Wednesday, 29 January 2014

US paediatrician Melvin Morse 'waterboarded' stepdaughter


Booking photo of Melvin Morse August 2012 Melvin Morse is accused of holding the victim's face under a tap multiple times

A former paediatrician has gone on trial accused of waterboarding an 11-year-old girl in the US state of Delaware.

Melvin Morse, 60, is said to have held the face of his female companion's daughter under a tap several times.

Mr Morse has written several books on children's near-death experiences and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

He has pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and assault charges against him.

The 12-person jury was chosen on Monday for the trial stemming from the alleged 2012 incidents.
The BBC's Kate Dailey, who is attending the court hearing in the town of Georgetown, says a clean-shaven Mr Morse shook his head vigorously as the prosecution claimed he had controlled every aspect of the girl's life.

It is alleged that the accused decided what the girl should wear, when she could use the bathroom and what she should eat, starving her sometimes and force-feeding her at other times.

Mr Morse was initially accused of grabbing the girl by the ankle and dragging her across a gravel driveway in July 2012.

When the victim was later interviewed, she reportedly told authorities Mr Morse had held her face under a tap at least four times since 2009.

Waterboarding is a term for the simulated drowning used by US interrogators on terrorist suspects. Critics say it is a form of torture.

Deputy Attorney General Melanie Withers said Mr Morse would hold the girl's face under the tap, usually at the kitchen sink, and run water in her nose and mouth, causing her to choke, vomit and fear for her life.

Defence lawyer Joe Hurley said it was not at issue that the girl ended up under a tap.

But he said that the alleged victim did not enjoy having her hair washed, and so hair washing, or the threat of it, was often used as punishment - a practice the family supposedly jokingly referred to as waterboarding.

Pauline Morse, the victim's mother, agreed in 2013 to plead guilty to misdemeanour child endangerment charges and to testify against Mr Morse.

But Mr Morse's lawyer argues the girl had "oppositional issues" and had lied about abuse by a half-sibling in the past.

The defence says it can show a pattern of deceitfulness from the girl and her mother.

Apple's iPod: is the end nigh?


iPods Analysts do not expect there to be significant improvements made to the iPod range

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Few pieces of technology can genuinely claim to be iconic. But Apple's iPod, first launched in 2001, arguably fits the bill.

With its distinctive click-wheel design, and those ubiquitous white bud headphones, the iPod brought good looks to portable audio technology - with a "cool" factor not seen since Sony's Walkman over a decade earlier.

And for the record industry, a sigh of relief - the iPod's accompanying music store iTunes paved the way for legal digital music downloading to hit the mainstream, tempting at least some music fans away from the free-for-all of piracy.

But 12 years, and 26 devices later, the generation-defining iPod range looks like it's about to fade into history without so much as a whimper.

Start Quote

[Apple] thought: 'If we don't do something, someone else will'”
End Quote Ian Fogg Mobile analyst, IHS

"I think all of us have known for some time that iPod is a declining business," said Apple boss Tim Cook earlier this week, speaking during a conference call discussing the company's latest earnings report.

He announced massive profits - as ever - but noted that iPod sales had dipped: 52% down on this time last year, with further drops expected.

That's not bad, or even surprising, news for the company. The people who would have previously bought iPods are now more likely to buy iPhones or iPads.

But it's bad news for the humble iPod - a tiny-but-mighty device that many say was the catalyst that propelled Apple into its boom era of iPhones and iPads.
Cannibalising sales
The iPod has been nervously looking over its shoulder for some time.

When the iPhone was launched in 2007, Steve Jobs joked that it was "the best iPod we've ever made".

And he was right - with its apps and other smartness, the iPhone meant there was no longer any need to own an iPod as a separate device, so long as you could afford it.

iPod through the years

iPod first generation The first iPod, launched in 2001
iPod Mini By 2004, it had shrunk a little for the iPod Mini range
iPod video 2005 saw the main product gain added video capabilities
IPod Shuffle An approach not everyone thought would work - 2005's screenless iPod Shuffle
IPod Shuffle 2nd gen Within a year, the Shuffle had become even smaller
IPod Nano The first iPod Nano was out in 2005. This red limited charity edition is from 2006
iPod Touch 2007 The iPhone-like iPod Touch was released in 2007
IPod Touch fifth generation The last major upgrade of the iPod Touch range was in 2012

"One of the things that's very striking is that Apple was doing very, very well with the iPod back in 2006, yet it still chose to create a smartphone which on day one had iPod capability," says Ian Fogg, a mobile analyst from IHS.

"It wasn't afraid to create a product that would disrupt a successful existing business. It thought: 'If we don't do something, someone else will'."
Younger users
As it happened, the iPod held its position as the biggest selling dedicated MP3 player on the market. It still is.

Despite the iPhone - and other smartphones - offering far more in terms of features and computing power, the iPod was holding its own.

In fact, according to IHS, sales of the iPod reached peak levels after the iPhone launch, with more than 22 million of the devices shifted in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Student Andy Collett dressed as an iPod The iPod has even inspired ambitious fancy dress

And even today, despite that dramatic 52% fall, the iPod range still generates big revenues - $973m (£587m) in the last quarter.

Analysts say it has remained popular for a multitude of reasons that go beyond simply price. The iPod Touch, for instance, is seen as the iPhone-that's-not-a-phone, so to speak - offering everything an iPhone does but without cellular capability.

"The iPod touch today is a great way of appealing to younger consumers that are maybe too young to have an iPhone," suggests Mr Fogg.

"It's getting them on board with Apple, getting them downloading apps from the App Store."
New products needed
But $973m out of Apple's total revenues this quarter - $57.6bn (£34.7bn) - is just a minor sideline or, as technology news site The Verge put it, "a hobby".

Which leads most people in-the-know to predict that while Apple may not discontinue the iPod in the very near future, we're unlikely to see any kind of significant update of the devices.

