Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cordelia - Last Act of Kindness

Horsemeat Scandal - Ireland

Maldives girl to get 100 lashes for pre-marital sex


Rights groups have urged the government to abolish the punishment
A 15-year-old rape victim has been sentenced to 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex, court officials said.
The charges against the girl were brought against her last year after police investigated accusations that her stepfather had raped her and killed their baby. He is still to face trial.
Prosecutors said her conviction did not relate to the rape case.
Amnesty International condemned the punishment as "cruel, degrading and inhumane".
The government said it did not agree with the punishment and that it would look into changing the law.
Baby death
Zaima Nasheed, a spokesperson for the juvenile court, said the girl was also ordered to remain under house arrest at a children's home for eight months.
She defended the punishment, saying the girl had willingly committed an act outside of the law.
Officials said she would receive the punishment when she turns 18, unless she requested it earlier.
The case was sent for prosecution after police were called to investigate a dead baby buried on the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani Atoll, in the north of the country.
Her stepfather was accused of raping her and impregnating her before killing the baby. The girl's mother also faces charges for failing to report the abuse to the authorities.
The legal system of the Maldives, an Islamic archipelago with a population of some 400,000, has elements of Islamic law (Sharia) as well as English common law.
Ahmed Faiz, a researcher with Amnesty International, said flogging was "cruel, degrading and inhumane" and urged the authorities to abolish it.
"We are very surprised that the government is not doing anything to stop this punishment - to remove it altogether from the statute books."
He said he did not know when the punishment was last carried out as people were not willing to discuss it openly.

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15-year-old to Receive 100 whips lashings for Surviving a Horrific Rape Ordeal


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Friday, 29 March 2013 03:13
100 lashes for being raped100 lashes for being rapedSign the petition and Help Stop the Horror
Somalilandsun - It's horrific! A Maldives court just sentenced a 15-year-old rape survivor to 100 whip lashings. By threatening Maldives politicians' precious tourist income we can save this child and stop these outrageous public floggings. Let's quickly build a one million strong call, then place ads in travel magazines and websites:
Sign the petition
It's hard to believe, but a 15-year-old rape survivor has been sentenced to be whipped 100 times in public! Let's put an end to this lunacy by hitting the Maldives government where it hurts: the tourism industry.
The girl's stepfather is accused of raping her for years and murdering the baby she bore. Now the court says she must be flogged for "sex outside marriage" with another man, who has not even been named! President Waheed of the Maldives is already feeling global pressure on this, and we can force him to save this girl and change the law to spare other victims this cruel fate. This is how we can end the War on Women – by standing up every time an outrage like this happens.
Tourism is the big earner for the Maldives elite, including government ministers. Let's build a million-strong petition to President Waheed this week, then threaten the islands' reputation through hard-hitting ads in travel magazines and online until he steps in to save her and abolish this outrageous law. Sign and forward this email now:
The Maldives is a paradise for tourists. But it's not always so for the women that live there. There are countries that have even harsher interpretations of Islamic sharia law, but in the Maldives women and children can be publically whipped if found guilty of extramarital sex or adultery. Pre marital 'fornication' is illegal, but despite always involving a man and a woman, 90% of the people punished are women! And while a staggering one in three women between ages 15 and 49 have suffered physical or sexual abuse -- zero rapists were convicted in the past three years.
Winning this battle can help women everywhere, as the Maldives government is right now running for a top UN human rights position - on a platform of women's rights! The Maldives is on its own journey to build democracy and wants be a 'model Islamic democracy'. The President has asked the Attorney-General to appeal the sentence in the 15-year-old's case. But that's not enough. Extremists inside the country will force him to abandon further reforms if international attention fades. Let's tell the Maldives that it stands to lose its reputation as a romantic tourist hot spot unless it moves quickly to uphold universal human and women's rights.
If enough of us raise our voices, we can get President Waheed and MPs to face down the extremists. The president has already been pushed to act by this shameful, tragic story - let's seize this moment to prevent more horrifying injustices against girls and women. Sign the petition, then send this email widely:
When certain extreme cases spark the global public conscience it is crucial to speak out whether it is the US, India or the Maldives. Avaaz members have fought many battles in the global war on women. In Afghanistan, we helped protect a young woman who bravely spoke out about her horrific rape; in Honduras, we fought alongside local women against a law that would jail women using the morning-after pill. Now it's time to stand with the women of the Maldives.
With hope and determination,
Jeremy, Mary, Nick, Alex, Ricken, Laura, Michelle and the whole Avaaz team
Maldives girl to get 100 lashes for pre-marital sex (BBC)
Maldives government to appeal flogging of rape victim (Dawn, Pakistan)
Rape victims punished, failed by Maldives justice system (Minivan news, Maldives)
Judicial statistics show 90 percent of those convicted for fornication are female (Minivan news, Maldives)

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Somaliland: President Silanyo Engages Diverse Stakeholders in the USA

