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News in Brief: Labor Protests Grow in Egypt, and More

Labor Protests Grow in Egypt

Labor Protests Grow in Egypt

Thousands of state employees gathered Monday to demand better pay from the government as President Hosni Mubarak left his office and the military council took over for the transition, Ventura County Star reports. Soldiers cracked down on protesters and said the strikes were damaging the country’s security and economy, but state employees continued to demonstrate outside of the Nile-side TV and state radio building, in the Giza district, and in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Protesters included ambulance drivers, public transportation employees and police.

Obama Announces $3.7 Trillion Budget

President Obama announced a $3.7 budget for 2012 on Monday, saying deep cuts are necessary to “walk the walk,” according to The Hill. Some of his proposed cuts have garnered negative attention, such as those that would eliminate heating assistance for impoverished families, but Obama insisted that reductions are necessary to achieve “fiscal discipline.” The budget would also eliminate $30 billion from 200 different programs, including the Agriculture Department’s single-family home loan program and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ron Paul Wins CPAC Poll for President

According to McClatchy Newspapers, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) won the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) straw poll Saturday as the top choice for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Paul received 30 percent of the vote, followed by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 23 percent. More than three dozen candidates campaigned to a CPAC audience of more than 11,000 over the course of three days. Paul ran unsuccessfully in 2008 and was not seen as a likely contender at the time, but received help at the straw poll from students and libertarian activists. Sarah Palin, who did not attend the conference, received three percent of the vote.

Unrest Spreads Throughout the Middle East

Wall Street Journal reports that Egypt’s ousting of President Hosni Mubarak and dissolution of the country’s Parliament and Constitution have led protesters around the Middle East to begin calling aggressively for political freedom in their own countries. Security forces cracked down on demonstrations in Yemen, Bahrain and Algeria, while the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank promised to hold presidential elections by September. Activists in Libya may also be planning protests to challenge Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year regime.

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