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Egyptian anti-government protesters gathered in Tahrir (Liberation) square, watch a screen showing U.S. President Barack Obama live on a TV broadcast from Washington DC, speaking about the situation in Egypt, early Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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Egyptian anti-government protesters gathered in Tahrir (Liberation) square, watch a screen showing U.S. President Barack Obama live on a TV broadcast from Washington DC, speaking about the situation in Egypt, early Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011.

The Egyptian military is calling for an end to more than a week of demonstrations demanding President Hosni Mubarak step down immediately after nearly 30 years in power. A military spokesman says: "Your message has arrived, your demands became known ... you are capable of bringing normal life to Egypt."

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is prodding Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to quickly loosen his grip on power, sternly telling the world that the longtime leader's transition from the presidency "must begin now." Obama spoke at the White House not long after Mubarak, a key U.S. ally in the volatile Middle East, announced Tuesday evening that he would not seek re-election in balloting now set for September. But Mubarak said he would stay in office until then to oversee a political changeover from his authoritarian 30-year reign to an uncertain future.

CHICAGO (AP) — A colossal blizzard roaring across a third of the country paralyzed the nation's heartland with ice and snow, shuttering airports and schools and leaving normally bustling downtowns deserted. The monstrous storm billed as the worst in decades delivered knock-out after knock-out as it made its way from Texas to Maine, bringing Chicago and the rest of the Midwest to a halt and prompting a region-wide snow day.

CAIRNS, Australia (AP) — Police barked at stragglers to get off streets as one of Australia's biggest-ever storms bore down on the northeast Wednesday while residents huddled in evacuation centers or at home in bathrooms bunkered with mattresses. Australian leaders issued dire warnings of potential devastation for cities and towns dotted along a stretch of the coast more than 190 miles (300 kilometers) long in the north Queensland state, in an area considered the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Buoyed by a federal court ruling, Senate Republicans maneuvered for a vote to repeal the year-old health care law on Tuesday while the party's potential White House contenders took turns urging them on. Despite the stepped up attack, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the legislation was secure. "It's not going to go anywhere," predicted the Nevada Democrat.

CAIRO (AP) — President Hosni Mubarak came to power amid crisis three decades ago, a reassuring symbol of stability for many Egyptians as well as for Western leaders seeking a solid ally in the Middle East. Today, crisis again envelops Egypt, and Mubarak is widely seen as the root of the problem. In the span of his presidency, Mubarak, a former pilot and air force general with a combative, stubborn streak, took tentative steps toward democratic reform but then pulled back toward the authoritarianism that, coupled with poverty and a culture of corruption, helped drive Egyptian protesters into the streets.

The current U.S. education system is failing to prepare millions of young adults for successful careers by providing a one-size-fits-all approach, and it should take a cue from its European counterparts by offering greater emphasis on occupational instruction, a Harvard University study published Wednesday concludes. The two-year study by the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education notes that while much emphasis is placed in high school on going on to a four-year college, only 30 percent of young adults in the United States successfully complete a bachelor's degree.

WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA's planet-hunting telescope is finding whole new worlds of possibilities in the search for alien life. An early report from a cosmic census indicates that relatively small planets and stable multi-planet systems are far more plentiful than previous searches showed. NASA released new data Wednesday from its Kepler telescope on more than 1,000 possible new planets outside our solar system — more than doubling the count of what astronomers call exoplanets. They haven't been confirmed as planets yet, but some astronomers estimate that 90 percent of what Kepler has found will eventually be verified.

NEW YORK (AP) — Elton John says Billy Joel needs to get serious about rehab and "do something better" with his life. John makes the comments about his former touring partner in the Feb. 17 edition of Rolling Stone magazine. He tells the magazine the pair canceled many tours because of Joel's illnesses and "alcoholism." He also says Joel should do rehab like he did it — with patients cleaning floors, not watching television.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Casey Hampton is listed at 325 pounds. The way his jersey stretches tautly across his biceps (and belly) suggests the real number is north of that. Asked for his actual weight, the Steelers nose tackle says, "It's 300 and change. Lots of change." Hampton is one of 26 players on the Green Bay and Pittsburgh Super Bowl rosters who tip the scale at more than 300 pounds — an eye-popping number made even more startling when you put it in historical context.