Yemeni Leader Pledges To Step Down in 2006

SANAA, Yemen -- President Ali Abdallah Salih, leader of Yemen for more than a quarter-century, said Sunday that he would not run in next year's elections and urged political parties to nominate "young blood" to lead the country.

Salih said he would remain in office until the September 2006 elections.

"We want to establish a model for peaceful handover of power," Salih said during a meeting with political parties and diplomats.


* MALABO, Equatorial Guinea -- A Russian-made plane that disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff has crashed with 55 people aboard, but the passengers' fate was not known, officials said.

* KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Hassan Turabi, the former power behind attempts to bring an Islamic regime to Sudan and now an opposition leader, criticized the country's new constitution, warning that it doesn't guarantee democracy.


* MADRID -- Eleven firefighters trying to extinguish a forest fire sparked by a smoldering barbeque in central Spain were killed, officials said.

* BERLIN -- Three German states have refused to adopt controversial language reforms due to take effect in all schools and public offices next month, a newspaper reported. Aimed at simplifying the written form of the German language, the changes have been disputed bitterly by leading authors and publishers, teachers and citizens.


* CAIRO -- Egypt demanded that institutions in Britain and Belgium return pharaonic reliefs it says were chipped off tombs and stolen, threatening to shut down their archaeological work here if they refuse.

The 4,400-year-old reliefs, taken from two tombs uncovered in 1965, are currently at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Britain and the Catholic University of Brussels.

-- From News Services