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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Student Protesters Clash with Security Forces; 36 Injured

Students at various universities in three different governorates in Egypt protested yesterday, condemning police violence and security forces’ recent tough crackdown on supporters of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi. At Al Azhar university in Cairo, protesters throw rocks at police, who responded with tear gas and birdshot. A prosecutor ordered that 27 Al Azhar students be detained for over two weeks. Students protesters and police also clashed at Cairo University and at Fayoum University.

First Egyptian to Go to Space

Omar Samra, a 32-year-old mountain climber who was also the first Egyptian to climb the highest mountain on every continent, will become the first Egyptian to travel to space. Omar Samra and 21 other people from various countries won a competition sponsored by the AXE deodorant company and Space Expedition Curacao. Samra dedicated his achievement to inspiring future generations to pursue their dreams, saying that people must find what they are truly capable of achieving, in order to “pass the baton to those who are capable of stretching the limits even further.”

Human Rights Groups Call for Investigations into Protester Deaths in Egypt

Four months after clashes between pro-Morsi protesters and security forces left over 1,000 people dead, 13 domestic and international human rights groups are calling for investigations. The groups referred to the deaths as the highest number of unlawful killings in modern Egyptian history. The majority of these deaths occurred when security forces forcibly removed two protest encampments in Cairo in mid-August. In their statement, human rights groups urged the government to institute “an effective independent fact-finding committee to investigate responsibility.”

Tourism Increasing in Egypt

According to Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism, the number of international visitors coming to Egypt increased by 20 percent over the last month. Russia, England, Germany, and the Ukraine provided the most tourists. Egypt’s tourism industry, which was once responsible for almost ten percent of the country’s economy, was hit hard by the recent political instability. Despite the increase last month, tourism is still down 39 percent from last year. The Minister of Tourism plans to launch an international campaign with the hopes of attracting 13.5 million visitors next year.

US Suspends Non-Lethal Aid to Syrian Opposition

The US has decided to suspend all non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition after fighters from the Islamist front took control of bases which were previously under the control of the US-backed Free Syrian Army. According to a US government spokesperson, they will continue to provide the opposition with humanitarian aid. The new Islamic Front includes seven rebel groups and over 45,000 fighters, but does not include al-Qaeda affiliates. The infighting between the Islamic Front and the Free Syrian Army comes after months of advances by the government forces, who have taken several cities around Damascus and Aleppo.

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