Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From the CFR Daily News Brief


In what is expected to be the largest anti-Mubarak demonstration yet, hundreds of thousands of Egyptian protestors will hold a massive rally in central Cairo (WSJ), as well as smaller events across the country. The BBC reports that crowds are already "much bigger than on the previous seven days of protests," and organizers hope the throngs will surge to over one million. Military and civilian checkpoints have been set up to keep weapons out, and the atmosphere is peaceful (CNN). Activist leaders, including Mohamed ElBaradei, have called on Mubarak to resign by Friday.

The mass gathering comes a day after the military emboldened the opposition movement by stating it would not use force against the protestors. According to a Western diplomat, the decision is believed to be part "choreographed maneuvers by the most senior people around Mr. Mubarak" to prepare for his eventual departure (NYT)


For the first time since Pyongyang shelled a South Korean border island last November, the two countries have agreed to hold working-level military talks (Yonhap) on February 8. The meeting is aimed at working out logistics for higher-level military talks, possibly at the level of defense ministers.


Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen announced he will step down after twenty-three years as an MP and vowed not to contest a general election expected for February 25. Observers note that Cowen's government is likely to be the first eurozone government (FT) to lose power as a direct consequence of the currency-bloc's debt crisis.

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