A Grim Slide Into Chaos
Islamists allegedly tied to al-Qaeda seized the coastal town of Zinjibar on May 29, leading to days of desperate fighting with government forces. In one ambush, militants killed at least five soldiers. Elsewhere, a short-lived truce between troops loyal to President Abdullah Ali Saleh and dissident tribesmen collapsed as clashes shook the southern city of Taiz and the capital, Sana'a, where thousands are trying to flee the mayhem. In Taiz, security forces and snipers are said to have fired live rounds at unarmed protesters marching through the streets. Dozens were killed in both cities. More than 320 people have died since the uprising against Saleh's three-decade rule began. Despite international pressure, the regime grimly clings to power. It's feared that al-Qaeda's Yemen-based Arabian arm may exploit the law-and-order vacuum.
Egypt Opens the Door to Gaza
Since 2006 the Gaza Strip has been sealed off from the world--its borders tightly controlled by an Israeli government wary of Gaza's rulers, the Islamist outfit Hamas. But on May 29, Egypt loosened Israel's grip on Gaza by lifting the restrictions on Palestinians seeking to cross from Gaza to Egypt. Though only a small number have gained entry so far, Egypt's willingness to aid Gazans signals a diplomatic shift since the popular uprising that ousted its longtime dictator (and ally of Israel) Hosni Mubarak. Gaza's other borders remain shut, but a new "freedom flotilla" carrying humanitarian aid will set sail soon to test Israel's ongoing blockade.
World by the Numbers
[The following text appears within a map. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual map.]
Ranking--dead last--awarded to the U.S. by a North Korean index of global happiness; North Korea came in second, China first
Estimated death toll of last year's devastating earthquake--far lower than Haiti's own count of 316,000--according to a new U.S. study
Age of a boy tortured and killed by security forces of President Bashar Assad, evidenced by a shocking video
Days a female activist was in prison for circulating a video of herself driving; women are barred from getting behind the wheel
Number of barrels of oil per day Iraq exported in May, the most since the 2003 U.S. invasion
Lights Off for Nuclear Power Plants
The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that Europe's largest economy intends to phase out nuclear energy by 2022. Merkel's critics say the move is a populist gambit in the wake of dramatic electoral defeats for her ruling party. To make up for the lost power, Germany will boost investment in both solar and wind energy.
Mourning Militants--or Terrorists?--in Kashmir