United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 8 March 2012
USAFRICOM - related news stories
Good morning. Please see today's news review for March 8, 2012. This message is best viewed in HTML format. Of interest in today's report: -LRA's Kony under spotlight thanks to viral video -Turkey spares no efforts for reconciliation in Somalia -Libya's Jalil rejects calls for Cyrenaica autonomy -EU to increase funding for peacekeeping in Somalia U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs Please send questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org 421-2687 (+49-711-729-2687) Headline LRA's Joseph Kony Under Spotlight Thanks To Viral Video Date 03/07/2012 Outlet NPR - Online
The hashtag term #stopkony has been trending on Twitter all day, Reddit.com has been deluged with posts about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and he's suddenly the subject of a quickly growing number of blog posts and news stories.
Ugandan warlord: Invisible Children in 03/08/2012 the spotlight
Globe and Mail
JOHANNESBURG - Until this week, Joseph Kony and his gang of child-kidnapping killers were so unknown in North America that the U.S. talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was able to tell his audience that Mr. Kony was an unfairly persecuted Christian.
Turkey spares no effort for reconciliation in Somalia, deputy prime 03/07/2012 minister says
Today's Zaman Online
MOGADISHU/ANKARA - A senior Turkish government official has said Turkey has doubled its efforts to rebuild arguably the world's most deeply war-torn nation, Somalia, reaching out to different factions and tribes to bring internal reconciliation to the coun...
Libya's Jalil rejects calls for Cyrenaica 03/07/2012 autonomy
Libya's national unity will be defended with force if necessary, the head of the governing National Transitional Council (NTC) has said. Mustafa Abdel Jalil called on regional leaders to engage in dialogue, a day after senior figures in oil-rich eastern Li...
Libya faces being torn apart as the oil03/07/2012 rich east goes it alone
The oil-rich east of Libya has declared itself a semi-independent state, raising fears the country could permanently split in two.
Nigeria: Boko Haram Targeting Schools
Human Rights Watch
NAIROBI – The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has set more than a dozen schools on fire in northern Nigeria, Human Rights Watch said today. Since the beginning of 2012, suspected Boko Haram members have attacked, damaged, and, in a few cases, destroyed ...
EU To Increase Funding For Peace Keeping In Somalia
NAIROBI – The European Union on Wednesday pledged to increase its funding for African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by 100 million euros up to 2013.
9 Top Terrorists Obama Has Whacked
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama didn't sound like the second coming of George W. Bush. But Obama the president has defied critics who claimed he would be soft on terrorism, expanding the CIA's powers and ramping up drone strikes (at least 239 drone str...
Are the Seabees making a difference? Chaplain finds out
Ventura County Star - Online
As Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5's deployment draws down, as the evening sun sets, we recall the many gorgeous sunrises and enthralling sunsets we witnessed across the continents of Africa and Europe, emblematic of our positive contribution to Amer...
The European Commission's humanitarian response
ReliefWeb - Online
The European Commission's humanitarian work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva begins a four-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo ...
Congo rescue efforts grounded days after deadly blast
Efforts to search for survivors in the Brazzaville neighbourhoods flattened by a huge explosion on March 4 remain on hold because of fears of further blasts, international aid groups told France 24 on Wednesday.
USS Halsey Sailors Volunteer at Girls Orphanage in Victoria, Seychelles
VICTORIA, Seychelles -- Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) volunteered at the Saint Elizabeth Orphanage for Girls, during a port visit to Victoria, Seychelles, March 4, 2012.
Trade Union Group, A.N.C. Ally, Holds Strikes in South Africa
New York Times
JOHANNESBURG -- Tens of thousands of South Africans marched in the streets of the nation's major cities on Wednesday in a national strike called by Cosatu, the powerful group of trade unions, a crucial ally of the governing African National Congress that i...
United Nations News Briefs - Africa
UN News Centre
-DR Congo: UN peacekeeping mission receives tactical helicopters from Ukraine -Libya: UN envoy envisages flexible, integrated mission to support transition -New UN project aims to tackle youth unemployment in Guinea -UN deploys team to assist Republic o...
