Gunman kills nine
Medical and security officials say a crazed gunman opened fire on Sunday on worshipers marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in in al-Dhale, a governorate about 190km south of the capital, Sana’a, killing nine. The gunman targeted men praying outside a crowded mosque during morning Eid el-Fitr services. Ten people were wounded, the officials said, and the gunman was arrested at the scene. Also on Sunday, a security official said a suicide bomber blew himself up in a town in the southern governorate of Abyan, killing a leading member of a civilian militia that has fought alongside government troops to drive al-Qaeda militants from their southern strongholds.
Sunni cleric attacked
A bomb struck the convoy of a senior Sunni cleric in western Baghdad on Sunday, killing four and critically wounding the anti-extremist Muslim leader, police said. The attack highlights the threats faced by moderate Sunni clerics whom the Shiite government needs to help rebuild the country and establish security. The blast left Sheik Mahdi al-Sumaidaie badly hurt, a Sunni religious official said. The cleric had just finished leading prayers to mark the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Ten new owl species found
Scientists and birdwatchers have discovered 10 new owl species in the country, using advanced recording equipment that can distinguish between their hoots, a conservation official said on Sunday. Eight of the new species were previously considered sub-species, while two are totally new, said Lisa Paguntalan, field director of Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Program. “There is no significant variation in their forms. It was the sound difference of their calls that was very significant in distinguishing between species,” she said. Paguntalan said many of these new species were possibly endangered because they were found only in small isolated islands or in tiny pockets of forests. The research took 10 years, but the results were only announced after coordination between groups, including Michigan State University and Birdlife International.
Joint military drills begin
Seoul and the US have begun annual military drills that North Korea calls a precursor to war. The US says the two-week Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills started with more than 80,000 troops from the US, South Korea and seven countries that fought with them in the Korean War. Pyongyang has repeatedly denounced the exercises as preparation for an attack.
Temblin brings flooding
Tropical Storm Tembin brought heavy rains, triggering landslides and flashfloods in the north, just weeks after a series of deadly storms and monsoon rains, the government said yesterday. The storm remained almost stationary off the northern tip of Luzon, battering the mountainous region with powerful downpours. The storm caused landslides, damaging eight major highways, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Tembin, packing maximum winds of 105kph, with gusts of up to 135 kph, was expected to remain off the northern tip of Luzon for more than a day, the council added. Local communities were warned to monitor the levels of rivers and streams in their area and prepare for evacuations in case they begin to rise.