Monday, January 31, 2011

Coverage of Egyptian Protests

Tropical Cyclone Headed For Australia's Flooded Queensland

Very dangerous Tropical Cyclone Yasi headed for Australia's flooded Queensland
With February nearly upon us, the traditional peak of the Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season is here, and the waters surrounding Australia have been exceptionally active over the past week. We had the year's first two Category 4 tropical cyclones last week, Tropical Cyclone Wilma and Tropical Cyclone Bianca. Wilma passed over American Samoa as a strong tropical storm, and hit Tonga as a Category 3 storm, causing substantial damage to the islands, but no deaths or injuries. Wilma brushed New Zealand, bringing flooding and landslides to the North Island, and was the strongest tropical cyclone to affect that country in fourteen years, according to Tropical Cyclone Bianca skirted the west coast of Australia and dissipated before making landfall. Tropical Cyclone Anthony hit flood-ravaged Queensland, Australia, over the weekend, as a weak tropical storm with 40 - 50 mph winds. Fortunately, Anthony dropped only modest amounts of rain, and no new flooding disaster occurred in Queensland, which is struggling to recover from record floods. As reported in the latest Australian Bureau of Meteorology climate statement and flood summary, the past four months (September - December) have been the rainiest such period in Queensland's history, and the resulting flooding disaster has been Australia's most expensive natural disaster in history.

Queensland is in serious danger of renewed extreme flooding this week from Tropical Cyclone Yasi. Yasi has intensified to a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds, and is undergoing a period of rapid intensification that is expected to take it to Category 4 strength. Yasi is expected to hit Queensland on Wednesday, probably as a major Category 3 or stronger storm. In addition the storm's damaging winds and storm surge, Yasi will bring torrential rains. The GFS model is predicting that Yasi will dump 5 - 10 inches of rain over a large swath of Queensland, which would likely cause destructive flooding.

One positive note: the European Center model was remarkably accurate predicting the formation of Yasi over a week in advance, so Queensland has had plenty of time to prepare for the arrival of the storm.

Figure 3. Tropical Cyclone Yasi at 23:20 GMT on January 30, 2011. At the time, Yasi was a Category 1 storm with 75 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Chocolate and Coke Stopping Production In Egypt? Do we predict Global Rioting?!

Coca-Cola Co. closed its Cairo office starting Sunday. The office “will not reopen until security in the city improves,’’ said Kenth Kaerhoeg, a spokesman for the big beverage business in Atlanta.  “The safety of our employees is our primary concern and we are taking all necessary measures to ensure everyone’s safety.”  
Mr. Kaerhoeg declined to offer any details about possible evacuations or the exact number of Coke staffers in Egypt.  An Egyptian bottler operating as its local franchisee owns eight bottling plants there.
Egyptian operations of food giant Nestle SA “have been temporarily interrupted due to ongoing political unrest across the country,’’ said Nina Backes, a spokeswoman for the owner of brands such as KitKat, Gerber baby food and Nescafe coffee.  “The company is currently evacuating the families of around 20 expatriates,’’ she added.
Ms. Backes said its three Egyptian factories “have temporarily been shut down.’’  She declined to say how family members are being evacuated – nor whether Nestle might also evacuate expatriates.  “We continue to monitor the situation closely,’’ she added.
Nestle’s Egypt unit has three factories  and 3,000 employees.  It began factory operations there in 1988.  Nestle, based in Vevey, Switzerland,  is the world’s largest food company by sales.
Unrest in Egypt also is affecting U.S. companies without permanent offices there. An Occidental Petroleum Corp. spokesman said ten professionals on a temporary Egyptian assignment cut short their stay and left Cairo Sunday on chartered aircraft arranged by the company without difficulty. “They left sooner than anticipated,’’ he continued.    
He declined to disclose why the Oxy Pete staffers went to Egypt several weeks ago.  “There was no definitive time frame” for their abbreviated business trip, the spokesman said.

Necessities Running Out In Egypt

Food staples starting to run out in Egypt

By Salma Abdelaziz, CNN
January 31, 2011 5:57 a.m. EST
The unrest has paralyzed daily life in Egypt with many grocers closing shop and spotty food shipments.
The unrest has paralyzed daily life in Egypt with many grocers closing shop and spotty food shipments.
  • Many grocers have closed
  • Food shipments are spotty
  • Many families afraid to go out to shop
(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.
Money worries over Suez Canal
"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.