Somaliland Sun
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Sunday, 28 April 2013 20:03
Under secretary Sherman and President SilanyoUnder secretary Sherman and President Silanyo• Briefs the US under Secretary of state for political affairs Ms Wendy Sherman
• Concurs with Business Council For International Understanding –BCIU on imperative need to facilitate US investments in various sectors in Somaliland
• Meets USAID Chief who informs that the US government shall increase direct development aid to Somaliland
• Discusses Horn of Africa regional security issues and needs with the Pentagon
• Briefs Senate committee on Africa Affairs on prevalent status in Somaliland
• Presents a paper titled "Somaliland's Achievements in a Fragile Region" at the Atlantic Council
By: Yusuf M Hasan
WASHINGTON DC (Somalilandsun) – "after a period of neglect, the international community has taken preliminary steps to restore political stability in the Horn of Africa region which has endured decades of violent repression, civil war, terrorism, and piracy.
This is per the Somaliland president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo who is currently visiting the USA who adds that "Ironically, Just north of Somalia the world has paid much less attention to a nearby model of success, the Republic of Somaliland enjoys starkly different circumstances
President Silanyo (R) meets Black caucus leadersPresident Silanyo (R) meets Black caucus leadersThe president who is in his first official visit to the US as president of the yet unrecognized republic of Somaliland he heads has achieved within a short period of time an immeasurable success as pertains to putting his country's agenda firmly in the world agenda.
The head of state who is leading a broad-based delegation that consists of senior government officials and political leaders is set to round up his US tour with a briefing meeting with his countrymen and women living in North America in at Chantilly, Virginia.
In the course of his official tour president Silanyo has so far held consultative talks with the US under Secretary of state, Business Council for International Understanding, USAID, and Chair of the Senate committee on Africa Affairs ad presented a paper at the prestigious Atlantic council.
State Dept.
At the meeting with state department's Under Secretary for Political Affairs Ms Wendy Sherman discussions revolved around issues of mutual concern, including stability, democracy and governance, and the need to combat al-Shabaab. The United States expressed support for continued dialogue between the Government of Somalia and Somaliland authorities, as took place in Turkey on April 13. The United States reiterated its strong support for a peaceful and united Somalia.
President Silanyo also urged the US government to support the bid by Somaliland to secure observer status at various organizations like IGAD, AU, UN and others.
Both Ms Sherman and her head of the African desk Don Yamamoto revealed that the recent recognition of the Mogadishu government by the Obama administration does not impinge in anyway existing relations between the US and Somaliland.
The undersecretary who commended Somaliland on various achievements garnered despite its unrecognized status as a sovereign country, promised her government's continued development aid in addition to significant support to forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
According to the Somaliland diplomatic representative in the USA Mr Rashid Nuur Gaaruf the covenants of the meeting between the Somaliland delegation and the US team led by Undersecretary Wendy Sherman were cemented at a sumptuous lunch in the state department Washington DC.
Business Council for International Understanding
On the economic front president Silanyo urged Americans to benefit both their companies and citizens of Somaliland by Luncheon discussions with BCIULuncheon discussions with BCIUinvesting in the yet untapped and lucrative natural resource sector that has so far only attracted European and Middle East multi-nationals.
The president urged this during a luncheon meeting hosted by the Business Council for International Understanding-BCIU at the Willard hotel where top honchos of the council promised to solicit American investments for Somaliland.
President Silanyo who concurred with BCIU on the imperative need for enhanced economic and financial partnership with US based investors, said that his country which is endowed with a lot of natural resources and other investments opportunities is a sure profitable bet for any investor.
With members from more than 150 world-leading companies, BCIU provides an on-going forum for senior business executives to interact with heads of state/government, cabinet ministers, and senior government officials.
The United States Agency for International Development-USAID has informed that its interventions in Somaliland have not been affected by the US government's recognition of the Mogadishu government.
This was informed during a meeting the head of state president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo held with senior USAID officials in Washington DC where the agency not only promised to sustain its partnership with various stakeholders in Somaliland but enhance on them as well during the forthcoming years.
USAID Chief with president SilanyoUSAID Chief with president SilanyoUSAID is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. It was created USAID in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.
Though its mandate is to implement development assistance programs in the areas authorized by the Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act which it undertakes in the guise of a technically independent federal agency its operations are subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council. USAID's Administrator works under the direct authority and foreign policy guidance of the Secretary of State
Senate committee on Africa Affairs
The Somaliland political scenario as pertains to the wider horn Africa region were presented by President Silanyo to the US Senate committee on Africa Affairs during a honour luncheon hosted in his delegations honour by the committee's chair Senator Jeff Flake at Capitol Hill, Washington DC.
While urging concerted US support for his country President Silanyo told Senator Jeff Flake that "it was the primary responsibility of the authorities and people of Somaliland to make efforts to acquire political recognition from the internationalFrom left Senator Flake, president silanyo and foreign minister Dr OmarFrom left Senator Flake, president silanyo and foreign minister Dr Omar community/
In support of his bosses comments the foreign minister Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar, told Senator Jeff Flake that Somaliland deserves recognition as sovereign nation having demonstrated the characteristics and fulfilled all prerequisites of a strong democratic state since it reasserted its independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991.
Somaliland has demonstrated the characteristics of a strong democratic state",
Senator Jeff Flake a ranking member and senior member representing of the minority party (Republican) in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for African Affairs hosted President Silanyo and members of his delegation in his office.
"Somaliland is a functioning, stable and democratic state, which has a constitution which entrenches, among other aspects, the separation of power between the three arms of government the existence of active opposition political parties with some capacity to influence public policy; and a budding independent press" President Silanyo told Senator Jeff Flakes
On his part the Senator from Arizona Jeff Flake who is a senior member of the
minority party (Republican) Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for African Affairs promised President Silanyo concerted support for his country following the briefing which he termed as enlightening and a revelations of matters pertinent to the Somalia –Somaliland situation.
Members of his delegation in his office.
In the cPresident silanyo (C) enroute to the PentagonPresident silanyo (C) enroute to the Pentagonourse of the hectic schedule of his USA tour president Silanyo and his delegation parleyed the pentagon on security and other issues as relates to Somaliland and the Horn Africa region's war on terror and piracy.
At a closed door luncheon meeting hosted at the Pentagon president Silanyo informed senior US military chiefs the prevailing security situation in Somaliland especially as pertains to the war on terror and anti-piracy.
Said he "My country that remains unrecognized as a sovereign state has managed to secure its borders from marauding terrorists and pirates thus a significant contributor to international efforts in the horn of Africa region"
While brushing aside recent reports that Al-shabaab terrorists escaping from the AMISOM onslaught in Somalia are creating bases in Somaliland, president Silanyo who said that national security forces remain vigilant of this scourge though encumbered by insufficient equipment thus urging the Pentagon to facilitate availability of modern weapons and training.
According to foreign minister Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar the meeting and discussions with Senior US defence officers at the President Silanyo addressing the Atlantic councilPresident Silanyo addressing the Atlantic councilPentagon that encompassed various aspects within Somaliland and the wider horn region ended in concurrence on establishing sustainable relationships in the areas Security as well as matters related to Somalia Somaliland.
Atlantic council Address Somaliland's Achievement in a fragile region
The Somaliland Team
President Silanyo who is leading a high powered delegation to the US is accompanied by the first lady Ms Amina Mohamed ShPresident Silanyo and  team in the USAPresident Silanyo and team in the USA Jirdeh 'Amina Weris'
Others who have accompanied him to the various meetings include
Mr Hirsi Ali H Hassan, Minister of Presidential Affairs
Dr Mohamed A. Omar, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation
Dr Saad Shire, Minister of Planning & Development
Eng. Hussein A. Duale, Minister of Mining, Energy & Water Resources
Mr Osman Abdilahi Sahardid, State Minister of Finance
Mr Rashid Gaaruf, US-Somaliland Ambassador

