6 August 2015

Yemen forces launch major offensive to recapture air base from Houthi rebels

News from around the world.

Pro-government forces advance on key Yemeni air base

Forces loyal to exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Monday launched a major offensive to recapture the strategic Al-Anad air base from the Shia Houthi rebels. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which has been attacking the rebels, provided tanks and armoured vehicles to the forces apart from air cover. Later, while Yemeni military officials said their forces had gained control of the air base's western gate, Houthi officials said they still had command of the base. The base, which provides access to a road between the strategic cities of Aden and Taiz, was previously used by the United States to launch drone strikes against the Yemeni branch of the militant group al-Qaeda.

Greek stocks plunge after five-week shut down

The Athens Stock Exchange plunged over 16% on Monday, its first day of trading after a five-week-long shutdown brought on by fears that the country would exit the Eurozone. "The market tanked, as expected," said Takis Zamanis, the chief trader for Beta Securities, a wealth management firm. While continuing to tackle the worsening economic situation in the country, the Greek government has been engaged in negotiations with its Eurozone creditors over the terms of a third bailout package worth 86 billion Euros. However, while the International Monetary Fund has threatened pull out of the bailout programme unless some debt relief is granted to Greece, countries such as Germany have opposed debt relief on the grounds that it would set a precedent for other economies in the Eurozone.

Nigerian army rescues 178 hostages from Boko Haram

Nigerian military forces on Sunday rescued 178 people held captive by Islamist organisation Boko Haram. A high-ranking commander of the militant outfit too was arrested near the town of Bama. Nigerian military spokesperson Colonel Tukur Gusau said that those rescued included 101 children, 67 women and 10 men, all of whom had been badly treated by their captors. Nearly 800 people have been killed in attacks by Boko Haram since Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari took office in May after general elections in the country. The outfit, which aims to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Nigeria, has also launched cross-border attacks on Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

Iran bans newspaper critical of nuclear deal 

Iran on Monday banned hard-line newspaper 9th Dey and issued formal warnings to the owners of at least two other such publications for the alleged breach of reporting guidelines and criticism of the nuclear deal signed between the government and major world powers. The ban was the first such penalty awarded by the government since new guidelines on media coverage of the historic accord were issued last week. On July 14, Iran and the United States along with Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany reached a final agreement on Tehran's nuclear programme. Under the deal, Iran has agreed to place curbs on some of its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions imposed on it in recent years.

Syrian government warplane crash kills 31

At least 31 people were killed and another 60 injured when a Syrian army fighter jet crashed into a marketplace in the north-western town of Ariha on Monday. Most of the casualties were reported to be civilians from the town, which is located in the Idlib province. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the crash occurred during bombing raids carried out by the Syrian government's air force. The civil war in the country, which began in 2011, has led to the deaths of at least 250,000 Syrians.

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