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.
» What’s happening right now? Tomorrow, a massive march, called the Million Egyptian March, is planned, which protesters feel might be enough to push Mubarak out of power. The Mubarak regime, in reaction, has crimped the communication lines even further. Meanwhile, Americans are trying to leave Egypt and an eight-year-old Saudi girl knows what’s up.
- now The Egyptian military, which enjoys a positive relationship with the Egyptian people, has stated that it will not use force against the protesters.
- future What if President Mubarek orders them to fire regardless? Will they defy him? If so, that could be a critical blow to his efforts to retain the presidency. source
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.
daphranko asks: The news is centering around Egypt, but how goes Tunisia and Sudan?
» We say: We’ve been continuing to cover both countries – in Tunisia, the country is gearing up for an election, and a key Islamist spiritual leader just returned. While he’s not running for president, he may serve as a catalyst for Islamist parties in the country. In Sudan, their recent vote to split the country leaves quickly-growing new capitol Juba in a position where it’s quickly growing at breakneck speed.
- $23 million owed by the RNC to lenders and vendors source
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.
- 4M number of online views al-Jazeera English says it has gotten since Friday
- 1.6M number 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.
- lame Egypt has shut down Noor, the last ISP standing in the country, leaving the country completely, utterly offline. Great work.
- lame Egypt also plans to shut down the country’s mobile phone systems ahead of the planned “March of Millions” tomorrow. Very lame.
- 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.
» We say: As of right now, nothing changes. He didn’t tell the U.S. that they had to stop implementing the law, so there’s no immediate impact. But it could have a long-term effect.
- loophole Seeking legal ways to get loaded, some have turned to “bath salts” that produce meth-like results when snorted, injected, or smoked.
- closing… Senator Chuck Schumer has proposed a bill to ban them, placing them on par with other federally controlled substances. source
- 3.5 years 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.
- 1 million 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.
- 99% of South Sudanese voted for secession source
million the cost of fixing the flaw in their new Sandy Bridge chips; fixes will hit the market in late February
million the amount the company is chopping off its latest revenue forecasts as a result; their stock is down today source
» History lesson of the day: In case you’re wondering, this has happened before.
- companies Much like the United States and other nations, corporations with interests in Europe have stopped production and have begun airlifting employees out of Egypt.
- tourism Despite all the drama in Egypt at the moment, 30,000 tourists from the U.K. are still in the country and two major travel firms are still bringing people there. source
» 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.
- 2,400 Americans 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.
- 25 protesters 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.
» 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. :)