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February 10, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: February 10, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: February 10, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: February 10, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, February 10, 2012.

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Russian scientists contact Lake Vostok

Lake Vostok cross-section.
Image: U.S. National Science Foundation.

Russian scientists say they have made first contact with Lake Vostok, one of several hundred subglacial lakes beneath the solid ice surface of Antarctica. It is estimated the lake has been separate from outside conditions for about 20 million years. Its size is comparable to Lake Ontario. The lake is located in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet with one of the lowest recorded temperatures on Earth.

Scientists believe the study of such subglacial lakes can provide them with an in-depth look into the White Continent’s history, as well as the possibility of finding live microorganisms that can live under extremely cold conditions.

Sources


New U.S. airport program provides speedy security check

The Transportation Security Administration is to allow 35 U.S. airports to operate a faster way to get through airport security screeing.

The new Pre-Check program allows air passengers to keep on their shoes, carry-on their computers, and wear a light jacket. Passengers participating in the Pre-Check program are screened before reaching the security point on their way to the plane. To participate in the program, travelers are required to be citizens of the U.S. and pass a background check.

The program is already in place at seven national airports, such as Atlanta, but is to expand to 28 more large city airports like New York‘s three airports, Chicago, and Boston this year.

Sources


Somalia’s rebels align with Al-Qaeda

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab formally allied itself with Al-Qaeda in separate audio and video announcements.

Rebel leader Mukhtar Abu al-Zubair praised Al-Qaeda’s leader and congratulated the organization on its victories in its wars with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of Al-Qaeda, acknowledged the development and said, “The Arab region is slipping from America’s grip”.

UK defense think tank Royal United Services Institute, and US House committee on homeland security chairman Peter King, warn that Somali terrorists may try to strike inside both countries.

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October 19, 2011

Kenya troops enter Somalia after kidnappings

Kenya troops enter Somalia after kidnappings

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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The al-Shabab are believed to have abducted tourists from the Coast Province of Kenya.

The Kenyan army moved into Southern Somalia Sunday, acting against the al-Shabab militant group. Two recent kidnappings by Somalis from island resorts have cost the Kenyan tourist industry.

The UK Foreign Office has issued an advisory against travelling to the Kenya–Somalia border. Kenya’s foreign minister has said Kenyans must “defend your country, you must defend the security of your people and in doing so, you have to go for these people where they are”. He also went on to say they were acting on request of the government of Somalia.

A spokesperson for the al-Shabab militant group shouted, “Are you ready to live under Christians?” on a militant local Somali radio station, advocating a holy war.

Omar Osman, a spokesperson for the Somali government, said Kenyan logistical support was welcome, but Kenyan troops were unnecessary.



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July 15, 2011

Drought stricken Somalia nears famine

Drought stricken Somalia nears famine – Wikinews, the free news source

Drought stricken Somalia nears famine

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  • 10 February 2012: Wikinews Shorts: February 10, 2012
  • 19 October 2011: Kenya troops enter Somalia after kidnappings
  • 15 July 2011: Drought stricken Somalia nears famine
  • 11 June 2011: Somali interior minister killed by bomb attack in own home
  • 24 February 2011: Pirates kill four American hostages
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Drought
Image: Dl91m.

The African Union made a plea on Tuesday for the international community to come to the aid of Somalia. This is a country where one in three, (ten million people) is suffering from a severe drought, a situation complicated by warring rebel factions. In 2009, UNICEF discontinued air deliveries to areas controlled by the Islamic insurgent group al-Shabab due to militant threats.

Last week al-Shabab said it would welcome the presence of humanitarian groups, provided aid groups did not have a “hidden agenda”.

On Wednesday, the United Nations airlifted supplies to a part of the country controlled by al-Shabab, flying five metric tons of medicines, food and water supplies to Baidoa, a rebel-held town, 155 miles south of Mogadishu. Maulid Warfa, UNICEF emergency officer, in an interview with state-run Radio Mogadishu, said a very critical humanitarian crisis exists in rural communities where people have lost their livestock and farms after the worst drought in six decades. The aid is to help them and their children who are extremely malnourished.

Cquote1.svg [Somalia’s crisis is] the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world. Cquote2.svg

UNICEF

When Warfa, was asked about the arrest of two aid workers by al Shabaab, one with UNICEF, Warfa did not confirm or deny it. Instead he emphasized the desperate need of Somalians for assistance.

Although some feared a new Kenyan camp would result in more Somalis fleeing to Kenya, Kenya has announced in will open a new refuge camp near the Somalian border within ten days which will hold 80,000. Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said, “Although we consider our own security, we can’t turn away the refugees.”

Cquote1.svg We are no longer talking about a humanitarian crisis or a humanitarian emergency. We are seeing this as a humanitarian catastrophe. Cquote2.svg

—Jens Oppermann, the country director of Action Against Hunger

In a nearby refugee camp in Kenya where 370,000 people are squeezed into a space set up for 90,000 people, conditions are desperate aid workers said.

Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali in an interview with the BBC said a refugee camp has opened in Mogadishu, but that the government had “meagre” resources to help drought victims. “We are appealing to the international community to take the matter seriously and to act quickly to save as many lives as we can,” he told the BBC.

On Thursday, UNICEF said Somalia’s drought and refugee crisis is “the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world.”

On Friday, Jens Oppermann, the country director of Action Against Hunger (Action Contre La Faim, ACF), told AFP: “We are no longer talking about a humanitarian crisis or a humanitarian emergency. We are seeing this as a humanitarian catastrophe.”

This is the second consecutive year the summer rains have not come, and according to the BBC, the current drought threatens the lives of at least four million in Somalia.



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June 11, 2011

Somali interior minister killed by bomb attack in own home

Somali interior minister killed by bomb attack in own home

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Somalia
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File:Mogadishu 2006.jpg
Hassan was killed in the capital, Mogadishu
Image: Scoobycentric.

Abdi Shakur Sheikh Hassan, the interior minister of Somalia, was killed in a bomb attack at his home in Mogadishu on Friday. The suicide bomber was a veiled woman said to be his teenage niece and a member of the militant al-Shabab, an Islamic group. According to the BBC, his niece was a frequent visitor and no security check was performed. She was killed instantly and the minister died on his way to treatment.

This is the third suicide attack in as many weeks in Somalia’s capital city.

Senior police chief Nur Farah said he believed that a second bomb may have been placed under Hassan’s bed. He said to Reuters that “[t]he minister was killed by a relative from inside his house, it was unfortunate and unexpected. A big bomb must have been put under the minister’s bed. The explosives on the suicide bomber could not destroy the concrete room that way.”

Ahmed Mohamed, the minister’s driver spoke about the attack, saying that “[s]uddenly, I heard a loud explosion. I saw the flesh of the suicide bomber in the balcony near the minister’s house. I went into his room and saw him lying injured.”

At the time of the attack Mogadishu, as well as other parts of Somalia, have been hit with two days of political protests. Citizens have been protesting against a deal to extend the mandates of the parliament and President.


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February 24, 2011

Pirates kill four American hostages

Pirates kill four American hostages – Wikinews, the free news source

Pirates kill four American hostages

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Somalia
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

According to CBS 3, the four Americans taken hostage after their yacht was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Oman in the Indian Ocean have been killed. Pirates hijacked their yacht, named The Quest, on February 18.

The U.S. Naval ship that was following the yacht, which was traveling off the coast of Somalia, heard gunshots and attempted a rescue operation. Naval personnel had been negotiating with pirates when the incident occurred. After boarding the vessel, soldiers killed 2 pirates and detained at least 13 others. During the process they discovered that the pirates had shot and killed all four hostages.

“The forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors. Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds,” said a statement issued by the U.S. Central Command.

The hostages were identified as Scott and Jean Adam, husband and wife who owned the yacht, from Marina Del Rey, California. Their two friends were Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle from Seattle, Washington. Two other bodies were found on the yacht, believed to be pirates. The party was taking place in a race with other boats, which started in Thailand, when they decided to leave it after scheduled stop in Mumbai, India. Reports say they spent some of their time distributing bibles around the world. They changed course and were hijacked by the pirates off the coast of Oman.



