© PA ‘Law enforcement needs new investment to help combat organised crime,’ says Lynne Owens, director general of the National Crime Agency.
Britain risks losing the fight against organised crime unless police receive significant new resources to tackle the “chronic and corrosive” threat from such groups, the head of the National Crime Agency has warned.
In a chilling assessment, the NCA’s director general, Lynne Owens, said the threat from organised crime groups was at unprecedented levels. “It is chronic and corrosive. The message needs to be heard by everyone.”
She added: “People should understand that serious and organised crime kills more of our citizens every year than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined.”
In a rare political intervention, the head of an agency often described as Britain’s equivalent to the FBI reopened the debate on police funding, arguing that without significant investment the UK’s forces would fall further behind the criminals exploiting encrypted communications technology and dark web anonymity.
“Against a backdrop of globalisation, extremism and technological advances, serious and organised crime is changing fast, and law enforcement needs significant new investment to help combat it,” said Owens, ahead of this week’s launch of the NCA’s annual strategic assessment into the impact of organised crime.
Last year Whitehall’s spending watchdog revealed the jobs of 44,000 police officers and staff had been lost since 2010, when the coalition government came to power, and that the Home Office had failed to even forecast the possible impact.
The writer Misha Glenny, who will chair a panel of senior officers at the NCA’s report launch in London on Tuesday, said the austerity drive had allowed powerful crime syndicates to flourish in the UK.
Glenny, whose book McMafia documented the globalisation of crime after the break-up of the Soviet bloc, said that when it was published in 2008 organised crime was viewed as a global concern and its impact on most British citizens was minimal.
“In the past 10 years what is really striking is how this industry has grown inside the UK. Austerity has been absolutely critical in this, partly because of the reduction in police capacity but also because of the continuing increase in inequality. A lot of victims of organised crime tend to be people on the margins who don’t have a voice. When you get an impoverishment of the population, which is what we have had over the last 10 years, you get an increase in desperation, and that opens up opportunities,” added Glenny.
Transnational criminal networks, the exploitation of technological improvements and “old-style violence” is allowing serious crime gangs to “dominate communities”, the NCA assessment will say this week.
“It will reveal the changing nature of organised crime and its wholesale undermining of the UK’s economy, integrity, infrastructure and institutions,” said the NCA in a statement.
The assessment, described as the most comprehensive yet by the NCA, will also chart the rise of poly-criminality where organised groups operate in several illegal trades such as drugs, firearms and human trafficking.
Last year the agency mapped 4,629 OCGs (organised crime groups) inside the UK with tens of thousands of members and says the threat has since continued to grow. One area of enduring concern remains the use of encrypted and anonymisation technology, the latter primarily on the dark web, that have eroded the ability of investigators to detect offenders.
One area of enduring concern remains the use of encrypted and anonymisation technology, the latter primarily on the dark web
On Saturday, the NCA celebrated the conclusion of an eight-year investigation by seizing £6m worth of assets, including an award-winning luxury hotel and a £100,000 Bentley, from alleged members of an international money-laundering group.
The assessment is also expected to warn that advances in technologies, such as artificial intelligence and the introduction of 5G, will present further potential opportunities for criminals.
Uncertainty surrounding Brexit will also be identified by the agency as an area for criminal exploitation. Last year the NCA raised concerns that crime groups would exploit “the design and implementation of a new UK customs system, or increased challenges for EU and UK law enforcement in locating and extraditing international fugitives, if the UK were to lose enforcement or intelligence-sharing tools”.
The report will also document the latest developments on modern slavery and human trafficking, organised immigration crime, cyber-crime, money-laundering, drugs and guns. So-called “county lines” drug supply networks are still expected to affect all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
Source: The Gaudian
A US official has warned that the UK and any other western countries that adopt Huawei technology for 5G mobile phone networks risk affecting intelligence cooperation with the United States
The escalation of the rhetoric comes days after a leak indicated the UK was prepared to give Huawei the go-ahead to supply “non-core” infrastructure – a security measure that the US said on Monday would not work in practice.
Robert Strayer, a deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of State, said on Monday that Huawei “was not a trusted vendor” and any use of its technology in 5G networks was a risk.
He said the US would “have to reassess our ability to be interconnected and share information” if Huawei was used by the UK or other European countries, implying intelligence sharing could be at risk.
Last week a tense UK national security council meeting narrowly approved in principle to Huawei being allowed to supply “non-core” 5G technology, despite objections from five of the cabinet ministers present and months of US lobbying.
The decision was leaked to the Daily Telegraph, prompting an inquiry in which ministers, advisers and officials are likely to be interviewed, and which will probably lead to calls for the leaker to be sacked, regardless of their seniority.
One of the ministers who objected, Jeremy Hunt, reiterated his concerns about Huawei overnight on an official visit to Africa.
The foreign secretary, widely considered a Conservative leadership candidate, said there should be “a degree of caution” about the role of large Chinese companies in the UK “because of the degree of control the Chinese state is able to exercise over them”.