Somaliland: The Safe Haven Next Door


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Saturday, 27 April 2013 19:41
Once part of chaotic Somalia Today Somaliland is a thriving oasis of peaceOnce part of chaotic Somalia Today Somaliland is a thriving oasis of peaceBY AHMED MOHAMED MOHAMOUD SILANYO
Somalilandsun - The Horn of Africa has endured decades of violent repression, civil war, terrorism, and piracy. But after a period of neglect, the international community has taken preliminary steps to restore political stability in the region.
This new approach is evident in Somalia, where a new government, with support from the United States and others, is making a concerted effort to move forward. There are signs of progress. Expatriate technocrats are returning to help rebuild. Piracy off the coast of Somalia has diminished, with attacks falling from 239 in 2010 to 46 in 2012.
The British Embassy recently reopened its long-shuttered doors. Yet the country's stability remains fragile, as witnessed just days ago when al-Shabab terrorists bombed Mogadishu's judicial complex, taking the lives of 29 innocent people and injuring more than 40 others.
Ironically, the world has paid much less attention to a nearby model of success. Just north of Somalia, the Republic of Somaliland enjoys starkly different circumstances. Having chosen to unite with Somalia after gaining independence in 1960 -- we had been separate colonies under British and Italian rule -- our people reasserted their right to self-determination in 1991 as our neighbor descended into chaos. Since that time, Somaliland has been a virtual island of good governance, peace, and security in the Horn of Africa. There is no safe haven for terrorists on our land, no pirates off our coast. Experts around the world have advocated for the diplomatic recognition of our nation, yet support from the United States and others for our independent, sovereign status remains just out of reach.
Our success has come through decades of struggle and suffering. In the 1980s, the Somali regime of Mohamed Siad Barre waged a brutal campaign against Somaliland, killing 50,000 civilians. Like many others who have experienced similar atrocities, we learned an important, tragic lesson: Never again would we allow such a thing to happen to our people.
As Somalia subsequently disintegrated, Somaliland built a functioning, stable, and democratic state. While the international community spent millions trying to save Somalia from itself, we focused on maintaining peace within our borders, building strong state institutions, and creating a sustainable economy. Since 2000, Somaliland has held five peaceful elections and preserved a culture of consultative democracy.
In the last year, Somaliland has taken deliberate efforts to renew dialogue with Somalia's leadership. Most recently, with the support of the Turkish government, Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and I signed a communiqué in which we affirmed our shared commitment to build trust and improve relations between our governments. Future talks will aim to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism, piracy, illegal fishing, toxic dumping, and other serious crimes. Most importantly, with international support, the Somaliland-Somalia dialogue process must seek to provide final clarification on the status of our political relationship.
Somalia and Somaliland can and should be equal partners. Yet as we proceed down this track, we hope and expect that those looking to support Somalia's aspirations will also seek ways to support ours.
Engagement with Mogadishu to sustain its transition to a viable entity and support for Somaliland's national aspirations need not be mutually exclusive. In this regard, international conferences to address the region's economic and humanitarian needs are welcome, but must be coupled with steps to address political issues that might otherwise stifle or undermine such support. Likewise, security assistance must be aligned with efforts to resolve these same issues so as not to breed new instability should a final agreement be reached.
U.S. defense officials have called Somaliland "an entity that works," and for good reason. Our government does work, and with proper diplomatic recognition, it will be able to contribute more effectively to a sustainable and prosperous future for the Horn of Africa. To this end, we are building on our new dialogue with Somalia to both expand relations with other governments and pursue observer status in international organizations, starting with our region's Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union.
We are not asking others to take a chance on what Somaliland may one day become, but rather to simply recognize what we have already achieved. Somaliland is a fully functioning sovereign entity. From 1960 to 1991 we gave unity within a "Greater Somalia" a chance. It did not work, and we cannot turn back.
In the midst of violence and now a fragile peace, Somaliland's people have protected -- and will continue to advance -- our cause of freedom and security because we know their true value. In partnership with our neighbors and with the support of the international community, we can ensure that the entirety of the Horn of Africa will experience the peace and stability that we have in Somaliland.
The writer Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo is the current elected president of Somaliland

