Nation & World

FEMA admits sluggish Texas response after Ike

A top official of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the agency was sluggish in its response to Texans affected by Hurricane Ike's devastation, according to a published report.

Deputy FEMA Administrator Harvey Johnson said he intends to improve the help that the agency provides to Texans whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the September hurricane. He said FEMA will deploy mobile homes to the hardest-hit areas more rapidly, review rules that might be causing premature denials of assistance and provide more resources to Texas.

He said he has put more personnel into Texas housing assistance programs. Associated Press

Bolivia La Paz

Bolivian President Evo Morales suspended U.S. anti-drug operations Saturday as Washington's relations with his government spiraled downward. Morales accused the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of espionage and funding “criminal groups” trying to undermine his government. He announced the indefinite suspension while declaring that his government has eradicated more than 5,000 hectares (12,300 acres) of illegally planted coca so far this year – the minimum required under a 1988 Bolivian law passed under U.S. pressure. Associated Press


In his first visit to Russia since Soviet times, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Saturday lauded a new era of cooperation between the two countries, as he sought to take advantage of a recent chill between Moscow and Washington. “Unfortunately, in the past our relations have been mostly focused on military cooperation and politics,” Gadhafi said as he met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “There was no cooperation in the civilian sectors. Now, the Russian companies have already begun to work in various sectors of the Libyan economy. We consider especially important our cooperation in oil and gas spheres.” Los Angeles Times

Yemen San‘a

The suicide squad that assaulted the U.S. Embassy in Yemen in September had links to al-Qaida and some even had fought in Iraq, a Yemeni security official said Saturday. The official added that the U.N. has raised its security level in Yemen in response to terrorist threats. The six Yemeni men who carried out the Sept. 17 attack were trained at al-Qaida camps in the Yemeni provinces of Hadramut and Marib and three of them had recently returned from Iraq, the official added. Associated Press


The brother of the Afghan finance minister has been kidnapped in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, the second kidnapping of a prominent Afghan in Pakistan in the past two months, a spokesman for the Finance Ministry in Kabul said Saturday. The man, Zia ul-Haq Ahadi, a businessman and the brother of Finance Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi, was abducted near his home in the residential district of Hayatabad on Friday morning. New York Times