Friday, 30 March 2012

Amnesty urges Bahrain to free activist on hunger strike

Supporter calling for Abdulhadi al-Khawaja's release in Bahrain (29 March 2012) Abdulhadi al-Khawaja says he suffered prolonged torture while in detention
Amnesty International has demanded the jailed Bahraini human rights activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, be released "immediately and unconditionally".
Mr Khawaja has been on a hunger strike for the past 51 days and as his condition deteriorates there is growing concern that he may die in prison.
He is refusing food in protest at the life sentence he received in June for allegedly plotting against the state.
Amnesty described his trial by a military court as "grossly unfair".
His conviction was based on a confession he made under duress, and no evidence was presented showing he had used or advocated violence during the mass protests against King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, it said.
'Sexual abuse and beatings' Bahrain has been wracked by unrest since pro-democracy demonstrators occupied a prominent landmark in Manama, Pearl Roundabout, in February 2011. At least 50 people, including five police officers, have been killed, hundreds have been injured and thousands jailed.
The protesters were forcibly driven out of Pearl Roundabout by security forces in March 2011, after King Hamad declared a state of emergency and brought in troops from neighbouring states to crush dissent.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja told the BBC before his arrest on 8 April that he had deliberately stayed away from Pearl Roundabout.
Picture of Pearl Roundabout after raid by security forces (16 March 2011) Protesters were driven from Pearl Roundabout by security forces in March 2011
"I don't want to give the authorities any reason to arrest me," he said.
He was nevertheless picked up in a late night raid and subsequently received a life sentence from a military tribunal for plotting the overthrow of the government.
According to testimony he gave to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) - a panel of human rights experts asked to look into the unrest by King Hamad following the international outcry over his handling of the protests - Mr Khawaja suffered prolonged torture while in detention.
Mr Khawaja said his jaw had been broken in four places when police and masked men burst into his daughter's home and seized him.
He was taken to a Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) hospital and spent seven days blindfolded and handcuffed to his bed, he told the BICI. While in hospital, he and his family were threatened with sexual abuse, he said.
HARDtalk - Nabeel Rajab: King of Bahrain 'not keeping promises'
Mr Khawaja said he then spent two months in solitary confinement in prison and was denied access to a lawyer. He also alleged that he was sexually assaulted and regularly beaten.
Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa director, Philip Luther, said on Friday: "The Bahraini authorities have made pledges that they would release people who were imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression, but the continued imprisonment of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja demonstrates that they are not serious about fulfilling such promises."
According to his lawyer, Mr Khawaja has lost 16kg (35lbs) since his hunger strike began on 8 February in protest at his prison sentence.
The National Safety Court of Appeal, a military court, upheld the conviction in September, but an appeal is set to be heard by the Court of Cassation on 2 April.
The Bahraini authorities were not immediately available for comment.
Mr Khawaja, who is married with four daughters, is also a citizen of Denmark, where he lived in exile for decades. He returned to Bahrain after the government announced a general amnesty in 2001.

Honduras San Pedro Sula prison unrest and fire kill 13

Chief of police Walter Amaya: "What provoked this incident was a dispute between rival gangs"

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At least 13 people have died in unrest at a prison in Honduras, officials say.
They said inmates began fighting among themselves at the San Pedro Sula prison, in the north of the country, and that a fire had then broken out.
Police commissioner Yair Mesa said the riot had been brought under control, the Associated Press news agency says.
Last month, at least 360 inmates died in a fire at Comayagua prison north of the capital. Officials said it may have been caused by a discarded cigarette.
During the latest riot, one prisoner was decapitated and his head thrown in front of the prison entrance, according to local media reports.
"The uprising has been put down without the need to fire shots," Mr Mesa said from inside the prison.
The prisoners themselves appeared to have fought the fire inside the facility, city fire service chief Jose Danilo Flores told AP.
The inmates had prevented firefighters from entering earlier in the day, he added.
Security Minister Pompeyo Bonilla said the fire at the facility had "once again highlighted the critical situation" in the country's prisons, Agence France Presse reports.
Prisons in Honduras hold some 13,000 inmates in a system designed for 8,000.
The government has promised to reform the country's prison system but the task ahead of them is huge, reports the BBC's Central America correspondent Will Grant.
The problems facing the prison system include chronic overcrowding, opposing street gangs being housed side-by-side, rampant corruption and crumbling infrastructure in jail buildings, he says.

France arrests 19 suspected Islamist militants in raids

The BBC's Christian Fraser: "Everything that is happening at the moment also has to be seen through the prism of the election"
Police in France have arrested 19 suspected Islamist militants and seized weapons in a series of dawn raids, President Nicolas Sarkozy says.
The raids were in Toulouse, the home of gunman Mohamed Merah, and other cities.
Merah, who killed seven people in three separate attacks, was buried in Toulouse on Thursday after being killed in a shoot-out with police on 22 March.
Police have been hunting possible accomplices but sources said there was no direct link with the raids.
Mr Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio after Friday's raids: "It's our duty to guarantee the security of the French people. We have no choice. It's absolutely indispensable."
Forsane Alizza The raids were carried out by the domestic intelligence agency, the DCRI, with the help of the elite Raid police commando group, Agence France-Presse news agency reports.
Several of the raids were in Toulouse, particularly the Mirail quarter, sources told AFP.
But there were also raids in Nantes, which is believed to be a centre for the Forsane Alizza (Knights of Pride) group, to which Merah had been linked by some French media.
It is a Salafist group that was dissolved by the interior ministry in an earlier investigation.
Merah is buried at the Cornebarrieu cemetery in Toulouse on 29 March Merah was buried at the Cornebarrieu cemetery in Toulouse on Thursday
One of those arrested was the group's suspected leader, Mohammed Achamlane.
Police sources told AFP that three Kalashnikovs, a Glock pistol and a grenade were seized at his home.
Other raids took place in Lyon, Marseille, Paris, Nice, Rouen and Le Mans.
The BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris says the DCRI had been criticised for allowing Merah to slip through the gaps, so the agency now appears to be concentrating on people that may have slipped from focus over the past few months.
Merah's brother, Abdelkader, has already been charged with aiding him and police are hunting a third man said to be involved in the theft of a scooter that Merah used in all the killings.
Police also say a USB memory stick that was posted to the al-Jazeera TV channel containing the video he took of the killings must have been posted by someone other than Merah.
'Profound trauma' After Merah's killings, President Sarkozy ordered police to evaluate the level of danger posed by those known to sympathise with radical Islamists.
Mr Sarkozy told Europe 1 on Friday that arrests of suspected radical Islamists "would continue and that will allow us to expel from our national territory a certain number of people who have no reason to be here".

