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Young people can 'open new chapter' for Somalia, UN Youth envoy says in Mogadishu
2 October 2014 - The United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi on a trip to Somalia this week reiterated his unwavering commitment to empowering young people to participate in development and peace processes, calling them the long-troubled country's 'biggest asset'. Meeting with the UN officials in Somalia, Mr Alhendawi reiterated support for two initiatives: a comprehensive strategy on youth that aims at increasing youth participation in governance processes, prevent violence and promote reintegration, stimulate employment and economic empowerment of youth including through providing employment skills to the youth. (more)

Somali warlord agrees to talks, boosts government peace efforts
31 August 2014 - A Somali clan leader who fought for years to retake a strategic southern port city he once controlled has laid down arms and joined talks, bolstering government efforts to show it can restore order to a chaotic nation. The African Union force AMISOM, which has been involved in reconciliation efforts, said Barre Hirale and nearly 100 members of his militia gave up their weapons on Saturday after discussions with clan elders and Somali federal government delegations. (more)

Somalia ambassador arrives in US
14 July 2014 - Somalia has posted an ambassador to the United States for the first time in more than 20 years. It is a step forward in a nearly two-year effort to improve relations between the US and Somalia as the war-ravaged African nation struggles to regain stability against extremist attacks and a weak government. The US Embassy closed in 1991 when Somalia's government collapsed in civil war. (more)

Somalia: New Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed
21 December 2013 - The top United Nations official in Somalia congratulated Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, who was appointed on 21 December following a vote in the Federal Parliament, calling the process a key step heading into 2014, which will be 'pivotal year' for the country. (more)

Agreement ends fight over Somali port city
28 August 2013 - Officials say Somalia's government has signed a deal over the administration of a southern port to end months of dispute that threatened wider conflict in the region. According to an agreement signed Wednesday, officials meeting in Ethiopia agreed to a two-year Interim Jubba Administration, a leadership period that would pave the way for the creation of a federal state controlled by the central government. (more)

Somalia to restart mail after 22-year hiatus
26 April 2013 - Somalis may soon be receiving letters from abroad for the first time in more than 20 years after a deal was struck with the United Nations' postal agency, the latest step towards ending Somalia's isolation following two decades of civil conflict. The Swiss-based Universal Postal Union said in a statement on Friday that international postal services could start operating again in Somalia within the next few months. (more)

Somalia: Mogadishu festival helps move past sounds of war
8 April 2013 - Mogadishu's first music festival in decades acted as another step in moving past a city soundscape once filled with gunfire and mortar shells. The Reconciliation Music Festival was organized by a Somali rap group who moved overseas, Waayaha Cusub. Last week's performances attracted international artists to a capital city that until recently was music-free. (more)

Donors step up ties with Somalia; praise rebuilding efforts
28 February 2013 - Major Western donors have stepped up efforts in recent weeks to reengage with Somalia, opening the way for increased development assistance to a country trying to shake off years of conflict. A senior British official said in Washington that London will host a conference with the new Somali government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on 7 May. (more)

Somalia: Somalis enjoy first major music concert in two decades
20 February 2013 - Music is back in Mogadishu after being banned by Islamists who controlled much of south and central Somalia two years ago. A concert this week saw a top Somali performer appear before a happy crowd, which included government officials. Mogadishu has seen rapid growth and developments in the music sector as Somali singers based in the diaspora have returned to entertain Somalis in the capital Mogadishu -- a hugely symbolical and significant gesture. (more)

US/Somalia: Minnesota congressman arrives in Mogadishu
20 February 2013 - A US congressman visited Somalia's capital on Tuesday, the first visit in years by a member of Congress to what until recently was considered one of the world's most dangerous cities. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, said his visit to Mogadishu fulfilled a request from his constituents with ties to Somalia. Minnesota has one of the largest populations of Somali-Americans in the US. Ellison was greeted by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The President said that Ellison's visit was a big day for Somalia. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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New approach for Somali security forces to prevent terrorism
21 November 2017 - 'During these dangerous times of high tensions in Somalia, terrorism could quickly end if Somali security forces were trained to form what is known in Latin American military circles as Prevention Wings of the Military. These units would be comprised of Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) experts,' writes Dr David Leffler in the publication of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting in Nigeria. The purpose of these IDT groups would be to practise Transcendental Meditation (TM) and its advanced programmes twice a day. 'Extensive peer-reviewed research and military field-tests worldwide show that proper application of these programmes brings about measurable decreases in crime, terrorism and war, and improvements in quality of life.' Somali leaders would be wise, he said, to investigate these technologies and 'learn how to rapidly establish perpetual peace'. (more)


Flops
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Somalia's Puntland region declares state of emergency over drought
5 December 2017 - Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland declared a state of emergency on Tuesday (5 December) and appealed for food and water because of shortages triggered by a severe drought. Drought has gripped large parts of the Horn of Africa country this year and the United Nations says children face acute malnutrition. The crisis is compounded by al Shabaab's Islamist insurgency that seeks to topple the central government that is backed by African Union peacekeepers and the West. (more)

