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    Noon in the Cyber Cafe

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Jordanians march against inflation

In what seems to be a common theme this week, this Al-Jazeera article reports on protests occurring in Jordan.  Like similar protests in Algeria and Tunisia, citizens in Jordan have taken to the streets to protest against rising commodity prices, unemployment and poverty.  They are also calling on Jordanian Prime Minister Samir Rifai to step down.  Hoping to avoid the violence that have plagued other protests, leaders have planned to hold a sit-in outside parliament on Sunday to “denounce government economic policies”.


Tunisian protests: Tunis marchers urge Ben Ali to go

BBC News is reporting the latest news on the ever expanding protests.  Thirteen people were killed overnight during protests which are calling for Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to step down immediately.  Having governed since 1987, Ben Ali stated Thursday he would step down in 2014.  The United Kingdom, France, and the United States are urging all non-essential travel to Tunisia to cease.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: BBC News has the latest update on the situation in Tunisia.

Tunisia’s government has been dismissed and parliament dissolved after weeks of protests over corruption, unemployment and high food prices, official sources say.

Clinton Bluntly Presses Arab Leaders on Reform

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton wrapped up her four day tour of the Persian Gulf, with stops in Yemen, Oman, the UAE, and Qatar, by delivering a scalding critique of Arab leaders.  This NY Times article discusses the criticism Secretary Clinton laid out before an audience of Arab diplomats, business people, and human rights groups.  Topics included corruption, repressive political systems, a lack of rights for women and religious minorities, and socioeconomic mobility.

Excerpts from Secretary Clinton’s speech:

“In too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking into the sand. The new and dynamic Middle East that I have seen needs firmer ground if it is to take root and grow everywhere.”

“If leaders don’t offer a positive vision and give young people meaningful ways to contribute, others will fill the vacuum.  Extremist elements, terrorist groups and others who would prey on desperation and poverty are already out there appealing for allegiance and competing for influence.”