- - Sunday, March 20, 2011

ISRAEL

Sarah Palin visits Israel

JERUSALEM | Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is in Israel on a trip that has raised speculation she is honing her foreign policy credentials ahead of a run for the U.S. presidency next year.

Mrs. Palin arrived in Israel Sunday after a stop in India. Mrs. Palin, who was Sen. John McCain’s running mate in his failed 2008 campaign for president, rarely travels abroad and has been criticized for her weak foreign policy record.

Mrs. Palin is to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. Her office said they would discuss “key issues” facing his country.

YEMEN

President abandoned by his own tribe

SANAA | The U.S.-backed president of Yemen suffered a devastating political blow on Sunday, when his own tribe demanded his resignation, joining religious leaders, young people and the country’s traditional opposition in calls for an end to his three decades in power.

Massive crowds flooded cities and towns across the impoverished and volatile nation, screaming in grief and anger as they mourned dozens of protesters killed Friday when President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s security forces opened fire from rooftops at a demonstration in the capital.

Experts said that Mr. Saleh, who has cooperated closely with U.S. military operations against his country’s branch of al Qaeda, had lost the support of every major power base in Yemen except the military. Many said he would now be forced to choose between stepping down and confronting demonstrators with even more force.

HAITI

Voters choose president amid uncertainty, anger

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti | One candidate is a musician with a bad-boy past. The other is a former first lady with a long political resume.

Haiti’s voters were set choose one of them Sunday to lead a country where anger with the government runs deep and nearly a million people are living on the streets.

The election, already delayed by a political crisis, was clouded with uncertainty over the return of ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a popular but divisive figure whose mere presence was considered by the U.S. government and others as a possible threat to the vote.

Mirlande Manigat, the former first lady, and Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, a star of Haitian compas music, emerged as the top two finishers from a first-round, 18-candidate vote in November that was marred by fraud and disorganization.

BAHRAIN

Opposition seeks U.N., U.S. help in crackdown

MANAMA | Bahrain’s opposition asked for U.N. and U.S. intervention in the government crackdown on the Shiite protests trying to loosen the monarchy’s grip in a brief protest Sunday in the capital. It broke up before police arrived.

The 18 opposition legislators protesting Sunday at the U.N. offices in Manama resigned last month to protest the crackdown on the monthlong revolt inspired by the pro-democracy uprisings across the Arab world.

Bahrain’s king declared martial law last week, and a Saudi-led military force from other Persian Gulf nations is in the country to back the Sunni monarchy.

PERU

Poll shows race for president tight

LIMA | A new poll shows Peru’s presidential race tightening three weeks ahead of voting.

The Ipsos-Apoyo survey shows former President Alejandro Toledo falling to 23 percent among respondents.

Keiko Fujimori is in second place with 19 percent. Leftist former army officer Ollanta Humala has climbed to 17 percent, putting him third.

If no candidate wins the majority, a runoff will be held in June.

SYRIA

Thousands protest where clashes killed 5

BEIRUT | Thousands of Syrians rallied Sunday for a third consecutive day in a tense southern city where security forces killed at least five protesters, signaling that unrest in yet another Arab country is taking root, a witness and activists said.

The witness in Daraa told the Associated Press by telephone that protesters were angry about the shooting Friday and mass arrests after the demonstrations calling for political freedoms in one of the region’s most repressive countries. They demanded officials involved in the violence be fired.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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