Shiite rebels in northern Yemen attacked army positions and killed five soldiers, prompting renewed clashes on between the two sides on Tuesday, local officials and medics said. On May 20, medics said 25 soldiers and rebels were killed in similar clashes in Amran, a stronghold of the insurgents who have tried to bolster their standing in the region by holding armed parades and anti-military protests. Huthis have been fighting the central government for years, complaining of marginalisation under ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was ousted in 2012 after a year of protests.
A Saudi court sentenced to death a Shiite protester convicted of opening fire on a police patrol during unrest in the kingdom's east, local media reported on Tuesday. The sentence is the heaviest handed to a protester in the trial of scores detained over their involvement in anti-regime protests in the oil-rich Eastern Province since February 2011. The court, which specialises in terrorism cases, convicted the Saudi man of "disobedience... undermining security and causing sedition" by opening fire on a police patrol in the Shiite-populated Qatif district with the help of two accomplices, according to local media. Activists identified the convict as Rida Rabih, son of Shiite cleric Jaafar Rabih, who became known for his efforts to ease tensions that were brewing in Qatif's flashpoint village of Awamiya.
A senior Hezbollah commander branded by the FBI as one of the world's most wanted terrorists was killed fighting in Syria, residents of his village in southern Lebanon told AFP Tuesday. Powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah has deployed thousands of fighters into neighbouring Syria to back President Bashar al-Assad's army as he battles insurgents who have been trying to overthrow him for the past three years. "Fawzi Ayoub was killed fighting in Syria. According to another resident of Ain Qana, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of Beirut, "Ayoub was a leading Hezbollah commander in the Aleppo area" in northern Syria.
The IMF declared Tuesday that Spain's economic recovery is here to stay, hailing a return to growth and job-creation despite the nation's 26-percent unemployment rate. "Spain has turned the corner," the International Monetary Fund said in a report on the eurozone's fourth-largest economy, which emerged in mid-2013 from five years of stop-start recession. The Fund noted that Spain grew in the first three months of this year at a quarterly rate of 0.4 percent -- the fastest clip since a 2008 property crash destroyed millions of jobs and flooded the nation in debt. "The labour reform and wage moderation are helping turn job destruction to job creation," the IMF said.
South Africa's economy shrank in the first quarter of the year, in the worst performance recorded since the global recession five years ago, official data showed Tuesday. Statistics South Africa reported the economy contracted by 0.6 percent, a stunning reversal for Africa's most advanced economy amid a rapid boom elsewhere in the continent. The worse-than-expected data comes during the first full day on the job for South African finance minister Nhlanhla Nene. The 55-year-old was sworn in as South Africa's first black finance minister on Monday.
Jordan on Tuesday downplayed the expulsion of Syria's ambassador to Amman, Bahjat Suleiman, saying relations with Damascus will not be severed and its embassy will remain open. "The government's decision to consider Bahjat Suleiman persona non grata and ask him to leave within 24 hours over his insults to Jordan does not at all mean that Jordanian-Syrian ties will be severed," Information Minister Mohammad Momani told government-owned Al-Rai daily.
Senator Richard Blumenthal said on Sunday he wanted to revive gun control legislation rejected by Congress in the wake of the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre, saying it could have helped prevent this weekend's deadly California shooting spree. Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program the legislation, which failed last year, could be revised to emphasize the mental condition of potential gun buyers. "Obviously, not every kind of gun violence is going to be prevented by laws out of Washington," he said. On Friday night a 22-year-old college student identified as Elliot Rodger allegedly stabbed three people to death in his apartment in Santa Barbara, California, and then drove through the city and fatally shot three others with handguns he had legally bought.
The White House inadvertently included the name of the top CIA official in Afghanistan on a list of participants in a military briefing with President Barack Obama that was distributed to reporters on Sunday, the Washington Post reported. The newspaper said the official, identified as "Chief of Station" in Kabul, was named as being among those at a briefing with Obama during the president's trip to Bagram Air Base near the Afghan capital. The list of names was sent by email to reporters traveling with Obama on his surprise Afghanistan visit and included in a "pool report" shared with correspondents and others not on the trip. The Post said the White House issued a revised list deleting the CIA official's name after it recognized the mistake. The newspaper said its White House bureau chief, Scott Wilson, who was on the trip, copied the original list from the email provided by White House press officials and included it in a report sent to a distribution list with over 6,000 recipients. After he spotted the reference to the station chief, Wilson asked White House press officials in Afghanistan if they had intended to include that name, the Post said. "Initially, the press office raised no objection, apparently because military officials had provided the list to distribute to news organizations," the Post added.