News / Middle East

Low Turnout for 1st Anniversary of Mubarak's Ouster

An Egyptian student shouts anti-military slogans during a protest as part of a general strike in Cairo University, February 11, 2012.
An Egyptian student shouts anti-military slogans during a protest as part of a general strike in Cairo University, February 11, 2012.

Activists across Egypt held strikes and demonstrations Saturday to mark the first anniversary of President Hosni Mubarak's ouster, but the turnout was modest.

The day of civil disobedience was called to demand that the ruling military council hand over power to civilian authority.  But the strikes seemed to cause little disruption and only a few protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Also Saturday, Egyptian police arrested an Australian journalist and at least one other person in the city of Mahalla on accusations of trying to pay people to encourage them to participate in the protests.

The latest move against foreigners came the same day as the top U.S. general met with Egypt's military rulers in Cairo amid tensions over an investigation into alleged illegal foreign funding of non-governmental organizations.  

Egypt has brought criminal charges against 43 local and foreign activists, including 19 Americans.  The foreign groups are accused of interfering in Egyptian affairs.  The issue has prompted calls in Washington to cut $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid to Egypt.

Egypt's military rulers have promised to stage a presidential election by June to complete a democratic transition to civilian rule.  The ruling military also held a phased parliamentary election that led to last month's formation of a new assembly dominated by Islamist parties.

HEAD: US Lawmakers Approve Pentagon Request to Improve Bunker-Buster Bomb   
DATE: 02/11/12
PUBLISHED AT: Saturday, February 11, 2012 11:55:18 AM
TYPE:  CN ))

U.S. lawmakers have approved a Pentagon request for more than $81 million in funding to make improvements to a massive bomb designed to penetrate deeply-buried enemy facilities.  

News reports say defense appropriators in Congress agreed to the request earlier this week, a month after Iran announced it would begin uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow facility, which is beneath a mountain near the Shi'ite holy city of Qom. Pentagon officials have described the request as "urgent" and say the money is needed to fix issues identified in initial testing.

Some observers believe the bomb is designed for a possible attack on Iranian facilities, but officials will not directly make that connection.

The weapon is officially called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, but is known informally as a "bunker-buster" bomb. It weighs more than 13 metric tons - so heavy that only one can be carried on the most capable U.S. bomber aircraft.  The bomb is said to be designed to penetrate up to 60 meters of rock or concrete before exploding. The Wall Street Journal reports that the $81 million in improvements will allow the bomb to penetrate greater depths.  

The U.S. Air Force worked on the weapon with the Boeing company, and the U.S. has so far invested in developing about 20 of them.

President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address last month that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. He said he will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.

Iran denies it is working to develop nuclear weapons, and says its nuclear activities are peaceful.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs