The riots and unrest in Tunisia have abated somewhat since President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali stepped down from his office and left the country. He is reported to have gone into exile in Saudi Arabia. Before he resigned, Mr. Ben-Ali commanded the police to stop firing on protesters, and ordered a reduction in the price of staple foods such as bread, milk, and sugar. The rioting began as a protest against major inflation and high unemployment, but escalated to civil conflict after protesters were shot. The official death toll is now given as 23.
In other news, protests against any changes to the blasphemy law continue in Pakistan. Parliamentary reformers who want to amend the law are being threatened with death, and a terrorist group has promised a suicide bomb attack against Asia Bibi, the Christian woman under sentence of death for blasphemy. Militants have also warned the Pope to stop interfering in Pakistan’s religious affairs, or face the consequences.
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