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Tens of thousands take to the streets in protest, Presidential family flees country, Twitter blocked, internet filled with YouTubes of Egyptians defying riot police and water cannons on the streets.



"The Day of Wrath"


Reddit reports in, pointing out that the government-controlled media is letting little information out.

Twitter blocked, protests turn violent.

Even the Egyptian police are sick of the government's crap, according to reports that cops are joining in the protests or helping / not resisting the crowds of protesters.

Live updates direct from Egypt.
"7:46 PM Police fire tear gas at protesters in Sidi Gaber, Alexandria.
8:05 PM An uneasy calm prevails in Tahrir Square as both security forces and tens of thousands of protesters hold their positions. Ahram Online reporter says that protesters are now sitting down in the square discussing whether or not to continue the protest through the night.
9:30 PM According to medical sources, two protesters are dead in Suez, and according to Police sources one Central Security Forces soldier is dead in clashes in Cairo.
9: 35 PM Clashes between Police and protesters in Alexandria. Corniche Road opened.
10:00 PM Protesters in Tahrir square set up a local radio station."


The earliest reports of this clock in at over three hours ago, yet there's very little information being reported.
 
 
Current Mood: depressed
 
 
_53
16 January 2009 @ 11:37 am
Today is the anniversary of the death of Elizabeth Short, also known as the Black Dahlia. What real-life murder story are you most fascinated by?


Iran Air Flight 655.
 
 
 
 
 
_53
19 November 2008 @ 09:27 am

Scientists ecstatic at capturing video and actual sample of a whale shark taking a dump.



Michael Jackson is being sued in court by a Bahraini prince for reneging on a deal to record an album and write his autobiography, after the prince floated him cash to help him through his financial troubles.



A man left paralyzed after a vicious attack by Neo Nazis is planning a trip to Switzerland to commit suicide; while a famous disabled journalist pleads with him to choose life instead.



Supermarket gives back to the community, poisons discarded food to get homeless bums out of its garbage.

Also from Sweden: Man wins right to be legally named Madeline.


Islamic theologian hired for outreach to Muslims declares Mohammed probably never existed. Awkward? Fatwah in 3... 2... 1...

Hundreds of Indonesians protest anti-porn law, declaring it a threat to religious freedom.

Barclays avoids shareholder revolt by axing executive bonuses and revamping their payment plan.

Italian Air Force holding public name contest to come up with a less boring generic name for its new fighter jet. First price is a free ride in it.

Speaking of fighter jets, a Mig 29 could be yours for the low, low price of US $544,734.67 from this Russian military equipment webstore.

The word "meh" enters dictionary.

A gallery of the most extreme conditions ever recorded on the face of the Earth.

A visual guide to the financial crisis for the rest of us.

Five gadgets that were killed by the cellphone.

How to spot a fake Rolex.


As usual, more offbeat news over at fivethreenews and 53news.blogspot.com :D
 
 
 
 
_53
12 November 2008 @ 10:40 pm

How to de-program a Jehadist.


The Saudi government has a lot of captured jihadists to deal with. Rather than keeping them locked up indefinitely, they are sent to a deprogramming facility, where they attend classes and are treated with Western luxuries:

"On arrival, each prisoner is given a suitcase filled with gifts: clothes, a digital watch, school supplies and toiletries. Inmates are encouraged to ask for their favorite foods (Twix and Snickers candy bars are frequent requests). Volleyball nets, PlayStation games and Ping-Pong and foosball tables are all provided. The atmosphere at the center — which I visited several times earlier this year — is almost eerily cozy and congenial, with mattresses and rugs spread on stubbly patches of lawn for inmates to lounge upon. With few exceptions, the men wear their beards untrimmed and their thobes, the long garments that most Saudi men wear, cut above their ankles in the style favored by those who wish to demonstrate strict devotion to Islam. The men are pleasant but many seem a bit puffy and lethargic; one 19-year-old inmate, Faisal al-Subaii, explained that they are encouraged to spend most of their daytime hours in either rest or prayer.

(...)

Most prisoners complete the program within two months. Upon release, each former jihadist is required to sign a pledge that he has forsaken extremist sympathies; the head of his family must sign as well. Some also receive a car (often a Toyota) and aid from the Interior Ministry in renting a home. Social workers assist former jihadists and their families in making post-release plans for education, employment and, usually, marriage. “Getting married stabilizes a man’s personality,” Hadlaq says. “He thinks more about a long term future and less about himself and his anger.” "

Could PlayStation, candy, and a job actually keep these men from going back to the jihad lifestyle? In the short term, the answer seems to be yes. Remember that many of these young Saudis jumped on the jihad bandwagon only for a lack of better things to do, so they can successfully be reformed. It's unlikely a true believer like Osama bin Laden would stop being a terrorist if he were given a Toyota, but for the wannabe jihadists, that might be more than enough.

Via The Invisible Pink Unicorn blog.
 
 
 
 
 
_53
24 September 2008 @ 02:35 am
Israel disappears from world maps sold by Ikea in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia.

Okay, here's the thing:

EVERY map in the Middle East has Israel blacked out, censored or omitted. It's nothing unusual there, and no fault of Ikea. My schoolbook atlases and encyclopedias at home had Israel blacked out too. It's just one of the billion odd screwed up quirks of life in the Middle East. And I doubt very much that map would be corrected, because like I said, EVERY commercially sold map in the Middle East has Israel censored, because Arabs refuse to acknowledge the existence of Israel.

