Category Archives: Arab

A Remarkable Day


The 15th of December 2012 is going to be a remarkable day in Egyptian history. This day  has has been appointed to be the  referendum on a draft constitution.


Egypt judges condemn ‘unprecedented attack’ by Mursi

Egypt’s top judges have accused President Mohammed Mursi of staging an “unprecedented attack” on the judiciary. The president passed a decree earlier this week granting himself extensive new powers. It includes a bar on any court dissolving the constituent assembly, which is drawing up a new constitution.

Outside a Cairo court where judges were meeting, police fired tear gas to disperse crowds. They have been charging with batons at protesters against the decree, reports the BBC’s Jon Leyne from the scene, while pro-Mursi demonstrators tried to disrupt the judges’ meeting. Thursday’s decree sparked angry demonstrations, and attacks on offices of Mr Mursi’s Islamist FJP party. The president has said he is acting to protect the revolution.

In a statement, the Supreme Judicial Council called his move “an unprecedented attack on the independence of the judiciary and its rulings”, and called on him to reverse it. Judges and prosecutors in Egypt’s second city Alexandria have gone on strike in protest, saying they will not return to work until the decree is reversed. The response of the judges has been tough, if fairly predictable, says our Cairo correspondent. One judge told the BBC their concerns were for Egypt, not their jobs. “We can’t work like this, we have to change it and we will change it,” Ahmed Shannan said. There had been reports that the council was about to disband the constituent assembly for a second time, he added, a move that could seriously derail the transition to democracy and further delay new parliamentary elections. This, in turn, could deter Egypt’s political leaders from taking tough decisions while they wait for the vote. Meanwhile, Egyptian human rights agencies filed a lawsuit at the Court of Administrative Justice calling for the decree to be annulled, Mena news agency reported.

Source: BBC.

Egypt protesters torch Muslim Brotherhood offices


Protesters in Egypt have set fire to Muslim Brotherhood offices in several cities, according to state TV. They were demonstrating against President Mohammed Mursi’s decision to grant himself sweeping new powers. His decree states, among other things, that the president’s decisions cannot be revoked by any authority – including the judiciary.

Rival rallies have been held across the country today by supporters and opponents of Mr Mursi. In the Suez Canal cities of Suez, Port Said and Ismailia opponents of the Islamist president reportedly set fire to the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood. Clashes have also been reported between opposing demonstrations in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Source: BBC.


بعد رفض الرئيس تطهيرها .. أحمد دياب ضحية جديدة للداخلية

توجه كلا من أحمد دياب -خريج كلية حقوق- ومازن إسماعيل -حارس مرمى منتخب مصر لكرة اليد- لقسم المطرية بصحبة قريب لهما لتحرير محضر، وأثناء أخذ أقوال قريبهما من قِبل ملازم ب. ث…

يحكي أحمد دياب: تكلم مازن بدون إذن.. مما أثار استياء ملازم ب. ودفعه لسب الدين قائلا: “بـ*** أمك مش عاوز أسمع صوت *** أمك، يا تقف ساكت يا تخرج برة القسم”
اعترض مازن على الصراخ وسب الدين قائلا: “ماينفعش حضرتك تتكلم معايا كدة، اتكلم معايا باحترام”.
يواصل أحمد:  فوجئنا بملازم ب. يدفع مكتبه، ويدفع مازن ويتهجم عليه ويصفعه على وجهه ويسب الدين مرة أخرى قائلا: “أكلمك إزاي بـ*** أمك”.. ثم قام بسحله من مكتبه -تحت حماية أفراد القسم- حتى باب القسم ودفعه خارجا وأخد يضربه “بالشلاليت”!
خرجت وراء مازن، استدار الملازم “فلقاني في وشه”.. وصرخ: “إنت مين ب*** أمك إنت كمان”؟ وصفعني على وجهي مرتين ودفعني أرضا.
صرخت فيه مدافعا عن نفسي: “وحياة ربنا لاطلع على إدارة التفتيش أعمل لك محضر”.. فرد عليّ بضربة على عيني بقمع المرور!
قررنا أنا ومازن أن نغادر، فأمر بحجزنا في القسم قائلا: “هاتولي ولاد الـ**** دول إرموهملي في الحجز”.
أمضينا في الحجز ساعتين، حتى حضر ضابط المباحث الذي قام بدوره بالتحريض قائلا: “مزعل نفسك ليه يا ب. باشا، اعمل لهم محضر إنهم اتهجموا على القسم”!
خرجنا بعد فترة وتوجهت إلي مستشفى حكومي لاثبات الإصابة، رفضت المستشفى عمل التقرير الطبي عندما علموا أنه تم الاعتداء علي من قِبل ضابط بالقسم.
توجهت إلى مستشفى خاص، استلمت تقريرا طبيا عن إصابة عيني وذهبت به إليه وكيل نيابة بالتجمع الخامس الذي أبدى تعاونا معنا ونصحنا بعمل مذكرة سنتوجه بها إلى مأمور قسم المطرية.
هذه الواقعة بتفاصيلها نضعها أما وزير الداخلية، الذي طلب من الإعلام من قبل عدم ذكر سلبيات جهاز الشرطة حتى لا يؤثر ذلك على معنوياتهم.
نرجو التحقيق الجاد في هذه الواقعة التي ليست بالأولى وربما لا تكون الأخيرة.
كما نرجو من رئيس الجمهورية إعادة النظر في مسألة رفض تطهير الداخلية.