Repeating rhetoric used by US intelligence agencies last week, Strayer said countries that adopted Huawei technology risked handing China “a loaded gun”, amid fears the technology could be used for mass surveillance.
He said such decisions were something that “western democracies who are concerned about human rights need to think carefully about”.
Although Strayer was simply restating the position of the Trump administration about Chinese telecoms equipment, the briefing was clearly a calculated intervention after the leak in the UK.
Gallery: The Trump administration is warning allies to stay away from a powerful Chinese company — but not everyone’s listening (Business Insider)
CAIRO, Egypt, April 10, 2019/APO Group
“It’s a great honor to be with President El-Sisi, a friend—a great friend—of Egypt. And we have very special things happening. Our relationship has never been stronger. And we’re working with Egypt on many different fronts, including military and trade.” – President Donald J. Trump
It’s a great honor to be with President El-Sisi, a friend—a great friend—of Egypt
A STRATEGIC AND POWERFUL PARTNERSHIP: The United States and Egypt have a strong relationship with many security and economic implications.
- Today marks the second visit of President El-Sisi to the White House since 2017.
- Egypt has long been an important strategic partner in the Middle East.
- United States assistance to Egypt has played a central role in the country’s economic and military development.
- Since the 1979 Egypt–Israel Treaty of Peace, the United States has provided Egypt with more than $40 billion in military assistance and $30 billion in economic assistance.
- Egypt has become an anchor of stability in the Middle East, as exemplified by its enduring forty-year peace with Israel.
- The United States encourages the Egyptian government to preserve space for civil society and to protect human rights.
PROMOTING REGIONAL STABILITY: President Trump is strengthening our partnership with Egypt and promoting regional stability across the Middle East.
- President Trump is working with Egypt on issues impacting regional stability including conflicts in Libya, Syria, and Yemen and progress on the Middle East Strategic Alliance.
- The Trump Administration is working with Egypt to combat terrorism and to stop the spread of radical Islamic terrorism.
- The United States is providing Egypt with military training and equipment to support counterterrorism efforts.
- We continue to strengthen our strategic relationship through security cooperation and broader security efforts.
- President Trump applauds Egypt’s efforts to advance female economic empowerment and promote religious freedom.
- The Trump Administration supports the Egyptian government’s bold program of economic reform, which will set Egypt on the course of long-term economic stability.
- Egypt hosted the inaugural meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which will enhance economic cooperation and shared prosperity among countries across the region.
EXPANDING FAIR AND RECIPROCAL TRADE: President Trump is building on the strong and robust trade relationship between the United States and Egypt.
- The United States and Egypt have a robust bilateral trade relationship.
- President Trump hopes to build on this relationship through cooperation and mutual benefit.
- America is one of Egypt’s leading trade partners.
- In 2018, the United States goods trade surplus with Egypt was $2.6 billion, a 9.3 percent increase from 2017.
- In 2018, United States goods exports to Egypt totaled $5.1 billion, up 26.7 percent from 2017.
- America and Egypt continue to work together to promote fair trade and increased investment by addressing market access, standards, labor, and intellectual property protection issues.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.
Source: British Embassy Mogadishu |
MOGADISHU, Somalia, April 10, 2019/APO Group/ —
A high-level delegation of Ambassadors and representatives from Denmark, European Union, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom visited Hargeisa, Somaliland, on 2 to 3 April 2019. The delegation met with H.E. President Muse Bihi Abdi, all political parties, Parliament, the Electoral Commission and representatives of civil society organisations.
The main purpose of the visit was to demonstrate the partners’ continued support for Somaliland’s democratisation process and, in that context, underline the need for parliamentary and local council elections to take place on time on 12 December 2019.
The delegation noted with concern the lack of progress in the preparations for the elections due to disagreements between the three main political parties and in the passage of electoral legislation in the Parliament.
The delegation expressed the willingness of the international community to work with Somaliland to address the current drought
The delegation regretted this state of affairs, and underlined the risks that further delay would pose to the democratic credentials and international perception of Somaliland. Partners urged all political parties to demonstrate their commitment and will to make the necessary compromises to unblock the stalemate and to support the work of the Electoral Commission.They also urged the House of Representatives to accelerate the passage of the Electoral Law.
They underlined that elections should be held according to the principles of inclusiveness, transparency and credibility in a peaceful environment and stressed that women and minorities needed to be provided with a legally enforceable right to participate and be elected.
The delegation expressed the willingness of the international community to work with Somaliland to address the current drought. The delegation stressed that the long-term solution to the negative impact of recurrent droughts lay with a sustainable and resilient development trajectory.
They also welcomed a commitment by the H.E. President Muse Bihi Abdi to pursuing dialogue with H.E. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo and with H.E. President Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland, including on current security challenges.
The delegation thanked their hosts for their warm hospitality during the visit and reaffirmed their support for Somaliland’s development and democratisation.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of British Embassy Mogadishu.
