SANAA, Yemen – A deal to end Yemen’s political crisis neared collapse Sunday after the country’s embattled president refused to personally sign it, leaving a deadlock that threatens to plunge the impoverished Arab nation and key U.S. ally deeper into disorder and bloodshed.
Continued unrest in Yemen risks the stability of a region that is home to important shipping lanes at the southern mouth of the Red Sea. Yemen is also close to the massive oil and gas fields of the Gulf Arab region.
Israel blocks Palestinian funds
JERUSALEM – Israel said Sunday that it is delaying the transfer of about $89 million in tax revenue belonging to the Palestinian Authority, the latest sign of souring relations in connection with a proposed unity government between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel is concerned that the money – including customs fees and taxes collected by Israel on behalf of Palestinians – could be used to benefit Hamas if the militant group announces a joint government with Fatah as expected this week.
Hamas, which Israel and the U.S. call a terrorist organization, refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, or to renounce the use of violence. It recently resumed rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities from the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian leaders condemned the delay, calling it an act of “piracy” and “war.”
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the decision would not discourage the Palestinian parties from completing the reconciliation agreement, which is scheduled to be signed this week in Cairo.
Air France jet recorder found
PARIS – One of the two flight recorders from an Air France passenger plane that fell into the Atlantic Ocean two years ago was recovered Sunday, providing new hope that the cause of the crash can be learned.
The French transport ministry’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis said the flight data recorder was brought up Sunday evening from about 2 miles underwater and was in “good physical condition.”
From Brazil, the data recorder will be flown to Paris to be decrypted by experts from the Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis – a task that could take weeks.
Air France Flight 447 crashed June 1, 2009, four hours after taking off from Rio de Janeiro for Paris, with 228 people on board. There were no survivors.