World News | WRHL World News 2015-03-28T05:14:22Z World News Diplomats and U.N. staff flee Yemen as Houthis target Aden By Sami Aboudi and Mohammed Mukhashaf ADEN (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's navy evacuated dozens of diplomats from Yemen on Saturday and the United Nations pulled out international staff after a third night of Saudi-led air strikes trying to stem advances by Iranian-allied Houthi fighters. Residents reported heavy clashes between the Houthis and mainly Sunni tribal fighters in the south of the country, while the air campaign sought to stall a fresh offensive by the Shi'ite Muslim group on Aden from the east. Riyadh's intervention, a surprise move from a conservative monarchy better known for flexing its muscle in oil markets than through military might, is planned to last a month but could extend for five or six, a Gulf diplomatic source said. He said satellite imagery had shown in January that the Houthis had repositioned long-range Scud missiles in the north, close to the Saudi border and aimed at Saudi territory. Gunmen kill 15 in Nigeria during tense election By Tim Cocks and Bate Felix ABUJA (Reuters) - Gunmen killed at least 15 people including an opposition politician near polling stations in northeast Nigeria on Saturday, casting an ominous shadow over the closest electoral contest since the end of military rule in 1999. The tense race pits President Goodluck Jonathan against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari for the favor of an electorate divided along a complex mix of ethnic, regional and in some cases religious lines. Islamist Boko Haram insurgents launched several attacks on voters in the northeast, killing three in Yobe state and three more in Gombe state, police said. The militants, who are trying to revive a medieval Islamic caliphate in religiously mixed Nigeria, reject democracy and their leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened to kill those who go to vote. Crash pilot was psychiatric patient, planned big gesture: paper The Bild newspaper published an interview with a woman who said she had a relationship in 2014 with Andreas Lubitz, the man French prosecutors believe locked himself alone in the cockpit of the Germanwings Airbus on Tuesday and steered it into the French Alps, killing all on board. "He did it because he realized that, due to his health problems, his big dream of working at Lufthansa, of a having job as a pilot, and as a pilot on long-distance flights, was nearly impossible." "He never talked much about his illness, only that he was in psychiatric treatment," she told the paper, adding they finally broke up because she was afraid of him. He became upset about the conditions we worked under: too little money, fear of losing the contract, too much pressure." A Lufthansa spokesman declined to comment. The company and its low-cost subsidiary Germanwings took out full-page advertisements in major German and French newspapers on Saturday, expressing "deepest mourning". Islamist groups seize Syrian city Idlib for first time By Mariam Karouny BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamist groups including al Qaeda's Nusra Front have seized the city of Idlib for the first time in Syria's civil war, fighters and a monitoring group said on Saturday. By taking Idlib, capital of a northwestern province of the same name, hardline Islamist insurgents now control a second province after Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State group which has been the target of U.S.-led air strikes. Sunni Islamist groups have formed an alliance which includes Nusra, the hardline Ahrar al-Sham movement and Jund al-Aqsa, but not Islamic State, their rival. Iran, powers struggle to overcome disputes in push for nuclear deal By Louis Charbonneau, Parisa Hafezi and John Irish LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - The foreign ministers of France and Germany joined the top U.S. and Iranian diplomats on Saturday to help break an impasse in nuclear negotiations as major powers and Iran closed in on a 2- or 3-page accord that could form the basis of a long-term deal. The negotiations, in progress for nearly 18 months, aim to hammer out an accord whereby Iran halts sensitive nuclear work in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, with the ultimate aim of reducing the risk of a war in the Middle East. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have been in Lausanne for days to try to reach a preliminary deal by a self-imposed deadline of March 31, and they held several rounds of talks on Saturday. We await our counterparts' readiness." Western officials close to the talks said it was up Iran to compromise on the remaining sticking points, which include Tehran's ambitions for nuclear research and development and the immediate removal of U.N. sanctions. U.S., allies target Islamic State in Tikrit, other Iraqi cities WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and coalition forces conducted 18 air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq during a 24-hour period, with eight strikes near militant-held Tikrit, the U.S. military said on Saturday. The Tikrit strikes destroyed 11 fighting positions, a vehicle, and a potential car bomb, it said in a statement. Some strikes also hit three Islamic State fighting and tactical units. Elsewhere in Iraq, forces struck targets