News Headline: LRA's Joseph Kony Under Spotlight Thanks To Viral Video | News Date: 03/07/2012 Outlet Full Name: NPR - Online News Text: The hashtag term #stopkony has been trending on Twitter all day, Reddit.com has been deluged with posts about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and he's suddenly the subject of a quickly growing number of blog posts and news stories. All, apparently, because of an activist group's quite successful effort to have its latest video about atrocities done by Kony's Lord's Resistance Army go viral. The organization is Invisible Children, and the 30-minute video is indeed a powerful piece of work. It skillfully tells the tale of Kony's army, which as NPR's Michele Kelemen has previously reported,
"has been terrorizing Uganda and surrounding nations for decades ... [and] has specialized in kidnapping children and forcing them to fight." Last October, President Obama announced he was sending 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to train and advise militaries that are trying to track down Kony and his fighters. According to The Daily Dot, on Tuesday night Invisible Children's video "exploded across multiple Web communities," with millions of views on Vimeo and YouTube, and hundreds of thousands of "likes" on Facebook. Fast Company adds that: "Invisible Children has been canny about marketing the film through social media via the use of Twitter hashtags (#kony2012) and celebrities. Rihanna, Stephen Fry, and The Onion's Baratunde Thurston have all tweeted about the film. In addition, Invisible Children is organizing a celebrity pressure campaign to get, among others, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Lady Gaga to publicize #kony2012." Now, there is some needed context, according to the Council on Foreign Relations' Foreign Policy magazine. It reported last November that Invisible Children and some other organizations involved in the KONY 2012 campaign: "Have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA's use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil. They rarely refer to the Ugandan atrocities or those of Sudan's People's Liberation Army, such as attacks against civilians or looting of civilian homes and businesses, or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict." The activists have rejected such charges, saying "we've done our utmost to stick to the facts" and have tried to highlight "atrocities by the Ugandan government." The blog Visible Children takes issue with Invisible Children's support for military action and that last year it spent more on staff compensation costs and transportation than on "direct services." It also adds that while awareness is good, "these problems are highly complex, not onedimensional and, frankly, aren't of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow." But no one seems to dispute that Kony is evil. And Invisible Children's Jason Russell, who made the video, tells AllAfrica.com that the point of the video and the campaign is to get viewers to: "Make a commitment to stop at nothing by making sure Kony is known in their circle of influence, whether it's their family or office or school. The dream would be for Kony to be captured, not killed, and brought to the International Criminal Court to face trial. The world would know about his crimes and they would watch the trial play out on an international level, seeing a man face justice who got away with abducting children, raping little girls, and mutilating people's faces for 26 years."
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News Headline: Ugandan warlord: Invisible Children in the spotlight | News Date: 03/08/2012 Outlet Full Name: Globe and Mail News Text: By Geoffrey York and Sonia Verma
JOHANNESBURG - Until this week, Joseph Kony and his gang of child-kidnapping killers were so unknown in North America that the U.S. talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was able to tell his audience that Mr. Kony was an unfairly persecuted Christian. In reality, Mr. Kony's Lord's Resistance Army is one of Africa's most murderous militia groups and its atrocities have continued for 25 years with the world paying little attention. But this week, millions of people noticed the LRA for the first time – thanks to a viral video and a shrewd socialmedia campaign by a controversial U.S. group. Of course, as is often the case with viral social media, as soon as a feel-good story makes waves, so too does the backlash. The group, Invisible Children, posted the video on the Internet on Monday. Within a day, it began to be tweeted by celebrities from the U.S. music and film worlds, including the pop singers Janet Jackson, Taylor Swift, Diddy and Rihanna, and the actresses Zooey Deschanel, Olivia Wilde and Juliette Lewis. The 29-minute video was watched by an astounding 2.7 million people on Tuesday alone. And on Wednesday, the numbers continued to explode, with more than 14 million people having watched the video. Many people said they wept when they saw it. The issue has dominated the conversation on Facebook and Twitter this week. With the hashtags #stopkony and #kony2012, the anti-LRA campaign has suddenly become one of the hottest topics on Twitter worldwide, including the United States and Canada. The maker of the video, Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell, has grand ambitions for the campaign. He insists that the power of celebrity endorsements and youth awareness – including the distribution of thousands of posters, stickers, bracelets and ―action kits‖ to young Americans – can lead to the arrest of the LRA leader by the end of this year. ―If we succeed, we change the course of human history,‖ he proclaims in the video. ―We are going to make Joseph Kony a household name. We are making Kony world news.‖ He succeeded in that. But the wild success of the campaign has provoked an angry backlash on social media sites and from many Africans, and from scholars who study Africa. They say the campaign is simplistic and manipulative, with deceptive claims, murky finances and a questionable strategy. The U.S. activists are ―selling a pack of lies to unaware youth to raise money for themselves,‖ said Ugandan blogger TMS Ruge in one of a series of critical tweets. Not a single African is a member of the executive staff or the board of directors of Invisible Children, he noted. Instead, he said, Africans have been relegated to a ―sideshow‖ without a voice in their own story. ―Stop treating us like children,‖ he said. ―I refuse to let my voice stay silent as one more NGO continues to perpetuate an expired single story of us.‖ Another Ugandan writer, Rosebell Kagumire, said the video campaign ―sensationalizes‖ the issue and makes it all about ―America saving us.‖ Soon, even the backlash against the video was going viral. Grant Oyston, a 19-year-old sociology student at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, posted his firstever blog Tuesday night, a single page critique of the video, peppered with links that scrutinize Invisible Children.
