A suicide bomber has detonated an explosive at a military base in Mogadishu, killing himself and four others but failing to enter the compound, officials and witnesses said.
“The suicide bomber tried to enter the compound but guards stopped him, when he then detonated his bomb, killing three people on the spot including himself,” Farah Barre, a government security official, said on Wednesday.
Wikipedia: The capital and largest city of Somalia, on the Indian Ocean. →
CAIRO — Islamists claimed a decisive victory on Wednesday as early election results put them on track to win a dominant majority in Egypt’s first Parliament since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the most significant step yet in the religious movement’s rise since the start of the Arab Spring.
The party formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group, appeared to have taken about 40 percent of the vote, as expected. But a big surprise was the strong showing of ultraconservative Islamists, called Salafis, many of whom see most popular entertainment as sinful and reject women’s participation in voting or public life.
Analysts in the state-run news media said early returns indicated that Salafi groups could take as much as a quarter of the vote, giving the two groups of Islamists combined control of nearly 65 percent of the parliamentary seats.
US police have raided Occupy Wall Street camps in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, arresting over 200 people and tearing up tent cities.
In Los Angeles, about 1,400 police officers took part in the late-night operation outside City Hall – two days after an eviction deadline had passed.
In Philadelphia, nearly all of the demonstrators left before the police started pulling down tents.
The evictions appeared to have been carried out without any major violence.
Over 150 protesters were arrested in Los Angeles, police told the BBC, while about 50 arrests were made in Philadelphia.
By Thomas Erdbrink and Anthony Faiola, Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 9:11 AM
TEHRAN – Britain withdrew all its diplomatic staff from Iran on Wednesday and ordered the Iranian embassy in London closed, after supporters of Iran’s ruling clerics ransacked the British Embassy and residential compound.
European Union member countries were scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon to decide whether their embassies would remain open in light of the attack, which was a stark escalation of long-simmering anti-Western sentiment. Norway closed its embassy Tuesday.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The Federal Reserve, acting with five other central banks, took further steps Wednesday to make it cheaper for banks around the world to trade in U.S. dollars.
The Fed — along with central banks of the eurozone, England, Japan, Switzerland and Canada — announced a coordinated plan to lower prices on dollar liquidity swaps beginning on December 5, and extending these swap arrangements to February 1, 2013.
The Florida A&M drum major who allegedly died from a violent hazing texted a joyful photograph to his parents on the day he died.
The shot is a photo of Robert Champion with a young boy from a children’s marching band, posing in their uniforms on the field.
“This picture says so much, it’s like I’m looking at myself,” Champion, 26, wrote to his parents.
Hours later, Champion was dead, allegedly a victim of violent hazing that has been a hallmark of the band for years.
“It needs to stop,” Champion’s mother Pam told a news conference today. “No one wants to hear your son collapsed and died. We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Champion’s parents said they intend to sue the university and possibly the school’s recently fired band director Julian White.
Drum Major’s Parents to Sue in Alleged Hazing Death
Champions’ attorney, Chris Chestnut, said the parents are acting to stop dangerous hazing.
“Somebody has to step up, open door wide open, so you can see what’s hidden behind it,” Chestnut said. “He died in foolishness. His legacy gives positivity to it. His legacy can be the end of hazing at FAMU.”
“We’ve got to expose this culture and eradicate it. There’s a patterns and practice of covering up this culture,” the lawyer said.
Champion’s parents said they grieved through the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Thanksgiving and Christmas were all about parades. We would watch them together every year,” Pam Champion said.
The mom said her son had always dreamed of joining the marching band.
“His first sight of the [Florida A&M University] band was at the age of 5. And ever since then, he set his goal,” she told ABC News. “He would march around in the driveway with a broom handle.”
Champion was living that dream, as a drum major in Florida A&M’s famed “Marching 100.” But on Nov. 19, he collapsed and died. The school has fired the band director, but the family says that’s not enough and they plan to sue.
Police and former band members say Champion was likely forced to walk through a “gauntlet of fists.” He reportedly vomited and said he couldn’t breathe moments before his death.
“It appears that this school has done a cost-benefit analysis of hazing in the band, and they concluded that benefit was greater than the cost. And that cost Robert Champion his life,” Chestnut said.
This is not the first time the school’s marching band has been involved with hazing. Earlier this semester, 30 students were suspended over hazing incidents. In 2001, student Marcus Parker was paddled so intensely, his kidneys shut down. Parker was awarded $1.8 million in a civil suit.
READ TRANSCRIPT: FAMU President James Ammons Speaks With ABC News’ Matt Gutman
Champion’s parents say they had no idea any hazing was going on.
“He said everything is going good,” his father said, “He never said anything to me about hazing.”