"As long as the iPod can stay a quality product and not have them lose money, I really don't see any reason for them to kill it," argues Alex Heath, a writer for

But Mr Heath and others stress that since the iPod can no longer be seen as a major Apple product line, Tim Cook needs to introduce an entirely new product if he is to keep investors - and fans - on his side.

Apple patent drawing Apple has patented what looks like smart watch technology

"They're going to need to branch into new categories," says Eric Slivka, editor in chief of

"An Apple TV has been on the radar for a long time, and now it seems rumours like the iWatch and other wearables are starting to take over."

Mr Heath adds: "It's looking like, unless there some production issues, Apple is on track to release some kind of wearable, by late 2014.

"It will either send Apple's stock soaring, or crash it. 2014 is going to be a very interesting year."

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

Blanch Mortimer: 'Remains' of medieval traitor's daughter found


The tomb being removed Blanch Mortimer, who died in 1347, was the daughter of Sir Roger Mortimer, who overthrew the king and ruled England for three years
The tomb being removed English Heritage describes Blanch's effigy as "one of the finest of its date in England" and said the coffin find was "astonishing"

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The remains of the daughter of a 14th Century traitor are believed to have been discovered in a church tomb in Herefordshire.

Blanch Mortimer, who died in 1347, was the daughter of Sir Roger Mortimer, who overthrew King Edward II and ruled England for three years.

Work to restore Blanch's tomb at St Bartholomew's Church in Much Marcle uncovered the remains in October.

English Heritage described the find as "astonishing".
'Quite overwhelmed'
The Reverend Howard Mayell, vicar for the parish, said the £500,000 work to restore the church had begun in 2006.

"However, it wasn't until autumn we discovered there was a lead-lined coffin in the tomb, which was a real surprise," he said.

The man who overthrew a king

Edward II
  • Blanch was the daughter of the first Earl of March Sir Roger Mortimer
  • Sir Roger escaped to France, after being imprisoned in the Tower of London for revolting against the king, Edward II
  • He took the queen, Isabella, as his mistress and returned to England to depose the king. It is also believed Sir Roger arranged for Edward's murder
  • However, Sir Roger was executed three years later
  • The Mortimer family prospered despite his downfall. English Heritage describes Blanch's effigy as, "one of the finest of its date in England"

"We kept the discovery under wraps until we had carried out tests and made her secure again.

"There wasn't much left in the coffin, so we can't be absolutely certain it is Blanch but we believe the remains are hers.

"We are quite overwhelmed by the idea Blanch is still in the church."

Blanch's tomb, which is located within the chancel, includes an effigy that has been described by experts as "strikingly beautiful".

Mr Mayell said the monument had been removed for preservation and it was only then the tomb had been discovered.

Michael Eastham, the conservator of sculpture, who was working on the church, said: "We could not work out what it was when we first took the stone panels from the front of the memorial.

"We thought it might be a layer of slate but as we explored further we realised it was a lead coffin."

A spokesman for English Heritage said it was "astonishing" to find a coffin within a tomb, adding: "Usually the tomb chest is empty, with the body buried beneath."

He said: "The coffin is complete, irregular in shape like a lead shroud, and has a number of small holes in it."

The remains underwent an endoscopic examination. The spokesman added: "The decision was eventually taken that the coffin should not be opened, both on grounds of best archaeological practice and the Church of England policy that human remains should be disturbed as little as possible."

Hong Kong tycoon's daughter defends sexuality in letter


File photo: Gigi Chao, right, daughter of the Hong Kong property tycoon Cecil Chao, poses with her partner Sean Eav at an event in Hong Kong Ms Chao, right, married her long-term partner Sean Eav in France in 2012

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The daughter of a Hong Kong tycoon has urged her father in an open letter to accept she is a lesbian, after he offered millions to find her a husband.

Gigi Chao says Cecil Chao should accept her partner and "treat her like a normal, dignified human being".

Ms Chao, 33, who married her long-term partner Sean Eav in France in 2012, also emphasised: "There are plenty of good men, they are just not for me."

Mr Chao last week reportedly offered to double his 2012 offer of $65m (£40m).

Hong Kong does not recognise same-sex unions, although homosexuality was decriminalised in 1991.

Mr Chao, a property and shipping tycoon who himself has never married, told the BBC last year that his daughter needed a "good husband".

He said at the time that his monetary offer for any man to woo his daughter had generated many replies from potential suitors.

The letter by Ms Chao, a socialite and businesswoman, was published in at least two Hong Kong newspapers, including the South China Morning Post newspaper on Tuesday.

In it she said she was sorry that people had been saying "insensitive things" about her father.

"The truth is, they don't understand that I will always forgive you for thinking the way you do, because I know you think you are acting in my best interests," she said.

"As your daughter, I would want nothing more than to make you happy. But in terms of relationships, your expectations of me and the reality of who I am, are not coherent."

She added that she did not expect her father and her partner "to be best of friends". But she said "it would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being".

"I'm sorry to mislead you to think I was only in a lesbian relationship because there was a shortage of good, suitable men in Hong Kong," she went on.

Ms Chao ended her letter by signing it: "Patiently yours."

Ex-president warns Ukraine 'on brink of civil war'


Leonid Kravchuk in Ukraine's parliament on 29 January 2014 Leonid Kravchuk has urged both sides to find a compromise solution to end the crisis

Ukraine's first post-independence president has warned the country is on the "brink of civil war" as parliament debates an amnesty for protesters.

Leonid Kravchuk, president from 1991 to 1994, opened the debate in parliament by urging everyone involved to "act with the greatest responsibility".

President Viktor Yanukovych wants any amnesty conditional on demonstrators leaving official buildings.

The opposition has so far ruled this out and is demanding early elections.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his cabinet resigned after months of protests.

