Welcome to Wednesday, where Aung San Suu Kyi is charged and Alexei Navalny is sentenced. Also Jeff Bezos announces he will step down as Amazon CEO, in utero music is a thing and Mada Masr probes into the politics of hair in Egyptian schools.
• COVID-19 latest: In search of the origins of COVID, a World Health Organisation team is visiting the Wuhan virology lab. Citing lack of research on efficacy, the French and Belgian health ministries have joined Germany in barring administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 65 and older. Meanwhile, an independent British research body finds Russia's Sputnik V is both safe and highly effective, Singapore becomes the first Asian country to approve the Moderna vaccine and Israel is the first nation to move into the final phase of its nationwide vaccination campaign.
• Myanmar coup: Police have announced charges against Myanmar's ousted democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, citing breaches of import and export law after finding handheld radios while raiding her house. China vetoes a UN Security Council joint statement condemning the military takeover, as thousands gathered in Tokyo to demand that Japan join its G7 allies in taking a hard stance against the coup. Meanwhile, doctors in 70 Myanmar hospitals are protesting the coup.
• Navalny sentenced: Kremlin critic Alexy Navalny has been sentenced to two years and eight months of prison for violating probation while being poisoned and in a comatose state, prompting more protests.
• Jeff Bezos to step down: In an email yesterday from Jeff Bezos to Amazon employees, the CEO announced that he will be stepping down from his role more than 25 years after founding the world's biggest online retailer.
• FBI agents killed: While responding to a search warrant in South Florida two FBI agents were killed and another three wounded. The suspect, who barricaded himself, is also dead.
• RIP Captain Sir Tom Moore: The British World War II army veteran, who in April of last year pledged to walk 100 lengths of his garden to raise almost £33m for the NHS for coronavirus, has died from the virus, aged 100.
• Sounds of the Unborn: Sacred Bones Records has announced that it will be releasing the first-ever in-utero music album made using biosonic MIDI technology attached to the mother's stomach.
Russian daily RBC features opposition leader Alexei Navalny who was sentenced to more than two years in prison.
How the sexist politics of hair plays out in Egypt's schools
Girls are not required to wear a headscarf in Egyptian schools, but as Cairo-based Mada Masr reports, that doesn't mean they are free to wear their hair as they see fit.
The 2020 school year began with a few headlines about schools accused of forcing students to wear headscarves: "Public row over Egypt school forcing child to wear hijab, Education Ministry investigates." The news stories show that some teachers and school administrators pressure students to wear headscarves, although the veil is not mandated in school bylaws or any Education Ministry decree.
In several recent incidents, the staff was motivated by a desire to cultivate a uniform appearance among students, using the veil as a way to try to bring in line teenage girls whose hairstyles or general appearance don't fit their prescribed views on what is "decent." With different schools applying different degrees of strictness, and administrators enforcing their own views of what is school appropriate, headscarves have come to be seen by some schools as a tool to solve a problem.
But in these stories, the girls, with the support of their families, pushed back. Malak went to high school one day with pink highlights rasta-braided into her black hair. The principal of the school, where most girls are veiled, banned her from attending classes and made her stand in the hall as punishment instead and instructed her to wear a hijab. Nagla Siddiq, Malak's mother, stood by her daughter: "I'm not against hijab in principle; I myself wear it. But I refuse to have my daughter wear it against her will."
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