CAIRO — In defiance of a decree issued by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak banning any public gathering, hundreds of people took to the streets of Cairo on Wednesday, calling for an end to the current government. Protestors clashed with riot police, who used tear gas, rubber bullets, bamboo staves and batons to attempt to control the crowd. Despite police efforts, groups continued demonstrating throughout the day. Although concern has been raised by the international community, the government is currently refusing to allow any type of public demonstration. (www.nytimes.com)
WASHINGTON D.C. — President Obama gave his second State of the Union address this past Tuesday evening. During his speech, Obama promised to freeze spending, discussed attacking the unemployment rate through development of new technologies and indicated the need to invest in education and new energy sources. Political analysts suggest Obama’s speech was focused on the optimistic and contained little that could be considered controversial, instead offering ideas that could appeal to both parties. Obama’s speech comes in the first month of a Republican controlled House. Although Democrats still control the Senate, they have a smaller majority than last session. (www.cnn.com)
MOSCOW — A suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on Monday killed 35 people and left a total of 86 injured. No group has stepped forward to claim responsibility and Russian officials are still investigating potential leads. A “high terror alert” was declared for two more airports in Moscow and security was tightened nationally. Russia has dealt with frequent terrorist attacks in the last 15 years, including a train bombing just over a year ago that left 27 dead.
COLOMBIA — A Colombian coalmine explosion on Wednesday killed 21 miners and left six injured. The explosion, which was likely due to an accumulation of methane gas, started a fire within the mine. The site meets safety regulations, although another accident at the same mine in October 2010 killed six. Some mining experts have claimed that Colombia does not have the necessary resources to properly enforce safety standards, although the government claims the mines are carefully monitored. (http://english.aljazeera.net/news)
GALESBURG — The OSF Galesburg Clinic’s pharmacy, run by Hy-Vee, is scheduled to close due to controversy over their stance on contraceptives. The clinic was recently taken over by OSF, which is run by Catholic directives stating oral contraceptives may not be sold. Hy-Vee stated that they have an obligation to fulfill contraceptive prescriptions and would close their pharmacy if not allowed to do so. Despite discussions between Hy-Vee and OSF, no agreement could be reached and the pharmacy is scheduled to be shut down in March. Due to a prior contract, OSF may not put a new pharmacy in the clinic for two years if they close. (www.galesburg.com)
WASHINGTON D.C. – The color-coded terrorist system currently in place, which uses colors such as red and orange to warn of potential terrorist threats, is being retired. Under the new system, there will be no more public announcements of the threat level and warnings will be designed to give public officials more information about the reason behind the decision. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is expected to announce more specific details within the next few days. (www.usatoday.com)
CNN — Facebook founder’s fan page was hacked and its content replaced with a message suggesting the site should seek investments from its users rather than turn to banks if it needs money. Facebook declined to comment on the incident, although they did post a blog entry stating their commitment to security the day after the occurrence. The post was removed after garnering 1,800 “likes.” (www.latimes.com)