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January 28, 2011

Egypt anti-government protests continue, Internet shut down

Egypt anti-government protests continue, Internet shut down

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt
Other stories from Egypt
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Anti-government protestors in Egypt rallying against the rule of president Hosni Mubarak took to the streets for a fourth straight day, demanding the long-time leader step down and complaining of poverty, corruption, and oppression. The demonstrations were supposedly inspired by a popular uprising that saw Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali ousted from office. A national curfew is in effect, but is being ignored by many.

Protestors in Cairo, Tuesday – the initial day of protests.
Image: Muhammad Ghafari.

Tens of thousands of people spilled out into streets after Friday prayers today, chanting slogans like “Down, down with Mubarak” and “The people want the regime to fall”. At least eighteen people died in the violence between riot police and protestors, with hundreds more wounded. Up to a thousand people have been arrested.

Police responded to protestors by deploying rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons. In addition, Mubarak ordered the army out onto the streets to help quell the conflict. He was earlier supposed to make a statement, but hasn’t yet done so.

In Cairo, demonstrators targeted the heavily-guarded state broadcasting building, as well as the building of the ruling National Democratic Party, which was set on fire, according to a BBC reporter. In Sinai, armed men took several policemen hostage after seizing a road leading into a nearby town.

Former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition figure, was taken into custody by authorities and now under house arrest, The Telegraph reports.

Internet shutdown

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Meanwhile, according to media reports and statistics, Egypt has shut down practically all Internet traffic both out of and into the nation, as well as disrupting cellphone usage. A graph by Arbor Networks available on the New York Times website shows an almost vertical drop in overall Egypt internet traffic, starting shortly before four o’clock in the afternoon with over 2.5 million megabits per second down to almost zero in the space of an hour.

“Almost nobody in Egypt has Internet connectivity, and there are no workarounds. I’ve never seen it happen at this scale,” said the chief technology officer for Renesys, a company that tracks Internet traffic. “In a fundamental sense, it’s as if you rewrote the map and they are no longer a country. I never thought it would happen to a country the size and scale of Egypt.”

Andrew Noyes, spokesman for Facebook, noted that the social website had seen almost all of its Egypt traffic disappear and there is only a “minimal” amount left. In a statement, Noyes said: “Although the turmoil in Egypt is a matter for the Egyptian people and their government to resolve, limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community.”

Vodafone announced on its website that “all mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it.”



Related news

  • “Massive anti-government protests in Egypt continue into second day, several killed” — Wikinews, January 27, 2011

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May 15, 2010

IMF approves US$1.13 billion loan to Pakistan

IMF approves US$1.13 billion loan to Pakistan

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pakistan
Other stories from Pakistan
  • 18 February 2015: Pakistan releases 173 Indian prisoners at Wagah border
  • 18 December 2014: Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school
  • 14 August 2014: Indian Prime Minister accuses Pakistan of waging proxy war
  • 27 July 2014: India and Pakistan accuse each other of ceasefire violation
  • 24 July 2014: Security guards attacked in Peshawar, Pakistan
…More articles here
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday that its board has approved a loan package worth US$1.13 billion to be granted to Pakistan.

The move came after the IMF reviewed Pakistan’s economic performance with a standby arrangment worth $11.3 billion aimed at improving the country’s balance of payments. According to a statement by the fund, disbursements have reached $7.27 billion from the plan.

The IMF described Pakistan’s economic situation as having improved in spite of “adverse security developments and a rapidly changing political environment”, although saying the economy was still vulnerable.

The board also noted that it would grant waivers for several performance criteria Pakistan did not meet, namely overrunning the budget deficit and surpassing State Bank of Pakistan borrowing limits.

Pakistan requested a bailout package two years ago from the IMF, as it was struggling with three-decade-high inflation rates; the country has also seen much violence from rebel groups, with bombings having killed over 3,200 people since July of 2007.



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May 14, 2010

Bomb blast at Iraqi football match kills 25, many wounded

Bomb blast at Iraqi football match kills 25, many wounded

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Iraq
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  • 6 September 2014: NATO leaders meet for two day summit in Wales
  • 24 August 2014: Islamic State capture Syrian airbase
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Multiple bomb explosions hit a football match in northern Iraq earlier today, killing at least 25 people and injuring at least 120 more.

The incident occurred in Tal Afar, a town located approximately sixty kilometres west of Mosul. According to a local security official, a car bomb was detonated at around 18.00 local time (15.00 UTC), near some spectators; as the crowd fled, two suicide bombers blew up vests with explosives.

