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Tens of Thousands Protest In Cairo, Twitter Blocked 167

Posted by timothy
from the lol-cats-won't-save-you dept.
Haffner writes "Protests in Cairo, Egypt have now reached the tens of thousands. Police have deployed water cannons and tear gas. I am writing this live from Cairo, where I witnessed a throng of 1000-3000 march towards Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. I also witnessed 300-500 protesting on one of the bridges heading downtown. Most importantly, twitter has been blocked by many national carriers." Why Twitter? As reader pinkushun writes "Using Twitter and Facebook, the people instigated a series of fast-moving, rapidly shifting demos across half a dozen or more Egyptian cities. The police could not keep up – and predictably, resorted to violence. Sadly this has led to three known deaths thus far." Update: 01/26 02:05 GMT by T : Jake Appelbaum is tweeting up a storm about the state of the active filters.
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Tens of Thousands Protest In Cairo, Twitter Blocked

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:19PM (#35001018)
    Man, I know some people didn't like the Matrix sequels, but this is RIDICULOUS.
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:20PM (#35001026) Journal
    but what are they protesting? I didn't see it in the first link.
    • This is essentially the same deal as Tunisia. Corrupt monarchy, rising food prices, etc.
      • by muindaur (925372)

        I guess it has made the people in the middle east much braver. Go them!

      • by Zedrick (764028) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:31PM (#35001142)
        Egypt is not a monarchy, it's a normal 20th century dictatorship ruled by a president.
        • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          Whose son Gamal is in line to succeed him.

          Just like Syria and North Korea are not monarchies, nor was Iraq going to be one after Saddam died and Qusay took over for him.

          • Egypt is not a monarchy, it's a normal 20th century dictatorship ruled by a president.

            Whose son Gamal is in line to succeed him. Just like Syria and North Korea are not monarchies, nor was Iraq going to be one after Saddam died and Qusay took over for him.

            So then yes, a typical dictatorship as GP said.

            • by Stooshie (993666)
              If a son "inherits" a father's presidency of a country, at what point does that become a monarchy?
          • North Corea isn't a normal XX century dictatorship rulled by a president. It is an oldstyle communist dictatorship.

            • by Teancum (67324)

              Considering that North Korea is poised to have its leadership pass to the third generation of the same family with no other family or person being given consideration, I'd call that a monarchy even if it has the trappings of communism.

              At least the Chinese and Russian style of communism allowed others to get into the top leadership roles, although admittedly even those countries had/have a sort of aristocracy. Still, it is possible to be the premier of China even now if you were born as an ordinary peasant/

        • by rwa2 (4391) *

          Egypt is not a monarchy, it's a normal 20th century dictatorship ruled by a president.

          For 30 years running!

          You shall now be flogged mercilessly by the low UID brigade for your ambiguously factually correct post >:-D

        • Too bad it doesn't fit the absolute technical definition, despite being largely indistinguishable from a monarchy in reality.
        • by IrquiM (471313)
          Same as Tunisia
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Probably inspired by the uprising in Tunisia, they're calling for leader of their country (Hosni Mubarak) to resign, probably due to his perceived corruption, nepotism, and so forth.

    • Mubarak leaving soon (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nidi62 (1525137) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:30PM (#35001134)
      Probably the fact that Mubarak has been effectively a dictator for the past few decades, with elections rigged to where he is the only true candidate and voting is monitored by thugs. The main opposition force in Egypt during Mubarak's reign, the Muslim Brotherhood, has had many of its leaders and some supporters arrested, killed, or run out of the country. On top of this, Mubarak is getting pretty old, and it is expected that he will not run in many more elections. So, essentially, the government is in a weakened and uncertain state, and many Egyptians see the chance for a real chance of democracy, instead of Mubarak simply naming his successor who would then run the country for another couple decades.
      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:34PM (#35001168) Homepage Journal

        Similar to the problem to Malaysia then. Same party in power for decades but the main opposition are islamists and potentially a worse cure than the problem.

