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Walk like an Egyptian: Special Report

January 30, 2011

Turmoil continues in Cairo, the most populated city in the Arab world today, as President Hosni Mubarak resists calls from thousands of protesters to stand down.

 

Now in their sixth day, these protests mirror those taking place not just throughout the Arab world such as Tunisia, but around the world.

 

Over the last few months, people in England, France and Jordan – among others – have taken to the streets to indicate their anger at economic problems and spending cuts, seen to be imposed by a Government that is going against the people’s best interests. While poverty is undoubtedly an issue on the streets of Egypt’s largest cities, Egypt and Tunisia in fact reported economic growth over the last few months, with Tunisian GDP growing by 5% and Egypt not far behind.  The problems inherent in the country are seen to be linked to the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian President for the last 30 years.

 

An ex-military man, today has seen Mubarak ordering the military to fly fighter jets over Tahrir Square, where protesters stand alongside army tanks that have so far failed to directly intervene in the trouble.  While US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has urged restraint, this show of military strength is no surprise to commentators who fear that Mubarak will call on his men to intervene in protests.  Mubarak continued today to swear in a new Cabinet in a last-ditch attempt to maintain his position.  His opponents however, feel that the President’s resignation is now only days away at best.Egyptian demonstrators

 

Mohamed El Baradei, who once worked at the International Atomic Agency and now leading member of the opposition movement in Egypt, told CNN that Mubarak’s position is no longer tenable.  He said: “This is a hopeless, desperate attempt to stay in power.  Mubarak has to leave today and this is non negotiable for every Egyptian.  If he has an iota of patriotism, I advise him to leave today.”

 

It is hoped that upon Mubarak’s seemingly inevitable departure, a free and fair election can be held and democracy restored to a country that has seen over 100 killed since these protests began.  El Baradei told CNN that he would do “whatever is necessary” following Mubarak’s departure to help his country, a suggestion then that perhaps he will follow in the footsteps of Tunisia’s parliamentary speaker Foued Mebazaa, who has been sworn in as an interim president since the toppling of the Tunisian Government.

This is a pivotal moment for the world, as the US and its allies have previously ignored problems in a country that is at the heart of peace talks regarding the fight against extremism.  This unrest has highlighted the inability of the Obama administration and Bush before them to address obvious repression here.  One protester told CNN today: “The bullets and tear gas that are being thrown at us today are made in the USA.” As El Baradei explained: “That’s what you get after 30 years of brutal dictatorship, supported by everybody in the name of ‘social stability’”.

 

 

UK Snow Affects Economy

December 2, 2010

There is evidence today that the British economy is being badly affected by the snow.   Read more…

‘£7bn’ to Celtic Tiger

November 22, 2010

The Coalition government has pledged a direct bilateral loan to the Irish Republic following it’s call for a bail-out.  Read more…

GFEST 2010 8-21 Nov

November 7, 2010

Gaywise Festival 2010 has been announced this week, signalling the start of a fortnight of free events and performances organised by arts charity Wise Thoughts.

The events taking place at the festival – set up as a platform for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender artists – include visual arts exhibitions, live debates and a Habibi club night taking place at various venues across the capital.  Supporters of the festival include author Sarah Waters and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who said that the events “highlight talent as wide-ranging and diverse as the LGBT community itself”.

Now in its third year, the festival is hugely active within social networking communities.  For more information on the upcoming events, click here.

Work Activity Scheme criticised by Archbishop

November 7, 2010

The government’s work activity scheme proposal has been blasted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Read more…

Clegg and the IFS

October 24, 2010

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended the Government’s spending review, after it came under tough criticism from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Clegg says the country "depends on public services"

The IFS, a leading think-tank in financial matters, attacks the Government’s spending review, claiming that George Osborne’s changes to taxation and benefit are “regressive rather than progressive.”  It believes that these cuts will hit the poorest hardest, a comment that will cause much discomfort throughout the Coalition.

Carl Emmerson, Acting Director of the think-tank, accuses the Government of further complicating the welfare system rather than reforming it, saying that cuts “will make the benefit system more complex and less transparent.  It will also make it harder to make the benefit system fit together better as a whole.”

Mr Clegg told the Guardian newspaper: “We fundamentally disagree with the IFS.”  The Liberal Democrat leader said that he felt it was unfair to concentrate on the cuts to benefits, as he believes that the public do not rely solely on welfare to provide for them.  People, he said, depend on public services, a fact that has been “airbrushed out of the picture by the IFS.”

The analysis does, however, comment on the cuts to public services and disagrees with them strongly, saying that “it is laudable that the Treasury has…openly acknowledged its shortcomings.”

In spite of Mr Clegg’s defence of the review, the publication of the IFS report is nonetheless difficult for Osborne and his allies; particularly as the Chancellor has previously called those working for the think tank a collection of “credible independent voices on public spending.”

Cuts effect our pockets, not our social lives

October 24, 2010

Spending cuts, outlined by the Government earlier this week, are having a painful effect on people around the country.  This need not, however, effect our social lives.

This blog aims to outline the various cuts and changes that the Coalition have implemented, while offering fresh and current news on free events in London.

With that in mind, here is one free event taking place tonight:

The London Ghost Festival 22nd October – 7th November

Launch Party – 6pm – late

Tonight sees the launch party of the London Ghost Festival,  an event started by Phantasmagoria, a company that stages themed events throughout the country.  While several other gatherings, including a ghost walk and seance, offer pre-booked tickets for a fee, tonight’s fancy-dress theme ‘London’s Dead’ party is free.  Taking place at Milestone House, a Gothic-themed pub in the centre of the City,the event represents a coming-together of all those throughout the local community, a point of key importance to the organisers.

Founded in 2006 by Ian John Shillito (known from Living TV’s ‘Most Haunted’ series), the company has built relationships with a variety of historic houses, museums and ancient momunents that had been hit by a lack of Government funding.  Projects including the Ghost Festival have helped to build a future for these places by raising money for expensive repair work and maintenance.

Tonight’s event is one of a host of both daytime and evening experiences.  To find out more, click here.