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SOMALILAND: Bill Gates Urges India to Adopt from Somaliland’s Success in Mobile Money Transfer System
From Somaliland Monitor

Bill Gates: The CEO and the Founder of Microsoft
The world’s richest and most generous man Bill Gates has advised Indian government and its monetary policy makers to follow Somaliland’s footsteps in their efforts to implement the Financial Inclusion system in India.

Speaking to Live Mint Magazine on Monday (December 14) during his visit to India to lend support the foundation of India’s Financial Inclusion system which will enable the introduction of mobile money transfer platform like ZAAD and E-DAHAB services currently used in Somaliland.
During the interview the philanthropist billionaire stated that Somaliland has the highest percentage in the world of GDP that goes through cellphone-based money.
“Somaliland is a sort of a country and it is sort of not. It is very small. But it is phenomenal. As a percentage of GDP that goes through cellphone-based money they are the highest in the world. There are some very good things that have happened in Kenya” Gates responded when asked if there is a one emerging economy that India should look at.
Financial inclusion or inclusive financing is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society, in contrast to financial exclusion where those services are not available or affordable.

During the Q&A session, Bill Gates also told Indian monetary policy makers that Somaliland has all the regulations governing mobile money transfer, where he pointed that a single mobile phone company is allowed to do mobile money transfer, referring to Telesom’s ZAAD service mobile money transfer (although Dahabshiil group recently introduced E-DAHAB mobile money transfer service similar to Telesom’s ZAAD service).
“Essentially, there is this one mobile phone company that is allowed to do it, and they do it superbly well. It is not a formal system as India” Bill Gates said when asked if Somaliland has all the regulations governing mobile money transfer.
In October last year, Bill Gates praised Somaliland’s leading telecommunication Company Telesom for its mobile money banking and transfer service, ZAAD Service during his speech at SIBOS closing plenary in Boston, USA.
Bill Gates who is the founder and former CEO of world’s leading technology company Microsoft, now co-chairs with his wife philanthropic foundation called the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which promotes the implementation of Financial Services for the Poor people in the world.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor program aims to play a catalytic role in broadening the reach of robust, open, and low-cost digital payment systems, particularly in poor and rural areas—and expanding the range of services available on these platforms.
Click here to read the complete interview with Bill Gates.
Source: Somaliland Monitor
Muslim teenager condemns 'inhuman' treatment after being held at Heathrow airport for 13 hours
From The Evening Standard

Held at Heathrow: Ayan Mohamud
An American Muslim who was detained for 13 hours at Heathrow has condemned her “inhuman” treatment by border officials.
Ayan Mohamud, 18, who was on her first trip outside the US visiting family in Leicester, claims she was being “judged” because of her faith in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.
The UK Border Agency said the checks were for immigration purposes but Miss Mohamud said she felt she was “detained because I’m Muslim”.
She told the BBC: “[It] hit me that I was being judged based on what I was wearing on my head... After the Paris incident happened, [the UKBA] feel that everyone wearing a scarf needs to be checked thoroughly. I felt it was inhuman for them to treat me that way.”
She said her father warned her she might face questioning at the UK border, but she said she was not expecting to be “interrogated or held in a room for hours.”
Jawaahir Daahir, Miss Mohamud’s aunt who lives in Leicester, said her niece’s ordeal was “a terrible, distressful unimaginable experience for her and for our family”.
Keith Vaz, Leicester East MP, said he plans to raise Miss Mohamud’s case in his capacity as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
It comes after Home Secretary Theresa May said security would be “intensified” at events in major cities and at UK borders in the wake of the terrorist attacks by Islamic State in the French capital earlier this month. 
A Home Office spokesman said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases, but to ensure the correct decisions are reached it is sometimes necessary for Border Force to detain passengers while checks are carried out to ensure they qualify for entry to the UK.”
Source: The Evening Standard
Nicola Sturgeon fires Donald Trump over Muslim comments
From International Business Times

