HONOLULU - The Obama administration has decided in principle to allow embattled Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh to enter the United States for medical treatment, subject to certain assurances, two administration officials said Monday.
But those conditions, including a proposed itinerary, have not yet been submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, the officials said, and no visa has yet been issued.
The decision of whether to admit Yemen's longtime leader has stirred a vigorous debate in the administration, with some officials fearing sharp criticism for appearing to provide a haven for a reviled Arab figure responsible for the death of hundreds of antigovernment protesters.
The administration urgently wants to secure room for political progress in Yemen but does not want to allow Saleh to use a medical visit as a way to shore up his political position. If allowed to enter, Saleh would be the first Arab leader to request, and to be granted, admission to the United States since political unrest began in the region. - N.Y. Times News Service
WASHINGTON - A military investigation has concluded that it took about 45 minutes for a NATO operations officer in Afghanistan to notify a senior allied commander about Pakistan's calls that its outposts were under attack, one of several breakdowns in communication that contributed to air strikes that killed 26 Pakistani soldiers Nov. 26.
Once alerted, the commander immediately halted U.S. attacks on two Pakistani border posts. By then, military communications between the two sides had sorted out a chain of errors and the shooting had stopped. The delay, by at least one officer and possibly a second, raises questions about whether a faster response could have spared the lives of some Pakistani soldiers.
An unclassified version of the report, released Monday by the military's Central Command, also revealed that a U.S. AC-130 gunship flew two miles into Pakistani territory to return fire on Pakistani troops that had attacked a joint U.S.-Afghan ground patrol just across the border in Afghanistan. The report recommended nine changes, including increased training and coordination and improved surveillance before missions. - N.Y. Times News Service
LONDON - An 18-year-old was fatally stabbed Monday and a second man was wounded in the leg in attacks on London's most famous retail street as thousands flocked to Britain's capital seeking post-Christmas bargains.
The stabbings on Oxford Street did little to deter shoppers crowding into neighboring stores in the landmark shopping district. Bargain hunters were also largely untroubled by a subway strike.
Authorities said the 18-year-old died before medics could administer help, while amateur video footage showed police struggling to part large crowds of shoppers to allow emergency vehicles to reach him. - AP