SAUDI ARABIA CALLS HALT TO YEMEN STRIKES, THEN STRIKES AGAIN
Hopes that the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries was ending its “Decisive Storm” campaign in Yemen were short-lived after reports of more airstrikes against Houthi Shia rebels emerged Wednesday morning, less than a day after Riyadh had indicated a halt to attacks. A local official in the Yemeni province of Aden told Al Jazeera that warplanes had targeted Houthi tanks in the city. According to Reuters, Houthi forces were also hit after they took a military base in Taiz.
- After four weeks of airstrikes, Saudi Arabia said it was moving to a new phase of its operation in neighboring Yemen, “Renewal of Hope” which it claimed was aimed at protecting civilians and fighting terrorists thanks to a “combination of political, diplomatic and military action.” The move came after the U.S., which supported the Saudi intervention, reinforced its presence in the Gulf of Aden, which the Pentagon said was aimed at preserving their options, Voice of America reports.
- According to local witnesses and media quoted by Iranian network PressTV, the capital Sana’a and Sa’ada were also hit by airstrikes early Wednesday.
- Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif urged for “urgent humanitarian assistance” in Yemen, and renewed calls for intra-Yemeni dialogue as a way-out of the crisis.
ON THIS DAY
Earth Day was first celebrated exactly 45 years ago today. Get a glimpse of that and three more notable events in your 57-second shot of history.
FOOD BANK USE SOARED IN BRITAIN
More than a million people have resorted to using food banks in Britain in the last 12 months, 19% more than a year before, suggesting the poorest are not benefiting from what the Conservative-led government hails as a recovery, The Guardian reports. The revelation is a blow to David Cameron’s bid for a second term as Prime Minister 15 days before national elections. A BBC poll shows that the two main parties, the Conservatives and Labour, are neck and neck with each at 34%.
Photo: Jorge Villegas/Xinhua/ZUMA
Villarrica — one of Chile's most active volcanoes — in the Araucania region, celebrated Earth Day by erupting.
FRENCH POLICE FOIL CHURCH TERROR PLOT
The rescue of a young wounded man on Sunday morning in Paris has led to the French police foiling a potential terror threat after it emerged that the man was in fact a murder suspect who was planning to attack one or two churches during mass, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve revealed. According to Le Monde, the affair is “as worrying as it is strange.” The suspect, a 23-year-old Algerian-born technology student, is said to have shot himself by accident after having murdered a 32-year-old woman. The man, known as a security threat, later called for an ambulance and following the blood trail, the police found his car loaded with weapons. Read more in English from AP.
While the showdown with its creditors continues, the Greek government is quickly losing its popular support. In a Skair Television poll, just 45.5% of Greeks polled approved of Athens’ strategy, down from 72% last month. This comes ahead of a crucial Eurogroup summit on Friday and there’s a growing understanding that Athens might run out of cash and fail to pay wages and pensions this month, French business daily Les Echosreports. According to the Financial Times, the Syriza-led government came under fire yesterday from a group of prominent Greek mayors after “it caved in to international pressure and ordered local authorities to hand over their spare cash,” a move which the mayors said was “unconstitutional.”
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
China’s state-run People’s Daily splashed its front page with coverage of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to Pakistan. But it only offered part of the story. Have a look here.
HONG KONG UNVEILS BEIJING-BACKED ELECTION PLANS
The government of Hong Kong unveiled a reform package Wednesday ahead of the planned 2017 election of its next leader, which Chinese news agency Xinhua hails as the first election in Hong Kong’s history to be decided by universal suffrage. But according to AP, the proposals fall far short of what pro-democracy lawmakers and activists expect, and will likely be rejected by the Parliament and spark renewed protests. The most controversial proposal is one that would see the last three candidates selected by a small group of pro-Beijing tycoons through a secret ballot.
Katja de Bragança, a German biologist spent two years on a project whose aim was to understand how people with Down syndrome think about the world. She wound up creating a magazine that capitalizes on their intelligence, Die Welt’s Manuel Stark reports: “The conventional wisdom for a long time was that the people affected by the condition were unable to read or write. No one knows this to be untrue better than de Bragança. In 2000, she founded the magazine Ohrenkuss (Earskiss), which is published twice a year, with articles written exclusively by people with Down syndrome. ‘People with Down syndrome are considered to be a bit simple-minded, although they are quite intelligent,’ de Bragança says. ‘There are an awful lot of untrue prejudices in circulation in regards to how people with Down syndrome function.’”
Read the full article, Down Syndrome Does Not Mean Dumb, A Magazine Can Prove It.
“There's always lots of horsing around and sort of practical jokes and that's all there really was to it,” said New Zealand Prime Minister John Key after being forced to apologize for repeatedly pulling a young waitress’ hair at a cafe. Commenting on what’s been dubbed the tailgate, Kim Dotcom tweeted, “John Key's hair pulling fetish will dominate the news in a way mass surveillance & loss of your rights never could.”
COME DINE WITH TIM
A minimum bid of over $200,000 is what you need to enjoy a meal with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the company’s headquarters.