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Growing protest movement across Middle East prompts crackdowns, vows to reform

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After revelations by secrets outlet WikiLeaks led Tunisians to overthrow the corrupt dictator Zine Abedine Ben Ali, the Middle East has been a pot at roaring boil, with brewing revolts in numerous nations, most notably Egypt.

Other nations’ governments have begun scrambling. In Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and across sub-Saharan Africa, leaders felt a distinctly new sensation thanks to the wave of uprisings: fear, of their own people.

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The Tunisian uprising set a precedent for the region that has now recurred in Egypt — a bigger, more strategically important country.

Pascal Boniface, an analyst with the Institute for International and Strategic Relations, called Tunisia a “generic model” for challenging authoritarian governments, which could be reprised “in Africa, Asia, anywhere repressive powers dominate and appear worn out.”

Tuesday, as millions of Egyptians participated in the largest protests the country had ever seen, cities across eastern Libya went into a state of emergency, dispensing police to all government buildings and setting up militarized checkpoints in key areas, according to Al Jazeera.

The state of emergency included shutting down Libyan Football Federation matches planned for February. It came after a series of demonstrations called for Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi (pictured above) to resign.

Gaddafi, the subject of numerous leaked US diplomatic cables, allegedly travels everywhere with a “voluptuous blonde” Ukrainian nurse. Since that and other revelations about the Libyan leader began to trickle out, his inner-circle has reportedly become besieged with tamping down rumors.

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Gaddafi has been in power over 40 years.

Similarly, Jordan’s King Abdullah II dismissed his government and named a new prime minister Tuesday, calling on the new officials to carry out “true political reforms,” according to AFP.

Jordan’s powerful Islamist opposition said on Monday that it had started a dialogue with the state, saying that unlike the situation in Egypt, it did not seek regime change.

In Yemen, protesters called for a “day of rage” on Thursday, over the country’s acquiescence to US military interests. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks revealed that Yemen officials had been lying to their people, saying they were behind a bombing campaign against radical Islamic fighters when in reality the US was secretly conducting a drone bombing campaign.

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President Ali Abdullah Saleh was expected to address a special meeting of parliament head of Thursday’s planned “day of rage.” Saleh in recent days has taken dramatic action to extend government aid and enhance employment, and even ordered university students exempted from the remainder of their fees for the year.

“The African continent is at a special moment in its history, with 22 presidential and legislative elections due in the coming year,” a senior French official who asked not to be named recently told AFP.

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“It is not a good time for dictators,” he said. “This could be contagious.”

With AFP.


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‘That’s not true’: CNN host disputes ex-Trump adviser who says ‘typical’ family won’t work because of $600 checks

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Former White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett claimed on Tuesday that a "typical median family" is being paid $90,000 to stay home during the pandemic if they are receiving the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits.

In an interview on CNN, host Poppy Harlow challenged the former Trump adviser when he downplayed the urgency of extending the unemployment benefits.

"You and I don't rely on $600 a week to pay our rent or feed our family," Harlow explained. "That's not our situation. But for millions of Americans, it is. And they stopped getting those checks on Friday and that's why I don't think it's too far to say that it's a failure [of government]."

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Cops handcuff 4 black children at gunpoint after pulling over wrong vehicle

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Aurora, Colorado police are being criticized nationwide after officers stopped an SUV and forced the occupants, including four Black children, out of the vehicle, handcuffed at least two of them with their hands behind their backs, and forced them to lie face down on the hot parking lot pavement.

In the video below the children and the adult driving the car can be heard crying and screaming. The youngest girl, just six years old, is wearing a tiara. Some of the officers are not wearing masks.

ABC affiliate The Denver Channel reports the cops made an error, wrongly "matching" the license plate number of the SUV to an out-of-state license plate of a motorcycle.

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Bank VP gets booted from family business after responding to Obama’s eulogy with racist Facebook screed

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According to the Valdosta Daily Times, an executive at a small family bank has been removed from his job after a racist, anti-Semitic Facebook post in response to President Barack Obama's eulogy of civil rights leader John Lewis.

"David Hollis has been asked by Citizens Community Bank to resign both his position and his role on the bank's board of directors, according to a CCB statement to the Valdosta Daily Times," reported Chris Herbert. "'The employee was asked to submit his resignation and is no longer employed by the bank, nor will he be serving on the board of directors,' the statement read."

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