17 dead as Yemen loyalists attack rebels on Red Sea coast

Houthi militants patrol the site of a parade held by newly recruited Houthi fighters before the fighters head to the frontline to fight against government forces, in Sanaa, Yemen on January 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)
Updated 07 January 2017

17 dead as Yemen loyalists attack rebels on Red Sea coast

ADEN, Yemen: Yemeni government forces attacked rebel positions on the Red Sea coast on Saturday sparking clashes in which six soldiers and 11 rebels were killed, a loyalist commander said.
The assault on the coastal district of Dhubab, just 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the Bab Al-Mandab Strait where the busy shipping lane enters the Arabian Sea, came after the government sent reinforcements from its headquarters in Aden.
The government and its allies in a Saudi-led coalition recaptured the strait in October 2015.
But the rebels still control nearly all Yemen’s Red Sea coast to the north, posing what the coalition says is a threat to international shipping.
In September and October, two US warships and a United Arab Emirates vessel contracted to the coalition were targeted by missile fire from rebel-held territory.
The loyalist offensive failed to dislodge the rebels from their positions as they put up fierce resistance, leaving many wounded on both sides, the commander said.
The Yemeni conflict has killed more than 7,000 people since the coalition’s military intervention began in March 2015, according to the United Nations.


Malaysia’s poverty levels far higher than reported, UN expert says

Updated 26 min 20 sec ago

Malaysia’s poverty levels far higher than reported, UN expert says

  • Malaysia’s official poverty rate dropped to 0.4% in 2016
  • Independent groups said the actual poverty rate is 15%

KUALA LUMPUR: A UN human rights expert on Friday disputed Malaysia’s assertion that it has nearly eliminated poverty, saying that official figures were vastly inaccurate and do not reflect realities on the ground.
Malaysia’s official poverty rate dropped from 49% in 1970 to just 0.4% in 2016.
But Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the official numbers relied on outdated measures, with the poverty line remaining at the same level for decades despite increasingly high costs of living.
Analyzes done by independent groups suggest that Malaysia has “significant poverty” and that its true poverty rate was about 15%, Alston said.
“The government’s official figures would make it the world champion in eliminating poverty ... but I think it’s pretty obvious that that’s not the case,” Alston told a news conference at the end of an 11-day visit to Malaysia.
The prime minister’s office and finance ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Alston’s assertion.
Alston said the national poverty line of $234.00 per household per month was “ridiculous,” as it would mean an urban family of four would have to survive on 8 ringgit, or less than $2, per person per day.
“It can’t be done except under really dire circumstances,” he said.
Undercounting the poverty rate has led to a lack of effective government policies targeting the problem, with too many underfunded and ineffective programs in place, Alston said.
He urged Malaysia to reassess its methods for measuring poverty and take into account vulnerable groups excluded from the data such as stateless families, migrant workers, and refugees
“Only then can Malaysia begin devising policies that can systematically address their needs,” he said.