By Harriet Line, Press Association Political Correspondent Theresa May says she will resign as prime minister if it means her Brexit deal passes May’s bombshell resignation statement in full
© Victoria Jones Theresa May’s time in office could be coming to a close (Victoria Jones/PA)
Theresa May’s announcement to Conservative MPs that she is prepared to step down for the second phase of Brexit talks should her EU withdrawal deal pass has sparked speculation about who might replace her.
The Prime Minister’s decision to tell the 1922 Committee that she “won’t stand in the way” of new leadership prompted leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg to say: “The great joy of the Tory Party is it has so many talented people in it. It’s like finding a fast bowler in Yorkshire. You just call and one appears.”
Here’s a look at key names currently being floated to take the helm if Mrs May steps down.
© Provided by The Press Association The Environment Secretary said it was “not the time to change the captain of the ship’ (Victoria Jones/PA)
The Environment Secretary had a bruising experience in the last Tory leadership race but he is now seen as the favourite at 7-2 – according to William Hill – to replace Mrs May, largely due to his Brexiteer credentials.
In June 2016, Mr Gove, who was campaign manager for Boris Johnson’s drive to succeed David Cameron, withdrew his support on the morning Mr Johnson was due to declare and threw his own hat in the ring instead.
He came third in the first round of voting, trailing behind ultimate winner Mrs May and Andrea Leadsom.
Mr Gove, 51, was born in Edinburgh, studied English at Oxford and was a journalist before becoming an MP. He is married to Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine.
Despite speculation he could take the job, he told reporters on Sunday it was “not the time to change the captain of the ship”.
© Provided by The Press Association David Lidington said ‘I don’t think that I’ve any wish to take over from the PM’ (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Mrs May’s de facto deputy is seen by some as the natural caretaker prime minister but he has been clear he does not want the job.
“One thing that working closely with the Prime Minister does is cure you completely of any lingering shred of ambition to want to do that task,” he said on Sunday.
William Hill are offering odds of 6-1 for him to become Number 10’s next occupant.
The 62-year-old has been the MP for Aylesbury since 1992 and was minister of state for Europe from 2010 to 2016. He is married with four children.
© Provided by The Press Association Boris Johnson was a key player in the 2017 Leave campaign (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prominent Brexiteer and former foreign secretary Mr Johnson has been a leading voice of opposition to Mrs May’s Brexit plan.
The colourful Old Etonian was one of the key players in the 2017 Leave campaign and resigned from the Cabinet following the Chequers summit in July.
He was heavily tipped as a successor to Mr Cameron but ruled himself out of the 2016 leadership contest after Mr Gove made a last-minute bid for the top job.
Odds of him taking the helm have come in at 6-1, according to William Hill, but he is likely to have the backing of many pro-Leave members of the party.
© Provided by The Press Association Jeremy Hunt chose not to run in the 2016 leadership contest (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, with odds of 10-1 at William Hill, was a prominent Remainer in the 2016 referendum.
As health secretary, Mr Hunt fought a long battle with doctors over a new contract.
The 52-year-old, who was first elected as MP for South West Surrey in 2005, was appointed Foreign Secretary in July following the resignation of Mr Johnson.
He chose not to run in the 2016 leadership contest and instead gave his full support to Mrs May, saying it was “not the right time” to put his hat in the ring.
Mr Hunt made a public shift towards Euroscepticism after the referendum, which could win him allies in the Leave camp if he ran for the top job.
© Provided by The Press Association Dominic Raab is thought to have ambitions of taking on the top job (Steve Parsons/PA)
With odds at 12-1, Mr Raab is an outlier to take over from the Prime Minister but is thought to harbour ambitions for the role.
Mr Raab, a prominent Brexiteer in the referendum campaign, was appointed as Brexit secretary in July but resigned from the role in November, saying he could not support Mrs May’s eventual deal.
In his resignation letter on November 15, he wrote: “Ultimately, you deserve a Brexit Secretary who can make the case for the deal you are pursuing with conviction. I am only sorry, in good conscience, that I cannot.”
Mr Raab, 44, has been the MP for Esher and Walton since he was elected in 2010.
Source: Microsoft News
source: CAJ News Africa
In its quest for development, Djibouti has enlisted China’s help
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, March 19, 2019/APO Group/ —
Djibouti is destroying itself in its quest for development
In its quest for development, Djibouti has enlisted China’s help. The African country sees itself as the tail wagging the dog, but nothing could be further from the truth. China has its eyes set on Africa as a means to enrich itself, not Africa.
In 1980, Chinese trade with Africa stood at $1 billion, by 2014 it was $200 billion. In 2013, Xi Jinping announced his “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative. It is comprised of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road, linking Asia and Europe much like the original Silk Road that was established 2,100 years ago. Only three African countries are directly involved in OBOR: Kenya, Egypt, and Djibouti. The latter two countries owe their place in the scheme to their strategic locations, as 30% of world trade passes through the Suez Canal, from the Indian Ocean through the Red Sea and then onwards to Europe.
