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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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CAIRO | Hundreds of Christians smashed cars and windows and tried to assault a municipal building in Cairo on Wednesday after police violently stopped the construction of a church that left one person dead and underscored Egypt’s sectarian tensions.

Police clashed with Christians first at the church construction site in the early hours of the morning and then several hours later when a mob of hundreds assaulted the local governor’s office.

The slain Christian was shot in the thigh and died after arriving at a nearby hospital, according to Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency. Thirty people were injured in the clashes and 93 were arrested. Two priests were summoned by the general prosecutor for interrogation.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 80 million. They complain frequently of discrimination, though they generally live in peace with the Muslim majority with occasional flare-ups of tension and violence, especially over limits on church building.

SOMALIA

Report: 2,100 Somalis killed this year

MOGADISHU | More than 2,100 civilians have been killed this year in violence between Islamist insurgents and pro-government forces in Somalia’s capital, the city’s main ambulance service said Wednesday.

About 80 percent of the victims died as a result of indiscriminate shelling by African Union forces into the capital’s largest market, Bakara, said Ali Muse, the director of the Lifeline Africa Ambulance Service.

“All of those victims are civilians, killed either by stray bullets or hit by mortars or by artillery shells,” Mr. Muse told the Associated Press.

The ambulance service said 2,171 civilians were killed between January and October this year, and that 5,814 were wounded during the same period. Among the wounded were 2,903 women and 1,146 children.

The group said 2,089 civilians were killed in the capital in 2009.

EGYPT

Blogger says jail won’t stop activism

CAIRO | An Egyptian blogger, released after four years in prison for insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak, said on Wednesday he had no regrets and that his jail time would not deter him from activism in the future.

“If I went back in time, I would not change a thing,” Abdel Kareem Nabil, 26, known as Kareem Amer, told a news conference.

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