near Fallujah, Mosul, Tal Afar, Ar Rutbah and Bayji, as well, it said. ... Lights out as world observes Earth Hour Paris's iconic Eiffel Tower switched off its lights, Berlin's Brandenburg Gate went dark and Hong Kong's famed skyline dimmed Saturday as landmarks the world over observed Earth Hour, the global climate change awareness campaign. This year's event comes as the French capital will be hosting a crucial UN climate conference in December that will bring together the international community to discuss efforts to limit global warming. Millions of people around the world were taking part in the annual Earth Hour organised by conservation group WWF, with a string of well-known sights plunging into darkness. Penske expects Ambrose back in V8 Supercar this season ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Marcos Ambrose has a long-term contract with Roger Penske and is expected to be driving again in Australia's V8 Supercars Series this season. Top Asian News at 9:00 p.m. GMT KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's highest court has ruled that the police officer convicted of murdering Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding AP correspondent Kathy Gannon almost one year ago should serve 20 years in prison, according to documents sent to the country's attorney general on Saturday. The final sentence for former Afghan police unit commander Naqibullah was reduced from the death penalty recommended by a primary court last year. Twenty years in prison is the maximum jail sentence in Afghanistan, said Zahid Safi, a lawyer for The Associated Press who had been briefed on the decision by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruling upholds an intermediate court's decision, which was opposed by the Military Attorney General's office. Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida in Syria seize major city BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida's branch in Syria seized almost full control of the northwestern city of Idlib on Saturday, taking over major roundabouts and government buildings in a powerful blow to President Bashar Assad whose forces rapidly collapsed after four days of heavy fighting, opposition activists and the extremist group said. Sudan rebels attack garrison, kill dozens Khartoum (AFP) - Sudanese rebels said they captured a garrison in conflict-hit South Kordofan and killed 54 troops Saturday, with the army denying the claim. Ukraine leader says he will not let oligarchs sow 'chaos' Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday pledged to stop oligarchs from sowing "chaos" after the governor of a key industrial region quit following a row over a state oil firm. Billionaire Igor Kolomoisky reluctantly offered to step down this week as governor of the key industrial region of Dnipropetrovsk after a dispute over control of the country's largest oil producer ended up with armed men storming the offices of two state-controlled oil firms. Kolomoisky, a banking tycoon, was appointed to the post after the ouster of Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovych last year. Nigerian refugees in Chad root for Buhari but can't vote The bloody insurgency -- which has claimed more than 13,000 lives over the past six years -- has seen some 18,000 Nigerians escaping to Chad, 74,000 to Cameroon and 125,000 to Niger. At a makeshift camp near N'Djamena, around 100 refugees -- taxi drivers, farmers, merchants -- voiced strong opinions on the contest for power between incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and his main challenger Muhammadu Buhari. Ben King holds lead at Criterium International PORTO-VECCHIO, France (AP) — Ben King retained the overall lead at the Criterium International after Fabio Felline and Bob Jungels secured a 1-2 finish for the Trek Factory Racing team in a short time trial on Saturday. 2-goal Bale leads Wales to 3-0 over Israel, top in Group B Gareth Bale scored two goals and set up another to lead Wales to a convincing 3-0 victory over Israel and into first place in the Euro2016 qualifiers' Group B on Saturday. 4 killed while trying to recover gasoline after Mexico crash MEXICO CITY (AP) — An attempt to take gasoline from a crashed tanker truck led to four deaths and 26 injuries when the vehicle exploded, Mexican officials said Saturday. Questions and answers about the Arab peacekeeping force CAIRO (AP) — Arab League member states have agreed in principle to form a joint inter-Arab military peacekeeping force. While details of how such a force would actually operate remain thin, the agreement is a telling sign of a new determination among Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their allies to intervene aggressively in regional hotspots, whether against Islamic militants or spreading Iranian power. Here's a look at some of the questions surrounding the plan: Chilean president describes 'bleak' scene in flood-hit north Chilean President Michelle Bachelet pointed to a "bleak" situation in the country's flood-hit north Saturday, after deadly rains swept through the normally arid area last week. The president spent two days in the devastated Atacama region and in nearby Antofagasta, where floods left at least 10 dead, 19 missing and hundreds of people homeless. The downpour began late Tuesday in the Atacama region, home to the world's most arid desert, and lashed the area for