Friday, July 27, 2012

Yemenis rally in protest to US meddling, urge Sana’a to cut US ties

July 27, 2012
Yemenis have staged an anti-US demonstration in the northern city of Sa'ada to protest against Washington’s interference in their country’s internal affairs.
Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in Sa’ada on Friday to show anger with US meddling and urged the government to sever all ties with Washington.
They also accused Saudi Arabia of interfering in Yemen’s affairs.
Meanwhile, thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in the capital, Sana'a and several other cities, to demand the removal of relatives of deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh from power positions in the government, the military and security apparatus.
They also called for the prosecution of Saleh and his aides over the killing of nearly 2,000 protesters during the country's revolution last year.
Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 33 years, stepped down under a US-backed power transfer deal in February in return for immunity, after nearly a year of mass street protests against his rule.
He was replaced by his deputy Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi in a single-candidate presidential election backed by the US and Saudi Arabia.
In a bid to end anti-Saleh protest rallies, Yemeni President Hadi in April replaced nearly 20 senior military generals, including air force commander General Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, a half brother of Saleh, and the commander of Presidential Guard General Tariq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, who is a nephew of Saleh.
Saleh's nephew Yahya, who commanded the Central Security Services, was also dismissed from his post in March shortly after more than 90 soldiers were killed and many others injured in a bomb blast targeting troops rehearsing for a military parade to celebrate Yemen's National Unity Day.

TSA Chief: Al Qaeda altered underwear bomb formula

July 27, 2012
ASPEN, Colo. — Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole says the al Qaeda explosive device recently intercepted by a US intelligence operation in Yemen was a different formula than that used by the Yemeni offshoot to try to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.
Pistole told an audience at the Aspen Security Forum that the TSA has recalibrated its explosive detection devices accordingly, and that bomb-sniffing dogs have also been trained to detect it.
The newly designed explosive device intercepted by a double-agent in Yemen was an upgrade from the underwear bomb carried by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The new model also had a more sophisticated trigger mechanism, an apparent attempt to fix the defective trigger that burned the bomber but failed to ignite the bomb in the 2009 attack.

Yemen on track for WTO entry after Ukraine deal

GENEVA | Thu Jul 26, 2012
 (Reuters) - Yemen has resolved a months-long spat with Ukraine that had threatened to derail its bid to join the World Trade Organization, the WTO said on Thursday.
The agreement puts Yemen back on course to join the world trade body as early as the end of 2012. That would make it the 159th member after Russia and Vanuatu, which will both become members in August, and Laos, which is finalizing entry terms.
Every new WTO member has to bring its own laws into line with WTO standards and agree to open trade to satisfy every existing member. That gives every member an effective veto on new joiners.
WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said Ukraine had agreed terms with Yemen, enabling the WTO's working party on Yemen's accession to hold a final meeting in late September. The wider WTO membership will then approve Yemen's membership package and send it back to Yemen for ratification.
Ukraine's tough demands on Yemen had caused friction at the WTO, where some diplomats saw its stance as going against the grain of a new push to make it easier for poorer countries such as Yemen to join.
Three senior WTO diplomats were helping to facilitate the negotiations between Yemen and Ukraine, but Ukraine warned them earlier this month not to interfere in its sovereign right to negotiate with Yemen and to demand lower trade barriers.
Ukraine's insistence on wringing concessions out of Yemen had mystified many WTO diplomats, since it does very little trade with the Arab country.
It had also earlier held out against Laos' membership, but the two sides reached a deal at the start of June.