Somalia: U.S Committed to Support for a Peaceful and United Somalia

Raxanreeb Online

Xuquuqda Qoraalada, sawirada iyo warbixin kasta waxay gaar u tahay (RBC Radio). Lama adeegsan karo, dib looma daabici karo, lama baahin karo ama kambayuutar laguma keydsan karo si toos ah iyo si dadban intuba, haddii aan fasax laga heysan maamulka (RBC Radio). Fadlan hana xadin
Washington (RBC) The United States declared that it will fully support continued dialogue between Somalia’s Federal Government and Somaliland, which is a breakaway administration on the north of Somalia, U.S State Department in a statement Friday said.
Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s met with President of Somaliland Ahmed Silanyo and reiterated US support for continued dialogue between Somalia and Somaliland authorities.
“Yesterday, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman met with Somaliland administration President Ahmed Silanyo. Under Secretary Sherman and President Silanyo discussed issues of mutual concern, including stability, democracy and governance, and the need to combat Al-Shabaab”, said the  statement.
“The United States expressed support for continued dialogue between the Government of Somalia and Somaliland authorities, as took place in Turkey on April 13. The United States reiterated its strong support for a peaceful and united Somalia”, added the statement.
Somaliland is a non-recognized self declared state that is internationally classified as an autonomous region of Somalia.

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U.S. Will Maintain Support for Somalia Through Its Transition


Phillip Kurata
U.S. Department of State

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sep 28, 2012 — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has congratulated Somalia for staging its first peaceful transfer of power in decades and promised that the United States will stay strong behind the country's move from a failed, war-torn state to a nation with an effective government.

"What has been accomplished has exceeded what many thought was possible. And it's taken a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice, first and foremost from the people of Somalia," Clinton said at the United Nations in New York September 26, 2012. "Now we have to help in the next phase for the people of Somalia, and we look forward, on behalf of the United States, to doing everything we can to make it a success."

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected by the Somali parliament September 10 to replace former President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. Clinton praised the former president for his part in making the transition smooth.

The secretary cited three main areas in which the United States will help Somalia in the days ahead:

• Security. The United States strongly supported the African Union mission in Somalia and the Somali national forces, and will focus on sustainable, comprehensive reform in the future. "As more areas are liberated from al-Shabaab, the government will need to establish police forces and courts," she said.

• Stabilization. More than 2 million people in Somalia still need life-saving humanitarian assistance, and hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees in Kenya need help in returning to their homes. In addition, former al-Shabaab combatants need to be reintegrated in local communities.

• Government transparency and accountability. "We urge the new government to appoint a Cabinet of people who will work to promote the interests of the Somali people and respond to their needs and maintain the confidence of international donors," she said.

See transcript of Clinton's remarks:

Somalia undergoes an art renaissance in a time of relative calm

AL Arabiya

Somali artists resurface in Mogadishu, feeling more confident to carry out their work in public.  (Reuters)
Somali artists resurface in Mogadishu, feeling more confident to carry out their work in public. (Reuters)
Artists in Somalia have resurfaced from their hideouts and are now painting in the open. Until recently these artists working here at Mogadishu’s Centre for Research and Dialogue (CRD), had either given up their craft or were painting in secret.

Art, sports and all other forms of entertainment were forbidden by al Qaeda linked extremist group al-Shabaab, whose time in power from 2006 is considered one of the most repressive since Somalia’s troubles began in 1991.

Not only did artists receive death threats, the late Abdulkadir Yahya Ali, a prominent peace activist, founder of the CRD and patron of the arts was killed in his home by suspected al-Shabaab fighters.

With the support of several development agencies, Ali’s friends and successors like Ahmednur Abdulle, the center’s director are overseeing a project that helps Somali artists create pieces about their country’s dramatic change in fortunes.

“Al-Shabaab people believe that art is “haram ‘prohibited from in Somali religion, but as soon as al-Shabaab started defeating (started being defeated) these artist came out. That’s the only time they can come out and show their talent to the public. Before that they can’t, they could not even come out from their homes,’said Abdulle.