Djibouti has a population of less than 1 million people and a GDP of only $1.8 billion, as well as having no natural strategic resources. The reason China is interested in it is because Djibouti is located (wapo.st/2FmH0rk) at the southern tip of the Red Sea. The Bad al-Mandab strait on which it sits sees around 4.8 million barrels of oil pass through it every day and between 10 and 20% of global trade every year. Situated opposite Yemen and Somalia, it is also a nerve centre for Western and regional anti-terror operations.
To this end, China is funding 14 mega projects in Djibouti worth almost $10 billion. It has also lent the country almost $1 billion and funds 40% of its infrastructure projects. One such project is a 63-mile water pipeline to transport drinking water from Ethiopia to Djibouti, with China footing a bill of over $300 million.
Debts must be paid
Djibouti is paying a high price for China’s assistance – literally. In 2014, Djibouti’s debt (bit.ly/2TTEv8e) was roughly 50% of GDP, by 2018 that had jumped to over 105%, with much of it owed to China. If the African country thinks the East is any more forgiving than the West, then it needs to think again. When Sri Lanka (bit.ly/2HtKcUz) was unable to pay back Chinese loans, it was forced to give China a 99-year lease and 70% stake in the Hambantota port that Beijing had built for them. There is no such thing as free money.
Blinded by dollar signs, Djibouti has also been unwilling to see that the price it will pay is not just financial. China’s “corrupting influence” on the small African country is already being reported (bit.ly/2Wd6lKa) on in world media.
One international case exemplifies this perfectly. In 2004, a deal (bit.ly/2ud2PmU) between the UAE and Djibouti effectively meant that the former would run all the latter’s ports for a 30-year period. Djibouti’s Doraleh port was built under this agreement, only for the host country to nationalise it in February 2008. This was a strident breach of international business norms.
Djibouti claimed the UAE reached the deal through bribery, and that it was intentionally retarding the progress of its ports to defend the status of UAE ports. The London Court of International Arbitration dismissed these claims and said the deal was still valid and had to be respected.
The UAE then took the state-backed China Merchants Port Holdings to court – accusing China of turning Djibouti against it. Djibouti had broken the deal by selling shares in ports to China Merchants, and agreeing to build and develop other ports with Chinese help. Both Djibouti and China have simply ignored the court order and carried on business as usual. If Djibouti thinks anyone other than China will want to do business with it after this affair, then it is sorely mistaken.
A key figure in this chain of corruption is Ismail Ibrahim Houmed, one of Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh’s most senior and trusted advisors. Housed plays a key role in both internal politicking and foreign trade. He is attached to the Foreign Affairs Ministry and directly advises the president on foreign policy, and has previously held a string of low-level ministerial portfolios including transport and justice.
Houmed has had links since with China since at least 2007 when he minister of transport and oversaw the $4 billion deal for the Djibouti-Ethiopia electric railway – a Chinese venture. He helped China Merchants’ subsidiary company acquire the controversial stake in the Doraleh port.
Djibouti has a population of less than 1 million people and a GDP of only $1.8 billion, as well as having no natural strategic resources
Djibouti is not developing with Chinese assistance, its economy is being crushed by debt while its elite are being enriched through corruption.
In the crosshairs
Djibouti likes to think of itself as invincible on the world stage. This is due to it housing the largest number of foreign military bases in the world. These bases are from the US, Japan, Italy, and France, the latter of which is also used by German and Spanish forces. Djibouti’s location at the Bar al-mandeb strait is near Somalia where piracy is rife, giving world powers an excuse to send military forces to the area.
On 1 August 2017 China opened its first-ever foreign military base in Djibouti. It calls it a support base, but within two months of its opening China was conducting live fire exercises. The heavily fortified (bit.ly/2O6N74F) Chinese base was accused by the US of firing lasers at US military planes, injuring US pilots. China says the naval base has four functions: intelligence collection, non-combat evacuations, peacekeeping support, and counter-terrorism. It is widely seen however as a testing ground for future naval and military bases to protect OBOR.
Camp Lemonnier, the US base, houses thousands of troops and was set up after the September 11 attacks to coordinate US military activity in the region. China’s base is located less than 10 miles away, next to Doraleh port that China allegedly nudged Djibouti to seize, and where China now also has exclusive use of one of the port’s berths.
Djibouti’s infidelity has not gone unnoticed in the West. European news websites have raised alarm bells, with one (bit.ly/2QluniW) saying: “China’s overseas military expansion will eventually manifest in the contest between the new world order that China advocates and the liberal international order that Europe both cherishes and wishes to advance.” US defence websites have also called for (bit.ly/2Thjxvp) “a much more aggressive plant to beat China” and US senators have (bit.ly/2CCE1tl) sent letters to their secretaries of state and defence about how China might squeeze US troops’ supply lines there. Israel has asked (bit.ly/2TKxVBA) the US to deploy more troops to Djibouti to counter China.
The Council on Foreign Relations has said (on.cfr.org/2ufQr5x) that China’s strategy in Djibouti was to mix commercial and military interests. What this means is that Djibouti is playing a geopolitical game much larger than itself, and placed itself in the crosshairs. There is simply no way it will come out on top in the event of a political, let alone military, escalation.