Mohamed Merah

Mohamed Merah, in video shown by French TV station France 2
  • French citizen of Algerian extraction, aged 23
  • Had criminal record in France for non-terrorist crimes
  • Had described himself as an al-Qaeda member and has spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan
He added: "What must be understood is that the trauma of Montauban and Toulouse is profound for our country, a little - I don't want to compare the horrors - a little like the trauma that followed in the United States and in New York after the September 11, 2001 attacks."
Mr Sarkozy is in the midst of a presidential election campaign, seeking a second term in office in the polls on 22 April.
An opinion poll late on Wednesday suggested Mr Sarkozy was now ahead of main challenger Francois Hollande in first-round voting intentions - by 30% to 26% - and had narrowed Mr Hollande's lead in the largely expected run-off vote on 6 May.
Merah, 23, was buried at the Cornebarrieu cemetery in Toulouse on Thursday. His body was accompanied by around 15 men, although it was not clear who they were.
Toulouse's mayor had said it was "inappropriate" for Merah to be buried there, but Algeria, where his family is originally from, had refused to accept his body.
Merah died in a police assault on his flat in Toulouse on 22 March after a 32-hour siege. He had killed three soldiers in two separate attacks before shooting dead three children and a teacher at a Jewish school.
Merah is said to have told police he wanted to avenge Palestinian children and to attack the French army because of its foreign interventions.

Soviet ex-KGB chief Leonid Shebarshin 'kills himself'

Leonid Shebarshin in 1991 (video grab) Leonid Shebarshin (seen here in 1991) recently celebrated his 77th birthday
A former head of the Soviet KGB foreign intelligence branch, Leonid Shebarshin, has apparently shot himself dead aged 77, Russian prosecutors and police say.
Shebarshin was found dead with a gunshot wound at his flat in central Moscow, a ceremonial pistol by his side, police told news agencies.
A suicide note was reportedly also found at the scene.
A veteran of Soviet intelligence in South Asia and Iran, he led the KGB's First Chief Directorate from 1989-91.
In 1991, he replaced coup plotter Vladimir Kryuchkov for two days as overall head of the KGB before he resigned himself, as the new post-Communist authorities set about dismantling the organisation.
As head of KGB operations in post-revolutionary Iran, he was expelled along with fellow officers in 1983.
Previously he had served in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Russian media reports say.
Shebarshin celebrated his 77th birthday on 24 March.
The doorkeeper at his apartment block told reporters the former KGB chief had lived alone since the death of his wife a few years ago.
"Shebarshin was friendly and good-natured," he told Itar-Tass news agency.
"He always said hello but you could see his health was failing."
Russian prosecutors said an investigation into a possible suicide was under way.

Japan PM Yoshihiko Noda defends death penalty

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda Mr Noda pointed to continued strong public support for the death penalty in Japan

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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has defended the country's use of the death penalty, days after three death-row inmates were hanged.
"I have no plans to do away with the death penalty," Mr Noda said, according to the Kyodo news agency.
Thursday's executions were Japan's first since July 2010.
Japan is one of the few advanced industrialised nations to retain the death penalty. It is usually reserved for multiple murders.
"Taking into consideration a situation where the number of heinous crimes has not decreased, I find it difficult to abolish the death penalty immediately," Mr Noda said.
"We must carefully weigh the nature of the death penalty from various standpoints, while giving sufficient attention to public opinion," he continued, pointing out that in 2009, 85.6% of those polled in a government survey supported the measure.
Reports on Thursday said that the unnamed prisoners, hanged in separate prisons, had all been convicted of multiple murders.
There are currently more than 100 people on death row, including Shoko Asahara, the mastermind behind the 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway. No executions were carried out in 2011.
Human rights groups say Japan's death row is particularly harsh.
Amnesty International has called for it to be abolished, saying the condemned have few visits, little exercise and are forced to spend almost all of their time sitting down in their cells.
Sometimes held for decades, they are not warned in advance of when they will be put to death, meaning they fear every day is their last, the BBC's Roland Buerk reports.

Bin Laden 'fathered four children' while on the run

Osama Bin Laden Bin Laden was top of the US "most wanted" list
Osama Bin Laden fathered four children while on the run, the wife who bore them has told Pakistani officials.
Amal Abdulfattah, from Yemen, was Bin Laden's youngest wife. She was arrested after the US raid on his compound near the Pakistani capital in 2011.
She said two of her children were delivered in state hospitals, but she stayed there just "two or three hours".
Bin Laden, 54, orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington in which nearly 3,000 people died.
He evaded the forces of the US and its allies for almost a decade, despite a $25m (£15m) bounty on his head.
Family 'scattered'
According to a report of the interrogation carried out by Pakistani investigators, Ms Abdulfattah, who came from a family with 17 children, married Bin Laden because "she had a desire to marry a Mujahideen", or holy warrior.
Along with three other wives found living at the residence, she was charged with entering and living illegally in the country.
The report recommends that the 30-year-old and her children be immediately deported.
However, a lawyer for the three widows has said that they would be formally charged for illegally staying in Pakistan - a charge that carried a maximum prison term of five years - on 2 April.
Her account says she flew to Pakistan in 2000 and travelled to Afghanistan where she married Bin Laden before the 11 September 2001 attacks.
The family was subsequently "scattered" she told investigators and she travelled to Karachi in Pakistan, later meeting up with Bin Laden in Peshawar and then moving to the Swat Valley, where they lived in two houses.
They moved once again before settling in Abbottabad in 2005.
During the hunt for him, most US and Pakistani officials believed he was hiding somewhere along the remote Afghanistan-Pakistan border, possibly in a cave.

China arrests over coup rumours

Chinese military vehicle Some web users posted pictures of military vehicles on the streets

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Chinese police have arrested six people for spreading online rumours that military vehicles had been seen on the streets of Beijing, officials say.
The web posts were picked up by media outlets around the world, and some critics of Beijing suggested a coup might be taking place.
The State Internet Information Office said the rumours had a "very bad influence on the public".
The office said 16 websites had been closed down for carrying the posts.
A spokesman for the office told state news agency Xinhua that a number of other people had been "admonished or educated".
He added some staff had been "criticised and punished accordingly" at China's biggest microblogging website Sina Weibo, where some of the rumours had circulated.
The web-postings came at a crucial time for China's ruling elite, which was hit by its biggest scandal in years when high-flying party official Bo Xilai was removed from his post.
Later in the year he had been expected to rise to the Politburo's Standing Committee, the Communist Party's main decision-making body.
Mr Bo's demise came amid allegations that his police chief and main political ally had tried to seek asylum at a US mission.

