Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Johnsen has written for a variety of publications on Yemen including, among others, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National. He is the co-founder of Waq al-Waq: Islam and Insurgency in Yemen Blog. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen.
Snow and a broken computer have gotten the week off to a slow start, but across the globe in Yemen things are picking up, even though you wouldn't know it from the big three.
News Yemen has the latest on the casualty numbers in the tribal fighting in Marib. Mareb Press has details on the mediation attempts.
Marib Press also reports on the an army patrol that came under fire from unknown assailants in Marib, as well as the withdrawal of a German Archaeological team after an attempted kidnapping last week.
But surely the biggest news is that being reported by al-Ghad. The paper, which has good sources, claims that the government and al-Qaeda have agreed to a one-year truce. The paper reports that in exchange for a cessation of operations in Yemen, the government will release a number of prisoners that have not been involved in "terrorist" acts within the country.
The paper reports that the committee was headed by Tariq al-Fadhli (who incidentally, fought with Abu Tariq al-Irada and Abu Muslim al-Nihmi from yesterday's post in the Siege of Jalalabad, but unlike them he escaped from the fighting with only a wound). Supposedly the committee met with both al-Wahayshi and al-Raymi, although the paper couldn't confirm this with any official sources.
The paper also gives a heads-up about the upcoming release of 250 AQ suspects, which it suggests are part of this deal.
It is much too early to assess the accuracy of this report, but if true it would be a huge shift for both al-Wahayshi and al-Raymi, who have consistently refused to deal with the government and criticized former colleagues who did deal, labelling such maneuvers as "treacherous alliances with tyrants."
We may have to wait for the release of the next issue of Sada al-Malahim, which should be out in 2-3 weeks to further evaluate what al-Wahayshi and al-Raymi are thinking. Last summer, I heard rumors from friends in Yemen, that the government came close to cutting a deal with al-Raymi in exchange for the release of some prisoners but that broke down and the attack on the US Embassy followed.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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