Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Torture of Syrian boy shows "total collapse" - Clinton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The reported torture of a 13-year-old Syrian boy demonstrates a "total collapse" of the Syrian government's willingness to listen to its people, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.
Clinton also told reporters that with each passing day the Syrian government's position grows less tenable in the face of 10 weeks of protests against the 11-year reign of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The New York Times reported on Monday that an online video showed a 13-year-old boy, arrested at a protest on April 29, who it said had been tortured, mutilated and killed before his body was returned to his family.
"I think what that symbolizes for many Syrians is the total collapse of any effort by the Syrian government to work with and listen to their own people," Clinton told a news conference she held with Colombia's foreign minister. "I can only hope that this child did not die in vain but that the Syrian government will end the brutality and begin a transition to real democracy."
"President Assad has a choice, and every day that goes by the choice is made by default. He has not called an end to the violence against his own people, and he has not engaged seriously in any kind of reform efforts," she added.
"Every day that goes by the position of the government becomes less tenable and the demands of the Syrian people for change only grow stronger," Clinton said.
Earlier on Tuesday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner called the reports of the boy's torture "horrifying" and "another case of the ongoing human rights abuses that we have seen carried out by Syrian forces."
"That case in particular is appalling and we believe that Syria should be held accountable for these and other human rights abuses," he said.
Asked about a Syrian state television announcement that Assad had issued a general amnesty covering "all members of political movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Toner said: "He has talked reform but we have seen very little in the way of action ... he needs to take steps -- concrete steps, not rhetoric -- to address what is going on in the country."
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Mobile Phones 'Could Increase Cancer Risk'

Mobile phone use could increase the risk of brain cancer, experts from the World Health Organisation have warned.
Scientists have classified handsets as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" - and advised people to use hands-free devices or text instead of calling.
The classification came after the WHO working group concluded radiofrequency electromagnetic fields associated with handsets potentially heightened the chances of suffering glioma, a malignant form of the disease.
The WHO had previously said there was no established evidence for a link between cell phone use and cancer.
A week-long meeting of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) group featured 31 scientists from 14 countries in Lyon, France.
The agency said the five billion mobile phone subscriptions around the world would increase, particularly among young adults and children.
Jonathan Samet, chairman of the working group, said: "The evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the classification."
The scientist, from the University of Southern California, added: "The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk."
IARC director Christopher Wild advised mobile phone users to use hands-free devices or text instead of call to reduce risk while more research is done.
"Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings, it is important that additional research be conducted into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones," he said.
"Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure, such as hands-free devices or texting."
The international working group reached its conclusion after discussing and evaluating available literature on radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and exposure to wireless telephones.
It did not quantify the risk but referred to a previous study (up to 2004), which showed a 40% increased risk for gliomas for those who used their phones for an average of 30 minutes a day over a 10-year period.