Million On Streets On Tuesday In Egypt

 (AP) — A coalition of opposition groups called for a million people to take to Cairo's streets Tuesday to demand the removal of President Hosni Mubarak, the clearest sign yet that a unified leadership was trying to emerge for Egypt's powerful but disparate protest movement.
In an apparent attempt to defuse the weeklong political upheaval, Mubarak named a new government Monday — dropping the widely hated interior minister in charge of security forces. But the lineup was greeted with scorn in Tahrir Square, the central Cairo plaza that has become the protests' epicenter, with crowds of more than 10,000 chanting for Mubarak's ouster.
"We don't want life to go back to normal until Mubarak leaves," said Israa Abdel-Fattah, a founder of the April 6 Group, a movement of young people pushing for democratic reform.
In what appeared to be a reaction to the opposition call, state TV aired a warning from the military against "the carrying out of any act that destabilizes security of the country." But it also said the military underlined that it "has not and will not use force against the public."
If Egypt's opposition groups are able to truly coalesce, it could sustain and amplify the momentum of the week-old protests. A unified front could also provide a focal point for American and other world leaders who are issuing demands for an orderly transition to a democratic system, saying Mubarak's limited concessions are insufficient.
But unity is far from certain among the array of movements involved in the protests, with sometimes conflicting agendas — including students, online activists, grassroots organizers, old-school opposition politicians and the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, along with everyday citizens drawn by the exhilaration of marching against the government.
So it was not clear how much the groups that met Monday represent everyone. The gathering of around 30 representatives, meeting in the Cairo district of Dokki, agreed to work as a united coalition and supported a call for a million people to turn out for a march Tuesday, said Abu'l-Ela Madi , the spokesman of one of the participating groups, al-Wasat, a moderate breakaway faction from the Muslim Brotherhood.
But they disagreed on other key points. The representatives decided to meet again Tuesday morning at the downtown Cairo headquarters of Wafd, the oldest legal opposition party, to finalize and announce a list of demands. They will also decide whether to make prominent reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei spokesman for the protesters, Madi said.
Then, he said, they will march to Tahrir Square to demand the ouster of Mubarak, 82, whom they blame for widespread poverty, inflation and official indifference and brutality during his 30 years in power. The coalition also called for a general strike Monday, although much of Cairo remained shut down anyway, with government officers and private businesses closed.
The mood in Tahrir — or Liberation — Square, surrounded by army tanks and barbed wire, was celebratory and determined as more protesters filtered in. Some played music, others distributed food to their colleagues. Young men climbed lampposts to hang Egyptian flags and signs proclaiming "Leave, Mubarak!" A speakers corner formed on one side where people have a chance to grab the microphone and make their voices heard.
Egypt endured another day of the virtual halt to normal life that the crisis has caused. Trains stopped running Monday — raising the prospect that the government was trying to prevent residents of the provinces from joining protests in the capital. Banks, schools and the stock market in Cairo were closed for the second working day. An unprecedented complete shutdown of the Internet was in its fourth day.
Long lines formed outside bakeries as people tried to replenish their stores of bread, the main source of sustenance for most Egyptians.
Cairo's international airport was a scene of chaos and confusion as thousands of foreigners sought to flee the unrest in Egypt and countries around the world scrambled to send in planes to fly their citizens out.
A wave of looting, armed robbery and arson that erupted Friday night and Saturday — after police disappeared from the streets — appeared to ease as police reappeared in many districts. Neighborhood watch groups armed with clubs and machetes kept the peace in many districts overnight.
Still some incidents continued. One watch group fended off a band of robbers who tried to break in and steal antiquities from the warehouse of the famed Karnak Temple on the east bank of the Nile in the ancient southern city of Luxor. The locals clashed with the attackers who arrived at the temple carrying guns and knives in two cars around 3 a.m, and seized five of them, handing them over to the military, said neighborhood protection committee member Ezz el-Shafei.
In Cairo, soldiers detained about 50 men trying to break into the Egyptian National Museum in a fresh attempt to loot some of the country's archaeological treasures, the military said.
The official death toll from the crisis stood at 97, with thousands injured, but reports from witnesses across the country indicated the actual toll was far higher.
The White House said President Barack Obama called Britain, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia over the weekend in the U.S. to convey his administration's desire for restraint and an orderly transition to a more responsive government.
European Union foreign ministers urged a peaceful transition to democracy and warned against a takeover by religious militants.
Mubarak's naming of a new Cabinet appeared to be aimed at showing the regime is willing to an extent to listen to the popular anger. The most significant change was the replacement of the interior minister, Habib el-Adly, who heads internal security forces and is widely despised by protesters for the brutality some officers have shown. A retired police general, Mahmoud Wagdi, will replace him.
Of the 29-member Cabinet, 14 were new faces, most of them not members of the ruling National Democratic Party. Among those purged were several of the prominent businessmen who held economic posts and have engineered the country's economic liberalization policies the past decades. Many Egyptians resented the influence of millionaire politician-moguls, who were close allies of the president's son, Gamal Mubarak, long thought to be the heir apparent.
Mubarak retained his long-serving defense minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
State newspapers on Monday published a sternly worded letter from Mubarak to his new prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, ordering him to move swiftly to introduce political, legislative and constitutional reforms and pursue economic policies that will improve people's lives.
But as news of the new government was heard in Tahrir Square, many of the protesters renewed chants of "We want the fall of this regime."
Mostafa el-Naggar, a member of the ElBaradei-backing Association for Change, said he recognized no decision Mubarak took after Jan. 25, the first day of Egyptian protests emboldened by Tunisians' expulsion of their longtime president earlier in the month.
"This is a failed attempt," said el-Naggar of the new government. "He is done with."
The various protesters are united by little, however, except the demand that Mubarak go. Perhaps the most significant tensions among them is between young secular activists and the Muslim Brotherhood, which wants to form an Islamist state in the Arab world's largest nation. The more secular are deeply suspicious the Brotherhood aims to coopt what they contend is a spontaneous, popular movement.
ElBaradei, a pro-democracy advocate and former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, invigorated anti-Mubarak feeling with his return to Egypt last year, but the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood remains Egypt's largest opposition movement.
In a nod to the suspicions, Brotherhood figures insist they are not seeking a leadership role.
"We don't want to harm this revolution," Mohamed Mahdi Akef, a former leader of the group.
Still, Brotherhood members appeared to be joining the protest in greater numbers and more openly. During the first few days of protests, the crowd in Tahrir Square was composed of mostly young men in jeans and t-shirts. Today, many of the volunteers handing out food and water to protesters are men in long traditional dress with the trademark Brotherhood appearance -- a closely cropped haircut and bushy beards.
Mubarak, a former air force commander in office since 1981, is known to have zero tolerance for Islamists in politics, whether they are militants or moderates, and it remains highly unlikely that he would allow his government to engage in any dialogue with the Brotherhood.
Rashad al-Bayoumi, the Brotherhood's deputy leader, said besides Mubarak's ouster, the opposition coalition's provisional demands include the release of political prisoners, setting up a transitional government to run the country until free and fair elections are held and prosecuting individuals thought to be responsible for the killing of protesters.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beginning of a New Era In Egypt

