Archive | Local

Comcast offers Jeff Adachi’s ‘The Slanted Screen: The History of Asian Men in Hollywood’ on demand

slanted-screen-3

This month, Comcast will be offering the film, “The Slanted Screen: The History of Asian Men in Hollywood” to all Comcast digital cable customers with On Demand as part of the Cinema Asian America series.

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi produced the film.

Through your digital cable menu, viewers should click on the “On Demand” button, and then look under the “Movies” folder. In this will be a “Movie Collections” folder and inside of this viewers will find “Cinema Asian America” and look for “The Slanted Screen.”

slanted-screen

See Related: Film Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Brits begin extremism crackdown as cash withheld from suspect groups – Steps prepared to combat Islamic extremism on university campuses

david-cameron-2

By Patrick Wintour and Jenny Percival
The London Guardian

The government has already started to withdraw state cash from what it regards as suspect Islamist groups that had previously been funded to reach young Muslims at risk of being drawn to terrorist networks. New, tougher criteria are being applied, with hundreds of thousands of pounds being withdrawn from specific groups after it was deemed they were too soft on Islamic extremism.

Ministers are also awaiting a report in the next fortnight from a Universities UK working group, which has been in preparation for a year, on how to combat Islamic extremism on university campuses.

The working group, including eight vice-chancellors, was established in response to the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the US for an attempted act of terrorism.

david-cameron-3
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

Abdulmutallab studied at University College London between 2005 and 2008.

The report is likely to call for greater rigour in the selection of speakers and stronger oversight of religious societies. University vice-chancellors have been accused by thinktanks such as Quilliam, a Muslim counter-extremist group, of being complacent about the radicalisation that is taking place in higher education.

Today, it was being stressed by the government that David Cameron’s call for a more “muscular liberalism” to combat home-grown terror, made in a speech in Munich on Saturday, was not simply rhetorical. It would lead to practical changes, including the wholesale review of the Prevent strategy set up by Labour.

One outcome is likely to lead to a greater focus on specific areas where propagandists for terrorism are known to be operating, including community centres and gyms. There is also expected to be a clearer separation of resources to fight terrorism, and general community cohesion work.

With Labour claiming Cameron’s speech was ill-timed, coming on the day of a march by the English Defence League (EDL), Cameron’s aides said he had been preparing the speech since Christmas following seminars at Chequers, and it was always intended to be delivered at the Munich security conference this weekend.

english-defense-league

One government source said: “There is going to be a real shift in who we fund and who ministers share platforms with. It has already started. There used to be a view in the home office that the best way to engage dangerous people was through some people who were not themselves extremists, but shared much of their thinking . We think it is better to confront all forms of extremism – the kind of people that support Jihad abroad, but say no Jihad here, or at least not now.”

The “British values” set out by Cameron in his speech – freedom of speech, freedom of speech and equality between sexes – will be the criteria by which the government will engage in future.

Haras Rafiq, director of anti-extremist organisation Centri, said he fully supported the prime minister’s call for a ban on the public funding of Muslim groups that did little to tackle extremism. He blamed some of the current misdirection of funds on failings by the Prevent programme, which has spent £53m on more than 1,000 counter-terrorism projects since it was set up in 2007 in the wake of the 7/7 London bombings.

Rafiq said: “A lot of funding is going to groups that hold vile views that are not acceptable in a tolerant, liberal society like the UK. Some support suicide bombing, attacks on British troops in Iraq or Afghanistan and other forms of violent extremism, but they are supported by the government so long as they don’t support violence in the UK – even where they support unacceptable domestic policies like saying it’s wrong for Muslims to vote or it’s sinful for a woman to get into a taxi alone with a man she’s not related to. But my biggest concern is that by funding and promoting fringe elements within British Muslim society, it is tarnishing the whole Muslim community.”

But Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim youth group, said Cameron had been “deeply irresponsible” to suggest that some publicly-funded groups did little to tackle extremism.

“Where are these Muslim organisations that support extremism? I don’t believe they exist, and if the prime minister believes otherwise he should have the confidence to name them.” Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said it was important to identify which groups Cameron had been referring to. “The MCB itself, though not in receipt of government funding, has consistently spoken in favour of British values that acknowledge universal human rights and pluralism,” said Murad.

No shadow ministers today followed shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, in claiming David Cameron was involved in “writing propaganda for the EDL” on the day 3,000 English Defence League members held a rally in Luton. Yvette Cooper said Cameron was “unwise” not to have also criticised the EDL, but foreign secretary William Hague said a PM’s speech should not be shelved “because some people have chosen to march down a street”.

Trevor Phillips, Equalities and Human Rights Commission chair, refused to criticise the claim that multiculturalism had failed, but said the PM “may have made life a bit more difficult for himself” by combining the issues of terrorism and integration in one speech.

See Related: David Cameron ‘livid’ after multiculturalism speech comes under fire – Stands by his philosophy – ‘You have to say to the people in Birmingham Central Mosque, or wherever, who are saying 9/11 is a Jewish conspiracy, that that is not an acceptable attitude to have’

See Related: Europe must wipe out intolerance of western values in Muslim communities and far-right groups, asserts British Prime Minister David Cameron

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Al Jazeera hopes to open doors in U.S.

al-jazeera-feb-6-1
Al Jazeera’s Arabic reports on the protests in Egypt and Tunisia originate in its newsroom
in Doha, the capital of Qatar
Photo By Maneesh Bakshi

By Brian Stelter
The New York Times

DOHA, Qatar — “Our bureau in Cairo has been attacked.”

Phone calls and e-mail on Friday spread that short message through the Doha headquarters of Al Jazeera, the satellite news network. It was an ominous start to the day, made worse by the fact that the day before, three of the network’s staff members had been arrested and others had been harassed amid the continuing protests in Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

Still, the network’s nonstop live coverage rolled on unabated. Al Jazeera’s Arabic- and English-language coverage has provided a worldwide megaphone for the protests that have disrupted the Middle East, first in Tunisia and then Egypt — and to a lesser degree, Yemen, Jordan and Sudan.

Al Jazeera stands to benefit greatly from its protest coverage, a fact not lost on the network, which has been placing advertisements in major American newspapers. The live reports strengthen the network’s already tight grip on its Arabic-language viewing public, while bolstering its argument that cable and satellite distributors in the United States should make the English version available to American viewers.

A sense of mission — and of opportunity — permeates the Al Jazeera compound on the outskirts of Doha, where on Friday the televised cries of antigovernment protesters resounded through the hallways at all hours along with the ringing of cellphones and the shouts of news anchors. Staff members were well aware they faced stiff challenges — from opponents who wish Al Jazeera off the air and skeptics who doubt the objectivity of a network backed by the emir of Qatar.

The network’s Cairo bureau was empty on Friday when an unknown group ransacked it, because four days earlier the Egyptian authorities banned Al Jazeera from broadcasting from the country.

“Since then we’ve been playing cat and mouse,” said Heather Allan, the head of news gathering for Al Jazeera English. Remarkably, the network has managed to transmit live from Cairo much of the time since then.

Many observers believe that by televising the uprisings, Al Jazeera is influencing them — and tilting the Middle East toward a version of democracy in the process.

Wadah Khanfar, director general of Al Jazeera, acknowledged that covering the protesters around the clock “gives them some momentum.” He said that the network’s mission statement supported democracy, but added, “we’re not adopting the revolution.”

Similarly, Mostefa Souag, news director for the Arabic service, conceded that protesters might gravitate toward Al Jazeera’s cameras, well aware of the worldwide power of the images. But, he added, “we’re not here to create events. We’re here to cover events.”

The Arabic and English news services measurably spent more time last week showing and interviewing voices opposed to President Hosni Mubarak, but they gave time to other points of view, as well. When the Arabic service was slow to go live to a press briefing by the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, Mr. Souag rushed out of his office to ask the producers, “Why aren’t we taking him?” (It took a few minutes for the translator to get into position.)

The Arabic- and English-language operations work in tandem, sharing materials, bureaus and an “editorial spirit,” said Al Anstey, the English managing director, while maintaining separate staffs and newsrooms. Last week, they also shared Egypt theme music and a graphics package that had as its dominant image a “Down with Mubarak” sign clutched by a protester.

By midafternoon on Friday, the crowds in Tahrir Square were swelling, and news anchors on Al Jazeera were batting around crowd estimates — guesses, really — in the millions. That same afternoon, an executive producer told those in the newsroom responsible for booking guests: “Don’t make any more calls on Iran.”

Salah Nagm, the English-language news director, had decided to halt segments about the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s speech on Friday praising the protesters in Egypt. To praise Egyptian protesters after having cracked down on protests in Iran was a “double standard,” Mr. Nagm said. And, he added, when the news anchor diverts from the events in Egypt, “viewers lose concentration.”

In the newsroom, updates from Cairo were indicated by red flashes on computer screens. When a correspondent spotted several hundred supporters of President Mubarak on a bridge near Tahrir Square, she phoned a producer, who announced the development in a mass e-mail transmission. Moments later, the news was shared with television viewers.

Meanwhile, Ms. Allan was on the phone praising Andrew Simmons, one of the Al Jazeera correspondents who had been detained and interrogated by the Egyptian authorities a day earlier. “Even with a bonk on your head,” she told him, “you made it make sense.”

A moment later, after conferring with colleagues about the status of efforts to obtain reporter visas to enter Yemen and Algeria, she sighed. “We’ve been trying to get into Algeria now for two and a half weeks.”

The staff in Cairo and Doha has effectively been on a war footing. At times last week, it was so dangerous in Cairo that Al Jazeera’s correspondents there were not identified by name, an approach the network has usually found necessary only in Myanmar. There were widespread reports that pro-Mubarak protesters were singling out Al Jazeera news crews.

“It’s practically impossible for us to do our jobs anymore,” one of the anonymous correspondents said on the air on Thursday.

As with other TV networks, much of Al Jazeera’s equipment in Cairo has been confiscated. The network, which has tried not to divulge how it has managed to transmit pictures from Egypt, has supplemented its own images with those from amateurs.

In the Arabic newsroom, a group of volunteers scoured Facebook and YouTube for newly uploaded material. The uprising in Tunisia, where Al Jazeera was not allowed to have a bureau, resulted in the “biggest use yet of citizen video” by the network, Mr. Souag said.

