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Seventeen days after protests began in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, after more than 300 fatalities, and with hundreds of protesters thought to have been secretly detained by the military, President Hosni Mubarak gave a seventeen-minute speech in which he talked in great detail about the changes he planned to make to Egyptâ??s constitution, causing thousands of protesters to wave their shoes in the air and shout “Get out!” and “We’re not happy!” He stepped down the following evening. “I have friends on anti-depressants who, over the last 20 days, forgot to take their pills and have now thrown them away,” said Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif. “Such is the effect of the Egyptian Revolution.” Mubarak, whose assets in Switzerland were frozen by the Swiss government, escaped to his villa in Sharm el-Sheikh; Egypt’s military announced that it would dissolve parliament and suspend the constitution; bank, transport, and tourism workers staged their own “mini-revolutions” to call for higher pay; and several protesters carried placards reading “Sorry for the disturbance.”HRWGuardianNYTimesAPYahoo NewsWashington PostBBCSacramento BeeUSA TodayBBCAOLYemeni police armed with sticks and daggers clashed with protesters calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Algerian police beat back 2,000 demonstrators in central Algiers, and Iranian activists planned to go ahead with a rally in Tehran despite warnings from the regime, which arrested dozens of activists and journalists as a preemptive move.NPRGuardianGuardianPalestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad resigned, announcing the dissolution of Palestine’s 24-member cabinet, and the Taliban warned that the U.S.-backed Afghan government would be next in line to be toppled by its people, urging Egyptians to “foil the plots of the foreign enemies.”CSMonitorRTBAsked whether she expected to become Queen of England, Camilla Parker Bowles answered, “You never know.”Daily Mail
Somali pirates hijacked a supertanker carrying $200 million worth of crude oil off the coast of Oman, suspected tribal militants exploded two major natural gas pipelines in Pakistan’s southwest, and a boy in a school uniform blew himself up at a Pakistani army recruitment center, killing 31 cadets.BBCReutersReutersThe founder of a New York television station launched to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims was convicted of beheading his wife in what was described as “a mix of domestic violence and honor killing.” “He separated the mind,” said attorney Nadia Shahram, “which he saw as worthless, and kicked it.”GuardianRepresentative Christopher Lee (R., N.Y.), resigned after it was discovered he answered a woman’s Craigslist ad with a shirtless photo of himself flexing his muscles. Lee, who is 46 and married, described himself as a 34-year-old, unmarried, “very fit fun classy guy.”ABCThousands of Italian women chanting “Italy is not a brothel” marched against Silvio Berlusconi.ReutersA 19-year-old was sentenced to 22 years in prison after confessing to have searched for a hit man on Facebook to kill a girl he had raped when she was drunk,and Julian Assange’s lawyer, BjĂ¶rn Hurtig, used as evidence a text message sent by one of the two women who accused Assange of rape, in which the sender claimed that she was “half asleep” when Assange had sex with her. “That, to my mind,” said Hurtig, “is the same as saying ‘half awake.’”Philadelphia InquirerGuardianGuardianIn Tulare County, California, a man was killed by a rooster with a knife attached to its leg. Guardian
President Barack Obama released his proposed budget for 2012, projecting a deficit of more than $1.6 trillion for the current fiscal year, the largest shortfall since 1945.NYTimesFour hundred policemen led 6,000 people from their homes in the outskirts of Paris at dawn after an unexploded World War II bomb was discovered, and a local authority in England approved plans for a swimming pool to be heated by energy from a next-door crematorium.TelegraphReuters Life! A Catholic bishop in Indiana approved of an iPhone app costing $1.99 designed to walk users through the sacrament of confession; a 16-year-old boy in Michigan claimed that his mother handcuffed him to a kitchen chair for a week as punishment for shoplifting, allowing him outside only to shovel snow; and a shy 18-year-old girl in Pontypridd, Wales, died of a rare heart condition after being kissed for the first time.The Washington PostChicago TribuneTelegraphPleasures, a drive-thru sex shop in Alabama, offered customers the opportunity to exchange their firearms for store credit. “You never know,” said Sheri Williams, the store-owner. “Maybe there will be someone who says, ‘I’ve got this gun that I could go rob a liquor store with, or maybe I can get me a blow-up doll for Valentine’s Day instead.’”AFP
More from Emily Stokes:
Conversation — October 24, 2013, 8:00 am
Richard Rodriguez on the essay as biography of an idea, the relationship between gay menâs liberation and womenâs liberation, and the writerly impulse to give away secrets
Six Questions — October 7, 2013, 8:00 am
Dame Margaret Drabble on the essayistic voice in fiction and North London anthropology
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in Californiaâs ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as âinvasive,â âexotic,â âalienâ â all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as âindigenously Californianâ elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a âhome without its mother.â Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the âworldâs biggest selfies,â and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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âShelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.â