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In an attempt to control the scale of protests in the country, the then reigning Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak, pulled the plug off the Internet for five days.

     Print Edition: March 20, 2011

HOW THINGS WORK
Switching the Internet off

In an attempt to control the scale of protests in the country, the then reigning Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak, pulled the plug off the Internet for five days. Following suit are countries like Bahrain where the success of the Egyptian revolution has sparked off protests. Here is how it is done.

Although the Internet is virtual and omnipresent, the connection to it is routed through a dominant carrier using fibre-optic cables. A state-owned telecom or Internet company is the router in most countries like Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Iran, Qatar and indeed most of West Asia. Essentially, disconnecting the exchange of communication with an international agency is paramount to this blackout.

Simply put, an e-mail sent to a person via Gmail travels all the way to California and comes back. If this 'circuit' breaks, the e-mail does not reach its destination. Information that is not disseminated results in the notion of a switched 'off ' Internet. All Egypt had to do was to disconnect its server routes through its stateowned company Telecom Egypt to ensure the Internet blackout.

JUST WONDERING
Mid-air turbulence

Will Air India ever make profits? That is a question every taxpayer of the country will ask given the fact that the Comptroller and Auditor General put Air India's losses at `8,589 crore this fiscal year. To top that off, the carrier has debts worth `40,000 crore. To make matters worse, the civil aviation ministry has sacked Pawan Arora, Chief Operating Officer, or COO, of the carrier's low-cost arm, Air India Express. Arora is widely believed to have been a key hire of Air India COO, Gustav Baldauf, one of the men who is seen as crucial to the turnaround that Air India is attempting to make. Baldauf, a former executive with Austrian Airlines, was appointed as COO of Air India in April 2010. Last heard, the ministry was also taking a closer look at some of the other hires by Baldauf. It looks like this is one story where the happy ending is still a while away.

Compiled by Anamika Butalia, T.V. Mahalingam

QUIRKY
The 'poor' rich farmers

The ministry of agriculture seems to have turned landowners into paupers… figuratively, this time. In Lutiyen, UP, nine landowners, including two women, were made to pose as "model farmers" with green fields as the backdrop. They were told that hoardings with their photographs would be displayed all over Delhi, making them celebrities overnight. Now, six months later, the toothy smiles may disappear from the faces of the landowners as friends and neighbours ask them if all is well. Turns out the ministry morphed the picture - a post office replaced the green fields - and used them as models for an Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme ad in a local paper. Having drawn a lot of laughs from their fellowmen and the local tehsildar, these farmers now plan to sue for defamation.

SNOOT CORNER
Beer with it
The sommelier can take a break because Indians prefer beer to wine. The beverage is actually food-friendly. Here's how you can match your beer with flavourful food. A pint of ale pairs best with burgers, Mexican food, spicy and fried items, pizzas, steaks and cheese. Fruit beer goes with light, white meat, sweeter preparations of duck and pork, pickled dishes, and fruity flavours in salads and desserts. Lager is the seafood lover's delight. It goes well with shellfish, sushi, south-east Asian prep, and even grilled pork and chicken. Pilsners are best had with fish like salmon, tuna and trout, and asparagus. Stout is for roasted, smoked, barbecued, grilled and braised dishes. It also goes with oysters, stews, chocolates and desserts.

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