In brief: Envoy: Yemen rebel group OKs talks
UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. envoy to Yemen says the country’s president and Shiite rebels have agreed to discuss the group’s disarming.
Jamal Benomar told reporters Thursday that the Hawthis agreed to a new initiative by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to promote dialogue related to the rebels’ “disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.”
The Shiite Hawthis led a six-year insurgency in the north that officially ended in 2010, but a recent escalation in fighting with ultraconservative Sunni tribesmen turned several cities into war zones.
Benomar also warned that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula “remains a very real and lethal threat” in Yemen.
On Sunday and Monday, the country’s military, reportedly backed by U.S. drone strikes, hit a major al-Qaida base in the remote southern mountains, killing 55 militants. Hadi on Wednesday said several of the group’s leaders were among the dead.
Ecuador expels U.S. military group
QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuador has ordered all 20 Defense Department employees in the U.S. Embassy’s military group to leave the country by month’s end, the Associated Press has learned.
The group was ordered to halt operations in Ecuador in a letter dated April 7, said embassy spokesman Jeffrey Weinshenker.
The AP was first alerted to the expulsions by a senior Ecuadorean official who refused to be identified by name due to the information’s sensitive nature.
President Rafael Correa had publicly complained in January that Washington had too many military officers in Ecuador, claiming there were 50, and said they had been “infiltrated in all sectors.” At the time, he said he planned to order some to leave.
Weinshenker said Washington provided $7 million in security assistance to Ecuador last year.
More guides leave Everest base camp
KATMANDU, Nepal – Nepal’s attempts to salvage the Mount Everest climbing season took another hit today as more Sherpa mountain guides packed and left the base camp for their village homes a week after the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest mountain.
Their departures come as major expedition companies canceled their climbs and other Sherpas quit the mountain after an avalanche killed 16 of their fellow guides last week.
It also snowed Thursday night, and by this morning a layer of snow covered the tents and rocky surface of the base camp. There was also a small avalanche Thursday near the spot where the big one swept through a week ago, but no one was in the area.
While the season has not been officially canceled, guides and Sherpas said it appeared increasingly unlikely that any summit attempts would be made this season from the Nepal side of the mountain.
Pacific nation sues nine nuclear powers
NEW YORK – The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is taking on the United States and the world’s eight other nuclear-armed nations with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that they meet their obligations toward disarmament and accusing them of “flagrant violations” of international law.
The island group that was used for dozens of U.S. nuclear tests after World War II filed suit Thursday against each of the nine countries in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. It also filed a federal lawsuit against the United States in San Francisco, naming President Barack Obama, the departments and secretaries of defense and energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The Marshall Islands claims the nine countries are modernizing their nuclear arsenals instead of negotiating disarmament, and it estimates that they will spend $1 trillion on those arsenals over the next decade. The other countries are Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.