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Morning Briefing: Twitter cuts off al-Shabab militant group

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on Jan. 25, 2013

Twitter nixes Somali militant group

Twitter has cut-off al-Shabab, the Somali militant group which recently admitted to killing a French intelligence agent kidnapped three years ago in the war-torn country, BBC reports. The account, launched in late 2011, was suspended by Twitter after al-Shabab issued a public threat to kill Kenyan hostages, posting a Twitter link to a video of two hostages held in Somalia. Twitter's rules forbid using the micro-blogging tool to issue threats.

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Rob Ford's big day

One way or another, it will be a big day for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. If he wins the appeal in his conflict-of-interest case, he gets to finish his term as mayor of Canada's largest city; if he loses, the Toronto heads into uncharted, political waters where anything might happen. If the appeal is denied and Mr. Ford is forced from office, his fate rests in the hands of council which must decide next steps. There are a number of possibilities, including a by-election to fill the position, or the appointment of an interim mayor to complete the term – which could be Mr. Ford himself. No clear sense of where council would fall on the issue has emerged. Stay tuned.

Supreme Court rules in 'Lola case'

The Supreme Court of Canada will make a ruling that could profoundly alter the status of common-law partnerships in Quebec. The ruling in the so-called "Lola case" will deal with the issue of whether spousal benefits should be extended to common-law couples in Quebec like other parts of the country.

Pyongyang threatens Seoul

After a day of rattling sabres at its "mortal enemy" the United States, North Korea turned today on its arch-rival to the south. North Korea threatened today to take "physical countermeasures" against South Korea, following on threats Thursday to conduct a third nuclear weapons test and "target" the US. The isolated and impoverished nation has been angered by a UN security council decision calling for more sanctions over its test of a missile in December.

Violence erupts at Cairo's Tahrir Square

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Angry youths marked the two year anniversary of the protests that led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak by taking to the streets of Cairo once again. The protesters – opponents of president Mohamed Morsi, who rode to power in the wake of Mubarak's fall – clashed with police near Tahrir Square, ground zero to the protests two years ago that swept across the region. The protests show the continuing divide between secularist and the Islamist Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies over the future path of the country.

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