Parliament also scrapped a controversial anti-protest law in the biggest concession yet to opposition protesters.
Leonid Kravchuk told lawmakers that "all the world acknowledges and Ukraine acknowledges that the state is on the brink of civil war".

"It is a revolution. It is a dramatic situation in which we must act with the greatest responsibility," he said in an emotional address that earned him a standing ovation.

"We need to ease the confrontation between the sides and agree a plan to solve the conflict. We need to work on this plan step by step to ease the confrontation".

To underline the importance of the session, former presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko were also present.

Ukraine unrest - key dates

21 Nov 2013: Ukraine announces it will not sign a deal aimed at strengthening ties with the EU
30 Nov: Riot police detain dozens of anti-government protesters in a violent crackdown in Kiev
17 Dec: Russia agrees to buy $15bn of Ukrainian government bonds and slash the price of gas it sells to the country
16 Jan 2014: Parliament passes law restricting the right to protest
22 Jan: Two protesters die from bullet wounds during clashes with police in Kiev; protests spread across many cities
25 Jan: President Yanukovych offers senior jobs to the opposition, including that of prime minister, but these are rejected
28 Jan: Parliament votes to annul protest law and President Yanukovych accepts resignation of PM and cabinet

Parliament is considering an amnesty for the scores of protesters who have been detained since demonstrations began in November.

The presidency accepts an amnesty only on condition that the demonstrators leave the government buildings they are occupying, take down their barricades and leave the streets - something the opposition rejects.

Lawmakers, in an emergency debate on Tuesday, voted to repeal anti-protest legislation, which among other measures banned the wearing of helmets by protesters and the blockading of public buildings.

The anti-protest law, passed less than two weeks earlier, fuelled major protests around the country and deadly clashes with the police.

Prime Minister Azarov said on Tuesday he was stepping down to create "social and political compromise". He has been replaced on an interim basis by his deputy, Serhiy Arbuzov.

Correspondents say Mr Azarov was deeply unpopular with the opposition, who accused him of mismanaging the economy and failing to tackle corruption.

Members of Mr Azarov's cabinet also resigned, but they can remain in their posts for 60 days until a new government is formed.
Foreign 'interference'
Both US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have separately underlined their support for the demonstrators.

Mr Obama, in his State of the Union address, said: "In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and have a say in their country's future".

Steve Rosenberg visits Kiev's "protest town", which is equipped with food stalls, a church tent, and a makeshift hospital

The White House on Tuesday said Vice-President Joe Biden had spoken by telephone to President Yanukovych and praised the "progress made".

Meanwhile, both the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele have arrived in Kiev for talks with the leadership.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday criticised what he called foreign "interference" in Ukraine, saying: "I think that the Ukrainian people are capable of solving this on their own."

"I can only imagine how our European partners would respond if in the heat of a crisis in a country like Greece or Cyprus, our foreign minister would appear at one of their anti-European rallies and begin addressing them," he said at the end of an EU-Russia summit in Brussels.

Protests have spread in recent days across Ukraine - even to President Yanukovych's stronghold in the east - and official buildings in several cities have been occupied.

At least five people have been killed in violence linked to the protests.

Mr Yanukovych was democratically elected in 2010 and appeared to be steering the former Soviet state towards EU integration until he rejected a planned trade deal with the bloc just days before it was due to be signed last November.

His decision to favour instead a $15bn (£9bn) bailout from Russia to bolster the ailing public finances angered many EU supporters in Ukraine.

Are you in Ukraine? What are your hopes for a political solution? Should there be an amnesty? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below.

Send your pictures and videos to or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Abramovich's partner Zhukova in race row over photo


Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich watch Chelsea play at  Stamford Bridge, 17 August 2008 Dasha Zhukova is seen here with Roman Abramovich in 2008

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Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich's partner, fashion editor Dasha Zhukova, has apologised for a photo of her on a chair in the form of a black woman.

A Russian fashion blog published the photo along with an interview on Monday, sparking angry accusations of racism by bloggers outside Russia.

The fact it was the Martin Luther King holiday in the US fuelled indignation.

Zhukova told the Moscow Times she "utterly" abhorred racism and the image had been published "out of context".

However, the blog, Buro 24/7, has not withdrawn the offending photograph, merely cropping it so that the colour of the figure in the chair can no longer be seen (article in Russian).

Black people living in Russia, such as African students attending its universities, have long complained of racist attitudes, exacerbated by rising nationalism.

Zhukova, editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Garage and owner of a high-profile Moscow art gallery, appears in the photo sitting barefoot in jeans and a blouse on the cushion of a chair fashioned out of a life-size sculpture of a bare-breasted black woman.

The mannequin-like figure appears to be dressed in bondage gear: stiletto-heeled black leather boots and other accessories.
'Overtly degrading'
Claire Sulmers, who edits the Fashion Bomb Daily blog, was quoted by the Huffington Post blog as saying the image was an example of "white dominance and superiority, articulated in a seemingly serene yet overtly degrading way".

Cosmopolitan's pop culture editor, Alex Rees, said on the fashion magazine's website: "I would go so far as to say that certain things (like this) just shouldn't exist.

"But if they must, so that people can feel edgy or provocative or, you know, racist, they really shouldn't be photographed and uploaded onto the Internet - and especially not on Martin Luther King, Jr Day."

Rees noted the chair resembled a 1967 sculpture, entitled Chair, by British pop artist Allen Jones, which features a white woman.

In her apology, Zhukova writes: "This photograph, which has been published completely out of context, is of an art work intended specifically as a commentary on gender and racial politics. I utterly abhor racism, and would like to apologise to anyone who has been offended by this image."

In the cropped photo now appearing above the article in Buro 24/7, where Zhukova talks about Russia's lingering "cultural isolation", only the high-heeled black leather boots can be seen.

