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News in Brief: Egyptian Protesters Fight Back, Torch Police Station, and More

Egyptian Protesters Fight Back, Torch Police Station

Egyptian Protesters Fight Back, Torch Police Station

Protesters in the Egyptian city of Suez used gasoline bombs to attack and torch a police station on Thursday morning, amid a security crackdown set in place to quell demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Hosni Murabak, according to Al Jazeera. Protesters gathered in front of a different station later in the morning and demanded the release of friends and relatives arrested during recent demonstrations. Police have responded to other demonstrations in Suez and across Egypt with water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas.

Five Suspected Pro-WikiLeaks Hackers Arrested in Britain

Five people in the United Kingdom have been arrested in connection to the Operation Payback online hacker attacks organized last month against the web sites of Visa, MasterCard and other companies that cut ties with WikiLeaks, according to The Guardian. Three teenage males and two men in their twenties were arrested as suspected members of a loose network of “hacktivists” called Anonymous, a decentralized and anti-authoritarian online entity that seeks to defend freedom of information online. The arrests were part of an ongoing investigation in Britain.

The Guardian reports that Anonymous has organized cyber support for the protesters in Tunisia and Egypt by disabling government web sites. In December, Truthout provided a glimpse into the chat rooms where the Anonymous hackers gathered to launch attacks against web sites of companies that blocked donations to WikiLeaks after the whistleblower web site began releasing US diplomatic cables.

Yemenis Mobilize and Join Protest Movement

Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets on Thursday during a mass mobilization to demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh resign after being in power since 1978, according to the New York Times. The mass protests and organized resistance in Egypt and Tunisia apparently inspired the Yemeni demonstrators as dissent and momentum spread across the Arab world. Protests in Egypt against longtime ruler President Hosni Mubarak and his authoritarian regime continued on Thursday, with reports trickling in detailing mass arrests and violence. The Obama administration is now openly supporting the protesters and their freedom of peaceful assembly and speech, according to the Washington Post.

Legislation Would Address Link Between Cancer Rates and Toxic Chemicals

Bipartisan legislation that would help communities determine whether there is a connection between environmental contaminants and toxic chemicals to increased numbers of birth defects and cancer cases was introduced in Congress on Wednesday in conjunction with a new study that shows child cancer rates have risen along with exposure to toxic chemicals, according to the Environment News Service. The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition warned that the number of child cancer cases has risen since 1975 along with rates of exposure to toxic chemicals. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), both cancer survivors, introduced legislation that would authorize federal authorities and scientists to investigate links between chemical exposure and cancer rates in American communities.

CBO: Tax Cut Compromise Leads to Record Deficit

The debate over the federal deficit intensified this week after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a record $1.5 trillion deficit, according to The Hill. The CBO blamed the record deficit on the tax compromise struck between Republicans and the Obama administration in December. The compromise extended Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy while extending unemployment benefits for millions of jobless Americans.

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