Diane Hill seriously burned pouring petrol in kitchen

Diane Hill Diane Hill's condition in hospital has been described as critical but stable

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A woman was badly burned when petrol ignited in the kitchen of her York home as she was pouring it into a jug.
Diane Hill, 46, suffered 40% burns in the accident at her home in Moorgate, Acomb, on Thursday evening. The cooker, on at the time, ignited the fuel.
She was "critical but stable" at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
A fire service spokesman said: "Her daughter asked her mum for petrol because she had run out. The cooker was on and the fumes ignited."
The accident came two days after government minister Francis Maude suggested that motorists take the "sensible precaution" of filling up jerry cans and keeping them in the garage.
It has prompted the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to ask the government to make an urgent public safety announcement highlighting the dangers of petrol in the home.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "The public do not understand the extreme dangers posed by petrol handling or storage and they must be advised as a matter of urgency.
"Government needs to issue urgent professionally-based advice to warn the public before we have another incident, perhaps with far worse consequences."
Fire safety consultant Bob Parkin told the BBC that the fumes from petrol cause the biggest danger
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Well this is obviously a desperate incident and a terrible thing that has happened to this woman and my heart goes out to her and her family."
Fire station manager Lee Smith, whose Acomb crew attended the fire shortly after 18:00 BST on Thursday, said: "The people were cooking their tea and dispensing petrol from a container to a glass jug.
"The vapour then ignited, the jug was then spilt which obviously ignited as well and the person involved in the decanting was consumed by the flames.
"Her daughter phoned 999 and was obviously extremely distressed."
Ms Hill, who suffered 40% burns to her whole body, was treated by ambulance personnel in her kitchen before being taken to Pinderfields.
Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire in the kitchen and removed the remaining petrol.
A North Yorkshire Fire Service spokesman said: "Members of the public should take extreme care when handling and storing petrol and be aware of the risks associated with incorrect use and storage of fuel.
Scene of fire in Moorgate, York Diane Hill was treated by paramedics at the house in Moorgate, York
"Never bring petrol inside your home. If you do smell petrol fumes in a garage or outbuilding, ventilate the area and make sure nobody smokes or turns electrical switches on or off.
"The slightest spark could cause an explosion."
It is not known if the 46-year-old had been storing petrol in advance of the threat of industrial action by tanker drivers .
Mr Maude advised motorists to fill up jerry cans in case of a strike.
This was subsequently clarified by Transport Minister Mike Penning, who said jerry cans could store 20 litres, more than the amount advised for safe home storage.
John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, said Mr Maude should do the "decent thing" and resign over his comments.
But Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Warsi rejected the call, telling BBC Newsnight: "I think what's deeply irresponsible and, frankly, sickening, is that the Labour Party want to make political points out of this personal tragedy for this lady."

TV ad shows danger of 'invisible secondhand smoke'

Man smoking in front of a baby Two million children are thought to live in households where adults smoke

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Making houses and cars smokefree is the only way to protect children from second-hand smoke, according to a new government campaign in England.
The TV and radio adverts show how pervasive invisible second-hand smoke can be.
Breathing it in can damage lungs and cause cancers, research has shown.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is calling for smoking in cars where children are present to be made illegal.
Second-hand smoke is the smoke breathed in from other people's cigarettes.
The new TV campaign is based on research which shows that most secondhand smoke is in the form of invisible, odourless gases.
It shows a young baby being surrounded by cigarette smoke as her mother smokes by the nearby kitchen door.
Another advert depicts children in a car breathing in second-hand smoke from their father's cigarette. He is smoking in the driver's seat with the window down.

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Parents who smoke need to think about the effect it has on their family”
Prof Dame Sally Davies England's chief medical officer
A study from the National Research Council in 1986 found that 85% of second-hand smoke cannot be seen.
This smoke can put other people and children at increased risk of lung disease, meningitis and cot death.
'Protect others' Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that people do not realise the serious effect of second-hand smoke.
"This campaign will raise awareness of this danger and encourage people to take action to protect others from second-hand smoke.
He also said the government had plans to do more.
"Next week we will end tobacco displays in large shops. We will also be consulting on plain packaging this spring."
Research carried out by the Royal College of Physicians found that around two million children currently live in a household where they are exposed to cigarette smoke, and many more are exposed outside the home.
The damage caused by exposure to the harmful toxins in cigarette smoke results in 9,500 hospital visits in the UK each year costing the NHS more than £23m annually, the report said.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said it wanted to see smoking in cars made illegal, when children are present.

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I have no doubt an outright ban on smoking in cars would have the same positive results [as banning drink-driving]”
Prof Terence Stephenson Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health
Professor Terence Stephenson, President of the RCPCH, said: "The state does have a duty to protect children's health and intervene where necessary.
"Other progressive legislation such as seatbelts in cars and banning drink-driving, once met with scepticism, have proven to make a significant difference.
"I have no doubt an outright ban on smoking in cars would have the same positive results."
Doctors in Scotland have also urged the government in Edinburgh to ban smoking in cars, while the Welsh government said last year it would consider legislation if attitudes did not change.
Prof Dame Sally Davies, England's chief medical officer, said second-hand smoke could cause a range of health problems.
"Smoking damages our lungs, causes cancers and is now the biggest risk for cot death. Parents who smoke need to think about the effect it has on their family.
"Giving up smoking or making sure you have a completely smokefree home and car is the only way to protect your family."
Support and advice is available on the NHS if people want to give up smoking, she said.
A survey of 1,000 young people in England by the Department of Health, found that children overwhelmingly want smokefree lives.
Eighty-two per cent of children wished their parents would stop smoking in front of them at home and 78% wanted their parents to stop smoking in front of them in the car.
BBQs and bonfires Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: "There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke and children are at risk of a range of diseases such as asthma, ear infections, and potentially fatal meningitis as a result of breathing in second-hand smoke in the home or car."
But Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said the government had gone too far.
"It's only a matter of time before loving parents who smoke in or around their homes are accused of child abuse and risk having their children taken into care.
"Tobacco is a legal product. If the government doesn't want children exposed to even a whiff of smoke they will have to amend the smoking ban to allow designated smoking rooms in pubs and clubs. That is the only sensible solution.
"Meanwhile, are they going to ban barbecues and bonfires?"

Met police officer suspended in racist abuse inquiry

Riot police in Tottenham The complainant was arrested during the London riots last year, police said
A policeman has been suspended after a man arrested during the London riots complained that he was subjected to racism, assault and harassment.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigated the officer, and two others, and a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
After previously deciding not to press charges, the CPS is reassessing the alleged events of 11 August last year.
Neither of the other two police officers are currently suspended.
'Personally considered matter' One has been placed on restricted duties on an unrelated matter while the other remains on full duties.
The CPS confirmed earlier that having decided not to press charges, it would be assessing the case again.
Grace Ononiwu, deputy chief crown prosecutor for the CPS London, said: "Lawyers for the complainant have written to the CPS and asked us to review our decision.
"I have considered the matter personally and directed that all of the evidence should be reconsidered and a fresh decision taken by a senior lawyer with no previous involvement in this matter.
"That process will be completed as soon as possible," she added.
A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that a complaint had been received.
He said: "These are serious allegations; any use of racist language or excessive use of force is not acceptable.
Misconduct investigation "The MPS's Directorate of Professional Standards referred this case to the IPCC who are independently investigating.
"Following the alleged incident, three officers were the subject of a misconduct investigation.
"One of the officers has been suspended in relation to this matter pending the result of the IPCC investigation.
"One of the officers has been placed on restricted duties on an unrelated matter and another remains on full duties.

