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Sons of Egypt's Mubarak nearly came to blows: report

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak
© unknown
Alaa and Gamal Mubarak
The two sons of Hosni Mubarak almost came to blows last Thursday when the former Egyptian president gave his final speech in an effort to stay in power, a state-owned newspaper said Sunday.

Al-Akhbar said Alaa Mubarak accused his younger brother Gamal, who had held a senior position in the ruling party, of having ruined the 82-year-old leader's final days in office through promoting his business friends in political life.

Alaa reportedly said this had turned Egyptians against their father, who had been in power since 1981.

"You ruined the country when you opened the way to your friends and this is the result. Instead of your father being honored at the end of his life you helped to spoil his image in this manner," the daily quoted him as saying.

The newspaper did not give its sources, simply saying it "learned" of the details. There was no way to immediately confirm the report.

It said the argument took place in the presidential palace in Cairo while Mubarak was recording his final speech, which he hoped would persuade protesters to stand down and give promised reforms a chance during Mubarak's last months in office.

It said senior officials had to intervene to separate them.

Pistol

Armed Yemeni government supporters break up protest

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© Reuters
Pro-government protesters confront with anti-government protesters near Tahrir Square in Cairo February 12, 2011.
Government supporters armed with traditional knives and batons broke up a pro-democracy march on Saturday by 2,000 Yemenis inspired by the Egyptian uprising.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, trying to ward off protests spreading across the Arab world, has promised to step down when his term ends in 2013, but the opposition has yet to respond to his call to join a unity government. The opposition wants talks to take place under Western or Gulf Arab auspices.

As well as sporadic protests, the Arabian Peninsula state is also struggling with a secessionist movement in the south, a shaky cease-fire with Shi'ite rebels in the north and a resurgent al Qaeda presence, all against a backdrop of chronic poverty.

Some 300 anti-government student demonstrators assembled at Sanaa University on Saturday morning. As numbers swelled into the thousands, they began marching towards the Egyptian embassy.

"The people want the fall of the government," protesters chanted. "A Yemeni revolution after the Egyptian revolution."

Better Earth

Hosni Mubarak resigns: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hails a new Middle East'

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© EPA
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks to the crowd in Tehran. He drew parallels between the protests in Egypt and the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.
Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday claimed the uprising in Egypt heralded a new Middle East without the "satanic" influence of the West and that will doom Israel.

Despite suppressing its own opposition movement, Mr Ahmadinejad drew parallels between the protests in Egypt and the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

"In spite of all the (West's) complicated and satanic designs ... a new Middle East is emerging without the Zionist regime and US interference, a place where the arrogant powers will have no place," he told a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square to make the anniversary of the Revolution.

His comments came before Hosni Mubarak's resignation.

Tens of thousands of Iranians chanted support for Egypt's protesters and burned effigies of Hosni Mubarak.

The embattled Egyptian president has not enjoyed good relation with Iran, who are highly critical of Egypt's close relationship with the US and its peace deal with Israel.

Ambulance

For Some Troops, Drug Cocktails Have Deadly Results

Anthony Mena
© The New York Times
PAIN AND DEPRESSION Senior Airman Anthony Mena in Baghdad in 2007. After his death in 2009, a toxicologist found eight prescription medications in his blood.
In his last months alive, Senior Airman Anthony Mena rarely left home without a backpack filled with medications.

He returned from his second deployment to Iraq complaining of back pain, insomnia, anxiety and nightmares. Doctors diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and prescribed powerful cocktails of psychiatric drugs and narcotics.

Yet his pain only deepened, as did his depression. "I have almost given up hope," he told a doctor in 2008, medical records show. "I should have died in Iraq."

Airman Mena died instead in his Albuquerque apartment, on July 21, 2009, five months after leaving the Air Force on a medical discharge. A toxicologist found eight prescription medications in his blood, including three antidepressants, a sedative, a sleeping pill and two potent painkillers.

Yet his death was no suicide, the medical examiner concluded. What killed Airman Mena was not an overdose of any one drug, but the interaction of many. He was 23.

Arrow Down

US: Regulators Shut Banks in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and California

Washington - Regulators on Friday shut down small banks in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and California, lifting to 18 the number of bank failures this year. The weak economy and bad debt brought down 157 banks nationwide in 2010.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized the banks: Sunshine State Community Bank of Port Orange, Fla., with $125.5 million in assets; Peoples State Bank, based in Hamtramck, Mich., with $390.5 million in assets; Badger State Bank of Cassville, Wis., with $83.8 million in assets; and Canyon National Bank, based in Palm Springs, Calif., with $210.9 million in assets.

Miami-based Premier American Bank agreed to assume the assets and deposits of Sunshine State Community Bank. First Michigan Bank, based in Troy, Mich., is acquiring the assets and deposits of Peoples State Bank. Royal Bank, based in Elroy, Wis., is assuming the assets and deposits of Badger State Bank. Pacific Premier Bank, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., is assuming those of Canyon National Bank.