In eighteen hours, his blog had attracted more than one million hits and hundreds of e-mail responses. ―It's a bit of a shock,‖ he acknowledged. ―I actually never intended to go viral, but I'm not complaining,‖ he said. One of the criticisms of the campaign is that it focuses on Uganda – even though the LRA was pushed out of Uganda several years ago. The video acknowledges briefly that Uganda is now ―relatively safe‖ but its emphasis is on Ugandan victims and Ugandan charity projects. Another criticism is that the group promotes U.S. support for the Ugandan military, even though the Ugandan army has been implicated in many human-rights abuses. The group claims credit for helping persuade U.S. President Barack Obama to deploy 100 troops to support the Ugandan army in pursuing the LRA in the jungles of Congo and Central African Republic, but opponents say this means an expanded U.S. military role in Africa. Jillian York, a director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argues social media campaigns engineered by activist groups have agendas that aren't always apparent to those that are quick to click. ―A lot of this kind of activism reminds me of some of the tactics used by the Syrian opposition activists where there is sometimes a manipulation of facts and an exaggeration of scale, and questionable numbers.‖ Ms. York says. ―The intention are good, but ... when you don't have a lot of objective or investigative reporting, these really slick campaigns become the reporting. ― she said. Syria and Uganda are both difficult places for journalists to access, she points out. People who donate to Invisible Children ―probably don't realize they're supporting the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting,‖ says Mr. Oyston, the Acadia student. The group's finances have also been questioned. Of its nearly $14-million in annual revenue, millions are spent on film production and less than half is spent on programs on the ground in Africa, critics say. One respected watchdog, Charity Navigator, gives the group a rating of two stars (out of four) for accountability and transparency, although it gives the group an overall rating of three stars. But the most common criticism is simply that the group over-simplifies the reality of the LRA and perpetuates the image of the ―white saviour‖ for Africa. In the video, Mr. Russell tells the LRA story in almost childlike terms, explaining to his 3-year-old son that Mr. Kony is the ―bad guy.‖ The problems created by the LRA are complex and ―aren't of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture,‖ Mr. Oyston says. John Rudolph Beaton, who has worked on a ―crisis tracking‖ project for Invisible Children, says the criticism of the group is unfair. The group does not provide money to the Ugandan military or government, and its programs are ―based on the advice of those who live in the communities,‖ he said in a Facebook post, emphasizing that he is speaking in his personal capacity. ―Nobody is more aware of the dangers of the ‗White Man's Burden' messiah complex than Invisible Children,‖ he added.
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News Headline: Turkey spares no effort for reconciliation in Somalia, deputy prime minister says |
News Date: 03/07/2012 Outlet Full Name: Today's Zaman - Online News Text: By Abdullah Bozkurt MOGADISHU/ANKARA - A senior Turkish government official has said Turkey has doubled its efforts to rebuild arguably the world's most deeply war-torn nation, Somalia, reaching out to different factions and tribes to bring internal reconciliation to the country. Bekir Bozdağ, a deputy prime minister who is in charge of Somali affairs in the Turkish government, said on Tuesday that Turkey is extending all the help it can to Somalia to restore domestic peace and improve security conditions on the ground. ―I conveyed this message to Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed during our conversation [at a meeting held at Mogadishu International Airport],‖ he said. Bozdağ underlined that ―Turkey will be pleased to see a positive outcome from its efforts to restore domestic peace,‖ adding that Ankara is ready to provide every kind of assistance to Somalia. He acknowledged that Somalia's weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has asked Turkey to provide military assistance to rebuild the country's police and military units. ―This should be done within the framework of an international agreement,‖ he urged, stressing that this cannot be done in a short time span. ―We are currently discussing this issue,‖ he noted. The Turkish minister also announced that Turkey would be extending its assistance beyond Mogadishu by unveiling a plan to establish regional development offices both in the breakaway enclave of Somaliland and its neighbor, the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, in the north. ―We have one development office in the Somali capital. Now we will set up two development offices, one in Somaliland and the other in Puntland,‖ he said, also confirming that Turkey is providing humanitarian assistance to the people in the south, where al-Shabaab is very strong. Commenting on Turkish Airlines' (THY) decision to launch regular flights to Mogadishu this week, Bozdağ said this was a major milestone in connecting Somalia to the outside world. ―THY is the first major international carrier to run a regular service to the Somali capital in more than two decades,‖ he said, adding that this decision shows Turkey has confidence in the future of Somalia and wants to emphasize hope for the people living in this poverty and violence-stricken nation. ―First our Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan], his wife, Cabinet ministers, businessmen and celebrities came to Somalia last year. Then we reopened our embassy. Now we have started regular flights. All these are significant messages, I believe,‖ Bozdağ said, adding that Turkey is spearheading international efforts to help Somalia. Erdoğan