        • I'm pretty sure you mean Tunisia.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            No, he probably means Malaysia. The islamists aren't a significant issue in Tunisia, although the former dictator of the country certainly did his best to make it seem like they could be whenever discussing the matter with western backers. "Yes, I'm a terrible person, but you wouldn't want the radical islamists to get power, would you?" It's a trick worth free billions and plenty of weapons to oppress the opposition^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hterrorists. It's an arrangement of convenience that, in the long run, is a

            • No, he probably means Malaysia

              Depends on whether or not he went to high school in the US. My geography teacher was the tougher one in my high school. She had us color in preprinted maps of the world. The easier geography teacher's final was pretty much just "Label the continents on this map of the world."

            • No, he probably means Malaysia. The islamists aren't a significant issue in Tunisia

              See, the interesting thing here is this. I don't know anything about politics of Tunisia, but I do read some forums where extremist Muslims hang out (you know, the kind where someone posts a beheading video and gets a dozen "Allahu akbar!" in response). And they all seem to be very excited about the events in Tunisia, and supportive of the revolution. Which kinda makes me wonder if the former dictator wasn't actually right on that particular point.

              • Yeah I meant Malaysia but I also had the thought that when a Government falls apart religious organisations have a head start because they are organised and somewhat politically oriented anyway. You even see this is Australian politics where there are way more radical Christians (see Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbot) in politics than in the community generally.

          • by flosofl (626809)
            Nope. Pretty sure he meant what he wrote. Malaysia is a mess as well.

            (I wish I could include a couple of links for you, but for some reason the stupid edit box on this site will not let me paste anything. Other tabs I have open (to test) on other sites let me paste the info willy-nilly, just not here)
        • by jandersen (462034)

          I think there is a more fundamental problem: These countries - Egypt etc - are all countries that have tried to introduce Western style, secular democracy to a culture that is deeply religious and haven't gone through the learning phase that we have in Europe and America. Democracy can only work if both the politicians/parties and the population understand and accept the rules of the game; and that requires education and a shift in culture. We should know this from our own past - it didn't come to us overni

          • Not sure about Egypt but the problem in Malaysia is that political parties have formed along ethnic lines. Because of this ethnic issues dominate political debate and issues which cross ethnic divisions don't get any visibility.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The main opposition force in Egypt during Mubarak's reign, the Muslim Brotherhood [...] and many Egyptians see the chance for a real chance of democracy

        Yeah that worked out so well for Iran...

        • Sometimes the devil you don't know is slightly more attractive than the one you do. Plus there's probably some national pride mixed up in there telling them that "where those other guys messed up, WE will surely succeed, because (insert country here) IS NUMBER ONE!!!"

          • by Jesus_666 (702802)

            Sometimes the devil you don't know is slightly more attractive than the one you do.

            This. If you have a "president" who's kept the country under martial law for decades and generally hasn't done a very good job of caring for his citizens you're quite motivated to elect anyone who isn't him.

            Remember how Barack Obama was everbody's darling for a while not because of anything he said or did but mainly because he wasn't George W. Bush. And now imagine that Bush had been in office since 1981. Suddenly the devil you don't know is not just attractive but a sex symbol.

        • The main opposition force in Egypt during Mubarak's reign, the Muslim Brotherhood [...] and many Egyptians see the chance for a real chance of democracy

          Yeah that worked out so well for Iran...

          If the people want an Islamist party, let them vote for one in a fair election. The risk is that an Islamist party may be or might become undemocratic, leading to "one person, one vote, one time". Not that this would differ greatly from the current situation where opposition parties and candidates are brutally excluded from any possibility of obtaining power.

          Autocracy is not inevitible under Islamist rule, of course: Turkey remains democratic, and the electorate there can eject the Islamists at the next

      • Sure Egypt will have a real democracy in a day or two. Like the Hamas in Gaza. I am no supporter of the Arab regimes but it is much more likely that we will end up with some kind of Muslim dictatorship.
        • Hamas is not a Muslim dictatorship, it's a Muslim democracy. Sure, they will still kill you if you disagree with them on some important points, but they will actually have the support of the majority of the population in doing so.

