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US: NASA rocket to bear name of Egyptian woman killed in anti-govt protests

ultimo aggiornamento: 10 febbraio, ore 18:35

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Cairo, 10 Feb. (AKI) - The United States space agency NASA has okayed the naming of one of its spaceships after a young Egyptian woman killed in late January during an anti-goverment protest, according to Egyptian daily Al-Masry-al-Youm.

The paper quoted Essam Mohamed Haji, a young researcher at NASA as saying on Thursday he had received approval to put the young woman Sally Zahran's name on a spaceship heading for Mars.

Zahran, a 23 English graduated and translator died after she was beaten about the head on 28 January with a truncheons during clashes with security forces in in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag. Anti-government protesters claim her killers were thugs in the pay of police.

“This is the least we could provide to Egyptian youth and revolutionaries. This step represents transferring the dreams of Egyptian youth from a small stretch of earth to the enormous expanse of space,” said Haji was cited as telling Al-Masri Al-Youm by phone from California.

Egypt on Thursday entered it 17th day of unrest, with many thousands of people taking to the streets in the capital, Cairo and filling its central Tahrir Square.

Doctors, bus drivers, lawyers and textile workers were on strike in Cairo on Thursday, with trade unions reporting walkouts and protests across the country.

The protesters have vowed to keep up their revolt against authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak, who they want to leave office immediately.

Around 300 people have been killed in clashes with security forces and over 1,400 have been injured since the unrest began on 25 January against Mubarak, who took power in 1981 and whom they blame for widespread poverty, corruption and police brutality.

Mubarak, a staunch ally of the west, has said he will not run for another presidential term in elections due in September, but the anti-government protesters want more rapid political and economic change.

He has come under increasing pressure from the US to speed the transition to democracy. CIA director Leon Panetta, in testimony before an intelligence committee of the US legislature on Thursday said there was "a strong likelihood that Mubarak will step down this evening."

State television interrupted all programming to present a message from the high council of the Egyptian armed forces that promised to to take "necessary measures to protect the nation," the military also said it would "support the legitimate demands of the people" and remain in "continuous session".


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