Egyptians Protest Government

For days now, thousands of angry Egyptians have been demonstrating in the streets of several cities including Cairo, the capital.

Riot police have been circling neighborhoods and trying to keep the violence to a minimum. Protesters are demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian 30-year-rule. They hurled rocks at police and shouted “Down, Down, Mubarak.”

Large water cannons and tear gas have been used to disperse the large crowds but without much luck with the persistent protesters.

Friday afternoons are usually the start of weekly prayers and the Muslim Brotherhood urged its followers to protest after the prayers. The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt’s largest opposition block.

The opposition wants to install the Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei into power. He returned home to Cairo on Thursday.

At least 1,000 protesters have been spotted in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. 15,000 further south in Suez. About 1,500 protesters were amassed in Amman, Jordan.

Facebook has also played a role in the protests with a page devoted to the demonstrations. The page has more than 80,000 followers as of Thursday afternoon compared with 20,000 on Wednesday. But, many internet servers in Egypt were down early Friday including Egyptian government sites for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and are aware that communication services, including social media, are being blocked,” U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Thursday. “We continue to urge Egyptian authorities to show restraint and allow peaceful protests to occur.”

Egyptian television networks and state run media have normally ignored such demonstrations or blamed them on unsavory people. However, this time government critics have been voicing their opinions on TV and even a popular morning show included comments from guests calling in for the resignation of government officials.

The protests are essentially pro-democracy. The Egyptian people are becoming increasingly frustrated with the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

Hackers Arrested in U.K.

Five males between the ages of 15 and 26 were arrested in Britain. They are suspected of being part of the group of hackers, known as “Anonymous”.

The group supports WikiLeaks and were responsible for the denial of service attacks on websites such as MasterCard, VISA and PayPal.

Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks are where computers flood a server to prevent it from displaying a Web page and is illegal in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act and carry a maximum fine of £5,000.

The term “hacktivists” has been coined as the phrase used to describe these types of groups.

All five men are being held in police custody in Britain. Scotland Yard said, “They are part of an ongoing [Metropolitan police] investigation into Anonymous which began last year following criminal allegations of DDoS [distributed denial of service] attacks by the group against several companies.”

Snow, Snow, and more Snow

More than a foot of snow fell early Thursday and blanketed most of the Northeast. Airports are closed. Schools are closed.

New York City and the surrounding area seems to have been hit the hardest. Nineteen inches of snow fell on Central Park which ties the record for the highest total in the region. And, even before the storm, the National Weather Service estimated more than 37 inches of snow had fallen on Central Park this winter. This is almost double the winter average.

Snowfalls totaled at least one foot from Philadelphia to Boston.

Travelers should expect delays no matter what type of transportation used.

American Idol – Touching Moment

The final moments of the American Idol show last night was indeed a memorable one.

A contestant, Chris Medina, showed up to sing for the judges. Before he sung, we was asked a few questions about his personal life. Chris said he was engaged to be married and was wearing his engagement ring on a chain around his neck.

When asked to elaborate on his engagement, Chris told his story.

Two years ago, Medina proposed to his girlfriend of eight years, Juliana Ramos. A short time later, however, she was in a car accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury and in a coma that doctors didn’t think she’d wake from.

She did however wake up and Chris has stood by her side helping to take care of her. She has severe brain damage from the accident and needs constant care.

Chris sung a song called “Breakeven” that contains very emotional lyrics that are relevant to his current situation with his fiance. And, he sung it very well.

When finished with his audition, the judges asked Chris to introduce them to his fiance. He pushed her wheelchair into the audition room and all the judges immediately walked over to her, shook her hand, and exchanged pleasantries. Then, Steven Tyler walked over to her, gave her a hug and a kiss, and spoke to her directly into her ear with a very personal touch.

Tyler said, “I just heard your fiance sing and he’s so good. You know ’cause he sings to you all the time. I could tell. That’s why he sings so good because he sings to you.” There was not a dry eye in the house.

The guitarist for the band The Script, the band that wrote the song Medina sung, was so moved that he tweeted a message to Medina. “Chris Medina: Not only R U a major talent but U R 1 in a billion!” wrote Sheehan. “Stay Strong, Never waver, This world needs more MEN like U. Peace+Love, Mark.”

Michael Jackson’s Doctor Facing Arraignment

Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s doctor at the time of his death, is being arraigned today on an involuntary manslaughter charge in the singer’s death.

The King of Pop died in June 2009 allegedly from an overdose of Propofol that was injected by Murray.

Murray’s lawyers are expected to argue that Michael Jackson injected himself with the fatal dosage of the drug after Murray injected him with a lesser dose.

Dr Murray claims he was trying to ween Jackson off the Propofol he was giving him almost each night for months. Propofol is a powerful hospital grade anesthesia.

Murray claims he was pressured by Jackson to continue giving him something to help him sleep.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said in his final arguments, “Michael is not with us today because of an utterly inept, incompetent, reckless doctor, the defendant Conrad Murray.”

