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Egyptians concerned about plot to hijack revolution

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Egypt's people power movement forced out an arrogant pharaoh, who had ruled the country for the last thirty years with the help of the United States, other Western powers, and Israel, but now it seems that new dangers are arising.

The Egyptians may be chanting that their country is free, but their struggle is far from over since some lackeys of the USA and Israel in the Egyptian establishment are already making efforts to hijack the historic revolution.

The Egyptian military is now officially in control of Egypt and the counter-revolution is unfolding. So a new phase of the liberation struggle has started.

On Sunday, protesters again took to the streets across the country and thronged Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square as the new military rulers announced that they would stay in power for six months, when they say elections will be held.

The military rulers also dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution on Sunday.

The protesters want all their demands met, including the transition of power from the military to a civilian, democratic government.

On Sunday, clashes broke out between the army and the protesters as troops tried to disperse thousands of demonstrators in Tahrir Square, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The wave of demonstrations in and around the square is showing no sign of stopping, with hundreds of thousands of protesters continuing to gather in the square.

Red Flag

China's Wheat Crop at Risk, World Wary

drought/China
© Lu Jian / EPA
New Delhi: There is bad news on the global food front. In an alert issued this week, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned that more than two-thirds of China's gigantic wheat crop may be under risk "because of substantially below-normal rainfall" this winter.

The affected areas in the northern plains of China produced over 75 million tonne of China's total production of 112 million tonne of wheat last year. Any shortfall in Chinese production would have serial effects on availability and prices of wheat around the world.

Global food prices have been silently climbing upward through the past six months and with production and consumption very finely balanced, any disruption in production may wreak havoc with prices. Already, food prices are touching the record levels set in 2008 although prices of rice - the world's largest staple food - are still below those levels.

High food prices have been feeding growing restlessness and anger in a swathe of countries including West Asia. Egypt had experienced an 18.5% rate of inflation driving up prices of all food commodities except bread which is subsidized by the government to the tune of $1.5 billion annually. This was a major contributory factor to the 18-day uprising that dislodged the three-decade-long dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Protests against high food prices have taken place in Oman, Israel and Jordan and have contributed to political unrest in Yemen, Tunisia and Algeria.

Hourglass

Bread, dignity and lies

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So Omar "Sheik al-Torture" Suleiman has warned that the only alternative to dialogue with the opposition is "a coup". The suave United States Central Intelligence Agency point man for extraordinary renditions to Egypt, now Washington-anointed "orderly transition" conductor, may be more versed in electroshocks than onanism; otherwise he would have realized that a military dictatorship toppling itself still ends up as a military dictatorship.

Yet maybe that's exactly what he meant. Suleiman said protests are "very dangerous" - not so subtly implying the interference of hidden agendas by foreign journalists; a subversive coalition of the US, Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and al-Jazeera; the Muslim Brotherhood (MB); and all of the above (and all duly evoked by the regime).

Osama Saraya, editor-in-chief of the pro-government newspaper al-Ahram, who was there when Suleiman uttered his sinister warnings, is assured he meant not only a military coup, but an Islamist coup as well.

Shoe

Clashes mark Bahrain 'Day of Rage', depsite regime's efforts to pay off protesters

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© Sara Hassan
Activists are demanding reforms, better human rights and stopping of discrimination against Shias
Minor clashes reported from parts of kingdom as security forces remain on alert over planned day of protests.

Small-scale clashes have been reported from parts of Bahrain amid heightened security over planned protests by the kingdom's disgruntled Shia majority.

Protesters have called for a "Day of Rage" to be observed on Monday, inspired by anti-government uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

Helicopters circled over the capital Manama, where protesters were expected to gather in the afternoon, and there was greater police presence in Shia villages.

At least 14 people were injured in clashes overnight and on Monday, news agencies reported.

The reports said police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse marchers in the mostly Shia village of Newidrat in the southwest region of the island kingdom - a key Western ally. The marchers were demanding the release of those detained during earlier protests.

Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Centre for human rights told Al Jazeera: "We are only asking for political reforms, right of political participation, respect for human rights, stopping of systematic discrimination against Shias.

Comment: Kuwait's ruler gifts money and food coupons to all his subjects!


Stormtrooper

Police attack Yemeni protesters

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Yemeni police lay razor wire at Al-Sabiine square near the presidential palace in the capital, Sana'a on February 13 to block the protesters.
Yemeni police have clashed with thousands of protesters calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years.

At least one woman was injured during the clashes which took place on Sunday in the capital, Sana'a, AFP reported. At least 10 demonstrators have also been arrested.

Around 2,000 people marched during the rallies from Sana'a University towards Al-Sabiine square near the presidential palace. Government forces laid razor wire to prevent people from reaching the palace.

Police also apprehended 120 people among hundreds of protesters, who were rallying in the southern city of Taez's main square.

Pro-democracy protests have been bubbling up in Yemen since January.

