Saleh's Out, but Is It for Good?
President Abdullah Ali Saleh, an autocrat facing the greatest challenge to his three-decade-long rule, left the country for treatment in Saudi Arabia after sustaining injuries during a rocket attack on his palace compound. His departure was greeted with boisterous street celebrations in the capital, Sana'a. But Saleh loyalists claim the President will return, and the Saudis, who have spearheaded weeks of backroom negotiations between the Saleh regime and its opponents, insist the visit was purely for medical reasons. If Saleh steps down, there are concerns over what may follow. Yemen is a poor nation whose political and tribal divisions were co-opted and suppressed by Saleh's iron rule. Now law and order have unraveled in much of the country. Dissident tribesmen wage urban warfare against Saleh supporters in Sana'a, while militants linked to al-Qaeda seek to exploit the political chaos.
World by the Numbers
[The following text appears within a map. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual map.]
Percentage of Americans who believe in God, according to a new Gallup poll
Number of "narco tanks" --armored trucks built for use by drug cartels--destroyed by the military
Doctors arrested for tending to the wounds of antigovernment protesters
Length (in ft.) of an aircraft carrier, the nation's first, soon to be launched
American soldiers killed in a rocket attack, the deadliest strike on U.S. forces there in two years
Leftist Wins Election
Ollanta Humala, a former military officer, won a runoff to become the Andean nation's President-elect. Critics of the leftist Humala liken him to Venezuela's demagogic Hugo Chávez and worry about his campaign promises to increase taxes on mining companies--Peru has some of the world's biggest silver and copper deposits, mainstays of the country's economy. But supporters, including Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, say Humala will be reliably moderate and pragmatic.
From North To South, Death and Mayhem
Hundreds fled across the border into Turkey in anticipation of government reprisals after state media claimed 120 security personnel were killed in the northern town of Jisr al-Shoghour. The government of President Bashar Assad blamed insurgents and armed mobs; other reports suggested mutineers from Assad's army were involved. Though difficult to confirm, the reports darkened the picture of the Syrian uprising: human-rights groups say more than 1,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in three months of anti-Assad protests. An armed insurrection would likely lead to an even bloodier crackdown. At the other end of the country, 23 Syrian and Palestinian protesters were killed by Israeli forces while trying to cross into the disputed Golan Heights in a show of solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
Ghosts of Tiananmen Haunt the Present