to get through 19 checkpoints, including nine manned by civilians.”—Markos Loukogiannakis, a Greek traveler • On trying to get to the Cairo airport in the midst of the protests. And this is before he even steps foot inside the airport! source (via • follow)
“I don’t think that I’ve waited too long, but I believe I should come to some decision. There are a lot of people waiting and I owe them an answer.”—Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels • On running for President in 2012. Daniels is a favorite amongst both fiscal conservatives and the Republican establishment, having served at the head of George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget. His low-key (read: bland) personality and moderate views on social issues could cause him trouble in a GOP primary, but he’s arguable stronger against Obama than almost any other GOP prospect. He recently won a Washington straw poll, which would be encouraging for him if Washington had any sway in Republican Presidential primaries. source (via • follow)
On Egyptian copycats and United States diplomatic interests
abbylovesfilm asks: Who do you think will be the next country in the region to follow in Tunisia and Egypt’s footsteps?
050458 asks: What are the implications of Mubarek stepping down on US-Egypt ties? After all, he was one of those dirty little dictators the US propped up
» We say: For the first question, we think that the next countries which could face this sort of trouble are numerous. Our best prediction would be that protests would continue to heat up in Jordan or Yemen. Or they could start flaring up in Libya, Egypt’s neighbor to the west, which has a pretty controversial leader of its own in Muammar al-Gaddafi. As for the second – it honestly depends on who gets in power. If it’s one of Mubarek’s lackeys, or someone tied to the military, the odds favor a relationship that’s still fairly stable (if unfavorable for the people of Egypt). But if someone less appreciative of the Israeli state goes in, it could be really bad – for the U.S. For Egyptians, that may be a better option. All this stuff, though, is really too early to predict.
By the numbers: al-Jazeera English's huge leap in online traffic
4Mnumber of online views al-Jazeera English says it has gotten since Friday
1.6Mnumber of views the network has gotten from the United States alone
2,500%the increase in the site’s online traffic since Friday (a big deal) source
» Why they aren’t on cable: As our buddy ProducerMatthew figured out last night, they’re fighting in a very competitive space. And now he has a little backup from the New York Times. In statements acquired by the paper, many cable companies said similar things. It’s like applying for a federal job and getting a form rejection letter apparently, except with Comcast.
brilliant Google just bought a startup, SayNow, which made @Speak2Tweet, a Twitter account to get Egyptians’ voices on Twitter – via phone. source
» And if anyone needs it: If you dial the phone numbers +16504194196, +390662207294 or +97316199855, you can leave a message for the people of Twitter, who are totally with you, even if some topic related to Justin Bieber is trending. Check out @Speak2Tweet for more.
From the story: “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.”
“The American government cannot ask the Egyptian people to believe that a dictator who has been in power for 30 years would be the one to implement democracy. This is a farce.”—Mohamed ElBaradei • The would-be transitional leader of Egypt’s uprising against Hosni Mubarak came out forcefully against U.S. tact on the matter, speaking on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” President Obama and his government have absorbed much criticism over their failure to lend practical and philosophical support to Egypt’s opposition movement, and ElBaradei has given a prominent Egyptian face to these complaints. source (via • follow)
Nazril Irham, Indonesian pop star, jailed for sex tape
3.5years in prison for Nazril Irham over internet sex tape source
» Remind us not to bring the camcorder to Indonesia: Most everybody enjoys an amorous pleasure now and again, it’s only natural. What most of us don’t face, though, is having our private sexual pleasures made public, and then being thrown into prison for it. Such is the fate of Indonesian pop star Nazril “Ariel” Irham, who was jailed for three and a half years starting Monday, thanks to a sex-tape (made with his girlfriend) that found its way onto the internet. Irham denies he’s the man on the tape, while police say that his friend took the video off Irham’s computer and uploaded it without his knowledge. In any event, thanks to a 2008 anti-porn law, this dangerous deviant will be off the streets and pop charts of Indonesia. THANK. GOD.
The continuing anti-government protests in Egypt appear to have sparked some nervousness in China. The authorities have blocked searches for the Chinese word for Egypt on micro-blogging sites, similar to Twitter.
