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Egypt's Uprising Anniversary, White House Intrigue, Storm Jonas

FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF EGYPT'S ARAB SPRING

Photo: Amr Sayed/APA/ZUMA

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has warned against protesters using today's fifth anniversary of the Jan. 25 revolution to disrupt the country. Al Arabiya reports that security forces were on high alert and the streets of Cairo were mostly calm this morning, five years to the day since the uprising that overthrew the regime of then-President Hosni Mubarak began. Sisi said the revolution had "noble principles" and marked a "new Egypt," but that it had been hijacked by "narrow interests," a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood and former President Mohammed Morsi. Independent Egyptian news site Mada Masr reports on how state security forces were cracking down in the days and hours ahead of the anniversary to minimize any possible uprising against the government.


VERBATIM

"They have to be serious. If they are not serious, war will continue. Up to them — you can lead a horse to water; you can't make it drink," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said ahead of Syrian peace talks that were supposed to begin today in Geneva. According to Reuters, the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad said it was ready to attend, but opposition representatives said they wouldn't until bombardments and blockades end and prisoners are released. Kerry said he hoped for "clarity" within the next two days.

  • Speaking from Istanbul on Saturday after meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the U.S. and Turkey were prepared for a military solution against ISIS in Syria if the authorities and the opposition don't reach an agreement.
  • ISIS, meanwhile, released a new video yesterday that purportedly shows old footage of nine of the 10 terrorists behind the Nov. 13 Paris attacks and renews threats against France and Britain, Le Monde reports. "We've been to your countries. We will slaughter you in your homes," Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the attacks, is quoted as saying. President François Hollande said that "nothing would scare" France in its fight against terrorism.
EASTERN U.S. PARALYZED BY STORM JONAS

Much of the East Coast is still buried by a thick layer of snow, and the cleanup could last days, with millions of Americans affected by what's been dubbed Snowzilla (or Snowmageddon). USA Today reports that at least 30 people have died "in car accidents, from carbon monoxide poisoning, and from heart attacks while shoveling snow." Federal government offices in Washington, D.C., will remain closed today, along with local government offices and public schools in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. A selection of timelapse videos shows the stunning accumulation during Winter Storm Jonas.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

French scientists have developed a new technology to read the long hidden portions of the Marie Antoinette's correspondence with Swedish royal Axel von Fersen, long rumored to be her lover, Le Monde's Vahé Ter Minassian reports. "‘I may say to you that I love you,' she wrote to him. Discovered in 1907 in a coded letter, these few furtively scrawled words have been the subject of much discussion over the years. Do they confirm that the iconic queen of France, Marie Antoinette, was involved in a romantic relationship with a foreigner, and what's more, an open opponent of the Revolution? And if so, what sort of romance? A platonic love, or one physically consummated, as emperor Napoleon Bonaparte affirmed years later in vulgar terms? A full 220 years after Marie Antoinette was killed via the guillotine, forever hushing up her secrets, technology may be providing historians a way to uncover the royal mystery."

Read the full article, Decoding Marie Antoinette's Mystery Love Letters To Swedish Baron.


COLD SNAP ENGULFS EAST ASIA

While the U.S. East Coast was being blanketed by the blizzard, more than 60 people died in Eastern Asia from unusually cold weather, AP reports. In subtropical Taiwan alone, 57 people, most of them elderly, succumbed to near-freezing temperatures unseen in 16 years. Extreme weather conditions also affected China and Japan.


$600 BILLION

Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a 10-year bilateral trade agreement with Iran Saturday worth an astounding $600 billion, a move that President Hassan Rouhani hailed as "the beginning of an important era" between the two countries. Rouhani will make his first visit to Europe this week as he seeks to rebuild economic ties after international sanctions that have bruised Iran's economy were lifted. His shopping list is said to include 114 Airbus planes.


BLOOMBERG EYES WHITE HOUSE RACE

Billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly considering a presidential run on a third-party ticket. Insiders told The New York Times he was "galled by Donald J. Trump's dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton's stumbles and the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side." The 73-year-old would apparently be prepared to spend $1 billion of his own money to run.


ON THIS DAY


Find out the host of the first Winter Olympic Games in today's shot of history.


PROTESTS POSTPONE HAITI ELECTIONS

Haiti's presidential election, planned for yesterday, was postponed indefinitely amid violent anti-government protests and following the opposition's Jude Celestin refusal to participate in what he called a fraudulent vote, Haiti Libre reports. Outgoing president Michel Martelly, who's not running for reelection, is due to leave office Feb. 7.


BRITISH EXPLORER DIES CROSSING ANTARCTICA

Henry Worsley, a 55-year-old British explorer trying the first unaccompanied crossing of Antarctica, died of complete organ failure within a week of reaching his goal, his wife said today. Read more from the BBC.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



LANDSLIDE VICTORY FOR PORTUGAL'S TOP JOB

Center-right candidate Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won yesterday's Portuguese presidential election with 52% in the first round, a resounding victory otherwise marked by a low turnout of just 48.8%. Learn more about the new leader and see how the press covered the "crowning" moment in our Extra! feature.


EXPLORE MONT BLANC

Thanks to Google, it's never been easier to explore Mont Blanc.

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Society

Gun Violence In America: Don't Blame The Victims — That Means Rappers Too

The recent shooting of Takeoff, a rapper, is another sad incident of gun crime in the U.S. But those blaming hip hop culture for contributing to gun violence ignore that rappers themselves are also victims. And the real point is that in today's America, nobody is safe from gun violence.

Gun Violence In America: Don't Blame The Victims — That Means Rappers Too

Fans wait outside State Farm Arena in Atlanta to attend the memorial service for Migos rapper Takeoff on Nov. 11

A.D. Carson

Add the name of Takeoff, a member of the popular rap trio Migos, to the ever-growing list of rappers, recent and past, tragically and violently killed.

The initial reaction to the shooting to death of Takeoff, born Kirsnick Ball, on Nov. 1, was to blame rap music and hip hop culture. People who engaged in this kind of scapegoating argue that the violence and despairing hopelessness in the music are the cause of so many rappers dying.

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