Saturday, 30 April 2011

Huh! Why is everybody in the party so arrogant now?

Security arrest protesters
Security arrest protesters 
By Fredrick M. Masiga
Posted  Sunday, May 1 2011 at 00:00

As you would expect, the government crafted a response to the Thursday events on the streets that included the arrest of Dr Kizza Besigye but it was the most ridiculous response I have read in ages coming ironically from Hajj Kirunda Kivejinja, once a respected politician.
Kivejinja did himself and the government that he serves a disservice by failing to take the occasion to placate the public whose view of how their man was treated has caused disenchantment towards security organs that are being used to suppress them. In that light therefore, I will not be surprised if another minister in the next 24 hours arrives at the Media Centre with another explanation, probably contradictory knowing clearly that Kivenjinja’s was a public relations disaster.
Museveni dragged
President Museveni allowed himself to be dragged into Besigye’s dance hall when his security henchmen unleashed the most vitriol intervention and with it the man Besigye has gained what the presidential elections in February failed to bring to him – massive popular support. Besigye has been forthright about his plans. He said before the elections that if he failed to win the presidency and deemed it a result of political machinations, he would appeal to the court of public opinion after losing out twice to the Supreme Court. So, even though the government was aware of what Besigye meant, it took them by surprise that it came this soon.
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There is no question that the issues upon which Besigye has decided to hinge his walk-to-work campaign are real and genuine. For the ordinary Ugandan, these are issues they grapple with on a daily basis – transport, food prices, school fees, healthcare, jobs and security of life and property, among others.
Museveni has been explaining away the rising fuel and food prices to try and stem the now expanded public outcry but apparently, he has not done a good job – people seem to believe his nemesis [Besigye] more than him. But for starters, his argument about high food prices being good for his farmers has received head-on jabs from the very people he says are reaping from the high food prices.
Farmers in Uganda are not the sophisticated type who read the changing trends of demand and supply then decide on how to price their products. When farmers operated under cooperatives or unions in the 80s, it was easier for their products to gain price value because of their consolidated negotiation power.
Today, however, these farmers are powerless and after the suicidal elimination of unions, farmers have been left to the vagaries of market forces. The real winners in the price war are the middlemen. These are Museveni’s ‘real farmers’. They are the ones making the money because they cheat the ordinary farmers by offering less the market value of their farm products and exploit the urban consumer who does not cultivate.
Urban inhabitants
That is why the noisiest in the Besigye saga is the urban inhabitant whose situation is burdened by the fact that they also have to support their rural folks with financial help for school fees, medical bills and transport, among others. It gets worse with the rate of inflation moving north. The urbanite is much affected as the rural folk and any attempts to cover their plight in economic figures such as improved GDP or higher income per capita doesn’t translate into their general happiness - which brings me back to Kivejinja’s outrageous utterance.
For many who read or listened to Kivejinja, it was an impression of a rich-potbellied-politician arrogantly trying to explain away a situation that is out of hand with a déjà-vu nuance of ‘take it or leave it’.
That kind of attitude only adds combustion to a saturated situation. Ugandans are increasingly tired of politicians who storm the scene, milk the cow dry, overstay their welcome then make statements bordering on insanity.
And there are many examples of such politicians in Uganda and Africa, who have, at the tail end of their careers, developed such attitudes blinded by the magnanimity of power. When the tables turn, as they did recently with Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, they have nowhere to hide and nobody to listen to their pleas for clemency.

Ethiopia: The Atlanta Meeting – G7′s Lost Opportunity? News Commentator
The following video is from the Atlanta Meeting convened by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Ginbot-7 Movement (G7) on April 23, 2011. The meeting was hailed by many as a turning point in the fight against Zenawi’s tyranny and domination.

At the meeting, representatives of OLF and ONLF, Mr. Jemal Gelchu and Mr. Abdul Hakim, respectively, went to great lengths to address and eliminate the concerns and fears of some of the meeting participants; namely, to assure everyone that an Ethiopian union, where democracy, freedom and the rule of law are respected and practiced, is desirable by all stakeholders.
On the other hand, the chairman of G7, Dr. Berhanu Nega, fell short of directly addressing the concerns and fears of Oromos; namely, whether or not G7 fully accepts Oromia as the homeland of Oromos, or is it working to dismantle Oromia? From the video, it can generally be said that G7 has not come to the middle to create a favorable condition to give birth to an Ethiopian union, where democracy, freedom and the rule of law are not just written on a Constitution, but are fully respected in practice.
The Atlanta forum should have been best used to address each others’ concerns and fears – first and foremost. Mr. Jemal Gelchu and Mr. Abdul Hakim are to be commended for using the forum to directly address the concerns and fears (however irrational some of them might have been) of some of the meeting participants, and to finally put these concerns and fears, which are mainly propagated by Meles Zenawi and his regime, to rest. In this regard, it was a lost opportunity for G7.
Addendum: There is a political gap between ethno-nationalists (ONLF, OLF) and Ethiopian nationalists (G7); this must be clear. Denying that the gap exists seems more opportunistic than encouraging stakeholders to narrow down the gap between them; this commentary by is doing the latter one. On the other hand, Meles Zenawi and his cadres are working tirelessly to widen the gap. Woyane works tirelessly to exploit this political gap for its advantage. If this gap is closed politically, then Woyane will have no divide-and-rule tricks to play on the oppressed.Continued

