World News Brief, Thursday April 14

Hosni Mubarark suffers "heart problems" as he's detained for violence and corruption; Egyptian frustration with military grows (+ analysis); Libyan rebels set up fund for international donations, warn of humanitarian needs; China suffers debt rating downgrade; Japan lowers economic assessment; and more

Top of the Agenda: Mubarak Detained Ahead of Investigation

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak (BBC) and his sons have been detained for fifteen days by public prosecutors as inquiries begin into abuse of power allegations. Mubarak was hospitalized in the beach resort of Sharm el-Sheik after falling ill during initial questioning. The charges range from financial corruption to the use of violence against protesters (NYT) during the eighteen-day uprising that unseated Mubarak on February 11. Over eight hundred people were killed during the unrest according to Egypt's Health Ministry. The decision to investigate the ousted presidential family comes amid renewed mass protests in Cairo and rising pressure from youth-led activists seeking justice. Analysts suggest Mubarak's prosecution will help mollify public frustration at the military (al-Jazeera), which is being viewed with increasing suspicion and accused of stalling progress on democratic reforms (WashPost).


Tunisia's abolition of the secret police and ruling party--and its ending of censorship--make it the model for change in a turbulent region where the White House has been too timid in supporting protest movements, says Middle East expert Juan Cole.

In this op-ed for the New York Times, Thomas Freidman writes on the expected political fallout of the Arab Spring unrest and the potential for chaotic civil strife.

Uncertainty pervades Cairo as the country weighs its post-Mubarak democratic options. Washington should stand ready to assist an Egyptian-led transformation, writes CFR's Robert Danin.

This special report from Reuters examines the history of the civil disobedience and social media movements in Egypt before the revolution.


The anti-government protests in Egypt will likely mean a greater political role for the Muslim Brotherhood, analysts say. But this Backgrounder notes the divide in views over whether the Islamist group will choose a path of moderation or extremism.


This interactive from the New York Times presents a timeline of the Mubarak presidency.


PACIFIC RIM: Japan Downgrades Economic Outlook

The Japanese government downgraded its assessment of the country's economic future (CNN) for the first time in six months, citing last month's major earthquake and tsunami. Officials say the disasters have placed pressures on exports, production, and consumption.

This issue guide provides a range of background and analysis on Japan's earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis.

China: The decision by Fitch Ratings group to lower its assessment on China's AA- long-term local-currency rating from "stable" to "negative" raised fears that China's debt rating (BusinessWeek) may be cut for the first time in twelve years. A record increase in lending could cause bad loans to overwhelm China's banks.



- Libyan Rebels Meet in Qatar
- Obama to Lay Out Deficit Plan


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on