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Iran protests see reinvigorated activists take to the streets in thousands

Riot police and basiji militia use teargas on protesters, with reports that one demonstrator was killed in clashes

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© Associated Press
An anti-government protest in Tehran, Iran.
Thousands of defiant protesters in Iran's capital have clashed with security officials as they marched in a banned rally. One person was reported killed, with dozens injured and many more arrested.

Supporters of the Green movement appeared in scattered groups in various locations in central Tehran and other big cities in what was seen as the Iranian opposition's first attempt in more than a year to hold street protests against the government.

The riot police and government-sponsored plainclothes basiji militia used teargas, wielded batons and opened fire to disperse protesters who chanted "death to the dictator", a reference to both Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Witnesses told the Guardian that despite a heavy security presence, small groups of people succeeded in gathering in main squares leading to Azadi ("freedom") Square - a chosen focal point.

HRANA, a human rights website, reported that one protester was killed and three injured when riot police opened fire at protesters near Tohid Square in Tehran. The website also said that at least 250 protesters have been arrested. Opposition websites also reported significant gatherings in the cities of Shiraz, Isfahan, Rasht, Mashhad and Kermanshah.

Heart

Dogs 'share their owners' emotions'

dog
© Alamy
The bond between dogs and their owners may be deeper than we thought Photo:

The bond between dogs and their owners may be deeper than we thought, according to research that suggests the pets may share their owners' emotions.

When the animals are confronted with a human displaying strong feelings, they themselves produce a similar emotional response, the researchers found.

The discovery could cast light on how dogs' pack behaviour has been translated into the modern world.

Biomedical scientist Dr Karine Silva, of the University of Porto, says that dogs even possess certain human-like social skills that chimpanzees, our closest relatives, do not.

People

US: Protestors swell to 25,000 at Wisconsin capital

Yesterday, on the third day of protests against Wisconsin's anti-union legislation, an estimated 25,000 protesters swarmed the capital building.

This video is from the Associated Press, broadcast February 17, 2011.


Eye 1

Kentucky: Murray State University professor resigns after comparing black student to slave

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A political science professor at Murray State University has resigned after telling an African American student that she didn't show up early to class because slaves were always late.

Freshman Arlene Johnson told the Murray Ledger & Times that professor Mark Wattier had already begun the screening of a film before she showed up on time to an August class.

After the class, Wattier explained to Johnson and another student that he always started film screenings 10-15 minutes early.

Cult

Military chaplain: Soldier's rape 'must have been God's will'

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Washington - A lawsuit targeting the Pentagon contains an astonishing anecdote about a retired Sergeant's experience after being sexually assaulted by a colleague during a deployment to Afghanistan.

The lawsuit, available here (PDF), was filed by 17 military women against Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld in Virginia. It assails "the military's repeated failures to take action in rape cases created a culture where violence against women was tolerated, violating the plaintiffs' Constitutional rights."

Sergeant Rebekah Havrilla alleges in the complaint that in 2006, after her military supervisor repeatedly sexually harassed her, she was raped by a colleague she was working with at the time.

Handcuffs

OJ Simpson 'beaten to a bloody pulp in racist prison attack'

oj simpson

'Depressed': OJ Simpson during his 2008 sentencing in Las Vegas. The former footballer is said to have been beaten unconscious in prison

Shamed football great OJ Simpson was beaten unconscious in a racially motivated prison attack, according to a report.

A skinhead inmate is said to have kicked and punched Simpson to 'a bloody pulp' after allegedly overhearing him bragging about his sexual conquests of white women.

The 63-year-old disgraced athlete spent three weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries, said the National Enquirer.

Che Guevara

Iranian protesters call for 'death to dictator'

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© EPA
Iranian protesters gathered for the first time since December 2009

Tehran was convulsed by protests yesterday as thousands of demonstrators, inspired by the success of the uprising in Egypt, took to the streets of the Iranian capital for the first time in more than a year.

Chanting "death to the dictator", the demonstrators filled the streets after opposition groups called for marches in sympathy with the movement in Cairo. Marching towards the central Enghelab, or Revolution, Square, protesters were met with volleys of tear gas, shots from paintball guns and beatings from state security forces, Reuters reported.

The demonstrators, galvanised for the first time since their last major gathering in December 2009, seized upon President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's praise for the Egyptian protests, which he said were inspired by Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, to provide a pretext for their own action. After they asked for permission to march in solidarity, the government barred such marches, a position seized upon by the United States as evidence of hypocrisy. Also, phones were cut and the home of a key opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, was blockaded.

Light Saber

Florida, USA - Mother shot twice with Taser after she was arrested for leaving baby in car to go to tanning salon

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© Unknown
Arrest: Ashley Agerenza, 19, is accused of leaving her seven-month-old daughter in the back of her car while she went to a tanning salon
A woman had to be shot with a Taser twice after she was arrested for leaving her seven-month-old daughter in her car while she went to a tanning salon.

Ashley Agerenza, 19, has been charged with child abuse, resisting arrest and battery of a police officer after an incident outside Extreme Tan and Smoothies in St Petersburg, Florida.

Police said she first took the child inside the salon, but was told she could not leave the baby while she had a tanning session.

She then took the child back out to her car, strapped her into the car seat and turned on the engine, before returning to the salon.

A witness called police after seeing the baby abandoned. The responding officer found the baby had almost pushed herself out of the seat and had been sick all over herself.

Star

The new Gold Rush? Miners head back to California to dig for its forgotten riches

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© Unknown
Starting again: R. Dutton, a miner for Sutter Gold, which is opening up Lincoln Mine in California for production as gold prices rise
It's more than 150 years since the first prospectors headed to California in search of an elusive prize - gold.

But now their ghosts are being revived as mining companies seek to reopen the old pits and find the thousands of dollars worth of ore they left behind.

With gold selling at more than $1,300 an ounce, mining has become an attractive business prospect in the state which kicked off the Gold Rush in 1848.

Last year U.S. gold mine production increased for the first time in more than a decade, fuelled mostly by Nevada.

Now the original Gold Rush state, where mining dried up after World War Two due to price controls, is looking to join the fray.

'People say the Mother Lode's mined out. But that's not the case,' David Cochrane, vice-president of Sutter Gold Mining told the New York Times.

Pistol

Swiss voters throw out gun law reform

Majority of 26 cantons reject move to ban army rifles from homes, which reformers hoped would lower firearms suicide rate

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© Peter Klaunzer/EPA
Activists in Switzerland's gun law reform referendum used graphic images in their campaign, for instance this one for the No campaign which says, "Firearms monopoly for criminals? No."
Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to tighten the country's relaxed gun laws.

With final official results yet to be released, a majority in at least 18 of Switzerland's 26 cantons voted against the proposal to ban army rifles from homes and impose new requirements for buying other guns.

The proposal would have ended the Swiss tradition of men keeping their army rifles at home - even after completing their military service. Supporters of the reform argued this would have reduced incidents of domestic violence and Switzerland's high rate of firearms suicide.

"This is an important sign of confidence in our soldiers," said Pius Segmueller, a lawmaker with the Christian People's party and former commander of the Vatican's Swiss Guard.

The government had argued that existing laws were sufficient to ensure some 2.3m weapons in a country of fewer than 8 million people are not misused.