Barking Mad. U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who owns a number of golf courses in Scotland,
has now been stripped of his role for the Scottish government (Reuters)
Donald Trump has been dropped as a business ambassador for Scotland by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, as the backlash against comments he made about Muslims grows. The US Republican presidential candidate was appointed to the GlobalScot network in 2006, but Sturgeon said his role had now been withdrawn "with immediate effect".
The decision comes after Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" in the wake of the Islamic State- (Isis-) linked attacks in Paris and the San Bernardino shootings in California. His comments triggered worldwide condemnation, including from Prime Minister David Cameron who described them as "unhelpful, divisive and completely wrong".
A Scottish government spokesperson said Trump's remarks "have shown he is no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland" and confirmed that he would be axed from his role.
GlobalScot is a worldwide network formed under a Scottish Development International (SDI) scheme and made up of more than 700 business leaders with strong links to Scotland. The purpose of its "ambassadors" is to promote a positive image of Scotland, foster good relations in the global business community and encourage inward investment.
Scotland's then first minister Jack McConnell, who invited Trump to become one of the network's ambassadors, said at the time: "Donald has shown me a real passion for Scotland. He is a globally recognised figure who can help us to promote Scotland. I am delighted that he has taken up my offer. This is a good bit of business for all concerned."
But today's announcement by Sturgeon suggests the billionaire businessman, who owns a number of golf courses in Scotland, had fallen foul of GlobalScot's ethos.
Trump has also lost an honorary degree awarded to him by a university in Aberdeen. The Robert Gordon University (RGU) presented him with a Doctorate of Business Administration in 2010 in recognition of Trump's achievement in "business and entrepreneurship", as well as for investments he made in the north east of Scotland. The RGU said it would now take the degree away from Trump after a petition called for it to be revoked.
A spokesman for RGU said: "In the course of the current US election campaign, Mr Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university. The university has therefore decided to revoke its award of the honorary degree."
Another petition condemning Trump's comments as "hate speech" and calling for him to be banned from entering the UK has now been signed by more than 100,000 people. It means MPs will have to debate the issue in parliament.
Trump is no stranger to controversy in Scotland, where opinion is sharply divided on the tycoon's investments. He caused outrage last year after comparing a wind farm development near one of his golf courses in Aberdeen to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing disaster.
Source: International Business Times

Djibouti's Geelle to run for a fourth presidency term
From Hiiraan Online

President Ismail Omar Geelle of Djibouti

.Elections have taken place in Djibouti in every six years since the country’s civil war ended in the 1990s
He was re-elected in 2005 and again in 2011; however, his re-elections were largely boycotted by the opposition amid complaints over widespread irregularities.
Elected as the President in 1999, Mr. Guelleh succeeded Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had ruled Djibouti since independence in 1977.
"Considering the requests by my supporters, I hereby declare that I have decided to run for the upcoming 2016 Djibouti's president elections." He told reporters Thursday.
His announcement comes days after hundreds of pro-government supporters staged a rally in the capital this week, calling him to run for the country's presidency.
Some of the opposition leaders were chased to exile.
Ismael Omar Geelle maintained a firm grip on power in Djibouti, as rights groups often accuse his government of silencing opposition politicians and journalists.
The long-serving president of Djibouti says he will stand again in the upcoming 2016 elections  by answering calls from his supporters urging him to lead the tiny horn of Africa nation for the fourth time.
Source: Hiiraan Online
Lawsuit could end prosecution of war criminals living in US
From The Guardian
Ruling due to be made in Virginia on Wednesday could render impotent the Alien Tort Statute, legislation widely used to prosecute human rights abuses

Farhan Warfaa with his attorneys. Warfaa is bringing a case against Yusuf Abdi Ali, who committed various crimes in Somaliland in the 1980s and currently resides in the US. Photograph: Center for Justice and Accountability

Almost three decades after he was imprisoned and tortured by henchmen of brutal Somali dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, Farhan Warfaa is still haunted by the moment the army officer interrogating him drew out a pistol and shot him five times at close range.

Assuming he had killed the man he was questioning about a crime no more serious than the theft of a water tanker, the officer ordered soldiers to take away and bury the body.

But Warfaa survived and escaped the prison compound with the aid of sympathetic jailers who smuggled him to safety, leaving him to deal with years of nightmares and the mental anguish of his brush with death.

The officer alleged to have shot him, meanwhile, went on to become one of the most feared and ruthless commanders of the 20-year Siad Barre dictatorship, according to the California-based human rights group The Centre for Justice and Accountability (CJA).

As the head of the Somali army’s Fifth Brigade in the 1980s, Colonel Yusuf Abdi Ali terrorised the Isaaq clans of the separatist province of Somaliland, ordering and often participating in the mass detention, torture and summary execution of countless individuals and supervising the destruction of numerous villages, the group says.

When Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, Ali fled to Canada and later became a permanent resident of the United States.

Members of the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team work to uncover bodies buried in a mass grave in Hargeisa, Somaliland, in 2014. Photograph: Jason Straziuso/AP

Efforts to bring him to justice will continue in an appeals court in Virginia on Wednesday in a hearing that could have huge implications for the future prosecution of other alleged war criminals living in the US.

Ali’s attorneys are demanding that Warfaa’s long-running lawsuit, originally brought in 2004 and much delayed since, is thrown out on the grounds that a recent US supreme court ruling in a separate case gives him immunity from prosecution.

But lawyers for the CJA, who are representing Warfaa alongside a pro-bono team of attorneys from international law firm DLA Piper, will argue before the fourth circuit court of appeals that the ruling in that corporate case should not benefit an individual torturer residing on US soil.

A decision in Ali’s favour, they believe, would effectively render impotent the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), the centuries-old legislation widely used by human rights groups in recent years, which allows foreign nationals to gain relief in US courtrooms for wrongs committed against them in other countries.

“This is the first time an appellate court will apply the supreme court decision to a case involving an individual perpetrator seeking refuge in the United States, and thus the first to decide whether the US will legally provide such safe harbour for those who commit mass atrocity crimes,” said CJA lawyer Kathy Roberts.

“The defendant is trying to reverse more than three decades of legal precedent that has allowed victims of human rights abuses to bring lawsuits under the ATS in US courts against their tormentors.

“The court has the chance to send a clear message that the US is not a safe harbour and that those who commit crimes against humanity will not be able to evade justice, and they will be held accountable.”

The supreme court case upon which Ali is relying is the 2013 decision in Kiobel v Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum, in which the panel ruled that a group of Nigerian refugees living in the US had no claim against the British-Dutch multinational they accused of colluding with the Nigerian military to torture and murder environmental protestors in the 1990s.

In a split decision, the justices ruled that the ATS did not apply to human rights abuses committed in other countries unless there was a strong connection to the US. Branding the decision “disappointing”, the CJA said it “significantly weakened human rights legislation as we knew it”.

The ATS, part of the 1789 Judiciary Act, is one of the oldest pieces of the country’s legislation, offering a path to relief in federal civil courts to victims of piracy and believed to have been designed in part to protect the rights of ambassadors in foreign nations.

In practice, however, it went almost unused for two centuries until groups such as the Center for Constitutional Rights and Human Rights USA began to utilise it as a tool for domestic civil litigation against foreign nationals and corporations in war crimes cases.

Many claims and settlements under ATS have been against companies, but one notable individual success was against Charles “Chucky” Taylor, the violent, American-born son of the notorious Liberian warlord of the same name. He was ordered to pay more than $22m to five plaintiffs by a Florida court in 2010.

Colonel Yusuf Abdi Ali. Photograph:
Center for Justice and Accountability

At a hearing in Virginia last July, district court judge Leonie Brinkema announced her intention to dismiss Warfaa’s suit against Ali, citing the Kiobel ruling and its perceived effect on the ATS. She later agreed to stay the decision pending the outcome of the CJA appeal.

The three-judge panel will consider two key questions, if the claims against Ali “touch and concern” the US sufficiently to overcome the Kiobel ruling and whether Ali is entitled to immunity under common law.

Roberts said Ali’s mere presence in the US since 1996, when he became a lawful permanent resident through marriage and moved to Virginia, should be enough for the appeal judges.

“The fact that he is a US national deeply touches and concerns the US, a country that has led the way to give victims access to its courts through the ATS and other legislation such as the Torture Victim Protection Act,” she said.

Joseph Drennan, Ali’s lawyer, did not return a call from the Guardian seeking comment, but has already argued that his client’s residence is irrelevant. “The supreme court in Kiobel determined that a defendant’s location in the US was not pertinent … for purposes of establishing ATS jurisdiction,” he wrote in a briefing document to the court in March.

Following Wednesday’s short hearing, the appeals court is expected to make its ruling within 90 days. Warfaa, a respected village elder of his Isaaq sub-clan near the Somaliland town of Gabiley, will not attend but said he wants his story to be told.

“This is not just a case to me, it’s a part of my life I will never forget and I want to see those responsible realise what they have done,” he told the Guardian.

