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Egypt

Deadly Cairo Explosions, U.S. Secret Prison, Exploiting George Clooney

Deadly Cairo Explosions, U.S. Secret Prison, Exploiting George Clooney

CAIRO HIT BY DEADLY BOMBS
The Egyptian capital of Cairo was hit by three bombs this morning, killing at least five people and leaving scores injured, Mada Masr reports. The first and biggest explosion targeted the police headquarters in the city center, where four people died. The attacks, for which an al-Qaeda-inspired group claimed responsibility, come one day before the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising that brought Hosni Mubarak’s rule to an end.

KIEV PROTESTERS STAY PUT AS TALKS CONTINUE
Protesters in Kiev are still occupying the center of the Ukrainian capital after they rejected the offers made by President Viktor Yanukovichfollowing his meeting with opposition leaders yesterday, Ria Novosti reports. In addition, a group of demonstrators seized a government building in Kiev this morning. Read more from AP.

SYRIAN SIDES WON’T MEET
Peace talks over the future of Syria have started in Geneva, as the UN mediator is meeting separately with representatives of the government and of the Syrian National Coalition. Despite earlier declarations by Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad that the official delegation was ready to sit around the same table as the opposition, face-to-face meetings will not happen, with both sides placing blame on the other, The Guardian reports.

NORTH KOREA’S OVERTURE TOWARDS SOUTH
In an open letter sent to the South, North Korea calls for the creation of “an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity” between the two countries, news agency Yonhap reports. Pyongyang also urges Seoul to “completely halt hostile military acts,” as South Korea prepares to hold joint military drills with the United States. Seoul officials replied saying North Korea needed to “demonstrate its sincerity through action.”

AMERICAN SECRET PRISON IN EUROPE
The CIA paid Polish authorities $15 million to host a secret prison, where al-Qaeda suspects were interrogated after 9/11, The Washington Postreports.

FIRE IN QUEBEC NURSING HOME KILLS 5
At least five people have died and 30 others are missing after a fire destroyed a retirement home in Quebec. Read more from The Toronto Star.

VERBATIM
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said there would be a race for jobs between machines and people in the near future, and that people need to win it.

BY THE NUMBERS
This year’s World Economic Forum has (once again) a shockingly low number of female attendees.

HAIR YOU GO
Does George Clooney know how he’s being marketed in Pakistan?

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Society

Genoa Postcard: A Tale Of Modern Sailors, Echos Of The Ancient Mariner

Many seafarers are hired and fired every seven months. Some keep up this lifestyle for 40 years while sailing the world. Some of those who'd recently docked in the Italian port city of Genoa, share a taste of their travels that are connected to a long history of a seafaring life.

A sailor smokes a cigarette on the hydrofoil Procida

A sailor on the hydrofoil Procida in Italy

Daniele Frediani/Mondadori Portfolio via ZUMA Press
Paolo Griseri

GENOA — Cristina did it to escape after a tough breakup. Luigi because he dreamed of adventures and the South Seas. Marianna embarked just “before the refrigerator factory where I worked went out of business. I’m one of the few who got severance pay.”

To hear their stories, you have to go to the canteen on Via Albertazzi, in Italy's northern port city of Genoa, across from the ferry terminal. The place has excellent minestrone soup and is decorated with models of the ships that have made the port’s history.

There are 38,000 Italian professional sailors, many of whom work here in Genoa, a historic port of call that today is the country's second largest after Trieste on the east coast. Luciano Rotella of the trade union Italian Federation of Transport Workers says the official number of maritime workers is far lower than the reality, which contains a tangle of different laws, regulations, contracts and ethnicities — not to mention ancient remnants of harsh battles between shipowners and crews.

The result is that today it is not so easy to know how many people sail, nor their nationalities.

What is certain is that every six to seven months, the Italian mariner disembarks the ship and is dismissed: they take severance pay and after waits for the next call. Andrea has been sailing for more than 20 years: “When I started out, to those who told us we were earning good money, I replied that I had a precarious life: every landing was a dismissal.”

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