Gaddafi: I will not leave my country

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has made clear that he will not step down, despite the first big protest against him in the capital in months and a U.N. warning on Tuesday that his government was running out of food.
Gaddafi is emphatic he will not leave Libya, South African President Jacob Zuma said after talks with the Libyan leader, dashing prospects for a negotiated end to the conflict.
Zuma was in Tripoli on Monday to try to revive an African "roadmap" for ending the conflict, which started in February with an uprising against Gaddafi and has since turned into a war with thousands of people killed.
Libyan rebels and NATO have set Gaddafi's departure as the main condition for any cease-fire. With Gaddafi's refusal to leave, the talks with Zuma produced no breakthrough.
But new questions emerged over how long Gaddafi could hold on after a senior United Nations aid official said shortages of food and medicine in areas of Libya controlled by Gaddafi amounted to a "time bomb."
Panos Moumtzis, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Libya, told Reuters in Tripoli that some food stocks in areas under Gaddafi's control were likely to last only weeks.
"I don't think there's any famine, malnutrition. But the longer the conflict lasts the more the food stocks supplies are going to be depleted, and it's a matter of weeks before the country reaches a critical situation," Moumtzis said in an interview.
"The food and the medical supplies is a little bit like a time bomb. At the moment it's under control and it's ok. But if this goes on for quite some time, this will become a major issue," he said.
PROTEST IN TRIPOLI
In another development that cast doubt on Gaddafi's assertions that he is in control, witnesses in the Souq al-Juma suburb of Tripoli said a large anti-government protest took place there on Monday. Their accounts lent weight to rebel claims that opposition to Gaddafi was stirring in the capital.
The protest, apparently the biggest confirmed protest inside Tripoli since Western forces began bombing the country in March, was broken up by security forces firing weapons, residents said.
Asked about the incident at a news conference on Tuesday, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said: "I have heard of the event. I did not have enough time to get information."
Gaddafi's officials had earlier denied that a large anti-government demonstration took place on Monday.
Large scale demonstrations in Tripoli have not taken place since protests were crushed by the security forces in February.
Activists had released a video on Monday which they said showed hundreds of demonstrators attending a funeral in Souq al-Juma earlier that day for two slain protesters.
State television broadcasts daily rallies in support of Gaddafi and many people in Tripoli tell foreign journalists that they back the Libyan leader.
In conversations with a group of foreign correspondents, several residents reported nightly armed clashes in the area between people opposed to the government and security forces.
Now in its fourth month, Libya's conflict is deadlocked on the ground, with anti-Gaddafi rebels unable to break out of their strongholds and advance towards Tripoli, where Gaddafi appears to be firmly entrenched.
Rebels control the east of Libya around the city of Benghazi, Libya's third-biggest city Misrata, and a mountain range stretching from the town of Zintan, 150 km (95 miles) south of Tripoli, towards the border with Tunisia.
Gaddafi, who has been in power for 41 years, says his forces are fighting armed criminal gangs and al Qaeda militants and portrays the NATO intervention as an act of colonial aggression aimed at grabbing Libya's ample oil reserves.
His government says NATO's bombing campaign has killed 718 Libyan civilians and wounded 4,067, including 433 seriously.
NATO has denied killing large numbers of civilians, and foreign reporters in Tripoli have not been shown evidence of large numbers of civilian casualties.
Asked why the authorities had not shown large numbers of casualties to foreign media, Ibrahim said casualties had not been concentrated near Tripoli but scattered across the country.
Two large explosions were heard in the Libyan capital on Tuesday but it was not immediately clear where the bombs fell.
Speaking in the main rebel stronghold of Benghazi where he was opening a consulate, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said he had pledged an aid package for the rebels worth hundreds of millions of euros.
"I think the Gaddafi regime is over and I firmly believe that it is over for a simple reason: we are talking about a person whose closest friends are defecting. He lost his legitimacy in Libya," Frattini said.
MORE CLASHES NEAR MISRATA
Western powers have said they expect Gaddafi will be forced out by a process of attrition as air strikes, defections from his entourage and shortages take their toll.
A Reuters photographer in Misrata said there was heavy fighting in the suburb of Dafniyah, in the west of the city, where the front line is now located after rebel fighters drove pro-Gaddafi forces out of the city.
Speaking from a field hospital near the front line, she quoted medical workers as saying one person had been killed and 29 people had been injured so far on Tuesday.
There were reports too of clashes between rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi in the Western mountains.
A rebel spokesman in the town of Zintan told Reuters by telephone: "Fighting took place last night in (the village of) Rayayna, east of Zintan ... It continued until the early hours of this morning. Both sides used mortars."
Malta recognised the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council as the only legitimate point of dialogue between Malta and Libya on Tuesday and said it would send a delegation to the rebel capital of Benghazi, Al Jazeera television reported.
(Additional reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers, Zohra Bensemra in Misrata, Matt Robinson in Zintan, Sherine El Madany in Benghazi, Libya, and Marius Bosch in Johannesburg; Writing by Christian Lowe and William Maclean; Editing by Maria Golovnina and Lin Noueihed)

Beached 35ft whale dies on Redcar beach

 

Stranded whale The mammal died despite hopes it would survive until the tide went out

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A 35ft (10.6m) long whale has died three hours after becoming stranded on a beach on Teesside.
Police alerted the RNLI after spotting the 20 tonne, stricken mammal on Redcar Beach, just after 0620 BST.
Officers from the RSPCA joined the rescue bid and tried to keep the whale wet in the hope it would be taken out by the high tide at about 1500 BST.
But despite the efforts, the mammal, believed to be a sperm whale, did not survive.
Officers from the Coastguard and Cleveland Fire Brigade also tried to help while RSPCA vets assessed the mammal's condition.
An RNLI spokesman said: "We have just received notification that unfortunately it has just died in the last few minutes.
"We don't know the reasons but usually when they get to this situation the conclusion is that they don't survive.
"A post mortem will be carried out on the whale and then it will be up to the local council to dispose of it."

Iran Navy saves cargo ship from pirates

 
Tue May 31, 2011 10:36AM
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Members of the Iranian Navy (file photo)
Iran's Navy warships have foiled a pirate attack on a cargo ship in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Somalia in the Horn of Africa.


The MV First Ocean bulk carrier, operated by the multinational V-ships Company, came under attack on Tuesday after several armed people on board three skiffs approached it at high speed, IRNA reported.

The Iranian warships patrolling the area made their way toward the cargo ship immediately upon a distress call coming from the ship that reported an unauthorized boarding attempt by a number of people.

Iranian Navy marines managed to foil the pirate attack on the First Ocean merchant vessel after they engaged in a fire fight. No injuries were reported among the crews of the Iranian ships.

Tuesday's incident brings to twelve the number of confrontations between the Iranian Navy and Somali pirates since the start of the new Persian Year on March 21.

On Sunday, the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy warships saved the Iranian oil-tanker, Damavand, from a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden.

The Iranian flotilla of warships deployed in the Gulf of Aden is part of an anti-piracy surveillance in the area.

Rampant piracy off the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia has made the waters among the most dangerous in terms of pirate activities.

The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for more than 20,000 vessels traveling annually between Asia, Europe and the Americas.

