ADVERTISEMENT

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Attacks prompt closing of embassy in Yemen

WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States has temporarily closed its embassy in Yemen, officials said Wednesday, citing recent attacks against Westerners in the capital of Sanaa but no specific threats to Americans.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa would reopen “once it is deemed appropriate.” She described the closure, which affects U.S. services to the public like visa processing, as precautionary. “The United States remains firmly committed to supporting Yemen as it works to achieve meaningful reform ... and to enhance security for the Yemeni people,” Harf said. A second U.S. official said no American personnel have been evacuated from Sanaa. Earlier this week, gunmen in Sanaa opened fire on three French security guards working with the European Union mission, killing one.

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia Zoo has open-air path for felines

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Visitors to the Philadelphia Zoo might want to beware of stray cats: A new enclosed passageway allows lions and tigers to roam outside their exhibits.

Humans, though, can safely gawk at the predators traveling along Big Cat Crossing. The protected, open-air path snakes above the felines’ habitat to an archway over the zoo’s main promenade and ends at a viewing spot along a lake. The concept for the catwalk unveiled Wednesday stems from the increasingly common practice of animal rotation, which lets animals take in new stimuli while visitors encounter them in unexpected places.

“The $2.3 million project is the latest addition to the zoo’s travel system, which has a similar trail for small primates and another for orangutans.

ARKANSAS

Obama pledges help for tornado victims

VILONIA, Ark. (AP) – Surveying the remnants of nature’s destructive power in the country’s midsection, President Obama pledged Wednesday to residents of tornado-ravaged Arkansas communities that their government will stand with them until they finish rebuilding.

Obama said he wanted to visit this small city about a half-hour north of Little Rock to make sure those grieving the loss of loved ones, their homes and treasured possessions know that they will not be forgotten.

“I’m here to make sure that they know and that everybody who’s been affected knows that the federal government’s going to be right here until we get these communities rebuilt,” Obama said after walking through a subdivision in which just six of its 56 homes had any part still standing after storms tore across the state on April 27, killing 15 people.

FLORIDA

Bigotry against Obama made Crist go Democrat

MIAMI – Democrat Charlie Crist is offering up a new and inflammatory reason he left the GOP: Too many Republicans oppose President Obama because he’s black. Crist made the remarks Tuesday in an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos that instantly drew rebukes from Republicans who said the party-switching former governor was playing the race card as he seeks to get his old job back.

Crist said the bigotry against Obama was a “big reason” for his decision to leave the party.

“I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there,” Crist said.

– Miami Herald