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 French, British, and American embassies in Sanaa, Yemen have closed due to security fears, CNN. Security forces in Yemen have reportedly lost track of arms, including explosives, BBC News. Yemen is emerging as a new frontline on the war on terror. Factbox: Al Qaeda in Yemen, Reuters. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack on a Detroit bound plane, is Nigerian but studied in Yemen. It may have been in Yemen that Abdulmutallab became radicalized, Reuters.
In-depth profile of the war on terror as fought by the Obama administration, New York Times Magazine.
Beijing saw the most snow, 8 inches, since 1951 this weekend, Christian Science Monitor. The snowfall in pictures, BBC News. Record snowfall also hit Seoul, South Korea, Yahoo News. The birth of blizzards, Good Magazine.
10 stories you missed in 2009, Foreign Policy.
A leading dissident in China, Liu Xiaobo, a literary critic and former professor, has been sentenced to prison for 11 years for “inciting subversion of state power.” Liu is co-author of Charter 08 which calls for China to reform its human rights abuses and to introduce competing political parties to reform the current one-party Communist system, Al Jazeera. Liu profile, Times Online.
Yemen conducted airstrikes that led to the deaths of at least 30 suspected members of Al Qaeda who were meeting in a remote part of the country, New York Times. Factbox on suspected targets of the strike, Reuters India.
A new policy issued by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo, a top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, that would have court marshaled female soldiers who became pregnant as well as their male sexual partners has been rescinded, Washington Post.
Fighting continues on the border Saudi Arabia and Yemen for the fifth straight day. Shia Houthis in Yemen have been fighting the Yemen military for their own government since August. The fighting has recently expanded to include Saudi border areas and the Saudi military, Al Jazeera.
Jason Rodriguez, a former employee of Reynolds Smith & Hills in Orlando, Florida, entered the business yesterday and shot 6, killing 1 and wounding 5. He was arrested at his home. Rodriguez was fired from the engineering firm two years ago and recently filed for bankruptcy, CNN.
The U.S. Labor Department announced that the jobless rate for Americans is over 10%, a 26-year high, ABC News.
A British tourist was killed when a man walked into a bar in Amarillo, Texas and opened fire. The shooter, whose motives are unknown, is in custody, BBC News.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who killed 13 and injured 38 when he opened fire in a Soldier Readiness Center at the Fort Hood army base in Killeen, Texas, was sent to Fort Hood for a “fresh start” after having a difficult time at Walter Reed. Questions about whether the military missed warning signs that Hasan was unstable, USA Today. A FBI team has been dispatched to Fort Hood to reenact the shooting in an effort to understand how events unfolded, USA Today. More on the victims of the Fort Hood shooting, New York Times. Reflections on the Fort Hood tragedy by a veteran of Vietnam, New York Times.
A NATO airstrike yesterday mistakenly killed Afghan police and civilians. The strike occurred during a search for two 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers who are missing, Washington Post.
At least 50 people have been killed in the Philippines after flooding from Tropical Storm Ketsana. 21 people remain missing, but the rain has slowed down and the worst is believed to be over, for now, CNN.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh says government forces may be fighting Shia rebels for years to come, but urged the rebels to accept a ceasefire. 150,000 people have been displaced because of the war and hundreds have been killed only this month alone as violence intensifies, BBC News.
Over 121 children in China are suffering from lead poisoning. The children all live near a battery plant in eastern China and the results have sparked unrest in the country over public safety, AP.
Hot Topic: Cries and Hugs at Reunion of Families in North Korea.
Noordin Mohammed Top, one of the most wanted terrorists in Asia, has been killed in a police raid, says Indonesian police. Top is believed to have been the mastermind behind the Bali and Jakarta bombings, which killed over 200 people. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has warned that despite Top’s death, there is a still a threat in the region of terrorism, saying that “we cannot afford to be complacent,” Bloomberg.
The U.S. has pledged to give 10 percent of their H1N1 vaccine stock to the World Health Organization (WHO), which will then be given to poor countries. Australia, Brazil, Britain, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland will also donate, Washington Post.
A government airstrike in Yemen has killed more than 80 people, most of which were civilian refugees. The strike shows that the war is worsening between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, New York Times.
Hot Topic: Communism and Capitalism Are Mixing in Laos.
It was estimated that over one million people attended today’s rallies in Tehran to show support for reform candidate Mousavi. At least one person was shot and killed at the rally, but according to pictures and videos circulating on the web, there were likely more deaths. Police are mostly targeting students and raiding university dormitories. At least 12 students have been killed in the raids, Guardian.
Pictures from the Boston Globe. | Bahramks.
At least three bodies of missing foreigners in Yemen have been found, although sources are saying it is possible more were recovered. Nine foreigners were kidnapped by a suspected Shia rebel faction while the group were on a picnic. Three of the nine kidnapped were children, and other reports say two children have been found alive, but this has not been confirmed, BBC News.
Scientists say a glacier in Argentina is actually growing, despite global warming. The Perito Moreno glacier grows using snow from the Andes, but they are not sure why this glacier is expanding while almost all others are shrinking or disappearing completely, AP.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will back a two-state solution for Palestine, but only if Palestine is completely disarmed. Under his conditions, Palestine would not be allowed an army, would have no way of smuggling weapons, and would have no control over its own air space. The Prime Minister also said he was open to immediately having peace discussions with Palestine, BBC News.
Nine foreigners have been kidnapped in Yemen by Shia rebels. The group is comprised of mostly women and children, with seven Germans, a Briton and a Korean. Two of those kidnapped had been working in the country as nurses, BBC News.
We’ve been extensively covering the Iranian election chaos the past few days, and while we can’t give out much more confirmed information (foreign journalists are being expelled, power is down, and the only info is coming from Twitter), we can give you a brief rundown of the situation as it stands now.
We hear that students at a university in Tehran have sparred with police and eyewitness reports say 15 are severely injured and over 100 students have been arrested. A video was posted on Youtube earlier of what appeared to be a protester beaten to death by police, but it has since been taken down. Those who are supporting the Mousavi supporters are urged to wear green tomorrow, no matter where in the world you are. Here’s a great New York Times article with info on the unrest in Iran.