Thursday, January 12, 2012

A day without qat: Can Yemen do it?

Plucky Yemeni netizens call for a day without qat. Will it work?

Erin CunninghamJanuary 12, 2012

Qat, an ever-green plant with narcotic properties, is Yemen's pasttime. Can Yemenis go a day without it?

That's what one group of Yemeni netizens is trying to accomplish: a day without qat in their drug-stricken country. Online activists called for today to be the day without qat, whose leaves are chewed for hours at a time by the majority of Yemen's adults. A World Bank report estimates that a quarter of working hours are spent chewing, according to the Economist.

Yemeni security: 20 killed in Sunni-Shiite clashes in northern Yemen

By Associated Press, January 12, 2012

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni security officials say 20 fighters have been killed in new clashes between an ultraconservative Islamist group and former Shiite rebels in the country’s north.

Tensions between the groups have reignited since President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a U.S.-backed deal in November to pass power to his vice president. Yemen has been badly shaken by 10 months of protests calling for Saleh’s ouster.

The fighting pitted Shiite Hawthis against Sunni Salafi Islamists. Ten died on each side, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity according to military protocol.

The Hawthis fought a bloody six-year war against Saleh’s government that ended with a cease-fire last year. Yemen’s Salafis practice a hard-line interpretation of Islam similar to al-Qaida’s.

Yemen LNG optimistic despite unrest

SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- More than 100 shipments of liquefied natural gas left Yemeni ports last year, meaning customers got 100 percent of what they paid for, a company said.

Yemen last year was consumed by mass demonstrations against the country's president. A gas pipeline in Yemen was struck by saboteurs in October but was quickly repaired.

Yemen LNG said it shipped out 106 cargoes of liquefied natural gas last year, 100 percent of its annual delivery commitments.

"Our reliability as an LNG supplier makes for a good international reputation of Yemen LNG and of Yemen," the company's general manager, Francois Rafin, said in a statement.

The company said 2011 was the first year it was operating at full capacity. Yemen LNG said cargo that was canceled in October would be delivered by early January. Most of the LNG exports from Yemen were bound for Asian markets, the company noted.

"We look forward to leveraging on this reliability to maximize, in full transparency, the sales revenues in 2012 and in the future years," Rafin said.