“They may have forgotten but myself and others like me will never be able to. I want to see justice and I want my kids to learn that nobody is above the law and every action has a consequence, whether in this life or the afterlife.”

Source: The Guardian Newspaper

Somaliland stricken by drought: 'We need what all humans need'

From The Guardian

The Consequence of drought in Somaliland and the horn of Africa

Hassan Haji Towakal has lived in one of the world’s toughest environments for 80 years. He has seen many droughts, but the recent prolonged lack of rainfall is the worst he has experienced in Somaliland, the breakaway country situated in Somalia’s relatively peaceful northern corner.

The drought, which has left roughly 240,000 people without enough food and killed between 35% to 40% of Somaliland’s precious livestock, has also made Haji Towakal question the future of pastoralism – the only life he has known.

“I do not have livestock now. The drought is still here … I am struggling but I don’t have any answers. People were always busy herding livestock. They would come to the town to buy and sell, but now they are not in a good shape,” he said.

Wearing a black waistcoat and clutching a blue and white walking stick, he sits on a plastic chair in the village of Gargara, a cluster of flimsy shelters fashioned from branches and sticks, and a few low stone buildings.

Gargara is about a three-hour drive on bone-jangling tracks from the capital, Hargeisa, but it might be on another planet.

Hargeisa is a sprawling mix of pastel coloured, one-storey shops, new estates of smart bungalows, and busy green stands where men cluster to buy the mild stimulant khat as goats and camels wander by. Gargara has wells – which is why about 1,000 people have come here over the past five years – but little else.

Somaliland is a textbook example of how tackling climate change and attaining sustainable development – as defined by the global goals adopted in New York this September – are two sides of the same coin.

Caught as it is in the political tailwind of efforts to end the crisis in Somalia, where al-Shabaab militants are still fighting African peacekeepers and the government, the country is still struggling for international recognition. But in rural areas, the state is barely real even to its own people.

Only about one-third of the population has access to safe drinking water. Life expectancy in the country, which has a population of approximately 3.5 million people, is just 53 years for men and 56 for women. Across Somalia as a whole, only about 33% of people have access to electricity.

The World Bank has estimated that gross domestic product for Somaliland was $1.4bn (£930m) in 2012, giving the country GDP per capita of just $347. That makes Somalilanders the fourth poorest people in the world, just ahead of the populations of Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi. Somaliland relies mainly on livestock exports and remittances from overseas. Foreign investors are still wary because of the unresolved political situation.

Conversations with pastoralists in Gargara and other nearby villages make it clear that drought places an unbearable burden on people who already tick all the humanitarian needs boxes.

“Water is a basic need for humans and every living thing. It is something that is general and personal. All communities need it, whether it comes from shallow wells or any water assistance,” Haji Towakal says.

The arrival of so many displaced people has strained existing resources, creating tension locally. Save the Children is building new wells on the outskirts of the village to provide free water to the displaced people, but other concerns need addressing.

“I have in mind so many things,” Haji Towakal says. “Children should be sent to school on proper scholarships, and learn income-generating skills. Each one should get money to study for business to gain a better livelihood. I need cash for my children. I need health for my family.

“There is no hospital here. There is a health centre but it does not support us. It doesn’t have drugs. There are nurses but no one assists them for payments or restocking. It’s there as a premises but it is not functional.”

Omar Osman Farah, a 62-year-old wearing a white koffia, pulls up a chair beside Haji Towakal.

“We need what all humans need. Latrines are very important. We need health. The displaced people need shelter. They need education and schools,” he says.

The displaced people live in cramped domed huts – branches, thatching and cloth placed over a frame of sticks – close to the village. Many have been here for five years, since the rains started to fail and their villages ran out of water.

Sahel Siyal Mohamed, 26, tells of her journey from the village of Biyo Cade, three years ago. She walked with her two-year-old son on her back, while her three-year-old boy walked by her side, clutching her hand. It took two days.

“It was full of struggle … You tell your children they just need to sleep. We got tired a lot.”

From 60 sheep and goats, she now has just three sheep and two goats. She has tried to make a new life in Gargara by selling tea, but the villagers are now too poor for such purchases.

“If you try to cook food to sell, there is no market. You end up eating it yourself,” she says as her two-year-old daughter squirms in her lap. “Now, my life is full of worry … I don’t like staying here but I have to. I won’t go back unless there is something to go back to.”

