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Monday, January 28, 2013

Fifth Day of Violence as Protesters Defy Emergency Curfew in Egypt

Protests continued in Egypt for a fifth day, breaking a curfew set by President Mohamed Morsi, who declared a month-long state of emergency in the cities of Suez, Port Said, and Ismailia. In Port Said, demonstrators said they no longer recognized the authority of the central government and chased security forces with stones, while attacking police stations after dark. Exactly two years after a revolution that resulted in Hosni Mubarak’s departure, today’s government opponents protested against these emergency measures, which were widely used under the former regime. At least 52 people died in the clashes of the past few days. Protesters also ignored Morsi’s efforts to open a dialogue for peace.

Malian, French Troops Retake Timbuktu as Rebels Leave Ashes of Precious Books

Two weeks after the beginning of a military operation that aimed at taking North Mali back from Islamic rebels, the French and Malian army circled and recovered the city of Timbuktu. This is the second rebel fief under military control in as many days, as they took over Gao, in the East, on Saturday. Like in Gao, Timbuktu residents welcomed soldiers with cheers, and music, banned by Islamists, returned to the streets. The joy was dampened by the news the rebels set the Ahmed Baba Institute afire, burning thousands of precious manuscripts essential to the study of Islamic history, some of them from the 13th century. Timbuktu is considered part of the World Heritage by Paris-based UNESCO, as a spiritual and cultural capital that played an essential role in disseminating Islam in the 15th and 16th centuries. Meanwhile, the U.S. announced plans for a drone base in Northwest Africa for surveillance of Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

U.S. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Immigration Bill

A group of eight U.S. senators, four Democrats and four Republicans, announced today they agreed on a plan for sweeping immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for 11.6 million undocumented immigrants. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, who presented the proposals, said they expected the bill to become law in the spring or early summer. The plan is also focused on strengthening enforcement, with heightened security against illegal immigration. The news comes a day before U.S. President Barack Obama is due to present his own plan at a speech in Las Vegas, Nevada. While details have yet to be discussed and agreed on, there is optimism that it will be passed as Republicans now understand an overhaul will be crucial factor if they ever hope to win the hearts and minds of Hispanic voters.

Four Arrested in Brazil Club Fire

Four suspects were arrested today in connection of a fire at a club that killed 233 people in the South of Brazil yesterday. Brazil’s government called for three days of mourning today as 50 people were being buried. A co-owner of the club handed himself in to the police for questioning. Another owner, one band member and a chief of security were also being held by the police. Another 82 people were in the hospital, at least 30 of whom in serious condition. There were reports the club was overcrowded and safety conditions not met, with fireworks on stage. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff flew to the city of Santa Maria to comfort victims as the World Cup Countdown Ceremony was canceled.

Stem Cells Help Stroke Recovery in Rats

Rats that were injected with stem cells within 30 minutes of suffering a stroke recovered most of their brain function within two weeks, new research shows. A team of scientists from La Paz University Hospital in Bolivia published a paper in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy that confirms previous findings that stem cells can boost repair of damaged tissue. The treatment has also shown promise when it was tested on humans. Stem cells are unspecialized cells can still evolve into any kind of cell in the body to replace those that were lost to illness or injury. In this study, the researchers used stem cells found in the rats’ bone marrow and fat.

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