In a separate interview, Mr. Khanfar went further, saying the protests in Tunisia were “broadcast to the entire world through Al Jazeera, so there was a sort of partnership between those people on the ground and Al Jazeera.”

“In my opinion, this is a new ecosystem emerging in media, between the so-called traditional media and the new media,” he said. “And this new ecosystem is not based on competition and who is going to win, it’s based on complementing each other.”

Mr. Khanfar continued, “When our correspondents were banned, we had thousands of correspondents through these activists.”

Mr. Khanfar said he sensed that a “technical war” had been under way against Al Jazeera in Egypt. All week, the Arabic network’s satellite signals were disrupted, leading about a dozen other broadcasters in the region to simulcast the signal. On Friday morning, he said, its Web site was attacked by hackers.

Since its inception in 2006, Al Jazeera English has been fighting for access to American viewers. Distributors have been unwilling to carry the service, but Mr. Anstey, the managing director, said in an interview that renewed talks with the major distributors were now under way. “There’s a growing call for Al Jazeera. That’s clear,” he said.

Al Jazeera English has contacted Comcast, for instance, and a meeting has been scheduled for later this month.

In an indication that perceptions of Al Jazeera may be changing, one of its correspondents in Washington reported on Thursday that people there “are all of a sudden very welcoming” to the network. “We’re on TVs all across the city.”

There remains a deep suspicion of Al Jazeera’s motives, however, particularly with regard to its recent protest coverage. In an essay that appeared on The Huffington Post, Marc Ginsberg, a former United States ambassador to Morocco and a former contributor to Fox News, accused Al Jazeera of acting “more and more like a ‘Wizard of Oz’ type instrument for social upheaval in the region — whether or not it brings to power Salafi extremists is immaterial to its mission.”

There is little disagreement, however, that Al Jazeera’s zoom-lens live coverage of Tahrir Square can affect what happens there.

In an essay last week for Foreign Affairs, Sheila Carapico, a professor of political science at the University of Richmond and the American University in Cairo, wrote: “We should not forget that news stations based in Britain, Qatar and the United States are active participants in events rather than mere bystanders recording events. In the first televised revolution, the medium is part of the message.”

Several people at Al Jazeera suggested the live coverage was providing the protesters some protection from widespread harm.

What is happening now in the Middle East, Mr. Khanfar said on Friday, is a readjustment between the voices of governments and the voices of their people, with the people being heard more loudly. Ten minutes later, as Mr. Khanfar and his colleagues ate dinner in a conference room, they stopped and listened intently as Al Jazeera reported that giant screens showing the network’s coverage had been set up at a protest site in Alexandria, Egypt.

As the protests in Cairo showed no signs of winding down, dinner was delivered for the newsroom. Just after midnight, a female producer wearing a traditional head scarf dozed at her desk, headphones still firmly in place. Meanwhile, the protesters kept chanting and the anchors kept talking.

egypt-feb-1-15

See Related: Television Archive

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Strange’s Special Report Saturday Night Live February 5 2011

STRANGE’S SPECIAL REPORT SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE FEBRUARY 5 2011

February Strangies: Kimmel 1, Leno 1, Fallon 1, Letterman 1

zingers-2.jpg

strange-de-jim-175-2.jpg
By Strange de Jim
Beep beep! Love from Strange

Speical Report Saturday Night Live
Saturday, February 5

Seth Meyers Weekend Update: [On Anderson Cooper getting beaten in Cairo] You cannot punch the handsome off Anderson Cooper.

Seth Meyers: If Charlie Sheen pays the salaries of the crew on his show while he’s in rehab, watch out, crew, Charlie expects a lot of crazy things when he’s paying you.

Seth Meyers: What Denny’s is now is a 24-hour competitive eating Thunderdome.

Seth Meyers: A dog was better at detecting colon cancer than a colonoscopy. The dog commented, “What can I say? I love what I do.”

Justin Bieber Restarts Church Lady’s Juices. Oh Lordy!

Wayne’s World 2011

James Franco on Weekend Update

Justin Bieber & Andy Samberg are Roommates

Extra: Jay Leno: Steelers and Packers Flirt with Ross Matthews

See Related: STRANGE’S LAST NIGHT’S TOP TEN LATE-NIGHT TV JOKES ARCHIVE

For each day’s
funniest zingers follow me on Twitter
@strangedejim

forward

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Peres to Netanyahu: Israeli-Palestinian peace urgent in light of Egypt crisis

President tells 11th annual Herzliya conference that the sluggish pace of the peace process
means that the conflict is being ‘exploited to the detriment of all sides’

peres-feb-6
President Shimon Peres speaking to the 11th annual Herzliya Conference
on February 6, 2011
Photo By Uri Porat

By Barak Ravid
Haaretz

President Shimon Peres urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to move quickly toward a solution in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in light of the crisis that has wracked Egypt over the last two weeks.

“The dramatic events of the recent period make it necessary for us to take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict off the regional agenda,” Peres said in his remarks to the 11th annual Israeli security conference, which opened Sunday in Herzliya. “We must do this as soon as possible because the conflict is being exploited to the detriment of all sides.”

The president added that Israel’s “deterrence must be faith as well as an intention for peace with our neighbors.”

“The peace process is now crucial for our neighbors, and not just us,” added Peres. “A true compromise, as painful as it may be, is preferable to the dangers that would be created in its absence.”

Peres stressed that the peace process had taken a sluggish pace due to mutual suspicions on the parts of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinians had in the past been suspicious that a right-wing Israeli government would refuse to recognize a two-state solution, said the president, adding that such a concern had proven unwarranted.

In the same respect, he added, Israel had always suspected that the Palestinians would remain stubborn in their demand that 5 million refugees be given a right of return to Israeli territory – another concern, he said, that proved unwarranted.

“Negotiations begin with wide and declared differences,” said Peres. “Those must be overcome not with hammers or drums, but with creativity and patience, and no fanfare.”

“Negotiating is a process by which every side tries to get the most,” he said. “As it continues, both sides understand that they must reach an end-position of action.”

The president also said that the sides have already reached an agreement based on the principle of two states for two peoples, on the existence of a demilitarized Palestinian state and on reaching a solution to end the conflict.

“To our Palestinian neighbors, I say: Let’s go together toward compromise,” Peres said. “Create a democratic Palestinian state, with a scientific and technological infrastructure; let’s return to the negotiating table and both sides can reach a reasonable agreement.”

“Based on my experience, I can tell my friends in the government and outside, that making peace is like splitting the Red Sea,” Peres added. “There are heavy costs, but the alternative is much more dangerous.”

See Related: Peace Talks 2010-2011

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel is ‘rock solid,’ says ElBaradei

ElBaradei tells NBC he believes outcome of domestic crisis will not impact peace accord,
despite fears that Muslim Brotherhood may ascend to power

egypt-elbaradei-3

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

Haaretz

Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday that Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel was “rock solid” and was likely to remain so regardless of the outcome in the current domestic crisis.

“I assume Egypt will continue to respect it,” ElBaradei told NBC’s Meet the Press. “Everyone in Egypt, everyone in the Arab world wants to see an independent Palestinian state.”

egypt-elbaradei
Mohammed ElBaradei

The 1978 Camp David Accords were signed by former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and have remained in place under President Hosni Mubarak, who was widely viewed as a source of stability in the region.

Israel has voiced concern that the 13 days of demonstrations calling for Mubarak’s ouster, as well as the potential rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, would mean an end to the treaty.

The Muslim Brotherhood group, officially banned under Mubarak, has traditionally opposed any peace agreements with Israel but more recently has alluded to a more lenient position vis-à-vis the Camp David Accords.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that if democracy prevails in Egypt, he does not believe it will pose a threat to peace with Israel.

“All those who value freedom are inspired by the calls for democratic reforms in Egypt,” Netanyahu said during a speech to the Knesset last Wednesday. “An Egypt that will adopt these reforms will be a source of hope for the world. As much as the foundations for democracy are stronger, the foundations for peace are stronger.”

Netanyahu said that Israel expects any new government in Egypt to respect the peace treaty with Israel, and warned that Iran wants Egypt to turn into Gaza. He also stressed that Israel supports forces which advance freedom and peace, and opposes forces who promote terror and war.

The United States, for its part, also said expects the Egyptian government to honor previous peace agreements with Israel regardless of who is in power, the White House said on Friday.

“Our expectation would be that whatever the next government of Egypt is, that they would adhere to a treaty signed by the government of Egypt,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday.

In his interview with NBC on Sunday, ElBaradei also slammed the fledgling negotiations on Egypt’s future and said he was not invited to the talks.

The Nobel Peace laureate said weekend talks with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman were managed by the same people who had ruled the country for 30 years and lack credibility.

He said the negotiations were not a step toward the change protesters have demanded in the 13 days of demonstrations.

The process is opaque. Nobody knows who is talking to who at this stage,” ElBaradei, the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog, told Meet the Press.

Suleiman met on Sunday with opposition groups including the officially banned Islamic Muslim Brotherhood. On Saturday, Suleiman, Egypt’s longtime intelligence chief, talked with independent and mainstream opposition figures to discuss options for a transition of power.

“It’s managed by Vice President Suleiman,” ElBaradei said. “It is all managed by the military and that is part of the problem.” ElBaradei said he has not been part of the negotiations.

“I have not been invited to take part in the negotiations or dialogue but I’ve been following what is going on,” he said.”

However, a representative of ElBaradei’s group, National Association for Change, met with Suleiman on Sunday and described the talks as a positive first step.

ElBaradei, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said there was still a “huge lack of confidence” between the government and demonstrators and there was a fear the old government would retrench and return to power.

“If you really want to build confidence, you need to engage the rest of the Egyptian people — the civilians,” he said.

ElBaradei said forcing Mubarak out of Egypt has become an emotional issue – almost an obsession — with young people who have been driving protests since Jan. 25.

He said the focus should be on the government, not Mubarak.

“No, of course he doesn’t have to leave Egypt at all,” said ElBaradei, who lived abroad many years but returned to Egypt after the protests began. “He is an Egyptian he has absolutely the right to live in Egypt.”

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Egyptian vice president and oppositions groups agree to national council – To take steps to free the media and communications, end military law and security threats

egypt-elbaradei-2
Vice President Omar Suleiman, center, met with representatives of protesters on Sunday

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

CNN

Egypt’s Vice President Omar Suleiman agreed Sunday to a series of key steps aimed at bringing an end to the mass protests that were in their 13th day.

