Posts Tagged ‘egypt’

Al Jazeera Launches Twitter Dashboard To Track Uprisings in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain

Qatar-based news outlet Al Jazeera has launched a Twitter dashboard to illustrate tweets about uprisings and revolutions around the world.

The dashboard tallies the daily number of tweets about developments in each listed country (the site is currently tracking Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain) and shows the average number of such tweets per minute for each country. It also graphs the number of such tweets from each country over time and shows a visual representation of the “hashtag distribution for each country getting the most attention in the Twittersphere.”

Al Jazeera has led the world’s media coverage of protests and revolutions throughout the Middle East and Africa. Some have called the uprisings the news network’s “CNN moment.” (CNN’s coverage of the Gulf War is largely responsible for launching its current popularity, much the same way current events have catapulted Al Jazeera’s standing.)

But considering other projects such as, real-time tweet visualizer HyperCities Egypt and other news organizations’ interactive maps of real-time tweets from the same areas, it seems as though Al Jazeera was uncharacteristically late to this idea.

Even so, the dashboard provides a handy, at-a-glance gauge of where and how people are using Twitter to discuss uprisings in the Middle East and the Arab world.

*Source: Mashable


Book Will Write the History of Egypt’s Revolution in Tweets

Twitter’s role in the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is disputed. But nobody disputes that the microblogging platform helped tell the story of the revolution as it unfolded.

Now, OR Books plans to use tweets posted during the protests to create a 160-page history of the event. Tweets from Tahrir, which is set to hit bookshelves April 21, will compile tweets and photos linked to in tweets to walk readers through every day of the revolution in 140-character-or-less snippets.

“Raw emotion bursts from their messages, whether frantic alarm at attacks from pro-government thugs or delirious happiness at the fall of the dictator,” reads a description of the book. “To read these tweets is to embark a rollercoaster ride, from the surprise and excitement of the first demonstration, to the horror of the violence that claimed hundreds of lives, to the final ecstasy of victory.”

This is quite a departure from existing tweet anthologies — like Sh*t My Dad Says — which tend to cover less serious topics. As The New York Times points out, the editors might run into some interesting legal questions with the new approach, in particular the question of who owns the rights for others’ tweets. OR Books is in the process of contacting authors to get their permission.

Whether the format will indeed capture the raw emotion, frantic alarm and timeline of the demonstrations is an another matter. An excerpt of the book is posted below; let us know what you think the comments.

*Source: Mashable

Mubarak personally approved selling land in Toshka to Saudi prince

(Egypt Commercial News) — Sources at the Ministry of Agriculture said the contract for selling 100,000 acres in Toshka to Prince al-Waleed bin Talal was devised by the prince himself and approved by former President Hosni Mubarak after it was reviewed by the Council of Ministers on 12 May 1997.

The contract was then sent to the Ministry of Agriculture to sign in turn. Mahmoud Abu Sdeita, head of the ministry’s Agricultural Development Authority, had reservations about some clauses that were judged to violate state sovereignty. He also said the the contract should be reviewed by the ministries of irrigation, electricity and transport.

Those reservations were submitted to former Agriculture Minister Youssef Wali, who ordered Sdeita to sign the contract, telling him the contract was referred from “a higher authority.”

The sources called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to review the contract.

The contract gives the right to the prince to dispose of the land in whichever way profitable to him.

*Source: Al Masry AlYoum

Mubarak Steps Down

Egypt’s embattled President Hosni Mubarak abruptly stepped down as president, ending his 30-year-rein, and Egyptian armed forces will take over the leadership of the country, vice president Omar Suleiman announced today.

Crowds gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted into loud cheers, chanting “Egypt is free,” as the historic announcement was made.

“My fellow citizens. In this difficult time that the country is going through, the president Mohamed Hosni Mubarak has decided to relieve himself of his position as president and the Supreme military council has taken control of the state’s affairs. May God protect us,” Suleiman announced on national TV.

Mubarak left the presidential palace in Cairo earlier today as protesters kept the pressure on the government to force Mubarak out of office.

Sources tell ABC News that the 82-year-old president has gone to an estate he owns in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort town on the Red Sea about 250 miles from the protests in Cairo. Mubarak told ABC News last week he may eventually retire to the resort town, but vowed never to leave Egypt.

A senior Egyptian official told ABC News Mubarak’s departure from the palace was intended to be symbolic, as well a visual withdrawal from the political process after having handed over most of his authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman. But the move does not preclude him from returning or inhibit his ability to oversee constitutional amendments, the official said.

In a sign that the regime may be shaky, Hossam Badrawi — who was appointed head of the ruling party just days ago — announced that he will resign from his post. Badrawi was widely cited by news outlets on Thursday as saying that Mubarak would step down, reports that turned out be false.

The military earlier today announced on state television that the regime’s much hated emergency law will be lifted when the security situation allows — echoing Mubarak’s statement from Thursday — and encouraged protesters to leave the streets and return to their homes.

Egypt‘s controversial emergency laws have been in place since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1967 and give the government far-reaching powers at the expense of judicial review and civil liberties.

The army said it would make an important announcement soon.

