Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:1. Allied forces have finally reached a deal for NATO to take over command of the Libyan no-fly zone. The coalition remains divided, however, over the ultimate goals of the military campaign against Qaddafi.
2. Yemen’s president and top general are near an agreement under which they would resign within days, the WSJ reports. The settlement raises major questions about who will be in charge of the country – a key U.S. counter-terrorism ally – when the two men sep down. Meanwhile, anti-government insurgents have reportedly taken control of Sa’ada City, near the Saudi border.
3. U.S. defence Secretary Robert Gates called on the Syrian army to stand down and “empower a revolution” yesterday, as thousands of protesters marched in Daraa. The government announced a series of reforms Thursday, but the concessions do not appear to have satisfied the demonstrators, who are expected to return en masse today.
4. Bahrain has warned Iran that meddling in the kingdom’s internal affairs could lead to “conflict,” the WSJ reports. In the meantime, the Persian Gulf kingdom is bulking up its security forces with recruits from Pakistan, a move that is likely to inflame sectarian and nationalist tensions between the Bahrain’s Sunni rulers and the Shiite majority.
5. The educated, secular youth activists that drove Egypt’s revolution are no longer driving the country’s political transition. The Muslim Brotherhood is now at the helm of power in an unlikely alliance with Egypt’s ruling military council. The rise of the secretive, Islamist organisation raises concerns about the direction of the revolution and what role that Islam will play going forward.
6. European Union leaders are near an agreement on a new eurozone bailout fund but revisions to a preliminary deal reached by finance ministers earlier this week appear to have weakened the fund. The deal – which leaders had hoped would calm bond market turmoil – was overshadowed by Portugal’s political crisis, which has pushed the country closer to a financial bailout.
7. Efforts to contain the nuclear crisis at Japan’s Fukishima Daiichi plant have suffered setbacks, officials said Friday. There is now evidence of damage at the third unit, which raises the possibility that radiation could be released from the reactor.
8. Michigan is poised to make significant cuts to unemployment aid despite its 10.7% jobless rate – one of the highest in the country. Similar moves are now being considered by other Republican-dominated state legislatures looking to reduce their debt burden by restricting benefits.
9. Wisconsin’s collective bargaining legislation could be headed to the state’s high court after the state appeals court declined Thursday to rule on the law, which strips public-sector unions of nearly all of their negotiating rights.
10. In a crowded 2012 GOP presidential field, the winning candidate will likely be the one who knock out the most opponents. Mitt Romney is gearing up to do just that, according to Jonathan Martin at Politico. The former Massachusetts governor – who has not formally announced he’s running – is preparing to take on a different primary challenger in each early-voting state.
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