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Cairo Crackdown

Egypt Journo Goes On Hunger Strike

Amr Dalsh/Reuters

Jailed Al Jazeera reporter Abdullah El-Shamy, who has been detained for eight months after reporting on the government’s massacre at Raba’a, is now on his eighth week of a hunger strike to protest his internment.

Abdullah El-Shamy, an Al Jazeera Arabic broadcast reporter, was arrested while covering the Egyptian military’s bloody crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protesters on Aug. 13, 2013 in Cairo. El-Shamy’s family spoke to The Daily Beast about their memories of El-Shamy’s arrest and internment.Through the smudged windows of a Cairo cab, Mohammed ElShamy, 19, and Mosa’ab ElShamy, 24, looked out into the twilight falling on the patchy greens and sandy dunes on either side of the highway, which lead to their home in October 6th City, a suburb west of Cairo.

Dutch Treats

The Secret Service Hangover

Vladan Milisavljevic/Getty

The White House is trying to play down the incident, but when an Obama bodyguard passes out drunk in the hallway of a hotel, the Dutch have some theories about why.

In the week since a United States Secret Service Agent was found sprawled in the hall of a five-star beach hotel and spa in The Netherlands so zonked he had to be carried back to his room, the Dutch have turned a wry eye on the incident.They know only too well how quickly visitors succumb to the temptations abundantly available in their country. Prostitution is legal, with both men and women sex workers on display in Amsterdam’s red light district.

Toil & Trouble

Saudi’s Real-Life Witch Hunt

The Daily Beast

Indonesian guest workers are on trial in Saudi Arabia for “witchcraft.” But the charges are cover for cultural misunderstandings, sexual assaults, and withheld wages.

Barack Obama is spending part of this weekend in Saudi Arabia, the final stop in a five-country tour. Obama started his springtime trip in the Netherlands, where he visited The Hague, seat of the International Court of Justice. Working his way south, Obama spent Wednesday in Belgium and passed Thursday morning in the Vatican before heading down to Riyadh, presumably to talk about security (meaning Iran) and the historic ties between our two countries (meaning oil).

The Syria War

France's Gruesome Jihadists


Gruesome videos show the so-called “French Brigade” that fights as part of a breakaway Al-Qaeda faction opposed to Assad

A cable news station in Paris has aired shocking video of French-speaking jihadists at work in Syria. The footage broadcast Thursday night on BFMTV played like a macabre postcard home, only the latest reminder that hundreds of French and thousands of European jihadists are waging war against Bashar al-Assad. The news channel has called it evidence that France’s own are “direct actors in the atrocities committed in Syria.”The video excerpts are said to have been filmed over several days in February by French-speaking members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, a radical group of al-Qaeda dissidents.


Kiev Begs Rebels to Defend Ukraine

Dmitry Neymyrok/Reuters

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Beast, Ukraine’s interior minister says revolutionaries must accept the internal battle is over and help to face down Russia.

KIEV — With as many as 100,000 Russian troops amassing along the southern and eastern borders of Ukraine, the country’s interior minister is calling upon members of a nationalist militia which helped overthrow the regime of former President Viktor Yanukovych to lay down their weapons and join the country’s paltry armed forces. “We told them, the war is finished. If you would like to participate in defending the country, go and join the National Guard of Ukraine,” Interior Minister Arsen Avakov told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview in his office Thursday.


New MH370 Puzzle Scrambles Search

Paul Kane/AFP/Getty

The search zone for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight was shifted by almost 700 miles when it emerged that the the plane was flying much faster than previously thought.

The change in the search target zone for Flight MH370 seems to reveal how much can be calculated about the Boeing 777’s last hours in the air with very little information.In order to fix the airplane’s position three things are essential: its direction, height and speed.The first information acted upon in directing the search was the most crucial: direction. This came from pings received by the London-based Inmarsat satellite operator. It was the thinnest of clues, based on hourly signals showing that the 777 was still “alive.


Saudi Arabia’s Comic Book Fatwa

The 99

The president should confront Saudi leaders over the ludicrous fatwa against ‘The 99,’ a ground-breaking Muslim superhero comic.

President Obama did not go to Saudi Arabia this Friday to talk about comic books, but he should, because a new fatwa against them—specifically those showing right-thinking Muslim superheroes—underscores just how hard it is to sustain a positive relationship with Riyadh.Obama himself once singled out the remarkable comic book series in question, called The 99, for special praise. The superheroes have the attributes associated with the 99 names of Allah—words like “strength” and “light” and “wisdom”—and these characters team up to fight evil.

Zoo Story

Denmark’s Evil Zookeeper

Kasper Palsnov/Scanpix Denmark/AFP/Getty

Not content with killing a healthy giraffe, the officials murdered four lions. Who runs this place—Charles Manson?

You’d think killing a giraffe would be enough.  Never mind that the giraffe was perfectly healthy, or that its killers worked at the Copenhagen Zoo—which, as a rule, much prefers its giraffes alive than dead—or that they killed it in front of a group of children, or that the children watched the giraffe be dismembered and fed to the zoo’s lions (teachable moment?)—or that when word got out, the zoo received the condemnation of animal lovers everywhere.

Above the Law

Fascist Fascination With D-Listers


Putin’s reviving a Stalin-era fitness program to toughen up Russians—with help from Steven Seagal. Why do today’s strongmen have such a weakness for our washed-up celebrities?

Say what you will about Vladimir Putin. For a guy in his sixties—at least based on the shirtless horseback photos we’ve all seen—he’s in better shape than most of us.So it’s not surprising to see Russia’s president—who has dominated the world stage thanks to a bloodless takeover of Crimea—stress the importance of physical fitness to his 143 million-plus population. It’s all part of his latest initiative to revive a Stalin-era conditioning program appropriately titled “Ready for Labor and Defense.

On Trial

The Prosecution vs. Pistorius

Siphiwe Sibeko/AFP/Getty

In South Africa, the state abruptly rested its case. As the Olympian’s defense takes over, there’s no telling where this case is going next.

“Everything moves fast with Pistorius—including the speed with which the case against him turned into a smashup of strange behavior,” Amy Davidson of The New Yorker wrote while reporting on the Oscar Pistorius bail application after he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, just over a year ago. It’s an observation that is befitting even now, given how quickly and abruptly the prosecution decided to rest its case on Tuesday, a move that had both the public and legal experts scratching their heads trying to ascertain exactly why everything ended so suddenly, and why many critical questions had been left unanswered.


Crisis in Ukraine




The Best of the Beast

The Best of the Beast

Our favorite stories for your weekend reading list.


Spain’s LGBT Nursing Home


To Be Totally Frank


Saving India’s Magician Colony


Brilliant, Mysterious Penelope