EGYPT’S 2ND REVOLUTION
-THREE AMERICANS FREED…Lama HASAN and Kirit RADIA confirm: the three American students are to be freed in Cairo…not clear what next steps are for them.
-PROMINENT JOURNALIST ASSAULTED…Well-known journalist, outspoken critic of military (and friend of ABC News) Mona Eltahawy was detained, beaten and sexually assaulted by Egyptian security forces in Cairo overnight. She was freed after 12 hours and immediately sent a flurry of tweets chronicling the ordeal. Some of her tweets: I AM FREE; 12 hours with Interior Ministry bastards and military intelligence combined; Can barely type – must go xray arms after CSF pigs beat me; 5 or 6 surrounded me, groped and prodded my breasts, grabbed my genital area and I lost count how many hands tried to get into my trousers; They are dogs and their bosses are dogs. F**k the Egyptian police.
-VOTE TO GO AHEAD…The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces vowed that parliamentary elections would be held as scheduled on Monday. There had been demands by the political parties as well as some of the protesters to delay these elections.
-ARMY: WE’RE SORRY…As Lama HASAN reports, “The most interesting part of the conference was the apology he made on behalf of the army. He profusely apologized for those killed in the protests and said that those responsible, the police officers, will be held accountable and face prosecution. This too was one of the demands of the protesters.
Another million man march is scheduled tomorrow, Friday, one week since the protests began.
GIVING THANKS – TO HEROES
-IN AFGHANISTAN…Mike BOETTCHER spent Thanksgiving with U.S. soldiers and National Guardsmen in Eastern Afghanistan. As Mike reports, the war takes no holidays; in the morning they uncovered a cache of Taliban weapons and were off on a patrol before the Thanksgiving meal. The unit commander also chose this day to award 19-year-old Max Robinson a Purple Heart, for wounds suffered while saving the lives of fellow soldiers; he was delivering pizzas in Oklahoma before he was sent overseas.
-IN IRAQ…Bruno ROEBER is with U.S. troops in Basra, Iraq for what will be their last Thanksgiving in the country. There will be a late lunch attended by a camp & area commander.
J.K. ROWLING, SIENNA MILLER TESTIFY IN HACKING INQUIRY
Harry Potter author (and one of the world’s wealthiest women) J.K. Rowling and actress Sienna Miller will give testimony today at the Leveson inquiry into media practices. Rowling has complained about the press taking pictures of her children, while Miller’s personal life, including a relationship with fellow actor Jude Law, has attracted considerable press attention.
-”SUPER MARIO” TO MEET MERKEL AND SARKOZY…Newly-minted Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti meets for the first time today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Prime Minister Nicholas Sarkozy in Strasbourg, France. Their meeting comes as concerns mount about Germany’s economy, typically seen as a financial bulwark in an increasingly shaking Eurozone. Just yesterday, Germany failed to sell all the government bonds it put up for auction, suggesting Germany may no longer be the safe haven many investors have long thought it to be. Not a good sign.
-PORTUGUESE PROTESTS…Meanwhile, Portugal is bracing for a general strike against austerity measures today. More than 470 international flights could be cancelled, while some one million commuters had to make their way to work without regular bus or train services. Government offices, schools, mail delivery, trash collection and other public services are likely to be severely disrupted. The BBC says this could be the largest strike in Portugal’s history.
OTHER ARAB SPRING…
-SYRIA…The Arab League meets today to discuss sanctions against Syria. “Syria has not offered anything to move the situation forward,” a senior league diplomat tells Reuters. “The position of the Arab states is almost unified.” France has also called for a “secured zone to protect civilians” in Syria, the first time a major Western power has suggested international intervention on the ground. Foreign Minister Alain Juppe also described Syria’s exiled opposition National Council as “the legitimate partner with which we want to work,” the biggest international endorsement yet.
-YEMEN…Agencies report 4 or 5 protesters killed Thursday by loyalists to President Saelh. Al Jazeera reports live ammunition used. Alex MARQUARDT reports: As might be expected, the deal Saleh signed yesterday was not universally well-received by the opposition. Many are angry about the immunity clause, protection of Saleh families and allies and wary of the unanswered questions. “For youth revolutionaries this deal is not accepted,” a Yemeni youth opposition activist told Al Jazeera. The Guardian’s Tom Finn yesterday described the reaction in Sanaa as “chaotic and confused.”
-LIBYA: WOMEN & CHILDREN JAILED IN POST-GADHAFI LIBYA…The Independent has obtained a leaked U.N. report that shows thousands of people, including women and children, are being illegally detained by rebel militias in Libya. Many of the prisoners are suffering torture and systematic mistreatment while being held in private jails outside the control of the country’s new government. Of particular worry was the fate of women being held for alleged links with the regime, often due to family connections, sometimes with their children locked up alongside them.
NORTH KOREA THREATENS SOUTH’S PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE
A day after South Korean military exercises marking the first anniversary of North Korea’s artillery attack on a South Korean island, North Korea has threatened to attack South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s office. The North’s military warned in a statement that “a sea of fire” may engulf Seoul’s presidential Blue House if South Korean forces ever fire a single shot into North Korea’s territory.
CONGRESS V. TWITTER OVER PRO-TALIBAN TWEETS
The Los Angeles Times reports Congressional lawmakers are urging Twitter to stop hosting pro-Taliban tweets that celebrate attacks against American forces in Afghanistan. Twitter feeds, apparently from the Taliban, first appeared last year in Arabic and Pashto. An English-language feed started in April. Many of the posts refer to U.S. troops in inflammatory terms. Twitter executives have told lawmakers that the micro-posts do not violate the website’s terms of service because the Taliban is not listed by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization.
JAPAN QUAKE (ANOTHER)
This time a 6.1 in northern Japan - no tsunami warning issued, per Akiko FUJITA. This follows a 5.9 not far from Fukushima yesterday. No damage done by that one.
Joe SIMONETTI flags this one: The irate voice of a British man chasing and calling his dog called Fenton has become a cell phone ringtone hit after it went viral on Youtube. More than a million people have watched. The unidentified man is in Richmond Park in southwest London chasing after his dog as a herd as herd of deer approaches.
WORLD’S WORST SPORTS TEAM NOTCHES FIRST-EVER WIN
The BBC reports American Samoa’s soccer team – ranked the worst international team in the world – has won a game for the first time in its history. The team managed a 2-1 victory over Tonga after 30 straight defeats in almost two decades.
GEORGE MICHAEL HOSPITALIZED WITH PNEUMONIA
48-year-old singer George Michael is being treated in a Vienna hospital for pneumonia. He has cancelled a string of appearances on his Symphonica tour as a result. This is not the first time Michael has disappointed his fans due to illness.
RUSSIAN ANCHORWOMAN: WAS MIDDLE FINGER AIMED AT OBAMA?
From Alexandra NADEZHDINA: A Ren-TV anchor, Tatyana Limanova, has started a small international scandal by raising her hand and showing the third finger while reading the news on air. Some were shocked as the gesture came immediately after Tatyana pronounced the name of President Barack Obama. However, sources from the television station told Komsomolskaya Pravda daily that Limanova’s gesture was in no way connected to the President; in fact it was aimed at the television crew. Limanova was apparently sure at the time that viewers were watching the report and that she was off camera.