المصدر: شبكة 6 ابريل

Russian Troops Land In Syria

Archived image - Russian troops

A Russian anti-terror squad has arrived in the port city of Tartus on the Iman oil tanker, according to ABC News. The Russian gov’t news agency, RIA Novosti‘s Arabic language site announced the arrival. The Russian embassy in the U.S. had no comment. Russia is one of Pres. Bashar Assad‘s strongest allies and has blocked numerous U.N. resolutions that call for Assad to step down.

source: Investors

Egypt’s Coptic pope dies at 88

His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of the Co...

Coptic Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Coptic Christian community for nearly four decades, died Saturday, according to the head of the Egyptian General Coptic Association. He was 88.

“Shenouda III suffered renal failure … due to the diabetes he endured for years,” Sheif Doss.

The leader of the Coptic Christian community for 38 years, Shenouda was in poor health off and on for many years. He traveled to the United States to undergo medical tests last year.

Egypt’s population is roughly 9% Coptic Christian, according to the U.S. State Department.

The Christian minority has been the target of a number of high-profile attacks in the past several years, including the bombing of a major church in Alexandria last January that left at least 21 people dead.

“The funeral is expected to take place in two days, as massive preparations must take place first. It is a historical event and 2 million people are expected to attend the prayers. I don’t expect violence though,” Doss said.

Markus Askuf, spokesman for the Coptic Church, said Shenouda’s body is expected to arrive at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo at noon Sunday. Visitors will be permitted to come and pray there.

Shenouda will be buried Tuesday at Emba Bishoy monastery in Wadi Natroun, northwest of Egypt’s capital, Askuf said. The area is home to some of the world’s earliest Christian monasteries.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian church in the Middle East, according the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Stevenage, England.

In addition to millions of followers in Egypt, the church has adherents in Europe, Canada, the United States, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, the center says.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife offered their condolences Saturday after news of Shenouda’s death spread, saying he will be remembered as “a man of deep faith, a leader of a great faith, and an advocate for unity and reconciliation.”

“His commitment to Egypt’s national unity is also a testament to what can be accomplished when people of all religions and creeds work together,” the Obamas said.

When a Coptic pope dies, all 150 bishops of the church’s Holy Council appoint an acting patriarch until a vote is conducted for a successor, Doss said. Thousands of bishops, priests and monks are eligible to vote.

The most senior bishop usually takes the role of acting patriarch. In this case, that would be Bishop Michael of Asiut. If he declines, Bishop Bakhamious of Behira is next in line, Doss said.

source: CNN

Twitter Now Available in Right-to-Left Languages

Thanks to the efforts of 13,000 volunteers worldwide, Twitter is now available in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu, according to a company blog post. Twitter had been working on translating and localizing these right-to-left languages since January 25.

These languages posed unique challenges for Twitter. To overcome technical barriers, Twitter’s engineering team had to build a new set of special tools to ensure that these tweets, hashtags and numbers would behave as their counterparts in left-to-right languages.