After Suleiman’s meetings with representatives of several different opposition groups, state-run TV read a statement saying both sides had agreed to form a national committee to work on constitutional changes within a month, take steps to free the media and communications, and end military law and security threats.

There was no immediate word from opposition groups after the meeting, and it was not immediately clear how many of the protesters believe that those who met with Suleiman on Sunday actually represent their interests.

According to the state-run TV statement, the two sides agreed to form a national committee to follow up on implanting commitments President Hosni Mubarak made in his speech on February 1, when he said he would not run for re-election in September. In that speech, Mubarak vowed to “restore the security and stability of the homeland, to achieve a peaceful transition of power in an environment that will protect Egypt and Egyptians and which will allow for responsibility to be given to whoever the people will elect in the forthcoming elections.”

They also agreed on Sunday to reject any foreign interference in Egypt and form a committee from the legal authority and political groups that would work together to suggest needed changes, according to the statement.

Many protesters are calling for Mubarak’s immediate ouster and for him to stand trial. His announcement last week that he planned to stay in office through September’s elections infuriated thousands and spurred further protests. But he also has vociferous supporters, who have clashed at times with anti-government demonstrators in recent days.

The demonstrations Sunday seemed generally peaceful. Among those taking part were members of Egypt’s Christian minority, who held a Mass in Tahrir Square paying tribute to those killed during clashes. Some Muslim protesters vowed to form a ring around the Christians and protect them during the service. Egypt’s population is 10% Christian, a minority mostly made up of Coptic Christians.

Among of the groups that met with Suleiman was the Muslim Brotherhood — an opposition Islamist umbrella group that is officially banned but tolerated in Egypt — which days earlier said it would not negotiate until Mubarak leaves office. “We did not change our stance. We decided to take the people’s demands to the negotiation table,” said Essam el-Erian, a spokesman for the group.

Suleiman also met separately with six young people representing protesters in Tahrir Square, who call themselves part of the January 25 movement, named after the date the protests began, according to state-run TV. The news infuriated some protesters, who said they had not selected anyone to represent them, and that they didn’t want to make deals with Suleiman.

On the streets of Cairo, there were increasing signs of normalcy returning. Some shops re-opened, traffic began to seem more like it did before the protests began, and some banks opened for the first time since January 27.

The nation’s central bank imposed restrictions on withdrawals by individuals, but not by companies, said Ahmed Ismail, manager of the Abu Dhabi National Bank.

The justice minister announced that courts would reopen Sunday and the government eased its daily curfew, making the hours 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“We’re in better shape,” Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said on state television. “And we can sense that day by day.”

Sunday’s developments followed an announcement Saturday that key members of the ruling National Democratic Party resigned from leadership positions, in the strongest gesture yet to placate angry Egyptians.

Mubarak’s son, Gamal, was among those who resigned from party posts, meaning that he is no longer eligible to take over from his father. His decision effectively put to rest a widespread belief that the embattled president was preparing for a dynastic handover.

The United States has been mounting pressure on Mubarak to step aside. On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a security conference in Germany, said it is “important to follow the transition process announced by the Egyptian government, actually headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman.”

U.S. President Barack Obama, in phone calls with foreign leaders Saturday, emphasized the importance of an “orderly, peaceful transition” to a government that is “responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.”

The diplomatic official who delivered a message from the Obama administration to Egypt’s leadership this week, however, said Mubarak “remains utterly critical in the days ahead as we sort our way toward the future” and must stay in office.

Changes are needed in Egypt to pave the way for a smooth transition, and “the president must stay in office in order to steer those changes through,” said Frank Wisner, a former ambassador to Egypt. “It’s his opportunity to write his own legacy.”

U.S. officials emphasized that Wisner was speaking for himself, as an expert on the region, and not for the Obama administration.

Barak Barfi, a research fellow with New America Foundation, said an immediate departure by Mubarak could cause more harm than good.

“The problem that we have now is if Mubarak leaves, there could be complete chaos. The country could fall apart,” Barfi said Sunday from Cairo. “It would be more beneficial for the democratic process if Mubarak could see through his term ’til September. Amendments to the constitution (could) be made, and a democratic process (could) be started.”

Some opposition leaders said they had teamed up and called for Mubarak’s immediate resignation and the right for peaceful demonstration.

Mohamed ElBaradei’s National Association for Change and the Tagammu party’s leader announced Saturday a newly formed opposition group of 10 people, including ElBaradei, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Beltagy, and liberal Ghad party leader Ayman Nour.

“We have been in agreement right now that we’d probably have a presidential council of three members including somebody from the army,” ElBaradei told CNN. “We have a caretaker government … who would then run the country for a year, prepare the grounds for the necessary changes in the electoral process to ensure that we will have all what we need for a free and fair election.”

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Europe must wipe out intolerance of western values in Muslim communities and far-right groups, asserts British Prime Minister David Cameron

British prime minister says European governments are too tolerant of sectors of society that oppose democracy.
‘Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries,’ he says

david-cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and Chancellor Angela Merkel
of Germany at a conference in Munich on Saturday
where Mr. Cameron spoke.
Photo By Miguel Villagran

Ynetnews.com

Europe must stamp out intolerance of Western values within its own Muslim communities and far-right groups if it is to defeat the roots of terrorism, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Saturday.

Cameron told the annual Munich Security Conference that European governments have been too tolerant of some sectors of society that publicly oppose democracy or reject equal rights for all.

He said Britain had found that many convicted terrorists had initially been influenced by so-called “nonviolent extremists” people who aren’t involved in encouraging plots, but denounce Western politics and culture before going on to carry out violence.

“We won’t defeat terrorism simply by the actions we take outside our borders. Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries,” Cameron told the conference.

Both Britain and Germany have had noisy domestic debates about the impact of immigration, and the difficulties of integrating some religious communities, or those who struggle with the language of their new home.

In an attack on Britain’s previous government, Cameron said authorities there had been too hesitant to intervene when some sectors of society espoused abhorrent views.

“We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values,” Cameron said. “We have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.”

Cameron said a culture of tolerance had allowed both Islamic extremists, and far-right extremists, to build support for their causes. “We’ve been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them,” he said.

Some European allies have criticized Britain for harboring hard-line Islamic clerics and failing to clamp down on mosques that promote a perverted view of Islam.

Several terrorists involved in attacks or attempted plots in the US, Sweden, Denmark and Norway over the last two years have had links to Britain, or British-based clerics.

“If we are to defeat this threat, I believe it’s time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past,” Cameron said. “Instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we as governments and societies have got to confront it, in all its forms.”

He told the conference that developments in the Middle East should be harnessed to disprove Muslims who claim their religion cannot be observed properly within the democratic system.

“If they want an example of how Western values and Islam can be entirely compatible, they should look at what’s happened in the past few weeks on the streets of Tunis and Cairo,” Cameron said.

Mohammed Shafiq, of the Ramadhan Foundation a British Muslim youth group said in a statement following the speech that Cameron has risked angering Muslims by suggesting there was widespread intolerance within the religion.

“Singling out Muslims as he has done feeds the hysteria and paranoia about Islam and Muslims,” Shafiq said. “British Muslims abhor terrorism and extremism and we have worked hard to eradicate this evil from our country.”

The British leader’s comments follow tensions across Europe since November of possible new terrorist attacks. Officials said last year that a sleeper cell of some 20 to 25 people may have been planning an attack inside Germany or another European nation.

Nine men were charged last month in Britain over an alleged plan to attack Parliament and the US Embassy in London.

Last week, the US State Department warned of an ongoing high threat-level in Britain, and told tourists of a specific risk to transit networks and airports.

See Related: David Cameron ‘livid’ after multiculturalism speech comes under fire – Stands by his philosophy – ‘You have to say to the people in Birmingham Central Mosque, or wherever, who are saying 9/11 is a Jewish conspiracy, that that is not an acceptable attitude to have’

See Related: Brits begin extremism crackdown as cash withheld from suspect groups – Steps prepared to combat Islamic extremism on university campuses

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Reagan Photo Memories – On Scene with Bill Wilson

BY BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2010

Since the tributes to Ronald Reagan have been pouring in on the centennial of his birth, I thought I might add my photographic memories. There were only two times when I had the opportunity to photograph President Reagan. However it was when he was announcing his candidacy that I got closest to him. The Folcroft Firehouse meeting room probably had a capacity of several hundred that was more than exceeded that morning.

reagan-1
Faith Ryan Whittlesey, Ronald Reagan, and Nancy Reagan.
Senator Schweicker who would be come Reagan’s
running mate is partially visible over Whittlesey’s shoulder
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

At the time I was living with my brother in Pennsylvania. So I was able to attend the rally. Faith Whittlesey, who served as US Ambassador to Switzerland during the Reagan administration in an oral history project which is part of the Library of Congress explains why this stop took place in Folcroft, “The day after he announced that he was running for president, his first stop was in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. He came to Folcroft, Pennsylvania, which was a blue-collar town, a median income of $11,000 a year. It was a factory town. I had arranged it there. He was in a fire hall. I have all the pictures. It was his first campaign stop. It was symbolic of where he was going to go, and we discussed this with the campaign staff. I said, ‘No he’s not going to go to Bryn Mawr, the Main Line! He should go to Folcroft or a place like Folcroft because these are the people that will support Ronald Reagan. They will make the difference in the election, not the Main Line’.” The full interview can be read, click here.

During the Reagan inaugural on January 20, 1981 I was unable to get a photo of President Reagan as his limousine passed me as it headed from the Capitol down Constitution Avenue. The President was not visible as the limousine passed the one block where protestors had been permitted to gather. The excuse at the time was that the President had leaned down to take off his coat. After the assassination attempt security around the President and the White House tightened. I wasn’t able to secure passes to welcoming ceremonies at the White House for visiting heads of State as I had been under previous President from Nixon to Carter. However there was one time when fortune smiled and I was able to take advantage of a Presidential visit to Capitol Hill. I was working at the Library of Congress and one of my co-workers came in one morning with a ticket to a balance budget rally that she had been given as got off the Metro (DC Subway system). She didn’t want to use it so she gave it to me to use.

reagan-2
President Reagan speaking to a Balanced Budget Rally July 19, 1982
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

Since they were handing out these tickets at the subway stops I didn’t think they would mean anything. So I was surprised when my ticket actually allowed me to get close to the front and my luck further held out when they decided that the area they had reserved in front of us wasn’t needed so they allowed us to get even closer. However my luck didn’t continue when for some reason my telephoto lens decided that that was the moment it needed to fall apart. The pictures of President Reagan and Vice President Bush that I was able to get would have been more dramatic if I had had a functioning telephoto lens, but I was pleased that at least I had gotten close enough to get a good shot.