However, attacks by heavily armed Somali pirates on speedboats have prompted some of the world's largest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and reroute cargo vessels around southern Africa, leading to climbing shipping costs.

Somalia has been in strife since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, it has been embroiled in a bitter civil war for years.

The lawless state has been without a functioning government ever since and the authority of the so-called Transitional Federal Government is limited mostly to the area around the capital city, Mogadishu.

MP/MMA

Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge end honeymoon

 

The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge after their wedding The royal wedding was watched by millions of people in 180 countries around the world
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have returned to the UK from their 10-day honeymoon in the Seychelles, St James's Palace has said.
Royal officials had earlier declined to confirm where the couple were staying though media speculation had focused on the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The palace said couple had "thoroughly enjoyed their time together."
They thanked the Seychelles government for helping to make "the honeymoon such a memorable and special 10 days".
The couple left for their honeymoon a few days after they were married on 29 April at Westminster Abbey, an event watched by millions around the world.
The duke briefly returned to his job as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot on Anglesey before the couple left for the exclusive North Island resort in the Seychelles.
A Seychelles government statement said that the east African nation was honoured to have hosted the couple for a peaceful and private holiday.
North Island, where the couple spent their honey moon North Island, where the royal couple spent their honeymoon
The Seychelles coastguard helped protect the couple's privacy as they stayed on North Island, the report added. On their last day the royal couple invited the coastguard ashore to personally thank them for their efforts.
"They left happy and clearly content with their stay," the head of the Seychelles tourism board, Alain St Ange, who saw the couple leave on Friday, told Associated Press.
British High Commissioner Patrick Pillay said: "In a world of so much turmoil they bring a welcome and much needed breath of fresh air with their warmth and humility

South Africa Uganda envoy Qwelane guilty of hate speech

 

Activists at trial of killers of gay rights activist Eudy Simelane (2009) Despite South Africa's liberal constitution, gay and lesbian people are often attacked in townships

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The South African ambassador to Uganda, a former columnist for South Africa's Sunday Sun paper, has been found guilty of hate speech for an anti-gay article.
South Africa's Equality Court fined Jon Qwelane $14,450 (£8,920) and ordered him to apologise for promoting hatred in the column published in 2008.
Headlined "Call me names but gay is NOT OKAY", it caused an uproar at the time.
Mr Qwelane, who was appointed last year to Uganda where homosexual acts are illegal, did not mount a defence.
Correspondents say the outcome of the case is particularly significant in the light of the recent attacks and rapes of lesbian women in South Africa.
Unlike in many African countries, homosexual acts are legal in South Africa and discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned, but activists say gay and lesbian people are often attacked in townships.
"We are hoping really that this finding will send a message to community members, a message that says gay and lesbian people have an equal right to the protection of their dignity," said Vincent Moaga, spokesman for the South African Human Rights Commission, which initiated the complaint against Mr Qwelane.
The Sunday Sun officially apologised for the column following complaints after its publication, but Mr Qwelane refused to make an apology.
The court agreed with commission's argument that Mr Qwelane's article, and the cartoon accompanying it, had promoted hatred against homosexuals, causing them emotional suffering.
Mr Moaga said the money from the fine would be donated to gay rights organisations.
The BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says Mr Qwelane was appointed as ambassador last year, raising concerns that he would fuel tensions in Uganda which has come under intense international pressure over plans to tighten laws against homosexuality.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, first introduced in 2009 and yet to be voted on in Uganda's parliament, seeks to increase the penalties for homosexual acts from 14 years in prison to life.
It also proposes the death penalty for a new offence of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender".

Wildlife 'crash' in the Mara region of Kenya, Africa

 


African buffalo (Image: Arup Shah/NPL) African buffalo are all but gone
Populations of wildlife species in the world-renowned Masai Mara reserve in Kenya have crashed in the past three decades, according to research published in the Journal of Zoology.
Numbers of impala, warthog, giraffe, topi and Coke's hartebeest have declined by over 70%, say scientists.
Even fewer survive beyond the reserve in the wider Mara, where buffalo and wild dogs have all but disappeared, while huge numbers of wildebeest no longer pass through the region on their epic migration.
However, numbers of cattle grazing in the reserve have increased by more than 1100% per cent, although it is illegal for them to so do.

