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Jan. 25, 2013 at 7:58 AM   |   Comments

Protests mark Egypt uprising anniversary

CAIRO, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Police fired tear gas and arrested at least two people Friday during a demonstration marking the second anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising, officials said.

Protesters marched on Tahrir Square in Cairo and at other key locations throughout the country with the same demands called for two years ago, the Ahram Online reported.

"We are protesting against the fact that after two years of the revolution, where we asked for bread, freedom and social justice, none of our dreams have come true," protester Hanna Abu el-Ghar told the BBC.

Despite a shift in power -- the National Democratic Party's Hosni Mubarak was replaced by the Freedom and Justice Party's Mohamed Morsi as president -- demonstrators say their situation has not improved.

Participants have demanded retribution for those who died, retrials for those accused of their deaths, ridding the interior ministry of corruption, dismissing Prime Minister Hesham Qandil's cabinet and Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah, redrafting the Constitution, setting a minimum and maximum wage, and imposing price controls, the Middle East News Agency reported. Some are even calling for the toppling of the current regime.


France ramps up security under Mali threat

PARIS, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- France is increasing its military presence at uranium mines in Niger and at key public sites at home after threats from Islamic rebels in Mali, officials said.

France is among the nations sending troops to aid Mali's army against Islamic militants in control of the northern part of the country. Threats from the militants have caused France to ramp up security in Arlit and Imouraren in Niger where French nuclear company, Areva, mines much of the uranium France uses for fuel, The New York Times reported Friday.

In 2010, seven Areva workers were kidnapped in Arlit by al-Qaida. Three were released in February 2011, but four are still being held.

Meanwhile, there has been an increased police and army presence at French government buildings, tourist sites, and subway and railway stations, the Times reported.

French President Francois Hollande has traded out his hybrid vehicle for an armored one already part of the presidential fleet.


U.S. joins Canada, Europe: Leave Benghazi

TRIPOLI, Libya, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Washington joined Canada and Europe in warning citizens to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi, calling the potential for anti-Westerner violence "significant."

"We strongly encourage all U.S. citizens to take appropriate precautions, as the security situation in Libya is volatile," said an "emergency message" posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the capital.

"Review your personal safety plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates," said the statement, found at tinyurl.com/usembassy-gov. "Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security."

The statement said there was "no specific information pointing to specific, imminent threats against U.S. citizens, [but] the potential for violence and kidnappings targeting Westerners in Benghazi is significant."

The message differed from ominous warnings from Britain, Germany and the Netherlands that said there were indeed specific, imminent threats and urged their citizens to leave Benghazi immediately.


Expert: Terrorists may start using drones

LONDON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A U.N. expert launched a probe of drone attacks to decide if using the attack aircraft against al-Qaida amounts to a war crime because it also kills civilians.

Ben Emmerson, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, also said he was concerned combat drones, currently largely used by the United States, could fall into the hands of terrorist groups.

"The plain fact is that this technology is here to stay, and its use ... is a reality with which the world must contend," Emmerson told reporters in London.

The increasing availability of drone aircraft, controlled by onboard computers or under the remote control of pilots elsewhere, "makes it very likely that more states will be using this technology in the coming months and years," he said.

The rapporteur's probe, undertaken at the request of Russia, China and Pakistan, will provide a "critical examination of the factual evidence concerning civilian casualties" from drone attacks and make recommendations to the U.N. General Assembly about "the lawfulness and proportionality of such attacks," the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights said in a statement.

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