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Obama tasks new council with 'global development' strategy

President Obama has created a new commission charged with promoting "global development" -- a move that comes as the Middle East continues to churn with uprisings rooted in the Arab Spring

The Global Development Council, created by executive order, will be administered by USAID, the agency that provides economic and humanitarian aid abroad. The panel appears to be an effort to come up with a more focused strategy toward working with other countries in a new era of upheaval. 

The council would bring together representatives from nonprofit advocacy groups and charities, as well as colleges and businesses. The secretary of state and other administration officials would also be involved. 

The order tasks the council with informing "the policy and practice of U.S. global development policy and programs." This would cover "economic growth and good governance" programs. The order stresses development for "low and middle income economies." 

Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are all in the process of building a new government after ousting their old leaders. Yemen is also undergoing a change in leadership, while protesters continue to challenge President Bashar Assad in Syria in a conflict that has become increasingly violent in recent weeks. 

The council is coming together even as Egypt cracks down on development and advocacy groups that have been stationed in that country for years. At least 16 Americans are being prosecuted in that case, though the State Department has called on the government to reverse course.

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