Chatter: US embassy security officer shot dead in Yemen




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Need to know:
An employee of the US embassy in Yemen was shot dead this morning on his way to work.

Qassem Aqlani, a Yemeni national in charge of security at the US embassy in Sanaa, was killed by masked gunman who drove by on a motorbike. The attackers escaped.

Aqlani had been working for the embassy for almost 20 years. According to US reports, he had been heading the joint US-Yemeni investigation into last month's attack on the embassy amid violent anti-American protests.

Want to know:
Turkey has allowed a grounded Syrian passenger jet to resume its course – but just what is missing from the plane's hold?

Turkish fighter jets intercepted the Syrian Air jetliner on its way from Moscow to Damascus. Authorities forced it to land, searched it, and confiscated what Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is calling simply, "illegal cargo."

Turkish media claims the troublesome material was military communication equipment. But Russia has categorically denied that any military kit was on board, and has accused Ankara of endangering passengers' lives.

Syria's government called the incident "air piracy." It looks like they'll have to get used to it: weapons or no on this jet, Turkey says it will continue to inspect Syrian passenger planes it suspects of carrying contraband through Turkish air space.

Dull but important:
Nigerians are putting Shell on trial for pollution today, in what could prove a landmark case.

Four Nigerian farmers, backed by Friends of the Earth, are suing the oil giant in its native Netherlands over spills in the Niger Delta. The plaintiffs say leaks from Shell's pipelines have destroyed the crops and fish that they rely on for their livelihoods.

Shell maintains that most of the spills are caused by saboteurs and thieves, and that it is not therefore liable for the damage. The company has so far accepted liability for two oil spills in the region, which, after 50 years of oil extraction by Shell and other firms, is one of the most polluted places on earth.

If the court finds in the Nigerians' favor, Shell could find itself faced with thousands of similar compensation claims from people living with the legacy of its oil.

Just because:
Bob Dylan goes yet another year without the Nobel Prize for Literature, which has just been awarded to Mo Yan.

The Chinese author is best known internationally for his novel Red Sorghum, which became a film of the same name. The Swedish Academy keeps its list of nominees a secret, but Mo is thought to have been picked over bookies' favorites Haruki Murakami, Alice Munro, and of course, Dylan.

The Academy said Mo had won for his blend of "hallucinatory realism [...] folk tales, history and the contemporary."

Strange but true:
And now for something entirely adorable: two orphaned baby walruses have found new homes after being rescued off the Alaskan coast.

Mitik and Patak were abandoned by their herd and had to be nursed back to health by human-types. They're now settling in to the New York Aquarium and the Indianapolis Zoo respectively.

But enough from us! Here's the video.