Somaliland official among three wounded in northern Somalia attack

Asked about if they captured the attackers, the Somaliland official said the security forces are tracing what he called the culprits who behind the cowardly attack.
On Friday night Unidentified masked men armed with pistols shot and wounded three people including a Somaliland police officer in the northern Somalia town of Las Anod , officials and witnesses said Saturday.
clearpxl Jama Muse Awad, the deputy police chief of the disputed Sool region in northern Somalia came under attack while walking at the center of Las Anod, according to Abdullahi Hussein Ige, the executive director of Somaliland’s interior minister.
“At least two others, one of them was a woman, were wounded in the Friday night attack in Las Anod” Mr. Ige told BBC Somali Service.
“Though, the police officer has sustained a heavy gunshot wound to chest, he is in a hospital in Somaliland where he is recovering right now” he added.
Witnesses in the town said that assailants immediately escaped the scene soon after the attack.
Asked about if they captured the attackers, the Somaliland official said the security forces are tracing what the culprit.
He accused Sool, Sanaag and Ceyn (SCC) guerilla fighters, of plotting the attack. The SCC has not released any comments denying or admitting the responsibility of the attack.
Insecurity and assinations of Somaliland officials have recently increased in the Sool region.
On March 15, Gunmen armed with pistols shot down a high court judge in the region, Ahmed Suleiman Gelle, as he left a mosque in the center of the town of Las Anod.
Since Somaliland took control of the Sool region from Somalia's semi-autonomous state of Puntland in 2007, at least 12 Somaliland officials including police, military and intelligence officers have been killed in the region

Somalia: Al Shabaab vacated strategic districts

Al-Shabaab, the Al Qaeda linked militias vacated Bardaale, Hudur and Wajid strategic districts in southern Somalia.

Residents told Garowe Online on phone that the militias with armed vehicles left the districts on Saturday.

"Al-Shabaab militias with armed vehicles left Wajid, Hudur and Bardale districts midnight on Saturday," a resident who requested to be anonymous because of his security told Garowe Online on phone.

Sources told GO the militias left to back their militants who lost three strategic districts in southern Somalia after Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa Islamists and local militia forces attacked them and seized their bases.


US Senator makes rare visit to Somalia, in semiautonomous northern region of Puntland

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A U.S. Senate delegation visited northern Somalia on Saturday in a rare visit to the war-torn country.
The delegation, which was led by Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, met with the president of Puntland in the town of Bossaso, the region's commercial hub.
The U.S. government has announced what it calls a two-track approach to Somalia. One track is continued support for the U.N.-backed government in Mogadishu, while reaching out to leaders in other parts of the country.
Somalia has been without a fully functioning central government since 1991.

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Afghanistan: Taliban announce spring offensive

An Afghan police official near the damaged vehicle at the site of the explosion in Jalalabad on 21 April 2011 The Taliban have claimed a number of deadly attacks on foreign and Afghan troops in recent weeks
The Taliban have announced the start of a spring offensive across Afghanistan.
In a statement, the group said the fighting would start on Sunday, targeting foreign troops as well as Afghan security forces and officials.
It warned civilians to stay away from public gatherings, military bases, government buildings and convoys.
Meanwhile initial findings from a Nato inquiry into a deadly attack at Kabul airport on Wednesday suggest the gunman was not connected to the Taliban.
The man, an Afghan pilot, killed eight US troops and a contractor. He was later found dead.
The Taliban claimed the attack, but the coalition said there was no evidence for this and the gunman appeared to have acted alone.
Saturday's statement by the Taliban said the group would attack "foreign invading forces, members of their spy networks and other spies, high-ranking officials of the Kabul puppet administration".
It said the war would continue "until the foreign invading forces pull out of Afghanistan".
The Taliban have claimed a series of attacks in recent weeks - including the killing of Kandahar police chief Khan Mohammed Mujahid and a suicide bombing at an Afghan base near Jalalabad that killed five foreign and five Afghan troops.
However on Friday, a Pentagon report said the insurgents' momentum had been "broadly arrested" following a US troop surge last year.

Yemen unrest: Doubts over deal as Saleh fails to sign

A Yemeni soldier watches anti-government protesters in the city of Taiz, 30 April Cities like Taiz saw new protests on Saturday
A deal for Yemen's veteran leader to hand over power and end unrest looks in doubt after President Ali Abdullah Saleh failed to sign it.
He had been expected to add his signature on Saturday after his officials said the deal brokered by Gulf Arab states had been accepted.
Mr Saleh reportedly said he would only sign the agreement in his capacity as head of the ruling party.
Opposition spokesmen insist he must sign as president.
The Gulf states' mediator, Abdul-Latif al-Zayyani, is now believed to have left the capital, Sanaa.
New clashes in the Yemeni port of Aden have left three people dead.
Officials said two of the dead were members of the security forces, shot while trying to dismantle road-blocks set up by protesters in the al-Mansoura district.
The third person killed was a civilian.
Deal 'thwarted' Mr Zayyani, the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), flew into Sanaa to urge President Saleh to sign the deal, which had been accepted by Yemen's ruling party a week ago.

