- - Thursday, December 8, 2011

JAPAN

Disaster budget used to fund whale hunt

TOKYO | Japan is spending $29 million from its supplementary budget for tsunami reconstruction to fund the country’s annual whaling hunt in the Antarctic Ocean, a fisheries official confirmed Thursday.

Tatsuya Nakaoku, a Fisheries Agency official in charge of whaling, defended the move. He said the funding helps support Japan’s whaling industry as a whole, including some whaling towns along the devastated northeastern coast.

Mr. Nakaoku said the budget request was made to increase security and maintain the “stable operation” of Japan’s research whaling, which has faced increasingly aggressive interference from boats with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Conservationist group Greenpeace blasted the funding move, claiming it was siphoning money away from disaster victims.

YEMEN

Militants attack army; 9 rebels, 1 soldier die

SANAA | Militants linked to al Qaeda attacked an army post in an embattled southern province of Yemen but were driven back, leaving nine of their dead behind, officials said Thursday.

The security official said that one soldier also was killed in the Wednesday night firefight east of the town of Zinjibar in Abyan province.

Militants overran Zinjibar in May, shortly after a 10-month-old uprising against authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh caused a breakdown of authority throughout the country.

The military patched up a temporary alliance with mutinous anti-Saleh units and fought their way back into the town in June, but have yet to establish full control and regularly clash with the Islamists.

MALAWI

Government to review homosexuality ban

BLANTYRE | Malawi’s government announced Thursday that it will review a series of controversial laws, including a ban on homosexuality that has drawn widespread Western criticism.

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