Buro 24/7 also issued an apology, saying it was "against racism and everything that may humiliate people."

"We sincerely apologise if the posted photos insulted our readers," its editors said in a statement.

Abdiweli Gaas and Villa Somalia: A Cautionary Note

January 11, 2014
By Hassan M. Abukar Dr. Abdiweli Gaas surprised many with his victory as the new president of the regional…

Baarlamaanka oo cod aqlabiyad ah ku Ansixiyay Xukuumadda Cusub ee Soomaaliya (SAWIRO)

Talaado, Janaayo 21, 2014 (HOL) — Xildhibaannada baarlamaanka Soomaaliya ayaa goor dhow cod aqlabiyad ah ku ansixiyay xukuumadda cusub ee uu soo dhisay dhawaan ra’iisul wasaaraha Soomaaliya, iyadoo ay ogolaadeen inta badan xildhibaanadii kulanka ku sugnaa.
Warkii oo dhan

Somalia: Commentary on the new Cabinet

January 21, 2014


 From the beginning, the daily leaks about the selection process of the new Cabinet (Council of Ministers) of Somalia headed by Prime Minister (PM) Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed havebaffled both Somalis andforeign observers of the Somali politics. The parliament debated a motion on the exclusion of former members of the voted out cabinet from the new cabinet. The media reported disagreements, confusion, exhaustion, and disastrous arrangement for the announcement of the new Cabinet made around 2:30 AM Mogadishu local time on Friday morning- an important holiday for Muslims.

The formality and the timewereweird, unprecedented, and unwise way of managing such an important political event. So far, it is not clear the reasons behind this clumsy policy decision making process and political event that took 37 days of planning. Unusually, the President and the Speaker of parliament did not attend the ceremony for the announcement ofthe new Cabinet.The presidential spokesperson issued press releasesaying the president has approved the new cabinet. No information about the administrative actions between the President and PM’s offices on the subject for public record.

The PM personally read out the names of the Cabinet members without providing their background in terms of full name, education, experience, clan affiliation in conformity with the power sharing parliamentary representation formula, and cabinet Department. This first step did not augur hopeful future.

The new Cabinet is composed of 56 members- the Prime Minister, 25 ministers, 5 state ministers, and 25 deputy ministers.One positive development is that all positions have been filled at once and no state minister has been appointed to the presidency. With the exception of few new faces, the 56 new cabinet members belong to six intersecting groups:

1.       Corruption kingpins/graduates group. The leaders of the federal government did not bother to  consider the UN Monitoring Group reports for the disqualification of certain individuals for past reportedmalfeasances;

2.      Nightlife group. This group includesmembers of parliament (MPs), instrumental for fomenting political chaos. They are peddlers of political corruption.

3.      Anti-Sovereignty, independence, and dignity of the Somali people group; Members of this group are ardent supporters of foreign agenda against national agenda and solidarity. The prolonged political chaos in Somalia has convinced few unscrupulous and selfish individuals to seek self-enrichment opportunitiesby presenting themselves as faithful agents toforeign countries.

4.      Opponents of the Constitutional power sharing formula on political representation to gain political power outside the agreed clan formula. This group wants to continue civil hostilities and dissonance.

5.      Members of religious group Al Islah-Damul Jadid. The cabinet members associated with the group are more than 30. Selection based on Religious group membership over clan and competence consideration complicates Somali politics.

6.      Members of former incompetent cabinet voted out by the federal parliament. The leaders of the federal government missed the point that politicians lose the qualification for appointment for political considerations in addition to the constitutional criteria.Political appointees are not like civil service employees.

It seems that advancing theinterests and priorities of Somalia andthe respect of the constitutional goals and political representation among the Somali people were not the guiding principles for the selection of the new Cabinet members. The discrimination among former Shirdon Cabinetmembers hadfuelledthe intense debate and criticisms that would further weaken the federal government.

In the context of Somali politics, the growing perception is that the composition of the new Cabinet undermines the high expectation conferred on the federal government leaders. Some observers are of the opinion that the former Speaker and minister of finance Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan has secured the inclusion of his diehard allies in the cabinet. Thisreinforces the view that the federal government accepted the inevitability of Somalia’s disintegration, subscribed to the surrender policy, and decided to empower elements of anti-sovereignty, independence, and dignity of Somali people.

The media has particularly focused on the powerful Ministers of finance (Hussein Abdi Halane), justice and constitution (Farah Abdulkhadir), interior and federalism (Abdullahi Godax), internal security (Abdikarim Guled), and defense (Gen. Mohamed Sheikh). All sorts of unflattering allegations against these ministries have dominated the conversation among Somalis. Cartoonist Amin Amir reflectedthe substance ofthe conversation in his daily cartoons.

As Federalism and constitutional review are politically very sensitive issues for the future of Somalia, the new ministries of interior and federal affairs, of internal security, and of justice and constitutionattract particular attention.  The experience of the roadmap and provisional constitution, of the Jubbaland State agreement in Addis Ababa, and of Baidoa Conference on South West state, has dented the credibility of the federal government on federalism and state building and casts shadow on them.

Arbitrary decisions and actions without reference to credible and transparent deliberative decision making process is feeding public discontent and anger and could trigger social eruption that could reverse the progress made so far in the fight against terrorism for building peace and state institutions. The pointed questions asked President Hassanin his appearance at Universal TV tell a lot about the public opinion towards the performance of the federal government.

The indifference to respond to the increasing complain about unfairness, injustice, lack of participation, corruption, abuse of political power, marginalization, fraudulentpolitical representation, insecurity, and ill-consideredsupport of governancestructures without legal framework encourages the culture of cynicism and defeats the common national and international goals of peace, stability and prosperity in Somalia. Complain about underrepresentation is linked to overrepresentation and it merits redress.

