Yemen rebel infighting in Sanaa leaves 14 dead: medics

Houthi supporters hold their weapons as they attend a gathering ahead of the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad in Sanaa, Yemen Nov. 28, 2017. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)
Updated 30 November 2017
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Yemen rebel infighting in Sanaa leaves 14 dead: medics

SANAA: Clashes in Yemen’s capital between Shiite Houthi terrorists and loyalists of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh left 14 people dead Wednesday, medics and officials said.
The fighting erupted around Sanaa’s central Saleh mosque, Yemen’s largest, as Houthis tried to seize it ahead of Thursday’s celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, they said.
“The Houthis attempted to take control of the mosque in anticipation of a rally on Thursday in the adjacent square,” said an official from Saleh’s General People’s Congress, asking not to be named.
The mosque’s guards, who were Saleh supporters, resisted, triggering a gunfight between the two camps, the GPC official said.
The shootout then spread to nearby districts controlled by Saleh loyalists.
The official said four Saleh supporters were killed on the spot and a fifth died of his wounds later in hospital.
Nine Houthi fighters also died in the fighting, according to officials at two hospitals in the capital.
Rebel chief Abdulmalik Al-Houthi had on Wednesday urged supporters across the country to head to Sanaa for the rally.
For decades sworn enemies, nationalist forces loyal to Saleh and the Iran-backed Shiite Houthis joined ranks in 2014 to drive the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.
That prompted a Saudi-led coalition to intervene the following year to prop up Hadi’s government.
The war has since killed some 8,600 people, while a further 2,000 have died of cholera.
Despite a crippling coalition blockade, the Houthis and Saleh’s forces continue to jointly control Sanaa, but tensions between them have escalated since a public dispute in August.
The Houthis accused Saleh of treason after the former president publicly dismissed the Iran-backed rebels as “militias.”
Saleh’s GPC party last month accused the Houthis of waging an “orchestrated campaign” against the former strongman and lacking “the will to maintain partnership.”
The Houthis responded that the GPC had broken its pact by accepting funds from Hadi’s government.


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 39 min 28 sec ago
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.