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Sunday
Feb132011

Protesters in Yemen, Algeria Rally Against Governments

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- People across the world seem to have been struck with feelings of empowerment after seeing the protests in Egypt, and now similar events have begun to spread to other countries where hope of governmental change runs high.

In Algeria, citizens have defied a ban by the government on protesting and are calling for the removal of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been power since 1999. Poverty has long remained a problem in Algeria, where it has recently come to the forefront after an increase in food prices issued by the government.

Riot police have moved to secure the Algerian capital as a ban was placed on a pro-democracy rally the day after former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office. Rules in place since 1992 in Algiers, Algeria's capital city, ban protesting but did not stop over 2,000 demonstrators from showing up.

In Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, government supporters attacked those calling for the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power since 1978. As in Egypt, the protests were led by a younger demographic. The first of the anti-regime demonstrators were mostly student activists, who chanted "After Mubarak, it's Ali's turn."

These countries represent a number of nations undergoing massive governmental change. Revolts have broken out in Tunisia, and Sudan has recently voted to split into two countries. More than 98 percent of residents in the southern region of Sudan voted in favor of secession in open and mostly peaceful elections.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb132011

Egypt Museum Official: Looters Looked Like Raiders of the Lost Ark

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Antiquities officials have done a full inventory of the Egyptian Museum, which was hit during anti-government protests on January 28. Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass says looters escaped with several items, including two gilded wooden statues of Tutankhamen and approximately 16 other valuable artifacts.

“They broke the windows and they come with ropes,” he said, “about 15 feet down and they entered the museum.”

“Those people looking like Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Hawass said. “Treasure hunters. People who have nothing in their mind except gold, gold, gold!”

Hawass says about 70 artifacts were damaged by looters who he believes were looking for a red material from the throats of mummies that Egyptian legend says can provide supernatural powers.

“That, they believe, if you have it, you can bring the djinn and the devils back and you can rule the world,” Hawass said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb132011

Talks of Protests Force Action by Libyan President

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- After weeks of protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square led to the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, reports say Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi fears his country may soon face similar protests.

Last week, Gaddafi used his security forces to detain political opponent Jamal al-Hajji for posting a message online urging people to protest the government. The message told the public to begin peacefully protesting on March 2. Gaddafi has been in power for over 40 years after assuming control in a military coup during the 1960s.

Al-Hajii's call is similar to that which began the revolution in Egypt. A call for protesters to take to the streets began online, especially on Twitter using the hashtag #Jan25, denoting the first day of the protests.

It is also believed that Gaddafi held a series of meetings this past week with top officials within his regime to discuss safety concerns in the event of large-scale protests.

There is no clear indication of who a successor would be in the event Gaddafi is taken out of power. Libya does not have a formal constitution, and thus has no legal method of naming a next in command. He does have seven sons, two of whom have been speculated as possible heirs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb132011

Massive Overhaul Coming to Egypt's Government

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- A statement Sunday from Egypt's military council said that the country's parliament and senate will be dissolved, according to reports from Al Jazeera television. The constitution will not be amended, due to the nature of the previous authoritarian rule, but entirely rewritten to reflect a new style of government following weeks of protest in the nation's capital city of Cairo.

ABC News' Jim Sciutto reports that there will be six months of military rule at first, so as to ease the transition to a new government.

After the resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak, there has been a standstill as to the direction of the Egyptian government. Protesters stood their ground for over two weeks calling for the ouster of Mubarak, who ruled for over 30 years, however no true successor ever emerged from the fray.

Ahmed Mekki, a judge and member of the committee to form a new constitution, tells ABC News this is positive because the the old constitution "couldn't be applied or amended, it's so bad" and that "we had to free ourselves of the old constitution in order to be able to write a new, better constitution."

It could be a year until there are free elections in Egypt. In the past, Mubarak would pick and choose which opposition parties were allowed to operate, with his victory in elections a predetermined outcome.

Mubarak is believed to have fled Cairo in favor of the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Egypt: Gov't Will Maintain Regional, International Deals

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egypt’s Supreme Military Council says it will respect all regional and international agreements.

While the statement released by the Council on Saturday failed to mention the Camp David Accords by name, the peace deal between Egypt and Israel – signed in the late 1970s – would appear to be included under that umbrella of agreements.

The military also said it asked the current government to stay in place until a new one is formed.  It gave no timetable for the transition.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

White House Ups Pressure on Iran After Effort to Quash Protests

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon upped administration pressure on Iran Saturday after the ruling regime took action against anti-government protests and placed a prominent opposition leader under house arrest.