No end in sight
If Djibouti thinks it can maintain the status quo where it is playing all sides to its benefit, then it is mistaken. This is not over. In fact, the West is already squaring up against China.
In March 2019, Macron visited Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya to beat back rising Chinese influence.
“China is a great world power and has expanded its presence in many countries, especially in Africa, in recent years,” he said (reut.rs/2TBQCqS) alongside the Djibouti president. “But what can look good in the short term… can often end up being bad over the medium to long term. I wouldn’t want a new generation of international investments to encroach on our historical partners’ sovereignty or weaken their economies.”
The warning went over the heads of the Djiboutis, who still cannot see the danger they are in. One Djibouti government official said (reut.rs/2TBQCqS): “Business is business. The Chinese invest here, while the French aren’t competitive. The French are late, very late. And they have no money.”
The Djibouti president himself had accused France previously of abandoning their former colony and not investing enough. He most likely thinks he has now found a solution to that problem. If so, he is wrong.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of CAJ News Africa
Up to 30 dead as Australian white supremacist, 28, opens fire in Christchurch mosque and livestreams the slaughter as cars loaded with bombs are found and a woman and three men are arrested
Ben Hill For Daily Mail Australia
A 28-year-old Australian white supremacist has opened fire at a mosque in New Zealand, shooting at children and reportedly killing at least 30 people
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited One of the gunmen is believed to have live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened at 1.30pm as Friday prayers were underway Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots from his weapons including a semi-automatic shotgun and a rifle at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A man who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant (pictured) live-streamed the massacre of dozens of people in Christchurch, New Zealand The suspected gunman posted a 87-page manifesto to Twitter before the killings, foreshadowing a ‘terrorist attack’.
People were also reportedly shot at the nearby Linwood Masjid mosque.
There was another shooting outside Christchurch Hospital and multiple bombs were attached to cars three near the mosque.
Police have urged people near the area to stay indoors and report suspicious behaviour, describing the incident as ‘critical’.
© Getty Images Senior male holding British bank notes in his right hand, Â£50, Â£20, Â£10 and Â£5 pound notes.
An incredibly honest cleaner who found £300,000 in cash on a London bus decided to hand it in to the police rather than keep the stash of money that could’ve settled them for a lifetime.
The cleaner, hired by Cordant Cleaning, found the money in a brown envelope after an absent-minded passenger left it there.
Had the lucky finder kept the money they most certainly wouldn’t have needed to carry on scraping floors for a living.
But the cleaner, whose identity hasn’t been disclosed, sacrificed the prospect of a future lavish lifestyle and rather than nicking the hefty sum, returned it to the Met police.
© Getty Images The money was found in a brown envelope on a London bus
Some of the cleaner’s colleagues, however, ran into far less attractive items left behind by travellers that just had to be binned.
They include a deep fryer found on a bus in Leeds and a positive pregnancy tests in Southampton.
Sex toys and soiled nappies were also found in Leeds, while a pair of dirty knickers in London were one cleaner’s lucky find.
Vomit containing false teeth was found on a bus in Southampton, where someone also dumped poo with a flag stuck in it.
But the most revolting finds by Cordant Cleaning staff were on a Glasgow double-decker – a used tampon tied to a handrail and a large fresh animal heart under a seat.
Cordant boss Guy Pakenham said: “More often than not I’m left shocked when my team tell me about the disgusting things they have to get rid of when cleaning buses up and down the UK.
“But I can only praise their dedication and good humour.
“They don’t seem to be fazed by anything.
“Thankfully our staff are fully trained and equipped to deal with cleaning hazards like these.
“But we can only urge passengers that next time they defecate on the floor of a bus, or throw up their own false teeth, please remember
to take all of your items with you.”
Source: Msn news
27 February 2019 57 179 0 0
Statement attributable to the outgoing UNFPA Representative for Somalia, Mr. Nikolai Botev, incoming UNFPA Representative for Somalia Mr. Anders Thomsen, and UNFPA Head of Puntland Office Dr. Maryan Qasim
Garowe, 26 February 2019 – We are shocked by the death of 12-year-old Aisha Ilyes Aden who has been brutally murdered after being kidnapped, raped and tortured in northern Galkayo. As the UN agency leading globally the charge to end violence against women and girls, UNFPA condemns this hideous act of gender-based violence.
Gender-based violence is a grave violation of individual women’s and girls’ rights; the rape and subsequent murder of Aisha is a terrible example of that. Moreover, the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators, and the fear generated by their actions, has an effect on all women and girls. The violence reflects and reinforces the discrimination against women and girls, perpetuating a vicious cycle that is detrimental to their development and progress.
UNFPA stands with Aisha’s family and fully supports the authorities, communities and activists fighting against gender-based violence and for women’s human rights in Somalia. UNFPA calls for a speedy investigation into Aisha’s murder and for the enforcement of the Sexual Offenses Law, which criminalises all sexual offences in the Puntland State of Somalia.
