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Higher Taxes Spur Protests in Cradle of Arab Spring

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, New York Times

Higher Taxes Spur Protests in Cradle of Arab Spring

Tense protests have erupted across Tunisia since a new budget took effect on Jan. 1 that raised taxes on gasoline, phone cards, internet usage, hotel rooms, and even fruits and vegetables. The demonstrations have claimed at least one life, and have revived worries about the fragile political situation in Tunisia, the only country to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings with the semblance of a stable democracy. Those uprisings began in Tunisia in December 2010, when Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit and vegetable vendor, set himself on fire after being shaken down and humiliated by local officials. Thursday was the seventh anniversary of his death.

U.S. to Open Formal Inquiry on Americans Sickened in Cuba

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is opening a formal inquiry into what the government has described as mysterious attacks in 2016 that sickened or injured 24 United States personnel who were stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. But at a hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said the State Department “did not follow the law” in failing to set up a review board months ago. It was the first public discussion of many of the details behind the events in Havana, which are being investigated by the FBI and top U.S. medical authorities. The Cuban government has repeatedly denied any responsibility.

Iran’s Leader Calls Trump ‘Psychotic,’ Warns of Revenge

In a furious series of Twitter posts and statements on his website Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader called President Donald Trump “psychotic” and repeated accusations that the United States bore primary responsibility for instigating a week of protests that rocked Iran recently. “He says that the Iranian government is afraid of U.S. power,” the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said of Trump. “So, if we are ‘afraid’ of you, how did we expel you from Iran in the late 1970s and expel you from the entire region in the 2010s?” Khamenei threatened the U.S. with revenge.

Administration Delays Prosecuting Qaida Suspect Once Seen as Candidate for Guantánamo

The Trump administration has delayed a decision over whether to prosecute a suspected Qaida operative, a case that represented an early test of President Donald Trump’s promise to resume sending prisoners to the Guantánamo Bay military prison, former and current U.S. officials said. The delay is the latest example of how, in Trump’s first year in office, his campaign pledges to fill Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with “bad dudes” and bring back banned techniques like waterboarding have met the complicated realities of fighting terrorism. The prisoner, a Sudanese citizen known as Abu Khaybar, has been held in Yemen for more than a year by the United Arab Emirates.

Wales Prepares to Ban Physical Punishment of Children

The government of Wales has a question for parents: Is it ever right to physically punish your children? It began a 12-week consultation on the issue Tuesday, with officials saying they hoped to join more than 50 countries that have adopted an outright ban on the practice. They would also be following the example of Scotland, which announced plans for a ban after a consultation of its own last summer. "We all want to give our children the best start in life,” said Huw Irranca-Davies, the Welsh minister for children and social care, and a father of three boys.

Chinese General Under Investigation, Joining a Line of Fallen Commanders

A senior Chinese general who won the national spotlight by overseeing a grand military parade and who vowed unwavering support for President Xi Jinping’s drive against corruption has come under investigation for graft, the latest in a string of People’s Liberation Army commanders to fall. Gen. Fang Fenghui disappeared from public view nearly five months ago and quietly retired from his posts, igniting rumors that he was under investigation. Xinhua, China’s official news agency, confirmed Tuesday that military prosecutors were investigating him on charges of giving and taking bribes. The brief announcement gave no other details.

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