The East African country now has an interim constitution, parliament and president - Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud. Not only will they have to rebuild Somalia’s institutions and infrastructure, they will also have to inspire and educate their populace about the various rights and privileges they were denied under al-Shabaab.

Most of the artists’ work supports this effort as their work not only depicts the country’s violent past but also hope for the future.

Some artists say an empty canvas can be a very intimidating thing - but Ahmed Mohamed Mudey knows exactly what he wants to paint today.

“There will be a man putting in soil for the tree on one side and on the other side there will be a woman watering it. It shows the government is growing and we want Somalis to see that,’said Mudey.

Clearly, times have changed. The project’s members have placed over 20 paintings in parts of Mogadishu for drivers and passersby to see.

Many of these places were no-go areas until al-Shabaab fled the capital and much of central and southern Somalia, under pressure from the Somali National Security Forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia or AMISOM.

“This painting has great importance and you can see it from the title. It says all people are equal before the law and that means the MPs, the president, the ministers and ordinary people are all equal before the law,’said artists Mohamed Tohow.

Tohow’s painting has just been mounted in Waberi District, near a busy taxi park. It doesn’t take long before people notice it and begin interpreting it’s underlying message.

“I think it means that everyone is equal before the law. The painting shows the police arresting an old man who looks responsible, but there’s something in his hand that he may have stolen or used to break the law. It means that if someone who looks respectable can be arrested and ordinary people can be arrested too,’said Abukar Ahmed Mohamed, a taxi driver.

There are still many threats to Somalia’s future, and the combined efforts that helped the country reach this point are needed now more than ever.

But this creative group of Somalis know that even when it seems like all hope is gone, all it may take is a simple brush to begin a revival.

Al-Shabaab in crosshairs of Somalia's anti-terrorism law

By Majid Ahmed in Mogadishu

April 26, 2013

In the coming days Somalia's parliament will debate a proposed anti-terrorism law that targets al-Shabaab and aims to restructure the country's national security and intelligence services in the fight against terrorism.
  • Cars burn after al-Shabaab suicide bombers attacked the Benadir regional court complex in Mogadishu on April 14, 2013. [Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP] Cars burn after al-Shabaab suicide bombers attacked the Benadir regional court complex in Mogadishu on April 14, 2013. [Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP]
The Somali cabinet approved the draft anti-terrorism law on April 18th, four days after al-Shabaab operatives killed at least 29 civilians in a raid on the Benadir regional court complex.
The details of the proposed draft law have yet to be released to the public, but will be available once the debate in parliament formally begins.
"This is a very important piece of legislation that represents a key component of the government's strategy to fight terrorism comprehensively while taking responsibility of our own borders and the security of our people," Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said in a prepared statement issued after the draft was approved.
"We will prosecute a counter-terrorism campaign according to the most robust, transparent and credible laws that have the confidence of the Somali public and fully respect international human rights," Shirdon later said in a series of messages posted on his Twitter account.
"We are in the last stages of a military campaign against an enemy that has been reduced to terrorism and guerrilla operations," he said.

Punishing terrorists

The draft anti-terrorism law is part of the federal government's strategy to combat militant groups that are trying to destabilise the country, Deputy Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications Ibrahim Isaaq Yaroow said.
"In Somalia, we urgently need such a law, which makes it easier to eliminate the danger of terrorists that threaten the security of the country and endanger society and the nation," he told Sabahi.
"The new law includes lots of provisions specifically designed to fight terrorism as a phenomenon and punish terrorists that terrorise and mercilessly kill innocent civilians," he said. "This new law has become absolutely necessary and a priority at this stage due to the current security situation, so we hope that parliament will ratify this law as soon as possible."
Hassan Abdirahman, a former Ministry of Justice adviser, said the proposed anti-terrorism law bolsters Somalia's national security and stability. He urged the government to use all measures at its disposal to combat terrorism.
"No country can survive while it is threatened from within and Somalia is a country with internal threats as a result of the disease of terrorism," Abdirahman told Sabahi. "The Somali people have already been burned by terrorists who threaten the security of their country."
Mohamed Hussein, a Mogadishu-based political analyst, welcomed the counter-terrorism legislation but expressed concern about whether it could affect people's freedoms and rights.
"Somalia needs an anti-terrorism law but such a law should not be used as an excuse to violate basic human rights and freedoms," Hussein told Sabahi. "I hope that the Somali parliament carefully reviews this new law."
Osman Mohamed Roble, a 47-year old cab driver in Mogadishu, said he hopes the legislation will help put an end to terrorist operations in Somalia.
"I think this is a very useful step because we need stricter laws to punish those responsible for explosions and suicide operations that kill innocent civilians," he said.
"All citizens should stand as one to face these terrorists. We have to help the brave security forces in their fight against terrorism by giving information on the whereabouts of terrorists in any part of the country," he said.