Yemen and its leader

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh consults his watch at a rally in the capital Sanaa, 15 April
  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh in power since 1978
  • Population 24.3m; land area 536,869 sq km
  • The population has a median age of 17.9, and a literacy rate of 61%
  • Youth unemployment is 15%
  • Gross national income per head was $1,060 (£655) in 2009 (World Bank)
Under its terms, the president would hand power to his vice-president in return for immunity from prosecution.
But the president was insisting he should sign it in his capacity of leader of his party, the General People's Congress, according to a close ally of Mr Saleh, Abed al-Jundi.
He added that Mr Saleh also wanted to ensure that he would remain president to oversee a 30-day transition period after signing the deal, the Associated Press news agency reports.
Sultan al-Atwani, an official from Yemen's main opposition group, accused the president of "thwarting the deal".
He said Mr Zayyani had informed the opposition that Mr Saleh had "refused to sign in his role as president".
"He said he wanted to sign as head of the ruling party, and this is a violation of the text of the Gulf initiative," Mr Atwani told Reuters news agency.
Mr Zayyani later left Sanaa, AFP news agency reports.
The opposition coalition approved the deal earlier only after its leaders had received "assurances" from the GCC, the US and Europe on the transfer of power.
However, the deal drove a wedge between the opposition coalition and youths who have led demonstrations against the president across the country for months.
They accuse the politicians of breaking a promise to put Mr Saleh on trial.

Missing Iran leader Ahmadinejad under pressure from MPs

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, 4 April Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not been seen for eight days

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Powerful MPs in Iran have called for a closed debate on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's apparent boycott of his official duties.
The president has not been seen at his office for eight days, missing two cabinet meetings and cancelling a visit to the holy city of Qom.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, recently re-instated a cabinet minister he had pushed out.
Analysts believe an internal power struggle may be under way.
Parliament has tacitly threatened the president with impeachment, the BBC's Mohsen Asgari in Tehran reports.
Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi was forced to resign on 17 April but promptly re-instated by the supreme leader.
Nearly 300 MPs urged Mr Ahmadinejad, in a letter, to respect Ayatollah Khamenei's decision.
While the president has not been seen at government meetings, Mr Moslehi attended a cabinet meeting last Sunday, the Associated Press news agency reports.
One unnamed reformist politician told the BBC that a "game of chicken" had begun.
"I hope one side yields at the end - otherwise it will move the country toward unprecedented instability that will certainly suck the current Arab uprisings into the country," the politician added.

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood sets up new party

The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed al-Mursi (Nov 2010 picture) Mohammed al-Mursi insisted the new party would not be theocratic
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has set up a new party to contest up to half the seats in a parliamentary election scheduled for September.
The head of the Freedom and Justice Party says it will be a civil, not a theocratic, group.
The election follows the removal of President Hosni Mubarak in February after a popular revolt.
The Muslim Brotherhood ran candidates as independents in previous elections, to circumvent a ban on the group.
It has sought to allay fears of an Islamist parliamentary majority, and said it would be willing to co-operate with secular parties.
Mohammed al-Mursi, the head of the new Freedom and Justice Party, told reporters in Cairo: "It is not an Islamist party in the old understanding, it is not theocratic."
Egypt's constitution bans parties based on religion, class or regionalism.

UK ambassador gives Bolivian couple a royal wedding

Fabianna Rivera, Alejandro Antezana and Nigel Baker at the UK Embassy in La Paz The ambassador presented a souvenir plate to the couple
A Bolivian couple who happened to be getting married on the same day at Prince William and Kate Middleton have celebrated their wedding at the British Embassy in La Paz.
UK ambassador Nigel Baker said he wanted to show that "this is a human event as well as a grand state event".
He sent his ambassadorial car to fetch Fabianna Rivera and Alejandro Antezana for a champagne reception.
"We are so happy today" the bride said. "We didn't know it was the same date."
Mr Baker contacted a number of couples who had planned to marry on 29 April, and chose one by ballot to attend a special ceremony at the embassy.
"There is no better way to celebrate a wedding than with another wedding," he said.
The pair were presented with a souvenir royal wedding plate before a champagne toast.
Souvenir royal wedding plate and champagne glasses with roses at UK Embassy in La Paz The couple and their guests were served champagne
Mr Antezana said he and his bride were thrilled to share the day with Kate and William.
Mr Baker had risen before dawn to watch the London wedding on television before welcoming the local couple to the embassy later in the day.
"All us young girls dream and hope for our own prince and I am sure that I'm marrying mine,» said Ms Rivera, 24.
After the celebrations at the embassy, the couple were married at a Roman Catholic church in La Paz.

Uganda Besigye arrest: Call for talks to end unrest

Ugandan opposition politician Kizza Besigye arrives in hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, 29 April Kizza Besigye arrived in hospital in Nairobi on Friday

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Religious leaders in Uganda have called for talks between the government and opposition in order to end violence which has escalated in recent weeks.
The government has banned walk-to-work protests against the high cost of living and has repeatedly arrested opposition politician Kizza Besigye.
Two people were killed when his supporters rioted in the capital Kampala on Friday.
Dr Besigye is being treated in Kenya after being doused with pepper spray.
He has still not recovered his sight since police smashed through the window of his car with the butt of a gun on Thursday and sprayed him at close range, the incident caught on camera.
The opposition politician was then bundled into the back of a pick-up truck and driven off at speed, before being freed on bail for medical treatment.
April's walk-to-work campaign, organised by several opposition parties over rising fuel and food prices, has been marked by clashes between protesters and the police and the arrest of opposition politicians.
Museveni interrupted Uganda's inter-religious council accused the police of using brutal force against demonstrators and condemned the manner of Dr Besigye's arrest.