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November 27, 2010

Teen charged over \’bomb attempt\’ at US Christmas celebration

Teen charged over ‘bomb attempt’ at US Christmas celebration

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cquote1.svg The threat was very real. Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale. Cquote2.svg

—Arthur Balizan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon

A 19-year-old Oregon, U.S. resident has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction after a sting operation; authorities say Mohamed Osman Mohamud, born in Somalia, tried to detonate a van bomb using a mobile phone at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland.

Portland was the scene of an alleged bombing attempt.
Image: Jamidwyer.

The device, police stated, was fake; he reportedly obtained it from undercover agents during a sting operation. Reports say Mohamud, a US citizen, had been in regular contact with somebody in north-west Pakistan.

Authorities intercepted e-mails they say were between Mohamud and this contact in August 2009. Holton reassured Oregon residents, adding that there was “no reason to believe there is any continuing threat arising from this case”. Mohamud allegededly told an FBI agent “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured.” Dwight Holton, a U.S. attorney, described Mohamud’s “chilling determination” as a “stark reminder that there are people—even here in Oregon—who are determined to kill Americans.”

An FBI agent told reporters “[t]he threat was very real. Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale. I want to reassure the people of this community that, at every turn, we denied him the ability to actually carry out the attack.” On the day of the tree lighting ceremony, he drove a vehicle to the area where the event was to be held, and was arrested, prosecutors said, twenty minutes before the tree was to be lit. He kicked at agents as they tried to apprehend him and shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (God is great!).

Court papers indicated that an undercover agent told Mohamud that he was an associate of the Pakistani contact. When the agent and Mohamud discussed the plan, Mohamud said that he wanted a “huge mass that will be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays”. Mohamud told the agent that he had wanted to carry out a jihad (holy war) against the U.S. since he was fifteen years old.



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November 15, 2010

Somali piracy: Kenyan navy kills three, Chinese ship hijacked, British couple freed

Somali piracy: Kenyan navy kills three, Chinese ship hijacked, British couple freed

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Monday, November 15, 2010

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Three pirates were killed late Friday during a presumed attack in error, while other pirates successfully hijacked the Yuan Xiang, a Panamanian-flagged vessel with an all-Chinese crew, and a media embargo was lifted regarding the release of a British couple whose yacht was seized more than a year ago over the weekend.

At 11 p.m. on Friday a Kenyan patrol vessel was near Kilifi in Kenyan coastal waters “when four suspected Somali pirates on board a speed boat climbed the vessel, mistaking it for a merchant vessel,” according to Kenyan Defence Department spokesman Bogita Ongeri. He said three were shot dead but the fourth “dived into the sea with bullet wounds during the scuffle,” and is thought to have died. The speed boat with more pirates on board fled, the three bodies were taken to Coast General Hospital, Mombassa.

Ongeri promised more details after discussions with the vessel’s captain adding, “[t]he government will not relent in its fight against piracy.” Kenya, along with the Seychelles, performs international prosecutions of pirates, but convictions are rarely secured; 26 suspects were freed last week by Kenya owing to lack of evidence or jurisdiction.

Andrew Mwangura of the Seafarers’ Assistance Program said Saturday, “I can confirm the pirates hijacked Yuan Xiang on Friday at midnight Kenyan time in the Arabian Sea near India. The vessel has 29 Chinese crew.” The Yuan Xiang was sailing outside the zone covered by a multinational task force combating piracy. Reports suggest its captors are heading to Somalia.

Retired British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler were released after their yacht Lynn Rival was captured near the Seychelles en-route to Tanzania 388 days ago, in October 2009. An injunction prevented reporting the release until 56-year-old Rachel and 60-year-old Paul, from Kent, were out of Somalia.

“Men with guns came aboard,” Paul told ITV News over the phone a week after their capture. “Then we were forced to sail … toward Somalia.” The seizure was witnessed by UK refueling ship RFA Wave Knight but they were not helped for fear their lives would be endangered. “This is not piracy and must not be reported as such,” Paul said in custody. “It is kidnapping and extortion and even torture.” It is unclear if money changed hands; US$7 million was originally demanded but UK government policy forbids ransom payments. “We’re fine,” said Paul. “We’re rather skinny and bony but we’re fine.”

