Thursday, May 24, 2012

Brotherhood claims lead as Egypt vote count begins

CAIRO (AP) — The Muslim Brotherhood said Thursday that its candidate was leading in exit polls from Egypt's landmark presidential election, as official counting began after two days of voting to choose a successor to ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.
In stations around the country, workers cracked open ballot boxes and started the count after polls closed Thursday night, in Egypt's first truly competitive presidential election. There are five prominent candidates in a field of 13, but none is expected to win outright in the first round. A run-off between the two leading contenders would be held June 16-17.
A Brotherhood spokesman said the group's candidate, Mohammed Morsi, was the leader in exit polls conducted by Brotherhood campaign workers nationwide. Morsi's spokesman, Murad Mohammed Ali, declined to give specific percentages.
"The Egyptian people always amaze us," said Ali. "This is above our expectations."
The reliability of the Brotherhood's polls could not be confirmed. Regional television channels, citing their own exit polls, also placed Morsi as the top finisher, with rivals Ahmed Shafiq and Hamdeen Sabahi vying for second post.
Shafiq, a former air force commander, was Mubarak's last prime minister and was himself forced from his post by protests soon after his former boss. Opponents brand him as a "feloul" or "remnant" of the old, autocratic regime, but he has drawn support from Egyptians who crave stability or fear Islamists.
Sabahi is a leftist who had been a dark horse but gained steadily in opinion polls over the past week, attracting Egyptians who want neither an Islamist or a former regime figure.
The Brotherhood is hoping that a victory in the presidential race will seal its political rise since its longtime opponent Mubarak was ousted on Feb. 11, 2011 in a wave of protests. The group won just under half the seats in parliament in elections held late last year, establishing it as the biggest political bloc.
But it had troubles in the presidential campaign. Its first choice for candidate, deputy leader Khairat el-Shater, was disqualified because of a Mubarak-era conviction. Morsi was the Brotherhood's second-choice and was seen as less charismatic.
He also faced competition for religious voters from Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, a moderate Islamist who split from the Brotherhood last year and has also drawn liberals with his more inclusive vision.
One of the prominent secular candidates, former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, made an emotional appeal three hours before voting ended, urging supporters to get to the polls. The last-minute call suggested his exit polls were not going his way.
Earlier, Moussa gave a surprise interview to Al-Arabiya television, calling on Shafiq — his main rival for the secular vote — to drop out of the race. Rattled with his hair unkempt, Moussa launched a scathing attack on Shafiq, saying that if elected Shafiq would "recreate" the Mubarak regime.
Both Shafiq and the Brotherhood's Morsi have repeatedly spoken of the dangers, real or imaginary, of the other becoming president. Morsi has said there would be massive street protests if a "feloul" — a remnant of the Mubarak regime — wins, arguing it could only be the result of rigging.
Shafiq, on his part, has said it would be "unacceptable" if an Islamist takes the presidential office, echoing the rhetoric of Mubarak, his longtime mentor who devoted much of his 29-year rule to fighting Islamists. Still, Shafiq's campaign has said it would accept the election's result.
If a run-off is held, the final result would be announced on June 21. The generals who took over from the 84-year-old Mubarak have promised to hand over power by July, but many fear that they would try to retain significant powers after a new president is in office.

Donald Trump hosting Romney fundraiser, which will have an appearance by Newt Gingrich

Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich (Seth Wenig/AP)
Billionaire real estate investor and television personality Donald Trump is hosting a pricey fundraiser for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Las Vegas next Tuesday, and Newt Gingrich is expected to make an appearance, Yahoo News has learned.
"Newt is expected to be there, along with many other well-known people," Michael Cohen, Trump's special counsel, told Yahoo News.
To co-chair the fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel, supporters are required to raise $50,000 on behalf of Romney's presidential campaign, according to the invitation to the event. A VIP reception with Romney costs $10,000 and the minimum donation to attend is $2,500.
Trump, who officially endorsed Romney in February, will play "a significant role" at the fundraiser, Cohen said.
In an interview with Newsmax Magazine, Trump said he was mulling the possibility of starting his own super PAC that would pay for television ads intended to influence the November election.
"My super PAC ads would be focused on how outside places and outside things are absolutely sucking the blood out of this country, and this country can't be great again unless it really starts to generate money," Trump said to Newsmax.
Cohen told Yahoo News that Trump is currently in the "beginning stage" of possibly forming the money-raising organization and would pour "significant" amounts of his own money into it.
"He has the paperwork within which to create the super PAC, but right now he's just reviewing them," Cohen said.
A spokesman from Romney's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

New York Senate bill seeks to end anonymous internet posting

If the bill passes, get ready to hand over your full name and home address
Anonymity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the United States was founded, in part, thanks to Thomas Paine's anonymously written, pro-revolution pamphlet Common Sense. On the other hand, 12-year-olds who post anonymously on the internet can be rather unpleasant and cause real problems by cyberbullying. Whether you think the good outweighs the bad, this news is troubling indeed: A far-reaching bill introduced in the New York State Senate could end the practice of posting online once and for all.
Sen. Thomas F. O'Mara / NY SenateIntroduced by New York State Sen. Thomas F. O'Mara (R—Big Flats), S6779 would require that any anonymous post online is subject to removal if the poster refuses to post — and verify — their legal name, their IP addressand their home address. From the (likely well intentioned) bill:
"A web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate. All web site administrators shall have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted."
Critics are quick to point out how dangerous and ineffective the anti-privacy bill would be in the off chance that it somehow passes.  After all, IP addresses do nothing to verify a person's identity, and including your home address on a controversial internet post could open you up to real-life threats.
In effect, the bill is an online stalker's dream. Of course, the most likely result of the bill's passage would just be the full-scale elimination of all comment systems everywhere, because the system is an unworkable burden on both the poster and the "web site administrators" who would need to respond to ludicrous take down requests at all times of the day.
[via Geekosystem]
This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Tecca