hours, turning riverbeds that had been dry for years into torrents. Victor Zamora, one of the 33 Chilean miners who captured worldwide attention in 2010 after spending more than two months in a collapsed mine, lost his house in flooding that washed away most of his village. Afghan court sentences AP journalist's killer to 20 years KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's highest court has ruled that the police officer convicted of murdering Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding AP correspondent Kathy Gannon almost one year ago should serve 20 years in prison, according to documents sent to the country's attorney general on Saturday. Alps crash pilot told ex 'everyone will know my name' The co-pilot who investigators believe crashed a passenger jet into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, worried "health problems" would dash his dreams and vowed one day to do something to "change the whole system", an ex-girlfriend told a German newspaper. She split up with him because it became "increasingly clear that he had problems", she said. Frenchwoman dies of injuries from Tunisia museum attack A Frenchwoman has succumbed to injuries sustained in the March 18 attack on Tunisia's national museum, French President Francois Hollande said Saturday, bringing the overall death toll from the shooting to 22. "The president of the Republic expresses his deep sadness following the death in Tunis of Mrs Huguette Dupeu who was seriously injured" in the attack, which also claimed the lives of three other French nationals, the presidency said in a statement. As well as the four French nationals, 17 other foreign tourists and one Tunisian policeman were also killed when gunman swooped on the capital's National Bardo Museum, in a brazen assault claimed by Islamic State jihadists. Spectator killed by car crash at Nuerburgring, 2 injured BERLIN (AP) — One spectator died and two others were injured after a crash involving British driver Jann Mardenborough at the Nuerburgring on Saturday. Eiffel Tower goes dark in symbolic move for Earth Hour PARIS (AP) — The Eiffel Tower has gone dark briefly, with lights going out to mark Earth Hour, the campaign to raise awareness about climate change. Mubtaahij romps in UAE Derby, trainer says on to Kentucky DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Well, that was easy. Nigeria's voting extended as millions choose new president ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria extended voting to Sunday because of technical glitches as millions turned out to vote in a presidential election that analysts say is too close to call. UN staff flee war-torn Yemen, Russia voices concern The United Nations evacuated staff from war-torn Yemen on Saturday as Russia warned Saudi-led air strikes on Iranian-backed rebels were affecting crunch nuclear talks between world powers and Tehran. Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi urged his Arab allies to keep up the bombing raids in his country until the Huthi Shiite rebels surrender, branding them Iran's "puppet". A Sunni Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies, is battling to avoid having a pro-Iran regime on its doorstep, as the Huthi rebels tighten the noose around Hadi's southern stronghold of Aden. Guarded optimism as Iran nuclear talks enter 'endgame' World powers appeared Saturday to be narrowing in on a deal to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, with marathon talks stretching into the evening as Iran's foreign minister voiced confidence the final hurdles can be overcome. "We're moving forward," Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters after meeting separately with his German and French counterparts who flew into Lausanne, Switzerland on Saturday to join the negotiations. Iran and six world powers aim by Tuesday to agree the main contours of a deal reducing Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief and ending a more than decade-old standoff. France's top diplomat Laurent Fabius, the most hawkish in the P5+1 group of countries negotiating with Iran, said he wanted a "robust deal" with close oversight to ensure no violations. Technical glitches, Boko Haram violence hit Nigerian election Problems with new technology on Saturday forced a 24-hour extension to the presidential election in Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria, and renewed Boko Haram violence hit the knife-edge vote. The Islamist militants were suspected of killing at least seven people in separate attacks in northeastern Gombe state, including at polling stations, while on Friday, 23 people were beheaded in Borno state. President Goodluck Jonathan was the most high-profile victim of the glitches with handheld readers, which scan biometric identity cards to authenticate voters to help cut electoral fraud. His main opponent, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, had no such problems and was accredited without a hitch in his hometown of Daura, in northern Katsina state. Heavy blasts at Aden arms depot kill at least 14 A series of explosions rocked an arms depot in Yemen's second city of Aden Saturday, killing at least 14 people as looters swarmed the facility, witnesses and an official said. The blasts were heard across the city and pillars of smoke rose from the depot, where looting had broken out a day earlier, an AFP correspondent