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Pocket Knife

A scene of violent chaos in Cairo

Cairo, Egypt - It started with verbal abuse, and then - perhaps inevitably - it got physically, terrifyingly violent.

Supporters of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak flooded into Cairo's Tahrir Square Wednesday after the president's opponents dominated the scene for more than a week.

Separated at first by barriers, the rival demonstrators exchanged insults, then began throwing anything they could find at each other, including shoes, rocks and sticks.

Suddenly the barriers came down. People surged toward each other in a chaotic scene that conjured images of a revolution.


ElBaradei warns of imminent 'bloodbath' in Egypt

Egyptian anti-government protesters demand Mubarak's resignation.
Noted Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei blames Cairo for clashes between anti-government protesters and the regime's so-called sympathizers, warning it could lead to a "bloodbath."

Posing as supporters of President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, plainclothes police officers attacked the demonstrators in the capital. At least one person has been killed and hundreds of people have so far been injured in Wednesday's clashes.

Reports also say that security forces have also attacked people in Suez and Alexandria, both in the northeast.

On Wednesday, ElBaradei accused Cairo of using "scare tactics" and denounced the pro-regime supporters as a "bunch of thugs," Reuters reported.

"My fear is that it will turn into a bloodbath," he warned.

Wall Street

Media Become a Target as Egypt Protests Turn Violent

In Pre-Dawn Clashes, Frequent Gunbursts, Tank Movement and Gasoline Bombs

The worst clashes since Friday erupted Wednesday in Cairo with anti-Mubarak mobs rushing Tahrir (Liberation) Square in an effort to wrestle the territory from the anti-government demonstrators.

It was a dynamic change. After five days of peaceful protest, suddenly an all out battle.

This did not look to be a spontaneous eruption. This was what looked to be deliberately orchestrated political theater, planned and organized bid by pro-Mubarak forces, taking place on a stage, Tahrir Square, in full view of the world audience.

It was an apparently a bid for control of the territory that anti-government demonstrators had occupied for more than a week.


Egypt riots death toll feared to be 300 as Mubarak mob moves in on eighth day of street protests

  • Army turns water cannon on protesters in desperate bid to end violence
  • Mubarak supports charge Liberation Square on horses and camels
  • Rocks and concrete blocks hurled at pro-democracy demonstration
  • World leaders call for calm as situation spirals out of control
Thousands of supporters of President Hosni Mubarak today attacked anti-government protesters as fresh turmoil gripped Egypt.

Backers of the president, who last night agreed to relinquish his grip on power, fought with the crowds in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square, injuring more than 600 people.

Some rode into the ranks on horses and camels while wielding whips. In chaotic scenes, they pelted each other with stones, large sticks and machetes.

The death toll since protests began eight days ago is now thought to be as high as 300, according to Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Reports to the world body from nongovernmental sources in Egypt also suggest that more than 3,000 people have been injured.

egypt protests
Cairo in flames: The army finally used water cannon to clear protesters tonight as military vehicles burned in the streets


WHCA Complains: Press Shut Out at White House

After being shut out of the President's Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) is appealing to the White House to give the press corps access to an event that's been called one of the President's most important foreign policy priorities for almost a year - the signing of the START Treaty. In a letter to Press Sec. Robert Gibbs, the WHCA Board complained about their lack of access to the President throughout the crisis in Egypt and outlined their request to open today's treaty signing to the White House pool. Letter from Julia Whiston of the WHCA below:
Good morning Robert,

We recognize that the crisis in Egypt is a quickly evolving story and you are working to get us the information we need in a timely manner, but we are concerned about several access issues on Tuesday and now today.

On behalf of the White House Correspondents Association we are writing to protest in the strongest possible terms the White House's decision to close the President's Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and his signing of the START Treaty today to the full press pool.


Egypt Official: White House Demands Contradictory

© AP Photo/Tarek FawzyEgyptian anti-government protestors, some of them atop a damaged police vehicle, gather by the seafront in Alexandria, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011.
Washington - An Egyptian official, speaking for his government, is complaining that the U.S. is pressing for President Hosni Mubarak's swift departure even as the White House publicly urges an orderly transition.

The official, speaking from a location outside Egypt, also told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Mubarak's decision not to seek re-election in September was not a result of pressure from President Barack Obama, who has spoken with the Egyptian leader twice since the street uprising began more than a week ago.

The official said in the statement: "There is a clear contradiction between an orderly process of transition and the insistence that this process be rushed."

The official spoke on condition of anonymity, saying his government would not allow him to associate his name with the statement.