Final death toll in Somalia's worst attack is 512 people
2 December 2017 - The final death toll in October's massive truck bombing in Somalia's capital is 512 people, according to the committee tasked with looking into the country's worst-ever attack. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for the Oct. 14 attack, which struck a crowded street. Security officials said the bomb weighed between 600 kilograms and 800 kilograms (1,300 pounds and 1,700 pounds) as the extremist group's bomb-making capabilities grow. (more)

276 killed in deadliest single attack in Somalia's history
16 October 2017 - The most powerful bomb blast ever witnessed in Somalia's capital killed 276 people with around 300 others injured, the country's information minister said early Monday (16 October), making it the deadliest single attack in this Horn of Africa nation. The toll was expected to rise. ... As angry protesters gathered near the scene of the attack, Somalia's government blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for what it called a 'national disaster.' However, Africa's deadliest Islamic extremist group, which often targets high-profile areas of the capital, had yet to comment. (more)

After bombing, Somalia fears renewed al-Shabab onslaught
16 October 2017 - As the toll rises above 300 from one of the world's deadliest attacks in years, the al-Shabab extremist group has sent a powerful signal that the international focus on extremism can't afford to overlook the African continent. Saturday's truck bombing on a crowded Mogadishu street showed that al-Shabab, targeted for years by U.S. airstrikes and tens of thousands of African Union forces, has once again made a deadly comeback. Pushed from Somalia's capital in recent years, al-Shabab has retreated mostly to rural areas of the country's south, where the fragile central government can't assert its authority and local fiefdoms are in charge. From there, Africa's deadliest Islamic extremist group has continued to plan guerrilla-style attacks like Saturday's truck bombing in the capital, Mogadishu. (more)

Somalia truck bombing toll over 300, scores remain missing
16 October 2017 - More than 300 people were killed in the weekend truck bombing in Somalia's capital and scores remained missing, authorities said Monday (16 October), as the fragile Horn of Africa nation reeled from one of the world's worst attacks in years. As funerals continued, the government said the death toll was expected to rise. Nearly 400 people were injured after Saturday's bombing targeted a crowded street in Mogadishu. (more)

Weapons buildup, anger fuel threat of renewal of Somali piracy
15 March 2017 - A volatile buildup of weapons and resentment along the northern Somali coast culminated in the hijack of an oil freighter this week, the first such seizure by Somali pirates since 2012, experts and locals told Reuters on Wednesday, 15 March. Now shipping companies are scrambling to find out whether the attack is a one-off, or whether pirates could once again threaten one of the world's most important shipping lanes and cost the industry billions of dollars annually. (more)

U.N. warns of famine risk in Somalia amid worsening drought
17 January 2017 - Somalia risks slipping back into famine, the United Nations, said on Tuesday, as worsening drought has left millions without food, water, or healthcare in a country crippled by decades of war. ... Famine last struck pockets of Somalia in 2011, killing 260,000 people. It was caused by drought, conflict, and a ban on food aid in territory held by [the Islamist militant group] al Shabaab . (more)

World's last wild frankincense forests are under threat
24 December 2016 - In a tradition dating to Biblical times, men rise at dawn in the rugged Cal Madow mountains of Somaliland in the Horn of Africa to scale rocky outcrops in search of the prized sap of wild frankincense trees. When dried and burned, the sap produces a fragrant smoke which perfumes churches and mosques around the world. But now these last intact wild frankincense forests on Earth are under threat as prices have shot up in recent years with the global appetite for essential oils. Overharvesting has led to the trees dying off faster than they can replenish, putting the ancient resin trade at risk. (more)

Islamist rebels attack intelligence site in Somalia
31 August 2014 - Islamist rebels blew up a car bomb and gunmen attacked a national intelligence site in Somalia's capital where suspected militants are held, in an assault on Sunday that left at least 12 people dead. Three soldiers and two civilians were killed along with seven militants, including the suicide bomber who detonated the vehicle packed with explosives, government officials said. One intelligence officer, who identified himself only as Nur, told Reuters the gunmen had entered one building, forcing security personnel to fight room-to-room to clear them out. 'All the attackers perished in the end,' Nur said. Some of the attackers wore stolen uniforms of the security forces, the Information Ministry said in a statement, adding that all the militants were killed with 45 minutes of the attack starting. It said the two civilians killed had been passers-by. Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, told Reuters the group was behind the attack, the latest in a series of raids in Mogadishu in recent months, including a July assault on the presidential compound. (more)

UN warns of alarming malnutrition rates in Somali capital
27 July 2014 - The United Nations has reported alarming rates of malnutrition in the Somali capital where aid agencies cannot meet the needs of 350,000 people due to insufficient funds, drought, and conflict. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the Somali government had compared the situation to the run-up to a 2011 famine that killed 260,000 people. The United Nations has sought to improve its early warning mechanisms after its failure to spot indications of crisis in 2010 was blamed for the scale of the famine that followed in a nation torn apart by years of conflict. 'Alarming rates of malnutrition have been observed among displaced communities in Mogadishu,' OCHA said in a report released at the weekend, citing a study by a unit of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. It said aid agencies were unable to meet the needs of 350,000 people who had fled to Mogadishu, saying the aid organizations faced a shortage of funds and violence in the capital that could restrict deliveries. (more)

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