KUWAIT CITY – Kuwait’s embattled interior minister stepped down Sunday amid rising political tensions that include calls for the first major Gulf street protests inspired by uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere.
Opposition groups have sharply escalated pressure on Kuwait’s leadership in recent months over claims of corruption in the oil-rich state and perceived attempts to roll back political freedoms. Kuwait’s political system is the most open in the Gulf, and its parliament is one of the few elected bodies in the region capable of demanding reforms from rulers.
Kuwait’s official KUNA news agency reported that Kuwait’s leaders accepted the resignation of the interior minister, Sheik Jaber Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, and replaced him with a close relative of Kuwait’s ruler.
Scores of homes burn in Australia
PERTH, Australia – A wildfire that tore across the outskirts of an Australian city over the weekend has destroyed at least 41 homes and damaged another 19, authorities said today. One firefighter was injured and several people were treated for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters are close to stopping the spread of that wildfire and another that broke out over the weekend in the same area of Western Australia state. The two blazes have razed 4,000 acres of forested land to the north and southeast of Perth since Saturday, Fire and Emergency Services Authority spokesman Alan Gale said.
In Roleystone and the nearby community of Kelmscott, at least 41 houses were destroyed and another 19 damaged, despite the efforts of 200 firefighters, the authority’s chief operations officer, Craig Hynes, told reporters.
Old bomb found in Paris suburb
PARIS – Some 6,000 residents of a Paris suburb were evacuated from their homes while specialists defused a World War II bomb discovered on a building site.
Paris police headquarters said experts successfully rendered the 880-pound bomb harmless in a few hours.
The operation Saturday forced the closure of two neighborhoods in Boulogne-Billancourt, southwest of Paris. The bomb was discovered Jan. 27 on an old factory site of Renault automobiles under renovation.
Such evacuations are not uncommon in France, but are mainly in Normandy where bombs rained down after the Allied D-Day invasion.