Reformist takes reins at ruling political party
Hossam Badrawy, a reform-oriented Egyptian politician, was appointed Saturday as the secretary general of the National Democratic Party, the ruling political organization run by beleaguered Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The secretary general post is the top administrative position in the NDP. Badrawy also assumes the responsibilities of Gamal Mubarak, Hosni's son, who also resigned from the party Saturday. Badrawy headed the education and scientific research committee in the NDP's policies secretariat, and was known to be in the circle of relatively young and well-educated businessmen and professionals affiliated with Gamal Mubarak. He hails from a wealthy family, is a professor of obstetrics at Cairo University, a member of the board of trustees of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and president of the Nile Badrawy Hospitals Group.
Amid protests, civility reigns
Despite the thousands of Egyptian protesters who have made it their home for 12 days, and the even greater numbers who stream in each day, the downtown Tahrir Square that is the epicenter of the anti-government movement is free of giant piles of garbage. That's thanks not only to the tidy volunteers periodically moving through the square with garbage bags, but also to protesters who are making an obvious effort to put trash where it belongs. Even on the Qasr Al-Nil Bridge near the square, young men and women wearing plastic gloves picked up garbage Saturday. Passersby thanked them. Protesters said they hadn't heard of anyone being robbed, either, despite personal belongings lying around.
Hundreds protest in American cities
Hundreds calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak peacefully demonstrated in several U.S. cities on Saturday to show their support for the anti-government throngs that have taken over the sprawling Tahrir Square in Cairo. About 500 shouted anti-Mubarak slogans in the heart of New York City, about 150 people gathered outside a New Orleans federal building, about 180 people demonstrated in Atlanta outside the headquarters of CNN and in Washington, more than 100 marched from the Egyptian Embassy to the White House. Rallies were also held in Seattle. Some protesters came from far beyond Washington. The Flint Journal reported that about 50 people in Michigan boarded a bus Friday to join the protest, picking up others in Detroit and Toledo, Ohio.
A natural gas pipeline in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula that feeds Israel and Jordan was shut after an explosion Saturday, according to media reports. Initial reports cited officials who blamed sabotage, however the head of the Egyptian natural gas company was later cited as saying the fire was caused by a leak.
Bomb detonated in empty church: Assailants detonated a bomb Saturday in an empty church in Rafah, on Egypt's border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, causing little damage and no injuries, officials said.
Summit may be delayed: The crisis in Egypt may force postponement of a summit of Latin American and Arab League leaders, Peru's President Alan Garcia said Saturday. The league's officials are likely to say Monday whether the meeting in Peru's capital, Lima, should be set back. It is currently set for Feb. 13-16.