Archive for the ‘poverty’ Category

Somali Pirates: Living The High Life While Neighbors Suffer Extreme Poverty, Government Collapses

December 29, 2008

Despite piracy, seacoasts of Somalia are mired in poverty.  The money paid to pirates in ransom benefits only a few….Any thought you had of “Robin Hood” style pirates helping their fellow countrymen is not supported by the facts….Meanwhile, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed of Somalia has resigned….

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From the Maritime Global Net

A Voice of America journalist has filed reports from Hobyo in the Galmudug region of central Somalia which indicate that ransom money [paid to pirates] is not being diverted directly to Islamic terrorist or rebel groups, despite some media reports to that effect and that the main Islamic militia, Shabab, is clamping down on pirates. Hobyo, which has been a pirate stronghold is now under Shabab’s control. Also, contrary to some reports, Alisha Ryu found that local people did not support the pirates at Hobyo and that virtually none of the ransom money was being used to their improve living conditions or benefit the local community. The growing strength of Islamic groups in the coastal area may, she says, be tied to local anger over piracy and deepening poverty.

Pirates shoot on the deck of the Chinese ship "Zhenhua ... 
Pirates shoot on the deck of the Chinese ship “Zhenhua 4” in the Gulf of Aden December 17, 2008 in this photo released by China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Ms Ryu also reports that the Shabab Islamic militia which is doing much of the fighting against the central government and is is control of large areas of southern and central Somalia is strongly opposed to piracy. It fought a pitched battle with the pirates who have been operating out of Hobyo on 22 December and took control of the town.

The VOA reporter quotes a pirate as saying that all pirates in central Somalia are under severe pressure from Islamists to disband. He says that, in recent months, pirates trying to go ashore in any area controlled by the Islamists have been threatened and chased away. She says that Somali sources tell VOA that the Islamists’ tough stance against piracy has prompted many poor people in coastal communities to quietly begin supporting the return of Islamist rule.

Ms Ryu notes in one of her reports: “While the loss of Hobyo to the Shabab has dealt a clear blow to piracy, it raises another troubling question, especially for the United States and its western allies. They must now decide which, pirates or militant Islamists, pose a greater threat to global security and economy.”

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Somalia’s transitional president has resigned amid a power struggle with the African nation’s prime minister and parliament, sources told CNN on Monday.

From CNN

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed tried to fire his PM this month but later lost a confidence vote.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed tried to fire his PM this month but later lost a confidence vote.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed announced his resignation Monday before parliament in Baidoa.

Ahmed’s resignation is the latest turn in the political crisis in Somalia, which is already struggling with an Islamist revolt, a refugee crisis and rampant lawlessness that has fueled a wave of piracy off the Horn of Africa.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991. The U.N.-backed transitional government has the support of Ethiopian troops that ousted an Islamist government at the end of 2006, but it controls little of the country outside the southwestern city of Baidoa.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa
/12/29/somalia.president.resigns/index.html

Somalia Pirates Mark Nation Near Collapse

December 20, 2008

The Bush administration inherited a mess in strategic Somalia and may be leaving President-elect Barack Obama with a worse one.

The explosion of piracy off Somalia’s coast is an attention-grabbing product of internal chaos in the Horn of Africa country, and a problem that will outlast the administration’s success this past week in winning U.N. backing for possible pirate-hunting raids on Somali territory.

“We have a framework in place now to deal with this issue, but it’s not going to be a very easy one,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer

FILE---Dutch cargo ships the MV Stolt Innovation, in the foreground, ...

Wood meant that there is more to do to combat piracy, and indeed Somali gunmen seized two more ships the day the Security Council voted unanimously to authorize nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases on Somali coast.

Bandits are taking over more and larger ships and ranging farther from land to do it. Last month they seized a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million worth of crude.

The larger problem, however, is the hollowness of nearly every institution that makes a working country, despite more than 15 years of international help. The Somali pirates may be bandits and thugs, but they also are entrepreneurs making do in a place without a functioning government, laws or normal commerce.

RNPS IMAGES OF THE YEAR 2008  The Liberian-flagged oil tanker ...
The Liberian-flagged oil tanker MV Sirius Star is shown at anchor on November 19, 2008, off the coast of Somalia. The Saudi supertanker was hijacked by Somali pirates November 15, was seized 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, and forced to proceed to anchorage near Harardhere, Somalia. REUTERS/Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class William S. Stevens-US Navy/Handout

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081220/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_somalia

Obama Can’t Say ‘Poverty’? Some Wonder Why?

December 14, 2008

Believers in John Edwards are urging President-elect Barack Obama to forgive the former presidential candidate’s indiscretions and consider him for an administration post or at least elevate Mr. Edwards’ signature issue of poverty.

Friends, former aides and even the Virginia man whom Mr. Edwards made central to his fight for universal health care say the Democrat should be given another chance.

Mr. Edwards vanished from politics over the summer after he acknowledged having an extramarital affair. His wife, Elizabeth, had been going through a public battle with cancer. The former senator from North Carolina went from being on the shortlist for a vice-presidential pick or Cabinet post within the Obama circle to persona non grata.

By
The Washington Times

But some lament that when he disappeared, so did the issues he championed, despite early promises from Mr. Obama to embark on a poverty tour and push the issue on the campaign trail.

“The word ‘poverty’ has not been used since John Edwards dropped out,” said Jonathan Tasini, executive director of the Labor Research Association.

Mr. Obama emphasized the state of the economy during his campaign and promised to help the middle class, but he never specifically pushed the issue of poverty.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/dec/14/poverty-off-political-radar/

Vietnam: Almost One Million Children Die Annually from Accidents

December 10, 2008

Simple things like seat belts, childproof medicine caps and fences around pools could help prevent up to half of the 2,000 accidental deaths of children that happen each day around the world, UN officials said Wednesday (10 Dec).

More than 800,000 children die each year from burns, drowning, car accidents, falls, poisoning and other accidents, with the vast majority of those deaths occurring in developing countries, according to experts and a report released Wednesday by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

MY sinchew.com

Babies are held by their mothers at Tho Ha village in the northern ... 
Babies are held by their mothers at Tho Ha village in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Officials in Communist Vietnam alarmed by a new baby boom are to crack down on couples having more than two children, family planning chiefs said on Thursday.(AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Tens of millions more suffer injuries that often leave them disabled for life, said the report which was launched at a meeting of global health experts in Hanoi. The World Report on Child Injury Prevention 2008 does not include injuries caused by domestic violence.

The problem is most acute in Africa and Southeast Asia, but no country is immune, conference participants said, issuing an urgent call for action.

“The price of failure is high,” said Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization, speaking in a videotape shown at the conference. “On current estimates, unintentional injuries claim the lives of around 830,000 children worldwide every year.”

Read the rest:
http://www.mysinchew.com/node/19131?tid=37