Tunisia: State of emergency declared amid protests

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Police fire tear gas at the protesters outside the interior ministry. A state of emergency has been declared in Tunisia amid protests over corruption, unemployment and inflation. The decree bans more than three people from gathering together in the open, and imposes a night-time curfew. Security forces have been authorised to open fire on people not obeying their orders. State television is reporting that a “very important statement is expected to be announced to the Tunisian people very soon”. Troops have surrounded the country’s main international airport, Tunis Carthage, and the country’s air space has been closed. Read more at BBC.

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in probe over teenage dancer Ruby

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is being investigated over his dealings with a 17-year-old nightclub dancer. Mr Berlusconi is suspected of abusing his power by trying to have the Moroccan girl – known by her stage name Ruby – released from a police cell. Some reports say the probe includes allegations of underage prostitution. Lawyers for the 74-year-old prime minister dismissed the claims as “absurd and groundless”. Read more at BBC.

Judge rules inmate ‘bitten on penis by rodent’ may sue

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A New York man who says a rat bit his penis during a jail stay may sue county officials, a judge has ruled. Peter Solomon, who said he later had to endure a course of rabies jabs, says jailers knew the ward in which they placed him was infested with rodents. He says the jail was negligent and mistreated him because he is black. Lawyers for Nassau County sought to have the suit dismissed. Among other arguments, its experts said they saw no evidence of serious injury. Read more at BBC.

Global piracy costs billions, says study

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Maritime piracy costs the global economy between $7bn (£4.4bn) and $12bn (£7.6bn) a year, a study says. The report, launched by UK think-tank Chatham House, calculated the amount from the costs of ransom, security equipment and the impact on trade. The majority of costs came from piracy off Somalia, it says. Although the costs are said to be difficult to assess, one researcher estimated they had increased roughly five-fold since 2005. Read more at BBC.

Jimmy Wales says Wikipedia too complicated for many

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Wikipedia is too complicated for many people to modify despite billing itself as “the free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit”, its founder has said. Jimmy Wales told BBC News the site wants a new generation of contributors, including more women. The online encyclopaedia, which is 10 years old on 15 January, is the world’s fifth most popular site. It aims to increase its users from 400m to 1bn by 2015. But growth requires a new interface, said Mr Wales. “We have to support our old power users because they build the site,” he said. “But we also need to have a ramp for new users.” He said a lot of people were “afraid” to contribute to the site by the sometimes complicated code – known as Wiki mark-up – needed to format entries. Read more at BBC.

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