World briefs – January 6

President Barack Obama says he remains committed to closing the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba.

Obama still closing Guantanamo

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he remains committed to closing the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba.

Obama’s renewed pledge Tuesday to shutter the controversial prison came as he also said there were no plans to transfer any more detainees from Guantanamo to Yemen for the time being.

Nearly half of the 198 detainees who are left at Guantanamo are from Yemen.

The man charged with trying to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day met with extremists in Yemen before he tried to carry out his attack.

H1N1 vaccine redistribution in doubt

TORONTO — Softening demand for H1N1 vaccine may be hitting international efforts to provide some pandemic vaccine to have-not countries.

The head of the World Health Organization’s initiative for vaccine research says some recipient countries may be reassessing how much vaccine they want to take from the WHO’s donated supply.

Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny says the sense in some quarters that the H1N1 threat has passed is making some countries question how much effort they should put into deploying donated vaccine.

Kieny says it’s important to take stock, though the virus’s future path remains unknown.

Canadian officials have so far been silent on what this country will do with what is expected to be a large surplus supply of H1N1 vaccine.

Administration opposes lock closure

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Obama administration opposes closing shipping locks near Chicago to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

In a memo filed Tuesday, Solicitor General Elena Kagan asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a request by Michigan and several other states to order the locks closed.

Kagan said doing so would endanger public safety and disrupt the flow of cargo.

She said federal agencies are working with the states to keep Asian carp out of the lakes.

The voracious fish have been migrating up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers toward the Great Lakes for decades. They have infested waterways near Chicago that lead to Lake Michigan.

New crab species discovered

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A marine biologist says he has discovered a new crab species off the coast of southern Taiwan that looks like a strawberry with small white bumps on its red shell.

National Taiwan Ocean University professor Ho Ping-ho says the crab resembles the species living in the areas around Hawaii, Polynesia and Mauritius. But it has a distinctive clam-shaped shell about 2.5 centimetres wide, making it distinct.

Taiwanese crab specialist Wang Chia-hsiang confirmed Ho’s finding.

Ho said Tuesday his team found two female crabs of the new species last June off the coast of Kenting National Park, known for its rich marine life.

The crabs died shortly thereafter, possibly because the water in the area was polluted by a cargo ship that ran aground.