Start Quote

The status of Masai Mara as a prime conservation area and premier tourist draw card in Kenya may soon be in jeopardy”
End Quote Dr Joseph Ogutu Senior statistician in the Bioinformatics unit of the University of Hohenheim
This explosion in the numbers of domestic livestock grazing in the Mara region of south-west Kenya, including within the Masai Mara national reserve, is one of the principal reasons wildlife has disappeared, say the scientists who conducted the research.
Dr Joseph Ogutu, a senior statistician in the Bioinformatics unit of the University of Hohenheim, Germany conducted the study with colleagues there and at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.
They already knew that populations of some large mammals were declining in the Masai Mara, based on an earlier study published in 2009.
But this only examined seven species, over a 15 year period, using limited sampling techniques.
So to get a fuller picture, the team looked at data gathered since aerial monitoring of Kenya's wildlife began in 1977.
This covered 12 species of large mammal, ostriches and livestock, and allowed the team to calculate trends in wildlife numbers over a 33-year period across the entire reserve, and in the Masai pastoral ranches adjoining the reserve.
The data also allowed the scientists to investigate whether numbers of migratory wildebeest and zebra coming into the Mara each year have reduced.
Giraffe
  • African buffalo are the only wild cattle species, and bonds between females are strong. If one individual is under attack from a predator, the herd will rush to the victim's defence
  • Giraffes are the world's tallest animal. Their first experience of life is a two metre drop to the ground, because female giraffes give birth standing up
"We were very surprised by what we found," Dr Ogutu told the BBC.
"The Mara has lost more than two thirds of its wildlife."
Of the 13 large species studied, only ostriches and elephants had not fared badly outside of the reserve, while inside the Masai Mara only eland, Grant's gazelle and ostrich showed any signs of population recovery in the past decade.
The declines are particularly surprising, say the scientists, as they had expected animal populations to have recovered since 2000-2001.
That is when major conservancy efforts, and an increase in local policing, began in an attempt to protect the wildlife there.
"But to our great surprise, the extreme wildlife declines have continued unabated in the Mara," says Dr Ogutu.
"The great wildebeest migration now involves 64% fewer animals than it did in the early 1980s," he adds.
That is despite numbers of wildebeest on the Serengeti, where the migratory animals that cross the Mara come from, staying relatively unchanged.
Zebra (Image: Reto Buehler) Zebra numbers are falling
During the wet season, when there is no migration, resident wildebeest in the reserve have all but disappeared, falling by 97%.
Zebra numbers residing inside the reserve have also fallen by three-quarters.
There appear to be three main causes of these dramatic declines: the activities of poachers, changing land use patterns in ranches within the Mara, and an increase in the number and range of livestock held on these ranches.
According to Dr Ogutu, over 1500 poachers have been arrested within the Mara conservancy between 2001 and 2010, with more than 17,300 snares collected by rangers in the same period.
"Poaching continues to be a major menace," he says.
But the boon in livestock numbers can be just as damaging.
"Not only have numbers of cattle, sheep and goats increased but their distribution has widened, with the density of cattle increasing more than three-fold and that of sheep and goats more than seven fold up to 5km inside the reserve.
Wildebeest (image: Reto Buehler) Vast numbers of wildebeest once travelled through the Masai Mara
"Sadly though, wildlife distribution has contracted throughout the entire Mara region in the same period."
Heavy grazing by these livestock is thought to be displacing the natural fauna.
It may also be making the larger species more vulnerable to starvation during the recurrent severe droughts that have struck the Mara in recent decades.
This competition may be what has already driven out the buffalo, say the scientists.
The expansion of settlements, fences and livestock numbers need to be regulated if these declines in wildlife are to be arrested, they propose, as well as bringing down poaching levels.
"Otherwise, the status of Masai Mara as a prime conservation area and premier tourist draw card in Kenya may soon be in jeopardy," says Dr Ogutu.

Sudan agrees demilitirised zone for north-south border

 

UN peacekeepers patrolling the Todach area, north of Abyei, on 30 May 2011 It is not clear when the zone would come into effect or how it would be patrolled
Northern and southern Sudan have agreed to set up a demilitarised zone along their border to be jointly patrolled.
The African Union-mediated deal comes 10 days after northern troops seized the disputed border region of Abyei.
Details of the deal are still sketchy, but a BBC reporter say the fact that both sides are talking is positive.
Analysts have feared the Abyei dispute could reignite the civil war between the north and South Sudan, which is due to become independent in July.
The UN Security Council condemned the occupation of Abyei and called for the immediate withdrawal of northern troops from the oil-producing region also claimed by the south.
Under the 2005 peace deal, which ended the 22-year civil war, Abyei was granted special status and a joint administration was set up in 2008 to run the area until a referendum decided its fate.
That vote was due to take place in January, when the south decided to split from the north, but has now been postponed indefinitely.
'Town empty'
Map showing the region of Abyei
The demilitarised zone is to include the 2,1100km (1,300 miles) north-south border.
But the African Union statement did not specify when it would come into effect, or how it would be applied in the disputed area of Abyei.
According to AP news agency, the zone will stretch 10km (six miles) from the border, but it is not clear if this is either side of the border, or 10km in total.
The BBC's Peter Martell in the southern capital, Juba, says the significance of the deal is in the face-to-face meetings.
The AU said the agreement would pave the way for further negotiations on security issues to be discussed next week.
Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency says Abyei town has been "virtually emptied" of its population of between 50,000 and 55,000 people, and large numbers of fighters are present on the streets.
Last week, South Sudan's humanitarian affairs minister said he estimated 150,000 people had fled from Abyei state and border regions fearing further attacks. The UN's currently overall figure is 60,000.
"In Agok, displaced people have told us that many people had gone into hiding in the bush to avoid being caught in the fighting," the UN refugee agency said in a statement.
"We are seeing a number of cases in which families have been split during the fighting."
Most of those fleeing Abyei are from the Dinka Ngok, a southern ethnic group who are the permanent residents of the region.
Last week, it was been reported that fighters from the ethnic Misseriya group were in Abyei town.
The Misseriya are northern nomads and one of two groups, along with the Dinka Ngok, to claim Abyei.
The Misseriya were armed by Khartoum and used to attack the south during the civil war.
Some 1.5 million died in the north-south civil war which ended following a peace deal in 2005.