Murray remains free on a $75,000 bond.

Serial Killer on the Loose in NY?

It seems there is a serial killer on the loose in New York.

Four bodies have been found buried on Gilgo Beach on Long Island. The bodies were in different stages of decomposition. One could have been there about a year. Each body was found within a quarter mile of each other. And, the injuries were “substantially similar” but the police declined any further explanation. Police said this is a clear indication these killings were done by the same person.

“It does appear to us at this time that the same person or persons are responsible for all of these murders,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said. “They were killed in another location and their remains were transported to the Gilgo Beach area.”

It also appears all four women worked as prostitutes and posted ads on Craigslist and other web sites.

Mr Spota said, “We believed that each of the four victims met their prearranged client or clients shortly before their deaths and their deaths are a direct result of their business as prostitutes.”

Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer is now asking pimps and prostitutes to come forward with any information they may have about these cases.

Owen Wilson is a New Daddy

Owen Wilson and his girlfriend, Jade Duell, had a healthy baby boy on Friday in Hawaii.

This is the first child for the 42 year old actor and star of movies like “Little Fockers” and “Marley and Me”.

The star kept quiet about the pregnancy until just a few days ago. Sources say Wilson has been looking forward to being a new father and the new family is doing great.

It sounds like Wilson has a busy upcoming year with his next film to open the end of February. He also has a few movies where he reprises his voice over rolls as Lightning McQueen in “Cars 2” and “Turkeys”. And, rumor has it a sequel to “Zoolander” is on the slate with co-star Ben Stiller.

Massive Drug Recalls by Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson has recalled nearly 50 million non-prescription medicines and drugs store shelves are starting to look a little empty.

The company blamed lax cleaning procedures and other problems at one of their plants, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, in Fort Washington, Pa.

The medicines in the large recall include Tylenol, Benadryl, Sudafed and Sinutab products. They also recalled rolls and packages of Rolaids antacid because of missing label information.

The company said that no action is required by consumers or healthcare providers and the latest recalls were at the wholesale level. Consumers who have these products can continue using them, according to the company.

“Steps we have taken under the comprehensive action plan constitute an uncompromising and systematic effort to review quality and manufacturing practices at McNeil,” J&J Chief Executive William Weldon said in a statement. “They help us assure that moving forward, any of our products in the marketplace live up to the trusted standards and expectations that consumers have for all products coming from a Johnson & Johnson company, anywhere in the world.”

Johnson & Johnson had a string of recalls in 2009 as well. Sales dropped 25 percent in the third quarter of 2009 and they have begun selling off some of their brands like St Joseph’s aspirin.

The “Golden Voice” is Headed for Rehab After Visit with Dr Phil

Ted Williams, the man with the golden voice, who was discovered on YouTube is heading for rehab after visiting with Dr Phil McGraw.

Williams was homeless when an Ohio motorist video taped him speaking like a radio announcer using his silky, radio friendly voice. It was an instant YouTube sensation and the job offers starting pouring in from local news stations, to MTV, to the Cleveland Cavaliers – the offer Williams accepted along with a house to live in mortgage free.

While at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel and Spa in Hollywood, Williams was reportedly engaged in a heated argument with his daughter Janie. The police were called and Williams was briefly detained.

“It was minor. Both parties were angry but there were no signs of visible abuse,” Los Angeles police Officer Catherine Massey said Tuesday. She said the two “were brought in, calmed down, talked to and released” and she did not know the nature of the argument.

Williams sat down with Dr Phil on three consecutive occasions where he was urged to enter a rehab program. Williams is an admitted alcoholic and drug addict. The sudden fame and attention brought to Williams in the last few weeks has been difficult for him to handle and family members said he’s been drinking again.

“If Ted is ever going to get better, he’s got to be honest with himself and admit he’s addicted to drugs and alcohol,” McGraw said in a statement. “I’ve told him it’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to take hard work.

“It might be a long journey for him, but this is a big step in the right direction.”

iPhone and Verizon; Better Together?

On Wednesday, Verizon announced they will be accepting the iPhone on its wireless network. This makes many AT&T customers very happy because of the poor service they have reportedly provided their iPhone customers over the past few years.

With so many AT&T customers flocking to the Verizon network, will this free up the AT&T network for the folks that stay behind? Only time will tell.

One of the surprises that came with the Verizon announcement was the Verizon iPhone could also work as a personal WiFi hot spot. In other words, it would allow the iPhone to act as a WiFi access point for up to five devices, allowing them to connect to Verizon’s 3G network wherever the phone has coverage.

But, this seems to be a part of the new operating system, 4.3 and not exclusive to Verizon. So, this WiFi hot spot feature will be available to all iPhones capable of running the 4.3 operating system. Now, this is being reported by BGR, formerly known as Boy Genius Report, who’s source remains a mystery. So, we’ll find out when 4.3 gets pushed to all iPhone users, whenever that may be.

The price? Well, the iPhone device will cost the same as AT&T’s. The more important monthly service fees have not been announced yet.