There simply is no place for violence against girls and women in the world today and in the future we are striving to create where every girl in Somalia grows up able to experience her inherent dignity, human rights and equality. Today and every day, let’s stand up for the human rights, safety and dignity of every woman and girl everywhere.
For more information please contact UNFPA Somalia Communications, Partnerships & Donor Relations Specialist Pilirani Semu-Banda on e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Suspected militants armed with AK47 rifles have killed at least 10 people in an attack outside Mogadishu.
While no one has yet taken responsibility for the attack about 17 kilometres from the capital, Somali security official Mohamed Hassan blamed the home-grown militant group al-Shabaab.
Hassan and a local government official said at least 10 people had died, many of them women street-sweepers.
A witness described how the gunmen seemed to fire indiscriminately into the street.
“It suddenly turned into carnage; there were pools of blood everywhere,” Mohamed Adam said.
Many of the victims were participating in a government programme that allows Somali women to work as street cleaners in exchange for food from local authorities.
By Mohamed Odowa
Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur, February 26, 2019
JOHANNESBURG — The United States military said Monday that its latest airstrike in Somalia killed 35 fighters with the al-Shabab extremist group not far from the Ethiopian border.
The U.S. military command for the African continent said Sunday’s airstrike targeted the al-Qaida-linked fighters as they were traveling in a rural area about 23 miles (37 kilometers) east of Beledweyne in central Hiran region.
The U.S. has dramatically increased airstrikes against al-Shabab since President Donald Trump took office. The military has carried out 16 such strikes this year, including four on Saturday that eliminated checkpoints used by al-Shabab to collect taxes to fund its violent campaign to establish an Islamic state in the long-chaotic Horn of Africa nation.
The U.S. carried out nearly 50 strikes in Somalia in 2018. A small number of strikes have also targeted fighters pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, who have been warring with al-Shabab in recent months.
Authorities and experts acknowledge that it will take more than airstrikes to defeat al-Shabab, which continues to hold large parts of rural central and southern Somalia and carry out deadly attacks in the capital, Mogadishu.
The group, which claimed the deadly attack on a luxury hotel complex earlier this year in the capital of neighboring Kenya, was also behind the deadliest attack in Somalia’s history, a massive truck bombing that killed well over 500 people in Mogadishu in October 2017.
The U.S. military is just one of several security actors in Somalia, along with a multinational African Union mission and troops from Kenya and Ethiopia.
The U.S. says it acts in coordination with Somalia’s government, whose military is expected to take over primary responsibility for the country’s security over the next few years.
As the AU mission has begun a step-by-step withdrawal of forces, some in the U.S. military and elsewhere have warned that Somali forces are not yet prepared.
A United Nations panel of experts monitoring sanctions on Somalia has described troops as largely poorly equipped and underpaid, sometimes selling their weapons or uniforms for a little cash.
Source :Associated Press February 25, 2019
The summit will also provide an opportunity for leaders to discuss the latest developments in the region, such as the situations with the Middle East Peace Process, Yemen, Libya and Syria.
The European Union (EU) – League of Arab States (LAS) summit will be held in the International Congress Centre in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on 24-25 February 2019. The summit will for the first time bring together the heads of state or government from both organisations.European Council President Donald Tusk will co-chair the meeting together with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also representing the EU.
The EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will also attend the summit.
The summit will seek to strengthen Arab-European ties. Leaders will address a wide range of current challenges and common opportunities, such as multilateralism and the rules based global order, trade and investment, migration, climate change and security. The summit will also provide an opportunity for leaders to discuss the latest developments in the region, such as the situations with the Middle East Peace Process, Yemen, Libya and Syria.
The summit will start on Sunday 24 February at 17.00 with the official welcome by the Egyptian host and co-chair President Al Sisi. At 17.30 there will be an opening ceremony, followed by a plenary session on ‘Enhancing the Euro-Arab partnership and addressing global challenges together – part 1’. After a family photo at 19.50 there will be a dinner for the heads of delegations.
On Monday 25 February the summit will resume at 10.30 with a restricted working session for the leaders devoted to ‘addressing regional challenges together’. This will be followed by part 2 of the plenary session starting at 12.00. The summit will end with a closing session at 14.20, followed by a press conference.
First EU-LAS summit
The summit in Sharm el-Sheikh will be the first meeting between the European Union and the League of Arab States at the level of heads of state or government. The decision to organise the summit was taken following the informal meeting of EU heads of state or government in Salzburg on 19-20 September 2018. In its conclusions on 18 October 2018, the European Council welcomed the holding of the summit.
The summit will be an opportunity for the leaders to emphasise the need for greater strategic cooperation between the EU and the Arab world, promoting a relationship of the kind that the EU has developed with other regional groupings.
