King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died. He was believed to be 90 years old. The leader had been in a hospital for several weeks for treatment of a lung infection.
A Saudi statement early Friday said King Abdullah’s brother, Salman, had become King.
King Abdullah had ruled Saudi Arabia as king since 2006. However, he took over many of those duties ten years earlier, after former King Fahd had a stroke.
President Barack Obama expressed his personal condolences and the sympathies of the American people to the family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and to the people of Saudi Arabia.
Yemen's President Resigns
The Yemeni government says President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his cabinet have resigned. A Yemeni government spokesman announced the move on Thursday over social media.
United States State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. is still trying to confirm the report.
Witnesses said Houthi rebels remained outside the president’s house in the capital city of Sana’a Thursday.
The Shi’ite Houthis and the government had reached a deal on Wednesday night that would give Houthis more representation in the government.
Houthi rebels seized control of the capital in September. Rebels took position outside the presidential house on Wednesday, after fighting Yemeni security guards Tuesday.
Mr. Hadi’s government has been a close ally to the U.S. in the fight against Yemen’s powerful Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Deadly bus bombing in eastern Ukraine
Ukrainian authorities said Thursday an artillery shell hit a trolley bus in the eastern city of Donetsk, killing at least eight people.
Both Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for the attack.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said “Russian terrorists today again committed a terrible act against humanity.”
Russia’s foreign minister called the bombing “a crime against humanity.” He also asked for an independent investigation of the events.
A Ukrainian military spokesman denied government troop involvement in the bus attack. He said their closest position is too far away from Donetsk for its artillery to reach the area.
US, Cuba discuss reopening embassies
The United States and Cuba held a second day of meetings Thursday in Havana. Today’s talks centered on plans to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals.
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson is leading the U.S. team. Representing Cuba is director of U.S. affairs Josefina Vidal.
On Wednesday the talks mostly centered on immigration. The delegates discussed the U.S. policy that permits Cubans to stay in the United States once they step foot on U.S. land. The Cuban government says the law encourages Cubans to make dangerous boat trips to reach the U.S. state of Florida.
This week’s historic meetings are taking place one month after U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced the two countries were prepared to re-establish formal diplomatic relations.
Words in the News
witness – n. a person who sees something (such as a crime) happen
trolley – n. an electric vehicle that runs along the street on tracks
encourage – v. to make (someone) more determined, hopeful, or confident