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Sunday, 24 January 2021

Protests in Tunisia, Russia. Plus: Qatar says it’s not going to tell Al Jazeera to shush.

Protesters in Tunisia are marching like it’s 2011 as hundreds took the the streets of Tunis yesterday, reports Reuters. Hundreds have been arrested since demonstrators began clashing with police in several Tunisian cities earlier this month, with people venting anger against the country’s high unemployment rate. The government has banned protests and extended its 8pm-5am curfew as covid-19 infections spread.

Russia is also dealing with protests that saw police arrest thousands “as demonstrations in support of jailed opposition leader Aleksei Nvalny swept the nation, beginning in the Far East, where people braved subzero temperatures, and reaching the capital.” The story is front page in the NYT and the FT, while Reuters has more.

No dice on reining in Al Jazeera? A Qatari official denied that a meeting between Egyptian, Emirati, and Qatari officials — during which Doha had allegedly promised to tone down Al Jazeera’s rhetoric against Egypt — took place at all, telling Reuters that the countries’ diplomatic relations were only restored “via written correspondence.” Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani also said in televised statements that Al Jazeera is “an independent media institution,” casting doubt on whether Cairo and Doha see eye to eye on the broadcaster. The newswire had cited Egyptian intelligence officials last week as saying that Qatar had agreed to tone down Al Jazeera’s critical coverage of Egypt.

The dramatic epilogue to the four-year Trump experiment kicks off 8 February when the former president faces his second impeachment trial. Senators agreed to push back proceedings by two weeks to focus on newly sworn-in President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and cabinet appointments, the chamber’s majority leader, Chuck Schumer, said, according to Reuters. The House of Representatives will formally hand the impeachment article to the Senate on Monday, accusing Trump of inciting an insurrection against Congress for the Capitol riot on 6 January.

A step to frictionless trade with Sudan? Egypt and Sudan plan to remove import duties on some products crossing the border, with an eye to eventually eliminating “all [trade] barriers,” Trade Minister Nevine Gamea said yesterday following talks with several Sudanese cabinet ministers in Khartoum. The minister, who was in Sudan for the International Khartoum Fair, stopped short of giving further details.

Egypt and Sudan’s planned freezone is moving forward as the feasibility study is now complete for the zone, which will be set up at the border between the two countries, Gamea said in a meeting with Sudanese Industry and Trade Minister Madani Abbas on Thursday, according to Al Shorouk. The two countries had begun discussing the potential zone back in 2017.


  • The interwebs were awash with memes of Bernie Sanders after the former presidential hopeful was photographed at Joe Biden’s inauguration last week bundled up in a coat and patterned mittens. Bloomberg has more.
  • Veteran broadcast Larry King has died at 87. The New York Times has a nice obit.

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