A sea of protesters flooded downtown Cairo last night, calling for an indefinite general strike and announcing a "million-man march" today to mark one week since the start of deadly anti-government protests. The call to stop work came as thousands of protesters defied an extraordinary show of military strength by embattled Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak to camp overnight in Cairo's central Tahrir Square. In an apparent attempt to show change, Mr Mubarak named a new government last night. But the line-up, dominated by regime stalwarts, was greeted with scorn by protesters.
Young Australians will be paid to get tested for chlamydia, as health experts look for new ways to combat rising rates of the sexually-transmitted infection. Young people aged 16 to 30 who are sexually active will be paid $10 if they accept an offer at a participating pharmacy to undergo a chlamydia test. The initiative is a pilot program running solely in the ACT but if it proves a success, Associate Professor Rhian Parker said it could be rolled out nationally.
Thousands turned out to welcome Tunisia's exiled Islamist leader yesterday as he made a triumphant return after 22 years in London, anxious to stress that his party was not "against modernity". Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda movement which was banned under the ousted president Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, flew to his homeland to relaunch his party after last month's revolution.
For the US and Israel, the alarming spectre raised by the uprising in Egypt is the prospect of the Muslim Brotherhood seizing power and forming a hostile Islamist regime in a country that has for decades been a bastion of US and Western support. This, in turn, conjures images of Muslim dominoes toppling one by one, amid the rise of regimes modelled on the rabid theocracy in Iran. This scenario has been successfully exploited by the Egyptian government for 30 years to maintain its emergency rule and justify the brutal crushing of opponents and has been cited by the US to rationalise its backing of President Hosni Mubarak's regime. Now as the blowback in Egypt intensifies, the Muslim Brotherhood - outlawed for decades, its members jailed, tortured and executed - is emerging once again as a major political force, and one that must be reckoned with, whatever Egypt's future holds. Despite Cairo's attempt to blame its old nemesis for fomenting the rebellion, the brotherhood has so far taken a mostly low profile. It refrained from endorsing the protests that began last Tuesday until the end of the week, when it urged its members to take to the streets.
Children in separated families continue to spend more time with their mothers despite law reforms aimed at promoting shared parenting. The Australian Institute of Family Studies tracked more than 10,000 separated parents who split following the Howard government's 2006 family law reforms. The changes were designed to encourage 50-50 parenting arrangements, while increasing services to help parents reach custody agreements out of court. But since the reforms, shared parenting arrangements have increased only slightly and at a similar rate to that post reforms.
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