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February 8, 2011

1. Relative calm - relative - in Egypt with the Mubarak-led government remaining and negotiating amid reduced protests as the Obama administration appears to be walking back from its initial immediate demands of a Mubarak step-down and transition. Mubarak's government now looks to last months, not days or weeks, with a transition to some form of a more representative government inevitable. Problem: The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood's position and stake gets greater, not smaller.

2. Pakistan warns the US over demands that the Pakistani government release a US citizen arrested for shooting and killing two Pakistani men in Lahore. The man and the US maintain he was being robbed and fired in self defense. Meanwhile, after yet more attacks on NATO convoys heading to Afghanistan, Pakistan announces a new tax on Afghanistan shipments.

3. Southern Sudan, with a high Christian population, referendum resulted in 98% voting for secession from Muslim majority Sudan. July recognition as nation slated. An armed group murdered a Catholic nun in South Sudan this week, and a bishop in Khartoum said violence in region towards non-Muslims will increase, not decrease.

AFGHANISTAN
Karzai Calls for Release of Taliban Official From Guantánamo - New York Times
Karzai Calls for Release of Taliban Official From Guantánamo - AFP
Afghan Army Recruits Face Tougher Screening - Wall Street Journal

EGYPT
US blind to Egypt's North Korean axis - Asia Times
Yesterday: Concerns grow over Egypt's WMD research: NK-Egypt Missile History - MSNBC
Probe finds Sinai pipeline blast was caused by bomb - Ha'aretz
Muslim Brotherhood eyes comeback in Egypt - Washington Post
Egypt offers power transfer plan, protesters wary - Reuters
Mubarak Forms Committees to Oversee Reforms - VOA
Egyptian opposition critical of Western support for new talks with Mubarak Gov't - Telegraph (UK)

IRAN
How Iran Views the Egyptian Crisis - Jamestown Foundation
Iranian opposition recruits disgruntled Revolutionary Guard to cripple Ahmadinejad - Telegraph (UK)
Iran's killing spree of innocent prisoners increasing - Examiner
Supreme Leader Terms Iran's Progress Role Model for Other Nations - Fars News (Regime-Run)
Iran test-fires new supersonic missile "immune to interception" - Telegraph (UK)

LEBANON
Pro-West Hariri ally quits talks on new Lebanon gov't - AFP
Hizballah's Rise May Indicate Power Shift In Lebanon - NPR

NORTH KOREA
Koreas Hold First Talks Since Shelling of Island - New York Times
Day of talks between Koreas ends, to resume Wednesday - CNN

PAKISTAN
Pakistan warns US over demands to release diplomat - Financial Times
Bombings kill 4, destroy oil tanker carrying NATO fuel - CNN
Pakistan launches Afghanistan fuel and goods tax, To be automatically levied on NATO shipments - BBC

RUSSIA
Chechen rebel leader claims airport bomb - San Jose Mercury News
Rebel leader threatens more 'jihad' to follow airport bombing - CNN

SUDAN
US Welcomes Sudan Referendum Results: South Votes 98% for Independence - VOA
Sudan Seeks Debt Forgiveness Before Southern Independence - Bloomberg
Lord's Resistance Army murders nun, Violence Threatens South's New Independence - CatholicCulture.org
Bishop: "Region will soon become less tolerant to non-Muslims." - Catholic.net
Southern Sudan's Gen. Lagu Speaks Out On Liberation - AllAfrica.com

TUNISIA
Gunshots heard in centre of Tunis: witnesses - Reuters

YEMEN
No Egypt-style protests in Yemen, says Prime Minister - CNN

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