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US official in Cairo in wake of Mubarak downfall

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CAIRO – US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns arrived on Monday to take stock of the situation in Egypt 10 days after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak, the US embassy in Cairo said.

Besides meeting leaders of Egypt’s interim military-led administration, the Arabic-speaking veteran diplomat is to see representatives of civil society, the embassy said.

In announcing his visit last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States would offer Egypt — already a big recipient of US aid — some $150 million to help its political and economic transition.

Burns comes to Cairo as revolt in the Arab world — inspired by the 18-day uprising against longtime president Mubarak and the earlier ouster of his Tunisian counterpart — widens from the Gulf to the Maghreb.

He arrived shortly before British Prime Minister David Cameron flew into Cairo to become the first foreign leader to visit Egypt since Mubarak’s resignation.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Arab League chief Amr Mussa, with whom he discussed unfolding developments in Egypt and the Middle East, Burns saluted Egyptians on the “historic transition to democracy”.

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Washington looked forward to listening to the priorities of the new government and it would encourage “concrete steps” towards real political change, he said.

“The United States looks forward to remaining a very strong partner of Egypt and the Egyptians,” Burns added.

“This is a moment of extraordinary promise for Egypt and Egyptians,” he said.

“It’s a historic transition to democracy; it’s a moment when voices and courage and sacrifice and the remarkable peaceful determination of Tahrir Square has been heard around the region and around the world.”

He added: “We respect and admire what has been achieved — but we know that the way ahead is not going to be easy.”

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QAnon authors in a fight over doing an audiobook — because they think their followers can’t read

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On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that the authors of a popular book for believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory are in a bitter fight over whether or not to release an audiobook version.

QAnon: An Invitation to The Great Awakening came out last year and peaked near the top of the Amazon bestseller list in March. One of the book's co-authors, Dustin Nemos, is publicly attacking another co-author, who goes by the name of "JoeM," for his "petty and hostile and paranoid" refusal to help produce an audiobook, and notes that it is necessary because a disproportionate number of QAnon believers are elderly, have bad eyesight, and may not be able to read the book as text. JoeM, for his part, has accused Nemos of being a "grifter" who is trying to make a buck off of true believers.

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Missouri governor appoints judge who fundraised for crisis pregnancy center to help decide Planned Parenthood’s license

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On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO) has appointed former Macon County Associate Circuit Judge Philip Prewitt to the Administrative Hearing Commission, a state agency that oversees disputes between the state and organizations seeking licensure.

Prewitt, a former Republican candidate for office, once fundraised on Facebook for Ray of Hope Pregnancy Care Ministeries, a "crisis pregnancy center" that masquerades as a health care facility in order to trick women seeking abortions into listening to anti-abortion propaganda. In 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court reprimanded Prewitt for the post encouraging people to donate, saying that it violated judicial ethics rules.

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Trump being a ‘compulsive liar and erratic ignoramus’ is why he failed on Iran: Conservative columnist

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President Donald Trump's highly-criticized decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has resulted as was warned, with the country reviving its nuclear program, a conservative columnist explained in The Washington Post on Monday.

Conservative Max Boot took a victory lap in the hard-hitting column, reminding that he had signed a March 2016 letter by 121 Republican foreign policy analysts warning about Trump's approach.

"I wish we had been wrong, but we were all too right," Boot wrote.

"Trump has shown no ability to grow in office; but then it’s hard to learn if you all you read is Fox News chyrons. He is today the same compulsive liar and erratic ignoramus he was at the start of the 2016 campaign," Boot said. "Only now, the stakes are much higher."

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