US officials totally cool with classified surveillance leaks, long as it fits their story

Russian Military investigators stand near  debris of a Russian airliner at its crash site in north Egypt, Nov. 1, 2015. REUTERS

In the past few days there have been a flurry of stories about the Russian plane that crashed in the Sinai peninsula, which investigators reportedly think may have been caused by a bomb. Notably, anonymous US officials have been leaking to journalists that they believe ISIS is involved, and it’s a perfect illustration of the US government’s rank hypocrisy when it comes to the Edward Snowden disclosures.

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In 1958 Egyptian audience laughs over proposal for women to wear head scarfs


In 1958 Gamal Abdel Nasser, the second president of Egypt, gave a speech in which he mocked the Muslim Brotherhood for proposing that women be required to cover their heads in public. The audience hooted with laughter at the absurdity of such an idea. [via] Read the rest

Egypt sentences 3 Al Jazeera reporters to 3 years in prison

Baher Mohamed, a journalist with Al Jazeera English, in the court room on Saturday in Cairo. Credit Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
They are sentenced to three years in prison, on charges widely believed to be politically motivated and otherwise baseless.

Astronaut Terry Virts's photo of the Great Pyramids

Tweet by Astronaut Terry Virts, who returned to Earth a few days after 200 days on the International Space Station: "It took me until my last day in space to get a good picture of these!" Read the rest

Baking bread from an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph recipe

Miguel writes, "I tried to replicate an ancient Egyptian bread, starting with the right kind of wheat, the grinding and the baking... I also made a modernized version inspired by Egypt." Read the rest

Egyptian teen science whiz defects to US after science fair

Photo: Christopher Reeve for

A teenager from Egypt accused of illegally protesting the Egyptian government defected to the US after participating in an international high school science fair held in Los Angeles.

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Autobiographical comic about a belly dancer in Egypt

Luna of Cairo is an excellent comic written by a woman who works as a belly dancer on a riverboat in Cairo. She gets frequently harassed by men (once a couple of young men sprayed tear gas at her and her friend," just for fun"). Crime is rampant, too ("daily fights, kidnappings, muggings, rapes, murders, and rising sectarian violence). Yet she stays because she loves to belly dance. It's illustrated by Leela Corman.

In 2008, Luna left New York City on a Fulbright scholarship to write a book about dance in Egypt. She holds a master's in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and a B.A. in journalism and political science. She is fluent in Egyptian Arabic, Spanish and English.
Luna of Cairo (Thanks, Jeff!) Read the rest

Investigators: Egyptian statue not cursed

A 3,800 year-old stone figure with a creepy propensity to move around slowly has disappointed investigators at Manchester Museum. It was merely vibrations causing the convex-based relic to spin, not an entertaining curse. [BBC] Read the rest

A new theory for the death of King Tut

What killed the young Pharaoh Tutankhamen? Theories have ranged from assassination plots to epilepsy, but a new analysis of injuries visible on his mummy suggests that a chariot race accident might have been to blame. Read the rest

Report: Egypt's Morsi under house arrest in military coup

At Gawker, Max Read gathers accounts from Twitter and elswhere about the unfurling chaos in Cairo: "The Army is said to have placed a travel ban on Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Tahrir Square, the huge anti-Morsi protest that spurred the Army to act continues; elsewhere, Muslim Brotherhood party members and Morsi supporters are holding counter-protests." Read the rest

Watch live: massive demonstration in Egypt's Tahrir square, as Morsi regime falls

A live stream of dramatic events unfolding in Egypt today. The NYT Lede blog is a reliable and constantly-refreshing source of updates. The Guardian is another. [Stream: Online TV, Egypt] Read the rest

Cairo protesters zap military helicopter with lasers

Agence France-Presse posted this amazing photo (just a thumbnail shown here, click through for the full image) of protesters in Cairo zapping a military helicopter with lasers of varying power and color. As one of my tweeps said, behold the future of drone countermeasures.

