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JORDAN: Economic protests widen

Protesters hurled stones at riot police and chanted unprecedented slogans against King Abdullah II for a second day Wednesday as anger over price hikes threatened to plunge the kingdom into a wave of unrest. In the north, a gunman was killed and 16 others, including 12 policemen wounded in an attack on a police station. The government raised prices Tuesday for cooking and heating gas by 54 percent to rein in the budget deficit and secure a $2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. People poured into the streets, pelting police with stones, torching government offices and private cars and chanting slogans against the king. Violent demonstrations broke out across the rest of the country Wednesday. At least 120 people were arrested.

JAPAN: Noda to dissolve parliament

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Wednesday he is prepared to dissolve the parliament by Friday, bringing an election within weeks, if the main opposition party agrees to key reforms. Noda's pledge, made during a heated parliamentary exchange with Liberal Democratic Party chief Shinzo Abe, drew protests from some lawmakers in his own party who are not keen to face a vote at a time when the economy is ailing and public approval ratings have fallen below 20 percent. If parliament is dissolved, elections would be likely Dec. 9 or 16, NHK said.

RUSSIA: Broad treason law enacted

Russians now live under a new law expanding the definition of treason so broadly that critics say it could be used to call anyone who bucks the government a traitor. It took effect Wednesday, just two days after President Vladimir Putin told his human rights advisory council that he was ready to review it. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin would be willing to review the law if its implementation reveals "some problems or aspects restricting rights and freedoms." His opponents say measures enacted since Putin returned to the Kremlin in May for a third term show he is determined to intimidate and suppress dissidents.


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