See Related: ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON ARCHIVE

bill-wilson-1-175
BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past six years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

forward

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Negotiations to resolve Egypt crisis set to start Sunday – Muslim Brotherhood soften position to participate in talks but youth leaders refuse to compromise on insistence that Mubarak step down

egypt-feb-6-1
An opposition demonstrator shouts “go away” at soldiers
and army tanks on the front line near Tahrir Square in Cairo,
February 5, 2011

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

Reuters

Opposition groups demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak failed to agree on a common position before negotiations with Vice President Omar Suleiman scheduled for Sunday morning intended to pull Egypt out of its worst crisis in 30 years.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most influential and organized opposition group, said on Saturday it has accepted to enter into dialogue, having refused the offer before. But an agreement may prove elusive as youth representatives are refusing to compromise and allow Mubarak to stay in power, even in a ceremonial capacity.

A popular uprising has gripped Egypt since January 25, with protesters camping out in central Cairo demanding the departure of Mubarak, even after the president on Tuesday announced he would not seek re-election in September.

A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman said the talks will take place at 11:00 A.M. on Sunday to discuss the process of Mubarak leaving office, the right to protest in public places and guarantees for their safety.

State television said Suleiman began meetings with prominent independent and mainstream opposition figures on Saturday to go through the options, which center on how to ensure free and fair presidential elections while sticking to the constitution. It did not name the groups he met.

The proposal being promoted by a group of Egyptians calling itself the “The Council of Wise Men” involves Suleiman assuming presidential powers for an interim period pending elections.

But some opposition figures argue that would mean the next presidential election would be held under the same unfair conditions as in previous years. They want to first have a new parliament to change the constitution to pave the way for a presidential vote that is democratic.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous and influential country, faces the danger of a power vacuum unless some sort of agreement on a transitional government is reached.

Council of Wise Men

With the negotiations under way, state television announced that the leadership of the ruling National Democratic Party, including Mubarak’s son Gamal, had resigned. The resignations were quickly dismissed by the opposition as a ruse.

Mohammed Habib, a member of the Brotherhood said: “It’s an attempt to improve the image of the party but it does not dispense with the real aim of the revolution: bringing down the regime, starting with the resignation of President Mubarak.”

The “Wise Men” proposal is based on article 139 of the constitution that would allow Mubarak to hand executive powers to his deputy while staying on as a figurehead until September, Diaa Rashwan, an expert at the al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies and one of the “Wise Men”, told Reuters.

Handing power to Suleiman offers a compromise between protesters’ demands for Mubarak to leave office immediately and his decision to stay on until the end of his term in September.

Rashwan said all opposition factions and forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were invited to Saturday’s talks but they were divided over some issues, with some unwilling to let Mubarak stay on even in a symbolic capacity.

“Consultations are continuing to find an end to this crisis,” he said. “The truth is that the youth movement do not accept Mubarak’s presence in any form or shape. We are trying to persuade them to accept it… We are trying to reach a compromise.”

He said the unprecedented social upheaval that gripped Egypt require sacrifices by Mubarak if they hit a deadlock.

“The president has ruled the country for 30 years. Egypt deserves that he sacrifices and leaves power six months before his term expire. What remains is to find an honorable departure without any humiliation because if things stay as they are it won’t be good,” Rahwan said.

The main opposition groups comprise the Brotherhood, the National Coalition for Change led by Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, the Kefaya (“Enough”) group and youth represented by the April Sixth Movement, the liberal Wafd party and the leftist Tagammu party.

Even if they all agree on the proposal, article 82 of the constitution could present a legal complication. It says that while the president is able to delegate powers to a deputy, that person is not allowed to request constitutional amendments or dissolve the parliament or local shura councils.

If that article holds, it would be impossible for a Suleiman-led administration to carry out the constitutional reforms promised by Mubarak in response to the protests.

Without constitutional changes, a presidential election in September would have to run under the same rules that opposition parties say stack all the cards in favor of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party and effectively foil a meaningful rival bid.

Internal Divisions

The Brotherhood said discussions were still taking place among the factions to seek common ground.

“Until now there is no agreement among the various parties and factions on one scenario,” Mohammed Morsy, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, told Reuters.

He said his Islamist group was proposing that the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court takes over power as stipulated by the constitution since parliament has been effectively suspended since the unrest erupted last month.

“The head of the supreme court will then call for parliamentary elections and the elected parliament can amend the necessary clauses in the constitution in order to conduct fair and honest presidential elections,” Morsy said.

“Most of the clauses in the constitution concern the president… The president has to go. We are trying to find a constitutional way out if the president is no longer in his post.”

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Boeing technology for tracking cell phone location, internet communcation reported sold to Egypt

egypt-boeing1
Narus, a subsidiary of Boeing, offers real-time traffic intelligence on cell phone and internet use

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

By Timothy Karr
FreePress.net

WASHINGTON — A U.S. company appears to have sold Egypt technology to monitor Internet and mobile phone traffic that is possibly being used by the ruling regime to crack down on communications as protests erupt throughout the country.

Boeing-owned, California-based company Narus sold Telecom Egypt, the state-run Internet service provider, “real-time traffic intelligence” equipment, more commonly known as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology.

DPI is content-filtering technology that allows network managers to inspect, track and target content from Internet users and mobile phones as it passes through routers on the Web.

The company is also known for creating “NarusInsight,” a supercomputer system allegedly used by the National Security Agency and other entities to perform mass surveillance and monitoring of public and corporate Internet communications in real time.

Narus Vice President of Marketing Steve Bannerman said to Wired in 2006: “Anything that comes through (an Internet protocol network), we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice Over Internet Protocol] calls.”

Free Press Campaign Director Timothy Karr made the following statement:

“What we are seeing in Egypt is a frightening example of how the power of technology can be abused. Commercial operators trafficking in Deep Packet Inspection technology to violate Internet users’ privacy is bad enough; in government hands, that same invasion of privacy can quickly lead to stark human rights violations.

“Companies that profit from sales of this technology need to be held to a higher standard. The same technology U.S. and European companies want to use to monitor and monetize their customers’ online activities is being used by regimes in Iran, China, Burma and others for far more suspicious, and possibly brutal, purposes.

“The harm to democracy and the power to control the Internet are so disturbing that the threshold for the global trafficking in DPI must be set very high. That’s why, before DPI becomes more widely used around the world and at home, Congress must establish legitimate standards for preventing the use of such control and surveillance technologies as means to violate human rights.”

For more information, read Karr’s story at the Huffington Post, click here.

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Hamas commander said back in Gaza after Egypt jailbreak

Hamas Commander Ayman Nofal, and five other Palestinian militants, had been held at Abu Zaabal prison in Cairo until it was raided in anti-government protests

egypt-hamas
Hamas military wing spokesmen at a news conference
in Gaza City on December 25, 2010

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

By Avi Issacharoff
Haaretz

A senior Hamas commander returned to the Gaza Strip on Saturday after breaking out of a Cairo jail during the political upheaval in Egypt, sources in the Palestinian Islamist movement said.

They said Ayman Nofal had been arrested in the Egyptian Sinai in early 2008 for allegedly planning to carry out a terror attack in Egypt. According to Egyptian media, he had been armed and was suspected of hunting members of the rival Palestinian faction Fatah who had fled from neighboring Gaza.

ayman-nofal
Ayman Nofal

Five other Palestinian militants who had been held at Abu Zaabal prison in Cairo made their way back to Gaza this week, using smuggling tunnels to circumvent Egyptian border controls.

On Friday, Egyptian security sources said a member of the Lebanese Hezbollah group had escaped from prison after being jailed for planning attacks in Egypt.

Sami Chehab, sentenced last April to 15 years in prison, escaped on Sunday, they said. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has previously said Chehab was a member of a Hezbollah cell that was working to smuggle weapons through Egypt to the Gaza Strip.
Sources close to Chehab’s family said he had already left Egypt.

The emergency state security court sentenced Chehab as part of a group of 26 men charged with planning attacks in Egypt. The case underscored Egyptian concern about what it sees as the destabilizing influence of Shi’ite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor.

A number of prominent prisoners have escaped from Egyptian jails over the last week as law and order collapsed when mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak began and police were temporarily withdrawn from the streets.

Hamas sources said Nofal had commanded the ruling group’s armed forces in central Gaza.

Also on Sunday, three Palestinian security prisoners reportedly escaped back to the Gaza Strip via a smuggling tunnel. Officials in Gaza said the three, including at least one Hamas member, had fled during the upheaval and returned to the coastal territory.

Egypt meanwhile has kept its border with the Hamas-ruled territory closed amid the raging turmoil. Palestinian border official Ghazi Hamad said that the closure was expected to last several days.

The prison breakouts added to the chaos engulfing the country as anti-government protests continue to demand the ouster of longtime authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak.

See Related: Gaza Archive

See Related: Israel Archive

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Western countries back gradual Egyptian transition

egypt-cartoon-1

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

By Kareem Fahim and Mark Landler
The New York Times

CAIRO — The United States and leading European nations on Saturday threw their weight behind a gradual transition in Egypt, backing attempts by the country’s vice president, Omar Suleiman, to negotiate with opposition groups without immediately removing President Hosni Mubarak from power.

The strong endorsement came as Mr. Suleiman, a longtime security official and confidante of Mr. Mubarak, told opposition leaders that he would not press his boss to resign before September and ruled out any delegation of Mr. Mubarak’s power, central demands of the opposition.

Mr. Mubarak’s ruling party then announced a shake-up that removed its old guard, including his son Gamal, while installing younger, more reform-minded figures as a modest gesture to protesters.

The moves amounted to a rebuff to protesters who have posed the most serious challenge to the nearly three-decade rule of Mr. Mubarak, a pillar of the American-backed order in the Middle East.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have demanded faster and more sweeping changes to the military-dominated government that has relied on an ossified ruling party, police, and a powerful clique of businessmen at the center of power.

By emphasizing the need for a gradual transition, only days after emphasizing that change there must begin immediately, the Obama administration was viewed as shifting away from protesters in the streets and toward stronger backing for Mr. Mubarak’s hand-picked elite.

