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Vodafone confirms role in Egypt’s cellular, Internet blackout

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An executive at London-based Vodafone Group PLC explained Friday morning that it did indeed have a role in the phone and Internet blackout affecting Egypt since Thursday night, confirming speculation that the firm had cooperated with the regime to close off protesters’ communications.

Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said that because the order by Egyptian authorities appeared to be in line with the nation’s laws, the company was “obligated” to comply.

Egypt, which has been under a declared state of “emergency” for decades, long ago passed a series of security provisions that were later mirrored in post-9/11 powers assumed by leaders in the US. Egypt’s provisions, however, went much further.

The Egyptian government’s order to shut down applied to all mobile phone operators and Internet service providers in the country. A graphic depicting Internet traffic to and from the country showed a dramatic and almost complete drop-off starting Thursday morning.

Some land-line service, however, was reportedly still functioning by late Friday. Sporadic reports of working DSL connections surfaced by late Friday as well, and a French Internet service provider had begun offering free dial-up access to Egyptians.

Rumors that neighboring Syria had cut off its Internet access as well surfaced on Friday morning, but follow-up reports found no evidence this was the case.

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Vodafone was for years the Egyptian government’s partner in building and maintaining the regime’s official website and network infrastructure.

Protesters on Friday destroyed Vodafone stores in Cairo, among other locations tied to the ruling regime, according to reports by Al Jazeera English.

In the wake of Iran’s “green revolution,” the relationship between Western technology providers and the country’s oppressive regime became painfully apparent when The Wall Street Journal revealed that Siemens AG and Nokia Corp. aided the development of a digital censorship apparatus.

“If you sell networks, you also, intrinsically, sell the capability to intercept any communication that runs over them,” a spokesman for the two firms’ joint venture told the paper. He suggested the regime’s “monitoring center,” which even allowed deep-packet inspection and information tampering through Internet back-doors, was a standard part of a larger telecom contract with Iran.

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It was unclear whether Vodafone’s government-sponsored network worked similarly in Egypt.

Raw Story’s requests for comment sent to Vodafone’s corporate relations arm did not trigger a reply.

Vodafone Group PLC owns a 45 percent stake in US communications provider Verizon Wireless.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Trump perfectly trolled with Obama’s stock market success after president warns of crash without him

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Reporting on one of Donald Trump's Saturday tweets -- where the president darkly warned that the stock market would collapse if he is not re-elected -- a financial reporter for Bloomberg slyly pointed out that Trump financial successes since he became president are "middling" -- and that his predecessor was more successful.

According to Bloomberg's Roz Krasny, "President Donald Trump, gearing up for the official start of his 2020 campaign, warned that the U.S. would face an epic stock market crash if he’s not re-elected," noting his tweet stated, "The Trump Economy is setting records, and has a long way up to go....However, if anyone but me takes over in 2020 (I know the competition very well), there will be a Market Crash the likes of which has not been seen before! KEEP AMERICA GREAT."

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DC Report

Test Test

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Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion.

"We have the worst inequality in this country since the 1920s."—Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)

Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People's Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve's newly released "Distributive Financial Accounts" data series and found that, overall, "the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing, meaning they have more debts than they have assets."

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Sarah Sanders’ lies were worse than reported — here is how she got away with them

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In her tenure as White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders became legendary for her ability to lie at the podium.

But according to conservative commentator Andrew Egger, writing for The Bulwark, Sanders' real "success" for the Trump administration did not come from how frequently she lied — it came from the fact that most of her lies were boring.

"Her morose, plodding style and Bartlebyesque refusals to grant reporters a single inch of ground poured cold water on news cycle after news cycle that might otherwise have ignited," wrote Egger. "The downside, of course, was that she lied a lot. But even here she distinguished herself from [predecessor Sean] Spicer, whose sweaty, frantic tall tales—that was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!—always invited heaps of instant ridicule. Deadpanning her way through boring, misleading briefing after boring, misleading briefing, Sarah Sanders managed to take most of the fun out of calling her out—as much of a victory as Trump could typically hope for, under the circumstances."

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