His parents describe their son as a kind young man, gentle and humble, who always reached out to others.
“He wanted to be a part of music and that’s the way he lived his life,” his father said, “He wanted to get a degree in music and try to help other people, other kids develop themselves. And I’m proud of him.”
That joyful spirit is what they now remember.
“When I woke up on Thanksgiving I tried to write down what I had to be thankful for, and I thought it was that I was thankful that I was chosen to be his mother,” his mother said.
The queues formed early and quickly at polling stations across Egypt on Monday, as voters cast their ballots in the first parliamentary elections since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February.
Large numbers of registered voters turned out on the first day of the three-stage election process, with lines snaking around polling centres under the watchful eye of military soldiers.
In the capital, Cairo, thousands of voters flocked to schools in the neighbourhoods of Zamalek, Nasr City and Maadi – among others – well before they opened at 8am, to stake their place in line.
“I’ve been waiting since 7am [local time],” one voter told Al Jazeera at a polling station in the working-class neighbourhood of Shubra, where hundreds of voters were delayed by the late arrival of ballot papers.
United Nations (CNN) — Rival revolutionary brigades remain almost entirely responsible for security in Libya, posing that country’s most pressing challenge, according to the top United Nations envoy in Libya and a new U.N. report.
Ian Martin, who has headed an interim U.N. support mission in Tripoli for the past two months, briefed the Security Council Monday on the uphill battles facing a country emerging from decades of dictatorial rule.
The report, based on Martin’s mission, lists several problem areas: Transitional authorities have said they will hold elections, the first in over 45 years, in less than year. Thousands of imprisoned or passport-less sub-Saharan Africans are stranded in the country. And, despite a relatively positive humanitarian outlook, the Libyan poor are facing rapidly increasing food prices
Nonetheless, Martin said, “there is overwhelming agreement that the first and foremost of immediate challenges is in the area of security, and it is a multifaceted challenge. Beyond the needs of the war-wounded and bereaved … determining the future of the revolutionary fighters is fundamental in the short and longer term.”
ISLAMABAD – Afghanistan officials claimed Sunday that Afghan and NATO forces were retaliating for gunfire from two Pakistani army bases when they called in airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, adding a layer of complexity to episode that has further strained Pakistan’s ties with the United States.
The account challenged Pakistan’s claim that the strikes were unprovoked.
Cells taken from people with a rare syndrome linked to autism could help explain the origins of the condition, scientists suggest.
The Stanford University team turned skin cells from people with “Timothy syndrome” into fully-fledged brain cells.
The abnormal activity found in these cells could be partially corrected using an experimental drug, Nature Medicine reports.
UK researchers warned the findings might not apply to everyone with autism.
Compared with the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide thought to show characteristics of autism, “Timothy syndrome” is vanishingly rare, affecting an estimated 20 people across the planet.
People who have the syndrome frequently display autistic behaviour, such as problems with social development and communication.
Because it is caused by a single gene defect rather than a combination of small genetic flaws, each making a tiny contribution, it presents a useful target for scientists looking to examine what goes wrong in the developing brain of a child with autism.
Ready for work
The US researchers used a technique developed recently to generate brain cells called neurons from only a sample of the patient’s skin.
This allowed them to examine their development in the laboratory, and even use them to test out possible treatments.
They found obvious differences between neurons grown from Timothy syndrome patients, and those from healthy “control” subjects.
The healthy neurons developed into different subtypes, ready for work in different regions of the brain.
In contrast, the proportion of neurons developing into each subtype was different in the Timothy syndrome samples – more were equipped to work in the upper part of the cerebral cortex, and fewer in the lower part.
This meant there were fewer neurons equipped to work in a part of the brain called the corpus callosum, which has the role of helping the left and right “hemispheres” of the brain communicate.
These differences echoed those already observed in mice specially bred with the Timothy syndrome genetic fault.
In addition, the neurons were making too much of a particular body chemical linked to the manufacture of dopamine and norepinephrine, which play a significant role in sensory processing and social behaviour.
Dr Ricardo Dolmetsch, who led the study, said that the abnormalities found tallied with other evidence that autism was due in part to poor communication between different parts of the brain.
The team managed to reduce significantly the number of these malfunctioning neurons by adding a drug as they developed.
This, they said, meant it might be possible one day to treat this defect in a real patient, although the drug used was not currently suitable for children due to side-effects.
The National Autistic Society gave a cautious welcome to findings, but warned that they did not necessarily offer insights into every form of autism.
Researcher Georgina Gomez said: “Timothy syndrome is only one form of autism and so these findings only give a very limited picture of what might cause the condition.
“More work would need to be done to substantiate this particular piece of research.”
Wikipedia: The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. →