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Associated Press
Bahrani anti-goverment carry the coffin of Ali Massour Khodier, 22, who died during clashes with riot police on early Thursday, during his funeral procession in Sitra village, Bahrain, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Thousands of mourners called for the downfall of Bahrain's ruling monarchy as burials began Friday after a deadly assault on pro-reform protesters that has brought army tanks into the streets of one of the most strategic Western allies in the Gulf. The cries against Bahrain's king and his inner circle reflect an escalation of the demands from a political uprising that began just with calls to weaken the Sunni monarchy's hold on top government posts and address claims of discrimination against the Shiite majority in the tiny island nation.

Republicans who swept into power in state capitols this year with promises to cut spending and bolster the business climate now are beginning to usher in a new era of labor relations that could result in the largest reduction of power in decades for public employee unions. But as massive public protests and legislative boycotts in Wisconsin this week have shown, the Republican charge can be fraught with risk and unpredictable turns as politicians try to transform campaign ideas into action.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a deepening struggle over spending, Republicans and Democrats swapped charges Thursday over a possible government shutdown when money runs out March 4 for most federal agencies. "Read my lips: We're going to cut spending," declared House Speaker John Boehner. He pledged that the GOP-controlled House would refuse to approve even a short-term measure at current funding levels to keep the government operating.

WOODSIDE, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama assembled some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley to confer on jobs and innovation, trying to get leaders from companies like Google and Apple behind his push to keep spending on high-tech initiatives even as Republicans push to slash the budget. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, and Steve Jobs, the Apple founder and CEO now on his third medical leave, were among a dozen business leaders who met with Obama in California on Thursday. Also present for dinner at the Woodside home of venture capitalist John Doerr were the heads of Twitter, Yahoo!, NetFlix and Oracle, and the president of Stanford University.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Confronting multiple crises across the Middle East, the Obama administration reprimanded key ally Bahrain on Thursday for a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters inspired by the fall of the longtime autocratic leader in Egypt. The United States also moved to support efforts to erect a new democracy in Egypt by redirecting some of the money once intended for the ousted government of Hosni Mubarak.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide car bomb exploded in the eastern Afghan city of Khost Friday morning, killing at least eight people and injuring scores of others, police said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, which targeted a police station. Two policemen, a patrolman and an officer, were among the dead, said Abdul-Hakim Isaqzai, the police chief of Khost province, which borders Pakistan.

CAIRO (AP) — Two Iranian naval vessels have submitted a request to transit the Suez Canal, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said Thursday. Israel has expressed concerns over the plans, labeling them a "provocation." Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said Egyptian authorities have received the request to grant the vessels passage, while a Suez Canal official said the Defense Ministry would process the application.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Faced with a near-certain Republican victory that would end a half-century of collective bargaining for public workers, Wisconsin Democrats retaliated with the only weapon they had left: They fled. Fourteen Democratic lawmakers disappeared from the Capitol on Thursday, just as the Senate was about to begin debating the measure aimed at easing the state's budget crunch.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hibernating bears set their energy demands on low, but unlike most other animals that take long winter naps they don't chill out very much, researchers reported Thursday. Figuring out how they cut energy use but still keep their body temperature relatively warm could one day have important implications for treating victims of heart attack, stroke and other conditions, scientists hope.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian police have arrested three suspects involved in the heist of some 725,000 condoms, which have not yet been found. Mohamad Shukri Dahlan, the police chief of Malaysia's northern Perak state, says the heist was "an inside job." He said Friday the suspects work for the firm responsible for transporting the condoms from the factory to the port, where they were to be shipped to Japan.

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