On Thursday, former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audiotape of him dismissing upcoming presidential elections as a "fraud" and foregone win for military leader Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. Shafik, a former general and runner-up in the 2012 presidential race, "had not planned on making his opinion quite so public," deadpans David D. Kirkpatrick at The New York Times. "But these days in Egypt, conversations are often not as private as they seem."
In confirming his private comments, Shafik didn't exactly endorse them: "My confidence that the armed forces will ensure a transparent democratic and electoral process is complete and unquestionable." He also insisted: "I say in public what I say in private." Well, here's what he said in private, according to Al Jazeera:
I know very well they will fix all the ballot boxes. I have taken myself out of this loop because the election is going to be a farce.... Of course whether other candidates withdraw will depend on the nomination of Sisi. I said if he's going to run in the presidential election I will not run but I will get my papers ready (and) if he is going to run I will not submit them.... They will fix everything for him… this is going to be a comedy show. [Al Jazeera]
The comments are especially unusual because "Shafik comes from the same military elite as Field Marshal Sisi," Kirkpatrick notes. "Questioning the field marshal's candidacy is almost heretical in the pro-military and anti-Islamist circles both officers represent." Plenty in Egypt agree with Shafik's cynical assessment of Egyptian democracy. If Shafik hadn't taken himself out of the running, it would be interesting to know if his comments would hurt him or help his presidential candidacy. Peter Weber
The Tampa Bay Lightning bought a ticket to the Stanley Cup final with a 2-0 win over the New York Rangers in Game 7 on Friday night. After a scoreless 40 minutes in Madison Square Garden, Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat each notched a goal.
The Lightning will face the winner of tonight's Game 7 matchup between the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup, which begins June 3. Julie Kliegman
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday he's "shocked and saddened" by the allegations against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), the Associated Press reports. A federal grand jury indicted Hastert on Thursday for allegedly evading currency reporting requirements and lying to the FBI.
Sources told the Los Angeles Times the former teacher and wrestling coach has paid $1.7 million to a former male student over the last four years to conceal sexual abuse against that man. Julie Kliegman
Come Monday, the city of Paris will begin removing the hundreds of thousands of "love locks" tourists affix to the Pont des Arts bridge, The Local reports. Visitors might think it's cute, but for locals, the locks are an eyesore and a nuisance.
"This phenomenon generates two problems: a lasting degradation of the heritage of Paris and also a risk to the safety of visitors, Parisians and tourists," a Paris Town Hall statement read.
The city will install glass panels in place of the locks. Last year, a portion of the bridge collapsed under the weight of the locks, which also adorn other bridges throughout the city and even the Eiffel tower. Julie Kliegman
As part of our ongoing series on the 2016 candidates, produced in partnership with Rubin Report, The Week's Marc Ambinder and Dave Rubin concisely analyze the former Maryland governor's biggest strengths and weaknesses. Watch below:
Every nail salon in New York will be required to post a workers' bill of rights in plain view of employees and customers, The New York Times reports. The announcement comes after the newspaper highlighted widespread exploitation and abuse of manicurists, many of whom are new immigrants.
The posters Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed Friday will be printed in 10 languages. They include information about minimum wage, tipping, safety measures, and a phone number to report violations. Officials will also hand out information cards to consumers outlining questions they should ask upon entering nail salons.
"We’re asking New Yorkers to help; we're asking New Yorkers to get involved," Cuomo said at a news conference with New York City advocate Letitia James. Julie Kliegman
Empire's first season aired its finale in March, and fans have been eagerly waiting to find out when they'll finally get to see all those dangling cliffhangers resolved.
Unfortunately, the season two premiere date is still pretty far away — but at last you can put it down on your calendar. Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie, took to Twitter to reveal that Empire will return on September 23. Set your DVRs accordingly. Scott Meslow
Ross William Ulbricht, 31, thec reator of black market website Silk Road, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.
After its 2011 launch, Ulbricht ran the underground cyber-bazaar, where anonymous users used the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to purchase drugs, hacking tools, and fake identification, for about two years before he was arrested.
Ulbricht received the maximum sentence for his felony convictions of conspiracy, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Stephanie Talmadge