Briefly World news services
Monday, May 30, 2011View full version
Obama chooses Dempsey to be next Joint Chiefs head
President Barack Obama moved today to complete an overhaul of his national security team, selecting Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as the next Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman amid a winding down of the war in Iraq, protracted battle in Afghanistan and U.S. assistance to the NATO-led effort against Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi.
Marine Gen. James Cartwright had long been rumored to be Obama’s favorite, and the president singled him out for praise at the announcement. But he turned instead to Dempsey, an accomplished veteran of the Iraq war, to succeed Adm. Mike Mullen as his top military adviser, calling the Army officer “one of our nation’s most respected and combat-tested generals.”
The president also announced he has chosen Navy Adm. James Winnefeld to succeed Cartwright as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Army Gen. Ray Odierno as his candidate to replace Dempsey as Army chief of staff. The nominees have to be approved by the Senate.
Yemen hits Islamic militants with airstrikes
Yemeni warplanes carried out airstrikes today on a southern town seized by hundreds of Islamic militants over the weekend, witnesses said, as the political crisis surrounding the embattled president descended into more bloodshed.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has clung to power despite months of daily protests, defections by key allies and international pressure to go, has repeatedly warned that Islamic militants and al-Qaida would seize control of the country if he steps down.
At the same time, he has intensified a crackdown on protesters. Military units loyal to him carried out a fierce assault today on the southern city of Taiz, which has been a hotbed of anti-government protests since the start of the uprising in early February. A doctor at a field hospital set up in the city’s main protest camp said at least 20 demonstrators were killed.
800 tons of fish die, rot on Philippine fish farms
More than 800 tons of fish have died and rotted on fish farms in a lake near Taal volcano south of Manila, with authorities blaming it on a sudden temperature drop.
The massive fish deaths started late last week but have eased. Officials have banned the sale of the rotting fish, which are being buried by the truckload in Talisay and three other towns in Batangas province, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources official Rose del Mundo said Sunday.
Some Taal lake areas turned white due to the massive numbers of dead milk-colored fish.