Protesters who filled Tahrir Square for a 12th straight day and leaders of opposition groups insisted that genuine change in Egypt required Mr. Mubarak’s departure as a first step.

“They are trying to kill what has happened and to contain and abort the revolution,” said Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University. “They want to continue to manage the country like they did while making some concessions. These are cosmetic changes that don’t change the regime. We do not want this.”

Speaking to a security conference in Munich on Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said it was important to support Mr. Suleiman as he sought to defuse street protests.

Mr. Suleiman has promised repeatedly to reach out to opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, but there were few indications that any genuine dialogue with opposition leaders had begun.

“That takes some time,” Mrs. Clinton said. “There are certain things that have to be done in order to prepare.” Ms. Clinton’s message, echoed by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, appears to reflect worries that rapid change in Egypt could destabilize the country and the region.

At the same Munich meeting on Saturday, Frank G. Wisner, the former ambassador President Obama sent to Cairo to negotiate with Mr. Mubarak, suggested that the United States should not rush to push Mr. Mubarak out the door. He said Mr. Mubarak had a “critical” role to play through the end of his presidential term in September.

“You need to get a national consensus around the preconditions of the next step forward, and the president must stay in office in order to steer those changes through,” Mr. Wisner said of Mr. Mubarak. “I therefore believe that President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical — it’s his opportunity to write his own legacy.”

A senior administration official quickly sought to distance the White House from Mr. Wisner’s comments. American officials have said that they are seeking privately to nudge Mr. Mubarak out of his executive role ahead of September elections, though they have also said that they do not view his departure as an essential first step toward a transition to a new democratic system in the country.

Mr. Wisner, the official said, had not been supplied with talking points for his remarks to the Munich conference.

“We’re not coming out and making a pronouncement about Murbarak’s future,” this official said. “Frank Wisner was speaking for himself, he was not speaking for the United States government.”

But Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who has been chosen to negotiate on behalf of the protesters and other opposition groups, said the American-backed plan for a gradual transition was a nonstarter. “I do not think it’s adequate,” he said in an interview. “I’m not talking about myself. It’s not adequate for the people.

“Mubarak needs to go,” he said. “It has become an emotional issue. They need to see his back, there’s no question about it.”

There were tens of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square on Saturday as a light rain fell, and in interviews, some said they would not be dislodged until their demands were met.

“President Obama better put pressure on Mubarak to leave or things are going to get a lot worse here,” said Ibrahim Mustafa, 42, who was waiting to enter Tahrir Square in the morning as the military was tightening restrictions. “He needs to get the army to force him out of here. America is going to create another Iran here. America doesn’t understand. The people know it’s supporting an illegitimate regime.”

Even so, Mrs. Clinton suggested that the United States was increasingly concerned about an abrupt shift of power in Egypt. She said Mr. Mubarak, having taken himself and his son Gamal out of the September elections, was already effectively sidelined. She emphasized the need for Egypt to reform its Constitution to make a vote credible.

“That is what the government has said it is trying to do,” she said. “That is what we are supporting, and hope to see it move as orderly but as expeditiously, as possible, under the circumstances.”

Mrs. Clinton expressed fears about deteriorating security inside Egypt, noting the explosion at a gas pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula, and uncorroborated media reports of an earlier assassination attempt on Mr. Suleiman.

American officials did not confirm that an assassination attempt had taken place. But Mrs. Clinton referred to reports of the attempt and said it “certainly brings into sharp relief the challenges we are facing as we navigate through this period.”

Mrs. Clinton highlighted the dangers of holding elections without adequate preparation. “Revolutions have overthrown dictators in the name of democracy, only to see the process hijacked by new autocrats who use violence, deception, and rigged elections to stay in power,” she said.

Her emphasis on a deliberate process was repeated by Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Cameron. Mrs. Merkel mentioned her past as a democracy activist in East Germany, recalling the impatience of protesters, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, to immediately join democratic West Germany. But the process took a year, and it was time well spent, she said.

“There will be a change in Egypt,” she said, “but clearly, the change has to be shaped in a way that it is a peaceful, a sensible way forward.”

In Cairo, however, there were few indications that Mr. Suleiman and other officials were making much progress in addressing concerns of opposition groups. Negotiations between Mr. Suleiman and a group of self-appointed “wise men” who are acting as intermediaries between the vice president and the protesters and trying to find away around limits on succession in the Constitution did not advance significantly.

Amr Hamzawy, one of the intermediaries, said the negotiations were “gaining traction,” but added that his group did not meet with Mr. Suleiman on Saturday. The intermediaries, whose efforts have received the tacit encouragement of Western governments, have forwarded a plan that would see Mr. Mubarak transfer his powers to Mr. Suleiman and perhaps move to his home in Sharm el Sheik or embark on one of his annual medical leaves to Germany.

In Tahrir Square, meanwhile, the military tightened its cordon around the protesters by reinforcing security checks at all of all entrances. An army officer, Brig. Gen. Hassan al-Rawaini, negotiated with protesters outside a barricade near the Egyptian Museum, urging them to bring down the fortifications, allow traffic to return and move their protest to the heart of Tahrir Square.

In contrast to the pitched clashes of just days ago, General Rawaini offered a microphone to protesters so that they could air their complaints. He tried to reason, kissing some on the head and pinching others’ cheeks. Occasionally, he winked.

Eventually, he and his soldiers moved past the makeshift barricade, knocking part of it down, though protesters quickly put back up the sheets of corrugated tin, barrels, metal rebar and parts of fences. He then toured an area strewn with rocks from the clashes and incinerated vehicles that served as barricades. Some protesters thought he was preparing for the army to enter, forming human chains across the streets. Others chanted, “Peaceful!” and formed a bodyguard around the general.

“He wants to tear down these barricades, so that the tanks can come through,” shouted Sayyid Eid, a 20-year-old protester as he tried to block his way.

“We’re going to die here,” yelled Magdi Abdel-Rahman, another protester.

“Listen to him! Listen to him!” others shouted back.

Tempers cooled and General Rawaini made a leisurely stroll to a makeshift health clinic, then visited knots of protesters across the square with a retinue of soldiers.

“We’re trying to remove the barricades and return the streets to normal,” General Rawaini said. “If you want to protest, you can go back to the square.”

A protester shouted back, “General, we’re not going to walk way from here until Hosni Mubarak leaves.”

Kareem Fahim reported from Cairo, and Mark Landler from Munich. Reporting was contributed by Steven Erlanger from Munich, and Anthony Shadid, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Mona El-Naggar from Cairo.

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Strange’s Last Night’s Top Ten Late-Night TV Jokes February 4 2011

STRANGE’S LAST NIGHT’S TOP TEN LATE-NIGHT TV JOKES FEBRUARY 4 2011

February Strangies: Kimmel 1, Leno 1, Fallon 1, Letterman 1

zingers-2.jpg

strange-de-jim-175-2.jpg
By Strange de Jim
Beep beep! Love from Strange

Friday, February 4

10. David Letterman: Justin Bieber reading Top 10 reasons it’s fun to be Justin Bieber: 5. At the barber shop I can say, “Give me the me.”

9. Jimmy Fallon: Joe Lieberman is writing a book about the Jewish Sabbath called “Gift of Rest.” I hear he’s been working on it 24/6.

8. Jay Leno: According to “The National Enquirer” House Speaker John Boehner had his package stimulated. He’s being accused of having two affairs, one with a female lobbyist. That should end the criticism of the Republicans as “The Party of No.”

7. Craig Ferguson: The saddest part of the Renaissance Faires is the entertainment, because you have these musical groups that used to be popular, but now they’re playing Ren Faires. “Now for ye entertainment, squires and wenches, the musical stylings of Foreigner.”

6. I like dressing as a jester. The bell-tipped shoes are very comfortable. More comfortable than the bell-tipped underwear. With my bell-tipped shoes everyone can hear me coming. With my bell-tipped underwear …

5. Jimmy Fallon: Egyptian President Mubarak said President Obama doesn’t understand Egyptian culture. Man, get off your high camel.

4. David Letterman: I love the Super Bowl. We gather the family around the TV and listen to the side effects of Cialis. This year I’ll be watching with Oprah and Jay, and Jay’s newly discovered half-sister.

3. Jimmy Fallon: Facebook celebrated its 7th birthday today, guys. I have to be honest. I only remembered because I saw it on Facebook.

2. Jay Leno: Now Egyptians are demanding to see President Mubarak’s birth certificate. There’s a rumor he was born in New Jersey.

1. David Letterman: A zoo in Britain has a gorilla that walks upright. Not only that, but he texts while he’s doing it. I heard about this. Within ten minutes we had fifty jokes, all with the same punch line. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race by Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart explains Earth’s history to the aliens who have discovered our ruins.

Page 41 – Skin Color: It’s not surprising that variations in epidermal tincture caused by differing ratios of pheomelanin and eumelanin (as determined by the allele of the SLC24A5 gene) could make the difference between freedom and slavery. After all, pigmentation was a quick and convenient way of judging a person. One of us, Dr. Martin Luther King, once proposed we instead judge people by the content of their character. He was shot.

earth
Best Buy $12.95
or Buy New $14.00

See Related: STRANGE’S LAST NIGHT’S TOP TEN LATE-NIGHT TV JOKES ARCHIVE

For each day’s
funniest zingers follow me on Twitter
@strangedejim

forward

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Egypt’s upheavel is rattling Israel

israel-feb-5-11

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

The Economist

The Egyptian upheaval is seen in Israel as so ominous that, for once, government ministers are largely heeding an instruction by the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, not to talk about it in public. Mr Netanyahu reflected the nation’s anxieties when, after days of silence, he issued a careful statement urging that the Israel-Egypt peace treaty should be preserved and welcoming “the advancement of free and democratic values in the Middle East”.

He cautioned, though, that “extremist forces” must not be allowed to “exploit democratic processes to gain power and to promote anti-democratic agendas, as happened in Iran and elsewhere”. “Elsewhere”, as everyone understood, meant the Gaza Strip, where the Islamist Hamas movement won elections in 2006 and, after being prevented from forming a government in both parts of the Palestinian territories, took power by force the following year.