      • It's a bit premature to say that these Egyptians are protesting out of a desire for a real chance of democracy. They already see themselves as a democracy. It is quite possible that these rioters represent various Islamic factions such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and have the ultimate goal of re-establishing Egypt as a theocratic democracy, which in reality, won't be much of a democracy at all. As Egypt is an important military ally of the United States, this is a potentially bad for the west as Mubarak has
        • by pjabardo (977600)
          Actually in yesterday's protests the Muslim brotherhood stayed at home. It is secular.
          • Excellent, if there's strong evidence supporting that. It makes for a very interesting story, considering Tunisia. Unfortunately, those wanting a theocracy likely aren't above allowing the secularists to do the hard work of revolting whilst they wait for the opportunity to take over. I wonder how the U.S. will react to this. Mubarak is our ally. We train and support their military.
      • The main opposition force in Egypt during Mubarak's reign, the Muslim Brotherhood, has had many of its leaders and some supporters arrested, killed, or run out of the country. On top of this,

        well... now I'm divided. Term limits or "Muslim Brotherhood", term limits or Muslim Brotherhood.
        Talk about choosing between giant douche or a turd sandwich.

  • by Josh Triplett (874994) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:28PM (#35001102) Homepage

    The linked story talks about the reasons for the protest in Cairo (namely, wanting the current president of 29 years out, and wanting the 29-year "state of emergency" and corresponding suspension of rights to stop). The summary here just talks about the actions taken against the protesters, and the blocking of Twitter.

    • Don't think of it as a state of emergency, think of it as a Patriot Act.

    • The linked story talks about the reasons for the protest in Cairo (namely, wanting the current president of 29 years out, and wanting the 29-year "state of emergency" and corresponding suspension of rights to stop). The summary here just talks about the actions taken against the protesters, and the blocking of Twitter.

      Have you been asleep?

      A revolution is happening in Tunisia. Protests similar to the beginnings there have been reported from Algeria. People are setting themselves on fire to make a statement. The Egyptian regime has been trying to control unrest by capping food and oil prices for the last few weeks.

      Is it really necessary to point out what the Egyptians are unhappy about? Isn't it obvious?

      Hint: poverty, exploitation, dictatorship, greed, corruption, astronomical food prices, general lack of freedom... enough

      • by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @11:03PM (#35002900)

        The linked story talks about the reasons for the protest in Cairo (namely, wanting the current president of 29 years out, and wanting the 29-year "state of emergency" and corresponding suspension of rights to stop). The summary here just talks about the actions taken against the protesters, and the blocking of Twitter.

        Have you been asleep?

        A revolution is happening in Tunisia. Protests similar to the beginnings there have been reported from Algeria. People are setting themselves on fire to make a statement. The Egyptian regime has been trying to control unrest by capping food and oil prices for the last few weeks.

        Is it really necessary to point out what the Egyptians are unhappy about?

        Yes. Not all of us live in Egypt.

        Isn't it obvious?

        No. Not all of us live in Egypt.

        • No. Not all of us live in Egypt.

          I don't live in Egypt either. But these recent events were very prominently featured in the media here, almost impossible to miss.

          Maybe it wasn't so much of a hot topic in the US? Europe is quite a bit nearer, after all.

  • wikileaks? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vasanth (908280) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:37PM (#35001200)
    wonder if wikileaks was the proverbial flap of a butterfly's wing??
    • wonder if wikileaks was the proverbial flap of a butterfly's wing??

      Actually no. Somebody made a slight typo when trying C-x M-c M-butterfly [xkcd.com]. It went unnoticed at first...

    • Only if it's part of a horde of a billion butterflies.