But demonstrators were defiant, filling Tahrir Square for an 18th day to demand Mubarak’s ouster. Thousands more marched toward the state television building, a prime new target for today’s protests.

Mubarak Speech Timing was NO Accident

The timing of Hosni Mubarak’s speech Thursday night to the nation was no accident, said Prof. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a sociologist and visiting scholar at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, who was imprisoned three times by Mubarak.

“He’s trying to preempt a call for a general strike tomorrow,” Ibrahim told CNN Thursday in a telephone interview, noting that workers began joining the demonstrations early this week and were calling for demonstrations throughout Egypt on Friday. “Usually, after the Friday prayer, people congregate, so he was trying to preempt that.”

But Ibrahim — who said he taught Mubarak’s wife and children — predicted that the Egyptian president will not succeed. “Partly, because he is no longer trusted — especially by the young people. Maybe the middle-aged or older people, who are not in the street in the first place, would give him the benefit of the doubt.”

The 72-year-old professor said he was departing New Jersey on Friday for Egypt to join the protesters.

Though he said the prospect that the demonstrators might resort to violence was a real one, he held out the hope that it would not come to that. “So far, the only people who used violence are the pro-government people,” he said. “I salute these young protesters for being self-disciplined, for being peaceful, restraining themselves.”

In Cairo, Egyptian journalist Shahira Amin said she saw Mubarak’s speech “as one last, desperate attempt” to win over the protesters.

“He really thinks that there are some people still on his side, that those in Tahrir (Square) do not represent the majority of Egyptians,” she said. “He is still hopeful that he can step down in dignity after meeting some of the demands of the protesters. He thinks that if he holds on to power and there are tangible changes on the ground, then at least people will remember him for those changes and he would not have left office in disgrace. Don’t forget that he is a military man and very proud. That’s my guess.”

But Joshua Stacher, assistant professor of political science at Kent State University in Ohio, hypothesized that Mubarak was simply trying to thwart recent gains made by the demonstrators in the wake of the government’s release Monday of the charismatic 30-year-old activist Wael Ghonim, who helped organize the demonstrations and who is on leave from an executive position with Google.

“They felt the protesters were gaining a bit of momentum ever since Wael Ghonim came out,” Stacher said. “I think it was intended to disrupt the momentum of the protesters.”

James Gelvin, a professor of history at UCLA, said Mubarak had little choice but to act on Thursday. “He had to do something,” Gelvin said in a telephone interview. “Today followed on the biggest demonstrations in Egypt’s recent history. It’s not just in Tahrir Square, it’s up and down the country, and it’s labor unrest as well. You’ve got a perfect storm of economic grievances and political grievances at the same time.”

The timing of the next move is up to the military, which both supports the protesters and wants order, he said. “They can’t have it both ways.”

He predicted the military, which is estimated to control 5% to 40% of the economy, would wind up protecting its own interests.

“If I had to predict, against my wishes, what I’d say is that this thing will continue tomorrow and the army is going to intervene,” he said.

But, he noted, “it can go either way. If one private is trigger-happy and fires into a crowd or one Molotov cocktail goes a certain direction, then all bets are off.”

*Source: CNN

Twitter Blocked in Egypt as Thousands of Protesters Call for Government Reform

January 26, 2011 10 comments

Twitter was blocked in Egypt on Tuesday as demonstrators called for political reforms and clashed with police.

The micro-blogging site, which was also used as a tool to organize and report what’s going on in Tunisia’s revolt, confirmed that its social networking service was unavailable to users in Egypt in a message from its Twitter PR account, @twitterglobalpr.

The tweet directed people to the Herdict Report, a website that tracks the blocking of other sites, that reported was blocked, stating “the government is cracking down on activists calling for change.”

The demonstrators took to the streets of Egypt to protest the government of President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for about three decades.

Protesters have called for term limits, among other political changes, as well as expressing their displeasure with high jobless rates.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, protesters were able to use Twitter in Egypt through third-party applications on computers and cellphones, but those too were eventually shut down, the website TechCrunch reported.

However, just as in Tunisia, some in Egypt have been able to access Twitter through Web proxies to help mobilize themselves.

The hashtag #jan25 has been placed in many of the tweets sent out dealing with the Egyptian protests.

Hundreds of videos have been uploaded to YouTube depicting scenes from the protests in Egypt as well.

And Facebook, too, has been used as a tool to get information out about the Egyptian protests, reports Jeffrey Fleishman of the Times’ Cairo bureau who has been covering the protests.

Fleishman reported on Tuesday:

Thousands of Egyptian protesters inspired by the revolt in Tunisia rushed police and battled tear gas Tuesday in demonstrations against the political repression and unemployment that have defined three decades of rule by President Hosni Mubarak.

Groups of protesters marched through downtown Cairo, crossing bridges and outflanking riot police as the crowds headed for a square a few blocks from the parliament building. Security forces, which had shown unusual restraint early in the day, swung batons and clashed with demonstrators amid chants of “Freedom” and “Down with Mubarak.”

The protests were larger than any Egypt has seen in years. But it was unclear if the country’s opposition could mimic Tunisia and capitalize on sustained public pressure to threaten one of the region’s most entrenched police states. More than 80,000 people signed up on Facebook to attend the rallies but the number in the streets was far fewer.