FROM Andrew Lee Butters
The 'Day of Departure' in Egypt? Yesterday's bloody violence has been replaced by uneasy calm as tens of thousands of protesters have gathered following Friday prayers. Pro-Mubarak forces have disappeared and the Army has increased its presence, as the growing crowd demands that Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak resign before the end of the day. It's being reported that the Obama White House is trying to negotiate Mubarak's departure, at the same time creating an interim government that would then give way to democratic elections. Is there any chance for a constitutional democracy? We get updates from Cairo and Washington.
Women Begin to Enter Public Life in Saudi Arabia On the streets of Riyadh, women are still wearing black cloaks called abayas, headscarves and veils. But the men of Saudi Arabia may have to get used to change, since inside some glass and steel office buildings, it's a different story. One feminist says, "It's an exaggeration to call it a women's movement," but "something is going on." That's according to an article in Time magazine by Middle East correspondent Andrew Lee Butters.
Hezbollah Gains in Lebanon, Syria Talks Peace with Israel Lebanon's fractious leaders are so unpopular that when they left Friday for negotiations in Qatar, a song called The Leaders Left Lebanon became an instant hit on music TV. But the country's 18-month old political crisis may be over after its beleaguered leaders came home with an agreement to politically legitimize Hezbollah. Meantime, Israel and Syria have confirmed they're trying to resolve their differences in talks moderated by Turkey. Andrews Lee Butters is in Beirut for Time magazine.
Hezbollah Takes Control of Beirut In Beirut, Lebanon today, the forces of Hezbollah seized large areas of the capital city. It's a dramatic show of force by the Iran-backed opposition, which appears to have defeated pro-government forces backed by the US. About ten people have been killed. Andrew Lee Butters is in Beirut for Time magazine.
Israeli Troops Get Go-Ahead for Expanded Assault in Lebanon Despite what appears to be progress on a Security Council cease-fire resolution, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given the military the go-ahead to expand the ground offensive in southern Lebanon. At the United Nations, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Secretary General Kofi Annan, and John Bolton, America's Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton was optimistic about the resolution. Has Israel lost its patience, or is it trying to speed-up a diplomatic solution? We get updates from Jerusalem, Beirut and the UN.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?