You can't even travel to any Middle Eastern country with a current or even an old Israeli visa or stamp of entry on your passport, regardless of nationality. You have to go get a whole new one made and then travel. All .il (Israel's internet domain) websites are not accessible from the Middle East either. That's how hardcore they are about not acknowledging it exists.

So now you know.
 
 
 
 
 
_53
21 July 2008 @ 11:47 pm
4chan is down again :(

Hundreds of dead / dying baby penguins washing ashore in Argentinia. Also, Many more penguins are being killed off by sudden abnormal rainshowers.

Via ceciliacarnage: Amish people killed in car accident, on the way to a funeral. WAT

Burglar finds out the hard way that heating and ventilation shafts aren't really made as they appear in movies.

French tourist repeatedly smashes 4 year old daughter's head into Italian monument, then repeats process with own head. She's now in a coma.

And now, a knife with a trigger on its handle that releases frozen gas into the stab wound through it's exploding tip to freeze internal organs.

Dominican gang cuts out the middle man, run their own police operations. Dominican gangsters ran their own police network, spanning payment to informants, surveillance, impersonation of police raids complete with counterfeit squad cars, and ruthless interrogation. Fruits of the raids (including at least 1650 pounds of cocaine) were sold on the street. Favored torture techniques involved nut/plier technologies, hot irons, and of course, waterboarding.

State the obvious award: Egyptian men are assholes. Having grown up in the Middle East, I can verify that this is true and obvious for anyone that's met or has known more than one Egyptian man. It's like it's in their DNA or something, I don't know.

NASA needs urine.
 
 
 
 
 
_53
04 July 2008 @ 03:18 am
I've also been watching a ton of documentaries lately, since my favorite TV shows are off the air. I realized I never mention them, many of them are mindblowing to put it mildly and it bugs me that so many people haven't seen these.

From Beirut to Bosnia by Robert Fisk
A controversial documentary by journalist legend Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independant for over thirty decorated and multiple award winning years, the three films seek to answer the simple question of why Muslims have come to hate the West so much. Illuminating to put it mildly. The Discovery Channel banned the documentary originally back in 1993, proving that the press is no longer free and that the media, especially in the west, is now a well-oiled propaganga machine.

An example of how advertising and lobbying groups censor American news, this three part documentary by the famous middle east war correspondent Robert Fisk was banned by the Discovery channel in 1993. The films seek to explain the rise of anti-Western sentiment throughout the Muslim world (from the Middle East to the Balkins, the range of the former Ottoman Empire) by highlighting the oppressiveness of Western-supported governments (Israel and Egypt, in particular) and the West's broader anti-Muslim racism. The Discovery channel pulled the films in response to a letter campaign by pro-Israel groups.

Part I: The Martyr's Smile:
This Films for the Humanities production focuses its capable eye on Lebanon's guerilla war that aims to liberate southern Lebanon from Israeli control. The scope of this tragic conflict is brought into sharp focus in this documentary through the use of extensive interviews with participants from the Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad movements, views of civilian casualties caused by Israeli air attacks, and photographic evidence of the ongoing destruction of life and property in the region. The viewer should be advised that this video contains some disturbing scenes of this conflict.

Part II: The Road to Palestine:
Another in the Beirut to Bosnia series from Films for the Humanities, The Road to Palestine provides the viewer with a glimpse into the ongoing conflict in the region around Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Through interviews with members of the militant Islamic group Hamas, as well as Zionist settlers and Jewish refugees, this documentary succeeds at revealing some of this tragic situation.

Part III: To the Ends of the Earth:
Another in the compelling series Beirut to Bosnia from Films for the Humanities, To the Ends of the Earth compares the plight of Muslims in Egypt and Bosnia. Though separated by geography and the distinct cultures in which they live their lives, this video reveals the feeling of betrayal by the West experienced by these two Muslim communities. Interviews with Islamic freedom fighters and war casualties shed light on the dynamics of the ongoing struggle for the survival of these communities.


If you watch just one documentary this year, make it this one. It's a VHS rip so the quality isn't as perfect as you may be used to but the knowledge locked inside is more than worth it.

Read up more on Robert Fisk's career here:

Robert Fisk article on Wikipedia.

The Pirate Bay: From Beirut to Bosnia torrent.
 
 
 
 
_53
15 May 2008 @ 05:10 am
A phone number written out on a piece of cardboard is “the classic approach,” Fahad said, but most of the time he and his friends use Bluetooth to try to send their phone numbers directly to the cell phones of girls in the vicinity. Usually this means chasing cars containing women, but sometimes Fahad and his friends drive past the entrances of shopping malls where women wait for their drivers. It’s not easy to tell which of the black-shrouded shapes might be young women, Fahad admitted, but there are a few tricks.

“You look at the style of the abaya, the way she holds her bag,” Fahad explained. “See that one there, how thin she is, and how carefully she’s covered up her face?”

He pointed out a slight figure with a pastel handbag. Sure enough, a pair of girlish-looking sneakers were just visible beneath the hem of her abaya.

“I’d say that maybe 3 out of 10 nights of numbering,we have some success,” Fahad explained.

“You mean that 3 out of 10 nights you get a girl to talk to you?” I asked.

“No, no,” Fahad laughed. “Maybe 3 out of 10 nights we get one phone number. Getting a girl to actually talk to you on the phone is much rarer. But it happens, so we’re always hoping.”


Article: How teenage boys cruise for chicks in Saudi Arabia.

Via BoingBoing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
_53
16 January 2007 @ 09:08 am

Saudi Arabia might ban the letter X because it looks too much like a Christian cross.

Anyone that's lived in or is familiar with the Middle East should be far from surprised.