Mr Netanyahu’s sentiments, apart from encouraging Western sobriety, seemed designed to block off awkward thoughts being expressed here and there in the Israeli peace camp. Some peaceniks argue that Israel is another Middle Eastern country directly threatened by the wave of democracy emanating from Tunisia, sweeping Egypt and lapping at Jordan. Mr Netanyahu this week extolled his country as an island of stability and democracy. But Israel, note the peaceniks, rules a large and disaffected population of Palestinians who are learning on their televisions how to topple tyranny. On the West Bank the Palestinians are held down with the help of the Palestinian Authority’s police. But some Israelis ask whether Palestinian police units—or Israeli security forces, for that matter—would really crush a mass democracy movement live on world television, after Egypt’s powerful army has set a precedent of forbearance.

The Egyptian cataclysm slots into Israel’s endless national debate, much as Anwar Sadat’s assassination did in 1981, when Mr Mubarak assumed power. Then, as now, the Israeli right refused to recognise that the separate peace signed by Israel and Egypt in 1979, and Israel’s continuing occupation of the Palestinian territories conquered in 1967, rendered the Israel-Egypt relationship both parlous and unpopular among large sections of Egyptian society and in most of the Arab world.

Relations with the Arabs at large brightened after the Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993. But they quickly clouded again when that agreement foundered under Mr Netanyahu’s first government, from 1996-1999. Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party, which leads today’s ruling coalition, still ignores the flaws in the treaty, talking of a “cold peace” and blaming Egypt’s government for not warming it up.

The question now is whether the fall of Israel’s most powerful regional ally will shock the Israeli government out of its apparently confident belief that the occupation of the Palestinian territories can be sustained indefinitely. Or will Mr Netanyahu instead “batten down the hatches”, thus making a deal with the Palestinians still more unlikely?

Even if a new government in Egypt were to re-endorse the treaty, Israel’s defence spending will probably rise, as its planners contemplate the now-less-hypothetical threat of a war in the south. After all, if the Muslim Brothers become part of an emerging new order in Egypt, they are certain to be more helpful to Hamas, which is a branch of their movement.

Israel would probably win again, if it had to, on the battlefields of Sinai. But could it win against masses of peaceful protesters in town squares across the West Bank, Gaza and Israel too, demanding political rights for Palestinians? It is a question that makes many Israelis queasy.

See Related: U.S. expects Egypt to keep peace with Israel regardless of who is in power

See Related: Israel Archive

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton signals U.S. backing for Omar Suleiman

US secretary of state stresses need for orderly transition headed by vice-president

hillary-clinton-feb-5-1
Hillary Clinton said the transition process in Egypt
should be transparent and inclusive

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

By Julian Borger
The London Guardian

The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton today signalled how far the US has swung its support behind vice-president Omar Suleiman and the transition process he is leading in Egypt.

Clinton was speaking at a security conference in Munich today, where the watchword on Egypt was the need for orderly transition.

In her most striking remarks, the US secretary of state said: “There are forces at work in any society, particularly one that is facing these kind of challenges, that will try to derail or overtake the process to pursue their own agenda, which is why I think it’s important to follow the transition process announced by the Egyptian government, actually headed by vice-president Omar Suleiman.”

She was presumably referring ito Suleiman’s leadership of the transition rather than the government, but US officials have told their European colleagues that they view Suleiman as increasingly in control.

Clinton went on to say the transition should be transparent and inclusive, while setting out “concrete steps”, moving towards orderly elections in September. She listed with approval the steps the Egyptian government had taken so far.

“President Mubarak has announced he will not stand for re-election nor will his son … He has given a clear message to his government to lead and support this process of transition,” Clinton said.

“That is what the government has said it is trying to do, that is what we are supporting, and hope to see it move as orderly but as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”

David Cameron and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, speaking at the same conference, echoed the call for an orderly transition and cautioned against early elections.

But Cameron denied there was a trade-off between the speed of reform and stability.

“There is no stability in Egypt. We need change, reform and transition to get stability,” the prime minister said. “The longer that is put off, the more likely we are to get an Egypt that we wouldn’t welcome.”

British officials said they were encouraged by the developments of the past 24 hours, pointing to the role of the army in preventing attacks on the demonstrators and the opening of a dialogue between Suleiman and opposition groups.

“It does have to be led by the Egyptian government but we do need a road map,” one official said.

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

U.S. expects Egypt to keep peace with Israel regardless of who is in power

The Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel were signed by former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and have remained in place under Mubarak,
who is widely viewed as a source of stability in the region

camp-david-accords

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

Haaretz

The United States expects the Egyptian government to honor previous peace agreements with Israel regardless of who is in power, the White House said on Friday.

“Our expectation would be that whatever the next government of Egypt is, that they would adhere to a treaty signed by the government of Egypt,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Gibbs was referring to the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were brokered by the U.S. and set the stage for the 1979 peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, which is in force to this day.

The political turmoil in Egypt and the possible ouster President Hosny Mubarak has led to widespread concern– particularly in Israel – that a new government in Cairo will not be as friendly towards Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced fears last week that Egypt may follow in the extremist footsteps of Iran.

“Our real fear is of a situation that could develop … and which has already developed in several countries including Iran itself — repressive regimes of radical Islam,” said Netanyahu.

Netanyahu continued, adding that although the protests may not be motivated by religious extremism, “in a situation of chaos, an organized Islamist body can seize control of a country. It happened in Iran. It happened in other instances”.

The Camp David Accords were signed by former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and have remained in place under Mubarak, who is widely viewed as a source of stability in the region.

“The treaty is not with a particular president,” Gibbs said. “It is with the government, the country and the people of Egypt.”

Israel has been particularly concerned about a potential rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in a post-Mubarak era. The Islamist group, officially banned under Mubarak, has traditionally opposed any peace agreements with Israel but more recently has alluded to a more lenient position vis-à-vis the Camp David Accords.

President Barack Obama said Friday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak must presently prepare for his transition from power with input from all political parties, in accordance with the desires of the Egyptian people.

Obama did not insist that Mubarak step down immediately, but he talked about a transition period that should begin right away. “The future of Egypt will be determined by its people. The transition process must begin now,” Obama said after meeting at the White House with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The last eleven days have seen millions of Egyptians take to the streets in massive anti-government protests. Demonstrators are calling for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, who has served as the president of Egypt for over 29 years.

The protestors were first met with violence by Egyptian police, and then by pro-Mubarak supporters, while the army has largely stood by, unwilling to enforce the government-imposed curfew, but refusing to intervene to prevent attacks on protesters.

See Related: Egypt’s upheavel is rattling Israel

See Related: Israel Archive

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

California law to curb greenhouse gases faces legal hurdle

greenhouse-gases

By Felicity Barringer
The New York Times

California’s landmark law on curbing greenhouse gases, which is well on its way to taking effect, has hit a legal snag in the form of a tentative judicial ruling that state environmental regulators failed to follow legally required procedures.

Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith of San Francisco Superior Court issued a tentative opinion — a rarely used procedure that gives the prospective loser in the case a chance to make new arguments or take new actions before a final decision — saying that the rules creating a cap-and-trade system were adopted without proper analysis of alternatives.

It is unclear whether the decision, if made final, represents a major obstacle or just a speed bump as the regulations carrying out the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act go into effect. Judge Goldsmith’s ruling was made on Jan. 24, but not publicized until Thursday.

The opinion focused on what he said were regulators’ procedural lapses. Referring to the California Air Resources Board, which last year approved the regulations to cut greenhouse gases, he wrote, “ARB seeks to create a fait accompli by premature establishment of a cap-and-trade program before alternative can be exposed to public comment and properly evaluated by the ARB itself.”

Poor communities, particularly in Southern California, have been leery of market-based systems of pollution control, believing that industries nearby would be able to pay for extra pollution allowances and continue to send dangerous chemicals into their neighborhoods.

While no one maintains that carbon dioxide is a hazardous pollutant dangerous to local communities, Alegría De La Cruz, a lawyer for the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, said that carbon dioxide rules often have “co-benefits” in terms of controlling other, more immediately toxic air pollutants. Creating different incentives or mandates for regulating carbon dioxide might thus be more beneficial for those communities, Ms. De La Cruz said.

Requiring an analysis of these questions before carrying out the cap-and-trade rules, she said, “doesn’t slow down or stop California from doing something that is good and transformative for the country. It just must be done right.”

Stanley Young, a spokesman for the Air Resources Board, said, “We are reviewing the tentative decision, and we’ll respond in the allotted time.”

The board’s response to Judge Goldsmith’s ruling is due Tuesday.

See Related: Global Warming Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Strange’s Last Night’s Top Ten Late-Night TV Jokes February 3 2011

STRANGE’S LAST NIGHT’S TOP TEN LATE-NIGHT TV JOKES FEBRUARY 3 2011

February Strangies: Kimmel 1, Leno 1, Fallon 1

zingers-2.jpg

strange-de-jim-175-2.jpg
By Strange de Jim
Beep beep! Love from Strange

Thursday, February 3

10. Jay Leno: Do you know where Chinese people go to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit? IHOP.

9. Jimmy Kimmel: This is day 3 of the storm that has snowbliterated the United States. Finally America’s extra layer of fat comes in handy. Take that, Michelle Obama.

8. Jay Leno: Police are investigating whether Lindsay Lohan may have stolen a valuable necklace from a jewelry store. She wanted something nice to go with her court-ordered ankle bracelet.

7. David Letterman: There was so much snow today that Kim Kardashian’s ass caved in. Thirty-six miners were trapped.

6. Conan O’Brien: After the big snowstorm in Chicago, Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel has been pitching in digging stranded cars out of the snow. Of course he didn’t help his campaign by telling people, “Thank God I don’t live here.”

5. David Letterman: The trouble is, when it’s this cold in New York City it takes even longer to warm up to me.

4. Conan O’Brien: Tomorrow is Facebook’s 7th birthday. Just think, 7 years ago you were only in touch with people from high school you liked.

3. Conan O’Brien: Happy Chinese New Year. The Chinese say the year is 4709. We say it’s 2011. You know, folks, I’m just going to guess they got the math right.

2. Conan O’Brien: Hosni’s son Gamal Mubarak says he does not want to become President, which is just as well. If you’ve seen one Mubarak you’ve seen Gamal.

1. Jimmy Fallon: Egyptian President Mubarak’s son Gamal will not run for President. Why would he? An unpopular President is removed from office and his inexperienced son is voted in? That could never happen.

