Protesters carry people in the shape of a cross at a rally against a bombing near their church in Egypt.
Protesters carry people in the shape of a cross at a rally against a bombing near their church in Egypt. (Asmaa Waguih)
Monday, January 3, 2011


Protests grow louder after blast at church

As Egyptian authorities questioned suspects Sunday in connection with a deadly New Year's Day church bombing, thousands of demonstrators massed in two cities and accused the government of failing to protect the country's Christian minority.

The protests in Cairo, the capital, and the northern port of Alexandria raised questions about Egypt's stability and showed growing disenchantment with an authoritarian government that receives more U.S. military aid than any other Arab nation but is widely seen as corrupt, undemocratic and ineffective.

Egyptian news services said security services held 17 people for questioning a day after a suicide bomber struck outside the Two Saints church in Alexandria, killing 21 people and wounding more than 80 during Mass shortly after midnight.

It was the worst attack in at least a decade on Egypt's Coptic Christians, who make up roughly 10 percent of the country's 80 million people but have long complained of discrimination and marginalization.

Suspicion quickly fell on Islamist militant groups linked to al-Qaeda, which have carried out a string of attacks recently against Christians in Iraq.

An Egyptian daily, al-Masry al-Youm, reported Sunday that security services had identified an unknown number of foreign "infiltrators" who had entered Egypt but said the bomb appeared to have been manufactured locally.

- McClatchy-Tribune


Magnitude-7.1 quake hits southern Chile

A magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck near Temuco in southern Chile on Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There were no reports of injury or damage.

The quake occurred about 3:20 p.m. Eastern time, 370 miles south-southwest of Santiago, the capital, the USGS said.

The medium-intensity quake cut telephone and electricity lines, the government's emergency service, Onemi, said on its Web site. There were no reports of infrastructure damage or injuries, Daniel Araya, an Onemi official, said by phone.

"A destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected, and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Sunday on its Web site.

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