At least 17 journalists assaulted during Egypt clashes

While we watch the renewed riots in Egypt with horror, I wanted to publish this statement from the Committee to Protect Journalists. We journalists are not particularly special, and I know that plenty of freelancers will head into the area to make their name in conflict journalism, but the general disregard for life, from the little online footage I’ve seen, is sickening. The CPJ published similar statements during the February revolution, though the best-known case will be the assault on the US female journalist, Lara Logan.
York, November 21, 2011 – Clashes
between security forces and protesters in Cairo and other Egyptian cities have led to at least 17 assaults
on the press over the past couple of days, including a shooting, detentions,
and a beating by unidentified security personnel while in custody. The
Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks and calls on authorities
to bring them to an immediate end.
Since Saturday, Cairo’s Tahrir
Square has been
occupied by protesters demanding an end to military rule. They were met by
security forces firing live and rubber ammunition, deploying tear gas bombs,
and assaulting scores of people, according to news reports. As of Monday, at least 33 people
had been killed and thousands injured as a result of the clashes, several news
outlets reported.
Today, Maher Iskandar, a
photographer for the daily Youm7, was shot in the left leg while filming
clashes in Tahrir Square, the daily reported. Iskandar was taken to a field hospital
in close proximity to the central Cairo square.
Military and police units
attacked at least 10 journalists in and around Tahrir Square on Sunday, Karem Mahmoud, secretary-general of Egypt’s press syndicate, told CPJ. The journalists include:
Rasha Azab, editor for the independent Al-Fagr; Omar al-Zohairi and
Motaz Zaki, both photographers for the independent daily Al-Tahrir;
Mahmoud al-Hefnaoui, editor for Youm7; Mohamed Kamel, an editor for the
independent daily Al-Masry al-Youm and Adanob Emad, Tarek Wageeh, and
Ahmed Abd al-Fattah, all photographers for the same independent daily; Amr
Gamal, an editor for the website Al-Hurriya wa Al-Adala, a nascent youth
group; and Saad Abid, a freelance photographer.
Abd al-Fattah, who
sustained an eye injury, and Azab were still recovering from their
injuries in hospital today, according to the syndicate. Gamal and Zaki were
detained for several hours, the syndicate said.
In Alexandria on Sunday, police attacked six journalists, one of whom
was taken into detention for six hours and repeatedly beaten, Mahmoud told CPJ.
That reporter, Sarhan Sinara with the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, was
assaulted and detained by unidentified security personnel, then repeatedly
beaten with a club, Mahmoud said. Sinara is recovering from his injuries at
The five other journalists who
were assaulted and suffered injuries in Alexandria on Sunday are: Ahmed Tarek,
an editor for the official Middle East News Agency; Ahmed Ramadan, a
photographer for Al-Tahrir; Mohamed Fuad and Essam Amer, Alexandria
office director and editor, respectively, for Al-Shorouk; and Rafi
Mohamed Shakir, a photographer for Al-Shorouk, the syndicate told CPJ
and said in a statement released today.
The six journalists attacked in Alexandria submitted a formal complaint today to prosecutors accusing
the chief of the Alexandria Security Directorate of being responsible for the
physical assaults, local media reported. The complaint says that Sinara was
repeatedly beaten before and after he brandished his credentials and identified
himself as a journalist. He was also prevented from taking medication for the
duration of his time in custody, the reports said.
The military leadership has
offered no explanation regarding the attacks on journalists. 

Cairns pulls at the heartstrings

Cairns lagoon. Skin cancer central, but does have some shade!

On a busy corner of tropical Cairns, I could see OK Souvenirs, Koaland and Louis Vuitton. Then I got trampled by a Japanese tourist group. A woman outside my hotel window smoked rolled cigarettes and spat tobacco and invectives at passers-by, the hotel concierge went AWOL while I was trying to haul baby, pram and bags up the front stairs, and it was hot, humid and heavy. Cairns, I was quite prepared to hate you.

But the next morning, I’d softened. The concierge had materialised at the Cairns Hilton, which has just had a $6 million renovation. The streets were full of cute open-air cafes and restaurants and locals and travellers were splashing happily in the lagoon, a clear water pool in the middle of town. I liked the notices pinned telling you where to take baby flying foxes that have fallen out of the trees above, and the primal squeak of a hundred furry little bodies hanging from the branches like over-excited black fruit.

Flying foxes, just hanging out in Cairns.

Then, there was the discovery that the Hanuman restaurant in the Hilton is of the same family as the legendary Darwin Hanuman, and I was unnaturally thrilled to learn they even do bento, basically upmarket take-away, comprising two perfect curries, rice and some rather exciting pickles.

Pulling out of the harbour on a boat turned toward Fitzroy Island, I could smell the massaman curry and jasmine rice, and the prospect of enjoying it on a tropical island seemed pretty damned good. Cairns, welcome back into the heart.

