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Thousands of protesters battle police in Cairo

Cairo - Egyptian military units deployed in the streets of Cairo on Friday, and protesters targeted offices of the ruling party, as massive crowds of anti-government demonstrators defied an overnight curfew and appeared to grow more violent.


The deployment of troops and armored fighting vehicles came after heavily armed riot police battled thousands of protesters across Egypt on Friday in an effort to squelch a burgeoning pro-democracy movement that appeared to be gaining strength.

Crowds surged onto the streets of Cairo and other cities immediately after noon prayers, responding to a call for protests dubbed "Angry Friday." Toward sunset, the demonstrations seemed to grow larger, even as police fired guns, tear gas and water cannons.

Stormtrooper

Guardian Journalist Arrested and Beaten Alongside Protesters in Egypt Secretly Records Ordeal

In Egypt, running battles between police and anti-government protesters continued into the early hours of Thursday morning. Police have arrested up to 1,200 people, including a number of journalists. Among them was Guardian reporter, Jack Shenker. He was arrested and beaten by plainclothes police on Tuesday night and shoved into a truck with dozens of other people. He managed to keep his dictaphone with him and recorded what was happening as the truck carried them outside of Cairo. We play some of the dramatic audio and speak to him live by telephone.


Che Guevara

Are We Witnessing the Start of a Global Revolution?

Revolution 1
© Global Research

North Africa and the Global Political Awakening, Part 1
For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive... The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination... The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening... That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing... The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches...

The youth of the Third World are particularly restless and resentful. The demographic revolution they embody is thus a political time-bomb, as well... Their potential revolutionary spearhead is likely to emerge from among the scores of millions of students concentrated in the often intellectually dubious "tertiary level" educational institutions of developing countries. Depending on the definition of the tertiary educational level, there are currently worldwide between 80 and 130 million "college" students. Typically originating from the socially insecure lower middle class and inflamed by a sense of social outrage, these millions of students are revolutionaries-in-waiting, already semi-mobilized in large congregations, connected by the Internet and pre-positioned for a replay on a larger scale of what transpired years earlier in Mexico City or in Tiananmen Square. Their physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred...

[The] major world powers, new and old, also face a novel reality: while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low. To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people.[1]

- Zbigniew Brzezinski
Former U.S. National Security Advisor
Co-Founder of the Trilateral Commission
Member, Board of Trustees, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Comment: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

- John F. Kennedy


Pistol

More U.S. Soldiers Killed Themselves Than Died in Combat in 2010

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© unk
US Soldeir deaths, Military, Veterans, Afghanistan, Iraq
For the second year in a row, more American soldiers - both enlisted men and women and veterans - committed suicide than were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Excluding accidents and illness, 462 soldiers died in combat, while 468 committed suicide. A difference of six isn't vast by any means, but the symbolism is significant and troubling. In 2009, there were 381 suicides by military personnel, a number that also exceeded the number of combat deaths.

Earlier this month, military authorities announced that suicides amongst active-duty soldiers had slowed in 2010, while suicides amongst reservists and people in the National Guard had increased. It was proof, they said, that the frequent psychological screenings active-duty personnel receive were working, and that reservists and guardsmen, who are more removed from the military's medical bureaucracy, simply need to begin undergoing more health checks. This new data, that American soldiers are now more dangerous to themselves than the insurgents, flies right in the face of any suggestion that things are "working." Even if something's working, the system is still very, very broken.

People

Thousands of Yemenis Urge President to Quit

Yemen protests
© Reuters/Khaled Abdullah
Opposition supporters shout slogans during an anti-government rally in Sanaa January 27, 2011.
Sanaa - Thousands of Yemenis, apparently inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, staged a mass demonstration on Thursday calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to quit after being in power since 1978.

"Enough being in power for (over) 30 years," chanted protesters in demonstrations staged by the Common Forum opposition in four different parts of the capital Sanaa.

In reference to the ouster of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the demonstrators said he was "gone in just (over) 20 years."

But Yemeni Interior Minister Motahar Rashad al-Masri ruled out any resemblance between the protests in Yemen and the public outcry in the North African country that led to Ben Ali's departure.

"Yemen is not like Tunisia," he told AFP, adding that Yemen was a "democratic country" and that the demonstrations were peaceful.

But the slogans chanted in Thursday's Sanaa demonstration which lasted for two hours were firm in demanding the departure of Saleh.

Che Guevara

Irish politicians set to sail for Gaza in another Freedom Flotilla this March

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Photograph released by the Israeli Defense Force showing Israeli army and navy soldiers boarding the Gaza-bound 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie aid ship last June
Irish activists planning to take part in a Gaza-bound aid flotilla due to set sail at the end of March have acquired a vessel that will carry 25 passengers, including several Irish politicians who have pledged their participation.

The boat, which is docked at a Mediterranean port, is wholly Irish owned, according to Dr Fintan Lane of the Free Gaza Movement and the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Dr Lane sits on an international committee tasked with organising the flotilla, which is expected to begin its voyage on March 30th. Its members include US, Turkish, French, Spanish, Canadian, Swedish, Swiss and Malaysian nationals. The committee is due to meet in Madrid next month to finalise its plans.