Serbia extradites Ratko Mladic to The Hague

 

Ratko Mladic pictured after his arrest Gen Mladic had evaded capture for 16 years
Ratko Mladic is being flown from Belgrade to a UN tribunal in The Hague, after a Serbian court rejected an appeal against his transfer.
Serbia's justice minister said she had signed the extradition order. After the hearing, the former Bosnian Serb army chief was taken to the airport.
He faces genocide charges over the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s.
His lawyer had argued he was too ill to be tried. But doctors said he was fit enough to be extradited.
The 69-year-old was seized last Thursday in Lazarevo village, north of Belgrade, having been on the run for 16 years.
On Tuesday, a Belgrade court ruled that Gen Mladic was fit enough to be handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
Later, a police convoy was seen leaving the court building, raising speculation that the defendant was already on his way.
Serbian Justice Minister Snezana Malovic then announced she had signed the extradition papers and that Gen Mladic was already on the plane.
He is accused of crimes against humanity, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys.
Once he arrives at the tribunal, there will be an initial hearing before preparations begin for his trial on genocide and other charges.
Candle and flowers
Omarska concentration camp victim Kamal Pervanic: "My guards were my former teachers"
Earlier on Tuesday, Gen Mladic had been allowed to visit the grave of his daughter Ana, albeit under heavy security.
Ana Mladic committed suicide in 1994 aged 23, reportedly shooting herself with her father's favourite pistol after she read about his alleged crimes in a magazine.
During the 20-minute visit to her grave, Gen Mladic lit a candle and he left a small white bouquet of flowers with a red rose in the middle, said Serbia's deputy war crimes prosecutor, Bruno Vekaric.
Gen Mladic's arrest is considered crucial to Serbia's bid to join the European Union.
His son Darko Mladic said his father had told him he was not responsible for the killings in Srebrenica, committed after Bosnian Serb troops overran the town in July 1995.

War in the former Yugoslavia 1991 - 1999

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Following the arrest of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in 2008, Gen Mladic became the most prominent Bosnian war crimes suspect still at large.
He was indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague in 1995 for genocide over Srebrenica - the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II - and other alleged crimes.
Having lived freely in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, he disappeared after the arrest of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in 2001.
On Sunday, thousands of people rallied in Belgrade against his arrest, hailing the general as a Serbian national hero and decrying the pro-Western government of President Boris Tadic for arresting him.

Deg Deg: Somaliland & Puntland Oo Ku Dagaalamay Deegaanka Tukaraq

Laascaanood (RBC Radio):- Wararka naga soo gaaraya degmada Laascaanood ee gobolka Sool ayaa ku soo waramaya in dagaal khasaare geystay uu dhexmaray ciidamo ka kala tirsan maamulada Puntland iyo Somaliland.
Dagaalka dhexmaray labada ciidan ayaa la sheegay in uu ka dhacay deegaanka Tukaraq ee gobolka Sool, waxaana dagaalkaasi uu socday saacado kooban la sheegayaa in uu geystay khasaare nafeed oo dhinacyada soo kala gaaray.
Wararku waxay intaa ku darayaan in ay jirto dhimasho labada dhinac soo kala gaartey iyadoo dhaawacyada dagaalkaasi ku waxyeeloobay loo kala qaadey magaalooyinka Laascaanood iyo Garowe, halkaasi oo lagu dabiibayo xaaladahooda caafimaad.
Dagaalka ayaa la sheegay in uu bilowday kadib markii ciidamada Soomaaliland ay weerar ku soo qaadeen fariisin ciidan oo ay deegaanka Tukaraq ku lahaayeen ciidamada difaaca Puntland halkaasina uu ka dhashay dagaalka socday saacadaha ee dhexmaray labada ciidan.
Ma jirto warar intaasi dhaafsiisan oo laga helayo deegaanka dagaalku ka dhacay ee Gambare, hase ahaatee wararkeena dambe ayan idin kugu soo gudbin doonaa wixii war ah oo ka soo kordha.
RBC Radio.