Tropical island eats

It’s just on lunchtime and Cheong Liew is wandering the sea
shore, hunting for oysters for my dinner. Oh yeah, baby, we’ve landed in
paradise on earth. 
Orpheus Island
is a hilly dot in the Palm Islands group, 80km off the coast of Townsville.
Lashed by cyclonic winds last year, the resort recently reopened, and if it
plays its cards right, will be one of those hideaways where sneaky celebs have
no need for wearing wigs or 80s fashion. 
It’s not like there are many crowds.
used to be described as exclusive, taking just 24 lucky guests. While it’s
still being repaired after Cyclone Yasi whipped the roofs off half the
accommodation, the resort can take just 16 guests. That makes us even more
The only
way to the resort is chopper, or sea plane if you’re a bigger group. It’s just
30 minutes from Townsville in the little four-seater eggbeater, and we skim
over uninhabited islands, little atolls, a former leper colony and Palm Island,
with a local population of 2000-3000 indigenous people.
The island
was bought by a Melbourne businessman who also lured Cheong away from Adelaide
to ramp up the menus at the Botanical, in South Yarra, where Arie has also
worked. That same businessman also managed to spirit the pair away for a stint
on the island, which is still being repaired and renovated. So it it is my absolute
great fortune to be one of just five guests (including my wunderkind), on the
island for the past two days. How do you go back to normal life after this?

On the road to Orpheus

Townsville airport is full of huge men with huge arms cloaked in huge tatts.

Some are drinking stubbies of Bundy rum and coke, and it’s just gone 9.30am. The departures board is full of places you don’t really slap on your holiday list: Cloncurry, Mount Isa, and lots of private mines. There’s a huge ad on the wall declaring “You don’t need to dig deep to find the perfect job”: the mining industry is doing well here.

Our destination couldn’t be further from a coal-cut mine. We’re just waiting for the seaplane to finish refuelling and we’re off to Orpheus Island. Let’s go!

Grey is the new brown: Colours of 2011

Grey is the new brown. 

Wearing my somewhat neglected interior-decorating hat, I received some notes about how we used colour in 2011. Yes, it’s the beginning of that publishing trend to look back over the past year. I quite like these round-ups: books we loved, movies we watched, political and social highlights… just in case I missed something.

Dulux sent through its tips for colours in the home, and this is what they said:

Grey is the new brown. Seven of its top 10 colours are deep, dark browns.
Neutrals are cooler, with grey undertones, rather than warm or brown-based neutrals.
Blue is still hot, but with a grey base: think duck-egg or ocean blues.
And berry colours  – fuchsia, indigo and purples – are still hot favourites in 2012, bearing in mind Pantone’s colour of 2011 was Honeysuckle, which it describes as a ‘dynamic reddish pink…that elevates our psyche beyond escape.”

Antique White USA (pic credit: Dulux

Their top colours for 2011 were: Namadji (a dark grey)
Red Box (hmmm, I painted a wall in this lush red, 8 years ago)
Woodland Grey (grey)
Domino (grey)
Malay Grey (grey)
Western Myall
Sea Elephant (sooo grey)
Ticking (yep, grey)

All this lovely (greyed-out) colour. But it’s all still a white-wash.

The top neutrals were dominated by the investor-renovator’s delight, Hog Bristle in full, half and quarter strength, but the number one white was that old fave, Antique White USA, which all you out there in decorator-magazine-land will be more than au fait with, given its dominance for the past decade. 

reminds me of a story I was told when I first moved into interiors
magazines. A girl leaving the industry said she had to go because she had
run out of ways to say ‘white’. 

Salalah, Oman

We love a ‘top 10’ and the Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities is always good for a spot of cultural biffo.

I’m going to be a snob and say up front that London is a rather ho-hum choice for the number one city to visit out of all the world, and Orlando in the US leaves us cold, but hey, Australia’s always got Darwin. Yes, Darwin. Land of jumping crocodiles and topless barmaids. Sorrrrryyyy, that’s SUCH an awful picture of Darwin. We like our most northern capital.

Happy to see the entire Middle East hasn’t been written off, and we’re big fans of Oman and Hong Kong is perpetually fabulous. Of course, the game is to see how many you’ve already ticked off before the Lonely Planet got there…

Here’s the list in its entirety:
1. London, UK
2. Muscat, Oman
3. Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
4. Cadiz, Spain
5. Stockholm, Sweden,
6. Guimaraes, Portugal
7. Santiago, Chile
8. Hong Kong
9. Orlando, USA
10. Darwin Australia.

In the top 10 countries, Uganda is the ‘too cool for school’ number 1, with Taiwan and gorgeous Jordan in there. Ukraine? Horses for courses, man, and Cuba’s still a goer while the Castros remain in power, with the ever-powerful tagline, ‘go before it changes irrevocably’.

The top 10 regions include coastal Wales, La Ruta Maya (central America), northern Kenya, Arunachal Pradesh (India), Hvar (Croatia), Sicily (Italy), Maritime Provinces (Canada), Queenstown and southern lakes (New Zealand), Borneo and Poitou-Charentes (France).