reported. The depot is at the foot of Jabal Hadid mountain overlooking the port, and a large amount of weapons dating back to the Soviet era were stored in a cave there. Many people were inside or on Jabal Hadid when the explosions took place, witnesses said, reporting that several had died in the looting even before the blasts. Tsonga makes successful 2015 debut with win at Miami Open KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made a successful 2015 debut Saturday by beating American Tim Smyczek 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at the Miami Open. Crash victim's father calls for more focus on pilot welfare SISTERON, France (AP) — The father of one of the victims of this week's plane crash in the French Alps called Saturday for airlines to take greater care over pilots' welfare. Croatia thrashes Norway 5-1 in Euro qualifier ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia remained on top of European Championship qualifying Group H with a convincing 5-1 win against Norway on Saturday. Yemen's president calls Shiite rebels 'puppets of Iran' SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Yemen's embattled president on Saturday called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "puppets of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. Super Rugby: Bulls stop Crusaders; Chiefs, Highlanders win The Bulls halted some of the Crusaders' momentum in Super Rugby with a 31-19 win to wrap up round seven and prevent a clean sweep for New Zealand over South African teams on Saturday. 'Another tragedy': Rescued Chile miner loses home in floods One of the Chilean miners who captured worldwide attention in 2010 after spending more than two months in a collapsed mine has lost everything after torrential rains struck northern Chile. Victor Zamora is one of 33 men who were thrust into the international spotlight when they became trapped deep underground after a collapse at the San Jose copper mine in the Atacama desert. "This is another tragedy, we have lost everything," Zamora told AFP, speaking from the town of Tierra Amarilla. Arab leaders meet amid Saudi-led Yemen offensive Arab leaders met in Egypt Saturday for a summit overshadowed by the Saudi-led offensive against Yemeni rebels to discuss a joint-Arab military force to confront "terrorist groups". Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi hailed the intervention aimed at bringing him back to power, calling it a "practical application" of the kind of joint military action touted by Egypt's leader. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was elected after toppling his Islamist predecessor with Gulf Arab backing, has promoted his powerful army as a cornerstone of a joint Arab force. He told the leaders of the 22-member League meeting in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh that the region faced an "unprecedented" threat, with unspecified powers and militants posing a danger to "its existence". US State Dept: Difficult work remains on Iran nuke talks LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program grew frantic on Saturday amid signs of discord, with the French and German foreign ministers joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in talks with Tehran's top diplomat ahead of an end-of-March deadline for a preliminary deal. Kenyan ministers step aside for anti-corruption probe Four ministers named in a confidential probe by Kenya's anti-corruption agency have temporarily quit their posts at the request of President Uhuru Kenyatta, a presidential spokesman said on Saturday. Agriculture minister Felix Koskei, Michael Kamau, transport and infrastructure minister, Davis Chirchir, energy and petroleum minister, and Samuel Kazungu Kambi, who held the labour portfolio -- would relinquish their duties to allow the commission to carry out an investigation that should be completed within 60 days, spokesman Manoah Esipisu said. "The President reaffirms that there are no sacred cows and that this is just the beginning of an unwavering war against corruption," Esipisu said in a statement. The move follows remarks by Kenyatta to parliament on Thursday in which he called corruption "one of the biggest obstacles to our shared vision of security, growth and prosperity". Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Blood spattered utensils, bullet-pocked walls and overturned chairs mark the reception area of a prominent hotel in the Somali capital following an attack by Islamic extremists that killed at least 24, including six attackers. Somalia ends Shebab hotel siege, 14 dead Somali forces brought an end to an hours-long gun and bomb siege on a Mogadishu hotel by Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab militants on Saturday, with the government giving a final toll of 14 dead. The war-torn country's ambassador to Switzerland Yusuf Bari-Bari was among those killed in the dramatic attack that began on Friday at the Maka al Mukarama hotel, used by politicians, diplomats and businessmen. Members of Somalia's Western-backed government were meeting at the venue at the time, located on an arterial road linking the presidential palace to the airport, a Shebab spokesman said. Police said the last of five rebels who had barricaded themselves in on the first floor of the hotel, where security is extremely tight, were killed early on Saturday. WRHL 2015-03-28T22:14:22Z