Top news: The Yemeni government claims to have foiled an audacious terrorist plot that involved blowing up oil pipelines, seizing ports, and attacking embassies in the country's capital.
The attack would have struck at the heart of Yemen's oil infrastructure while also targeting the Western backers of the counter-terrorism effort in Yemen that have killed several senior leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. "There were attempts to control key cities in Yemen like Mukala and Bawzeer," Yemeni government spokesman Rajeh Badi said, referring to the two port cities. "This would be co-ordinated with attacks by al-Qaeda members on the gas facilities in Shebwa city and the blowing up of the gas pipe in Belhaf city."
Against the background of this threat, U.S. officials have taken a series of aggressive measures. The State Department has closed 19 U.S. diplomatic facilities around the region, and earlier this week the United States and the United Kindom evacuated their diplomatic staff from Sanaa, the Yemeni capital. The U.S. has also stepped up its campaign of drone strikes in Yemen, hitting four targets in the last 10 days. According to the BBC, U.S. special forces are on stand-by to carry out raids in Yemen.
Egypt: The military backed interim presidency in Egypt declared that international diplomatic efforts to resolve the stand-off there have failed, an announcement that comes on the heels of a visit from U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain. In a statement, the presidency announced that the "phase of diplomatic efforts has ended today" and that "these efforts have not achieved the hoped for results."
- Iran's newly installed president, Hassan Rouhani, suggested he favors direct negotiations with the United States to resolve the country's disputed nuclear program.
- A series of bombings in and around Baghdad left at least 41 people dead and over 100 wounded.
- Syrian government forces killed at least 60 rebel fighters in an ambush near Damascus.
- North Korea said it will reopen the industrial plant at Kaesong, a border complex it had closed amid heightening tensions earlier this year, and proposed new talks on its future.
- Japan's government will step in to take a more direct role in cleaning up contamination at the Fukushima nuclear reactor, where contaminated water is seeping into the sea.
- Researchers have identified the first instance of human-to-human transmission of a new strain of bird flu, H7N9, that has developed in China.
- A Hungarian court convicted four neo-Nazis for killing six Roma in a spree of violence from 2008 to 2009.
- A tanker with 102 African migrants on board is headed to Italy after Malta refused to accept the ship.
- Oslo University rejected an application that had sparked outrage by Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind the 2011 bombings and shooting in Norway that left 77 people, to study at the university while he serves his jail sentence.
- High level talks set for Friday between Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and their Russian counterparts will go ahead despite mounting tensions over Russia's decision to grant NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum.
- U.S. prosecutors filed sealed criminal charges against a number of suspects accused of having participated in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
- A shootout between rival drug gangs in Honduras left 17 people dead.
- A huge fire struck the international airport in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, closing the airport and diverting flights to the regional hub.
- Ugandan legislators passed a measure limiting public protests that will require police approval for three or more people to meet and discuss political topics.
- Agathon Rwasa, a Burundian Hutu rebel leader, emerged from hiding to say he plans to run for his country's presidency in 2015.
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