World News Brief, Thursday February 24

Qaddafi clings to power despite erosion of his government; mediators sent to help end border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia; Christchurch earthquake continues to make international headlines; Saudi king returns after health scare promising billions in pay rises; American stoush over collective bargaining spreads; Greek protests against austerity measures turn violent

Top of the Agenda: Qaddafi Defiant Amid Rising Protests


Amid mass protests demanding his resignation, Libyan autocrat Muammar al-Qaddafi clung to power as his governmental power structure eroded around him. As international isolation mounts, observers suggest the Libyan state apparatus (al-Jazeera) is facing collapse as officials abandon the government. Qaddafi held his grip on the capital of Tripoli on Wednesday, but large areas of the country's east remain out of his control. Protestors backed by defecting army units (BBC) are thought to have almost the entire eastern half of Libya under their control. Some observers place the death toll from the political unrest at close to a thousand. In a televised speech, Qaddafi vowed to track down and kill protesters (NYT)--who he called cockroaches--"house by house." However, there is little evidence that pro-regime supporters heeded his call. French President Nicolas Sarkozy became the first international leader to call for sanctions (FT) to be imposed on Libya. Libya's turmoil had less of an impact on oil prices than on Tuesday when the price of crude hit a two-and-a-half-year high of $108.70.


It's unclear whether Muammar Qaddafi's regime will survive after a failed, but brutal, crackdown on protesters in Libya. But if Qaddafi goes, CFR's Robert Danin says Libya lacks the elements needed for a smooth and peaceful transition of power.

In this article for the National Review, CFR's Elliott Abrams discusses how the bloody violence being used by the Qaddafi regime is the harbinger of its collapse.

This issue guide provides a range of background and analysis on the protests in the Middle East and North Africa.


This interactive map from the Economist provides a statistical hub containing key data from all the countries of the Arab League.

PACIFIC RIM: Nations to Arbitrate Thai-Cambodian Dispute


In an effort to prevent armed conflict, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will send mediators to assist both sides in the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia (CNN). The two countries have been in a stand-off over a nine hundred-year-old temple since 2008.

New Zealand: Police in Christchurch (FT) expect the death toll from Tuesday's earthquake to double, warning that it is unlikely that many people inside the collapsed buildings would be pulled out alive. The quake is the country's worst natural disaster since 1931.



- Saudi King Abdullah Declares New Benefits
- Union Fights Spread in Midwest
- Greeks Protest Austerity Measures


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