New figures show 790 people have been kidnapped by Somali pirates this year, on course to beat last year’s record of 867. Of these, 435 remain hostage. Dr Alex Coutroubis and George Kiourktsoglou of London’s University of Greenwich say crews are repelling more attacks, and attackers have responded with increased violence. “As it gets harder for pirates to capture ships, the Somali gangs are more likely to fire at sailors with automatic weapons in order to force vessels to stop”. Some tankers have had rocket propelled grenades fired at them.

Last year saw 217 hijack attempts. This year, to date, 140, and 40 ships seized – versus 47 for the whole of 2009.



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  • “Somali pirates threaten to kill British hostages in days” — Wikinews, January 23, 2010

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September 24, 2010

Kenyan court jails seven pirates for 2009 attempted hijack of Maltese ship

Kenyan court jails seven pirates for 2009 attempted hijack of Maltese ship

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Friday, September 24, 2010

A court in Mombasa, Kenya has sentenced a group of seven Somali pirates to five years each in jail, according to a statement by the European Union. Anti-piracy mission EU Navfor said the septet were arrested by Spanish navy sailors after attacking Malta-registered cargo vessel Anny Petrakis.

Presiding over the conviction and sentencing, Timothy Ole Tanchut told the men he “…[had] concrete proof that you attacked a vessel in the high seas and I order you to serve five years in prison,” ruling that they will be deported to Somalia after serving their sentences. They have been in custody since May 7 last year when a Spanish crew captured them coming to the aid of the Anny Petrakis. The arrests followed warning shots fired by a naval helicopter.

This is the third pirate gang jailed in the last two years, bringing the total serving sentences in Kenya to around 15; around 100 suspects await trial in custody. Trials have been difficult to arrange owing to issues around finding locations; Kenya has international agreements with the EU, the United States and Denmark, as well as a separate treaty with EU-state the United Kingdom. These allow Kenya to try pirates like these ones handed over by Spain in exchange for support of the nation’s judicial system. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the European Union, Australia and Canada have all chipped in with donations to fund the court.



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July 27, 2010

Seychelles sentences Somali pirates to ten years in prison

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Crime and law,Piracy,Somalia — admin @ 5:00 am

Seychelles sentences Somali pirates to ten years in prison

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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The Republic of Seychelles has convicted eight men of piracy and three others for aiding and abetting piracy. All eleven men each received a ten year sentence in jail. Four of the convicted were under eighteen years of age.

The office of President James Michel states this ruling is in response to a hijack attempt on a Seychelles coast guard ship.

This ruling by Seychelles’ Supreme Court in Victoria is the first time the state has convicted Somali pirates.

Seychelles set up a court for the sole purpose of trying Somali pirates earlier this year, in response to hijackings of ships in Seychellois waters.

A Seychellois government statement said that “[t]heir conviction is a historical milestone as it is the first time that a piracy trial is successfully prosecuted in the Seychelles.”

Pirates attacked ships more than 200 times in 2009, including 68 hijackings, and made around US$50 million (38.5 million) in ransoms.

Seychelles and Kenya are the only African countries on the coast of the Indian Ocean with signed agreements with the European Union to prosecute Somali pirates.



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June 23, 2010

New \’failed states index\’ report published

New ‘failed states index’ report published

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

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In an annual report by the US-based Fund for Peace published in Foreign Policy magazine, Somalia is this year’s most “failed state” on a list of 177 countries, determined by factors such as its human rights record, security, and economy.

Among the factors contributing to the report’s ranking of Somalia include heavy ongoing violence, no stable government for nearly two decades, and the world’s third-largest refugee community.

In second place was Chad, followed by Sudan, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Seven of the top ten slots are African countries, and the continent also contains about thirty of the sixty most “failed” countries; Asian states also comprise 30% of the top sixty, and the Middle East has about 10%.

American think tank Fund for Peace collaborates annually with Foreign Policy magazine to produce the report. The index was first published in 2005, and countries are judged by twelve metrics, including refugee movement, economic development, history of violence, de-legitimization of the state, and others.

On the other end of the list, the least weak of the 177 countries evaluated was Norway, followed by Finland and Sweden. The US came in at number 158.


Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg List of countries by Fragile States Index

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