In a report this month, the World Bank said as many as 100 million people globally could slide into extreme poverty because of rising temperatures. The bank said efforts to stabilise climate change should incorporate strategies to eradicate poverty, and called for social safety nets and universal healthcare for poor people.

At the weekend, before UN talks begin in Paris to agree a global deal to limit climate change, action/2015 campaign members will participate in global climate marches to put pressure on politicians to agree a deal that will accelerate action and ensure no individual is left behind.

Abdikarim, nine, might be forgiven for feeling he has already been forgotten. He and his family left their village, Faahiye, for Gargara five years ago. They used to have 200 animals. Now they have 10.

He doesn’t go to school; only about half of children between six and 13 go to primary school in Somaliland. He herds goats, fetches water for his mother, Shukri, and amuses himself with stones – the only plaything in a place where footballs are a luxury too far. But dreams, however unrealistic, cost nothing.

“I want to be a minister, of education. A lot of people came here advocating for education. I would like to have a school here,” he says. There is a school in Gargara, but there is not enough room, and not enough teachers for all the new arrivals, and many cannot afford the fees.

“I am just disappointed all the time,” says Abdikarim.“I ask God all the time to bring more rain. I get thirsty. When I am thirsty, I can’t walk, I can’t do anything. I just sit down.”

Source: The Guardian Newspaper

White House backs program to help at-risk Somali youth in Minnesota
From Somali Diaspora News          

A quarter of United States ISIS recruits have come from Minnesota, according to national statistics.

The state’s large Somali community is often targeted by terrorist recruiters.

At least 15 Somali-American men from Minnesota have left home to enlist with ISIS, and now five are awaiting trial right now. That’s why the White House is backing a public-private pilot program which has raised nearly one million dollars to help at-risk Somali youth in Minnesota. The nonprofit Youthprise has an after school program.

Ten percent of the students at Minneapolis public schools are Somali, and they struggle to fit in. Unemployment among Somalis is around 21-percent, about three times the rate for the general population. Students report being called terrorists and other names. Community leaders agree that stamping out anti-Muslim stereotypes is a priority.

Source: Somali Diaspora News

International Court Urged to Reform or Risk Losing Africa.

From Geeska Afrika

The International Criminal Court faced calls to change its approach in Africa or face losing some of its largest members as Kenya and South Africa joined forces at its general assembly to lobby for more freedom to interpret the court’s rules.

Both countries have been rebuked by the court, with Kenya accused of allowing intimidation of witnesses in an ICC case against its deputy president and South Africa under fire for not extraditing Sudan’s leader when he was in the country in June.

Set up in 2002 to try the most serious international crimes, the ICC has been criticised for only bringing charges in Africa, leading many on the continent to portray it as a largely European-funded neo-colonial institution.

The tensions risk driving a wedge between Europe and Africa at a time when Europe is seeking allies in the Middle East and North Africa in its fight against Islamist militancy.

Totally humiliated

Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said African countries had been “humiliated” by the court when an African Union summit in Johannesburg was overshadowed by the row over South Africa’s failure to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir.

“All of us felt totally humiliated in June in Johannesburg,” she said. “We weren’t allowed to focus on the issues that were important to the continent – peace, security, Burundi, Somalia, Mali. Totally distracted by this ‘arrest the president’ movement.”

“We want to be (ICC) members,” she added. “When people leave a relationship they don’t leave for frivolous reasons. They leave if there is no space to move around… The space (for us) has shrunk.”

Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto is on trial at the ICC for crimes against humanity, in connection with a wave of violence after the 2007 presidential election in which 1,200 people were killed. The case against President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faced similar charges, collapsed because witnesses were intimidated into withdrawing their testimony, judges said.

With Ruto, prosecutors want to continue the trial using statements witnesses gave before they withdrew. Kenya wants the court’s general assembly, meeting in The Hague this week, to declare that illegal.

The court has warned members against compromising its integrity by interfering in judicial decisions. Sudan’s Bashir, who was allowed to leave South Africa rather than face arrest during the AU summit, is charged with genocide in relation to massacres in the western region of Darfur.

“Hosting the summit … we had obligations in relation to the customary law insulating heads of state (from arrest),” said South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha.

A deputy government minister said last month that the ICC had “lost its direction” and the ruling African National Congress wanted to withdraw from membership of the court.

Source: Geeska Afrika

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