They prospect of a dialogue between the opposition and the government seems highly unlikely for now.
The opposition has pledged to continue the walk-to-work protests and is gaining political mileage by exposing the brutality of the police and military. The government of President Yoweri Museveni appears, to many, to be out of touch with the population which is suffering as inflation soars.
Dr Besigye has lost three disputed elections to President Museveni. The two men have not spoken to each other for ten years.
For now the streets of Kampala are quiet. President Museveni has been speaking at an event in the Kenyan capital Nairobi and by coincidence that is exactly where Dr Besigye is receiving medical treatment.
The chances of the two meeting in Kenya are slim to non-existent. The likelihood of more violence on Uganda's streets in the coming days remains high.
It called for the interior minister and the head of the police to resign, and for a dialogue between the opposition and the government to start immediately.
Bishop Zac Nirigiye of the inter-religious council said that unless there was dialogue the violence would escalate.
President Museveni, who happened also to be in Nairobi on Saturday, was interrupted by a protester while delivering a speech at a business club.
"Mr President, how can we as Kenyans sit here and listen to you while you have been brutalising Ugandans?" the man shouted, before being taken away by Mr Museveni's security detail.
The Ugandan leader said Dr Besigye could walk to work if he wanted to as long as he informed the police to "agree with them where he wants to pass".
"Kampala is a very crowded city," he said. He also described Friday's rioters as "looters".
Dr Besigye, who was shot in the hand during a similar recent protest, lost to Mr Museveni in a February election he says was rigged.
Before the polls, Dr Besigye had called for Egypt-style uprisings in the event of fraud.
Police responded by banning public demonstrations.

French Football suspends official over 'race quota'

Two black footballers chase the ball at the Marseille-Montpellier French League Cup final in Paris, 23 April France's multi-ethnic football teams are a source of pride for many

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The French Football Federation's (FFF) national technical director Francois Blaquart has been suspended from his post with the organisation.
The move comes amid claims of a secret racial quota for trainees.
Senior FFF members were said to have secretly approved limiting the number of black and Arab players to 30% from the age of 12-13.
Blaquart and French national team coach Laurent Blanc said the comments were taken out of context.
A probe into the allegations made by French website Mediapart is expected to be completed within eight days.
Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno and FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy suspended Blaquart on Saturday.
"The suspension is pending the conclusions of an investigation led by the FFF and the IGJS [General Inspection of Youth and Sports]," Jouanno said in a statement.


Only barely emerging from the embarrassment at last year's world cup in South Africa, France's football federation is now embroiled in another row, this time over racism.
But defenders of French football's managing body say that reporting of this row has been one-sided. The issue under discussion was the high number of players going through the excellent French national training system who play for French national teams at junior level and then defect to other national teams, many in Africa, at senior level.
At last year's World Cup, for example, there were nine players on other sides who had previously played for France. This is the tendency that the federation wants to limit.
But by letting discussion at this meeting run into broader stereotypes, about big physical black players versus small skilful white ones, it has strayed into very dangerous territory.
On Thursday, Mediapart, citing sources within the FFF, said Blaquart proposed to enforce racial quotas to limit the number of players of black or Arab origin in youth academies.
On Saturday, Mediapart published a verbatim report of a meeting at which France coach Laurent Blanc, Blaquart, under-21 coach Erick Mombaerts and under-20 coach Francis Smerecki, among others, had a debate over players with dual nationality groomed in France eventually opting to play for their country of origin.
At one point Blaquart says there should be an unofficial policy of keeping down the number of mainly black and North African youngsters with dual nationality in French training centres.
Blanc is also cited as saying he is "very much in favour" of a quotas.
Mediapart's editors say the report is evidence of blatant racism.
Blaquart told RMC radio's website: "I cannot not acknowledge these remarks.
"They have to be put in their context. We acknowledged the fact that there were many players with dual nationality... we had to control the management of these players who might be leaving us. There is nothing more to it."
Blanc strongly denied plans for any quotas on Friday, and on Saturday said he stood by his comments.
"I admit that some remarks made during a work meeting... taken out of their context, may be misinterpreted and, as far as I am concerned, I apologise if I have hurt some feelings.
"But I, who am against any form of discrimination, do not stand being accused of racism or xenophobia."
FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy had also denied there were any instructions to limit the number of black or Arab players.

Mugabe in Rome for beatification of Pope John Paul II

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (left) arrives at Rome's Fiumicino airport with his wife Grace, 30 April Mr Mugabe (left) arrived at Rome's Fiumicino airport with his wife Grace

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has arrived in Rome for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II.
An EU travel ban forbids him from visiting member states but the Vatican, where the ceremony will take place, is a sovereign state and not in the EU.
Mr Mugabe, a Roman Catholic, has been allowed to transit through Italy.
Despite the travel ban, Mr Mugabe went to Rome for the funeral of John Paul II in 2005 and for UN food agency conferences in 2008 and 2009.
The sanction on Mr Mugabe was imposed in 2002 over human rights abuses.
Italy's foreign ministry said it had requested an exemption from the EU travel ban for Mr Mugabe.
A Vatican spokesman said Mr Mugabe had not been personally invited but as the head of a state with which the Vatican has relations he was entitled to attend.
In all, 22 world leaders will be in Rome to celebrate the beatification of the Polish-born Pope.
A Vatican spokesman said 87 international delegations had so far indicated they would be attending Sunday's solemn ceremony in St Peter's Square.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims - including up to a quarter of a million from Poland alone - are expected to cram the square.
Workers pause for prayers before removing Pope John Paul II's coffin from its crypt in St Peter's Basilica, the Vatican, 29 April Workers removed Pope John Paul II's coffin on Friday
On Friday, John Paul II - who is buried in three coffins - was exhumed from his tomb in the Vatican Grottoes.
He is to be reburied on Monday in the chapel of St Sebastian in St Peter's Basilica after the beatification ceremony.
Beatification, or declaring a person "blessed", is the necessary prelude to full sainthood.
For this to happen, the Vatican must declare the person to have performed a miracle.
In John Paul's case, a 49-year-old French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, said she and her fellow nuns prayed for the intercession of the pope after his death to cure her from Parkinson's Disease.
Her sudden cure had no logical medical explanation and she later resumed her work as a maternity nurse, the Vatican says.
There have been reports that Sister Marie has fallen ill again since her recovery and that her diagnosis with Parkinson's Disease may have been incorrect.
If the late Pope is declared to have performed another miracle he will be eligible for canonisation as a saint.