On Saturday, thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of the capital, urging Saleh to follow the example of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "Get out, Get out Ali" and "The people want the regime to fall," some shouted.

Mubarak handed power over to the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces on Friday, giving in to 18 straight days of pro-democracy protests.

Pharoah

Millions of Egyptians live in cemeteries


Millions of Egyptians living in abject poverty are the inhabitants of a macabre quarter not far from the capital's Liberation Square which has become the symbol of Egypt's popular revolution.

The poor in the Egyptian capital's urban slums live in almost the same manner as they did under the pharaohs, a Press TV correspondent reported Sunday.

There are over 50 cemeteries in Cairo, Muslim and Christian, and all of them are inhabited by several million people who constitute the absolute bottom of Egypt's social structure, the report added.

The five major cemeteries in the capital include the Northern Cemetery, Bab el Nasr Cemetery, the Southern Cemetery, the Cemetery of the Great, and Bab el Wazir Cemetery. They are known as the "City of the Dead."

Padlock

Egyptian army rejects protesters' demands

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Egypt's military has rejected the demands of pro-democracy protesters for a swift transfer of power to a civilian administration, saying it will rule by martial law until presidential election is held in September.

The army's announcement, which included suspension of the Egyptian constitution, was a further rebuff to some pro-democracy activists after troops were sent to clear demonstrators from Cairo's Liberation Square, the center of the protests that brought down President Hosni Mubarak, a Press TV correspondent reported.

"We do not want any protesters to sit in the square after today," said the head of the military police, Mohamed Ibrahim Moustafa Ali on Monday.

Many pro-democracy Egyptians refused to leave Liberation Square, saying they would remain until the army took a series of steps toward democratic reforms, which include installing a civilian-led government and abolishing the repressive state of emergency.

The ruling military council said it intends to retain power for six months or longer while Presidential election is scheduled and will rule by decree.

It suspended the constitution and said a committee will draw up amendments that will be put to a referendum.

Butterfly

US: Giffords Mouthing Song Lyrics

Gabrielle Giffords
© Office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords/Associated Press
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords's has been able to mouth the lyrics to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Happy Birthday To You

U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' efforts to relearn how to speak have included mouthing song lyrics, such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "Happy Birthday to You," as friends and family sang along.

Giffords also briefly spoke with her brother-in-law Scott Kelly by telephone Sunday afternoon as he orbited aboard the International Space Station, The New York Times reported on its website.

"She said, hi, I'm good," her chief of staff, Pia Carusone, told the paper. He is the brother of Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

She has also been receiving bedside briefings from aides on the recent uprising in Egypt and on last week's decision by Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona not to seek re-election,

"We tell her everything that's going on," Carusone said.

"Don't get the idea she's speaking in paragraphs, but she definitely understands what we're saying and she's verbalizing."

Arrow Up

Italy Declares State of Emergency over Influx of 5,000 Tunisian Immigrants

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© Agence France-Presse
Tunisian immigrants are guarded by policemen upon arrival on the Italian island of Lampedusa
A state of emergency has been declared by the Italian government after 5,000 illegal immigrants fleeing riot-torn Tunisia arrived in just five days.

Coastguard officials said that in just one 12-hour period 977 had arrived, with many more boats seen on radar screens approaching from north Africa.

The vessels carrying the illegal immigrants had all arrived on the tiny volcanic island of Lampedusa, which is just 60 miles from the Tunisian coast and the lone accommodation center was struggling to cope.

Extra coastguard and navy patrols were dispatched to the waters between Lampedusa and Tunisia in an attempt to block the influx.

On Sunday, Tunisia sent security forces to coastal areas to stop the exodus.

Roberto Maroni, the interior minister, said the emergency had been declared because they feared "possible terrorists" had infiltrated the illegal immigrants and would then slip into the country.

Penis Pump

Italy: Silvio Berlusconi Faces Nation's Women as a Million Protesters Take to Streets

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© Reuters
A million protesters, many of them women, took to the streets across Italy on Sunday calling on scandal hit Silvio Berlusconi to resign
A million protesters, many of them women, took to the streets across Italy on Sunday calling on scandal hit Silvio Berlusconi to resign.

Marches were held in 200 towns and cities throughout the country as Italians voiced their anger and frustration at the 74-year-old Italian prime minister, who is facing charges of having under age sex with a prostitute and abuse of power.

The aim of the rally was for women to protest at how their dignity and the image of the country had been offended by the media tycoon's obsession with young girls.

Protests were held in Milan, Genoa, Naples and Bari but the largest was in Rome where thousands packed into the Piazza del Popolo which two months ago had been the scene of violent riots after Berlusconi won a confidence vote.

Demonstrators, including prostitutes and nuns, carried banners saying: "Berlusconi resign now" while another said "No prostitutes, no Madonnas, just women."

The protests came a week after demonstrators had also attempted to march on Mr Berlusconi's home at Arcore near Milan, where the alleged parties were held, in an attempt to throw knickers into his garden but police prevented them.