      Those who blame Wikileaks for being irresponsible, even criminal, for their release of supposedly confidential information should look at the way social networks and other sites and Internet services facilitate activities that could lead to people getting injured or even killed. If Wikileaks deserved to be banned, then so should Facebook and Twitter, for these sites would, arguably, be doing harm by making it easier for the stain of information to spre

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/01/wikileaks-reveal-what-made-tunisians-revolt.html

      And several similar articles. Basically the leaked US Diplomatic cables weighted heavily in the recent democratic Tunisian uprising, which appears to now be spreading to neighboring countries.

      • by chrb (1083577)

        http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/01/wikileaks-reveal-what-made-tunisians-revolt.html

        Interesting that Qaddafi directly blames Wikileaks for the Tunisian revolt:

        In a Jan. 17 televised address, Qaddafi denounced the mass upheaval in Tunisia as a Western plot. He implicated WikiLeaks as a product of "lying ambassadors in order to create chaos."... "Qaddafi railed against WikiLeaks because he, too, wants to blame something other than the power of the people. ... His speech to Tunisians could be summarized thus: I am scared witless by what happened in your country.""

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      wonder if wikileaks was the proverbial flap of a butterfly's wing??

      More likely it was inspired by the resignation of the President of Tunisia over a similar situation [wikipedia.org].

  • by ugen (93902) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:42PM (#35001244)

    That's the thing about technology - it serves all masters.

    The two forces at play in Egypt are Mubarak's official regime on one side and Muslim Brotherhood on another side. FWIW it's a choice between a rock and a hard place. Muslim brotherhood is your garden variety Islamic hard-liners who will no doubt build an oppressive society if ever in charge. Mubarak's regime is already oppressive. So, while the sides scuffle - there is little to expect externally except, perhaps, a more extremist regime should Mubarak fail.

    • by Smiths (460216) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:02PM (#35002122)

      The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with these protests. These are secular Egyptians from all around the country who for years have resented their leader whom is often a puppet to the US.

      All due respect but before spouting off about something as if youre an expert RTFA or research it on your own.

      http://mondoweiss.net/ [mondoweiss.net]

      • by Cheviot (248921)

        It appears that the rumors that the Muslim Brotherhood are the main instigators in these protests is coming from the Egyptian government. Don't believe it. This is a populist uprising.

        • by grcumb (781340)

          It appears that the rumors that the Muslim Brotherhood are the main instigators in these protests is coming from the Egyptian government. Don't believe it. This is a populist uprising.

          Indeed. I think it might well succeed[*], too, because the uprising is strikingly parallel to the French Revolution: It's the petit bourgoisie, the shopkeepers and tradespeople, who are rising, and all they're asking for is a chance to work for a living wage. This could gain a lot of steam in very little time.

          ---------
          [*] By 'succeed', I mean to say that they might well end up deposing President Mubarak and ensuring that Gamal, his son, doesn't succeed him. Whether they descend into chaos and terror as the

      • by ugen (93902)

        And what is the "secular" sentiment? What type of government and ideology are those secular protesters wish to see in place of current one?

      • Secularists are losing ground in all Islamic countries. While they may be sincere they will be rapidly replaced by Islamists if Mubarak is forced from power. Islam is antithetically opposed to secularism. Look at what happened in Iran when people thought that a large secular movement could succeed. So whether it is done by the Muslim Brotherhood or not it will ultimately result in their gaining power.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        These are secular Egyptians from all around the country who for years have resented their leader whom is often a puppet to the US.

        Many people in Iran in 1979 thought so too. They figured that those bearded guys in shahada bandanas were just along for the ride, and anyway we can all settle it democratically like after we kick the bloody tyrant from power... right? right?

      • by Keen Anthony (762006) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:07AM (#35005282)
        Don't be naive. But if you must, don't be insulting. It's not spouting off to point out the Muslim Brotherhood is a major rival, one with tremendous populist support, and one which could very easily destroy any secular movement. Nothing parent has said requires a stretch of the imagination. I'd wait until we see microblogging and vlogging activity from a large number of secularist rioters before I believe this is a pro-democracy rally à la Tiananmen Square.
    • "That's the thing about technology - it serves all masters."

