Foreign airlines halted flights to the main international airport in Sana’a because of heavy fighting between Shiite rebels and Sunni militias in the Yemeni capital, the state civil aviation authority said yesterday.
Battles erupted a day earlier between the Shiite rebels, known as the Hawthis, and gunmen loyal to the Islah Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s branch in Yemen. The two sides fought in Shamlan, a suburb of Sana’a that is home to the Islamic Iman University, an institution seen as a breeding ground for Sunni militants.
Amid the fighting, the Hawthis hit the headquarters of state television with mortars on Thursday evening. Thousands have fled their homes in the area.
In a statement carried on the state news agency SABA early yesterday, the civil aviation authority said foreign airlines suspended flights to Sana’a airport for 24 hours, after which they will review the security situation.
The Hawthis have emerged as a powerful new player in the chronically unstable, impoverished nation. Over the past months, their fighters have scored a string of victories in the north, defeating Islamist fighters, bringing them to the doorstep of Sana’a.
In the capital, they have led a campaign of street protests calling for the replacement of the Yemeni government and economic reforms. One of their protest camps is set up on the main road leading to the airport.
The Hawthis’ opponents accuse them of being a proxy for mainly Shiite Iran and of seeking to grab power, a claim the group denies.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big