The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 2010

Page 121 – [In Vienna] The other maid, Wuthering Heights (which is not her name), is about forty and looks considerably younger. She is quick, smart, active, energetic, breezy, good-natured, has a high-keyed voice and a loud one, talks thirteen to the dozen, talks all the time, talks in her sleep, will talk when she is dead; is here, there and everywhere all at the same time, and is consumingly interested in every devilish thing that is going on. Particularly if it is not her affair. And she is not merely passively interested, but takes a hand; and not only takes a hand but the principal one; in fact will play the whole game, fight the whole battle herself, if you don’t find some way to turn her flank. But as she does it in the family’s interest, not her own, I find myself diffident about finding fault. Not so the family. It gravels the family. I like that. Not maliciously, but because it spices the monotony to see the family graveled. Sometimes they are driven to a point where they are sure they cannot endure her any longer, and they rise in revolt, but I stand between her and harm, for I adore Wuthering Heights. She is not a trouble to me, she freshens up my life, she keeps me interested all the time. She is not monotonous, she does not stale, she is fruitful of surprises, she is always breaking out in a new place. The family are always training her, always caulking her, but it does not make me uneasy any more, now, for I know that as fast as they stop one leak she will spring another. Her talk is my circus, my menagerie, my fireworks, my spiritual refreshment. When she is at it I would rather be there than at a fire. She talks but little to me, for I understand only about half that she says, and I have had the sagacity not to betray that I understand that half. But I open my door when she is talking to the Executive at the other end of the house, and then I hear everything, and the enjoyment is without alloy, for it is like being at a show on a free ticket. She makes the Executive’s head ache. I am sorry for that, of course; still it is a thing which cannot be helped. We must take things as we find them in this world.

mark-twain-autobiography
Best Buy $20.97
or Buy New $20.97

February Strangies
Tuesday, February 1 Strangie to Jimmy Kimmel: Egyptian President Murabak says he’ll leave in 5 years and then hand the job off to Conan.

See Related: STRANGE’S LAST NIGHT’S TOP TEN LATE-NIGHT TV JOKES ARCHIVE

For each day’s
funniest zingers follow me on Twitter
@strangedejim

forward

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Fire Department urges residents to be alert for Castro arsonist – Supervisor Wiener reaches out

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White would like San Francisco residents, particularly those living in the Castro District, to know that Arson Investigators are working diligently to prove that a recent string of fires that have occurred in the early morning hours have been intentionally set and that they, along with the San Francisco Police Department, are doing everything in their power to find the person responsible for setting them.

“Our sympathy goes out to those affected and displaced by these fires,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “The City family is doing everything possible to assist those impacted and to aggressively investigate these incidents.”

“The most important message that we want everyone to hear is that it is generally the eyewitness reports that we receive that ultimately lead us to the responsible party,” said the Chief.

“We’re concerned for the public’s safety and we’re asking that everyone be on “heightened alert” status.
Report anything or anyone that triggers that innate sense of suspicion. Trust your instincts.”

While the Arson Task Force investigates what appears to be a developing pattern of intentionally set fires, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and District 8 residents to be displaced, Supervisor Scott Wiener is reaching out to his constituents being assisted by the Red Cross.

“Members of our community are suffering from these despicable acts,” said Supervisor Wiener. “I am working hard to assist the people affected by these fires, including helping them find temporary housing. If they need assistance or advocacy, they should contact my office. We will assist them. We will advocate for them.”

To date, thirteen people are being assisted with housing and other needs through the Red Cross. Property damages have exceeded $1 million and residents are feeling the strain of wondering if and when another fire may break out.

To report information related to the recent fires in the Castro that may be of interest to Arson Investigators, call (415) 920-2944.

To report an immediate occurrence or suspicious activity, call 911.

See Related: The Castro Fires: Supervisor Scott Wiener to introduce Good Samaritan Rental Law to Aid Tenants Displaced by Natural and Criminal Disasters

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Hamas switches direction of Gaza tunnels use – Now sending food supplies to Egyptian soldiers rather than vice versa

Hamas transfers food supplies to stranded Egyptian soldiers on border through Gaza smuggling tunnels built to illegally transport goods into Strip

gaza-tunnel

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

Ynetnews.com

Egyptian soldiers isolated on the Gaza border by 10 days of internal upheaval are getting bread, canned goods and other food supplies from the enclave, which is usually on the receiving end of food aid.

A source in the border town of Rafah said security forces of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, had been providing the troops with supplies for the past three days.

The sources said Palestinian merchants in Gaza have also been smuggling vegetables, eggs and other staples into Egypt, where store owners have run out of stock because normal supplies are cut off by the unrest – reversing the usual flow of goods.

With mass protests demanding Mubarak should quit, sources in Rafah said north Sinai was tense. Angry Bedouins were in control of many roads following armed clashes with Egyptian police.

Hamas security forces had beefed up their presence along the border and in the area of Gaza’s honeycomb of smuggling tunnels to prevent any breach of the border line. No photography or television images were allowed.

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

San Francisco weekend traffic and transit impacts February 5-6

half-marathon

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) advises San Francisco residents and visitors of the following event-related traffic and service impacts this weekend, Saturday, Feb. 5 – Sunday, Feb. 6.

Event participants and fun seekers should check with sfmta.com or call 311 to find out which of the 80 Muni lines will get them where they want to go.

San Francisco Half Marathon

The Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon will begin at 8 a.m., Sunday. The race begins and ends in Golden Gate Park and is accompanied by a 5K Run which stays completely in the Park.

The following street closures outside of Golden Gate Park will be required from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Each street will be reopened as the last runner goes through.

· Oak Street from Stanyan Street to Baker Street

· Fell Street from Stanyan Street to Baker Street

· Baker Street from Oak Street to Fell Street

· Masonic Street from Oak Street to Fell Street

· Stanyan from Oak Street to Fell Street

· Kezar Drive from Waller Street to JFK Drive

Northbound Great Highway from Fulton Street to Skyline Boulevard will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon.

The following Muni routes will be affected:

· 18 46th Avenue
· 23 Monterey

· 33 Stanyan

· 43 Masonic

· 44 O’Shaughnessy

See Related: Travel Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Egyptian government figures join protesters

egypt-feb-4-4

By David D. Kirkpatrick and Alan Cowell
The New York Times

CAIRO — With signs of fracturing within Egypt’s ruling elite, hundreds of thousands of people packed Cairo’s central Tahrir Square on Friday, chanting slogans, bowing in prayer and waving Egyptian flags to press a largely peaceful campaign for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.

As the uprising entered its 11th day, there were few signs of the violent Mubarak supporters who the protesters said were organized and dispatched by the Mubarak government over the last two days in an effort to capture the initiative. Lurking fears among the opposition that their movement may have lost momentum were banished by the sheer numbers of the protesters and the level of their passion.

Some carried baskets of bread, food and water for those who camped out in the central square overnight after days of running battles, urging the president to depart at one of the most decisive moments in Egypt since the 1952 revolution against the monarchy. “Leave, leave, leave,” protesters chanted.

Tens of thousands of jubilant protesters turned out in the port city of Alexandria, the site of bitter and deadly clashes in the last week.

Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League and a former foreign minister serving Mr. Mubarak, appeared among the crowds in Tahrir Square, seeming to align himself with the protest. Twice he sought to address the crowd, but both times he was drowned out by roars of approval at what seemed a tacit endorsement of their cause.

Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the defense minister and deputy prime minister, appeared in the square — the first member of the ruling government elite to do so — but he seemed to be concerned mostly with reviewing the troops and did not seek to speak to the crowd, though he did chat with some protesters.

And Mohamed Rafah Tahtawy, the public spokesman for Al Azhar — the center of Sunni Muslim learning and Egypt’s highest, state-run religious authority — told reporters that he was resigning because “I am participating in the protests and I have issued statements that support the revolutionists as far as they go.”

The government had broadened its crackdown on Thursday, arresting journalists and human rights advocates across an edgy city, while offering more concessions in a bid to win support from a population growing frustrated with a devastated economy and scenes of chaos in the streets.

But, after a night of scattered clashes and bursts of gunfire, an uneasy calm gave way to what seemed jubilation on Friday as antigovernment protesters mustered for what they have called a “Friday of departure.” Television images showed thousands of protesters crowded beneath the palm trees of Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city on the Mediterranean coast, waving Egyptian flags and demanding Mr. Mubarak’s ouster.

Just a week ago, demonstrators poured from Cairo’s many mosques after noon prayers on the Muslim holy day to press their uprising, and there seemed to be a similar surge on Friday. But one big difference was that last week the protesters confronted the police at the start of a day of violence and looting. Since then, though, the uniformed police force has largely disappeared from the streets and the protesters have clashed with their pro-Mubarak adversaries.

On Friday, there were no immediate signs of the pro-Mubarak camp.

On one approach to Tahrir Square on Friday, two orderly lines of protesters stretched back hundreds of yards on the Kasr al-Nil bridge, their progress slowed by elite paratroops who threw razor wire across the bridge and searched demonstrators as they arrived — apparently a new attempt by the military to assert some control.

On Thursday, the authorities said that neither Mr. Mubarak nor his son Gamal, long seen as a contender for power, would run for president. They also offered dialogue with the banned

Muslim Brotherhood, a gesture almost unthinkable weeks ago.

For its part, the Brotherhood insisted on Friday that it had no ambitions to field presidential candidates if those talks took place. But, speaking to reporters in Tahrir Square, Mohammed el-Beltagui, a leading member of the outlawed group, said that if Mr. Mubarak left, the Brotherhood — the most organized opposition in the country — would not present a candidate for election.

“It is not a retreat,” Mr. Beltagui said. “It is to take away the scare tactics that Hosni Mubarak uses to deceive the people here and abroad that he should stay in power.” A close ally of the United States, Mr. Mubarak has cast himself for years as a bulwark against Islamic extremism.

The Brotherhood has assumed an increasingly prominent role in the uprising, but its disavowal of long-term political ambitions seemed to contradict an assertion on Friday from Iran that Egypt was in the throes of an Islamic revolution similar to the tumult that ended the rule of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in Tehran in 1979.

“The awakening of the Islamic Egyptian people is an Islamic liberation movement, and I, in the name of the Iranian government, salute the Egyptian people and the Tunisian people,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, said at Friday prayers in Tehran, which were broadcast on television, Reuters reported.