      No, it doesn't. Every technology has a social bias, no technology is neutral. And the Internet is biased into making the life of the revolting people easier, and the life of the government harder.

  • by br00tus (528477) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:43PM (#35001252)
    For decades, the US (and Israel, and western Europe) saw Egypt as the biggest threat to their "national interests" in the Middle East. Which is why England and France attacked Egypt in 1956. Why is why Israel attacked Egypt and occupied the Sinai in 1967. Nasser was THE leading voice of pan-Arab nationalism - after all, many of the Arab states had their maps drawn by white westerners. Nasser even convinced other Arab leaders to have military alliances under joint command in battles against Israel.

    Then there was a significant peace proposal from Egypt in the early 1970s to Israel and diplomatic reach to the US. This was ignored, probably to everyone's eventual detriment. Egypt began arming, while Israel was full of some hubris due to its 1967 military victory. In 1973 Egypt sent its forces to regain the Sinai and Israel did very badly, the US had to bail out Israel to a large extent. This started the OPEC oil embargo, if anyone is old enough to remember the long gas lines in the 1970s in the US.

    At Camp David, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty. Egypt turned from the USSR to the USA, and has been getting about $2 billion a year from the US up until a few years ago. Usually $700 million or more of that was economic aid up until a few years ago. In 2009, economic aid went down to $200 million or so. On top of those cuts, Egypt has been hit by the world economic slowdown as well. It is also under a ruthless dictatorship that the annual $1.3 billion in US military economic aid helps prop up. How many of the 9/11 hijackers were Egyptian? A number of them - and the cleric who was behind the first WTC bombing was Egyptian as well. Many Egyptians have been unhappy with the US meddling in the country for years - and recently, that $700 million in economic aid has been cut to almost nothing just as their economy began feeling the global economic slowdown.

    • by Thing 1 (178996) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @08:22PM (#35001670) Journal
      I thought 15 of the 19 were from Saudi Arabia. So, how many of the remaining 4 were from Egypt? (Sincere question.) And, answered fairly quickly: exactly one [wikipedia.org] of the hijackers was from Egypt (Mohammed Atta). (And yes, your statement is pedantically true; "one" is "a number".)
      • by bogjobber (880402)

        Not sure what GP meant by saying the "hijackers" were Egyptian, but many of al Qaeda's leadership are either Egyptian or were educated in Egypt. Most famously Ayman al-Zawahiri [wikipedia.org], who is the operational leader of al Qaeda. Bin Laden is the political and financial leader, but Zawahiri is really the one who runs al Qaeda on a functional level. Zawahiri's group Egyptian Islamic Jihad [wikipedia.org] was very powerful in its own right, and merged with al-Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks.

        Egypt has historically been the center of

    • Which is why England and France attacked Egypt in 1956.

      I don't disagree with anything you've laid out in your very informative post. I think it must be noted, however, that the Suez Crisis (which also included Israel allied with Britain and France) was ended in no small part due to the diplomatic intervention of the US, especially at the United Nations.

    • by sabt-pestnu (967671) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:01PM (#35002118)

      > Which is why England and France attacked Egypt in 1956.
      ... which would be about the time Egypt nationalized the Suez canal [wikimedia.org], right?
          The Six-day war [wikimedia.org] in 1967 where Israel saw troops massing on all sides.
          The Yom Kippur War [wikimedia.org] in 1973 seeking to correct the 1967 'boundary changes' (and whatever else they could gain).
      The Camp David Accords [wikimedia.org] in 1978, returning the Suez Canal to Egypt, and Egypt officially recognizing Israel as a state. Just so we're clear which national interests we're speaking of, instead of some nebulous "we want".

      > many of the Arab states had their maps drawn by white westerners.

      Many of the Arab states that had their maps drawn by white westerners weren't states (as we use the term) until those maps were drawn.