Libya claims Saadi Gaddafi's London mansion

Rana Jawad takes a look around the mansion

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A multi-million dollar London mansion that belonged to one of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's sons is due to be handed over to Libya's transitional authorities.
The house - in one of London's most exclusive areas - was owned by Saadi Gaddafi, the ousted leader's footballer son.
Saadi Gaddafi, who escaped to Niger - one of Africa's poorest nations - after his father was toppled, is in the process of officially losing his property in one of London's richest areas.
The interior design of this property is modern and slick with luxuries such as a sauna, an indoor jacuzzi and a pool room.
The brown suede-lined home cinema walls were encrusted with crystals, and there are spotlights everywhere. The sparkle was there, but the bling was not.
This house has been the subject of news interest for more than a year, and has now been home to squatters longer than it has been to Saadi or any of his family members.
There have also been mounting electrical, mould and flooding problems.
Bedroom with new Libyan flag hanging over the bed
Mohamed Shabaan, the legal representative of Libya's new authorities in the UK, told the BBC that the house had structural problems when it was bought, and that construction workers upped and left half way through their work when Saadi presumably failed to pay them during the uprising in Libya.
The basement has since flooded, and although that has been cleaned up, it has left behind a vile stench of rotting carpets coming from the indoor cinema.
Mr Shabaan says the deeds of the house are expected to be in the hands of Libya's new authorities in two to three weeks.
Earlier this month, a high court judge in London ruled that the estate had been "wrongfully and unlawfully purchased" using Libyan state funds.
One neighbour told the BBC that he had seen two of the late dictator's sons at the estate, but only on three occasions.
When they did make an appearance, it was no secret. They would arrive in limousines with blacked-out windows and a large entourage of friends and bodyguards, according to the neighbour.

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It's actually quite an understated house, it's a proper home - it's not a palace by any means! ”
Jeremy Karpel Director of estate agents TK International
Haunted by the past
But who would want to live here now?
Jeremy Karpel, the director of estate agents TK International, who have an office in Hampstead, feels that the identity of the previous owner would not necessarily deter potential buyers.
"It's not dripping with gilt everywhere, with bling and gold, which used be the way forward," he says.
"It's actually quite an understated house, it's proper home - it's not a palace by any means! A banker could go for this, as well as a mini-oligarch, as well as an Arab sheikh."
We are told the house is likely to go on sale and has been valued at up to $16m (£10m).
Six young Libyan men are currently living in the mansion - four asylum seekers and two students.
They are no longer described as squatters, but as the "guardians" of the house until their government officially claims it back.
They describe much of their time spent there as "difficult".
Muftah, one of the asylum seekers, says they all make sure someone is always in the house, because they are afraid of someone taking it over.
They say they have had to fend off attacks on the house by supporters of the former regime. They also claim that they have been offered large sums of money by dubious characters and groups of various nationalities on condition that they all leave the place. It's unclear why.
Muftah says they won't. "We will leave when the house goes back to the Libyan people…," he says.
Assets galore It is believed there are unrecovered and undiscovered Gaddafi family assets worth billions of dollars scattered around the world, including the UK.
They are believed to have bank accounts and shares in bonds and investments in the UK and other countries.
Tracing these assets has been an uphill struggle, because they are either bought by offshore companies or registered under someone else's name.
"These assets are really difficult to find and also difficult to claim back," Libya's deputy ambassador to London, Ahmed Gebreel, says.
"We are working with private firms, with some individuals, and are also seeking assistance and cooperation from other governments."
On Thursday, the Italian authorities seized more than $1.45bn worth of assets from the Gaddafi family.
The recent UK High Court ruling on Saadi's controversial property is seen as a landmark case in asset recovery.
It is the first of its kind since the Arab Spring and it could set a precedent for similar cases in the future.
Much like his other siblings, Saadi firmly stood by his father's regime as the conflict unfolded.
Any assets belonging to him, his brothers and sister, or former regime confidants are firmly considered by many Libyans as state-owned property that should be returned.

Record Mega Millions jackpot tops $640m

Some hopefuls in Covina, California queued down the road to wait in line for a ticket

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Lottery fever has swept the US hours before the draw for a $640m (£400m) Mega Millions prize, the biggest jackpot in world history.
Queues have been snaking out of shops from coast to coast with some punters snapping up tickets by the bushel.
The prize has been swelling since 24 January, with no winner matching all five numbers in the last 18 draws.
Forty-two states are in the big draw, which takes place in Atlanta, Georgia at 23:00 EDT (03:00 GMT).
The prize had stood at $540m before Friday's announcement. Lottery officials estimate that customers will have spent some $1.5bn on tickets by the time of the draw.
A jackpot winner could choose between receiving the full amount of $640m in 26 annual payments (more than $24m a year) or an instant cash option of more than $460m.

How to spend your jackpot

  • Try to stay anonymous. If your identity gets out, it can be hard to escape the attention - and those who want some of your fortune.
  • Take the money over time - 98% of jackpot winners choose instant payout options, but most people run through that money in five years or less. You can make better use of the money, and plan better, by taking the prize in annual installments. It can sometimes also be better from a tax perspective to receive the prize over time.
  • Find a financial adviser, or ideally a set of advisers, who have experience working with assets as valuable as your prize. Many winners ask their friends or people they know to help them manage their money, but they are not equipped to help you make the best decisions.
  • Use some, or preferably most of the money to give back to society. The happiest winners are usually the ones who used their money for public good.
The largest jackpot to be paid out until now was a $390m Mega Millions prize that was split between two winners in 2007.
One hopeful ticket-buyer, Allsaints Macauley, a 64-year-old taxi driver in Washington DC, told the BBC that if he won he would drive his vehicle to one of the capital's busiest intersections and leave it behind to be towed away.
"I'd skip town with my children to a place where the temperature will not go below 86 [F] and just hang out.
"The guys on Wall Street invest my trust, so my kids will never have to drive a cab or wash dishes like I did."
Also in the queue was Mike Notarangelo, 52, unemployed, who said: "I'd set up my daughter, take care of my parents, and choose some charities to get some of the money.
"After that, I would travel the world. See all those places I've never been to."
In California, some shops have been experiencing a ticket-buying frenzy, after lottery officials in the Golden State revealed which outlets have previously sold the most winning tickets.
Ryan King, a 33-year-old construction worker, told the Los Angeles Times: "I've already spent the money in my head, 300 times."
The Las Vegas Sun reports that people have been driving to a shop on Nevada's border with California to buy tickets.