Falae flays CBN’s order on N150,000 cash withdrawal


On May 31, 2011 · In News
By DAYO JOHNSON
Akure— Former Finance Minister and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu  Falae, yesterday, faulted the new policy  by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, limiting cash withdrawal from bank by individuals to N150,000 and threatened to challenge the policy in the court of law.
Speaking with newsmen in Akure, Chief  Falae, who described the policy as ”arrant nonsense” declared that the new policy was not only a farce but unrealistic.
According to him, the policy “is an infringement on the fundamental right of every Nigerian.”
Falae, who noted that the action of the apex bank was challengeable in court, added, “Í am ready to drag the CBN to court over its unconstitutional step.”
Sanusi Lamido
He pointed out that “limiting cash withdrawal could not be achieved with such decree forcing people to comply with CBN directive but the CBN should pursue financial and fiscal policy that would encourage the use of cheque.”
Falae said, ”I think the whole policy is unnecessary, it is all nonsense because we are in a democracy and the money I put in the bank is my personal property.
”No Central Bank has the right to tell how much of my money I can withdraw at any point in time.
“The constitution guarantees the right of owning property, how can a governor of the central bank or the government abridge my right given to me by the constitution of the country? The money in the bank is your money; you do whatever you like with it.
“It is for the central bank to pursue a financial and fiscal policy that will encourage the use of cheques. It is a complete military mentality to be done like a decree to force such policy on Nigerians.
“It is unacceptable. You can pursue policy that will encourage people to deposit cheque and use less of cash, not by decree or by force.
‘The money is my property nobody can tell me how much of my money I can spend per day. I know that too much cash create a lot of problems but you don’t because of that infringe on my right. It is unnecessary and it won’t work”.
Falae however urged President Goodluck Jonathan to re- create confidence across the nation, end the killings and the instability and adopt a national development programme.
He noted that “Nigeria cannot be an investment haven if the killings in some northern states and part of Niger Delta is not addressed.
‘President Goodluck Jonathan must address the mindless killings going in some part of the country for a long time. We cannot continue to butcher people like goat and we can be regarded as a country noted for peace.
“The act of barbarian in some states in the North should be addressed with all seriousness. No investor will want to come to this country because of these killings. They will think Nigeria is unsafe for business”.
The Former Minister added that there is” the need for Mr. President to address the crisis of confidence which had been created by wide spread violence that followed the last election, adding that the killings that took place had shattered confidence within the nation.
“The president needed to re-build total confidence across the nation, so that people can have confidence in his administration.’ The primary task of Mr. President is to ensure that he re-builds people’s confidence in his administration, we cannot begin to develop and grow if there is no trust” END

A new dawn for the Nigerian economy


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Word of knowledge puts it that, “All things work together for good…” which falls in alignment to our destined achievable national goal. To that effect, the arrangement and the interplay of factors of “Time”, “Space” and “Resources” (both human and natural) have all synchronized in perfect harmony to move the economy of our great nation, Nigeria to the next amiable level through transformational leadership.
I can bet any pessimistic living soul (beyond any ambiguity) that the nation has hit the much and long expected/desired “jackpot” for the rapid economic growth anchored on sustainable development and its sustainability of development (which in a very short while will launch our foreign reserves to a stupendously rich savings surplus) with the recently well presented documentary by the Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke on oil and gas projects. The bedrock of our expected successful national economic planning lies (solely) in her proposed projects (Petrochemical plants, Methanol plant, New local refineries and Fertilizer plants) if successfully executed at record time.
Virtually all the weekly publications/works that featured constantly all through 2008 & 2009 in this medium authored by my humble self specifically stressed on the need of exploiting the above available factors of rapid economic development to fast track our national growth. These factors and opportunities depend on the presently advocacy of Mr. President on “Transformational Leadership”; where he identified and enumerated greed, lack of integrity and self serving (instead of the interest of the nation first) among our past leaders as the major causes of our past economic woes and backwardness after 50 years of our Independence. In a nut shell, when Time, Space and Resources are mentioned; we need to direct our minds to the issues of a time like now (when, at fullness of time INEC has successfully conducted a fairly contested credible election with the support & cooperation of the ‘willing’ electorate that made it possible by making themselves available at the polls and, of course their votes equally counted). We also need to direct our minds to the issues of space and resources provided by the privileges and opportunities divinely created for our teeming population at the marketplace that constantly attracts and draws investors into establishing various concerns in the land. This singular privilege is in the light of the available rich natural resources (like in the oil & gas sector) on our soils and that of very rich, endowed human resources in various disciplines of human endeavors, globally.
The presidential inaugural lecture delivered by Prof. Ladipo Ademolekun (theme: “Transformational Leadership For National Development”) excavated lots of vitals/strategies (both from his presentation and that of former Head of States, Yakubu Gowon and also Mr. President’s comments). These strategies are buried within the five critical fundamentals given by the guest lecturer which are; Electoral Legitimacy, Policy Stability, Security, Rule of Law and Anti Graft. With very robust macro-economic stability and Mr. President’s comment on retaining Ministers for a reasonable period shall in no small measure impact positively in transforming our economy through the Oil Minister’s proposed noble projects. I can clearly imagine Methanol plants and Petrochemical plants when mentioned to be put in place in our economy, experts know that our nation has then arrived and stands to be identified with the tag “Industrialized Economy”.
Self-sustainability in terms of provision of industrial raw materials and wealth creation and recreation through production of goods and services within the economy is the consequential hallmark of what Diezani Alison-Madueke has strategically programmed for the nation through the proposed projects. I personally see beyond the effects of what her Ministry has planned for our national development because, from the commercial perspective; Nigeria shall be a haven (most probably with industrial clusters, Free Trade Zones and Export Processing Zones where the “Asian Tigers” will flock at the instance of their very big Nigerian customers to open shops of small scale manufacturing concerns, if Federal Government so desired through banning of certain imports). This is because, most of the finished goods (example children’s toys made from plasticizers) being imported from China and Far East consume millions of dollars annually from our foreign reserves thereby putting our trade balance in an uncomfortable state at the end of every year. Honestly, this is going to be the realization of my dreams for our nation since 30 years ago (as a scholar of Petro-chemistry in the University). I pray that “Madam Petroleum-Ministry” succeeds.
With this development, as an entrepreneur I equally see no reason why the newly re-capitalized national oil company (NNPC) cannot succeed and become a viable, vibrant corporate entity through her economic activities as a self-sustaining going concern because, optimism is the key. Today, the national economic future is evolving through President Jonathan’s transformational leadership juiced by Alison-Madueke’s strategic projects in the oil and gas sector. This is a new dawn for the nation’s economy.