      It is a testament to the durability of bureaucracies that even though those "nations" have been self-governing for some time, they haven't altered their borders to reflect the social boundaries that exist. Sudan is only recently coming to the point where it can consider changing its borders, and that only through armed violence.

      Even Iraq didn't try a three-state solution (Sunni, Shia, Kurd), though I can't say how much of that was the negotiators meddling, and how much was the fear of Turkey, Iran, and the Saudis snatching up the pieces if they did so.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        > Which is why England and France attacked Egypt in 1956. ... which would be about the time Egypt nationalized the Suez canal, right?

        From your own link, the nationalization of the Suez Canal was "after the withdrawal of an offer by Britain and the United States to fund the building of the Aswan Dam, which was partly in response to Egypt recognizing the People's Republic of China during the height of tensions between China and Taiwan." Is there any way in which Egypt lacked the right to take this action?

      • Many of the Arab states that had their maps drawn by white westerners weren't states (as we use the term) until those maps were drawn.

        It is a testament to the durability of bureaucracies that even though those "nations" have been self-governing for some time, they haven't altered their borders to reflect the social boundaries that exist. Sudan is only recently coming to the point where it can consider changing its borders, and that only through armed violence.

        You know what countries had their map drawn by "westerners", let's see: Yugoslavia. And it actually led to genocide just like in Sudan. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to make rendom borders after all.

    • by Smiths (460216)

      so many mistakes in your post.

      Egypt was attacked in 1956 because it nationalized the Suez canal. That is they kicked out the forgein powers England and France. These two countries than colluded with Israel to stage an attack and take the Siani. The US and the USSR sided with Egypt and made Israel give it back. Ike went on TV and spoke to the American people because even than the Israel lobby was powerful and some US congressman didnt back him..in what in retrospect was a black and white case of aggressi

    • In 1973 Egypt sent its forces to regain the Sinai and Israel did very badly, the US had to bail out Israel to a large extent

      Umm, no.

      While the USA sent munitions and such to Israel during the Yom Kippur War, they didn't send enough to matter. The war was too short for us to ship much there because, when all is said and done, you can't ship meaningful amounts of munitions by air, and the war was pretty much over before any could be shipped by sea.

      The aid we provided Israel in '73 was far more a matter of a

    • How many of the 9/11 hijackers were Egyptian? A number of them

      That number being 1. Only Atta was Egyptian.

      Just for clarification.

  • ... are worth a shit (and render instant mobs (whatever else you call it) inunstantiable).

    BTW, this reminds me of a Sci-Fi which focused on the idea of instant teleportation to places of interest ((think reality-TV) & (the 'problems' around)). Hints welcome.

    CC.
  • Tunisia effect? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:54PM (#35001360)

    FWIW, some of the pundits were wondering aloud whether the Tunisian 'revolt' was going to spread throughout the region.

  • Most importantly? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dangitman (862676) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:59PM (#35001412)

    Most importantly, twitter has been blocked by many national carriers."

    Those are some pretty odd priorities. I would have thought "tens of thousands protesting" is a little more important than some online service being blocked.

    News just in: Asteroid about to impact Earth, extinction event imminent, but more disturbingly, I can't log in to Slashdot!"

    • Re:Most importantly? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jackbird (721605) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:30PM (#35002724)
      I think they mean "importantly," as in "the powers that be are recognizing the power of this tool for organizing protest, and are taking steps to counteract it rather than simply ignoring it." This is also why it's "news for nerds" rather than "geopolitics for wonks" (or "shit you really, really need to know for Egyptians," lest we gloss over the actual human element of the story).
    • by syousef (465911)

      Most importantly, twitter has been blocked by many national carriers."

      Those are some pretty odd priorities. I would have thought "tens of thousands protesting" is a little more important than some online service being blocked.

      News just in: Asteroid about to impact Earth, extinction event imminent, but more disturbingly, I can't log in to Slashdot!"

      New here?

  • Which sounds like we need a technical solution. Anybody got wikitweet?

    rhY

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