Thefederal parliament approved the new Cabinet because of external maneuvers, corruption, and article 67 of the provisional constitution. But, there are three possible scenarios as consequences after this new cabinet:

       I.            The new cabinet will represent the end of any national nominal government in Somalia and the fate of Somalia will be decided by the neighboring countries before 2016;

    II.            In reaction to the political and constitutional transgressions, a popular revoltcould take place before 2015;

 III.            The country will remain in perpetual turmoil to the detriment of all.

The leaders of the federal government shoulder grave responsibilities in this dark circumstance and the current indifference or self-serving approach is not the proper response for facing the overwhelming challenges of Somalia. Political courage, wisdom, sense of patriotism and conviction, and other leadership skills hold the key for turning around the worrisome prospect of the country.


Mr. Mohamud M Uluso

Monday, 20 January 2014

Allah vs atheism: ‘Leaving Islam was the hardest thing I’ve done’


A growing number of Muslims are speaking out about losing their faith, but it can mean being shunned by their families, or even threatened with death. Sarah Morrison meets the atheists
By Sarah Morroson
Amal Farah, a 32-year-old banking executive, is laughing about a contestant singing off-key in the last series of The X Factor. For a woman who was not allowed to listen to music when she was growing up, this is a delight. After years of turmoil, she is in control of her own life.
On the face of it, she is a product of modern Britain. Born in Somalia to Muslim parents, she grew up in Yemen and came to the UK in her late teens. After questioning her faith, she became an atheist and married a Jewish lawyer. But this has come at a cost. When she turned her back on her religion, she was disowned by her family and received death threats. She has not seen her mother or her siblings for eight years. None of them have met her husband or daughter.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – telling my observant family that I was having doubts. My mum was shocked; she began to cry. It was very painful for her. When she realised I actually meant it, she cut communication with me,” said Ms Farah. “She was suspicious of me being in contact with my brothers and sisters. She didn’t want me to poison their heads in any way. I felt like a leper and I lived in fear. As long as they knew where I was, I wasn’t safe.”
This is the first time Ms Farah has spoken publicly about her experience of leaving her faith, after realising that she did not want to keep a low profile for ever. She is an extreme case – her mother, now back in Somalia, has become increasingly radical in her religious views. But Ms Farah is not alone in wanting to speak out.
It can be difficult to leave any religion, and those that do can face stigma and even threats of violence. But there is a growing movement, led by former Muslims, to recognise their existence. Last week, an Afghan man is believed to have become the first atheist to have received asylum in Britain on religious grounds. He was brought up as a Muslim but became an atheist, according to his lawyers, who said he would face persecution and possibly death if he returned to Afghanistan.
In more than a dozen countries people who espouse atheism or reject the official state religion of Islam can be executed under the law, according to a recent report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union. But there is an ongoing debate about the “Islamic” way to deal with apostates. Broadcaster Mohammed Ansar says the idea that apostates should be put to death is “not applicable” in Islam today because the act was traditionally conflated with state treason.
Some scholars point out that it is against the teachings of Islam to force anyone to stay within the faith. “The position of many a scholar I have discussed the issue with is if people want to leave, they can leave,” said Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain. “I don’t believe they should be discriminated against or harmed in any way whatsoever. There is no compulsion in religion.”
Baroness Warsi, the Minister of State for Faith and Communities, agreed. “One of the things I’ve done is put freedom of religion and belief as top priority at the Foreign Office,” she said. “I’ve been vocal that it’s about the freedom to manifest your faith, practise your faith and change your faith. We couldn’t be any clearer. Mutual respect and tolerance are what is required for people to live alongside each other.”
Yet, even in Britain, where the freedom to change faiths is recognised, there is a growing number of people who choose to define themselves by the religion they left behind. The Ex-Muslim Forum, a group of former Muslims, was set up seven years ago. Then, about 15 people were involved; now they have more than 3,000 members around the world. Membership has reportedly doubled in the past two years. Another branch, the Ex-Muslims of North America, was launched last year.
Their increasing visibility is controversial. There are those who question why anyone needs to define themselves as an “ex-Muslim”; others accuse the group of having an  anti-Muslim agenda (a claim that the group denies).
Maryam Namazie, a spokeswoman for the forum – which is affiliated with the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) – said: “The idea behind coming out in public is to show we exist and that we’re not going anywhere. A lot of people feel crazy [when they leave their faith]; they think they’re not normal. The forum is a place to meet like-minded people; to feel safe and secure.”
Sulaiman (who does not want to reveal his surname), a Kenyan-born 32-year-old software engineer living in East Northamptonshire, lost his faith six years ago. His family disowned him. “I knew they would have to shun me,” he said. “They are a religious family from a [close] community in Leicester. If anyone [finds out] their son is not a Muslim, it looks bad for them.” He added that people “find it strange” that he meets up with ex-Muslims, but he said it is important to know “there is a community out there who care about you and understand your issues”.
Another former Muslim in her late twenties, who does not want to be named, said the “ex-Muslim” identity was particularly important to her. “Within Islam, leaving [the religion] is inconceivable. [The term] atheist doesn’t capture my struggle,” she said, adding that her family does not know the truth about how she feels.
Pakistani-born Sayed (not his real name), 51, who lives in Leeds, lost his faith decades ago. He left home at 23 and moved between bedsits to avoid family members who were looking for him. He told his family about his atheism only two years ago. “I was brought up a strict Muslim, but one day, I realised there was no God,” he said. He told his mother and sister by letter that he was an atheist but they found it difficult to comprehend.
“Whenever I tell my sister or my mum that I am depressed, stressed or paranoid, they say it’s because I don’t pray or read the Koran enough,” he said, adding that he will not go to his mother’s funeral when she dies. “I won’t be able to cope with the stress or the religious prayers. There’s quite a lot of stigma around.”
Iranian-born Maryam Namazie, 47, said that it does not have to be this way. Her religious parents supported her decision to leave their faith in her late teens. “After I left, they still used to whisper verses in my ear for safety, but then I asked them not to. There was no pressure involved and they never threatened me,” she said. “If we want to belong to a political party, or religious group, we should be able to make such choices.”
Zaheer Rayasat, 26, from London, has not yet told his parents that he is an atheist. Born into a traditional Pakistani family, he said he knew he didn’t believe in God from the age of 15.
“Most people transition out of faith, but I would say I crashed out. It was sudden and it left a big black hole. I found it hard to reconcile hell with the idea that God was beneficent and merciful.
“I’m sort of worried what will happen when [my parents] find out. For a lot of older Muslims, to be a Muslim is an identity, whereas, for me, it’s a theological, philosophical position. They might feel they have failed as parents; some malicious people might call them up, gloating about it. Some would see it as an act of betrayal. My hope is that they will eventually forgive me for it.”
Source: The Inde[endent