"By announcing that they will not allow opposition protests, the Iranian government has declared illegal for Iranians what it claimed was noble for Egyptians," Donilon said in a statement. "We call on the government of Iran to allow the Iranian people the universal right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate and communicate that’s being exercised in Cairo."

On Friday, unprompted, outgoing White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs mentioned the Iranian government's actions arresting people, blocking international media and turning off the Internet. He also addressed comments made by the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard announcing that seditionists will be severely crushed.

"We now know what -- how (Iran is) responding to the images that we see in Tahrir Square," Gibbs said. "The Iranian government should allow the Iranian people to exercise the very same right of peaceful assembly and ability to demonstrate and communicate their desires."

A critic of Iran's leaders, Mehdi Karroubi, a former head of parliament in Iran, was placed under house arrest Thursday so that he could not take part in a rally to celebrate the anniversary of Iran's revolution.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Anti-Government Protesters Hit Streets Of Yemen

Photo Courtesy - GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA’A, Yemen) -- Inspired by the revolution in Egypt and the uprising in Tunisia, close to a thousand demonstrators poured into the streets of Yemen’s capital on Saturday to continue protesting their government and a president who has already said he won't seek re-election.

The demonstrations were mostly non-violent, but there were a few violent clashes between pro-government forces and opposition groups. Several of the protesters pulled out traditional tribal knives and shouted in anger as government forces approached; others threw rocks.

The protests broke up Saturday after only a few hours.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Taliban Kills 16 in Afghan Police Headquarters Attack

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(KANDAHAR, Afghanistan) -- Sixteen people were killed on Saturday after Taliban militants attacked the police headquarters in Kandahar city.

Authorities say 15 Afghan National Police officers and one Afghan intelligence employee were killed after four attackers stormed the police headquarters on Saturday. A total of 50 people were injured in the attack, 25 of whom were police officers, and the other 25 being civilians.

The militants were reportedly armed with suicide bombs, guns and rocket-propelled grenades, and officials say there were also six vehicles filled with explosives parked near to the building. Three of those vehicles reportedly exploded, while police managed to diffuse the other three. Officials say the militants entered a wedding hall located across from the headquarters and opened fire on the headquarters.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Egypt: With Mubarak Out, New Sense Of Purpose In Tahrir Square

Photo Courtesy - Aaron Katersky/ABC NewsREPORTER’S NOTEBOOK
By AARON KATERSKY, ABC News


(CAIRO) -- After 18 days of protests that succeeded in ousting president Hosni Mubarak, a sense of civic pride has overcome the people of Egypt.

They're still celebrating here in Tahrir Square, but where they were carrying flags and placards, now they're carrying brooms, dustpans and garbage bags. The people here have a new sense of purpose – they are cleaning up the Square, actually picking up garbage.

“I've decided that I'm going to work, and plan and dream and get inspired,” one woman told me. “Starting cleaning the streets until building another pyramid.”

Such is the hope that was unleashed here with the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and, for the moment, it trumps any apprehension Egyptians may have about how their country will be governed going forward.

People say they want to build a new Egypt and thousands have come, many with their families.

“This is a historic moment in our time and I want them to feel this,” another woman told me, referring to her children whom she brought with her to help clean the Square. “I need this to be in their memory when they grow up.”

Though her children will grow up with almost no recollection of the country’s former president, she told me that she just wants them “to remember that we did something in this country.”

Over the last three weeks or so this square has seen bullets and bottles, violence and death, and celebration.

“Something within me says it has to be cleaned,” a third woman in the Square told me. “Now I feel it's an obligation.”

“This is my country,” she said. I have to clean it with my own hands. This is my own responsibility now, and everyone else’s.”

She told me it feels like she’s coming home after a 30-year absence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Arrest Warrant Issued for Pervez Musharraf

Photo Courtesy - AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- A Pakistan court has issued an arrest warrant for former president Pervez Musharraf, in connection with the 2007 assassination of opposition party leader Benazir Bhutto.

Reports are that the warrant orders Musharraf to appear in court on Feb. 19 to answer to allegations by prosecutors that he failed to provide Bhutto with adequate protection around the time she was assassinated. Prosecutors are claiming that in the period leading up to Bhutto’s death, Musharraf was aware that the Taliban had been targeting Bhutto, but despite this knowledge Musharraf didn’t give the proper protection.

"There is no basis for the case,” Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesperson for Musharraf, told BBC News. “This is a politically motivated court ruling and the [former] president has no intention of complying."

Bhutto served as Pakistan’s prime minister from 1988-1990, and again from 1993-1996. She was assassinated in the city of Rawalpindi in December 2007 while campaigning for the presidency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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