Somaliland journalist survives assassination attempt

April 26, 2013

Two gunmen attacked the headquarters of the Hargeisa-based independent newspaper Hubaal News Network at around 11:20 pm on Wednesday (April 24), injuring manager Mohamed Ahmed Jama, known as Aloley.
"We were finishing up our work on the newspaper when the gunmen attacked us. They immediately targeted our manager," editor Hassan Hussein Kefkef told Sabahi.
He said they hit Jama with a club, breaking his hand, but he fortunately survived when they missed a shot fired at him.
"The gunman shot his pistol at me and it hit the wall," Jama said.
One of the gunmen escaped, but newspaper employees captured the other one and handed him over to Criminal Investigation Department officials and security police, Jama said.
Evidence found on the mobile phone of the arrested man showed that officials from the Somaliland administration are involved in the crime, Jama said.
"Unfortunately, we have confirmed that the man who committed the crime is a member of the police force," he said. "He exchanged phone calls with government officials, such as the director of presidential transportation, a short while before the attack."
Chief of Police Brigadier General Abdullahi Fadal Iman confirmed that the arrested man was a member of the police force and is currently under investigation. He said they are also looking for the escaped gunman.
The Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) and Somali Media for Peace and Development have condemned the attack, calling it the first of its kind in Somaliland.
"It is [a crime] against independence, freedom of the press, democracy and the system of governance and we condemn it," said SOLJA Deputy Chairperson Mohamed Abdi Urad.

Somalia: President Hassan Meets With President Kenyatta in Mombasa

Garowe Online (Garowe)

Mogadishu, Somalia — Somali Federal Government (SFG) President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in his brief visit to Mombasa, Kenya on Saturday, Garowe Online reports.
Foreign Affairs Minister Fowzia Haji Yusuf Adam and State Minister of the Presidential Palace Farah Sheikh Abdiqadir accompanied President Hassan to the coastal city of Mombasa on Saturday.
In a press release after his second meeting with the newly elected Kenyan President Kenyatta discussed building prosperity in the region.
"We have had a very good bilateral discussion today concerning a wide range of issues of mutual interest. We have many shared interests and a determination to see the region continue to progress towards peace and prosperity," read the press the release that quoted President Hassan.
The two also discussed the threat of Al Shabaab and countering "the spread of their malignant ideology".
Kenya has been engaged in a battle against Al Shabaab in southern Somalia under the mandate of AMISOM since 2011.
The two heads of state also discussed the upcoming London Conference on Somalia being held in London next month. President Hassan stated that he briefed President Kenyatta on "the aims and objectives".
The upcoming conference is a follow up to last year's conference that was attended by heads of then Transitional Federal Government, Puntland, Somaliland and Galmudug and many foreign state leaders including U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Finally the two East African leaders discussed the returning of Somali refugees in Kenya which exceed half a million according to statistics from UNHCR.
President Hassan stated that two discussed Somali refugees returning to Somalia as soon as "preparations have been properly made".
According to SFG sources, President Hassan is expected to make his first trip to the capital of Puntland, Garowe, on Sunday to meet with President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Racial Divide Closes as Students Step Up


Bryan Meltz for The New York Times
Mareshia Rucker, center, and Stephanie Sinnott, right, are two of the four students who came up with the idea of an integrated prom in Wilcox County, Ga.

ABBEVILLE, Ga. — Mareshia Rucker watched in frustration last weekend as several dozen classmates in tuxedos and gowns walked into an Art Deco theater for her high school’s “white prom.”

Mareshia Rucker, left, and Stephanie Sinnott helped put on a barbecue plate sale in Abbeville, Ga., to raise money for the prom.
Like all black students at Wilcox County High School, she was not invited. The rural county in central Georgia is one of the last pockets in the country with racially segregated proms.
“These are people I see in class every day,” said Ms. Rucker, a senior, who hid in a parked car outside the prom. “What’s wrong with dancing with me, just because I have more pigment?”
But this weekend, after decades of separate proms for white students and black students, Wilcox County will have its first integrated prom.
Organized by students, it is open to all, at a ballroom in nearby Cordele. Nearly half of the school’s 380 students have registered, with roughly equal numbers of black students and white students.
A group of four female students — two black and two white — came up with the idea, and they have received an outpouring of support from across the country. Their Facebook group has 24,000 fans, and it has raised enough in donations to rent a ballroom and buy food and gift bags for every couple.
Disc jockeys from Texas and Atlanta volunteered to play music, a motivational speaker from Florida is delivering a speech, and photographers from New York and Savannah are taking pictures, all without cost. In response, the Wilcox County school board plans to vote this spring on making future proms official school events, which would prohibit racial segregation.
Although events sponsored by the public schools cannot issue invitations on the basis of race, the proms had been organized since 1971, when the schools were desegregated, as private, invitation-only events, sponsored by parents, not the school.
“Let’s face it: It’s 2013. Why are we even having this conversation?” asked Steven Smith, the schools superintendent. “It became an embarrassment long ago.”
Leaders of the Georgia N.A.A.C.P. have called for the state to ban segregated proms. And the all-white prom has been ridiculed on social media.
But locally, the separate proms have defenders. White residents said members of the two races had different tastes in music and dancing, and different traditions: the junior class plans the white prom, and the senior class plans the black prom.
Wayne McGuinty, a furniture store owner and City Council member, who is white, said he had donated to fund-raising events for both proms in past years and saw no problem with separate proms. They do not reflect racism, he said, but simply different traditions and tastes. When he was a senior in high school, in the 1970s, he said, there were separate proms for those who liked rock music and country music.
“This whole issue has been blown out of proportion,” he said. “Nobody had a problem with having two proms until it got all this publicity.”
Parents who organized the white prom declined to comment, as did students who attended.
Across the South, segregated proms have gradually faded away. In 2008, Charleston, Miss., held its first mixed-race prom after the actor Morgan Freeman, who grew up there, offered to pay for the event. In 2010, Montgomery County, Ga., stopped its segregated proms after they were featured in an article in The New York Times Magazine.
Paul Saltzman, who directed a film about Charleston’s desegregation, “Prom Night in Mississippi,” said he did not know of any other proms that were still segregated. He praised Wilcox County students for breaking with tradition.
“Young people see that the rest of the world doesn’t do things this way,” he said. “It’s hard to stick your neck out when you’re up against extreme belief.”
In Wilcox County, where 62 percent of the people are white and 35 percent are black, the effort to integrate the prom has grown far beyond the four students: Ms. Rucker, Stephanie Sinnott, Keela Bloodworth and Quanesha Wallace. Many others have volunteered, selling barbecue chicken to raise money and stuffing gift bags.
“The adults should have done this many, many moons ago, but it had to be the kids,” said Ms. Rucker’s mother, Toni.
Mr. Smith, the superintendent, wrote a statement of support for the integrated prom, saying he considered it “an embarrassment to our schools and community that these events have portrayed us as bigoted in any way.”
After the prom, the school will conduct a survey of students, and then a group of teachers and administrators will recommend a solution. Mr. Smith said he expected that the school would run the prom next year and open it to all students.
“I don’t even like to say ‘integrated’ prom,” he said. “I hope we’ll be announcing soon that there’s just one prom. The prom.” 