Nobel Peace Prize had received prior support from the Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt: ElBaradei speaks to demonstrators from the "beginning of a new era"

30/01/2011 - 15:01 By Maria João Guimarães, Sofia Lorraine
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 Mohamed ElBaradei, who had been chosen to "negotiate" with the regime of President Hosni Mubarak on behalf of several opposition groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, went to Tahrir Square (Freedom) in Cairo, and said that is happening is "the beginning of a new era."
Mohamed ElBaradei chegou ao Cairo na sexta-feiraMohamed ElBaradei arrived in Cairo on Friday  (Heinz-Peter Bader / Reuters)
ElBaradei, Nobel Peace Prize for his role in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Cairo on Thursday to participate in the demonstrations stressing however that their role would be more political. When he reached the square Tahir, told thousands of protesters who started the path "does not go back," he urged patience and said that "change will arrive in coming days."

Given the crowd and spoke of a new era for Egypt. "You took your rights back and that has started turning back," he said. Rather, the Nobel Peace Prize had told CNN that "Mubarak has to leave." 

The curfew was extended today in three cities in Egypt, Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, and from this Friday seguda last another hour. Will be in effect from 15:00 (13:00 in London) until at 8:00, not 16:00 partis as happened here.

The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. wants an orderly transition of power "for anyone fill the void, and that there is a plan for a participatory democratic government," he said."The message of America has been consistent," he continued, to say something after that the U.S. has not had it during this crisis: "We want to see free and fair elections and we hope this is a result of what we are seeing now," said . 

However, ElBaradei criticized the United States saying that Washington has lost its credibility in the country when called democratic change but continued to support President Hosni Mubarak.

The protest movement in Egypt was marked online and young people connected by Facebook have no clear leadership. The Muslim Brotherhood, which although banned is tolerated by the regime, only on Friday declared support for the protests, and other opposition movements not led - but tried to take the train when it was already underway. The same can be said ElBaradei, who formed the National Coalition for Change, a group that joins several secular opposition groups and the Brotherhood.

The diplomat popular
Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, Mohammed ElBaradei is a successful Egyptian diplomat who enjoys unusual popularity within the largest Arab countries, but also in the Arab and Muslim world. Arrived in Egypt in February last year, saying he wanted "to be an instrument of change."He was received in apotheosis at Cairo airport by opponents from all over Egypt, thirsty for a figure able to unify the opposition to the Mubarak regime.

State media have begun at that time to describe it as "traitor", assuming schizophrenia were treated as the "hero" because of the Iraq war. In 2006, the regime awarded him the Medal of the Nile, the highest distinction of the country. "It's the biggest threat to Mubarak has always ... It became a symbol for challenging the dinosaur," said Abdullah al-Ashaal, a former diplomat.He said that he would run for the presidential elections of September if they could be free.Announced that it withdrew because it would not happen.

Ahead of the International Atomic Energy Agency between 1997 and 2009, was the face of UN caution in the months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. With Hans Blix, chief inspector, gave voice to doubts about Saddam's alleged nuclear program and gave him the facts right. Months before the war was not afraid to rile Washington, describing how false the accusations that Baghdad had purchased uranium from Niger. According to the Washington Post, was spying for the CIA.

Son of a lawyer who was president of the order and had to cope with Gamal Abdel Nasser was born in 1942 in Cairo, where he studied. He held posts in Geneva and the United States and participated in the team that negotiated the Camp David agreements between Arab countries, Israel and the Palestinians. He joined the UN in 1980.

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