World briefs: Yemen leader alters military

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SANAA, Yemen -- The slew of decrees that Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued Wednesday evening were the most significant steps he has taken toward reshaping the country's military since he took office last year.

The restructuring of Yemen's divided armed forces has numbered among Mr. Hadi's key tasks since he assumed the presidency in February 2012 in accordance with an internationally backed agreement aimed at easing his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, out of power.

The street protests that spurred an end to Mr. Saleh's rule also engendered a series of defections by key military leaders, splitting the army into fractious halves, pitting units led by relatives of the former president against ones led by powerful defectors such as Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, erstwhile regime strongman and head of the First Armored Division.

Palestinian-American held

JERUSALEM -- Israeli forces have been holding a Palestinian-American teenager in a military lockup for nearly a week after bursting into his family home and arresting him in an overnight raid for allegedly hurling rocks at Israeli motorists in the West Bank, his father said on Thursday.

The boy's father, Abdelwahab Khalek, said his 14-year-old son Mohammad was taken into custody early April 5.

Terrorist plot revealed

ISTANBUL -- Turkish police said Thursday that they found evidence of an al-Qaida-linked plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, a synagogue in Istanbul and other targets, during a raid on two houses in February.

Turkish news reports said the police had seized nearly 50 pounds of plastic explosives with detonation systems attached, as well as six laptop computers and other evidence. Twelve suspects were arrested during the operation -- two Chechens, two Azeris and eight Turks.

Candidate assassinated

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Taliban assailants on a motorcycle gunned down a candidate running in Pakistan's upcoming elections on Thursday, an official and a Taliban spokesman said, underscoring threats to the country's former ruling party and other secular and political groups.

Fakhurl Islam, whose party has spoken out strongly against the militant group, was killed near his home in Hyderabad city in southern Sindh province, police official Saqib Ismail Memon said. He had been running for provincial assembly in voting scheduled for next month.

Morsi turns to Twitter

CAIRO -- Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi invited his country to an unfettered give-and-take Thursday, turning to Twitter to try to build a bridge with youths unhappy with his government.

Mr. Morsi's office gave Egyptians a 30-minute window to pose direct questions to him -- an offer that netted a slew of complaints, compliments, advice and more than a few pointed jabs at the way he and his government are running the country.

Also in the world ...

China's death toll from the H7N9 bird flu has risen to 10 and the number of infections increased to 38 as authorities detained eight people for spreading rumors about the virus. ... France's top rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, announced Thursday he is taking leave from his post, hoping to end a scandal that has unsettled the Jewish community after he acknowledged "borrowing" other people's work and lying about his educational pedigree.



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