Clash turns deadlyat university in Cairo

A student was killed Saturday and scores were arrested when supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with Egyptian police at the Cairo campus of al-Azhar University, state media reported.

Shaimaa Mounir, a student activist, said that the dead student, Khaled el-Haddad, was a supporter of the Islamist movement, which has staged daily protests since the government designated it a terrorist organization this past week.

The state-run newspaper al-Ahram said security forces fired tear gas to disperse pro-Brotherhood students who were preventing classmates from entering university buildings to take exams. Protesters threw rocks at police and burned tires.

Al-Ahram quoted a Health Ministry official as saying that one student had been killed and five injured.

Police arrested 101 students for possession of makeshift weapons including gasoline bombs, the state news agency reported. Calm was later restored, and scheduled exams went ahead.

Al-Azhar, a respected center of Sunni Islamic learning, has for months been the site of protests against the military-backed coup that deposed the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, in July after a year in office.

— Reuters

Protester is killed amid fresh violence

Gunmen killed an anti-
government activist and wounded two others in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, on Saturday, while protesters elsewhere blocked candidates from registering for elections, deepening a political crisis that threatens to derail democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.

Registration for the Feb. 2 vote was suspended in four of the country’s 76 provinces. All four were southern provinces where the demonstrators, who are seeking to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, enjoy support.

In the shooting incident, local media said unidentified gunmen opened fire on guards close to a protest camp before escaping.

The events came after comments Friday by the powerful army chief in which he declined to rule out the possibility of a coup in the country, a major U.S. ally and Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

— Associated Press

U.S. peace envoy is back in N. Ireland: American envoy Richard Haass has returned to Belfast for a second attempt at quelling disputes that have periodically erupted into violence across Northern Ireland. Haass, a former U.S. diplomat, was called in by the province’s power-sharing government to help resolve friction over flags, parades and how to deal with the legacy of the ­decades-long conflict between Northern Ireland’s pro-British Protestants and pro-republican Catholics. He was unable to bring the parties to an agreement before Christmas but saw enough potential to return for a second try.

China officially eases one-child policy: China is formally allowing couples to have a second child if one parent is an only child, the first major easing of its three-decade-old restrictive birth policy. Announced in November, the decision was sanctioned by the standing committee of China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The birth policy implemented in 1980 has limited most couples to one child but has allowed a second child if neither parent has siblings or if the first child born to a rural couple is a girl.

Syrian strike kills 21 in Aleppo, activists say: A Syrian government airstrike hit a crowded vegetable market in a rebel-held neighborhood of the northern city of Aleppo, shattering cars and storefronts and killing at least 21 people, activists said. President Bashar al-Assad’s warplanes and helicopters have pounded opposition-controlled areas of the city since Dec. 15, killing more than 400 people, according to the activists.

— From news services