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Morning Briefing: Is Iran monkeying around? Add to ...

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe’s news desk on Jan. 28, 2013

Iran’s astro-monkey makes it back alive this time

After a botched attempt in 2011, Iran appears to have succeeded in sending a monkey into space and bringing it back to Earth alive. “Iran successfully launched a capsule, codenamed Pishgam (Pioneer), containing a monkey and recovered the shipment on the ground intact,” said the defence ministry’s aerospace department. Iran – which has previously sent a rat, turtles and worms into space – says it plans to put a human in space by 2020.

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Egypt bolsters army powers as protests continue

The turmoil in Egypt continues, prompting the government to issue curfews and bolster the power of the military to deal with the unrest. Today, cabinet approved a measure giving the army the power to arrest citizens and assist police, Reuters reports. That comes after President Mohamed Morsi declared a one-month state of emergency in three cities where protests have left dozens dead. In an effort to quell the unrest, the President offered a dialogue today with opposition groups.

Islamists destroy Timbuktu library as they flee

Fleeing Islamist rebels set fire to a library containing priceless manuscripts in the fabled city of Timbuktu, the latest act of historical vandalism by the militants. That news comes as French-backed Malian troops retook the city over the weekend, including its strategic airport, pushing the rebels further north. During their rule in Timbuktu, the rebels destroyed a number of historical sites and artifacts, alleging they violated the teachings of Islam. Here is our Africa correspondent Geoffrey York’s report on developments in Mali.

Canadians not interested in reopening abortion debate

A new poll finds that Canadians do not want to re-open the contentious debate on abortion. Released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of a Supreme Court decision that struck down Canada’s abortion ban, the Angus Reid poll found that 59 per cent of respondents say there is no point to reopening the debate. For more, read a story by The Globe’s Andre Picard.

Police arrest owner of Brazilian nightclub

Police have arrested the owner of the Brazilian nightclub that was the scene of a fire that left more than 230 people dead and more than 100 injured. The arrest comes as the first funerals for the dead, mostly science students, begin today.

Obama and Biden have confab on guns

U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden will meet today with three mayors sharing a common, tragic connection – their communities have each been shattered by unspeakable acts of violence. The mayors of Newtown, Aurora and Oak Creek will gather in the White House today, part of the administration’s push to rally support for its recently unveiled gun control initiatives.

Clinton keeps cards close to vest on 2016 bid

Will she or won’t she? The answer appears to be: wait and find out. Hillary Clinton, in the final days of her tenure as Secretary of State, refused to rule out a run for president in 2016 in a joint interview with her boss and one-time rival, Mr. Obama. “The President and I care deeply about what’s going to happen for our country in the future. And I don’t think, you know, either he or I can make predictions about what’s going to happen tomorrow, or the next year,” she said.

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