“If I want to know what is going on in the Middle East, I talk to Suleiman. And as far as I know, he has always told me the truth.”—Former President Jimmy Carter • Never fearful to weigh in on current events, Carter claimed that he’s had more useful interactions with the newly-appointed Vice President of Egypt, Omar Suleiman, than with his boss, saying that Hosni Mubarak talks “like a politician.” Carter also guessed that Mubarak “will have to leave,” a sentiment that might be a cold comfort for the Egyptians who want neither Mubarak, Suleiman, nor anybody positioned in the current regime to be left in power. source (via • follow)
Egypt's opposition groups call for one million protestors in Cairo
1million people urged to take to the streets by Egyptian opposition source
» Opposition groups are picking up steam: In what’s been called a significant sign that Egypt’s opposition is coalescing into a more unified front, the groups against Mubarak made a call for one million Egyptians to take to Cairo’s streets. What a unified opposition would resemble politically, though, is yet unknown. Those in want of a secular democracy in Egypt are undoubtedly concerned at the thought of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood waiting in the wings.
“That would be a financial disaster not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy.”—Speaker Of The House John Boehner • Appearing on Fox News Sunday, the Speaker waded into the debt ceiling issue, seeming to suggest that to his mind, failure to raise the limit would be unthinkable. The nature of Boehner’s unabashed candor is very surprising, considering the Republican voices who have recently toyed with the idea of voting against raising the ceiling. This may be an early example of the internal struggle between establishment Republicanism and their new Tea Party cohorts. source (via • follow)
“Although preparations I believe are being made by the top brass for a – in quotes – ‘respectable stepping down’ or ‘stepping aside’ of Mr. Mubarak, the military are aware that… this is a time for change. But I think they are also trying to protect themselves, and want to be very much part of the transition process.”—Chatham House Middle East and North Africa specialist Maha Azzam • Discussing the military’s role in the Egyptian protests. While Hosni Mubarak holds onto power, it’s a very tenuous hold and one that could completely fall apart in the days to come, and the country’s powerful military is in a position best-suited to ensure the kind of leader that they want. Azzam also notes that while the lower rungs of the military appear to support the protesters, it’s not that way throughout the power structure. “In the upper echelons of the military,” he says, “we’re seeing continued support for the regime.” source (via • follow)
Okay, What the heck started all this stuff in Egypt? I AM SO CONFUSED!
» We say: To put it simply, a bunch of socioeconomic factors came to a head in Tunisia a couple of months ago, and they’ve had a ripple effect around the entire region (which is loaded with disparities) ever since. Also, food prices have increased of late, putting a lot of pressure on the poor and jobless and forcing them to take a harder look at these undemocratically-elected dictators in power.
Former Gawker editor-in-chief Gabriel Snyder has been tapped to run The Atlantic Wire and build up a news aggregation staff in New York, as the 154-year-old magazine continues to carve out a home on the web.
“There’s been no doubt that the Atlantic has been very nimbly handling the delicate maneuver of bringing a 150-year-old plus brand into the digital world,” Mr. Snyder told The Observer. The Atlantic will announce the hire later today.
The Atlantic Wire is seriously an unsung hero when it comes to Web outlets – sounds like it’s getting some major TLC.
The U.S. starts evacuating American citizens out of Egypt
2,400Americans on the waiting list (so far) source
» Only around 219 have left so far: With 52,000 Americans situated in Egypt at the moment, getting them all out, or even a good portion, might be quite the ordeal. And it’s not a cheap one for the evacuees, either. The U.S. is having the evacuees sign a clause promising to pay the government back for the trip elsewhere. The “elsewhere” varies – one flight headed to Cyprus while another headed to Athens.
The Egyptian government isn’t just attempting to censor Al Jazeera within Egypt itself. The news station was just kicked off one of the Middle East’s main satellite providers—which happens to be based in Egypt.
Koch Brothers hold party in Palm Springs, people get arrested
25protesters jailed at a retreat loaded with righty donors source
» Anyone have a tinfoil hat we can borrow? The multi-day conference, put on by billionaire Tea Party-backing brothers David and Charles Koch, is loaded with people with lots of money and lots of influence. We bet Hank Scorpio was there, personally throwing cans of tear gas at the lefty protesters, who were mostly peaceful, but found themselves in trouble after a couple got a tiny bit too close to the shindig and ran into riot police. Supervillans need backup.
Im super glad I followed you guys. You guys have been my number one source of news for the egypt protest events. Youve given really informative and balanced info on whats going on when there are a lot of tumblr just posting pictures of protests with not a lot of back story. Keep it up :)
» We say: Thank you, but we’ll be humble here and just note that we’re merely a messenger for all the information coming out of Egypt right now, and we hope we’re helping in our own little way. They’re doing all the hard work – we’re just telling you about it. :)