Royal wedding: Official photographs

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Syria: 'Six killed' in Deraa as troops seize key mosque

The mosque was a centre for anti-government protests
The army has seized control of a mosque which had become a centre for anti-government protests in the southern Syrian city of Deraa, witnesses say.
Soldiers are now stationed on the roof the Omari mosque in the city centre, after an assault supported by tanks.
Activists said six people had been killed in the city. On Friday, they reported at least 66 protester deaths in Syria, most of them in Deraa.
Officials said the number of dead was far lower, and included four soldiers.
State television said security forces had come under attack by "armed terrorists" in Deraa and Homs, Syria's third city.
In other developments on Saturday:
  • Activists said 138 members of the ruling Baath Party in the southern Hawran region, in which Deraa is located, resigned on Saturday in protest against the crackdown
  • Security forces reportedly arrested two veteran opposition figures - Hassan Abdul Azim, 81, was detained in Damascus, while 85-year-old Omar Qashash was arrested in Aleppo, according to the Syrian Centre for the Defence of Prisoners of Conscious
  • Eleven women were arrested in the al-Salihiya district of Damascus after they took part in a silent all-female demonstration in support of the residents of Deraa, activists said
  • UK Foreign Secretary William Hague voiced alarm at the reports of hundreds of deaths, saying: "The Syrian government has failed to heed repeated calls by the international community for restraint."
'Operations intensifying' Foreign journalists are not being allowed into the country, and the exact picture of what is happening remains unclear.

Start Quote

It looks like [the security forces] want to finish their campaign today”
End Quote Abu Ahmed Deraa resident
However, residents of Deraa said the assault on the historic Omari mosque involved troops backed by tanks and heavy gunfire. It took about 90 minutes for the army to gain control, they added.
"The shelling has stopped. There are snipers on the roof of the mosque," one man told the Reuters news agency, adding that forces appeared to be in control of the city's old quarter for the first time.
Earlier, another resident, Abu Ahmed, said: "It looks like [the security forces] want to finish their campaign today. From the new tank deployments, it looks as though they are intensifying their operations."
The Omari mosque has been a focus of the protests in Deraa since mid-March. Continued

Nato strike 'kills Saif al-Arab Gaddafi', Libya says

Damage at the house of Saif Al-Arab Gaddafi that Libya's government said was made by a Nato air strike Libya's government took journalists to the site where they said Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was killed
A Nato air strike in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, has killed the son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, a government spokesman has said.
Colonel Gaddafi himself was in the large residential villa which was hit by the strike, the spokesman added, but was unharmed.
His son Saif al-Arab was killed, as well as three of his grandsons.
Journalists say the building was extensively damaged and one unexploded bomb remains at the site.
Saif al-Arab was the youngest of Col Gaddafi's six sons, with a lower profile than his brother Saif al-Islam.
He had been studying in Germany and returned to Libya recently.
Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the villa was attacked "with full power."
"The attack resulted in the martyrdom of brother Saif al-Arab Muammar Gaddafi, 29 years old, and three of the leader's grandchildren," he said.
"The leader with his wife was there in the house with other friends and relatives, the leader himself is in good health, he wasn't harmed." Col Gaddafi's wife was also unharmed, he said.
"This was a direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country," the spokesman added.
'Law of the jungle' Libyan rebels began a campaign in mid-February to end more than four decades of rule by Col Gaddafi.
Since last month they have been aided by an international coalition acting on a UN mandate to protect Libyan civilians.
Mr Ibrahim said the attack late on Saturday was against international law.
Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim: "Direct operation to assassinate the leader"
"We ask the world to look into this carefully because what we have now is the law of the jungle," he said.
"How is this helping in the protection of civilians? Mr Saif al-Arab was a civilian, a student... He was playing and talking to his father and mother and his nieces and nephews and other visitors when he was attacked and killed for no crime he committed."
He accused the international coalition conducting air strikes over Libya of not wanting peace.
"We have again and again declared that we are ready for negotiation, ready for road maps for peace, ready for political transitional periods, ready for elections, ready for a referendum.
"Nato does not care to test our promises. The West does not care to test our statements. They only care to rob us of our freedom, our wealth, which is oil, and our right to decide out future as Libyans."
Gunfire rang out in celebration in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi following the news that Saif al-Arab Gaddafi had been killed

Friday, 29 April 2011

Pakistan tests ballistic missile

Hatf missile The missile can deliver all types of warheads

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Pakistan has carried out a successful test of a cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons, military officials say.
Hatf-VIII (or Raad, "thunder" in Arabic) was first tested in 2007 and has a range of 350km (220 miles).
India and Pakistan regularly test their missile systems and they normally notify one another ahead of such tests.
Tension between Pakistan and India has decreased in recent months after a series of bilateral overtures.
Hatf-VIII was first tested in August 2007. Experts say several tests are required before any missile can be deployed.

