Obama, Protesting Snowden Asylum, Cancels Meeting with Putin
In a rare diplomatic rebuke, U.S. President Barack Obama says he is canceling next month's planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
The White House said Mr. Obama still plans to travel to Russia to attend the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg. But instead of flying to Moscow afterwards, he intends to head to Sweden.
The Obama administration was angered by Russia's grant of temporary asylum last week to Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence contractor who leaked details of clandestine surveillance programs being conducted by the United States. Mr. Obama had asked Russia to expel Snowden to face U.S. espionage charges, but Mr. Putin rejected the request.
In recent weeks, the U.S. and Russia have also disagreed on other fronts, including creation of a missile defense in Europe, human rights and Russia's shipment of arms to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad supporting his fight against rebels seeking his ouster. The U.S. supports the Syrian rebels.
Suspected US Drone Strike Kills 7 in Yemen
Officials say a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed at least seven alleged al-Qaida militants in Yemen, a day after the U.S. State Department ordered its non-essential staff to leave the country amid concerns of a possible terrorist attack.
The drone strike early Wednesday in Shabwa province was the fifth strike in Yemen in less than two weeks. The United States has repeatedly used drone strikes in recent years to target members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Yemeni officials say they have intercepted threats against targets in the country's capital and other locations, and earlier this week released a list of 25 people it says were planning to carry out attacks.
The United States has shut down 19 embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa through Saturday, including the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a.
U.S. President Barack Obama says the threat that caused those closures is "significant enough" that the United States is "taking every precaution."