World briefs – February 4

Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Thursday acknowledged that reforms in the country have “slowed and stumbled,” and urged to the nation’s Muslim opposition to work with the new government to give the people a greater say in politics.

Jordan’s king says political reforms have stumbled

AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Thursday acknowledged that reforms in the country have “slowed and stumbled,” and urged to the nation’s Muslim opposition to work with the new government to give the people a greater say in politics.

The appeal comes a day after the powerful Muslim Brotherhood rejected an offer from the country’s newly appointed prime minister to join his Cabinet, saying the new premier is the wrong person to introduce reforms.

The Royal Palace said in a statement that Abdullah, who is under growing public pressure to give Jordanians a greater voice in public life in the wake of the upheaval in Tunisia and Egypt, told leaders of the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups that he wanted “everyone to work together to achieve needed progress in the political reform process and increase the citizens’ participation in decision-making.”

Tens of thousands march in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen — Tens of thousands of demonstrators, some chanting “down, down with the regime,” marched Thursday in several towns and cities in Yemen against the country’s autocratic president, a key U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic militants.

Police opened fire and tear gas to break up one of the marches, witnesses said, and security officials confirmed a demonstrator was critically wounded by police fire.

Two others were also hurt in the eastern town of Mukalla.

In the capital of Sanaa, scuffles and stone-throwing briefly erupted between thousands of anti-government demonstrators and supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for more than 30 years.

However, police stepped in and there were no reports of injuries.

Security forces deployed in large numbers around the Interior Ministry and the Central Bank, and military helicopters hovered over some parts of the city.

Algerian president promises to lift nearly

20-year-long state of emergency shortly

ALGIERS, Algeria — Algeria’s state news agency is quoting the country’s president as saying the state of emergency that has been in effect since 1992 will be lifted in the “very near future.”

The agency says President Abdelaziz Bouteflika asked the government Thursday to find an alternative method to combat extremism.

The state of emergency was declared as Algeria spiraled into a civil war between Islamists and government forces, a years-long battle that killed up to 200,000 people. Violence has tapered off now and Islamist attacks are only sporadic.

Bouteflika’s opponents have been pushing for an end to the state of emergency, saying the government is using it as an excuse to ban protest marches in the capital of Algiers.

Janitor held in shooting death of principal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A school janitor told investigators he went home and got a gun before returning to an elementary school and killing a principal who had fired him several hours earlier, authorities said Thursday.

Janitor John Luebbers, 44, was arrested at his home Wednesday after the killing of Sam LaCara, 50, principal of Louisiana Schnell Elementary School in Placerville.

No children were injured in the shooting, but police said one child might have seen the attack in the school office.

The shooting prompted a lockdown of the 400-student campus about 50 miles east of Sacramento. Students were taken to the county fairground, where they were released to their parents

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