In addition, the FDIC and First Michigan Bank agreed to share losses on $331 million of Peoples State Bank's loans and other assets.

The failure of Sunshine State Community Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $30 million; that of Peoples State Bank is expected to cost $87.4 million; that of Badger State Bank, $17.5 million; Canyon National Bank, $10 million.

Black Cat

US man 'kills four people' in New York 28-hour rampage

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© AP
The attacks began after an argument between the suspect and his mother
A man fatally stabbed his stepfather, ex-girlfriend and her mother, before running over a pedestrian in a 28-hour rampage in New York City, police said.

The man, alleged to be Ukrainian-born Maksim Gelman, 23, was armed with five knives when he went on a stabbing spree early on Friday, officials said.

Four other people were knifed but survived the attacks.

Mr Gelman was finally arrested on a train on Saturday morning after an all-night manhunt.

Charges against him are pending.

"It's so horrendous and bizarre. We have no reason to know why he did this," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

He said had not recalled seeing "anything like this" in the decades he had worked for the New York police department.

Pistol

Switzerland rejects tighter gun controls

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Swiss No campaign poster against banning firearms
Swiss voters have rejected proposed tighter controls on gun ownership, near-complete results show.

It means that the voters decided during the referendum to retain the current system, which allows army-issued weapons to be kept at home.

Supporters of the tighter curbs wanted to have weapons kept in armouries and demanded stricter checks on gun owners.

Opponents said the move would undermine trust in the army. The final result of the vote is expected soon.

Near-complete results show at least 14 out of 26 Swiss cantons rejected the proposal in Sunday's vote.

Penis Pump

Tensions rise in Italy over Silvio Berlusconi sex charges

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© Massimo Di Nonno/Getty Images
Supporters of Silvio Berlusconi protest in Milan against the charges of bribery, corruption and under-age prostitution against the prime minister.
Beleaguered prime minister due to meet president as judge prepares to rule on indictment allegation

A beleaguered Silvio Berlusconi is due to meet the president, Giorgio Napolitano, for urgent talks on Friday as tensions grew between his supporters and opponents over the prospect of his being committed to trial on sex charges.

The prime minister claimed in an interview he was the target of an attempt to oust him by undemocratic means. But any hopes he may have had of getting his position endorsed by the head of state were dashed when Napolitano pointedly remarked that Italy's constitution included "the guarantees for a fair trial".

Demonstrations are to be held on Sunday in 257 Italian and foreign cities, including London and New York, in defense of the dignity of Italy's women. The slogan for the rallies comes from the title of Primo Levi's novel of wartime resistance, If Not Now, When?

Followers of the prime minister are planning to take to the streets of Milan on Saturday. On Thursday about 100 Berlusconi supporters, led by a junior minister in his rightwing government, staged a protest outside the courthouse in Milan where Berlusconi may be tried. Some carried placards reading "Silvio must resist, resist, resist".

Black Cat

Julian Assange public enemy number one

Image
© Rocky Sawyer 2010
Julian Assange
"Inflammatory" criticism of Julian Assange by the Swedish prime minister has turned the WikiLeaks founder into public enemy number one, a court heard today.

Swedish authorities want to extradite the whistleblower for alleged sex offences but his lawyer argued the comments made this week could damage his chance of a fair trial.

Speaking on the final day of his extradition hearing, Geoffrey Robertson QC, told Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south east London that Sweden's prime minister had made an attack on Assange and his defence counsel.

He said: "He has effectively been denounced as an enemy of the people."

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's remarks were said to include claims that Assange and his lawyers had been "condescending and damaging to Sweden" and to have implied that they thought women's rights were worthless.

Mr Robertson said: "In a small country...it has created a toxic atmosphere, media are reporting it and it is a basis for comment.

Light Sabers

Wikileaks threatens action against ex-colleague of Assange

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© Schreiber/Ericson/AP
Former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg will launch a rival site to Julian Assange's.
WikiLeaks says it will take legal action against a former key member of the website who left after a bitter fallout with founder Julian Assange and went on to set up a rival whistle-blowing platform.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, a spokesman for WikiLeaks, confirmed that the organisation intends to sue Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a German transparency campaigner who - until his departure last September - was one of the few public faces of the secretive whistle-blowing platform.

Mr. Domscheit-Berg, who is launching his own whistle-blowing websites OpenLeaks, has written a warts and all memoir of his time at WikiLeaks in which he accuses Mr Assange of being an irresponsible and autocratic leader who once threatened to kill him.

"Inside WikiLeaks", which went on sale in Germany today and will be published in Britain next week, is one of just a number of recent memoirs from people who have worked with Mr Assange that portray the WikiLeaks founder in a poor light.

In some of the most damaging passages, Mr Domscheit-Berg describes his former colleague as an intensely paranoid man who began travelling with bodyguards, ruled over his followers as an "emperor" and had a particular fondness for young women, money and power.