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Egypt Goes Dark As Last ISP Pulls Plug 323

CWmike writes "Egypt is now off the grid. Four days after the Egyptian government ordered Internet service providers to disconnect from the Internet, the country's last working Internet company has abruptly vanished from cyberspace. Noor Group, a small service provider that hosted Internet connections for the country's stock exchange and other businesses, became completely unreachable at around 10:46 p.m. Cairo time (Eastern European Time), according to Earl Zmijewski, general manager with Internet monitoring company Renesys. 'It looks like they're completely lights-out now,' he told IDG News' Robert McMillan. Thought to handle only about 8 percent of the country's Internet connections, Noor had served as a critical lifeline to Egypt since the government had ordered service cut early Friday morning. Nobody is sure how Noor was able to keep operating, even as larger ISPs such as Vodafone and Telecom Egypt voluntarily cut their Egyptian networks off from the rest of the world." To help with this, engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow have rolled out a "speak-to-tweet" service, which lets people dial in to an international phone number, leave a voice mail, and have the audio file made available online via an automated Twitter update.
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Egypt Goes Dark As Last ISP Pulls Plug

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  • Re:Yup (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:53PM (#35062564)

    He is already a real dictator.

  • Re:Yup (Score:5, Informative)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:56PM (#35062606)

    Despite many claims that dialup is worthless, it's actually quite useful - just slower

    If all you used was some specific programs that made use of API calls... dial up might be indistinguishable from broadband. Last I checked standard dial up could deliver about 4-5 Kb/s. 2 Kb/s with a crappy connection to the CO.

    A tiny program written specifically for tweeting or IM with a bare bones interface (like IRC) could easily work on dial up. I should know.... for years my connection at home was 2.8 Kb/s with THREE bonded modems. If I could do IRC on *that* it's absolutely possible to just do IM and tweets.

    A Roman-style Senate which had NO leaders. No caesars or presidents or anybody else who might become sick with power.

    Really? How did a Roman-style Senate prevent corruption and nepotism? Sincerely curious.

  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:59PM (#35062626)

    But as oppressive as things have been, he could have ordered a brutal crack down on the protesters.

    He did.
    The commanders of his military all said "fuck that", and his order went ignored.
    All he has left at his command is the regular police force, and he likely won't have that for long.

    Things aren't as bad as they could have been not because he showed any degree of restraint or sanity, but because his generals didn't join him on the oblivious power trip.

  • Re:Yup (Score:5, Informative)

    by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Monday January 31, 2011 @09:01PM (#35062642)

    First, the Roman Senate most definitely had leaders, and they had amazing powers to manipulate it. It was these powers that allowed it to be subverted eventually by military men like Pompei, Caesar and Crassus, and then be swept aside as Octavian did. And Octavian wasn't even a caesar, just a mere first citizen :)

    Second, the Senate was a consultative body, which had no actual power, legislative or otherwise. All it could do was issue advice decrees. Unless those were made into laws by other Roman institutions that actually had legislative powers, Senate proclamations remained just that - proclamations. Of course, the main reason those proclamations had some influence, and were largely implemented as laws once adopted was the fact that the Senate was comprised of the richest, most influential and sick with power Roman citizens.

    Third, read some history before you post funny things on slashdot.

  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Monday January 31, 2011 @09:51PM (#35063020) Homepage Journal

    While related, apparently one of the largest problems facing Egypt is that unfortunately for the Egyptian people much of the food is imported.... and purchased with dollar-denominated funds when purchased on the international markets.

    The U.S. Federal Reserve, due to loose spending of the U.S. Dollar and essentially "running the printing presses" (mainly sending credits to various banks in America buying up "toxic assets" to be owned directly by The Fed) has been devaluing the dollar sending the price of this food up so wheat in particular is about double the price as it was about a year ago or more.

    To really make things ugly here, American farmers have been switching from wheat to other crops, most especially corn which is increasingly being used to make ethanol and other synthetic materials including plastic substitutes that used to be made with petroleum. Since corn isn't even being used for food in these situations, that in turn drives up the price of other grains like wheat when it still is grown by those few remaining farmers who still plant that grain. Thanks to U.S. federal ethanol subsidies, poor people in Egypt have to pay even more for a loaf of bread (made from wheat usually) and are in effect taking the brunt end of the problems caused by the housing collapse in America.

    Wheat farmers in other countries are also seeing the dollar lose value in relation to their own currency, yet they are struggling with things like higher petroleum prices that are wiping out any profits they may have experienced from higher wheat prices.