Bryan Meltz for The New York Times

Syria Plays on Fears to Blunt American Support of Rebels


Syria’s Shifting Strategy: As the war continues, Syrian officials are trying to convince Western countries that they should not support rebel forces because, the officials contend, many are extremists allied with Al Qaeda.
DAMASCUS, Syria — As Islamists increasingly fill the ranks of Syrian rebels, President Bashar al-Assad is waging an energized campaign to persuade the United States that it is on the wrong side of the civil war. Some government supporters and officials believe they are already coaxing — or at least frightening — the West into holding back stronger support for the opposition.

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Most of the prisoners, like Khaled Hamdo Shami, were Syrians, not from other countries.

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Confident they can sell their message, government officials have eased their reluctance to allow foreign reporters into Syria, paraded prisoners they described as extremist fighters and relied unofficially on a Syrian-American businessman to help tap into American fears of groups like Al Qaeda.
“We are partners in fighting terrorism,” Syria’s prime minister, Wael Nader al-Halqi, said.
Omran al-Zoubi, the information minister, said: “It’s a war for civilization, identity and culture. Syria, if you want, is the last real secular state in the Arab world.”
Despite hopes in Damascus, President Obama has not backed off his demand that Mr. Assad step down. The administration has also kept up economic pressure on his government and has increased nonlethal aid to the opposition while calling for a negotiated settlement to the fighting.
But the United States has signaled growing discomfort with the rising influence of radical Islamists on the battlefield, and it remains unwilling to arm the rebels or to consider stepping in more forcefully without conclusive evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, as some Israeli officials assert.
There is frustration with the West’s inability to help nurture a secular military or political opposition to replace Mr. Assad.
It is difficult to see behind the propaganda of either side because government officials or the rebels — depending on the territory — control access. Information is a strategic weapon in the stalemated conflict, as both sides seek support from suffering Syrians and foreign countries.
The government’s new strategy was on display during a two-week visit to Damascus by journalists for The New York Times.
Exhibit A was a group of blindfolded prisoners who shuffled into a dimly lighted courtyard one recent evening, each clutching the shirt of the man in front of him. Security officials billed them as vicious Islamic extremists who came from all over the world to wage jihad in Syria.
The men turned out to be five Syrians, a Palestinian and an Iraqi, and they described a range of goals, from Islamic rule to representative democracy.
In Damascus, officials and supporters sounded several themes: They believe they can win the war, and see no need to moderate the military crackdown. They expect Mr. Assad to run for re-election next year, and some say he can win, brushing off doubts about how voting will work in a country where nearly half the people have been forced from their homes.
Some officials and members of the Syrian elite even say — however far-fetched — they can persuade the West to embrace their president as a champion of common values and interests, even as he presses a military strategy widely criticized as striking civilian targets indiscriminately.
Most of all, the war seems to have inspired some of Mr. Assad’s supporters. Some prominent Syrians, long frustrated by corruption and favoritism, say they have a newly compelling reason to stick by the government.
Now, they say, they are fighting for an idea: preserving Syria’s mosaic of religions and cultures.
And they see themselves, with their well-traveled, secular lifestyles, as ideally equipped to connect to the West.
That is the mission of Khaled Mahjoub, a Syrian-American businessman.
At the nearly deserted Four Seasons Hotel, Mr. Mahjoub ordered Lebanese rosé. Syrians, he said, embrace joy at the hardest times. He smoked a thick cigar as Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” played softly in the background, mixing with the clap of mortar rounds headed for the Damascus suburbs.
“Syrian tobacco,” he said. “One hundred percent organic.” 

