TUNISIA's president of 23 years Ben Ali, fled to exile in Saudi Arabia after persistent street demonstrations and other forms of protest forced the formation of a new government which, however, collapsed after two days.

IN Iraq the most lethal attack against the government since November led to the deaths of at least 60 people outside a police recuitment centre in TIkrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace, north of Baghdad.

THE week-long referendum in southern Sudan on the area's secession from northern Sudan passed off relatively quietly with the 60 per cent minimum voter participation easily exceeded. Vote counting may take several days.

STEVE Jobs worried investors in Apple by announcing that for the second time he is taking medical leave while retaining his role as chief executive. The news followed a strong performance in the last quarter of 2010 with 16.2 million IPhones sold, twice as many as in the same quarter of 2009.

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