what is happening in Egypt is sad but it is what should happen, Egyptian are too smart for the military to take over. we love our country and we know what we want, I have been talking to my family every day to get more details. this is big fight that will be on stages, not in one shot. all of you pray for us. that really what we need. I wish I was there.
59 min 41 sec ago - EgyptThere's been a lot of discussion on Twitter and television regarding the type of gas being used on protesters in and around Tahrir Square, especially since some have been affected inside the square after the speech by military council chief Hussein Tantawi.
Prominent presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei - who has been asked by the military to be prime minister - tweeted that the gas had been mixed with a "nerve agent". Eric Knecht, a journalist working in Mansoura, a city north of Cairo, tweeted that he had been told a "propane-butane gas" was being used, in addition to others.
Reactions to the gas range from the fearful to the dismissive. Meanwhile, Cairo-based political analyst Issandr Amrani has written that it might simply be "CR gas," a significantly more potent irritant.
As has happened several times since the revolution, faced with pressure the army backed down and suggested compromises. But in the eyes of many Egyptians it has now revealed its hand, proving that it is not particularly interested in democracy and rather keen on ensuring its own dominance. With the country’s liberals in perennial disarray, and Islamists scenting a chance to put on a convincing show of force at the polls, the stage looks set for an uncomfortable and prolonged struggle. Much as under Hosni Mubarak, the deposed president, Egyptians may find themselves choosing between the stuffiness of military rule and the constraints imposed by Islamists.
...this is big fight that will be on stages, not in one shot. all of you pray for us. that really what we need.
The recent violence, which calls into question whether Egypt can smoothly hold parliamentary elections beginning next week, is likely to increase pressure on the reserves and may bring a full-blown crisis forward to the next several months from the late-2012 tipping point previously predicted by some analysts.
"Even in advance of recent events we were very concerned about the balance of payments and the burn-through in reserves," said Farouk Soussa, Middle East chief economist at Citigroup.
"The violence and political noise is going to erode whatever confidence was left in the Egyptian economy, and may result in the current atmosphere in an acceleration of capital outflows."
Egypt's net foreign reserves have tumbled from around $36 billion at the start of the year to $22.1 billion in October, as the violence and political uncertainty surrounding the ouster as president of Hosni Mubarak caused an exodus of foreign investors and tourists. Reserves sank $1.93 billion last month, the biggest drop since April, central bank data show.
By supplying foreign currency to the market, the central bank has so far managed to preserve the pound's buying power and curb pressure for inflation in the face of this capital flight. It has kept the pound remarkably stable in a range of roughly 5.92-5.99 against the dollar since Mubarak's overthrow.
But pressure on the pound is clearly growing as the market speculates about when the central bank may run out of money to maintain its defense; the currency edged down last week to its lowest level in nearly seven years.
Raza Agha, senior Middle East and North Africa economist at RBS, estimates the reserves are large enough to pay for about 4-1/2 months' worth of Egypt's imports. But liquid reserves -- currencies, deposits and securities that can be mobilized quickly to defend the pound -- are about $16.1 billion or 3.2 months of imports, he calculates.
These last 6 months have been the calm before the storm, even if the US does not shut off the gravy spigot the Egyptians are going to run out of money soon . Not good for a country that imports 40% of its food, with that number going up all the time as the population increases.
Amnesty says Egypt army continues Mubarak-era abuse
LONDON | Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:05pm EST
(Reuters) - Rights group Amnesty International accused Egypt's rulers on Tuesday of brutality sometimes exceeding that of former president Hosni Mubarak, saying the hopes of protesters had been "crushed."
The group said Egypt's Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) - which assumed control after an 18-day uprising toppled Mubarak in February - had made only empty promises to improve human rights.
Recent crackdowns on dissent, including demonstrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square over the past few days, had led to many deaths and injuries, it added.
In a report, Amnesty said military courts had tried thousands of civilians and emergency law had been extended. Torture had continued in army custody, and there were consistent reports of security forces employing armed "thugs" to attack protesters, it added.
"The SCAF has continued the tradition of repressive rule which the January 25 demonstrators fought so hard to get rid of," said Philip Luther, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa acting director.
"Those who have challenged or criticize the military council - like demonstrators, journalists, bloggers, striking workers - have been ruthlessly suppressed in an attempt at silencing their voices ... The brutal and heavy-handed response to protests in the last few days bears all the hallmarks of the Mubarak era."
By August, Amnesty said the military council admitted about 12,000 civilians had been tried by military courts and at least 13 sentenced to death. The trials were "grossly unfair," said the rights group.
Charges against demonstrators included "thuggery," "breaking the curfew," "damaging property" and "insulting the army." Allegations of army abuse seemed to have been largely ignored, the report said.
"Amnesty International found ... that the military council had met few of the commitments it made in its many public statements and had worsened the situation in some areas," the group said in its press release.