AU soldiers killed in Somalia suicide attack


MOGADISHU — Two soldiers with the African Union force in Somalia were killed Monday in a suicide attack by Al-Qaeda loyalists that also claimed the lives of at least three attackers, AU and Somali forces said.
Shebab extremists, who pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda last year, claimed responsibility for the attack and claimed their forces killed eight AU troops without revealing their own casualties.
Extremist insurgents disguised as Somali soldiers attacked Shakala military base south of the capital Mogadishu and exchanged fire with AU troops guarding the compound, the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said in a statement.
Four assailants believed to be Shebab Islamist militiamen were behind the attack, the head of Somali security forces Mohamed Abdulahi told AFP.
"Two of the suicide bombers were killed before entering the base, but one was able to activate his bomb," he said.
The AU statement said the attackers drove up in a white saloon car but failed to enter the base. "Three of them were killed, including one would-be suicide attacker who ran away towards Hamar Weyne district," it said.
Two AU troops were killed and five other soldiers were wounded when the body of one of the suicide attackers exploded, it added.
Shebab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said: "The mujahedeen and in particular the unit tasked with the suicide attacks launched a well-organised assault this afternoon."
"They successfully killed eight soldiers at the entrance (of the base) and they forcefully entered", he said, adding at least 20 soldiers were injured.
Shebab leaders and foreign Al-Qaeda fighters in Somalia two weeks ago declared vengeance "in the near future" for the death of Osama bin Laden by US special forces in Pakistan earlier this month.
Somali police at the time said it was aware of a series of planned suicide attacks.
Shebab extremists control southern swathes of Somalia and part of its capital.
However, they have retreated after pro-government forces in February launched a 9,000-strong offensive backed up by AMISOM forces that include soldiers from Uganda and Burundi.

Milton Keynes shootings: Families pay tributes


Mohamed Abdi Farah and Amin Ahmed Ismail Detectives have ruled out the men's deaths being gang related

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The families of two men who were shot dead in Milton Keynes have paid tribute to them.
Somali Amin Ahmed Ismail, 18, died in hospital after the shooting in an alleyway in Fishermead on Thursday.
The other victim, Mohamed Abdi Farah, 19, of Birmingham, who was also originally from Somalia, died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Two men, aged 21 and 33, and a boy, 13, have been bailed pending further inquiries.
Thames Valley Police said the victims were known to them over low-level criminal activity.
Detectives have ruled out the killings being gang-related.
Mr Ismail's family said in a statement that the teenager had come to England at 10 years old.
"He was the only boy in the family and grew up with his four sisters who he loved very much," the statement said.
"He also leaves behind a stepbrother and one stepsister."
'Very, very kind' His family said Mr Ismail had been educated at Southall College and Henley College in Coventry where he was "particularly good" at maths and science.
"Amin was good at education and wanted to achieve a degree and a masters so that he could help look after his mum and sisters," the statement added.
CCTV stills of Mohamed Abdi Farah(wearing hat) and Amin Ahmed Ismail Police have been looking through CCTV of the two men
"Amin had a good personality and was very, very kind. Being the only brother he always looked after his sisters and used to tell us he would look after the whole family.
"He will be missed very much."
Mr Farah's family said he had only been in England for four weeks.
"We, Mohamed's family, are deeply saddened and shocked at what can only be described as the tragic and senseless death of our son, brother, nephew and grandson.
"We cannot put into words the pain we are feeling, only to say that he did not deserve to die in this way. Mohamed will always be in our hearts and will never be forgotten."
They said Mr Farah was a "very likeable, sociable, and friendly individual, who was looking to continue his studies and go to university".
"But sadly that bright future that he was looking forward to has been cut short by a senseless killer," the statement added.
Earlier on Monday, police said officers were conducting house-to-house inquiries and viewing hours of CCTV in a search for the men's killers.