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You are about 50 times as likely to get struck by lightning as to win the lottery”
Mike Catalano Mathematics professor
Some $2,600 of tickets were sold to one buyer at a cafe in the state of Arizona, reports the Associated Press.
Even the relatively wealthy have apparently not been immune to the lottery bug.
NBA basketball player Chris Singleton, who earns a reported $1.5m playing for the Washington Wizards, said on Twitter that he planned to splurge $10,000 on tickets.
The Kansas City Star that the winnings could buy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a private island near Phuket, Thailand, or a fleet of 200 Bugatti sports cars.
But the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against any one person matching the six-ball jackpot.
Lottery officials say the chance of winning is just one-in-176 million. Tickets cost $1.
Mathematics professor Mike Catalano of Dakota Wesleyan University told the Associated Press news agency: "You are about 50 times as likely to get struck by lightning as to win the lottery, based on the 90 people a year getting struck by lightning."
Based on other US averages, a person is 8,000 times more likely to be murdered, or 20,000 times more likely to die in a car accident than to win the lottery, he added.
The states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada are not participating in the draw.

Cusbitaalkii Dayniile iyo garoonka diyaaradaha yaa gacanta ku haya? (Sawirro).

Written by Administrator on .
Waxaa caawa soo gabagaboobay dagaalkii cuslaa ee ka dhacay degmada Dayniile, iyadoona dagaalkaasi looga adkaaday cadowga iskaashanaya ee Afrikaanta iyo dabadhilifyadooda.

Hayeeshee cadowga Allaah ayaa mar waliba ka been sheega xaqiiqada dagaalka taasi oo ah dhaqankooda iyo diintooda, iyadoona nasiib darro ay tahay kuwa isku sheega warbaahinada afka Somaliga ku hadla ee dadkooda ku marin habaabinaya borobagaanka cadowga.

Afhayeenka Kuffaarta Afrikaanta Beenaale Ankunda ayaa afkiisa ka sheegtay in ay si buuxda u heystaan degmada Dayniile isagoona carabaabay garoonka diyaaradaha iyo Cusbitaalka Dayniile oo uu sheegay in ay qabsadeen.

Haddaba warkaasi ma run baa? Sidoo kale ma run buu ahaa dagaalkan kii ka horeeyay in AMISOM looga dilay 10 oo meydadkii Calamada lagu soo bandhigay ay ahaayeen kuwa Mujaahidiinta, sida Ankunda uu yiri?

Jawaabta su’aalahaasi ka dheeho sawiradan caddeynaya cidda hadda gacanta ku heysa goobaha la sheegay ee degmada Dayniile.

Garoonka Dayniile

Garoonka Dayniile

Isbitaalka Dayniile


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Shabaab oo Weerar Gaadmo ah ku Qaaday Kolonyo Ethiopian oo Mareysay Bohol-Bashiir

Muqdisho (RBC) Wararka naga soo gaaraya degmada Luuq ee gobolka Gedo ayaa sheegaya in dagaal kooban uu galabta ka dhacay meel u dhow deegaanka Bhol-Bashiir ee duleedka degmada Luuq ka dib markii weerar gaadmo ah ciidamo ka tirsan Xarakada Al-Shabaab ku qaadeen kolonyo ciidampo Ethiopian ah oo halkaasi marayey.
Weerarka gaadmada ayaa dhacay galabta abaare 4:00 galabnimo sida ay xaqiijiyeen saraakiil ka tirsan ciidamada DKMG Soomaaliya oo ku sugan degmada Luuq.
Ciidamada Ethiopianka ayaa ka soo dhaqaaqay dhanka degmada Yurkud waxayna ku sii jeedeen degmada Luuq iyadoo meesha weerarku ku qabsaday ay ahayd agagaarka Bohol-Bashiir.
Wararka deegaanka laga helayo ayaa sheegaya in hubkaculus la isu adeegsaday dagaal kooban oo labada dhinac dhexmaray iyadoo ciidamada Ethiopianka ay hore u sii wateen safarkooda.
Lama oga khasaaraha ka dhashay weerarka gaadmada ee ay Shabaabka ku qaadeen ciidamada Ethiopianka, inkastoo saraakiisha DKMG ee ku sugan Luuq ay ku gaabsadeen inuusan jirin haba yaraatee wax khasaare ah.
Afhayeen u hadlay Al-Shabaab Sheekh C/casiis abnuu Muscab ayaa caawa idaacadda Al-Shabaab ka sheegay in weerarka gaadmada ah uu mid ay qorsheeyeen ayna khasaare dhimasho iyo dhaawac ku gaarsiiyeen Ethiopianka.  Wuxuu intaa ku daray inay gaadiid dhowr ahna ay Ethiopianka kaga gubeen weerarka gaadmada ah.

Kooxo hubeysan oo xalay weeraray Saldhigga Degmada Huriwaa iyo Dad shacab ah oo siyaabo kala duwan loogu dilay Muqdisho

Khamiis, Maarso 29, 2012 (HOL) — Xoogag hubeysan oo ka tirsan Al-shabaab ayaa xalay weeraray saldhigga degmada Huriwaa ee gobolka Banaadir, iyadoo sidoo kale laba qof oo shacab ah siyaabo kala duwan loogu dilay xalay magaalada Muqdisho.

Laba qof oo dhinacyadii hardamay ka mid ah ayaa la sheegay inay ku dhinteen weerarka saldhigga lagu qaaday, iyadoo maamulka degmada Huriwaa ay sheegeen in weerarku uu ahaa mid gaadmo ah ayna iska difaaceen ciidamadu kooxihii weerarka soo qaaday.
Goobjoogayaal ku sugan degmada ayaa sheegay in dagaalka uu socday dhowr daqiiqo la iskuna adeegsaday hubka noocyadiisa kala duwan, waxaana dadku ay sheegeen in cabsi weyn ay soo wajahday dadka ku nool degmada.
Dhanka kale, kooxo hubeysan ayaa xalay waxay laba qof ku dileen magaalada Muqdisho, iyadoo labada qof mid ka mid ah ay ahayd haweeney lagu toogtay agagaarka isgoyska Baar Ubax ee degmada Hodan, lamana oga sababta labadan qof loo dilay.
Habeennadii lasoo dhaafay ayaa waxaa magaalada Muqdisho ka dhacayay dilal qorsheysan oo ay geysanayaan kooxo hubeysan, inkastoo dowladdu ay ku eedeyso inay ka tirsan yihiin Al-shabaab oo billowday sannadkii hore inay Muqdisho isaga baxdo.
Saraakiisha ammaanka Muqdisho ayaa sheegay inay wadaan baaritaanno ay ku raadinayaa kooxaha ka dambeeya dilalka qorsheysan ee Muqdisho ka dhaca, inkastoo Al-shabaab ay sheegtay inay waddo qorshayaal ay ku beegsanayso saldhigga dowladda iyo kuwa AMISOM ee Muqdisho ku yaalla.

