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Friday, January 25, 2013

Deadly Riots in Egypt Mark Second Anniversary of Revolution

Five people died today in Suez as protesters were shot as demonstrations against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi took over the country in the second anniversary of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Another 280 protesters and 55 members of the security forces were injured. Secular activists also took to Tahrir Square in Cairo, chanting the same words of the 2011 uprising, “The people want to bring down the regime,” as they voiced their anger against the Morsi and his backers of the Muslim Brotherhood for what they see as an Islamic hijacking of the popular revolution. “Our revolution is continuing. We reject the domination of any party over this state. We say no to the Brotherhood state,” Hamdeen Sabahy, a protest leader, told Reuters.

Malian Troops Advance in the North

Backed by French troops, the Malian military advanced towards the Northeast of the nation, further into rebel territory, 250 km (155 miles) south of Gao, one of the three cities held by Islamic militants. Residents of the town of Hombori described how eight all-terrain and two armored vehicles arrived, and how they were asked whether Islamic rebels were present in the village. “We told them they had left,” said a witness. “People were very happy to see the Malian and French military.” This is the farthest push into the occupied territory for the two armies since the joint offensive began two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Islamists blew up a bridge on a road to Gao, blocking further advances.

Court Rules Obama’s Recess Appointments Are Invalid

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled today three appointements President Barack Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were unconstitutional because the Senate was not, in fact, on recess. For almost 200 years, American presidents have been able to fill vacancies during Congressional recess if the Senate is not available to confirm it. The court said those appointments were made on January 4, 2012, while the Senate was on of its many breaks, holding minutes-long “pro forma” sessions, but not formally adjourned. The ruling went further, however, restricting the definition of recess, which could potentially invalidate most of the appointments done in such periods and considerably limit presidential power. “Considering the text, history, and structure of the Constitution, these appointments were invalid from their inception,” the decision read. The ruling could also annul the appointment of Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was made on the same day. Obama used recess appointments to bypass Senate obstruction. The three judges who ruled today were named by Republican presidents.

Apple Internal Audit Shows 106 Children Worked in Factories

An internal audit by California-based computer-maker Apple showed as many as 106 children were employed by 11 different factories in China, and worked last year building some of its coveted products. The report also uncovered cases of suicide by Foxconn workers because of working conditions and fatal explosions at other facilities. Other contractors imposed mandatory pregnancy tests, withheld pay as punishment, or forced employees to work for free, using their wages to pay off employment agency fees. Apple fired one particular contractor called Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics for employing 74 children. The news comes two days after Apple published its first-quarter results, which caused investors to worry about growth potential for the company and dump its stock, which tanked 14.4 percent. Apple lost its status as world’s most valuable company to Exxon.

U.K. Government Presents Gay Marriage Legislation

U.K. Secretary of Culture Maria Miller, of Prime Minister David Cameron’s conservative government, presented today a piece of legislation that would, if approved, make same-sex marriage legal in Britain. The proposal, which seeks to ensure “equal and fair” protection of same-sex couples, would also give religious institutions the freedom not to perform such ceremonies. The bill, which faces staunch opposition from a large number of Members of Parliament of Miller’s own party, would also make it possible for people in civil partnerships to gain the married status and for married people to change gender without risking to dissolve their unions. “I believe that couples should not be excluded from marriage just because they love someone of the same sex,” Miller said. “In opening up marriage to same-sex couples, we will further strengthen the importance of marriage in our society.”

Weekend Read: The Price of a Stolen Childhood

Victims of child pornography are now entitled to damages from those who used their image. But how much good does it do them? In The New York Times.

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