#PHOTO: Egyptian protestors direct laser lights on a military helicopter flying over the presidential palace in Cairo Read the rest

Help transcribe ancient Egyptian texts

You don't need to know an ancient language to help scientists read ancient literature. Researchers are looking for volunteers for a crowdsource project aimed at transcribing (and, later, translating) the words written on a series of crumbling papyrus scrolls, found in a trash heap at the site of what was once Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. Read the rest

Saboteurs caught trying to sever major undersea Internet cable to Egypt

The Egyptian military claims it caught saboteurs in a small boat trying to sever one of the country's main undersea Internet cables. No word yet on who the guys were and what their motive might be:

Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said in a statement on his official Facebook page that divers were arrested while “cutting the undersea cable” of the country’s main communications company, Telecom Egypt. The statement said they were caught on a speeding fishing boat just off the port city of Alexandria.

The statement was accompanied by a photo showing three young men, apparently Egyptian, staring up at the camera in what looks like an inflatable launch. It did not further have details on who they were or why they would have wanted to cut a cable.

Egypt: Naval forces capture 3 divers trying to cut undersea Internet cable [AP]

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Photos from on top of the Great Pyramid

The Pyramids of Giza close to tourists at 4:00 pm. Recently, a group of Russians managed to hide out at the site after closing time and scramble up the Great Pyramid of Cheops in the fading light. Naturally, they took photos. (Because if there is one thing the Internet has taught me about Russians, it's that they like to climb to dangerous heights and then take photos.)

These shots are kind of fabulous, not just for the thrill of "yeah, somebody broke the rules!", but because of the perspective you get from on high that isn't visible in the many ground-level shots I've seen. From on top of the Pyramid, you can see how the stone is pockmarked and carved — it really looks like something humans cut out of the Earth. You can also see the graffiti left by generations of tourists in multiple languages; English, Arabic, French, and more. And you can see the edge of the modern city, shimmering just at the horizon. I don't think I'd previously had such a profound sense of how closely modern Egyptians lived and worked to the Great Pyramid, before. What a fascinating view!

Thanks to Steve Silberman for the link!

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Cairollers: Cairo's first rollerderby team

Lex sez, "I've just posted an interview with Indie Hannah of the Cai Rollers, Cairo (and Egypt's) first roller derby league. They're a mixture of local women and international residents, and are finally practising after the project has been over a year in the making. They're had to fight hard to get to this point, and have plenty of struggles ahead of them."

Who are the CaiRollers? Many leagues in far-flung places are conglomerations of ex-pats with little local involvement. Something tells me that's not the case for you...

Nope, CaiRollers are as diverse as the city. Right now, we have about eight skaters, one coach and two volunteers who make up the foundation and are all working equally as hard to get this league going. Skaters include Egyptian natives, Egyptians with dual citizenship who are third world kids having grown up around the world, and some ex-pats from other parts of the world including America and Argentina. Our volunteer--hopefully future refs--are equally as diverse from Africa and America. Our belief and value systems range from Muslim to Christian, Agnostic to Buddhist. We range from teachers and nonprofit workers to female entrepreneurs.

Up Close and Personal with the CaiRollers of Cairo, Egypt Read the rest

Incredible 360° interactive panorama of Great Pyramids

AirPano created a breathtaking 360° interactive panorama of Egypt's Great Pyramids of Giza. The video above shows how AirPano collected the images that went into the panorama. How did they do it? As Greg from Daily Grail explains, "Just like the aliens that built the Giza pyramids, they used UFOs (or possibly remote-controlled drone-copters) to fly a panoramic camera up to certain points above the plateau in order to get the best possible view of these jaw-dropping structures." When I visited the pyramids as a 13-year-old, I was struck by how close the pyramids are to bustling Cairo. I imagined a long camel trek into the desert (hey, I was 13!) when it was really just a 15 minute taxi ride. Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt • 360° Aerial Panorama Read the rest

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