Today the two regions comprise 12% of the world’s population. With the Middle East especially experiencing strong population growth (from 1950-2000 the population already grew from 92 million to 349 million, which is a 3.8 fold increase, or 2.7% per year) the cross-regional opportunities and challenges are likely to increase. The summit should hence be an opportunity to boost cooperation on a number of issues, such as socio-economic development, trade and investment, energy security, climate change and migration.
The two regions are already major trade and investment partners. Collectively the EU is the first trading partner for the LAS. This is also the case for 11 individual members of the LAS. The EU is also the biggest investor in the LAS countries.
For example, 23% of all EU oil imports come from LAS countries. The equivalent number for natural gas is 19%.
The summit will provide an opportunity for leaders to discuss how to further strengthen economic cooperation between the two sides. Leaders are expected to discuss possibilities to develop cooperation in the fields of energy, science, research, (digital) technology, tourism, fisheries and agriculture.
At the summit, leaders will have the opportunity to reconfirm their commitment to multilateralism and to an international system based on international law, as well as to discuss a number of pressing global issues. In particular, leaders are expected to reiterate their strong support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to global efforts to tackle climate change, notably through the implementation of the Paris Agreement. They are also expected to discuss human rights and the promotion of cultural and religious tolerance.
Migration is a challenge for both the EU and LAS member states. Several LAS member states rank high among countries of origin, transit or departure of migrants and refugees to Europe (approximately 1/3 of total arrivals in Europe 2018 came from LAS countries) and some of them are also hosting large communities of migrants and refugees. Leaders are expected to underline the need to protect and support refugees in accordance with international law and to strengthen the fight against illegal migration and migrants’ smuggling.
Leaders will also discuss concerns related to the fight against terrorism. They are expected to agree on the need to further increase cooperation and coordination aimed at addressing root causes of terrorism, to combat the movement of foreign terrorist fighters and in cutting-off support to terrorist networks.
Recent developments have highlighted the direct impact that open conflicts, protracted and humanitarian crises have on stability and security in both regions. There is an added value of increased EU involvement in stabilising regions. The summit will provide an opportunity for leaders, in a more restricted format, to discuss developments in the region, such as the situations in Syria, Libya and Yemen, as well as the Middle East Peace Process.
The EU and League of Arab States
The League of Arab States is the only pan-Arab grouping gathering all Arab countries. It includes 22 member states from Africa and the Middle East: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Syria’s membership was suspended in 2011, and it is not participating in the summit.
Since the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2015, the EU and LAS have maintained an advanced relationship, including biennial ministerial meetings and annual meetings between the
EU Political and Security Committee and the LAS Permanent Representatives. The EU and the LAS have also launched in 2015 a strategic dialogue to develop the Euro-Arab operational cooperation on security issues
Source: Council of the European Union ,
A border dispute between Kenya and Somalia has finally come to a head. Dating back to 2014 when both countries laid claim to an oil and gas island in the Indian Ocean along their border, Somalia lodged a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2014. While Kenya insists the maritime border with Somalia should run parallel to the line of latitude, effectively placing the disputed island in its territory, Somalia insists the border should run in line with its southern border, thus laying claim to the islands. No doubt, there must exist an internationally recognised method of determining how maritime borders run, but Somalia appears to have become impatient waiting for arbitration. This impatience is manifest in Somalia’s unilateral decision to auction oil blocks on the disputed Island in London last week. This action was taken, notwithstanding that Kenya had suspended oil exploratory activities on the Island in 2014 following Somalia’s complaint to the International Court of Justice. With the turn of events, Kenya read aggression into Somalia’s action and reacted by severing diplomatic ties, recalling its Ambassador from Mogadishu, Somalia and asking Somalia’s Ambassador in Nairobi to return home. That, however, is undesirous. A diplomatic spat between Kenya and Somalia, indeed, all its neighbours, is the least desirable thing anybody would wish for at the moment.
SEE ALSO :What to do to ensure affordable housing fund gets critical buy-inThe Somalia authorities did not just stab a worthy, helpful neighbour in the back, by putting a wedge between Somalia and Kenya; its staunchest ally in the war against terrorism, Somalia’s deed risks clawing back all the gains, painstakingly made, to bring lasting peace to the troubled Horn of Africa region that has borne the brunt of Al Shabaab attacks. Arguably, the peace Somalia enjoys today is courtesy of the Kenya Defence Forces’ (KDF) presence on Somalia territory. In 2011 when Al Shabaab abducted tourists on the Kenya- Somalia border, President Mwai Kibaki (now retired) ordered pursuit into Somalia that to date, has had the positive impact of dislodging Al Shabaab from its strongholds and weakened its malevolence. Separately, a number of Kenyan solders lost their lives in two camps in Somalia; El Adde (2016) and Kulbiyow (2017) while defending Somalia. No other country bears the brunt of insecurity in Somalia than Kenya. The Somalia based Al Shabaab militia attacked Westage Mall in Nairobi on September 21, 2013, killing 67 people. On April 2, 2015, Al Shabaab attacked Garissa University, killing 148 people. In 2019, an attack on dusitD2 in Nairobi left 15 people dead. Such sacrifices suffice to compel Somalia to act with utmost diplomatic caution in the way it handles disputes with Kenya and other neighbours.