Daawo:Caleemo-Saarkii M/weynaha Jubaland(Daawo:Madax ka tirsan UN,Midowga-Afrika,Jaamacatal-Carab,Dawlada Federaalka iyo Dawlada Puntland ayaa goob-joog ahaa)

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Monday, 20 January 2014 18:31

Xaflad caleemo-saar ah ayaa Madaxweynaha Jubbaland Sayid Axmed Madoobe loogu qabtay Magaaladda Kismaayo.

Munaasadabadan ayaa waxaa ka soo qeyb-galay hadalana ka soo jeediyya Wufuud ka kala socotay Qaramada-Midoobay,Midowga-Afrika,Dawladda Federaalka iyo Dawlad-Goboleedka Puntland.

Riix:oo Daawo:Caleemasaarkii M/weynaha Jubbaland

Riix:oo Daawo:Qaabkii loo soo dhaweeyay Madaxda ka Qeyb-galaysa Caleemo-Saarka M/weynaha Jubbaland

Daawo:Qeybta 1-aad
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Baarlamaanka oo loo qaybiyey qorshaha xukuumadda cusub RW C/wali[Sawirro]


Muqdisho[RBC Radio]Fadhi ay maanta Muqdisho ku yeeshen xildhibaannada baarlamaanka dowladda faderaalka Soomaaliya,waxaa lugu hor geeyey qorshaha siyaasaded ama barnaamijka xukuumadda cusub ee uu dhawaan xilli danbe soo magacaabay raysal wasaare C/wali Sheekh Axmed.
Shir ay shalay qaateen guddoonka baarlamaanka ayaa raysal wasaare C/wali lugu faray inuu soo gudbiyo qorshaha xukuumaddiisa cusub,taaso keentay in maanta baarlamaanka loo qeybiyo qorshaha siyaasaded ee xukuumadda cusub.
Xilligii uu furmay fadhiga baarlamaanka ayaa guddoomiha barlamaanka Soomaaliya Maxamed Sheekh Cismaan Jawaari,waxuu xildhibaannada u jeediyey in marka hore loo qeybiyo barnaamijka xukuumadda cusub ayna ku soo heystaan muddo afar iyo laatan saacadood ah, si ay u soo akhriyaan kaddibn maalinta xigta ay uga doodeen.
Xildhibaannada barlamaanka intoo badan,waxaa ay  soo jeediyen in qof qof ay u soo arkhriyaan Barnaamijka Xukuumadda ay soo gudbisay kaddib doodda loo gudbo.
Guddoomiyaha baarlamaanka Jawaari
Guddoomiyaha baarlamaanka Jawaari
Guddoomiyaha baarlamaanka  Jawaari, ayaa aqbalay hadal soo jeedinta xildhibaannada barlamaanka ee ah in qof qof loo soo darso barnaamijka xukuumadda, waxaana laga doodaya maalinta berito ah, iyadoo maalinta xigta oo ay taariikhdu tahay 22-ka bisha codka kalsoonid siinta loo qaadi doono Xukuumadda iyo Barmaanijka ay soo gudbisay.
Xildhibaanada, ayaa galabta ilaa caawa soo akhrisan doono waraaqaha ay ku qoran yihiin Ajandaha Xukuumada, dooneysa in ay hesho codka kalsoonida ee Baarlamaanka.
Sidoo kale qorshuhu waxaa uu yahay in maalinta berrito ah xildhibaannada uu hortago raysal wasaare C/wali Sheekh si ay su’aallo uga weydiiyan xukuumaddisa cusub.
Si kataba ha noqote,waxaan la saadaalin karin inay baarlamaanku meel maridoonan xukuumadda raysal wasaare C/wali, xilli ay soo badanayaan xildhibaanada baarlamaanka, ee ka biyo diidan in la meel mariyo golaha wasiirada ee xukuumada cusub.
RBC Radio
Xafiiska Muqdisho

Faysal Waraabe: Somaliland Gool Baa Laga Dhaliyey Waxaana Ka Masuul ah Nimankii Saxiixay Heshiiska


