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Mubarak Disappears as Army Backs Him & Crowds Surge

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The situation in Egypt is fast-moving. Since President Hosni Mubarak gave his I'm-not-stepping-down step-down speech last night, much has happened. Below is a rundown of the morning's news regarding Egypt.

After Mubarak refused to step down completely, Euronews shows how angry Egyptians took their protest to the "front door" of Mubarak's presidential palace:

According to the New York Times, the military has thrown its support behind the despised president:

As tens of thousands of chanting protesters thronged central Cairo and elsewhere on the 18th day of Egypt’s uprising, the powerful armed forces scrambled on Friday to offer assurances and concessions, endorsing President Hosni Mubarak’s refusal to step down while seeking to defuse the outrage and anger it has provoked among protesters.

It was not clear whether the military’s position would satisfy demonstrators who have previously cast the military as an ally and who want Mr. Mubarak to leave immediately — a demand the military did not come close to supporting in a statement on Friday after a meeting of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The developments seemed to show the military increasingly embroiled in the crisis, reluctant to confront the protesters with force yet ready to back what Mr. Mubarak has depicted as a peaceful and orderly transition.

And while the demands of the Egyptian people have already fallen on deaf ears, that seems likely to continue, as there are now reports that Mubarak has left town.

Last week we reported Mubarak was monitoring the people's discontent from the comfort of his holiday villa in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Now, as Fox reports, it appears he has returned to the resort:

As protesters fill Tahrir Square in another day of demonstrations, an Israeli military intelligence official told Fox News that President Mubarak has left Cairo via helicopter, and was headed to his residence in Sharem a-Sheikh, a resort town in Egypt.

Still, there are circulating rumors that he has not gone to Sharm el-Sheikh but rather the United Arab Emerites. Business Insider reports that Al Jazeera tweeted, "Multiple sources talk about the departure of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to UAE."

And finally, Mubarak's defiance has had a positive effect on the U.S. dollar, says the AP:

The refusal of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak to stand down is weighing on market sentiment Friday, sending stocks down around the world and the dollar higher through its perceived status as a safe haven.

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