SEE ALSO :The unseen war – Part 2Somalia cannot afford to challenge or antagonise neighbours who have stood by it in its quest for peace. Certainly not Kenya whose soldiers and people have shed blood defending the rights of innocent Somalis caught in the cross fires of clan feuds in whose grip Somalia has been since the ouster of Said Bare in 1990. The result of Barre’s ouster was the creation of the world’s largest refugee camps in Kenya; Dadaab and Kakuma that for decades, have been home to Somalia refugees. In maintaining these camps, even with international assistance, Kenya’s input has been great; sometimes compromising its own security for Somalia. President Kenyatta has gone out of his way to ensure a semblance of order returns to Somalia by not just organising, but also leading regional peace initiatives. He has stood firm against calls to recall KDF from Somalia where the cost of maintenance is gargantuan. This stems from the realisation that a stable Somalia is good for every country in the horn of African region. Indeed, an unstable Somalia, as events over time have demonstrated, is dangerous to our own security. In 2014 through to 2016, Kenya suffered travel advisories that nearly brought its tourism industry to its knees because of terrorist attacks.
While there is need for an amicable resolution to the dispute, it should not be lost on Somalia authorities that there is more to be gained by standing together than by creating weak links that our common enemies could exploit to weaken us and cause despondency
Meeting with members of the Somali community is important for EU NAVFOR. It is an opportunity for the Somali community to learn the relevance of counter-piracy operations to their country and themselves, but also an opportunity for them to ask questions directly to EU NAVFOR.
These meetings are important because it creates people to spread the word…
Representatives of the Global Somali Diaspora met with the team of experts from EU NAVFOR in London. Global Somali Diaspora is a non profit organisation that aims to advocate, promote, connect and organise Somali diaspora communities globally. There was a presentation about the need for Operation Atalanta and what it is doing to tackle piracy in the region, followed by a spirited question and answer session.
The evening also had a more informal side, where a meal was shared. The diaspora talked more about their experiences and perceptions of Somalia, and sharing their views on counter-piracy efforts in the region.
A representative for the Global Somali Diaspora said: “These meetings are important because it creates people to spread the word…. There’s a lot of information out there [on piracy], but meetings like this give them understanding.”
This is just the latest in a series of meetings in which members of the Global Somali Diaspora have met members of EU NAVFOR . Meetings have taken place all over the UK to ensure a range of people from different age groups and backgrounds are reached, and to allow them to ask questions most relevant to them. This is important for EU NAVFOR to help understand what the Global Somali community feels about most strongly.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of European Union Naval Force ATALANTA (EU NAVFOR) Somalia.
By Nina Massey, Press Association Man charged over death of PCSO in car crash Queen in unity call as MPs’ battle over Brexit rages on
© Jon Challicom/NSPCC Children rarely face issues in isolation (Jon Challicom/NSPCC/PA)
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Children growing up the UK are faced with a number of issues which could see them end up in trouble, children’s charities have warned.
These could be dealing with domestic abuse or neglect, poverty, criminal exploitation and personal well-being.
Charities like the NSPCC and the Children’s Society deal with vulnerable children on a daily basis, and have seen certain trends emerging in recent years.
The Children’s Society says that its experience of running local services which work directly with disadvantaged children and young people is that they rarely face single problems in isolation.
Instead it suggests children are often contending with multiple disadvantages in different areas of their lives.
The Children’s Society’s 2017 Good Childhood report found that more than one million older children are dealing with at least seven or more serious issues in their lives, which is affecting their happiness.
Some disadvantages they recognise include suffering neglect and being at risk of homelessness.
© Provided by The Press Association Domestic violence was a factor in half of all cases of children in need in England in 2017-18 (Dominic Lipinski/PA) Andrew Fellows, NSPCC public affairs manager, said: “At the NSPCC we hear every day about the harrowing and long-term impact that domestic abuse and neglect is having on children across the country.
“Yet we are working to make sure that it need not be that way. We work with families who have suffered domestic abuse to help them recover their lives, and we are calling on government to ensure that children are now recognised as victims in domestic abuse cases so they receive the protection and support they need.
“We also want early help services that can step in as soon as there is a sign of neglect to stop problems escalating, and help children and families get back on track.
“Tackling these two problems would go a long way in helping some of the most vulnerable young people in the UK.”
Sam Royston, director of policy and research at The Children’s Society, said: “Millions of teenagers are grappling with a multitude of problems in their lives and many are truly suffering.
“In our services we see how vulnerabilities often interact and exacerbate each other, with young people growing up in poverty or facing parental alcohol abuse or neglect, can be more vulnerable to developing mental health issues or becoming victims of child criminal or sexual exploitation.
“Young people deserve better support for all the issues in their lives and to prevent problems before they start.
“We are calling on the Government to plug the funding gap in children’s services, estimated to reach a £3 billion shortfall by 2025, so we can reach these children before they hit crisis point.”