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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

U.S. launches new air strike on Somalia

Also in the news: [Defections continue as political dissent remains a crime in Ethiopia] - [Mortars hit Somalia's international airport] - [Ethiopia to stay in Somalia until AU force arrives, says Meles] - [U.S. ambassador, top Somali Islamist meet] - [Israel health ministry: Ethiopian blood donation will no longer be discarded]- [Kapuscinski writer of "The Emperor" ( a book that critics the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie) dies in Warsaw]

International: [Chad arrests hijacker of Sudanese plane] - [Israeli president to leave post] - [Beirut Recovering After Violent Protests] - [China net use may soon surpass US]- [Obama beats Clinton — in website traffic] and more of today's top stories!

President Bush shakes hands with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi after his State of the Union speech in the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007. AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson.(More...)

U.S. launches new air strike on Somalia

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship has launched a second air strike against suspected al Qaeda operatives in southern Somalia, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified U.S. officials.

No confirmation of Monday's reported attack was immediately available in the region and a Pentagon spokesman declined to comment. The newspaper said there was no information on the results or the specific targets of the strike.

An AC-130 gunship two weeks ago attacked what Washington said were al Qaeda agents fleeing with Islamist forces defeated by Somali government and Ethiopian troops late last month. It was the first overt U.S. action in Somalia since the end of a disastrous peacekeeping mission in 1994. (More...)

Mortars hit Somalia's international airport

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Gunmen launched several mortars at Mogadishu International Airport on Wednesday, killing at least two people and wounding several others, witnesses said.

Abdilkabir Salad, who was at the gate of the airport when the mortars fell, said he saw two corpses. Another witness, Abdi Mohamed, said he saw three injured young men who were hit with shrapnel.

"Two mortars landed inside the airport and the other outside," Mohamed said. "There were three planes on the runway when the attack happened."

The runway was not damaged, said the director of the airport.

The attack comes one day after Ethiopian troops began withdrawing. The intervention of Ethiopia last month prompted a military advance that was a stunning turnaround for Somalia's two-year-old government. Without Ethiopia's tanks and fighter jets, the administration could barely assert control outside one town and couldn't enter the capital, which was ruled by the Council of Islamic Courts.(More...)

Israel health ministry: Ethiopian blood donation will no longer be discarded

The health ministry announced on Wednesday that blood donations would be accepted from anyone born in Israel, including Israeli-born Ethiopians.

Until now, blood donated by Ethiopians was discarded due to concern for disease in light of the alarming incidence of AIDS and HIV in Ethiopia. (More...)

U.S. ambassador, top Somali Islamist meet: official

NAIROBI (Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger has met top Somali Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who is being held by Kenyan intelligence in Nairobi, a U.S. embassy official said on Wednesday.

Ranneberger has said Ahmed potentially can be a player in reconciliation between the interim Somali government and Ahmed's militant Islamist movement, which government troops with Ethiopian backing defeated over the New Year.

Ranneberger has said any Somali who renounces violence and extremism will have a part to play in reconciliation in the Horn of Africa country.

The U.S. official, who confirmed the meeting which a source had told Reuters about earlier, spoke on condition of anonymity and declined to give any details. Ahmed, one of the most visible faces of the defeated Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) during its six-month rule of most of southern Somalia, surrendered at the Kenya-Somalia border.(More...)

Ethiopia to stay in Somalia until AU force arrives, says Meles

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - Ethiopian troops who helped oust Islamist hardliners from Mogadishu will remain in Somalia until the deployment of African Union peacekeepers, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has said.

A first batch of around 200 troops withdrew from the Somali capital on Tuesday but thousands more remain and Meles said no security vacuum would be allowed to develop ahead of the arrival of a proposed 7,600-strong AU stabilisation force.

"We have not based our decision to withdraw on the AU's decision to deploy, but on an agreement with the TFG (transitional Somali government)," Meles told a press conference in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.(More...)

Kapuscinski writer of "The Emperor" ( a book that critics the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie) dies in Warsaw

Ryszard Kapuscinski, a globe-trotting journalist from Poland whose writing, often tinged with magical realism, brought him critical acclaim and a wide international readership, died yesterday in Warsaw. He was 74.

His death, at a hospital, was reported by PAP, the Polish news agency for which he had worked. No cause was given, but he was known to have had cancer.

Mr. Kapuscinski (pronounced ka-poos-CHIN-ski) spent some four decades observing and writing about conflict throughout the developing world. He witnessed 27 coups and revolutions. He spent his working days gathering information for the terse dispatches he sent to PAP, often from places like Ougadougou or Zanzibar.

At night, he worked on longer, descriptive essays with phantasmagoric touches that went far beyond the details of the day’s events, using allegory and metaphors to convey what was happening.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Defections continue as political dissent remains a crime in Ethiopia
-Chad arrests hijacker of Sudanese plane
-Israeli president to leave post
-Beirut Recovering After Violent Protests
-China net use may soon surpass US
-Yorkshire clan linked to Africa (People of African origin have lived in Britain for centuries, according to genetic evidence)
-Obama beats Clinton — in website traffic
-Modern pagans honor Zeus in Athens