An ancient statue of a warrior stolen in 1972 and which almost went on the auction block three years ago will be returned to Cambodia, US authorities said Wednesday. The 10th-century sandstone \"Duryodhana bondissant\" was stolen from the Prasat Chen temple at Koh Ker in Cambodia and first sold at auction in London in 1975. It was supposed to have come back on the auction block at Sotheby's in New York in March 2011 but the sale was stopped after Cambodian authorities made an appeal through UNESCO. The Koh Ker site is significant from a religious, historical, and artistic perspective, and the Duryodhana is considered a piece of extraordinary value to the Cambodian people and part of their cultural heritage.
The United States is temporarily closing its embassy in Yemen to the public amid a spate of attacks against foreign diplomats, a top US official said Wednesday. "Due to recent attacks against Western interests in Yemen, we have temporarily suspended operations of our embassy in Sanaa to the public," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. The move comes after a Frenchman was killed on Monday and another was wounded when gunmen opened fire on their car in Sanaa's diplomatic district. Both worked for a private security firm that officials said was guarding the EU delegation in Yemen.
A leading US medical journal on Wednesday hit out at the powerful American gun lobby for opposing the nomination for the post of top doctor, calling it a new form of \"political blackmail.\" At issue is the nomination to the post of surgeon general of a Harvard medical school physician named Vivek Murthy, whose parents were born in India. Murthy \"has lived the American dream,\" said the editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, noting his role in expanding HIV education, broadening access to healthcare and fighting childhood obesity. His nomination awaits a vote in the US Senate, but that vote may be postponed or his candidacy withdrawn, amid reports that as many as 10 Senate Democrats would vote against him, enough to keep him out of the post.
The United States is \"deeply concerned\" at what Secretary of State John Kerry called Wednesday \"the deteriorating situation\" in protest-hit Venezuela. At least 41 people have been killed in three months of demonstrations against the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro, with protesters railing against dire economic conditions and what they say is worsening insecurity. \"The serious and worsening economic and social challenges in Venezuela can only be resolved with the input of those people,\" Kerry told a conference on the Americas in Washington, saying demonstrators had \"legitimate grievances.\" \"We believe the future of Venezuela is for the people of Venezuela to decide,\" Kerry said.
By Steve Holland VILONIA, Arkansas (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday toured the devastation wreaked by tornadoes that slashed through parts of Arkansas, along with a senator whose re-election is key to Democrats' hanging on to control of the U.S. Senate. Some Democratic senators in tough races this November have distanced themselves from Obama, but Senator Mark Pryor, whose state has tilted Republican in recent years, welcomed Obama to Arkansas and stood by his side as he spoke about the tragedy. Obama's Marine One helicopter provided the president with an aerial view of the destruction caused by a powerful EF-4 tornado, with winds of at least 180 miles an hour, and other deadly twisters that ripped central Arkansas last week, killing 15 people and injuring more than 150.