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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Following five days of violent protests that have seen at least 40 people killed and thousands more injured, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appointed Omar Suleiman, the head of the country's intelligence services, as vice president, according to media reports.
Mubarak hasn't had a vice president since he took office 30 years ago; he was reportedly grooming his son, Gamal, to be his successor, a move that that the public opposed, reported
The Washington Post.
Suleiman's appointment, which occurred as thousands of young, anti-government protesters gathered in central Cairo Saturday despite a military-imposed curfew, marks the transition of power from Mubarak to Suleiman, said
Demonstrators deface a poster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Alexandria, Egypt.
On Friday night, President Obama addressed the unrest, calling for Mubarak to reform his government and for restraint from protesters. "The United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people, and work with their government, in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free, and more hopeful," he said.
Fueled to some extent by demonstrations in Tunisia earlier this month, the riots in Egypt calling for Mubarak's ouster began on Jan. 25. Since then, geopolitical tensions have caused
investors to bid up the price of oil by more than 4% to $89.90 and traditional safe havens -- gold, the dollar and treasuries -- have snapped back into favor.
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Stocks around the world have tumbled, too. At Friday's closing bell, the
Dow's eight-week winning streak was history, and the
VIX, Wall Street's so-called fear gauge, leapt more 24% to close at 20.04 for its first finish above 20 since Dec. 1, right around when the Dow's streak began.
Citing state TV,
Bloomberg reported that Egypt's stock exchange has suspended trading for Sunday and banks will be closed.
The Egyptian pound has fallen to six-year lows.
As the situation in Egypt worsens and a military-based regime tries to take control, investors around the world are bracing for more losses, said the report.