Maxamed Xaaji Xuseen, Hiiraan Online
maxuseen@hiiraan.comMuqdisho, Soomaaliya

Drafting Somalia's Constitution Opens Debate on Religion, Law

Somalia women celebrate as they welcome the implementation of Islamic Sharia law at Konis stadium, in Mogadishu, Somalia, FILE April 19, 2009.
Somalia women celebrate as they welcome the implementation of Islamic Sharia law at Konis stadium, in Mogadishu, Somalia, FILE April 19, 2009. Photo: AP
Gabe Joselow | Nairobi
March 29, 2012 In a country torn apart by civil war, piracy and terrorism, many hope a new constitution will bring some amount of stability to Somalia.

Since the fall of the last government in 1991, a succession of interim governments have failed to establish rule of law. Millions of people have been displaced or exiled by fighting and famine.

Somalia is now under pressure to produce a draft of a new constitution by April 20, according to the guidelines agreed to in the "Roadmap" to end the donor-backed transitional government and to hold new elections this year.
Prime Minister Abdiwelli Mohammed Ali pleaded with participants at a constitutional conference in February to find a solution to the few challenges remaining.

"Everything in our lives has been and continues to be in transition," he said in prepared remarks at the talks in Garowe. "To me this constitutional process represents the possibility of a new beginning, the possibility for the Somali people to say 'enough' to transitions."

Balancing Act

But crafting a one-size-fits-all constitution for a society deeply divided along clan and family lines, with no allegiance to a central authority, is no easy task. The key is to find a balance between civil law, customary law and Islamic Sharia law.

Because Somalia is wholly Muslim, many agree that elements of Sharia, based on the teachings of the Quran, must serve as a basis for the constitution.

"It's very well and fine to say Sharia is a source of law," said J. Peter Pham, Director of the Michael Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C. "It's a great slogan, no one is against it in Somalia by and large."

But, Pham points out that Somali culture has always respected the distinction between the "spearman and the priest," - the separation of traditional and religious law. He says tradition usually takes precedence.

"If if was a matter that touched on customary law, dealt with major property, murder, rape, you held a Gurti - an assembly of elders - and they looked at what the precedents were and based on what people had always done, they issued rulings," he said.

Religious law as interpreted by clerics, he says, would traditionally only be used to settle domestic disputes, including issues of marriage and family.

Even during the time of the Islamic Courts Union around 2006, when a coalition of Sharia courts ruled over parts of southern Somalia, Pham says traditional law was more commonly used to settle property and criminal matters.

If Sharia is imposed in Somalia as strictly as it is in some other Muslim countries, he says, "you're begging for trouble."
Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia Abdiweli Mohamed Ali gestures during a press conference at The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, FILE February 23, 2012 .
Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia Abdiweli Mohamed Ali gestures during a press conference at The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, FILE February 23, 2012. AP

Red Lines

The United Nation's role in the drafting process has irked some Somali religious leaders, who fear new rights put in the text will contradict the tenets of Islam.

April Powell-Willingham, head of the joint constitution unit at the U.N. Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) and U.N. Development Program for Somalia (UNDP) says the perception that the United Nations has commandeered the drafting process to force its own principles onto the Somali people has put the U.N. in a "double-bind."

"We need to keep certain values at the forefront - inclusivity, representation and respect for universal norms," she said. "At the same time, however, the U.N. is accused of having too heavy a footprint. So it’s a very difficult position and a rather circular discussion."

Some attempts to insert an interpretation of Sharia that prohibits women from serving in top elected positions are also causing tension.

Powell-Willingham says the debate centers on a section of the 2010 Consultative Draft Constitution (CDC) that guarantees political rights for women.

"There is some discussion about removing article 1 section 4 of the CDC, which ensures that women shall be represented in all elected and appointed positions at all levels and branches of government, a protection which prohibits women from being banned from public service writ large, but particularly from being banned from serving at the highest levels of government, for instance, as president, prime minister or as judges," she said..

Powell-Willingham says the United Nations is trying to ensure the constitution protects internationally recognized human rights. She says there are a number of "red lines" that the U.N. has drawn - including the death penalty.

Sheikh Abdirashid Ali Noor, a cleric in Nairobi, Kenya, says it is possible for Sharia and civil law to work side by side, only if there are limits.

"It gets a little complicated since democracy gives people excess freedoms, for example, to homosexuals," he said. "If you look at that from a moral point of view it's not good, and the population sees this as too much freedom."

"It is Not Our Constitution"

In drafting the new document, the United Nations says it is drawing on Somalia's past and present constitutions. It is also referencing documents from around the world, including South Africa, Kenya, Indonesia, Malaysia and Spain, adding to the perception that the constitution is not fully "Somali."

"The fact is that in a deeply globalized world, it is often true that Constitution making and democratization is no longer solely a national exercise," said Powell-Willingham. "There are multiple local, national, regional and international influences at play at any given time."

The U.N.'s role is limited to providing technical support and advice.
"We are not in the business of drafting and imposing constitutions on anyone," she stated.

Ibrahim Farah, a Somali analyst and lecturer at the University of Nairobi says the U.N. is not to blame for its heavy role.

"We can forget about the rhetoric a little bit and agree with the concept that the United Nations is good intentioned and that they just want to help Somalia," said Farah. "But because of the lack of visionary nationalistic Somali leadership then, there has been this vacuum, and that's why UNDP ended up writing one for Somalia."

He blames an absence of political will for the Transitional Federal Government's failure to draft a constitution since the TFG was founded eight years ago.

He argues there are plenty of homegrown constitutions to draw on. He notes the autonomous region of Somaliland has its own constitution; Puntland and Galmudug are both working on their own. Even the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab has a charter of principles.

A National Constituent Assembly of no more than 1,000 members, of which 30 percent will be women, will vote on the draft in May.

But Ibrahim Farah says the assembly's approval might not mean very much to Somali people who feel like they have been left out of the process.

"Even if this 1,000 men and women constitution assembly being put together in the next month or so endorses it," he said. "It is not our constitution and it's never going to be."
Source: VOA News

It is Crucial to “De-Nairobify” Somali Affairs

By Abukar Arman
March 25, 2012

Abukar Arman
For a number of years, Nairobi (Kenya) has been the de facto capital of Somalia after the State has disintegrated into anarchy. It has been where Somalis sought refuge, re-started their lives, and networked with the rest of the world. By the same token, it has been where almost all of the eighteen or so failed “reconciliation” conferences were concocted, and Somalis found the funding and the nourishment for the indigenous political demons that kept them divided and at war with one another for over two decades.
Yet, to this day—at least from the international community’s point of view—all initiatives related to peace, security, humanitarian, and development must be conceived, crafted, and executed via Nairobi; Through a network of international institutions and organizations with sullied reputation of money squandering, laundering, and rewarding corruption with more contracts. And so long as this continues, so too would the status quo.
Like Vienna (Austria) during the Cold War, Nairobi became a magnet that attracts both the positive and the negative. It is a place where a few good apples are found- those Somali patriots who are committed to work to bring an end to the misery of their people. It is also a place where many rotten ones are found- those who callously sellout everything about their country and people. Nairobi is where the buyers meet the sellers. Moreover, the city is one of the major hubs for security experts, “dealmakers” and deal breakers. It is also the center where around a $1 billion that is donated annually on behalf of Somalia is managed and mismanaged. It is where corrupted technocrats and other colorful characters compete for geopolitical strategic advantages or for crude economic exploitation. The city is also the center for a new breed of diplomats known as “gorilla diplomats”.Contiued