Israel rejects Palestinian unity government with Hamas

Palestinian unity demonstration in Ramallah There has been growing pressure from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to end internal divisions

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Israeli officials have criticised a reconciliation deal between rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas.
The foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel would not negotiate with the new unity government.
The US also responded coolly, saying the government that resulted must recognise Israel and renounce violence.
Under the agreement brokered in Egypt on Wednesday, an interim Palestinian government will be formed and a date fixed for elections.
Palestinians hope the move will end infighting that was politically damaging and caused hundreds of deaths.
The Fatah party of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas - which runs parts of the West Bank - and Hamas, which governs Gaza, have been divided for more than four years.
Their surprise deal, announced and brokered in Cairo, came after months of failed rounds of talks.

Start Quote

The significance of the agreement is that... hundreds of terrorists will flood the West Bank and therefore we need to prepare for a different situation,”
End Quote Avigdor Lieberman Israeli Foreign Minister
"It needs to be clear that such an agreement crosses a red line," Mr Lieberman told Israeli military radio on Thursday.
"The significance of the agreement is that... hundreds of terrorists will flood the West Bank and therefore we need to prepare for a different situation," he added.
He threatened measures to restrict the freedom of movement of Mr Abbas and the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and freeze the transfer of taxes collected by Israel for the PA.
Earlier the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, warned that the PA could not have peace with both Hamas and Israel.
"I hope the Palestinian Authority will make the right choice - peace with Israel," he said.
Hamas has carried out bombings and rocket attacks against Israel for years and does not recognise its right to exist.
Public pressure Thousands of Palestinians protested in Gaza this month, calling for reconciliation.
The protests were inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. Further demonstrations were planned for 15 May.
The split between Fatah and Hamas occurred when violence erupted a year after Hamas won Palestinian elections in 2006. Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.Continued

Germany arrests three al-Qaeda suspects

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich Mr Friedrich said the case showed Germany was still a terror target

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German police have arrested three suspected members of al-Qaeda who posed a "concrete and imminent" threat, officials said.
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said the arrests by "domestic intelligence services and foreign partner organisations" had averted a serious incident.
The trio had been under surveillance for two weeks, prosecutors said.
They will be brought before a judge on Saturday.
The prosecutor's office in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe said the three suspects had been arrested early on Friday, but did not give further details.
Germany's Bild newspaper, citing security sources, reported that the three were Moroccans living in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
AP news agency quoted Mr Friedrich as saying that the case showed Germany was still a target of international terrorists.

Australia defence sex scandal cadets charged

Australia's special forces exercise during the Australian International Airshow in Melbourne March 2, 2011 Australia's defence forces have been hit by several scandals, prompting wide-ranging reviews

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Two men have been charged over a sex scandal at an Australian defence academy, in a row which led to a review of the military's treatment of women.
The cadets from the Australian Defence Force Academy are accused of secretly filming a female cadet having sex and broadcasting it on the internet.
They have been charged with misusing an electronic communications service. One has been charged with an indecent act.
The government has set up a number of inquiries in response to the scandal.
The 18-year old female cadet said that she had consensual sex with a fellow first-year cadet, which was then transmitted via webcam to six other cadets watching on a computer in another room.
Photographs of the encounter were also said to have been circulated around the academy.
The two men, aged 18 and 19, face possible jail terms if convicted.
The commander of the academy was ordered to take leave in the wake of the incident and at least two inquiries were initiated.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick was asked to conduct a review into the treatment of women both at the academy and in the wider military.
Reviews were also ordered into the use of alcohol and social media in the military.
The scandal followed another relating to the navy.
In February, the defence department released a report chronicling what it called a culture of predatory sexual behaviour on board the naval supply ship, HMAS Success.
It revealed a fiercely tribal culture in which women sailors were treated with disdain, alcohol was badly misused and discipline had broken down.

Libya: Nato says Gaddafi tried to mine Misrata harbour

Ferry from Misrata arrives in Benghazi. 28 April 2011 Misrata harbour is a lifeline for ships taking the wounded to Benghazi
Nato says its warships have intercepted pro-Gaddafi forces trying to lay mines in the harbour of the city of Misrata.
A senior Nato official said crews were disposing of the mines.
Rebels say government tanks have launched another assault on Misrata, which has been under siege for several weeks.
In another development, Tunisian troops are reported to have captured Libyan soldiers who crossed the border in pursuit of rebel forces.
Nato's director of operations in Libya, Brig Rob Weighill, said warships stationed in the Mediterranean stopped the mine-laying attempt on Friday morning.
"Our ships intercepted the small boats that were laying them and we are disposing of the mines that we found," he told reporters via video-link from his headquarters in Naples, Italy.
"It again shows [Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi's] complete disregard for international law and his willingness to attack humanitarian delivery efforts," he added.
Nato is enforcing a UN resolution to protect civilians in Libya amid a two-month revolt inspired by other uprisings in the Arab world.
Brigadier Rob Weighill: Warships stationed in the Mediterranean stopped the mine-laying
Human rights groups say more than 1,000 people have been killed in the fighting in Misrata and many more have been wounded.
The harbour has been a lifeline for ships ferrying the injured to hospitals in the rebel stronghold, Benghazi, and also for aid entering the city.
Brig Weighill added that rebels in Misrata had made advances in recent days.
"The rebels have expanded their perimeter significantly over the past week. To suggest they are winning would be overly optimistic," he said. "They are putting up a very spirited fight."
'Tank attack' Meanwhile, foreign journalists in Misrata reported loud explosions coming from the direction of the airport on Friday.
A rebel fighter helping a wounded comrade back from the front line told AFP news agency that four tanks had attacked the city "and one has been destroyed so far".
"They took up positions during the night on the airport road and tried to enter the city. We've stopped them at the outer limits, at least for now," he said.
In wester Continued