Many of the wounded had to be transported 95 kilometres away, to Dahuk, because local hospitals were filled to capacity.

Hussein Nashad was a witness to the incident.He recounted his experiences to the Agence France-Presse news service: “Many people were gathered to watch the match. We heard a loud explosion and the people behind me shielded me from the shrapnel. I ran away, but then I heard someone shout ‘Allahu-akbar’ [God is greatest], and then there was another explosion.”

This attack comes four days after multiple attacks throughout Iraq, attributed to al-Qaeda, killed 100 ten people in the deadliest violence of the year.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for this incident, although a correspondent for Al Jazeera says that “authorities are pointing the finger at al-Qaeda”.



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Iraq electoral commission: No fraud found in vote recount

Iraq electoral commission: No fraud found in vote recount

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Iraq
Other stories from Iraq
  • 27 May 2015: Pro-government forces in Iraq launch operation to reclaim Ramadi from Islamic State
  • 19 April 2015: ISIS attacks United States consulate in Irbil, Iraq
  • 11 September 2014: John Kerry visits Iraq to build regional support against Islamic State
  • 6 September 2014: NATO leaders meet for two day summit in Wales
  • 24 August 2014: Islamic State capture Syrian airbase
…More articles here
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An Iraqi electoral commission has said that no fraud was found during a partial recount of votes from the country’s parliamentary elections two months ago.

The recount was requested by Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, after his party came second. Since the recount was done manually, it took 11 days to go through the 2.5 million votes cast in the Baghdad area.

“We finished the recount of 11,298 ballot boxes and no violations or fraud have been found,” commented electoral commission spokesman Qassim al-Abboudi earlier today, noting that the Independent High Electroral Commission will make the full results of the recount publicly available on Monday.

al-Maliki had alleged fraud after the coalition his main political opponent, Iyad Allawi, took a two-seat lead in parliament. The prime minister wanted recounts for all five provinces in Iraq, although only one – for Baghdad and the surrounding vicinity – was accepted. The Baghdad province accounts for around a fifth of the 325 overall seats. The recount, supervised by observers with the European Union and the United Nations, was conducted in the capital’s Green Zone.



Related news

  • “Iraq starts manual vote recount” — Wikinews, May 4, 2010

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Russian meeting with Hamas provokes criticism from Israel

Russian meeting with Hamas provokes criticism from Israel

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Friday, May 14, 2010

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Russian president Dmitriy Medvedev met with the Khaled Meshaal, leader of the Hamas group, earlier this week in Syria, prompting criticism from Israel.

Medvedev, during the meeting, had encouraged Hamas to reconciliate with rival Fatah; a spokeswoman quoted him as saying that “no one” should be left out of the peace process.

He also requested that an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in 2006, Gilad Shalit, be released, although this was refused by Hamas, who says that Shalit wouldn’t be released unless there was an “honourable” prisoner exchange with Israel. Shortly before his conversation with Meshaal, Medvedev also held a meeting with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

A statement by the Israeli foreign ministry read: “Hamas is a terror organization whose declared goal is the destruction of the state of Israel. Hamas is responsible for the murder of hundreds of innocent civilians, among them immigrants from the Soviet Union and also Russian citizens.

“Israel has always stood by Russia in its struggle against the Chechnyan terrorism. We expect the same attitude when we are talking about the Hamas terrorism against Israel.”

Ha’aretz, an Israeli newspaper, described the meeting as being “a surprise” for the country.

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Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry, responded to Israel’s comments, saying: “Hamas is not an artificial structure. It is a movement that draws on the trust and sympathy of a large number of Palestinians. We have regular contacts with this movement.

“It is known that all other participants of the Middle East quartet are also in some sort of contact with Hamas leadership, although for some unknown reason they are shy to publicly admit it.”

Only a few countries in Europe, including Russia, maintain ties with Hamas; the European Union and the United States regard it as a terrorist organisation.



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Eight killed in Dagestan, Russia after ambush

Eight killed in Dagestan, Russia after ambush

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Russia
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At least eight people have been killed in the Russian province of Dagestan after an ambush by rebels, according to reports.

The incident occurred in the Sergokailinsky district last night about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala, when workers were being dispatched to fix a cell phone tower owned by the “Beeline” (Билайн) telecommunications company. The tower had earlier been damaged by bomb blasts by rebels. When driving up to the tower, the convoy of workers, accompanied by police officers, came under fire.