    In other words, this is a perfect storm of converging events that essentially is making it impossible for ordinary people in Egypt to be able to eat food anymore. It is also a dangerous feed-back loop given their location next to many major oil reserves in the world, especially sitting on a major international trade route that is going to make this a vicious feedback cycle to drive up food prices even more that will in turn stop international trade in food. When you can't eat, you get desperate and usually don't give a damn about who is in charge.... you'll eat their hide and certainly would be willing to go to desperate ends to simply live until tomorrow or not care if you don't.

    The situation is really bad, and unfortunately American policies over the years including domestic America policies are really screwing with the Egyptian people right now... much of it as unintended consequences originally intended to help.

    Even somebody like Chavez isn't going to help much in this situation, and Mubarak seems to be making some particularly stupid moves in this explosive situation. I don't think Obama is necessarily doing anything worthwhile either, and IMHO should be doing something like shipping millions of tons of wheat to Egypt at least to calm the situation down a bit. Bread and circuses can make a difference, but right now Egypt has neither and the people are really pissed as a result. Cutting off the internet gets rid of the circus, so they are making their own with the protests. Way to go there.

  • by 0ptix ( 649734 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @03:01AM (#35064738)

    Dude... seriously?

    At least they SOMETHING to help the people in egypt. What do you want? a full scale google invasion?

    And by the way a google employ (exec) was kidnapped [cnn.com] by plain clothed security forces in cairo [bit.ly] and is missing since several days. The arrest was caught on video [vimeo.com]. See around 1:11

    Not quite so cushy after all.

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @04:22AM (#35065070)

    - They have been shooting protesters, do they need to rape them too?

    No, but they could open fire on mass demonstrations, or other means of crushing dissent.

    Hama 1982 – The Syrian massacre you never heard about
    In 1982 the Syrian government killed 30,000 – 40,000 of its own citizens. Assad leveled an entire city with an air bombardment followed by artillery and tank fire. Why? They were anti Baath party, and apparently in 1982 in Syria that was a death sentence

    “The residents of a Syrian city named Hama had been more persistent in their criticisms of the dictator than other towns. For that reason,

    Hafez Assad decided that Hama would be the staging point of the example he was to make to the Syrian people. In the twilight hours of February the 2nd, 1982, the city of Hama was awakened by loud explosions. The Syrian air force had begun to drop their bombs from the dark sky.

    The initial bombing run cost the city few casualties. It's main purpose had been to disable the roads so that no-one could escape. Earlier in the night, Syrian tanks and artillery systems had surrounded Hama. With the conclusion of the air bombing run, the tanks and artillery began their relentless shelling of the town.

    The cost in human lives was severe. As homes crumbled upon their living occupants and the smell of charred skin filled the streets, a few residents managed to escape the shelling and started to flee. They were met by the Syrian army which had surrounded the city ... they were all shot dead.

    Hours of shelling had turned Hama into rubble. The tanks and artillery had done all that they could. The next wave of attacks came in the form of Syrian soldiers. They quickly converged onto the town killing anything that would move. Groups of soldiers would round up men, women, and children only to shoot them in the back of the head. Many other soldiers would invade homes with the orders to kill all inhabitants. ....

    The final attack on Hama was the most gruesome. To make sure that no person was left alive in the rubble and buildings, the Syrian army brought in poison gas generators. Cyanide gas filled the air of Hama. Bulldozers were later used to turn the city into a giant flat area.

    The Syrian government death count was place at around 20,000 people dead ... but the Syrian Human Rights Committee estimates it to be much higher, at somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 civilians’ dead or missing”

    So, yes, it can get a lot worse without rape.

    That is what a genuinely brutal dictatorship looks like. Sadly, too many divert their attention and misdirect their anger at let's pretend "dictators" [michellemalkin.com] instead of the real thing [countrystudies.us].

    Of course for mass death, it's hard to beat Mao.

    Mao: The Unknown Story [wikipedia.org]
    "Mao Tse-tung, who for decades held absolute power over the lives of one-quarter of the world's population, was responsible for well over 70 million deaths in peacetime, more than any other twentieth century leader." Chang and Halliday claim that he was willing for half of China to die to achieve military-nuclear superpowerdom. Estimates of the numbers of deaths during this period vary, though Chang and Halliday's estimate is one of the highest. Sinologist Stuart Schram, in a review of the book, noted that "the exact figure... has been estimated by well-informed writers at between 40 and 70 million".

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam