Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has removed heavy artillery from hills surrounding Sanaa over fears his predecessor, to whom some elements remain loyal, is plotting a coup, an official said Monday. The move comes with the presidential guard, backed by armoured vehicles, surrounding a mosque controlled by ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital since late Saturday, an AFP correspondent reported. Saleh ruled Yemen for 33 years before being forced out in February 2012 and replaced by his long-time deputy Hadi under a UN- and Gulf-sponsored deal. "The military leadership has dismantled heavy artillery and rockets that were positioned on hills around Sanaa following information of a coup plot" by Saleh "whose loyalists continue to infiltrate the army", the army official told AFP.
Aleppo (Syria) (AFP) - Syrian government helicopters dropped barrel bombs on opposition-held districts of the northern city of Aleppo on Monday, killing at least 31 people including several children, an NGO said. Some of the wounded were in a serious condition after the strikes on the Sukkari and Ashrafiyeh neighbourhoods, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "We were sleeping safely when the first barrel dropped around midnight," said resident Abu Mohammad. "And when people came to the rescue, a second barrel dropped, so all those people who were on the site were dead.
Natal (Brazil) (AFP) - US Vice President Joe Biden begins a four-nation trip across Latin America on Monday, starting with some World Cup action at the US-Ghana game in Brazil. Biden will fly directly to the flood-stricken city of Natal to cheer on the United States as they face the Black Stars in their first Group G clash on Monday. Biden will then fly to Brasilia, where he will meet President Dilma Rousseff and Vice President Michel Temer on Tuesday in a continuing effort to patch up relations strained by revelations of massive US spying. Rousseff cancelled a state visit to Washington last year following revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that US agencies have been spying on her country.
An Egyptian police captain was killed on Monday in a shootout on the southern outskirts of Cairo with alleged supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, the interior ministry said. Since the military ousted Morsi last July, Egypt has been rocked by near-daily violence with hundreds of police dead in militant attacks and more than 1,000 Morsi supporters killed in street clashes with security forces. The police officer was shot dead during an operation targeting five wanted members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, the ministry said. The five were "implicated in many violent acts and attacks on police cars and electricity transmission pylons", it added.
Argentine stocks plunged Monday after the US Supreme Court rejected the country's appeal against having to pay hedge fund holders of its bonds, a decision that could pressure government finances. The main index of the Buenos Aires market lost six percent shortly after opening after the Supreme Court effectively backed the hedge funds in their push for payment, despite refusing to take part in the 2005 and 2010 restructurings of the country's debt. The Merval Buenos Aires index fell more than 530 points ,or 6.6 percent, to 7,513.27. The dollar was up 0.4 percent to 11.70 pesos on the Buenos Aires black market.
Armed groups from northern Mali are ready to launch peace talks with Bamako to put an end to the instability plaguing the region, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said Monday. His comments, at a meeting of foreign ministers from six Sahel countries, came after three armed movements from northern Mali announced in Algiers that they were ready to work for peace with the central government. "The conditions are increasingly ripe for progress towards peace," Lamamara said, adding that there was a "very clear desire among the senior leaders of the movements in northern Mali to work for peace." Algeria, which has a long porous border with Mali criss-crossed by jihadist movements, is helping to mediate in the conflict affecting its southern neighbour.
Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza has vetoed a bill that would have granted him and fellow lawmakers generous retirement perks following a public outcry, his spokesman said Monday. "The Head of State decided... that these laws should be sent back to parliament for reconsideration," presidential spokesman Edson Macuacua told AFP. Other perks included life-long retirement benefits for lawmakers -- even those who have served only a single five-year term. Despite rapid economic growth on the back of huge natural resource finds, Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world with the majority of people in the country living on less than a dollar a day.
The US Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear appeals by Argentina that sought to overturn a judgment requiring it to pay "vulture fund" investors in its defaulted bonds. The justices effectively upheld an August 2013 appeals court ruling that ordered Argentina to pay NML Capital and other creditors that had refused to participate in a restructuring deal for debt on which Buenos Aires defaulted in 2001. The court dismissed two challenges by Argentina. One was on whether it had to repay the hedge funds the full value of their bonds while repaying a much larger group of creditors -- those who participated in the restructuring -- much less.
US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday sounded the alarm on the perils facing the world's oceans, calling for a global strategy to save the planet's life-giving seas. "Let's develop a plan" to combat over-fishing, climate change and pollution, Kerry urged as he opened a ground-breaking two-day conference of world leaders, scientists and industry captains. In a major announcement, President Anote Tong of the low-lying Pacific nation of Kiribati said despite concerns about the economic fallout all commercial fishing would be banned from January 2015 in the Phoenix Islands protected area. "Addressing the challenges of climate change, calls for very serious commitment and sacrifice," Tong told the conference.
U.S. officials may hold discussions with Iran about Iraq's security crisis on the sidelines of nuclear talks this week, but Washington will not coordinate potential military action in Iraq with its longtime adversary Tehran, the Pentagon said on Monday. "It’s possible that on the sidelines of those discussions there could be discussions surrounding the situation in Iraq," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said, referring to talks in Vienna this week between world powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program. "But there is absolutely no intention and no plan to coordinate military activity between the United States and Iran ... there are no plans to have consultations with Iran about military activities in Iraq," he told reporters.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is willing to talk with Iran over deteriorating security conditions in Iraq and is not ruling out potential U.S.-Iranian military cooperation in stemming the advance of Sunni extremists. Kerry also says U.S. drone strikes "may well" be an option.
Hillary Clinton has told a German magazine the United States should follow Germany, where Angela Merkel is chancellor, and have a woman in charge. "We are way behind you in Germany on this," the former secretary of state told stern magazine in an interview to be published in its next edition on Wednesday. Clinton, a former senator and the wife of the former U.S. President Bill Clinton, is widely expected to run for the White House in 2016. Clinton, meanwhile, said she understood Germany's anger at revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had listened into Merkel's mobile phone as part of its large scale surveillance of electronic communications in Germany, America's close ally.
Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki's mishandling of security and perceived sidelining of Sunni Arabs set the stage for a major militant offensive, but factors such as Syria's civil war also played a role, experts say. Maliki's opponents accuse him of sectarian discrimination against the Sunni minority, centralising power and moving toward dictatorship, while the prime minister insists he is working to keep the country safe. "He's appointed every senior officer in the military currently serving, so issues like illegal arrests, torture, extraction of bribes to free detainees, etc. I'd lay at Maliki's feet," said Kirk Sowell, a political risk analyst and publisher of the Inside Iraqi Politics newsletter. Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, agreed.