Feysal-WarabeHargeysa (RBC) Faysal Cali Waraabe oo ah guddoomiyaha xisbiga mucaaradka ee Ucid ee deegaanada maamulka Somaliland ayaa dhaliilay heshiiska magaalada Istanbul maalintii shalay ku dhexmaray Dawlada Federaalka Soomaaliya iyo maamulka Somaliland isagoo sheegay in heshiiska uu u xagliyey dhanka Soomaaliya.
Faysal Waraabe oo maanta shir jaraa’id ku qabtay magaalada Hargeysa ayaa sheegay in heshiiska ay wada saxiixeenlabada wafdi ee ka kala socday Dawlada Federaalka iyo maamulka Somaliland inuu ahaa mid aan xaqiiq ahayn, isla markaana aan lagu sheegin dhibaatadii gaartay, sida uu yiri dadka reer Somaliland.
“Ereygii ahaa xaquuq waa laga saaray heshiiska oo waaa lagu qoray ereyga ah “atrocity” oo ah dil dad aan hubeysneyn loo geysto, mana uusan ahayn ee wuxuu ahaa xasuuq si isir ah loogu geystay dadka reer Somaliland.” ayuu yiri Feysal Waraabe.
Feysal waxaa kal oo uu ku eedeeyay maamulka Axmed Siilaanyo ee xisniga Kulmye inau keligood heshiis la galeen Dawlada Soomaaliya, sidaas darteedna heshiisku uu yahay mid ku gooni ah, sida uu yiri xisbiga Kulmiye.
Wuxuu sheegay in Somliland u baahantahay inay dib u tashato isagoo cadeeyay in gooni isutaagii Somaliland ay sheegatay uu yahay mid la diiday, sida uu sheegay.
Mar la weydiiyey in Feysal Cali Waraabe laftiisa uu horey uga qeybgalay wadahadalka ay Somaliland la gashay Dawlada Federaalka Soomaaliya ayaa wuxuu ku dooday in wadahadaladi hore ay ahaayeen kuwo saxsan balse kuwa hadda socda ay yihiin kuwo khaldamay ka dib markii, sida uu yiri laga saaray labo arrin oo waaweynaa.
“Horta inaanu labo dawladood oo wada hadlaya nahay waa la diiday oo magacii Somaliland waxaa laga dhigay maamul goboleed hoos yimaada dawlada Xamar fadhida, tan kale ee meesha ka baxdayna waxa weeye inaanu 1960-kii dawladnimo qaadanay oo aanu ahayn dawlad gooniya waa laga saaray iyana.” ayuu yiri.
“Somaliland maanta gool baa laga dhaliyey, goolkaa laga dhaliyeyna waxaa ka masuul ah nimanka saxiixay.” Ayuu sii raaciyey Feysal Waraabe.
RBC Radio

