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AMMAN | A showdown is looming between Jordan’s government and the Islamist opposition, with two massive rival demonstrations slated for Friday in the capital, Amman, raising fears of an escalation of tension.

According to organizers, about 200,000 supporters of King Abdullah II’s plans for reforms will rub shoulders with an expected 50,000 backers of the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition bloc.

The rallies are set to take place at the same time at the same location.

“Our demonstration will be peaceful and civilized,” Brotherhood official Zaki Bani Rashid said, as he dismissed “provocative rumors” that the rally would call for the king to leave power.

In response to a protest movement that since January 2011 has called for political and economic reforms, King Abdullah has announced elections due to take place before the end of the year.

The Muslim Brotherhood has said it will boycott the polls, as they did in 2010, to protest a lack of reform, arguing that the electoral system favors rural regions seen as loyal to the government.


Ancient remains show woman in male trade

VIENNA | An Austrian museum says skeletal remains found in an ancient grave are that of a woman metal worker — the first indication that women did such work thousands of years ago.

The Museum of Ancient History says the grave originates from the Bronze Age, which began more than 5,000 years ago and ended 3,200 years ago.

In a statement Wednesday, it said that although the pelvic bones were missing, examination of the skull and lower jaw bone shows the skeleton is of a woman.

The museum says tools used to make metal ornaments also were found in the grave northwest of Vienna, leading to the conclusion that it was that of a female fine metal worker.

It says such work had been commonly presumed to be in the male domain.


2 million-plus workers strike in Indonesia

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