He said Mubarak, in addition to agreeing not to run again, had appointed a vice president, stated his readiness for dialogue with the opposition and promised changes in the constitution.


Supporters of Hosni Mubarak attack foreign journalists in Egypt

© Amr Nabil/APAn Egyptian policeman cries as he receives a warm welcome from pro-Mubarak supporters in Cairo, three days after the police disappeared from the streets.
Four reporters set upon as hundreds of pro-government supporters launch resistance against protests

Supporters of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak beat up several journalists after going on the offensive today.

Anderson Cooper from CNN, two Associated Press correspondents and a Belgian reporter were all set upon as hundreds of young pro-government supporters attacked crowds demanding Mubarak's immediate resignation.

Cooper said he and his crew came under attack, but CNN said no one was seriously hurt. Two Associated Press correspondents and several other journalists were roughed up during gatherings of Mubarak supporters.

In what appeared to be the most serious incident, a Belgian correspondent who reports for newspapers in Brussels, northern France and Geneva, was beaten, detained and accused of spying.

Maurice Sarfatti, who uses the byline Dumont, was covering a pro-Mubarak demonstration in the Cairo district of Shoubra when he said he was hit.

Arrow Down

Russian Population Continued To Shrink In 2010 - Statistics Service

The natural decline of the Russian population (the number of those born minus the number of those who have died) in January-November 2010 amounted to 226,700, which is 2,400 more than in the same period of the previous year, corporate-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 27 January, quoting the Federal State Statistics Service, Rosstat.

In January-July the natural decline of the population was still 166,000 and was by 18,000 less than the previous year. However, taking into the account figures for August, which was famous for anomalous heat and fires, the dynamics already changed and the natural decline in January-August was 198,300 (15,300 more than in the same period of the previous year).

The number of deaths in January-November 2010 was 1,862,900 people, which is 28,300 more than over the 11 months of 2009, Interfax said.


Saudi Arabia to Punish Officials for Damage After Jeddah Floods

Saudi Arabia will punish officials for negligence after flooding due to heavy rains damaged infrastructure and displaced people in Jeddah, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing Prince Nayef, the kingdom's interior minister.

A committee was set up to investigate the response to last month's floods, which damaged 25,000 buildings, 2,500 shops and 90 percent of the city's roads, the Riyadh-based news service reported late yesterday. The government had to provide shelter for about 18,000 people, according to the news service.

At least 10 people were killed and 114 injured, Mohammed al-Qarni, General Major in the Civil Defense Department in Jeddah, said in an interview on Jan. 29.

Heavy rains raised water levels in Jeddah to 111 millimeters (4.4 inches) on Jan. 26, according to Mansour al- Mazroui, head of the meteorology department at King Abdulaziz University. That compares with a peak of 90 millimeters in November 2009 when flooding left at least 123 people dead in the city.

Comment: Isn't Jeddah supposed to be situated in a desert?! From Wiki:
Rainfall in Jeddah is generally sparse, and usually occurs in small amounts in December. There have also been several notable incidents of hail. Heavy thunderstorms are common in winter. The thunderstorm of December 2008 was the largest in recent memory, with rain reaching around 3 inches (7.6 cm)
3 inches?! It looks like that two-year-old record has been soundly beaten!


Egypt: Chaos in Cairo as Mubarak backers, opponents clash

© Ben Curtis/APPro-government demonstrators clash with anti-government demonstrators under the watchful eye of a single soldier on the roof of the Egyptian Museum
Thousands of supporters and opponents of President Hosni Mubarak battled in Cairo's main square Wednesday, raining stones, bottles and firebombs on each other in scenes of uncontrolled violence chaos as soldiers stood by without intervening. Government backers galloped in on horses and camels, only to be dragged to the ground and beaten bloody.

At the fighting's main front line, next to the famed Egyptian Museum at the edge of Tahrir Square, pro-government rioters blanketed the rooftops of nearby buildings, dumping bricks and firebombs onto the crowd below - in the process setting a tree ablaze inside the museum grounds. Below on the street, the two sides, crouched behind abandoned trucks, hurled chunks of concrete and bottles at each other, and some government supporters waved machetes.

Bloodied anti-government protesters were taken to makeshift clinics in mosques and alleyways, and some pleaded for protection from soldiers stationed at the square, who refused. Soldiers did nothing to stop the violence beyond firing an occasional shot in the air.

"Hosni has opened the door for these thugs to attack us," one man with a loudspeaker shouted to the crowds during the fighting.