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Daily Archives: April 19, 2008

Yemeni MP shot dead in rebel region

by Hammoud Mounassar*

Gunmen sprayed the convoy of a Yemeni ruling party MP with automatic fire as it drove through a rebel stronghold yesterday, killing him, his son and three bodyguards, witnesses said.
Saleh al-Hindi, a member of the General People's Congress, died instantly in the ambush in Al-Khaimah, in the northwestern province of Saada where Shiite Zaidi rebels have waged an on-off insurgency since 2004.
His car was travelling in a convoy of supporters when it came under fire, a tribal source said.
Ten other people were wounded in the attack, four seriously.
The identity of the attackers was not immediately known, but mountainous Saada province has been the scene of a rebellion by members of the Zaidi community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, that has killed thousands of people.
The slain lawmaker had been a member of the opposition southern-based Yemen Socialist Party (YSP) before shifting to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party around eight years ago.
The Zaidi insurgency has been waged by rebels known as "Huthis" after their late commander, Hussein Badr Eddin al-Huthi, who was killed by the army in September 2004.
Hussein was succeeded as field commander by his brother, Abdul Malak.
Saada has been relatively calm recently as the government continues to negotiate with the rebels with the help of Qatari mediators to implement a peace deal brokered by Qatar in June 2007.
The agreement, under which the rebels would lay down their arms, was revived during a meeting between the two sides in Qatar in February.
The rebels' aim is to restore the Zaidi imamate, which was overthrown in a 1962 republican coup in Yemen, one of the world's poorest countries.
The rebels reject Saleh's regime as illegitimate, although the president is himself a Zaidi.
The Zaidis are a minority in mainly Sunni Yemen but form the majority in the northwest.
Yemen has been shaken by repeated violence in recent months.
On Wednesday, three policemen were killed and four wounded in a bomb attack in Marib, around 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of Sanaa, close on the heels of two attacks in the capital targeting US interests.
The March 18 and April 6 anti-US attacks were claimed by Al-Qaeda's local wing.
Yemen, an Arabian Peninsula country with a tribal structure, is awash with weapons, with roughly three firearms for every citizen.
Street protests over issues ranging from price rises to enrolment in the army have also occasionally sparked clashes between protesters and police in southern Yemen over the past few months.


Russia gains 50 billionaires in 12 months: Forbes

The number of Russian billionaires has almost doubled in a year to reach 110, Forbes magazine reported yesterday in its Russian edition, bolstering the country's reputation for conspicuous wealth.
The rise in billionaires from 60 a year ago to 110 today was tied to sky-high prices for Russia's natural resources, said the magazine, whose US parent edition is known for its ratings of the world's super-rich.
Top of the magazine's list of Russia's 100 richest people was metals magnate Oleg Deripaska, who saw his fortune jump by 11.8 billion dollars — the equivalent of over 1.3 million dollars per hour over the year — to 28.6 billion dollars.
hat knocked into third place last year's leader Roman Abramovich, whose playboy lifestyle has engrossed the press in Russia and Britain, but who added a mere 5.1 billion dollars, according to the magazine.
The magazine estimated Abramovich's holdings, including London's Chelsea football club, were worth 24.3 billion dollars, well behind Deripaska.
The owner of the Severstal steel company, Alexei Mordashov, was estimated to be Russia's second richest man with a fortune of 24.5 billion dollars.
In March a separate study by the US edition of the magazine found that Moscow boasted 74 billionaires, more than any other city in the world.
The top of the Forbes list was dominated by the metals barons, who are overtaking the oil men who dominated the list earlier in the decade, before the state moved to boost its control of the sector.
"Now you can count the oil and gas billionaires on your fingers," Forbes editor Maxim Kashulinsky said in a statement. "The main wealth is now concentrated in metallurgy, finance and real estate."
Using their wealth to make the most of Russia's resource-led boom, the country's richest 100 saw their combined holdings gain 54 percent over the year, almost five times the 11 percent growth seen on Russia's RTS stock market.