Not only that, but some of these languages are spoken — and therefore will be tweeted — in locations where Twitter is officially blocked.

Twitter was a recognizable force in the Arab Spring — but given that there wasn’t yet an Arabic interface, most of the users who tweeted from those regions did so in non-native languages.

And Twitter’s numerous volunteer translators for these right-to-left languages —from Lebanese teenagers to Egyptian college students to IT professionals in Iran and Pakistan, among others — live in these areas as well. “Their efforts speak volumes about the lengths that people will go to make Twitter accessible and understandable for their communities,” the company said in its blog post.

Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu join Thai as the only right-to-left languages in Twitter’s translation center. Their incorporation means the service is now available in 28 languages.

What do you think of the addition of these languages? Do you think more people from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia will start tweeting? Let us know in the comments.

source: Mashable

2 Western journalists killed in Syria, opposition activists say

Two Western journalists were killed Wednesday in the Syrian city of Homs amid heavy shelling from government forces, opposition activists said.

The Sunday Times of London said one of the journalists reportedly killed was staffer Marie Colvin — the only British newspaper journalist inside the embattled Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr.

And French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe confirmed journalist Remi Ochlik was killed in a bombing. He was 28.

Colvin was on air with CNN on Tuesday night, recalling how she watched a young boy die after his house was struck by shelling.

Colvin, who had reported from many conflicts including last year’s Libyan civil war, said Syria was the worst conflict she had covered, partly because of the sheer amount of ordinance falling on Homs.

“There’s a lot of snipers on the high builds surrounding the neighborhood. I can sort of figure out where a sniper is but you can’t figure out where a shell is going to land,” she said.

The deaths Wednesday followed that of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid, who was reporting in eastern Syria when he died last week, apparently from an asthma attack, the newspaper said.

While violence erupting once again across the country Wednesday, Syrians pleading for help in stopping a government-led slaughter might have fresh hope, as the United States called for more international action and hinted that arming the opposition isn’t out of the question.

In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the conflict under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime demands reaction.

“We believe that we are in a situation where we — the international community — needs to act in order to allow for the transition from Assad to a more democratic future for Syria to take place before the situation becomes too chaotic,” Carney told reporters Tuesday.

Asked about calls in recent days by Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, for the United States to consider arming the opposition, Carney said, “We don’t want to take actions that would contribute to the further militarization of Syria, because that could take the country down a dangerous path.

“But we don’t rule out additional measures that, working with our international partners, that the international community might take,” he added.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland held out hope for a political solution, but she too cited the possibility of seeking “additional measures” in the absence of change.

“From our perspective, we don’t believe that it makes sense to contribute now to the further militarization of Syria. What we don’t want to see is the spiral of violence increase. That said, if we can’t get Assad to yield to the pressure that we are all bringing to bear, we may have to consider additional measures,” Nuland said.

While foreign officials spoke, Syrian government forces pounded the embattled city of Homs for the 18th consecutive day and tormented residents in several other cities, opposition activists said.

About 9,000 people have been killed — including 106 just Tuesday — since the government crackdown began almost one year ago, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committies of Syria.

At least 55 people werek illed in Idlib, 45 in Homs, three in the Damascus suburbs, two in Deir Ezzor and one in Aleppo, the LCC said.

The Revolutionary Council of Homs said shelling blasted through homes in the city’s Baba Amr neighborhood, but “the number of those injured could not be estimated because of the nonstop bombing,” it said.

“This attack carried out by the Assad forces can be considered a real genocide, and all this is happening amid an electricity, water, and communication services outage, accompanied by the unavailability of food, baby formula and medicine. In this manner, even those who may survive the bombing, end up dying due to hunger or lack of medical care,” the group said.

But the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported Tuesday that “food and services are available in Homs,” and said “provocative channels are fabricating lies” to the contrary.

CNN cannot independently verify opposition or government reports of casualties because the government has severely limited access to the country by foreign journalists.

But the vast majority of accounts from inside Syria indicate al-Assad’s forces are slaughtering civilians in an attempt to quash opposition members, who are demanding his ouster and democratic reforms.