It said journalists and broadcasters had been summoned to military prosecutors an attempt to suppress negative reporting. Military pressure had also led to a number of current affairs shows being canceled, it reported.
"The Egyptian military cannot keep using security as an excuse to keep the same old practices that we saw under President Mubarak," said Amnesty's Luther.
"If there is to be an effective transition to the new Egypt that protesters have been demanding, the SCAF must release their grip on freedom of expression, association and assembly, lift the state of emergency and stop trying civilians in military courts."
The gravy spigot was paid to Mubarak, and was to help strengthen Israel more than anything else.
Voting begins in post-Mubarak Egypt
Updated November 28, 2011 18:15:08/ABC news online
Photo: Thousands of Egyptians began queuing at polling centres across the country. (Reuters: Ahmed Jadallah )
Some polling booths have opened in Egypt as the country holds its first election since the overthrow of former leader Hosni Mubarak in February.
Some of the country's 51 million voters have begun voting in parliamentary elections, which are spread out over four months so the military can ensure security and protect judges scrutinising the poll.
Headlines on the front pages of the national newspapers simply say "The beginning" and "Give your vote to Egypt".
The country's military ruler has begged his people to get out and vote.
But there are fears the drawn-out and complicated voting process, combined with security fears, will not result in a representative parliament and will only lead to more chaos.
In the nine months since the revolt that ended Mubarak's 30-year rule, political change in Egypt has faltered.
Frustration at the lack of progress in democratic reforms erupted last week into bloody protests that cost 42 lives.
The violence also forced the army council to promise civilian rule by July after the parliamentary vote and a presidential poll, now expected in June, much sooner than previously envisaged.
At the Omar Makram school, in the working-class central Cairo neighbourhood of Shubra, men and women queued in separate lines before the opening of polling stations at 8am (local time).
"It was no use to vote before. Our voices were completely irrelevant," said Mona Abdel Moneim, one of several women who said they were voting for the first time in their lives.
Once in, the voters were told to wait because the judge supervising the balloting was running late - an administrative delay witnessed at several other polling stations. ....<cont>
I heard a report on the (usually reliable) ABC radio's PM program, which suggested the Muslim Brotherhood was polling very well ... but I can't find any online reports yet to confirm that.:
It's down to grass roots work mostly. The Moslem Brotherhood have been organised for a long time, unlike most of the other opposition groups. Most impoverished Egyptians associate them with charitable deeds and other good works. There's nothing inherently anti-Western in this.
Protests erupt in Egypt over Hosni Mubarak verdicts
2 June 2012 Last updated at 22:22 GMT/BBC News
Crowds gathered in Tahrir Square in central Cairo, close to where many lives were lost in January last year
Angry crowds have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square, hours after ex-President Hosni Mubarak was jailed for life for his part in the killing of protesters during Egypt's 2011 revolution.
The crowds are furious at the acquittal of key security officials who were on trial alongside Mubarak.
Four interior ministry officials and two local security chiefs were cleared of complicity in protesters' killings.
Rallies against the verdict were also held in Alexandria, Suez and Mansoura.
Correspondents say a verdict that was meant to bring closure for Egypt is in danger of reopening old wounds.
Verdict 'mocks us'
Some protesters at Tahrir Square, the focal point of last year's uprising, say they are determined to begin a sit-in.
They have been joined by prominent public figures and football fans known as Ultras, who have been implicated in a number of political confrontations.
The slogan from last year's uprising: "Down with the military rule" is being chanted in the square and many have vociferously condemned Saturday's verdict.
The BBC's Yolande Knell, at the square, says there is particular anger at the acquittals of the officials, which many take as a sign that there has been little reform.
"The Mubarak verdict mocks us. He and [former Interior Minister Habib] Adly got a sentence and their aides got nothing," protester Sharif Ali told the BBC. "When they return to court on appeal, they will be freed too."
But, our correspondent adds, others have poured on to the streets out of depression at the current political situation.
The first round of recent presidential elections has left Egyptians with a choice between an Islamist candidate and an ex-prime minister from the Mubarak era. .....
The verdicts and sentences
Hosni Mubarak: Guilty of conspiring in killing of protesters - life imprisonment; not guilty of corruption
Alaa and Gamal Mubarak: Not guilty of corruption
Former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly: Guilty of conspiring in killing of protesters - life imprisonment
Four senior interior ministry officials - Abd El Rahman; Adli Fayed; Ahmed Ramzy; Ismail al-Shaer: Not guilty of charges of complicity, instigation and providing assistance in the murder and attempted murder of protesters
Hussein Salem, business tycoon: Not guilty of corruption
Two Greater Cairo security directors - Osama al-Marassy and Omar Faramawy: Not guilty of damage caused to Egyptian property and the economy
All this bodes well for the Muslim Brotherhood in the coming elections.
The first round of recent presidential elections has left Egyptians with a choice between an Islamist candidate and an ex-prime minister from the Mubarak era.