Top of the Morning: US Embassy Stormed in Yemen; Libya Attack Pre-Planned; Welcome News on Child Survival

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Protesters Storm US Embassy in Yemen

Anti-American protests continue to spread across the Middle East in reaction to a video that mocks the Prophet Muhammad. Smaller protests are being reported in Iran, Morocco, Bangladesh, Sudan, Iraq and Tunisia. “In Sana, witnesses said Yemeni security forces had tried to disperse a crowd at the fortified embassy compound in the east of Sana, the capital. But protesters broke through an outer perimeter protecting the embassy, clambering over a high wall and setting fire to a building. They were forced to retreat after trying to plunder furniture and computers, the witnesses said. Security forces guarding the embassy fired into the air as protesters set fire to two vehicles and burned tires. Protesters tore down and burned an American flag, replacing it with their own banner proclaiming the Islamic faith, witnesses said.” (NYT

Attack on Libyan Embassy Likely Pre-Planned

Contrary to initial reports, the attack on the Libyan embassy was most likely not the result of spontaneous anger at the USA over a provocative YouTube film, but an attack pre-planned by an armed group. “While the protesters in Cairo appeared to be genuinely outraged over the anti-Islam video, the attackers in Benghazi were armed with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Officials said it was possible that an organized group had either been waiting for an opportunity to exploit like the protests over the video or perhaps even generated the protests as a cover for their attack. Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a former FBI agent, agreed. ‘Clearly the event in Libya was a planned, targeted attack and I believe they selected the date probably for a reason,’ he said. ‘As an old investigator, I can tell you, you can’t have that many coincidences on the same day. I don’t believe it.’” (NYT

Childhood Mortality Way, Way Down Around the World

A new study released today by Unicef shows tremendous progress in the fight against under five child mortality over the past 20 years. “In its latest report on child survival, UNICEF hailed a sharp drop of about 40 percent in the number of children under the age of five dying, with the estimated global toll falling from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.9 million in 2011. There was progress across diverse nations with varied wealth, UNICEF said, providing evidence that neither a country’s regional nor economic status was necessarily a barrier to being able to reduce child death rates. Poor countries such as Bangladesh, Liberia and Rwanda, middle-income countries such as Brazil, Mongolia and Turkey, and high-income countries such as Oman and Portugal, all made what UNICEF described as dramatic gains, lowering their under-five death rates by more than two-thirds between 1990 and 2011. Anthony Lake, UNICEF’s executive director, said the decline was a ‘significant success’ and testament to the work of governments, donors, agencies and families. (Reuters