Listening Post - Boston: When the media gets it wrong

نيروبي المدينة الخضراء تحت الشمس

Unwelcome immigrants struggle for status in Hong Kong

Demo Against UK's Use Of Armed Drones

Protesters march on RAF Waddington after it emerges that it is being used to operate drones over Afghanistan.

Anti-war protesters gather in Lincoln.
Anti-war protesters start the march in Lincoln
A MQ-9 Reaper drone. Picture: Ministry of Defence
It has been revealed that pilots at RAF Waddington are controlling the aircraft remotely during missions over Afghanistan - the first time that has been done from British soil.
Video: Drones Operated By Remote From UK
Anti-war demonstrators have marched from Lincoln to an RAF base to voice their opposition to the UK's use of armed drones in Afghanistan.
Members of the Stop The War Coalition, CND, The Drone Campaign Network and War on Want are taking part in the mass rally outside RAF Waddington.
The RAF began remotely operating its Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles deployed to Afghanistan from the Lincolnshire airbase earlier this week.
Previously operated from a US Air Force base in Nevada, the aircraft are used to support coalition ground forces in Afghanistan.
A MQ-9 Reaper drone. Picture: Ministry of Defence
Drone missions over Afghanistan from British soil began this week
The hi-tech Reaper drones are primarily used to gather intelligence on enemy activity on the ground, but they also carry 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles for precision strikes on insurgents.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the RAF said it had commenced supporting the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan ground troops with "armed intelligence and surveillance missions" remotely piloted from RAF Waddington.
The organisers of the protest march and rally are calling on the Government to abandon the use of drones, claiming they make it easier for politicians to launch military interventions, and have increased civilian casualties.
Commenting ahead of the protest, War on Want senior campaigns officer Rafeef Ziadah said: "Drones, controlled far away from conflict zones, ease politicians' decisions to launch military strikes and order extrajudicial assassinations, without democratic oversight or accountability to the public.
"Now is the time to ban killer drones - before it is too late."
Reaper MQ-9 drones are controlled remotely. Picture: Ministry of Defence
Remote pilots can operate the drones and fire missiles
Chris Nineham, vice-chairman of the Stop the War Coalition, claimed drones were being used to continue the "deeply unpopular War on Terror" with no public scrutiny.
Calling for armed drones to be banned, Mr Nineham said: "They're using them to fight wars behind our backs."
The Ministry of Defence has defended its use of drones in Afghanistan, which it says have saved the lives of countless military personnel and civilians.
An MoD spokesman said: "UK Reaper aircraft are piloted by highly trained professional military pilots who adhere strictly to the same laws of armed conflict and are bound by the same clearly defined rules of engagement which apply to traditionally manned RAF aircraft."
Lincolnshire Police have held talks with the organisers of the protest to minimise disruption to the local community.
The route of the march from South Common along the A15 to the peace camp site opposite RAF Waddington will see the road closed in phases to limit inconvenience to drivers.

Why UK Is Opening New Embassy In Somalia

Britain believes that the work a new embassy in Somalia could do justifies the risk of returning to the country.

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague.
William Hague: 'No illusions'
Tim Marshall
Foreign Affairs Editor
Sky News Foreign Affairs Editor Tim Marshall
The opening of a new British embassy in Mogadishu signals two things; that the UK Government feels the Somalia capital is now stable enough for its diplomats to work, and that the work they will do is worth the on-going risk a presence in the city brings.
The previous embassy, which was closed in 1991 and is now ruined by fighting, was in the port area.
The new offices, opened today, are at Mogadishu International Airport, one of the more secure areas in a country still wracked with violence. A small contingent of security staff will protect the embassy.
The flag raising ceremony at the embassy follows an exchange of ambassadors between the two countries, and comes in the run up to the Somalia Conference in London on May 7.
Somalia is strategically important, both for its position on the Horn of Africa, and for its recently confirmed energy reserves. Because the country does not have a fully functioning infrastructure, profiting from its hydro carbons remains a plan for the future, but the UK and other countries are positioning themselves to co-operate with the new federal government.
Somalia is struggling to emerge from decades of civil war, foreign intervention, and most recently, Islamist groups fighting for control of the country. The ensuing violence, poverty and unemployment helped propel the huge outbreak of piracy which has so troubled the Gulf of Aden, and beyond, over the past 10 years.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, speaking at the site of the new embassy, said: "Somalia has been through a dramatic shift over the last year but continues to face huge challenges.
"We should be under no illusions as to the sustained efforts that will be required, in Somalia and from its international partners, to ensure that Somalia continues to make progress."
The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group has now been mostly pushed out of the capital, and the port city of Kismayo, toward the northern jungles and mountains. However, it is still capable of major terrorist attacks such as the one on Mogadishu’s main court complex this month which killed 34 civilians.
A nine-man squad stormed their way into the complex, some blowing up their suicide vests, others spraying the area with gunfire. It was by far the worst terrorist incident in the country for months.
Al Shabaab used to control large parts of the capital until 2011 when it abandoned territory in favour of a terrorist campaign. African Union and Somali National Army forces have gradually expanded control of various regions, and helped by Western unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have been successfully pushing the group’s fighters northwards.
However, they remain a threat to the government and are determined to destabilise the country.