Top of the Morning: Huge Suicide Attack in Yemen; NATO Foiled over Supply Routes; Pakistan #Twitterfail

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Nearly 100 Killed in Suicide Attack in Yemen’s Capital  

For the most part, fighting between Al Qaeda linked militants and the US-backed Yemeni government has been confined to remote, southern provinces in Yemen. Not any more: “The bombing in Sana was the bloodiest in the capital in months. Officials say the assailant was dressed in a military uniform and detonated a concealed bomb while soldiers were practicing for a National Day parade scheduled for Tuesday. Media reports said that as many as 300 people were wounded and bodies were scattered across al-Sabin square. Yemeni Defense Minister Nasser Ahmed was reportedly in the square at the time but was not injured. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, but it came days after Yemeni forces launched an offensive against militants linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula and Ansar al-Sharia in the south, including Abyan province. Authorities said 19 soldiers and 33 militants were killed in weekend clashes. The militants had promised on their website to retaliate against Yemeni forces. They have called their strategy against government soldiers a “flowing river” that will sweep across the country.” (LAT

NATO and Pakistan Can’t Come to Agreement over Supply Route

The big drama at the Chicago NATO summit is over the reopening of supply routes from Pakistan to Afghanistan. These routes have been closed since late November, when an errant American airstrike killed 24 Pakistani troops near the border. A deal was supposed to be struck in Chicago, after the Pakistanis were invited, but so far, it hasn’t happened. “Overshadowing the summit meeting was the issue of restarting the supply routes through Pakistan. American officials said the main sticking point was the amount NATO would pay for each truck carrying supplies from Karachi, on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast, to the Afghan border. Before the closure, the cost per truck was about $250. Pakistan is now asking for ‘upward of $5,000,’ another American official said. Pakistan was also seeking an indemnity waiver in case American cargo was damaged, as well as more money to repair road damage caused by the heavy trucks traveling Pakistani highways. ‘We’re not anticipating necessarily closing out those negotiations this weekend,’ Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, said on Saturday evening during a briefing with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Chicago. He said the White House believed a deal would eventually be reached, but declined to say when it could be expected.” (NYT

IAEA Chief in Iran

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiyo Amano is visiting Iran for talks. This is a big diplomatic development that could potentially lead to an actual deal over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “United Nations nuclear chief Yukiya Amano started talks with senior Iranian officials on Monday, Iranian media reported, on a one-day visit to Tehran that diplomats say could lead to an agreement for further inspections of Iranian nuclear sites. Hours after his pre-dawn arrival in Tehran, Amano met the head of Iran’s nuclear energy organisation, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, ISNA news agency reported. No further details were immediately available on their discussions. The International Atomic Energy Agency chief is also scheduled to meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.” (Reuters

Pakistan Bans Twitter

Call it #FreedomOfExpressionFAIL “Pakistan’s government on Sunday morning blocked the social media website Twitter, saying the micro-blogging platform refused to remove blasphemous content against Islam. The offending tweets, according to Pakistani officials, involved a contest to draw cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims consider any depiction of the prophet to be blasphemy.  Pakistan’s newly-appointed Minister for Information Technology, Raja Pervez Ashraf, issued a blanket ban on the site inside the country, upping the pressure on Twitter as negotiations continue.” (CSM