C/kariin Guuleed iyo Biixi oo ka Hadlay Heshiiskii ay wada Saxiixeen

Axad, Janaayo 19, 2014 (HOL) — Wasiirka amniga Qaranka dowladda Somalia, C/kariin Xuseen Guuleed iyo wasiirka arrimaha dibadda Somaliland, Maxamed Biixi Yoonis oo kala hoggaaminayay wafdiyadii dowladda Somalia iyo Somaliland ayaa ka warbixiyay heshiiskii ay maanta ku kala saxiixdeen magaalada Istanbuul ee dalka Turkiga.
Labada wasiir oo u warrramayay laanta afka Soomaaliga ee VOA-da ayaa qiray in wada-hadalladu ay kusoo dhamaadeen guul ayna ku faraxsan yihiin heshiiska ay kala saxiixdeen, iyagoo intaas ku daray in wadahadalladu ay sii socon doonaan inta heshiis rasmi ah laga gaarayo.
“Heshiiska waxaa ka mid ahaa in la sameeyo hannaan ay kusii soconayaan wadahadallada, waxaan sidoo kale ka hadlay sidii loo fulin lahaa heshiisyadii horay loo gaaray, gaar ahaan qodobka ku saabsan maamulka hawada Soomaaliya. Runtii wadahadalladu waxay ahaayeen kuwo si fiican oo niyad wanaag ah ku billowday, inkastoo mararka qaarkood doodo iyo meelo yar oo adag ay galayeen, waana ku faraxsan-nahay heshiiska la saxiixay,” ayuu ku yiri C/kariin Xuseen Guuleed wareysigiisa.
Su’aal ahayd inay isla garteen waqti lasoo afjarayo wadahadallada iyo in kale ayaa kaga jawaabay inaysan taas isla gaarin, laakiinse ay ku heshiiyeen in saddexdii biloodba mar ay kulmaan, balse kulammada dambe ay ku jaan-goyn doonnaa xilliga wadahadallada lasoo afjarayo.
“Waxyaabaha kale ee aan ku heshiinnay waxaa ka mid ah in qodobbada lagu heshiiyay loo kala hormariyo fulintooda sida ay u kala fudud yihiin, kuwa culusna dib loo dhigno, waayo ahmiyadda ugu weyn waa in kalsooni la abuuro, sidoo kalena la suuliyo waxyaabaha caqabad noqon kara, markaas kaddib ayaa loo gudbi karaa qodobbadii dhabta ahaa in laga wada-hadlo," ayuu yiri mar kale yiri wasiirka oo sharraxayay qodobbadii ay labada wafdi kawada hadleen.
Isagoo sii hadlaya Guuleed ayuu yiri: "Innaga haddaan nahay dowladda federaalka Somalia hadafka ugu weyn ee aan wadahadalladan u wadno waa mid cad oo ah sidii midnimadii Soomaaliya dib loogu soo celin lahaa, uguna qancin lahayn walaalaheen sidii ay ugu soo laaban lahaayeen xayn-daabka dowladnimada Somalia, waana wax laga wadahadli doono sidii ay ugu soo laaban lahaayeen midnimada Soomaaliya.”
Mar la weydiiyay waxay wafdiga Somaliland ka yiraahdeen arrintan ayuu ku jawaabay in qodobkaas aan si cad la iskula soo qaadin, laakiin ay iyagu mar walba ka dhahayeen sida ay u arkaan, waxaanse doonaynaa in qodobkan laga hadlo marka laga gudbo qodobbada lagu dhisayo kalsoonida, markaas ayaana si wanaagsan uga wada-hadli doonno.
Sidoo kale, wasiirka amniga Somalia waxaa la weydiiyay su’aal ahayd sida ay u dhigeen qodobka ku saabsan in la wada-cambaareeyo dhibaatadii ay dowladda milateriga ahayd ee Soomaaliya ka geysatay Somaliland ayaa ku jawaabay: “Waxaan isla garanay inaan kawada garowno dhibaatadii ay geystay dowladdii milateriga ahayd, taasoo ah xanuun dhamaanteen na wada taabanaya, waan ka garownay waana wada cambaareynay.”
Ugu dambeyn, Guuleed wuxuu sheegay inay 90-maalmood kaddib isku arki doonaa labada dhinac shir kale oo ka dhici doona magaalada Istanbuul, inta ka horreysana ay sameeyaan guddiyo isku dhaf ah oo ka shaqeeya sidii lagu hirgelin lahaa qodobbadii lagu heshiiyay.
Dhanka kale, wasiirka arrimaha dibadda ee Somaliland oo isagana wargeysi uu heshiiska kaga warbixinayay siiyay VOA-da ayaa sheegay in qodobbadii ay kawada hadleen iyaga iyo wafdiga dowladda Soomaaliya uu ugu weynaa arrinka ku saabsan xasuuqii dadka reer Somaliland loo geystay oo labada dhinacba ay isla garteen in la wada cambaareeeyo loona arko inay ahayd xumaan la gaarsiiyay dadka reer Somaliland.
“Waxyaabaha kale ee aan kawada hadlanay waxaa ka mid ah in la sameeyo guddi heshiiska hirgeliya, waxaan kaloo isla garannay in la sameeyo xafiis joogto ah oo ka shaqeeya wada-hadallada iyo fulinta heshiisyadii la gaaray oo fadhigiisu noqon doono magaalada Istanbuul. Qodobbadii kale ee aan ka hadlanay waxaa ka mid ah in labada dowladood ee Soomaaliya iyo Somaliland ay arrimahooda kala tashan karaan aqoonyahanno wax kala qabta. Waxaan kaloo isla garanay in hay’adaha caalamka aan warbixin ka siinno wadahadallada halka ay marayaan si dunida oo dhan u ogaato oo labadeenna keliya aan nagu koobnaan. Sidoo kale waxaan ka hadalnay in beesha caalamku ay kasoo qaybgasho wadahadallada oo halkii aan isku mari waynno si wadajir ah loo abbaaro,” ayuu yiri Maxamed Biixi Yoonis.
Mar la weydiiyay sida labada dhinac uu isugu soo dhaweyn karo qodobka ku saabsan ka garowshiyaha dhibaatadii ay geysatay dowladdii milateriga ahayd ayaa ku jawaabay inay ku faraxsn yihiin in la aqoonsado lana ogaado in xasuuq iyo dhibaato badan loo geystay dadka reer Somaliland, waana ku faraxsan-nahay buu yiri in arrinkaas laga wadahadlo oo miiska lasoo dhigo inkastoo ay muddo badan qaadatay haddana waa mid lagu farxo in maanta la isla gartay in la wada cambareeyo dhibaatadaas, waana ogahay in dadka reer Somaliland ay ku diirsan doonaan arrinka ku saabsan cambaareynta dhibaatadaas.
“Wadahadalladu waa sii soconayaa mana jiraan wax reebban in laga wada-hadlo, laakiinse Somaliland waxay horay ugu dhawaaqday gooni-isku-taag in la isla fahmo arrintan waxaan u mari doonnaa wadahadal. Qaabka ay ku socon doonaan wadahadallada ee aan dhigannay waa kuwo ku jiheysan sidii aan uga wadahadli lahayn arrimaha culus,” ayuu wareysigiisa kusoo gunaanaday wasiirka arrimaha dibadda Somaliland Maxamed Biixi Yoonis.
Arrinta ku saabsan gooni isku taagga Somaliland iyo midnimad Soomaaliya oo ay labada wasiir ka dhawaajiyeen ayaa waxay u muuqataa mid ay si weyn ugu kala aragti duwan yihiin.
Maxamed X. Xuseen, Hiiraan
Muqdisho, Soomaaliya

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Be careful what you say about spinach

BBCtrending: Be careful what you say about spinach
A T-shirt with the words "Keep calm and eat kangkung" and an image of the vegetable Hundreds of joke images are being shared on social media in Malaysia

Malaysia's prime minister is being widely lampooned on social media for a comment he made about the price of kangkung, or water spinach.

Food is a faux pas minefield for politicians, especially when it's perceived as being used in a get-down-with-the-people kind of way - think of British Prime Minister David Cameron's pasty moment or Chancellor George Osborne's "posh burger" tweet. The almost inevitable response seems to be ridicule. That's where the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak finds himself right now. With the government under fire because of price hikes in basics like fuel and electricity, he chose to push back by highlighting a reduction in the cost of the leafy green vegetable kangkung.

Kangkung - also known as water spinach, morning glory and Chinese spinach - is widely eaten in Malaysia, and is cooked as a stir-fry with a little garlic or chilli paste. But it's cheap, grows wild alongside streams, paddy fields and drains, and is not considered a staple. Moments after a video of the prime minister was posted making the comments, the sarcasm and jokes began to trend on social media in Malaysia. There have been hundreds of thousands of tweets, a Facebook page set up - with 10,000 followers already - a YouTube re-mix of his comments, the lyrics to popular and traditional folk songs have been re-worked, and "Keep calm and eat kangkung" T-shirts have been made and rushed to market.

"Kangkung-gate", as it's been dubbed by some, has hit a nerve because many people are struggling with the rising cost of living, and are resentful of what they regard as corruption, and lavish spending by the government. Unsurprisingly many opposition politicians - including Anwar Ibrahim - have seized on the opportunity to join in the collective fun-poking. The story has been so big on social media that many have complained of their timelines being clogged up. "This kangkung obsession is fast becoming a laughing stalk," tweeted comedian Kuah Jenhan. "Lettuce get to the root of the problem. We have mushroom for improvement."

Reporting by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

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