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Jan. 26, 2013 at 10:00 PM   |   Comments

Riots rage in Egypt over death sentences

PORT SAID, Egypt, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- At least 30 people were dead and 300 were injured as riots raged in the Egyptian city of Port Said after 21 soccer fans were sentenced to death, officials said.

By nightfall Saturday, the city of 600,000 people was in chaos, The New York Times reported, with most residents afraid to leave their homes. At 8 p.m., the military said troops had secured the Suez Canal, the port and other critical facilities.

The rioting was sparked by the sentences handed down after the verdict on 21 fans charged with a riot at a match between Port Said and Cairo that left 74 dead and 1,000 injured. The trial was moved to Cairo because of fears of violence.

Saturday's unrest marred the second anniversary of the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak. The current president, Mohamed Morsi, planned to address the restive nation by television Saturday, Egyptian media said.

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse the crowd as it attempted to break into the Port Said prison where most of the defendants were being held, Ahram Online reported.

A police dorm was looted and set on fire. A police station and a television news minivan were also torched.

"All the shops are closed, and the city is under complete paralysis," a midtown hotelier who declined to give his name told the Washington Post.

Three executives and nine security guards of the al-Masry soccer team were among the 73 defendants charged in the soccer riot deaths. The rest of the defendants expect to hear their verdicts in March.


First NATO missiles installed in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A Patriot missile battery is in place on Turkey's border with Syria, NATO officials said Saturday.

Five more batteries are scheduled for installation in the next few days, CNN reported.

Turkey is a NATO member. Officials with the military alliance say the missile batteries will protect the country against air attack from Syria, which has fired SCUD missiles toward Turkey and -- apparently inadvertently -- hit Turkish territory with artillery shells.

Thousands of Syrian refugees are in Turkey, fleeing what has become a prolonged civil war. Opposition activists said 96 people were killed Saturday, 37 in Aleppo, 29 in the Damascus area and 18 in Homs province.


Bloomberg gives Hopkins $350 billion

BALTIMORE, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving Johns Hopkins University $350 million for student financial aid and research, the school said Saturday.

The gift -- one of the largest ever given to a university -- brings Bloomberg's total contribution to his alma mater more than $1.1 billion -- dating back to 1965, he began donating $5 annually after he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering at Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The latest gift includes $100 million for financial aid for an estimated 2,600 undergraduate students to be spread out over 10 years, and $250 million -- in $50 million increments over five years -- to hire 50 faculty members for teaching and research into "complex global challenges," the newspaper said.

Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels said the gift was "transformative" for the university.

"Words can simply not capture the incredible debt of gratitude that we owe to Mike and the amazing sense of fortune that we have in being able to claim him not merely as a graduate but as a graduate who so clearly understands us and has given so much of his time, his passion and his philanthropy," Daniels told The Sun.

Bloomberg -- who began building his business empire when he established Bloomberg LP in Baltimore in 1981, and whose net worth has grown to an estimated $22 billion -- gave his first $1 million gift to Hopkins in 1984. Since then, his donations have helped fund Hopkins' school of public health, a children's hospital and a physics and astronomy center, The Sun said.

"Each dollar I have given has been well-spent improving the institution and, just as importantly, making its education available to students who might otherwise not be able to afford it," Bloomberg said in a statement issued through the university. "Giving is only meaningful if the money will make a difference in people's lives, and I know of no other institution that can make a bigger difference in lives around the world through its groundbreaking research -- especially in the field of public health."


Friar accused of abuse found dead in Pa.

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A Catholic friar accused of sexually abusing at least 11 male students at an Ohio Catholic school has died at a Pennsylvania monastery, church officials said.

Stephen Baker died Sunday at St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg, Pa., the Provincial of the Third Order Regular Franciscans said Saturday in a statement.

An autopsy was being conducted Saturday to determine whether Baker's death was a suicide, The Altoona (Pa.) Mirror reported.

"Let us continue to pray for all victims of abuse, for Brother Baker's family and the repose of his soul," the Rev. Patrick Quinn of the Diocese of Youngstown said in a statement.

The Youngstown (Ohio) Vindicator said Baker taught, coached baseball and served as athletic trainer at Warren John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio, which is operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Youngstown.

The Vindicator said settlements have been reached with 11 of Baker's alleged victims, who said he fondled teenagers age 14 to 18 from 1986 to 1990. Baker later taught at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Pa., from 1990 to 2000, the Mirror reported.

"I am deeply sorry for the pain which the victims of Brother Baker endured while at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren," Bishop George V. Murry said at a news conference Thursday in Youngstown regarding the settlements. "Brother Baker betrayed the trust which these young men placed in him as a spiritual leader. While I understand that nothing I can say will eliminate their agony, I want them to know that I stand with them and will not tolerate abusive behavior from Church officials."

Murry said the diocese first became aware of the misconduct allegations concerning Baker in 2009 through correspondence from the attorney for the former JFK students.

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