Monday's intriguing people
Slim Amamou, Tunisian minister of youth and sports, arrives for a ministers session on January 20 in Tunis.
January 24th, 2011
02:28 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Slim Amamou

The dissident blogger said he was being psychologically tortured in Tunisia earlier this month, according to several media outlets. He was reportedly told that screams emanating from beyond a wall in an Interior Ministry office were the cries of his family members being tortured.

Today, Amamou is Tunisia’s minister of youth and sports – a fitting role reversal for a cog in Tunisia’s lightning-fast, social media-fueled revolution.

The 33-year-old CEO of a Web development company was arrested January 6 with another blogger and accused of being part of a conspiracy to destroy government sites, Al-Jazeera reported.

He was released January 13, the day before President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country. Minutes before the Cabinet was announced, Amamou was offered a position in the interim government, Al-Jazeera said.

He has since been using his blog as well as his Facebook and Twitter accounts - the same weapons he used to sound off about government abuses and his own arrest - to send out reports on the new government, even on closed-door meetings, The New York Times said. His postings are in French, Arabic and, sometimes, English.

His first conflict with the Constitutional Democratic Rally, Ben Ali’s party, was over his failure to wear a tie, The Times said.

“I like the minister of justice,” he tweeted later. “I am going to wear a tie just to please him.”

He also caught some flak from his followers when he said the members of the president’s party shouldn’t be rejected from the government. It’s a coalition government, he wrote, so people won’t be in total agreement over its makeup, The Guardian in London said.

As for criticism aimed at his transition from revolutionary to minister, he said it is not a career move. He is doing it for his country and to keep an eye on the interim government until elections can be held. He also wants to persuade other Cabinet members to sign up for Twitter, The Times reported.

“It is similar to an underground artist who signs with a major label and is criticized by the purists and the masses,” he wrote, describing the criticism.

Patricia, Oprah Winfrey's long-lost half sister

The queen of daytime talk promised to reveal a secret that she said "shook" her to her "core," which turned out to be that she has a half sister she had no idea existed until a few months ago. Winfrey's mother had given the sister, Patricia, up for adoption at birth. "For the most part, my life has been an open book," Winfrey said. "I thought nothing could surprise me, but I was wrong." Winfrey said she chose to make the announcement so the media would not exploit it. The sister knew for a long time that it was highly likely Winfrey was her sister, and she tried to get in touch with Winfrey's mother.

Winfrey broke down a bit when she explained that she felt betrayed by so many people in her life who exploited their connection to her by going to the media with details of her life. Patricia did not do that. "She never once thought to go to the press," Winfrey said. "She never once thought to sell this story." The two met for the first time on Thanksgiving in Milwaukee, where the woman lives.

Aziza: Afghan parent who, like many, gives her child opium

For many in remote areas of Afghanistan, opium addiction is passed down through generations. The narcotic is grown naturally in the war-torn country. And the problem is widespread, partly because without access to medicine or much food, parents  use opium to soothe their children. A stirring CNN story by Arwa Damon features a mother named Aziza who feeds a small, pure chunk of opium to her 4-year-old son, Omaidullah. It's his breakfast. "If I don't give him opium, he doesn't sleep," she says. "And he doesn't let me work." Opium can cause euphoria, followed by a sense of well-being and a calm drowsiness or sedation. With large doses, breathing slows, potentially to the point of unconsciousness and death.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT

    how come guys nammed slim are usually fat?

    January 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. duke

    This should be the joke of the year,
    After just nineteen day's in charge,the party of god(gop)claim the recovery is due to their achievements??
    And I thought just say no was for drugs,turns out if you just say no in politics,you've some how created job growth and stimulated the economy!!
    Republicans what a joke.

    January 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    The (R) and (D) have combined into what looks to be a big fat Elephant with a tiny Donkey head. It's ass-end trips over it's front-end causing the beast to fall face first into a pile of it's own luxuriant dung. And I hear it takes a sip of tea from time to time. Oh, it still runs around the world like a retarded twelve year old carrying a big shotgun. It just looks even dumber than before, what with that tiny little Donkey head and all.

    January 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ThomasD

    Nice post, Philip. I like that. This beast needs a name.

    January 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. duke

    Philip!!
    Well said!

    January 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    Thanks. Isn't it sad though? How people still think our system is so good, even when it does so bad, and so many bad things. It's as if their minds have been blinded. We need an entirely new system of things, one where paying attention is mandantory.

    January 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |