Central U.S. Copes With Aftermath of Storm, Mass Protests in Yemen
Airports in Chicago and other major cities in the Midwest are beginning to resume flights after a massive winter storm dumped up to two feet of snow in the region, halting flights and stranding cars. The storm that shut down much of the central United States is now headed to the northeast, expected to affect parts of Canada.
The snow and ice, accompanied by gusty winds, shut down schools and offices. Chicago had not closed its schools because of snow in 12 years. President Obama ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be ready to assist state and local governments in grappling with the aftermath.
More Than 20,000 Call for Yemeni President to Step Down
One day after Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, said he would not seek re-election in 2013, more than 20,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Sanaa demanding he leave office sooner. Echoing demonstrations in Egypt, marchers called the event a “day of rage” against the president. Both pro- and anti-government protesters could be seen in Yemen’s capital.
President Saleh, who has held his office for 30 years and is 64, said in an emergency session of parliament on Wednesday that he would serve out his current term and pass power to his son. He had called for protesters to cancel their gathering, a call that went unheeded by organizers.
Many of the youth behind the protests are frustrated by Yemen’s high unemployment, high food costs and limited political freedoms. The United States is concerned about Yemen as a haven for extremist groups and had poured aid into the government; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Saleh in early January.
Northeastern Australia Pounded By Cyclone Yasi
Residents in Queensland hunkered down as one of Australia’s most powerful cyclones in recorded history battered its coast, ripping homes from their foundations, destroying crops and bearing down with 185-mile-per-hour winds.
Trees were uprooted and many homes were without power, but early on no deaths were reported. Many were evacuated or rode out the storm in shelters.
Cyclone Yasi, the worst since 1918, comes after the state of Queensland was inundated with floodwater and heavy rains. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has proposed a levy to help cope with the aftermath.
Pakistani Judge Orders Detention of American Embassy Employee
A judge in Lahore has ruled that police can detain an employee of the American embassy for eight more days in connection with the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis. American officials say the man, identified by Pakistani authorities as Raymond Allen Davis, shot them in self defense because they were trying to rob him. He will appear in court again on Feb. 11.
Another Pakistani bystander was killed by a vehicle driving to the scene to help him. There are fears that releasing David could stoke anti-American sentiment in Pakistan.