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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
January 28, 2013

Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: Egypt Violence Continues Despite State of Emergency

Street violence continued for a fifth consecutive day across Egypt despite President Mohammed Morsi's Sunday declaration of a month-long state of emergency (al-Jazeera) in three provinces hit by rioting that has left almost fifty people dead. Protests marking the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution began last week, and a death sentence for several Port Said residents on charges related to deadly rioting at a soccer match last year sparked more violent demonstrations. In reaction, the cabinet approved a draft law that would allow Morsi to deploy the army to the streets, and the president on Monday called for a national dialogue (Reuters) with rivals, although early response from the main opposition coalition suggested they saw little point in the gesture.


"Since President Morsi took office last June, his critics complain that he has failed to hold former officials accountable for their alleged crimes and carry out much-needed reforms, particularly to the interior ministry. He has failed to fill a security vacuum, making his task of dealing with a growing economic crisis much harder," write Yolande Knell and Jeannie Assad for the BBC.

"Where did Egypt get it wrong, what did it miss in transition? The answer may lie in a single word that has figured prominently in the Tunisian political discourse – 'consensus,'" writes Mike Hanna for al-Jazeera.

"What we have now is the same old equation, only with a change in its components. Those who ruled are now in prison or in the opposition while the factions of political Islam, which constituted the main opposition bloc in the past 60 years under the leadership of its biggest group, are now in power and maintaining the tactics of the old regime," writes Abdel Latif al-Menawy for al-Arabiya.



Bo Xilai Trial Will Not Stand Until March

China's disgraced former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai will not stand trial (CDT) until March at the earliest, state media said after speculation mounted last Friday that details of the case would be heard on Monday at a court in the southwestern city of Guiyang.

NORTH KOREA: South Korea's chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said Monday that North Korea, which has threatened a third nuclear test, was ready for a launch at "any time." (Yonhap)

In CFR's Presidential Inbox series, Scott Snyder writes to the president about North Korea's nuclear defiance.



Myanmar Receives Loans

The Asian Development Bank and the World Bank granted around $952 million in fresh loans (IBT) to Myanmar, while other creditor countries agreed to cancel half of the country's owed debt, reducing its burden by about $6 billion.

BANGLADESH: Islamist activists attacked police in Dhaka Monday to protest the prosecution (Dawn) of their leaders on charges stemming from its war of independence forty years ago.



UAE Orders Trials for Suspected Coup Plotters

The United Arab Emirates ordered the trial of ninety-four people suspected of plotting a coup, saying the suspects--who allegedly had links to the banned Muslim Brotherhood--formed a group that secretly sought to overthrow the state (al-Jazeera). Political parties are banned in the UAE.

CFR's Elliott Abrams writes from the UAE about the arrests in this blog post.



French/Mali Troops Take Timbuktu Airport

French and Malian forces are preparing to retake Timbuktu from Islamic militants after seizing control of the city's airport overnight (France24). The advance comes a day after joint forces seized the town of Gao, the biggest victory so far in the operation to oust the militants.

AFRICA: At least thirty-six African countries gathered at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for the twentieth African Union summit, where the economy and development will top the agenda (SANews).



Czech Republic Elects Leftist Ex-PM

The Czech Republic elected leftist ex-prime minister Milos Zeman as its next president (DerSpiegel) over the weekend in the country's first direct presidential election. Zeman has been more sympathetic to the country's EU membership than his predecessor, Vaclav Klaus.

UKRAINE: Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed former Ukrainian prime minister, is set to face murder charges (Guardian) as a suspect in the 1996 killing of a Ukrainian MP.



U.S. Immigration Reform Plan to Be Unveiled

A group of U.S. senators from both political parties are set to present a plan for comprehensive changes to the country's immigration policy (WaPo), including a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

BRAZIL: At least 233 people died Sunday morning when a fire swept through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cut short a visit to Chile, where she was attending the European and Latin American summit, and declared three days of mourning (MercoPress).

VENEZUELA: Venezuela's government said President Hugo Chavez has recovered sufficiently to make economic policy decisions (Bloomberg). The changes in his condition were announced at a regional trade summit in Chile.

This CFR interactive timeline explores Venezuela's Chavez era.



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