Swedish Defence Minister Tolgfors quits over Saudi deal

Sten Tolgfors, September 2011 Sten Tolgfors was criticised in the Swedish press over the Saudi arms deal

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Sweden's defence minister has resigned after facing criticism over plans to build a weapons plant in Saudi Arabia.
Sten Tolgfors "resigned at his own request", a spokesperson said.
Swedish public radio revealed the confidential plans for the country's Defence Research Agency to help Riyadh build weapons, including missiles and torpedoes, in early March.
Sweden does not ban weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, but the secretive nature of the plans caused controversy.
Earlier this month Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt confirmed that an initial deal had been signed with the Saudis in 2005.
'Cover up' Mr Tolgfors defended the decision, saying the plans were in line with military cooperation deal between the two countries.
But he has come under increasing pressure to resign as some of the press and the left-wing opposition accused the government of a cover up.
Although the plant has not yet been built, Swedish radio says Project Simoom began under the aegis of the government in 2007, but was handed to a private company in 2009 when it was felt that the defence agency was "legally hindered" from carrying on with the project.
The company, named SSTI, was then apparently given an export permit to buy equipment for missiles, bombs and other weaponry.
The opposition Green Party is now calling for an investigation into the deal, saying Sweden should not support a "dictatorship" in Saudi Arabia.
Roberta Alenius, a spokeswoman for the prime minister, said Mr Reinfeldt would discuss the reason for his defence minister's resignation at a press conference later on Thursday.

Brazil ex-President Lula's cancer treatment 'a success'

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva poses with another former Brazilian President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, at the hospital where he was being treated for cancer (27 March 2012) Lula (R) has been without his trademark beard as a result of his treatment

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Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's treatment for throat cancer has been successful, doctors say, with tests showing the "absence of a visible tumour".
Lula, 66, was diagnosed with the cancer in October last year and given chemotherapy and later radiotherapy.
He said on Wednesday he intended to return to active politics.
The former president stepped down with record approval ratings at the end of 2010, after two terms in office.
"I will return to political life because I believe Brazil needs to continue to grow, develop, generate jobs, improve the lives of millions and millions of Brazilians who managed to enter the middle class... as well as those who dream of joining the middle class," he said in a video message.
Brazil's constitution prohibits a third consecutive presidential term, but there had been speculation that he might stand again in 2014 if his successor Dilma Rousseff decided not to seek re-election.
Lula said he had been given "the most important piece of news a human being can receive after a five-month treatment against cancer".

Throat cancer - facts

Precise causes not known, but it is more common:
  • On the vocal cords
  • In men
  • Between the ages of 55 and 65
  • In smokers
  • In those who drink alcohol heavily
"Nuclear magnetic resonance and laryngoscopy exams show the absence of any visible tumour," a statement from the hospital said.
It added that the former president would continue speech therapy, and that his progress would be monitored further.
The AFP news agency quoted Jose Chrispiniano, a spokesman for Lula's foundation the Citizenry Institute, as saying that the cancer was "in complete remission".
Lula, a former smoker, completed three cycles of chemotherapy in December last year, before beginning radiotherapy.

Pope Benedict criticises US trade embargo on Cuba

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford said there was a big rush as the popemobile passed through the crowd

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Pope Benedict XVI has criticised the 50-year-old US trade embargo imposed on Cuba, as he ends a visit to the island.
The Pope called for greater rights in Cuba, saying he wanted a society in which no-one was denied basic freedoms.
This aim was not helped by economic measures which "unfairly burden" Cuba's people, he said.
Earlier, Pope Benedict met Cuba's revolutionary leader and former president, Fidel Castro, and celebrated Mass in front of vast crowds in Havana.
The Pontiff made his parting comments in the airport in Havana, in the presence of the current president, Raul Castro.
He said all Cubans should be able to share in "forging a society of wide horizons, renewed and reconciled".
"No-one should feel excluded from taking up this exciting search by the limitations of their basic freedoms, or excused from this by indolence or a lack of material resources - a situation which is worsened when restrictive economic measures, imposed from outside the country, unfairly burden its people," he said.
The US trade embargo, known as the blockade or "el bloqueo" in Spanish, was introduced soon after the 1959 Revolution.

At the scene

The crowd in Revolution Square was a mixture of the devoted and the dutiful, some having been bussed in by local party officials.
When the Pope arrived, he was driven around the square in his glass-sided car as the crowd surged forward to catch a glimpse. Many Cubans are religious, even if the majority are not strict Catholics.
In the Vatican's own subtle way, this has been a chance to bolster its standing on the island while also gently pushing the case for reform.
It is something which cannot come quickly enough for many Cubans who hope that this visit, like that of Pope John Paul II 14 years ago, will bring basic improvements to people's everyday lives.
It was strengthened in 1962, with the support of Cubans who had fled to the United States, after Fidel Castro's Cuba nationalised the properties of American citizens and corporations.
Earlier, Pope Benedict met the revolutionary leader and former president.
The meeting was described by a Vatican spokesman as "animated and cordial", with the two men even sharing a joke about their ages.
According to the spokesman, Federico Lombardi, they discussed Church liturgy and the inability of science to solve all future challenges.
He said Fidel Castro, wearing a track suit, had said he was glad that Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta had been set on the way to sainthood "because both did a lot for Cuba, especially Mother Teresa, who gave her life for the poorest of the poor".
But it does not appear that the Pope directly raised the political questions that he has been addressing in his sermons.
'Deprived of freedom' In the main public event of his final day in Cuba on Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of Cubans gathered to see Pope Benedict celebrate an open-air Mass in Havana's Revolution Square, with President Raul Castro in the front row
In his sermon, the Pope urged Cubans to search for "authentic freedom".
Hours before the service began crowds of worshippers started to arrive in the plaza waving flags to welcome the pontiff.
When he arrived the Pope was introduced to chants of "Viva Cuba! Viva el Papa!"
One of the many Cubans there, Carlos Herrera, told the Reuters news agency: "I come to hear his words, wise words for Cuban people. That helps us. It gives us unity."
Others suggested they were only there because they had been told to go by their employers or teachers and left before the sermon began.
Pope Benedict XVI meets Fidel Castro in Havana Fidel Castro asked to meet the Pope
The Pope's sermon expanded on the theme that Cuba should build a more open society, based on truth, justice and reconciliation.
During the three-day visit some activists have urged greater intervention from the Church to promote human rights.
When the Pope visited the eastern city of Santiago, he said he had prayed for "the needs of those who suffer, of those who are deprived of freedom, those who are separated from their loved ones".
And when he met President Raul Castro, the pontiff pushed for a bigger role for the Church and asked for Good Friday to be made a national holiday.
Before he arrived in Cuba, the pontiff had expressed concern that communism "does not correspond with reality" and a belief that Cuba needed to find a new economic model.
But he has no plans to meet members of the Cuban opposition, some of whom were barred from leaving their homes ahead of the Pope's visit.