Uganda riots over Kizza Besigye's arrest

Security forces try to quell the riots that broke out on the streets of Kampala

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At least two people have died in riots in Uganda's capital over the treatment of opposition leader Kizza Besigye.
Security forces fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters burning tyres.
Dr Besigye sought medical treatment after being tear-gassed in his car and bundled roughly into a truck when he was arrested on Thursday.
He later left Uganda for treatment in Kenya, and witnesses said he had to be supported as he boarded a plane.
It was Dr Besigye's fourth detention this month for his participation in a "walk-to-work" protest over high prices.
President Yoweri Museveni has said the walking campaign over the rise in the cost of living is illegal.

Start Quote

They arrested him like a chicken thief - we cannot allow such things to continue”
End Quote Brown Ndese protester
Ugandan Information Minister Kabakumba Matsiko told the BBC the situation was now "under control" and the unrest would not be allowed to carry on.
"I would like to reassure the world that the government is in charge, and we are going to improve the security situation. We're not going to encourage worthless demonstrations which don't have clear and genuine objectives to continue," Mr Matsiko said.
Pepper spray After his arrest on Thursday Dr Besigye was charged with inciting violence but was released on medical grounds until 2 May.
The BBC's Joshua Mmali in the capital, Kampala, says Dr Besigye was taken to hospital from the court because he had been temporarily blinded.
On Friday evening, he was allowed by the authorities to fly to Kenya.
Our reporter says footage of the arrest was broadcast on Ugandan television and the video-sharing website YouTube.Continued

Djibouti profile

Map of Djibouti
Controlling access to the Red Sea, Djibouti is of major strategic importance, a fact that has ensured a steady flow of foreign assistance.
During the Gulf War it was the base of operations for the French military, who continue to maintain a significant presence.
France has thousands of troops as well as warships, aircraft and armoured vehicles in Djibouti, contributing directly and indirectly to the country's income. The US has stationed hundreds of troops in Djibouti, its only African base, in an effort to counter terrorism in the region.
Djibouti's location is the main economic asset of a country that is mostly barren. The capital, Djibouti city, handles Ethiopian imports and exports. Its transport facilities are used by several landlocked African countries to fly in their goods for re-export. This earns Djibouti much-needed transit taxes and harbour fees.
Ship and loading crane in the Port of Djibouti The Port of Djibouti on the Red Sea is the main shipping terminal for the Horn of Africa
After independence from France in 1977, Djibouti was left with a government which enjoyed a balance between the two main ethnic groups, the Issa of Somali origin and the Afar of Ethiopian origin.
But the country's first president, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, installed an authoritarian one-party state dominated by his own Issa community. Afar resentment erupted into a civil war in the early 1990s, and though Mr Gouled, under French pressure, introduced a limited multi-party system in 1992, the rebels from the Afar party, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (Frud), were excluded.
Thus, Mr Gouled's Popular Rally for Progress party won every seat and the war went on. It ended in 1994 with a power-sharing deal which brought the main faction of Frud into government. A splinter, radical faction continued to fight until 2000, when it too signed a peace deal with the government of Gouled's successor, Ismael Omar Guelleh.