“According to preliminary information, an attack was made on a car with policemen. Eight people in the vehicle were killed. Other passengers received injuries or concussions,” said a source with the security force of the Sergokalinsky district.

The Dagestan province frequently sees violence, blamed on gangs and separatists supposedly inspired by rebels in neighbouring Chechnya.



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May 13, 2010

India\’s Anand defends chess world championship title against Bulgarian challenger Topalov

India’s Anand defends chess world championship title against Bulgarian challenger Topalov

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Viswanathan Anand

Veselin Topalov

Viswanathan Anand, a chess grandmaster from India, has retained the world championship title after a match with Bulgarian challenger Veselin Topalov.

The match, consisting of a dozen games, was played in the Bulgarian capital Sofia over the last twenty days. Anand received the first-place prize of 1.2 million euro, whilst Topalov took 800,000 euro. The awards ceremony was attended yesterday by the Bulgarian prime minister, Boyko Borisov, and the international chess federation FIDE’s president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Going into the last game, both sides had two wins apiece, and seven draws. However, the Bulgarian’s manager, Silvio Danailov, told the Dnevnik that Topalov played the last game “rather nervously”, saying: “A draw would have been a good result for him but he made a few mistakes and the Indian exploited them.

“We should concentrate on the positive sides of the match. This was a historic match for Bulgaria. The country was in the spotlight for millions of people worldwide who love the game. We should be happy and proud that we organised this event.”



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May 12, 2010

At least fourteen dead in Pakistan after drone strikes

At least fourteen dead in Pakistan after drone strikes

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pakistan
Other stories from Pakistan
  • 18 February 2015: Pakistan releases 173 Indian prisoners at Wagah border
  • 18 December 2014: Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school
  • 14 August 2014: Indian Prime Minister accuses Pakistan of waging proxy war
  • 27 July 2014: India and Pakistan accuse each other of ceasefire violation
  • 24 July 2014: Security guards attacked in Peshawar, Pakistan
…More articles here
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At least fourteen people in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region have been killed in drone strikes earlier today by suspected US unmanned aircraft.

The attacks happened in the Dattakhel village, located near the Afghanistan border; as many as eighteen missiles were fired at targets, according to security authorities. A local intelligence official said that “Three missiles hit a vehicle and three militants sitting in it were killed.”

A nearby compound used by rebels was also attacked; around a dozen missiles were fired by drones. The dead in that attack are alleged to have been fighters. A reporter for Al Jazeera says the strikes lasted from twenty to 25 minutes.

“The militants have cordoned off the area. So far they’ve retrieved 11 bodies from the debris. The death toll may rise because the militants are still searching for bodies,” an unnamed security official commented.



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May 10, 2010

Russia celebrates Victory Day

Russia celebrates Victory Day – Wikinews, the free news source

Russia celebrates Victory Day

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Russia
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Russia yesterday celebrated Victory Day, to commemorate the 65th anniversary since Nazi Germany surrendered.

The logo for the celebration

In a first for the annual celebrations, soldiers from other countries joined in the parade, including those from former Soviet allies in the war: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Poland.

Leaders from other countries were present at the event, including Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, the Polish acting president Bronislaw Komorowski, Israel’s Shimon Peres, and China’s president, Hu Jintao.

Media reports describe the events as being among the most elaborate since the Soviet Union fell apart two decades ago. Anti-aircraft rockets, mobile howitzers, and missiles rolled through Red Square, and 150 airplanes and helicopters performed a flyover shortly thereafter.

Russian president Dmitriy Medvedev speaking during the celebrations at Red Square, appealed for international solidarity: “Only together can we counter present-day threats. Only as good neighbours can we resolve problems of global security in order that the ideals of justice and good triumph in all of the world and that the lives of future generations will be free and happy.”



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May 8, 2010

Boat in DR Congo capsizes, 80 feared dead

Boat in DR Congo capsizes, 80 feared dead

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Other stories from the DRC
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At least eighty people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are feared dead after a boat capsized on the Congo River.

The boat was carrying 125 people when it turned over on Wednesday evening near the city of Kindu, capital of the eastern Maniema province; 45 people have been rescued from the waters, but the rest are missing, and some reports say twenty people were already confirmed dead. Rescue efforts are still ongoing.

“It was yesterday. It is thought that there could be around 80 dead. There were around 120 people on board,” said a spokesman for UN peacekeeping mission in DRC, Madnodje Mounoubai.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the accident happened; however, boats in the DRC frequently are overcrowded as they are a popular means of transport.



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