Just days after massive protests forced the ouster of longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians still are trying to hash out what comes next, and other governments in North Africa and the Middle East are bracing for public demands for change in their own countries. In Egypt, the military has dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution, telling citizens it will be in charge for six months or until elections can be held. And new protests have erupted in Cairo, with police and bank workers demanding higher pay. How will Egyptians adapt to change, and when will life and the economy there get to something approaching normal? Here's a look at this and some of the other stories we plan to follow this week:
Egypt takes its first steps in 30 years without Mubarak
A council of generals has taken over the most populous Arab nation, and it now has to grapple with the economic problems that fueled the revolt, including massive youth unemployment and underdevelopment. It also has to deal with activists who are pushing for a swift transition to a representative government. Some protesters remain in Cairo's Tahrir Square - the epicenter of mass protests that began January 25 and led to Mubarak's ouster last week – vowing to keep protesting until Egypt is under civilian rule, though the military on Sunday tried to move people out.
People are cleaning up the square, shops around it are reopening, and traffic was flowing freely through the area Sunday. But Egyptian banks will be closed Monday and Tuesday, thanks to protests by National Bank staff on Sunday. The staff say they want better pay and the resignation of top executives. We'll also be watching the country's police, hundreds of whom started the week demonstrating outside the Interior Ministry, demanding higher wages, shorter hours, better benefits and more respect. And Cairo's stock market still is closed, though it is scheduled to resume trading Wednesday.
Demands for change continue to ripple through region
Mubarak's ouster came three weeks after a similar revolt toppled longtime Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Ali's ouster helped stoke demands for reform in North Africa and the Middle East, with demonstrators protesting against issues including unemployment, high food costs and corruptions. More protests are expected this week in several nations.
In Yemen's capital, hundreds of anti-government protesters called for regime change over the weekend, chanting "First Mubarak, now Ali," referring to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Clashes with police and pro-government demonstrators were reported, and it seems likely that more protests will happen there this week.
Tension in Algeria seems far from settled, with hundreds of people protesting in Algiers over the weekend, chanting, "change the power."
On Monday, we'll learn whether Iranian dissidents defy authorities to stage a rally in support of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Two leading opposition figures called for Monday's rally, but Iran's government began rounding up activists.
In Libya, activists have used Facebook to call for a "day of rage" on Thursday. But Libyan authorities have used Facebook themselves to call for a counterprotest.
Lebanon's power struggle continues as it marks anniversary of assassination
Lebanon, which for weeks has been trying to form a new government, will observe a politically charged day on Monday, the sixth anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
At a commemoration ceremony Monday in Beirut, Hariri's son, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, is expected to confirm that his backers are not going to join the new government.
Lebanon's government collapsed weeks ago when members of the Hezbollah movement and its allies resigned their ministerial posts. They did so in part because the government wouldn't denounce a U.N.-backed tribunal's investigation of Rafik Hariri's 2005 assassination. That investigation is expected to soon result in the indictment of Hezbollah members.
Observers say that if Lebanon doesn't solve its political turmoil soon, the nation – no stranger to sectarian strife – could see more bloodshed.
Fight over U.S. spending cuts to intensify with Obama's budget proposal
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday is set to unveil key provisions of his 2012 federal budget plan - one that the White House says will cut deficits by $1.1 trillion over 10 years. He's expected to call for saving $400 billion of that by freezing nonsecurity discretionary spending - about 10% of all federal spending - for five years. Because details aren't coming until Monday, it's not yet clear where all of the proposed $1.1 trillion in savings would come from.
But Republicans already are attacking Obama's stance. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, said Sunday that if early reports are accurate, Obama would be abdicating leadership on the national debt crisis, arguing the plan would continue to raise the national debt.
Also this week, House members will be debating spending cuts for the remainder of the current fiscal year. House Republicans have introduced a bill that would cut $60 billion from current spending levels by slashing hundreds of programs and agencies. The cuts would add up to $100 billion when compared with Obama's 2011 budget proposal, which was never enacted.
Will Italy's prime minister stand trial?
A court in Milan on Monday is expected to decide whether Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has to stand trial on allegations that he abused his power by helping an underaged female, whom he had allegedly paid for sex last year, get out of jail on a theft charge.
Both Berlusconi and the female - now 18 – have denied that they have had sex, and Berlusconi has denied that he has ever paid anyone for sex. But this is just one in a string of sex-related scandals dogging Berlusconi, and the situation has stirred a lot of public dissatisfaction. On Sunday, hundreds of Italians took to the streets in about 200 cities across the country in protest of his alleged behavior toward women.
Start vanquishing your bad breath on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day is a day for kissing, so why not use it to kick-start an effort to get rid of bad breath? On Monday, our health section will tell you that if you're one of 90 million Americans with bad breath (apparently mints and mouthwash and tooth-brushing aren't doing the trick by themselves), you can beat it back. And if you're still scrambling for a gift, check out what some people said they wouldn't mind receiving for Valentine's Day.