Ukraine rape scandal victim Oksana Makar dies

Oksana Makar Oksana Makar had suffered extensive burns and damage to her lungs

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An eighteen-year-old Ukrainian woman has died in hospital, weeks after a brutal sexual assault that prompted a campaign against political corruption.
Oksana Makar was attacked in the southern city of Mykolayiv on 8 March by three men who raped her and tried to strangle her before setting her alight.
Three men were arrested, but two - whose parents had political connections - were released without charge.
They have since been re-arrested, after the case prompted a national outcry.
Interior ministry spokesman Volodymyr Polischuk told a news conference on Thursday that all three men, aged 22 to 24, now faced charges of rape and murder. He said they could face life sentences in jail.
Ms Makar lost consciousness after her attackers abandoned her at a construction site and set fire to her.
She was eventually found the next morning by a stranger and taken to hospital in Mykolayiv with 55% burns.
'Heinous crime'


Oksana Makar's murder has prompted Ukrainian society to confront what have become known as "bigwig crimes" - offences committed by the children of public officials and, at times, by officials themselves.
As a rule, they are either given a suspended sentence or escape punishment entirely.
In January, Roman Landik, a member of Luhansk city council and the son of a Ukrainian MP, was sentenced to three years' probation for punching a girl in a Luhansk restaurant.
Protesters across Ukraine are demanding justice and an end to legal abuses by "bigwigs".
President Viktor Yanukovych has instructed Ukraine's attorney general to investigate Oksana Makar's case.
She was transferred to a specialist unit in the eastern city of Donetsk because of the severity of her burns and damage to her lungs.
Doctors at the hospital's burns centre said her heart had stopped because of bleeding in her lungs and she died after repeated attempts to resuscitate her.
Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko has stated that the parents of two of the suspects are former government officials in the Mykolayiv area.
Ukrainian media have shown footage of one of the three suspects describing to police how Ms Makar was attacked in a flat in the city and then wrapped in a blanket and left in a pit.
The victim's mother posted a video of her lying in her hospital bed, in which some of her appalling injuries were visible.
The Kiev Post described the attack as "one of Ukraine's most heinous crimes in recent years".
There have been several protests in Mykolayiv and elsewhere in Ukraine, including Odessa, Lviv and Kharkiv.
The case has led to the Communist Party, which is part of the ruling coalition in parliament, to highlight its call for a return to the death penalty.

Pakistan shootings: Seven killed in Balochistan

At least seven people have been killed in shootings in Pakistan's Balochistan province, officials say.
One shooting killed five when gunmen fired on a vehicle going from Hazara Town on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Quetta, to the city centre.
The second attack took place when gunmen targeted a vehicle belonging to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO).
Five were injured in the attacks. No group has said it carried them out.
The victims from the first attack are believed to belong to the ethnic Hazara community who are Shia Muslims. The Shia minority has been the target of sectarian attacks in the Quetta area in recent years.
After the shooting members of the Hazara community held angry protests across the city, closing down markets and forcing traffic off the roads.
The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that sectarian attacks and attacks against non-governmental organisations are not uncommon in Balochistan, which is home to Islamist militants as well as nationalist insurgents.
The other incident took place in the Mastung area, some 50km (31 miles) south of Quetta, when gunmen attacked an UNFAO vehicle, killing two local employees.
An FAO official in Quetta told the BBC that those killed had been on their way to a UN-funded project in Mastung.
Some local religious groups are known to have launched attacks on non-governmental organisations in this region, saying NGO workers promote mixed gatherings and immorality, our correspondent says.

India army chief says leak of his letter is 'treason'

Gen VK Singh, Delhi, Jan 2012 Gen Singh has been involved in a series of spats with the government

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India's army chief General VK Singh has said the leak of his controversial letter on defence supplies to the prime minister amounted to "high treason".
The source of the leak should be found and "dealt with ruthlessly", he said.
In his letter earlier this month, Gen Singh said much of India's defence equipment was "obsolete" and the forces were "woefully short" of weapons.
It is the latest in a series of rows between the army and the government and the letter led to uproar in parliament.
On Wednesday, Defence Minister AK Antony told parliament that the "government is committed to doing all that is necessary to secure the nation".
In his letter, Gen Singh said India's air defence was "97% obsolete", the army lacked the equipment it needed and its entire tank fleet was "devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks".
The infantry lacked "night fighting" capabilities and was crippled with "deficiencies of crew-served weapons", the letter added.
'An outrage' "This is an outrage. Official communication with the prime minister, the defence minister or anybody for that matter with the chief of the armed staff is privileged information," Gen Singh said in a statement.
"The leaking of the letter should be treated as high treason. This cynical approach to tar my reputation has to stop.
"The source of the leak has to be found and dealt with ruthlessly," the statement said.
Army tanks in Delhi - 26 January 2004 The military has been on a spending spree to update its weapons
The letter was leaked to the media and reported extensively on Wednesday.
The revelations dominated discussion in parliament on Wednesday with opposition MPs questioning the government over the issue.
Defence Minister Antony said the leak was "a breach of national security" and several MPs demanded that the source of the leak be identified and punished.
Some MPs blamed Gen Singh for the leak and demanded that he be sacked.
In a short statement in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, Mr Antony said the government would take "appropriate action" on the letter.
India's armed forces have been attempting a modernisation drive in recent years that has made the country the world's top arms importer.
Analysts say the upgrade has been hampered by delays and a lack of planning.
Bribery allegation The general's letter follows allegations he made on Monday in an interview with The Hindu newspaper that retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh had offered him $2.7m (£1.7m) to approve the purchase of 600 "sub-standard" vehicles of a "particular make".
Lt Gen Singh has vehemently denied the charges, saying the accusations are "totally false" and he has filed a court case against the army chief.
The defence minister admitted that the army chief had informed him about the bribe offer a year ago and ordered a probe by federal police.
Mr Antony said he did not act earlier on the general's bribery allegation as he had never received a written complaint.
Earlier this year, Gen Singh was involved in an acrimonious row with the government over his retirement age.
The general went to the Supreme Court to have his date of birth as recorded by the military - 10 May 1950 - changed to a year later so that it matched the date on his birth certificate and other documents.
But he dropped the case after the court indicated it could rule against him because he had already accepted three promotions that were based on the earlier date.
Changing the date would have meant that he could retire in 2013 instead of later this year.
Defence analyst Rahul Bedi told the BBC that the age row was a symptom of wider acrimony between the armed forces and the government that has threatened to undermine the defence modernisation drive.

Coronavirus Is Battering Africa’s Growing Middle Class

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