In brief: Saleh pledges to leave office amid intensifying resistance
Sana, Yemen – With his country tilting toward civil war and powerful tribes and mutinous soldiers arrayed against him, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Saturday that he would step down soon.
Saleh, a shrewd political tactician who has stayed in power for more than three decades, has broken similar promises in the past. But the president appears to be losing his grip on a state engulfed in protests, an intensifying secessionist movement in the south and growing resistance from tribes.
“I reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will be leaving power in the coming days,” Saleh said in a speech on state television.
The president’s announcement came the day after Tawakul Karman, a journalist and human rights activist, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for leading demonstrations against Saleh. The prize was the latest international repudiation of the longtime leader, who survived an assassination attempt four months ago.
U.N. atomic agency arrives in Japan to observe decontamination effort
Tokyo – Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in the Japanese city of Fukushima today to observe the massive decontamination effort following the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Local doctors also began a long-term survey of children for thyroid abnormalities, a problem associated with radiation exposure. Officials hope to test some 360,000 people who were under the age of 18 when the nuclear crisis began in March, and then provide follow-ups throughout their lifetimes.
The 12-member IAEA group was to visit farms, schools and government offices throughout Fukushima prefecture in northeastern Japan to observe the cleanup process. It is the U.N. atomic agency’s second major mission to Japan since the crisis at Fukushima’s Dai-ichi nuclear power plant began.
Nearly 20,000 people were killed when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, and the disaster severely damaged the Fukushima complex. Tens of thousands of people still cannot – or choose not to – return to their homes because of the radioactive contamination.