World News Brief, Thursday February 17

Pro-democracy protests reach Libya; commentators say Egyptian revolution unlikely to lead to widespread fall of regimes in Arab world; Japan and India sign free trade deal; Japan suspends annual whale hunt in Antarctic due to Sea Shepherd's "harassment"; protests in Bahrain hit day three; US immigration officer killed in Northern Mexico; and more

Top of the Agenda: Violent Protest Erupt in Libya


Arab World pro-democracy upheavals reached Libya on Wednesday, as anti-regime activists clashed with security personnel and pro-government supporters in the nation's second largest city of Benghazi (NYT). The movement reportedly began as a sit-in demonstration demanding the release of an outspoken human rights attorney. Most of the protestors were relatives of victims of a suspected massacre (WSJ) at a Tripoli prison in 1996. The crowd gathered youth supporters as it moved into the center of town and began calling for the removal of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, who has been in power for over forty years. According to local accounts, state police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons to disperse the crowds (AFP), injuring at least fourteen.

The outbreak of violence comes a day before Thursday's anti-government demonstrations (BBC), which are being organized via the Internet and social media. Opposition leaders are calling for "A Day of Rage" (al-Jazeera), hoping to replicate similar rebellions in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia.


In this op-ed for Project Syndicate, CFR President Richard N. Haass reflects on the revolution in Egypt and the implications for the country's political future.

In op-ed for the New York Times, Thomas Friedman examines the fallout from the Egyptian revolution and the consequences for the region.

The ouster of autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt in popular revolts has awakened a hunger for change in the Arab world, says CFR's Thomas W. Lippman, but it's unlikely to result in a widespread fall of regimes.


PACIFIC RIM: Japan and India Sign Free Trade Deal


Tokyo signed a free trade agreement (WSJ) with India that will make the two nations each other's largest free-trade partners, and will end tariffs on nearly all bilateral trade within ten years. Experts say the deal is a good indicator for continuing negotiations between the countries on a civilian nuclear deal.

In this op-ed for Wall Street Journal Asia, David S. Abraham asks whether Japan's prime minister can reopen the world's third largest economy to competition.

Japan: Japan suspended its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic following the "harassment" of its lead ship by the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd (Guardian). Tokyo conceded this year's catch has been disappointing and suggested the fleet may return home early.



- Bahrain Protests Hit Day Three
- U.S. Agent Gunned Down in Mexico

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