Boehner: U.S. handled crisis as best it could
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, questioned why assessments by U.S. intelligence did not appear to be ahead of the upheaval in Egypt, though he said the Obama administration "handled what is a very difficult situation about as well as it could be handled." The protests in Egypt and Tunisia, which led to their leaders giving up power, surprised everyone, including U.S. intelligence officials, he said, adding, "I think there's going to have to be a reassessment of why didn't we have a better feel for this.''
18 items missing from museum
A full inventory of the Egyptian Museum has found that looters escaped with 18 items, including two gilded wooden statues of famed boy king Tutankhamun, Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass said. About 70 objects — many small statues — were damaged.
Rally in Algeria called for Saturday
The organizers of a pro-reform protest that brought thousands of Algerians onto the streets of the capital over the weekend called for another rally. The Coordination for Democratic Change in Algeria — an umbrella group for human rights activists, unionists, lawyers and others — has called for Saturday demonstrations to take place throughout the country. Saturday's rally, a day after an uprising in Egypt toppled that country's autocratic ruler, took place only in Algiers. Organizers said around 10,000 took part, though officials put turnout at 1,500.
Bahrain security forces on alert
Bahrain's security forces set up checkpoints and clashed with marchers in at least one village as opposition groups blanketed social media sites with calls to stage the first major antigovernment protests in the Persian Gulf region since the uprising in Egypt. The clampdown appeared directed toward Bahrain's Shiite majority — which had led the drive for today's rallies — and reflected the increasing worries of the Sunni rulers who have already doled out cash and promised greater media reforms in an effort to quell the protest fervor.
U.S. starts Farsi Twitter account
The U.S. State Department has begun sending Twitter messages in Farsi. On the Twitter account USA darFarsi, the department told Iranians, "We want to join in your conversation." The second and third tweets were more pointed. The State Department accused Iran's government of making dissent illegal while praising Egyptian protesters for the same activities. The United States then called on Iran "to allow people to enjoy same universal rights to peacefully assemble, demonstrate as in Cairo."
Tunisian foreign minister resigns
Tunisia's foreign minister resigned just weeks after he was named to replace the month-old transitional government's first, short-lived foreign minister, the official TAP news agency said. The report didn't provide any details about the reasons behind Ahmed Ounaies' resignation, but critics have decried what they saw as the offhand way he described the "people's revolution" that ousted the North African nation's longtime autocratic president, Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali, on Jan. 14. Also Sunday, hundreds of Tunisians landed on the tiny Sicilian island Lampedusa by the boatload, swelling the numbers of illegal migrants arriving on Italian shores in less than a week to over 4,000.