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Egyptians activists held a “day of departure” in Cairo’s Tahir Square, demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who after eleven days of protests claimed to be “fed up” with being president. “We as a people are fed up as well,” said opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei. “It is not only him.” Mubarak designated intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who is suspected of having been involved in the CIA’s secret extraordinary-rendition program, as his new vice president. The Egyptian army failed to intervene when pro-Mubarak activists, many of whom were later revealed to be plainclothes policemen, attacked protesters, aid workers, and journalists, including Anderson Cooper, who was punched in the head. BBCFear of mass demonstrations led Algerian officials to promise to end a nineteen-year state of emergency, which has limited political freedom, and to open television and radio programs to all political parties; Bahrain’s government announced plans to increase food subsidies and expand social-welfare programs ahead of February 14th scheduled protests; and protesters in Yemen held a peaceful “day of rage,” rallying against the country’s 40 percent unemployment rate and calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. Rallies in Baghdad protesting poor government services prompted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to agree not to run in the next election and to halve his pay. “The current circumstances are pushing us to decrease expenses and salaries,” explained one lawmaker, “and spend them on the low-income classes.”Raw StoryTimeNew York Times Raw StoryBBCNew York Times LA TimesWorld food prices hit record highs.BBCCNN
Awal Gul, a GuantĂˇnamo inmate who had been held without charges since 2002, died “after exercising.” BBCGeorge W. Bush canceled his trip to Switzerland after human-rights groups threatened to have him arrested on charges of torture.Reuters“Looking back, I see there are things the administration could have done differently and better with respect to wartime detention,” admitted former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld in an excerpt leaked from his new autobiography. “Thank God he was relieved of his duties,” said Senator John McCain of Rumsfeld. “Otherwise, we would have had a disastrous defeat in Iraq.”Washington PostRaw StoryNewly released WikiLeaks documents revealed that the FBI may still be looking for three men tied to the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.CNNSarah Palin filed a petition to trademark “Sarah Palin” and “Bristol Palin,” and pest-control managers gathered in Washington for the Second Annual Bed Bug Summit.CNNChristian Science MonitorAn Amtrak train in Maryland struck and killed a bald eagle. Washington Post
Republicans celebrated the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan. At St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital Reagan’s would-be assassin, John Hinkley, Jr., who shot the former president 29 years ago in an effort to win the affections of Jodie Foster, was reported to have recently found love. “I see value in people no matter what theyâ??ve said or done,” said Hinkley’s girlfriend, a former St. Elizabeth’s patient. The DailyCorrections officers took away Charles Manson’s contraband cell phone, and an immigration officer in the United Kingdom was fired after superiors discovered he had put his wife on the no-fly list to prevent her from returning home for three years.Raw StoryReutersThe MirrorOfficials in China petitioned for a law that would require children to visit their parents.NYTimesAlexandra Tobias, who shook her baby to death for crying while she was playing the computer game Farmville, was sentenced to 50 years in prison, and a six-year-old child died in Death Valley after his mother got lost in the desert for five days despite using a GPS. “It’s what I’m beginning to call Death By GPS,” said a local wilderness coordinator. Florida Times UnionSacramento BeeThe president of Singapore ushered in the Year of the Rabbit by urging Singaporeans to procreate, while the Rwandan government was trying to curb population growth by encouraging men to have vasectomies. “I think I can’t go for it,” said one Rwandan. “You may plan to have two children and then unfortunately one dies.”CNNBBC
More from Genevieve Smith:
From the May 2014 issue
Chances that a Soviet woman’s first pregnancy will end in abortion:
Peaceful fungus-farming ants are sometimes protected against nomadic raider ants by sedentary invader ants.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighborâ€™s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of oneâ€™s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many timesâ€”in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."