Thursday, January 27, 2011

From the CFR Daily News Brief


In a third day of anti-government protests inspired in part by the tumult in Tunisia, clashes continued between demonstrators and police in several parts of Egypt, including Cairo and Suez (al-Jazeera). At least four activists have been killed during the unprecedented period of unrest, rallying against rising food costs, failed economic policies, and President Hosni Mubarak's thirty-year rule. Analysts expect the situation to gather steam with the arrival of Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog and a possible presidential rival to Mubarak (Haaretz). Shortly before his return to join in demonstrations, ElBaradei said it was time for Mubarak to step aside.

The Egyptian government has declared the protests illegal, increasing security and arresting up to a thousand (BBC), according to reports. Experts suggest that even if Mubarak manages to survive the crisis politically, his campaign to install his son as successor (FT) is finished...Media reports claim there is discussion among protestors about staging a big demonstration on Friday (CNN) following Muslim prayers.

Protests Spread to Yemen

Spurred by the recent waves of unrest in Egypt and Tunisia, thousands of protestors flooded the capital of Yemen (Haaretz) on Thursday to demand a change in government. President Ali Abdullah Saleh has ruled the country for over thirty years and served as a key ally of the United States in its war against al-Qaeda.

U.S. Says Beijing Wants to Contain North Korea

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said Chinese leaders expressed renewed commitment to containing Pyongyang (FT) following last week's visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao. In prior statements, Mullen has accused Beijing of giving North Korea "tacit approval" for acts of aggression against its southern neighbor.
Mass Protests Follow Murder of Indian Official

In the Indian state of Maharashtra, hundreds of thousands of government workers are protesting the murder of an official, Yashwant Sonawane, who was burned to death while investigating a fuel racket. The case has drawn attention to the issue of corruption as the government is blaming the so-called fuel mafia (BBC).
Some GOP lawmakers have proposed legislation to eliminate birthright citizenship, but legal expert Margaret Stock says these proposals would create vast logistical and social problems and are unlikely to succeed.

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