23 March, 2015
Soldiers loyal to Yemen’s president fought off Houthi rebels early Monday. Militia and security officials said the rebels had been sent toward the southern city of Aden where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi had taken refuge.
The majority of Yemenis are Sunni Muslims. The Houthis are Shi’ites, and get support from Iran. The rebels had agreed to share power with President Hadi after they seized the capital, Sana’a, last September.
Speaking from Aden, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Riyadh Yasin asked the Gulf Cooperation Council for help with troops to control the Houthi’s expansion.
Meanwhile, the British government withdrew the last of its special forces from Yemen, according to Reuters. This came after the U.S. pulled out all remaining personnel over the weekend.
The U.S. State Department said in a statement that the relocation was due to “the deteriorating security situation in Yemen.”
Afghan leaders want slower withdrawal of US forces
Afghanistan’s leaders are in the United States this week. Observers say they expect President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to ask American officials to slow the withdrawal of U.S. forces from their country.
The Afghan leaders are to meet Tuesday with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The Obama administration has said extremists in Afghanistan are a threat to American interests.
On Wednesday, Mr. Ghani will speak to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz to run for president
Also in the United States, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has announced he is a candidate for president. Senator Cruz launched his campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination early Monday. He made it official in a message and video on Twitter.
Mr. Cruz is 44 years old. He joined the Senate in 2013. Several other Republicans are expected to announce their candidacies in the next few weeks.
Okinawa governor stops work on new US military base
The governor of the Japanese island of Okinawa has ordered work suspended at the planned home of a new United States military base. Governor Takeshi Onaga said a concrete block thrown into the sea for testing had damaged a coral reef.
In Tokyo, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary told reporters that the work on the base cannot be suspended because officials in Okinawa already agreed to it.
Japan and the United States want to move the Futenma air base from a heavily populated area to the coast because of problems with noise, pollution and high crime.
Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore, has died
Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, died on Monday. He was 91 years old.
Mr. Lee led the country from 1959 to 1990. He was admitted to Singapore General Hospital in early February with severe pneumonia. He was later placed on life support equipment.
The government has declared a state of mourning until his funeral next Sunday.
I’m Anne Ball.
This newscast was based on reports from VOA’s News Division. Christopher Cruise wrote it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
militia – n. an army of citizens instead of professional soldiers; an armed force or private army
control – v. to direct; to have power over
interest(s) – n. what is important to someone; a share in owning a business
campaign – n. competition by opposing political candidates seeking support from voters; a connected series of military actions during a war