Thousands of Yemeni troops are battling Al Qaeda strongholds in Yemen, Al Jazeera. A number of recent incidents, including the recent Christmas Day attempted bombing in Detroit by a man who said he was trained in Yemen, have increased concern about the presence of Al Qaeda in Yemen. Yemen was the site of the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, PBS Newshour. The U.S. embassy in Yemen has reopened, Los Angeles Times. Profile of Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, New York Times.
Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai has taken over the title of world’s tallest building. The tower was recently renamed after Abu Dhabi’s ruler, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, gave Dubai $25 billion when Dubai announced that it would not have enough cash to repay debts on construction of the tower. Dubai is one of the 7 emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates. Its economy, which is largely based on real estate and tourism, suffered in the recent economic downturn, Voice of America.
The World Health Organization warns that the threat from the H1N1 virus is not over and is urging people to continue to get the vaccine. WHO’s director-general, who said she had been busy with travel commitments, was finally vaccinated this week, Reuters.
The U.N.’s World Food Programme has had to suspended distribution of aid in Somalia due to security concerns, Al Jazeera. Rebel groups, including the militant al-Shabab group, now control most of Somalia.
The highly anticipated world climate change summit opened in Copenhagen, Denmark today. The goal of the summit is for participating countries to agree to targets for emission reduction and to decide how reaching those targets will be paid for, New York Times. Summit Q & A, BBC News. The summit in pictures, BBC News. Obstacles to an agreement, ABC. Timeline of the history of the politics of climate change starting in 1820, New York Times.
Students in Iran clashed with police on college campuses today. Today is a state holiday in Iran commemorating the deaths of 3 students killed under the Shah of Iran in 1953. Protesters of the current government, while heavily restricted most of the time, use state sponsored marches and holidays as opportunities to briefly show support for the movement for reform, Times Online. Find more information on CDB’s Iran page.
Somali protesters marched in the capital city of Mogadishu today to show their anger at terrorist attacks by the militant group al-Shabab that controls much of the country, BBC News.
Guinea’s military leader, Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, was shot and wounded by one of his aids today. Aboubacar “Toumba” Diakite is believed to be responsible for the attack and is said to have been arrested. Officials say Camara is doing well, BBC News.
The death toll from this morning’s bomb attack in Somalia has risen to at least 19. Four government ministers were killed in the suicide attack, which has been condemned worldwide. Government officials say they believe Islamist militants al-Shabab are responsible, BBC News.
Jewish organizations are siding with the Muslim world over the outrage caused by the Swiss ban on constructing minarets (architecture commonly seen on mosques). The ban was passed after 57 percent of the Swiss population voted in favor, but the country is receiving worldwide heat and many are saying the ban is discriminatory. Italy is also considering introducing a ban on minarets, Jerusalem Post.
The U.S. Senate has passed an amendment to the health care bill that expands women’s access to things such as mammograms, which are preventive services, CNN.
15 people, including 3 cabinet ministers and 3 journalists, are dead after a suicide bomber struck a university graduation ceremony in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. The suicide bomber was dressed as woman. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the militant Islamic group al-Shabab is suspected. Islamic militants control much of central and southern Somalia. The capital is protected by African Union peacekeepers who have nearly daily skirmishes with militants, Associated Press.
India’s Minister of State for the Environment has announced that the country will not sign any legally-binding emission reduction agreements at the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen, Times of India. Residents of Shishmaref, Alaska fear climate change could destroy their town, CNN.
Israeli settlers protest a 10-month ban on new settlement construction. East Jerusalem is not included in the ban. Settlements are illegal under international law, but continue to be built by Israelis in disputed lands as a way of bolstering their claims on the land, CNN. The story of a Palestinian farmer whose grove of olive trees has been vandalized by nearby Israeli settlements, BBC News.
The New York State Senate did not approve a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage, New York Times.