UK general warns against Afghanistan pullout


LONDON (AP) — Britain's most senior general in Afghanistan says that there must be no significant pullout of troops from the country until late 2012.
Gen. James Bucknall said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph that U.S. reinforcements that arrived last year should stay for two more summer fighting seasons to hold gains against the Taliban.
He said any significant withdrawal of troops would send conflicting signals on commitment to the campaign there.
Prime Minister David Cameron recently said that Britain will pull out 450 troops from Afghanistan in the next year.
Bucknall predicted heavy fighting this summer in places like Helmand, where British troops are stationed.
Some argue that Osama bin Laden's death means that allied forces should speed up the pullout from Afghanistan.

Coopers Hill cheese-rolling fans hold unofficial race


Competitors take part in the unofficial cheese rolling event on Coppers Hill A former organiser said lack of first aid at unofficial events was a concern
About 200 people gathered at Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire for an unofficial cheese-rolling contest.
Thrill seekers staged their own event after the official competition was cancelled for the second year in a row.
The event went ahead despite a large police presence at entrances to the hill in Brockworth.
Spectators braved the fog and rain to watch about a dozen competitors pursue a Double Gloucester cheese 200m (656ft) down the 1:2 gradient slope.
The last official event was in 2009. Last year's competition was called off over concerns about safety because of the number of spectators it attracts.
Plans for an official two-day festival this year were abandoned after a public backlash over ticket prices.
Former winner Helen Thorpe said: "No-one's going to stop us doing it.
"They say it's not official but we are all Brockworth people and we're running the cheese today so it is official. We strongly believe in it."
Chris Anderson, 23, from Brockworth holds his prize cheeses after he won all three races Mr Anderson said the race was "in his blood"
Chris Anderson, 23, from Brockworth, won the three adult male races while 14-year-old Jo Guest, from Wolverhampton, came out on top in the women's race.
Mr Anderson, a civilian MoD worker, said that this year's unofficial event passed off without any injuries.
"It's better with the official because you have got ambulance cover, but this is what it is all about, you have got all the locals here," he said.
"It's a Brockworth tradition and it's keeping it going for the people of Brockworth.
"I had to win, it's in my blood."
Former organiser Richard Jeffries last week urged people not to attend any unofficial event.
Mr Jeffries had said the lack of first aid cover would be a "concern" if an unofficial event were to take place.
In the past, St John Ambulance and other volunteers have provided first aid at official events.
More than 100 people are also believed to have attended an unauthorised cheese-rolling event last year.

Monday, 30 May 2011

ICC rejects Kenya bid to halt election violence probe



Residents of the Mathare slum in Nairobi shout at protesters during clashes between two rival groups (1 January 2008)The violence brought Kenya to the brink of civil war

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Judges from the International Criminal Court have ruled against a Kenyan government request to halt a probe into violence following the 2007 elections.
The ICC said Kenya had failed to prove it was investigating six suspects accused of masterminding the violence.
The accused, including Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, deny they committed crimes against humanity during the unrest in which some 1,000 people died.
ICC officials are in Kenya to discuss how to protect witnesses in the cases.
Officials in Nairobi had argued that the adoption of a new constitution and other reforms had opened the way for Kenya to prosecute those responsible.
But the judges at The Hague said they had failed to prove the local authorities were investigating the six suspects so far named.
On Monday, a team from the office of the ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, began discussions with the Kenyan authorities about protecting the witnesses.
The ICC officials would "assess not just the specific protection program", but would also want to "understand the current position of the government in relation with the post-electoral violence", a statement said.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo complained on Sunday that high-ranking members of the government had misrepresented ICC efforts to do justice for the victims as an attack against Kenyan sovereignty.
Kenya's Justice Minister, Mutula Kilonzo, told the BBC's Focus on Africa on Monday there was no truth in the allegation.

Kenya accused

Supporters of Mwai Kibaki in 2007
  • Uhuru Kenyatta - deputy prime minister and finance minister and son of Kenya's founding president
  • Francis Muthaura - head of civil service and cabinet secretary
  • Hussein Ali - police chief during the violence
Supporters of Raila Odinga in 2007
  • William Ruto - former minister of higher education. Member of the Kalenjin community
  • Henry Kosgey - former minister of industrialisation - chairman of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement
  • Joshua arap Sang - reporter and executive of radio station, Kass FM
Last year, the ICC warned that it would request arrest warrants for anyone who tried to threaten witnesses involved in the cases, or their families, and that it was taking steps to identify those responsible for intimidation.
In addition to Mr Kenyatta, the accused are Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, Postal Corporation chief Hussein Ali, suspended government ministers William Ruto and Henry Kosgey, and radio executive Joshua Arap Sang.
The violence, which brought Kenya to the brink of civil war, broke out after supporters of President Mwai Kibaki were accused of trying to rig the presidential election in December 2007.
It ended when Mr Kibaki and the main opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, agreed to share power, with the latter becoming prime minister.
They also agreed that those responsible would face justice in Kenya or at the ICC in The Hague.
ICC judges are to hold hearings in September to decide whether the men should stand trial. If convicted, they could face life imprisonment.

UN: Starvation threatens 2 million in drought-hit Somalia

Fri Sep 13, 2019 01:44PM [Updated: Fri Sep 13, 2019 01:52PM ] Home Africa Somalia A newly arrived woman fleeing from the drought...