- - Monday, May 30, 2011

YEMEN

Warplanes bomb Islamists who seized southern town

SANAA — Yemeni forces opened fire on a protest camp and killed more than 20 demonstrators Monday in the southern city of Taiz while government warplanes launched airstrikes on another southern town seized by radical Islamists.

The new attempts to suppress the uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh with overwhelming force, following a weekend when high-level military defectors formed a united front in support of the protesters, all pointed to the longtime leader’s increasingly tenuous grip on power.

More than three months of mass street protests have posed an unprecedented threat to Mr. Saleh’s 33-year rule, splintering his security forces and battering the country’s already frail economy.

The U.S. has moved away from its former ally despite fears that Mr. Saleh’s fall could leave room in this rugged corner of the Arabian Peninsula for an active al Qaeda franchise or other militant Islamist groups to take power.

ITALY

Berlusconi suffers setback in local vote

ROME — Silvio Berlusconi’s mayoral candidates lost elections in the prime minister’s stronghold of Milan and in the southern city of Naples on Monday in outcomes that could undermine his government’s stability and his leadership.

Mr. Berlusconi had campaigned hard ahead of the local elections and urged Italians to go to the polls to signal their support for his conservative coalition government.

But final results from the runoff elections held on Monday and Sunday appeared to support recent opinion polls that have shown his popularity slipping as he faces a trial in Milan in a prostitution scandal.

Critics have said most of his energy has been involved defending himself from charges that he paid for sex with an underage Moroccan teenager then used the prime minister’s office to try to cover it up.

The votes mark a setback for the 74-year-old Mr. Berlusconi personally and for his local candidates, analysts say, and likely will raise questions about his leadership.

SERBIA

Tadic: EU must help Serbia join bloc

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