On a larger scale than on previous days, thousands of people in Tahrir Square sank to their knees at noon as loudspeakers amplified the sound of prayers filling the air. But those in the square reflected a cross-section of society, not just members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The minute the prayers were over, the square erupted in slogans of defiance, urging Mr. Mubarak to go.

Many said their determination was blending with a fear that if they lost, the protesters and their organizers would bear the brunt of a withering crackdown.

“If we can’t bring this to an end, we’re going to all be in the slammer by June,” said Murad Mohsen, a doctor treating the wounded at a makeshift clinic near barricades, where thousands fought off droves of government supporters with rocks and firebombs.

On Friday, Mohamed ElBaradei, who has been authorized by the protesters to negotiate with the authorities, said that, despite the authorities’ offers of negotiation, no one from government had contacted him or any other opposition leader.

At a news conference at his home in Giza, close to the pyramids, Mr. ElBaradei said Mr. Mubarak’s adversaries had already begun drawing up a constitution and were seeking the creation of a council of two to five members — including a representative from the powerful military — to oversee reform over a one year period. It was the first public suggestion of a formal proposal for transition.

“The earlier he goes with dignity the better it will be for everybody,” Mr. ElBaradei said, referring to Mr. Mubarak.

He said the young people propelling the uprising were not interested in retribution. “The Egyptian people are not a bloodthirsty people,” he said. The conciliatory tone of his remarks contrasted with the demands of some protesters for Mr. Mubarak’s execution.

“We need to move the current dictatorship and all of its apparatus to a democracy,” he said.

Mr. ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a Nobel laureate, took issue sharply with remarks by Mr. Mubarak in an interview with ABC News on Thursday when he said that he was fed up with ruling but that his precipitate departure would cause chaos.

“We as a people are fed up as well, it is not only him,” Mr. ElBaradei said. “The idea that there would be chaos is symptomatic of a dictatorship. He thinks if he leaves power the whole country will fall apart.”

From festive scenes of just days ago, the revolt on Thursday had become more martial, as exhausted men defended what they described as the perimeter of a free Egypt around Tahrir Square. Their demands have grown more forceful and the uprising more radical. After pitched clashes of two days that left at least seven dead and hundreds wounded, banners in Tahrir Square declared Mr. Mubarak “a war criminal,” and several in the crowd said that the president should be executed. Major television networks were largely unable to broadcast from the square on Thursday.

On Friday, the mood seemed to have swung back to an atmosphere of celebration.

On Thursday, the United States joined a chorus of criticism, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton saying, “We condemn in the strongest terms attacks on peaceful demonstrators, human rights activists, foreigners and diplomats.”

The government’s strategy seems motivated at turning broader opinion in the country against the protests and perhaps wearing down the demonstrators themselves, some of whom seemed exhausted by the clashes. Vice President Omar Suleiman, appointed Saturday to a position that Mr. Mubarak had until then refused to fill, appealed to Egypt’s sense of decency in allowing Mr. Mubarak to serve out his term, and he chronicled the mounting losses that, he said, the uprising had inflicted on a crippled Egyptian economy.

“End your sit-in,” he said. “Your demands have been answered.”

In interviews and statements, the government has increasingly spread an image that foreigners were inciting the uprising, a refrain echoed in the streets. The suggestions are part of a days-long Egyptian media campaign that has portrayed the protesters as troublemakers and ignored the scope of an uprising with diffuse goals and leadership.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said it had 100 reports of attacks on journalists. Al Jazeera, the influential Arabic channel, said government supporters stormed the Hilton Hotel in Cairo, searching for journalists, and two of its reporters were attacked. A Greek journalist was stabbed with a screwdriver and others were beaten and harassed.

Police also raided the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, a headquarters for many of the international human rights organizations working in Egypt. The human rights workers were told to lie on the floor and the chips were removed from the telephones, someone present in the building said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

David D. Kirkpatrick reported from Cairo, and Alan Cowell from Paris. Liam Stack, Kareem Fahim and Mona El-Naggar contributed reporting from Cairo.

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Thugs trash Al Jazeera Cairo office

Cairo office of Arabic language news channel ransacked as intimidation of journalists continues

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

By Mark Sweeney
The London Guardian

The Cairo office of al-Jazeera was ransacked by pro-government “thugs” today, as the Arabic language news channel also said its news website had come under attack by hackers.

Al-Jazeera said its office had been stormed by a “gang of thugs” who burned equipment, on a day of reports of escalating violence against journalists covering the Egyptian uprising.

The Qatar-based broadcaster added that the attacks appeared to be an attempt by “the Egyptian regime or its supporters” to hinder its widely watched coverage of the uprising in Egypt.

It said its website had been hacked earlier today with a banner advertisement replaced with a slogan “Together for the collapse of Egypt”, which linked through to a web page with content critical of the network. The banner remained in place for two hours.

“Our website has been under relentless attack since the onset of the uprisings in Egypt [and] we are currently investigating what happened today,” said a spokesman for al-Jazeera. “While the deliberate attacks this morning were an attempt to discredit us we will continue our impartial and comprehensive coverage of these unprecedented events.”

Last week al-Jazeera’s Cairo office was closed by the Egyptian authorities. The broadcaster’s reporters have also had their press credentials revoked and nine were detained for periods of time.

In other recent incidents, Swedish TV reporter Bert Sundstrom was in a serious condition in Cairo hospital after being stabbed in the back, according to Associated Press. Dan Nolan, al-Jazeera’s UAE correspondent, tweeted today that unfortunately the decision had been taken that it was now too dangerous to remain in Cairo.

“Sadly I’m catching [a] plane out of Cairo today,” he said. “Threats to us been about too much. Need to spend some time with family and hope to return soon.”

CNN’s star reporter Anderson Cooper, who on Wednesday was “roughed up” by thugs on a Cairo street, tweeted today that CNN was now broadcasting from an “undisclosed location” in the city to “stay live as long as we can”.

Guardian journalists Peter Beaumont and Jack Shenker were prevented from entering Cairo’s Tahrir Square earlier today by both the Egyptian army and armed vigilantes.

Beaumont said the pair were picked up by the army at a checkpoint and made to kneel facing a wall and interrogated. They then had to deal with machete-wielding vigilantes, he added.

However, according to Reuters the Egyptian army has been instructed to assist foreign media and help protect them from groups who have attacked and beaten journalists. Britain and the US have criticised what the US called a “concerted campaign” to intimidate foreign reporters.

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading

Betting on Egypt democracy is Israel’s only choice

Nobody can be certain that cold peace between Israel and Egypt will survive Mubarak’s fall and the emergence of a new political system

google-crisis-management

egypt-feb-1-15

By Carlo Strenger
Haaretz

For decades Israel’s overall strategy was based on two conflicting assumptions. One is that Israel’s strategic position depends on the survival of authoritarian regimes like those of Mubarak and Ben Ali. Common “wisdom” has been that the alternative to these dictatorships is Islamic fundamentalism, and this means endless, often armed conflict with Israel’s neighbors. The Iranian revolution of 1978 and the Algerian elections in the 1990s seem to indicate that repressive regimes that democratize indeed move towards Islamization.

There has also been another common wisdom – which Netanyahu has been identified with: there will be no peace in the Middle East, and Israel will know no security as long as there is no democracy in Arab countries. This theory is based on the rather strong evidence that developed democracies tend not to go to war with each other, because, once a strong middle class is established, war is contrary to the interests of the people.

The problem in Israel’s position is rather obvious: the support for corrupt regimes and the call for democracy mostly contradict each other, and this has not just been Israel’s problem, but also that of the U.S., which often supported autocratic regimes. It started with the cold war doctrine that assumed that the choice was between communist regimes and dictatorships more congenial to the U.S.

The U.S. meddled in Iranian politics from early on. After the election of Mohammed Mossadeq as prime minister in 1953, the U.S. was involved in toppling him and instating the Shah, who for decades ran a brutal regime based on persecution, torture and surveillance. The Iranian people never forgot the American involvement in instating and supporting the Shah, and it is doubtful that the Islamic republic would ever have come into being without the U.S. intervention in 1953.

What would it mean to bet on democratization rather than supporting autocrats because they seem more friendly to Israel or the West? The process of democratization is, more often than not, messy. But most of all, it cannot be done under the auspices of external powers. The U.S. has just had another painful example of how quixotic it is to try to impose democratic structures from the outside, both in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

Israel has made the same mistake in the past when it tried to meddle in the affairs of Lebanon, trying to support its Christian allies. The result was a quagmire of eighteen years that, among others, created Hezbollah – now one of Israel’s greatest problems. Similarly, Israel crushed all attempts to create viable political structures in the Palestinian territories during the 1970s and the 1980s, in the hope that it could suppress Palestinian quest for independence altogether. In its attempts to counteract the PLO, it was instrumental in the creation of Hamas – again now one of Israel’s greatest problems.

Of course Israel is apprehensive about what will happen to Egypt. Nobody can be certain that the cold peace between Israel and Egypt will survive the fall of Mubarak, and the emergence of a new political system. Nevertheless, experts like Scott Atran strongly doubt that the Muslim Brotherhood is as dominant as often assumed, and panicking is certainly not advised.

The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt should be taken as a historical opportunity to stop wavering between the support of tyrants and the belief that only democracy can bring stability, prosperity and peace to the Middle East in the long run. Anyone who truly believes in democracy and human rights cannot but rejoice for the people of Egypt: a repressive regime that will come to an end. As many commentators have pointed out, this uprising has not been controlled by any one party: It is an uprising of the people, in the interests of the people.

We can only hope that the people of Egypt will realize that it has been a tactic of many Arab regimes to divert attention from their misdoings by focusing on Israel, as if Israel were responsible for the problems of their societies and economies. Solving the many ailments of their society and economy will not be served by making anti-Israeli sentiment the center of the new economic, political and social order that they are striving for. Rather, they will have to embark on the long, painful process of building viable democratic institutions and to erase corruption.

For Israel, it is crucial not to use the events in Egypt to argue, as Moshe Arens has done in recent days, that Israel can only make peace with Arab dictators, because the Arab people always oppose peace with Israel. The Al Jazeera leaks have shown beyond any doubt that there is a Palestinian partner for peace. If Israel will show that it is capable of relating to the Palestinians from a position of mutuality and to truly respect their dignity and desire for self-determination, the Arab peoples around us may realize that the wellbeing of the whole area depends on moving from confrontation to cooperation, from tyranny to democracy.

See Related: Egypt Archive

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com


Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

fidf

Continue Reading