Friday, March 07, 2003

U.S. diplomats fighting for Somali living in Eden Prairie
MINNEAPOLIS, 6 MARCH 2003--A retired Somali general whose prodemocracy efforts cost him 12 years in prison and whom one former U.S. ambassador calls "the greatest living Somali" is now living in Eden Prairie but has been turned down for permission to remain in the United States.

Somaliland Presidential Election Chronicles: Back to the Future?
Part III

By A. Mohamed Ali Hashi ‘Dhimbiil’
ADDIS ABABA, 7 MARCH 2003 (ADDIS TRIBUNE)--Presidential elections are scheduled in Somaliland for April 14, next month. These series of articles will provide an in-depth analysis of the election. Two diaspor-based Somalilanders, a political scientist (Dhimbiil) and Psychiatrist (Jowhar), will provide the analysis on alternate weeks.

A constitution is the arrangement of magistracies in a state, especially of the highest of all. The government is everywhere sovereign in the state, and the constitution is in fact the government. Aristotle, Politics (Book 3)

Two forces are vying for the future of Africa: one is authoritarian, the other democratic. Curiously, the authoritarian strain was once democratic; previously, it had embraced the ideology of democracy so as to awaken the masses for insurrection against imperialism and colonialism. At the dawn of independence many of these once democratic organizations and leaders transformed themselves into one party states and later into deadly and predatory autocrats.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Somalia peace talks proving futile
NAIROBI, 7 MARCH 2003--When will the world see an end to the Somalia crisis? The word "crisis" is used for want of a better one to describe what has been happening in Somalia for the last 12 years with no end in sight. Yet it is a tired description, for it reminds one of a phenomenon that has refused to abate.

When the civil war raged and President Siad Barre was ousted, Somalia’s became a genuine international problem. There were the refugee crisis, starvation and landmines, to mention but a few. And the international community intervened and tried to recreate a nation-state.

Somali peace talks on verge of collapse:
Negotiating a Blueprint for Peace in Somalia

BRUSSELS, 6 MARCH 2003(ICG)--The peace process in Somalia is at a critical point. Talks that began with great promise are in danger of collapsing unless the mediators, the international community and the Somali factions themselves provide stronger leadership. The Somali public's flagging interest and support for the process needs to be revived, and improvements are required in the negotiating process or the parties will be unable to tackle the many difficult outstanding issues. Unfortunately, the international community has remained reluctant to throw its full weight behind the peace talks, to take a tough line with those who are undermining it or generally to express a unified position on preferred outcomes.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Warlords Face Action By Igad
NAIROBI, 5 MARCH 2003--The Inter Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) has warned that appropriate action will be taken on two Somali warlords for violating the agreement on the cessation of hostilities.

The special envoy to Somalia, Bethwel Kiplagat, said yesterday the Igad front-line States would consider action against Musa Sudi and Omar Mohammed for the recent escalation of war in parts of Mogadishu.

Their forces have been fighting in Mogadishu while they are also blamed for violations in the middle of Juba region.

Monitoring committee condemns Mogadishu fighting
NAIROBI, 5 MAR 2003 (IRIN) - A newly-formed committee, set up to monitor a shaky ceasefire accord between the warring sides in Somalia, has condemned the escalation of hostilities Somalia particularly the fighting which has been raging in Mogadishu's Medina district over the last five days.

The latest round of fighting pits militias loyal to faction leader Muse Sudi Yalahow, and those of his erstwhile former right-hand man, Umar Mahmud Muhammad Finish. The fighting which has been going on for almost a week has claimed the lives of over 50 people, and 100 people have been wounded.
SOMALIA: Human rights offices closed in Puntland
NAIROBI, 5 MAR 2003 (IRIN) - The authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland have ordered the closure of the offices of several local human rights groups, according to a senior official in the region's commercial capital, Bosaso.

Abdishakur Mire Adan, the Puntland deputy information minister, told IRIN that the region's internal affairs minister, Ahmad Abdi Habsade, had made the announcement in a decree publicised on Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

SOMALIA: Militias on looting spree as Mogadishu death toll tops 50
NAIROBI, 4 MARCH 2003 (IRIN) - Hundreds of families are fleeing their homes in Mogadishu's southwestern Medina district after fierce clashes broke out in the Somali capital last week.

Ibrahim Abikar, a local businessman, told IRIN on Tuesday that the area "is almost empty today". Some families have remained to safeguard their homes from looters, but Medina - normally one of the most densely populated areas of Mogadishu - was described as a "ghost town".
Press Release : Ministry of Information and National Guidance
HARGEISA, 4 MARCH 2003--In a recent interview with the East African Standard (Feb 17-23, 2003) Kenya’s special envoy to Somalia Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat, stated that the “Council of Ministers of IGAD Front Line States have not recognized Somaliland”. Hence “You could say they are for territorial integrity and the unity of Somalia."

Monday, March 03, 2003

Plan mooted to monitor ceasefire in Somalia
NAIROBI, 4 MAR 2003--The second phase of the Somali peace talks in Nairobi will lobby for the formation of a ceasefire monitoring committee. The committee would ensure there was progress in restoring peace in the strife-torn country, Kenya's special envoy to the peace talks, Mr Bethwel Kiplagat, said.

British House of Commons holds a five-hour session on Somaliland
LONDON, 3 MAR 2003--The House of Commons discussed the issue of Somaliland and ways of helping it to get international recongition on Friday. The meeting was the result of a tremendous effort made by Dr. Omar Elmi Dihood, Somaliland's Envoy
for International Recognition, and other members of the Somaliland community in the UK.

Among the notable speakers at the session was Edna Adan Ismail, Somaliland's Minister of Family and Social Affairs, who is currently visiting the UK. The session lasted five hours. Dr. Dihood has written hundreds of letters to British MPs and other relevant personalities, explaining Somaliland's rightful need for international recognition.
SOMALIA: New committee to arbitrate on representation at peace conference
NAIROBI, 3 MAR 2003 (IRIN) - An arbitration committee to comprise representatives of Somali clans is being set up to resolve ongoing disputes over seats for delegates to the Somali peace conference, the Kenyan mediator, Bethwel Kiplagat, told a press conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Monday. Kiplagat also said that an international monitoring commission on the shaky Somali ceasefire may start sending fact-finding missions to Somalia shortly.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Foreign Minister Kalonzo in Pledge Over Somali And Sudan Talks
NAIROBI, 3 MARCH 2003--Kenya is committed to resolving conflicts in Somalia and Sudan even if war breaks out in Iraq.
Foreign Affairs minister Kalonzo Musyoka gave the pledge yesterday, adding that peace initiatives in war-ravaged Somalia and Sudan were going on well.

"We don't want to get to that now because the war has not taken place. If and when it happens we will know what to do," Mr Musyoka said.

His statement came in the wake of concerns raised by French Ambassador to Kenya Pierre Jacquemont that an attack on Iraq would wreck Kenya's initiatives to bring peace to southern Sudan and Somalia.

World's favorite writing tool refuses to be erased
NUREMBERG, 2 MARCH 2003-- The world's oldest word-processing and graphics system has no memory and no spell checker. It needs constant maintenance and cannot be upgraded; it could not be more analog and less compatible.

And folks keep using it.

For over four centuries, the classic wooden pencil has defied obsolescence - a feat that generations of laptops and palm devices cannot match. Even in the aftermath of the great technology bust, worldwide output of basic black-lead pencils has continued to grow and now reaches an estimated 15 billion a year.

"Twenty years ago, I really worried about what will happen with the wood-cased pencil," said Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell, the chief executive of Faber-Castell, the world's biggest and oldest maker of pencils.