Djibouti profile

Djibouti profile

A chronology of key events: 825 - Islam introduced to the area.
French rule 1862 - France acquires the port of Obock.
1888 - French colony of Somaliland established over the region.
1892 - Djibouti becomes capital of French Somaliland.
1897 - Ethiopia acquires parts of Djibouti after signing a treaty with France.
1917 - Railway connecting the port of Djibouti with the Ethiopian hinterland reaches Addis Ababa.
1946 - Djibouti made an overseas territory within the French Union with its own legislature and representation in the French parliament.
1958 - Djibouti votes to join the French Community.
Independence 1967 - Referendum takes place during which Afar people and Europeans vote to remain part of the French Community; French Somaliland renamed the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas.
1977 - The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas becomes independent as Djibouti with Hassan Gouled Aptidon as president.
1979 - People's Progress Assembly party set up with a view to uniting the Afar and Issa peoples.
1981 - Djibouti becomes a one-party state with the People's Progress Assembly as the sole party.
1992 - A constitution allowing for a limited multiparty system adopted; fighting erupts between government troops and the Afar Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) in the northeast of the country.
Power-sharing agreement 1994 - The government and the main faction of FRUD sign a power-sharing agreement officially ending the civil war; the radical faction of FRUD continues to fight.
1995 - French Judge Bernard Borrel dies under mysterious circumstances in Djibouti. He was advising the Djibouti government, and reportedly investigating arms smuggling.
1999 - President Aptidon announces that he will not run in the presidential election; Ismael Omar Gelleh elected president.
2000 February - The government and the radical faction of FRUD sign a peace agreement finally putting an end to the civil war.
2000 March - Former Prime Minister and leader of the radical faction of FRUD Ahmed Dini returns to Djibouti after nine years in exile.
2000 December - Coup attempt said to have been masterminded by sacked police chief General Yacin Yabeh Galab fails and Yacin charged with conspiracy and breaching state security.
2002 January - German warships and 1,000 sailors arrive in Djibouti to patrol shipping lanes in Red Sea area, in support of US actions in Afghanistan.
2002 September - 1992 law allowing only three other parties to compete with ruling party expires, paving way for full multi-party politics.
2002 September - Djibouti says it won't be used as a base for attacks against another country in the region. Some 900 US troops set up camp in support of US-led war on terror.
2003 January - Coalition supporting President Ismael Omar Gelleh - the Union for Presidential Majority - wins Djibouti's first free multi-party elections since independence in 1977.
Anti-immigrant drive 2003 September - Government begins drive to detain and expel illegal immigrants, thought to make up 15% of population.
2004 April - At least 50 people die in flooding in the capital.
2005 April - Presidential elections: Incumbent President Guelleh is the sole candidate.
2006 April - More than 90 passengers drown when a boat carrying hundreds of pilgrims capsizes shortly after leaving port.
2006 May - First human bird flu case in sub-Saharan Africa confirmed in Djibouti.
2006 November - A UN report says several countries, including Djibouti, have flouted a 1992 arms embargo on Somalia by supplying the rival Islamist administration in Mogadishu. Djibouti denies the allegation.
2007 March-April - Drought declared in some inland areas. United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says some 53,000 people could go without food rations unless funding is found.
Borrel probe 2007 October - Mass protests against international arrest warrants issued in France for officials accused of blocking probe into 1995 death of French judge Bernard Borrel.
2008 January - Djibouti begins legal battle with France in the International Court of Justice in The Hague over the probe into the death of French judge Bernard Borrel.
2008 February - Ruling coalition wins all 65 seats in parliamentary elections which are boycotted by the three main opposition parties.
2008 June - Fighting breaks out between Djiboutian and Eritrean troops in the disputed Ras Doumeira border area. At least nine Djiboutian soldiers killed. US condemns Eritrean "aggression" but Eritrea denies launching an attack.
International Court of Justice rules that France is not obliged to share information it gathered in investigation into the 1995 death of French judge Bernard Borrel.
2009 April - UN Security Council says Eritrea has failed to fulfil its obligation to withdraw troops from disputed border area of neighbouring Djibouti. Eritrea denies having troops on Djiboutian soil.
2009 December - UN Security Council approves tough sanctions against Eritrea for supplying weapons to opponents of the Somali government and refusing to resolve border dispute with Djibouti. The Djibouti government welcomes the move.
2010 April - Parliament approves constitutional amendment allowing president to run for a third term.
2010 June - Eritrea, Djibouti agree to resolve their border dispute peacefully.
2011 February - Thousands gather for rare protest demanding regime change. At least two people are killed in confrontation with police.
2011 April - Guelleh wins a third term as president in an election boycotted by the opposition.

The question is not “Dam building” but Grave digging for Tyranny: By WEGESHAW

A criminal “Government” which is racist and oppressive that conspires with historical enemies of a country do not have any moral, legal or any other ground to preach about building a “Renaissance Millenium - Abbay Dam”!
A known mass killer “Government” in whose “Manifesto” is labled thoroughly documented plans to distruct our motherland Ethiopia can’t suddenly bring “Growth and Transformation” to the same country it has just sold entirely!
A “Government” lead by a deadly enemy from with in and fought nail and teeth to make 80 million people land locked and benefits the chosen few at the expence of the majority should never be trusted. There is no building by destruction. Why should one destruct for the last 35 years in order to suddenly build a “dream dam” in the comming 5 years?
We have never heard that the TPLF lead “Government” at the helm of wich stands the deadliest foe of Ethiopia and its people - “Meles Zenawi”, has at least verbally rejected or that it has withdrow its dream almost comming true – “Abay Tigray Manifesto”.
The enemy lead “Government” has deliberatly implemented its “hundred years of home work for Ethiopia”, an injection of poisonous constitution in the form of Article 39.
The brutal tyrant has time and again humiliated us Ethiopians by mocking as follows:
“Wushochu yichohalu, Gimelu gin meguazun yiketilal”,
“Bandiraw cherk new”
Ethiopians, wherever we might be, have a moral obligation to save our country by stopping the “Gimel”! Let us show him that our ancestors in history have proved to the World their “Anbesa ness” rather than “Wusha-net”. The blood soacked tyrant mockingly reffered to a great country’s Flag as “Cherk”. Let us raise up in unisome and stop the “Gimel” from reaching its goal - the “ABAY TIGRAY”. Let us teach him who is “BANDA” and “ye-wusha – wusha” betrayer and seller of mother Ethiopia!
There could not be sudden “Growth and development” in a matter of five yeares after implementing and conducting the above mentioned evil ideology and constitution which has been conspired since 1976
One “can’t have a cake and eat it at the same time”. Either you divide people like in the time of “Zemene Mesafint” and then fight among each smaller and weaker nations forever or you build a one strong and stable country with love and honor among its different tribes and nationalities. Growing and Transforming in a matter of 5 years after they have been bleeding a country to death is impossible even if they add “miracles” to their sugar tainted “sacred idea”. Building is difficult where much longer time is needed, on the contrary you can destruct what you had been building for the last handred years in a matter of one night
Growth and development Plan in 5 more years of misery and oppression with an enemy TPLF lead “Government” is Disasterous idea. We say “too little and too late”! It is in fact like in the
English saying “ A pie in the sky” or in Amharic “Lam alegn be-semy, wetetwanim alay”. Where is the criminal Government hiding all its horendous genocide and crime against humanity anyway? Yes I know: under G.T.P(Growth and Transformation Program).
We all should support what our brave Ethiopian communities in Washington D.C, and many cities in the USA and Europe loudly denounced the tyranny with the following Mottos:
Thank you USA and Europe “Diaspora Ethiopians”!continued

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