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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Slums of Addis: where globalization seems far away

Also in the news: [US plans more raids in Somalia] - [Anti-US backlash in Somalia limited, threat remains] - [Top U.N. Envoy Flies to Somali Capital for peace force talks] - [US slams Somali speaker's sacking]

International: [Israel hands Abbas frozen funds] - [Iraq Announces Crackdown On Mahdi Army] - [Canada Chuckles at 'Little Mosque on the Prairie'] - [boy dies copying Saddam Hussein's hanging] and more of today's top stories!

The ousted speaker of Somalia's parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, said on Thursday the impoverished east African nation risked sliding into dictatorship and accused President Abdullahi Yusuf of seeking to rule by force and fear. (More...)

Great Ethiopian Run Video:

US plans more raids in Somalia

Mogadishu - US operations in Somalia will go on until key al-Qaeda targets are eliminated, a Pentagon official says, as debate sharpens over Washington's next move in the stricken nation.

The remarks followed last week's assault in Somalia using a fearsome CH-130 fixed-wing aircraft which US officials say killed at least eight people, described by Washington as radicals sheltering al-Qaeda's top Africa leadership.

The fact that the top members of Osama bin Laden's network are still presumed at large in the country is sparking speculation of possible follow-up operations and questions on whether Somalia will become the latest hot battlefront in the "war on terror". (More...)

Slums of Addis: where globalization seems far away

ADDIS ABABA -- Wubit Shiferaw blanches at the smell from the open latrine pit that passes underneath her feet in her Addis Ababa slum dwelling and declares: "The conditions are simply just unbearable."

As tens of thousands of activists gather in the capital of neighboring Kenya this weekend for the World Social Forum, they are hoping to turn the spotlight on the plight of people like the Shiferaw family who have been left behind by globalization.

While living standards in the West and emerging Asian powerhouses such as China and India continue to improve in the twenty-first century, feeble growth rates in much of Africa have mired most of the continent's residents in abject poverty.

In Ethiopia, a recent survey found that 80 percent of the country's urban population live in slums that fail to meet basic sanitary benchmarks.

The nongovernmental organization Action Professionals' Association for the People (APAP) found the overwhelming majority of housing units in towns and cities were poorly constructed and four-fifths were made out of mud and wood.

More than 40 percent have no more than one room while 42 percent lacked toilets and 39 percent were without kitchens. Wubit, who has been living in the Kera district of Addis Ababa for the last 18 years, has little expectation of an upturn in the future.(More...)

Anti-US backlash in Somalia limited, threat remains

NAIROBI, Jan 18 (Reuters) - A U.S. air strike on Somalia this month sparked widespread condemnation and predictions it would both worsen violence inside the country and hurt U.S. interests across east Africa. But though the threat remains, the limited nature of the Jan. 8 raid may have contained the backlash, analysts say.

Washington said the attack by an AC-130 plane firing a battery of cannons, America's first overt action inside the chaotic country since a disastrous humanitarian mission ended in 1994, targeted only al Qaeda suspects. It rejected reports of civilian casualties and firmly denied any further raids.

"If it was a one-time event, I don't think it will have a major impact but will disappear quickly if there is no more engagement in Somalia," said David Shinn, a former U.S. envoy in the region.

When defeated Islamists were pushed into a remote southern corner of Somalia by Ethiopian and Somali government forces, apparently forcing al Qaeda agents among them to break cover, Washington jumped at the chance of a decisive hit. "The opportunity to do a short, sharp strike was at its prime -- that is why the Americans went for that," a Western diplomat said. "The strike threw a bit of fuel on the fire ... (but) the Americans have just been able to get away with it." (More...)

Top U.N. Envoy Flies to Somali Capital for peace force talks

Jan 18, 2007 — A top U.N. envoy on Thursday stressed the need to protect Somalia's government so Ethiopian troops can pull out without leaving the country vulnerable to remnants of the ousted Islamic movement.

Francois Lonseny Fall, the Secretary General's special representative to Somalia, met with President Abdullahi Yusuf for the first time in the capital, where Somali troops took over last month with the help of Ethiopian troops.

"To see the president in Villa Somalia (the official residence of Somali presidents) is a very important step. We have to move step by step and we need all efforts to get this country rebuilt," Fall said before his closed-door talks with Yusuf.

Emerging 30 minutes later, Fall said that now that the government was installed in Mogadishu, "we need to protect them and also facilitate the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops. This is what everyone expects." (More...)

US slams Somali speaker's sacking

Senior US diplomat Jendayi Frazer has criticised a move by Somalia's parliament to sack its speaker. Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan was removed for having unauthorised talks with the Islamists, who controlled much of southern Somalia until last month.

He also opposed Ethiopia's intervention to help drive the Islamists out. Ms Frazer said that a spirit of reconciliation was needed in Somalia, and the no-confidence motion was likely to have a negative impact on dialogue.

Last week, the US launched air strikes in the far south of Somalia against the routed Islamist group, who they accuse of harbouring al-Qaeda members suspected of bombing US embassies in East Africa and a 2002 attack on Israeli targets in Kenya.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Revenge: A Dish Best Served with Civility (carpediemethiopia)
-Somali viewpoints (How life in Mogadishu has changed since the Islamists were ousted)
-Israel hands Abbas frozen funds
-Iraq Announces Crackdown On Mahdi Army
-Pressure mounts on Olmert to resign
-Canada Chuckles at 'Little Mosque on the Prairie'
-Mirror, mirror on the wall, is this dress for me?
-boy dies copying Saddam Hussein's hanging