Shane Dillon, who, along with Dr Lane was on board one of the vessels raided by Israeli commandos when a similar flotilla attempted to breach the Gaza blockade last May, will captain the Irish boat in the March flotilla.

Arrow Up

Ireland upgrades status of Palestinian mission to embassy

Image
Palestinian delegation in Ireland will be upgraded to an official embassy, following France and Spain; U.K., Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Germany and Denmark expected to follow.

The Irish government announced on Tuesday the decision to upgrade the Palestinian diplomatic status in the country to the status of an official embassy, joining a growing list of European countries that have made the same diplomatic move, including France and Spain.

Last month the Foreign Ministry ordered every Israeli envoy abroad to begin "urgent" diplomatic activity after reports reached Jerusalem that the Palestinian Authority was trying to persuade about a dozen European Union member states to upgrade the PA's diplomatic status.

The Israeli assessment is that Britain, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Malta, Luxembourg, Austria and perhaps other states are considering a similar move.

In response to the announcement, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Israel expressed regret over Ireland's decision, adding that "we are not surprised by this move in light of the Ireland's longstanding slanted policy with regards to the Israel-Palestinian conflict."

Heart - Black

Brazil man arrested for locking up wife for years

Joao Batista Groppo, 64
© AP Photo/Pedro Henrique Negrao, Diario de Sorocaba
In this photo released by Diario de Sorocaba, Joao Batista Groppo talks to the press as he sits handcuffed in the Sorocaba municipality in Sao Paulo state, Brazil, Thursday Jan. 27, 2011. Police in southeastern Brazil say they arrested Joao Batista Groppo, 64, on Wednesday for allegedly keeping his wife of 40 years locked in a cellar for 16 years.

Sao Paulo - A man has been arrested for allegedly keeping his wife locked for eight years in the dark, dank cellar of their home in southeastern Brazil, police said Thursday.

Joao Batista Groppo, 64, was arrested after his wife of 40 years, Sebastiana, was found confined in a "filthy, dark" cellar, said police inspector Jaqueline Barcelos Coutinho.

Groppo's girlfriend, Maria Furquim, was arrested as an accomplice by police in Sorocaba, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Sao Paulo, the inspector said.

Initially, Groppo told police that he had locked his spouse up for 16 years. He later revised the time period to eight years, which their son confirmed, Coutinho said in a telephone interview.

The son told her he knew what his father was doing but was unable to persuade him to stop, Coutinho said, adding that the son "may face charges of failing to come to the aid of someone in need." She declined to identify him.

Groppo, who described himself as a retired industrial consultant, said he locked up his 64-year-old wife beginning in 2003 because she is mentally ill and aggressive, the inspector said.

Bad Guys

Egypt: Internet down, police counterterror unit up

riot police
© Associated Press
An Egyptian riot policeman fires at protesters in Suez, Egypt Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years.

Cairo - Internet service in Egypt was disrupted and the government deployed an elite special operations force in Cairo on Friday, hours before an anticipated new wave of anti-government protests.

The developments were a sign that President Hosni Mubarak's regime was toughening its crackdown following the biggest protests in years against his nearly 30-year rule.

The counter-terror force, rarely seen on the streets, took up positions in strategic locations, including central Tahrir Square, site of the biggest demonstrations this week.

Facebook and Twitter have helped drive this week's protests. But by Thursday evening, those sites were disrupted, along with cell phone text messaging and BlackBerry

Messenger services. Then the Internet went down.

Earlier, the grass-roots movement got a double boost - the return of Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and the backing of the biggest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bizarro Earth

Border Collie frozen in a block of ice left in Dawson Creek yard

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© SPCA, Special to the Vancouver Sun
The body of a Border Collie cross frozen in a block of ice, which was left in the yard of a Dawson Creek man, is under investigation by BC SPCA animal cruelty investigators. It's possible another animal ate part of the dog's intestines, but it appears the 18-kilogram (40-pound) dog was owned by somebody because it had a healthy weight. The SPCA wants to find out who was responsible for placing the dog in the block of ice, which looks to have been made using a large rubber bin. The dog was discovered Jan. 15.
Animal cruelty officers are investigating a disturbing case involving a dead dog that was frozen into a block of ice and left in the yard of a Dawson Creek man.

The man discovered the dog Jan. 15, but told officers he had no idea why its frozen body was left on his property.

"I thought I'd seen everything, but when I opened that [file] up I was blown away. It's so disturbing. We want some answers," said Marcie Moriarty, general manager of the BC SPCA's cruelty investigations. "Anyone who would do something so sick - I'm concerned if they have other animals in their custody."

Moriarty said the case is such a mystery that investigators are asking for the public's help, hoping someone may have known the black dog or witnessed it being dropped off in the yard of the unidentified Dawson Creek man. She said the man does not have pets, did not know the dog and has no idea why the animal was left in his yard.

"The only salvation is we just found out the dog died before being placed in there. It had puncture wounds consistent with being in a dog fight and all of his intestines were missing," Moriarty said.