A woman in Somali has been stoned to death for adultery. The 20 year-old woman had previously been married and was divorced but a strict reading of Sharia law does not allow even a divorced woman to have sex with another man. The woman’s boyfriend was given 100 lashes. Al-Shabab, the hard line Islamic group that controls much of southern Somalia, was responsible for the sentencing, BBC News. More on the broken justice system in Somalia, BBC News.
Somali pirates once again attacked the Maersk Alabama, the U.S. ship that was hijacked last April, but the crew was able to repel the attack, MS-NBC.
The European Union will send 100 troops to train Somali forces in hopes that the forces will be able to stem the violence and restore order. The troops will train in Uganda next year, Reuters.
U.S. President Barack Obama finishes up his tour of Asia with a visit to South Korea, Yonhap. Analysis of President Obama’s visit to China, Associated Press.
The PBD series Frontline has a comprehensive look at the death of Neda Agha Soltan, including interviews with the doctor who tried to save her at the scene of the crime and information about the man who shot Neda. The show also provides a good review of the events of the disputed presidential election in Iran in June. A must watch for anyone who wants a better understanding of the situation. Watch the full program online. A transcript of the show will be available around November 24. Maps and video of the protests since June, BBC News. Frontline’s homepage for news on Iran, Tehran Bureau.
In a second referendum vote, Ireland has voted in favor of the Lisbon Treaty, which aims to reform the workings of the European Union. A first referendum was held in June 2008 and only 10 out of 43 parliamentary constituencies were in favor of the treaty. In contrast, this time 41 constituencies voted in favor. Ireland was the only EU nation to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Guardian UK. The Telegraph has posted a Q&A of the treaty here.
A Hamas official is denying reports that the Palestine National Authority will control the Gaza Strip after an agreement between Hamas and Fatah. A reconciliation deal is expected to be signed later this month in Cairo and some reports say Palestine will hold official elections next year, Xinhau.
Three foreign aid workers held hostage for three months have been released in Somalia. The workers, who work for Action Against Hunger, were kidnapped in Kenya by about 10 Somali gunmen. It is not known if a ransom was paid for their release, but they are all reported to be in good health and safe, BBC News.
Some parts of the U.S. will begin to receive H1N1 vaccines early next week. 600,000 doses of the nasal spray FluMist will be spread across 21 states and more will be sent out later in the week, USA Today.
Hot Topic: From Inside Military, Strong Rebuke Of Ban On Gays.
Three people who were missing after being swept into the Atlantic Ocean have been found. Thousands of spectators were at Maine’s Acadia National Park watching the waves generated by Hurricane Bill when several people were knocked into the water. Two people were rescued, and the other three were missing (a man, a woman and a 7-year-old girl), but found later. Authorities say the girl was unresponsive at the scene, AP.
Several people are dead in Mogadishu, Somalia as violence continues on in the war-torn capital city. 10 Islamic fighters are reportedly dead, but the government says official numbers are not known because the fighters took some bodies with them as they fled. 20 people were killed in the city on Friday, BBC News.
The wildfires in Athens, Greece spread today, worsening due to gusting winds. Thousands have been forced to flee and many homes have been destroyed, New York Times.
President Hamid Karzai has been accused of rigging last Thursday’s presidential election in Afghanistan and hundreds of complaints are filing in around the country. Abdullah Abdullah, Karzai’s main rival, says he will challange the election results legally. The Times says they have found “further discrepancies yesterday in figures being reported from Helmand province,” Times Online.
Nine people, including a child, are believed to be dead after a tour helicopter and small plane collided over the Hudson River in New York City. Three bodies have been recovered so far. The helicopter was carrying five Italian tourists and a pilot, and the plane was carrying a pilot, an adult, and a child, CNN.
At least 17 people were killed on the coast of Somalia overnight when gun battles broke out between rival clans. The fight allegedly started because of land disputes and the apparent rape of a young woman. A pirate told Reuters he was worried the fighting could affect piracy activities, BBC News.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery says they are close to recovering DNA evidence that proves famed aviator Amelia Earhart crashed on Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific Ocean. Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world, ABC News.
Hot Topic: Separating Fact From Fiction In Health Care Debate.