visited Somalia last August, the first non-African government leader to do so in nearly 20 years, and tasked Bozdağ with coordinating humanitarian and development assistance to Somalia. He oversees both governmental and nongovernmental organizations' help to the country through the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA). Bozdağ flew into Mogadishu on Monday night on the first THY flight to Somalia. The flights are scheduled to be twice a week from İstanbul via Sudan's capital, Khartoum. ―Somalia was cut off but we have now connected it to the world,‖ he stated. ―We have repaired the airport and now international flights can use it. We have discussed this with the president and Turkey will also offer domestic flights inside Somalia,‖ he announced at the welcoming ceremony at the airport. THY General Manager Temel Kotil, who accompanied the minister during the trip, told Today's Zaman that THY is the first global carrier to make this courageous decision to start flights to Mogadishu. ―There are some small and no-name airliners that operate flights to and from Mogadishu. But we are the first international carrier that decided to launch service to Somalia,‖ he
said. By adding the Mogadishu flights to its network, Star Alliance member THY now reaches 190 destinations worldwide. The Turkish minister also reaffirmed his country's commitment to maintain assistance in the education and health industries to the Somali people. ―We realize that you cannot sustain Somalia by simply providing food and medicine. It would be a much greater help to the Somali people if we are able to enhance their institutional and human capacity so that Somalia can stand on its own feet,‖ he explained. He said the scholarship and educational grants provided to young Somalis in Turkey would serve for that purpose. The Turkish minister also announced that Turkey will establish a nursing college and health vocational schools in Somalia to educate and train local health professionals. Somalia has for the past seven years been ruled by the UN-backed TFG, whose authority is essentially limited to the capital and its surrounding areas. The government authority received a boost in recent months when the TFG, with the support of African Union soldiers, successfully launched an offensive against the al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabaab. The country has been trying to recover from the civil war since 1991, when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and turned on each other. The UN last month approved an increase in the size of the AU peacekeeping mission -- known as AMISOM -- to about 17,700 from its current 12,000.
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News Headline: Libya's Jalil rejects calls for Cyrenaica autonomy | News Date: 03/07/2012 Outlet Full Name: BBC News Text: Libya's national unity will be defended with force if necessary, the head of the governing National Transitional Council (NTC) has said. Mustafa Abdel Jalil called on regional leaders to engage in dialogue, a day after senior figures in oil-rich eastern Libya called for semiautonomy. He warned that remnants of the Gaddafi regime were "infiltrating" their ranks. Civic leaders in the east say they have experienced decades of neglect from Tripoli-based governments. Leaders from the region, which was once called Cyrenaica, made their call for more autonomy in a document issued after a meeting in Benghazi, which was the focal point of the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. They demanded a regional parliament, and control over the police force and courts, but stopped short of advocating a division of the country. They agreed that foreign policy, among other responsibilities, should be left to the government in Tripoli. But Mr Jalil said he would not allow a divided Libya. "We are ready to deter them, even with force," he said in a speech shown on national television. Other NTC members have claimed that the authors of the Benghazi declaration were trying to hijack the revolution and did not fully represent the region. However, correspondents say the declaration has significant popular support among people in
Benghazi. Libya's three regions enjoyed federal power following the country's independence in 1951, until the country became a unitary state in 1963. Cyrenaica stretches from the central coastal city of Sirte to the Libyan-Egyptian border in the east containing two-thirds of the country's oil reserves. The people of Cyrenaica, known as Barqa in Arabic, felt particularly marginalised and neglected under Gaddafi, who focused much of the development on the west. The city of Benghazi was the seat of the uprising that eventually toppled the former dictator.
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News Headline: Libya faces being torn apart as the oil-rich east goes it alone | News Date: 03/07/2012 Outlet Full Name: Mail Online News Text: By David Williams The oil-rich east of Libya has declared itself a semi-independent state, raising fears the country could permanently split in two. Although it has no basis in law, the move was agreed by tribal and militia leaders and politicians in Benghazi, Libya's second city and the heartland of the revolution that led to the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi six months ago. They stressed the step was necessary to end the discrimination the east suffered for decades under Gaddafi's rule. The conference said the eastern state, known as Barqa, would have its own parliament, police force, courts and capital, Benghazi. More... Lockerbie bomber Al-Megrahi 'visited Malta for sex with mistress night before atrocity' according to secret documents Under their plan, foreign policy and the national army would be left to a central, federal government in the official Libyan capital of Tripoli. Barqa would run from central Libya to the Egyptian border in the east and down to the Chad and Sudan borders in the south. The move seeks to revive the pre-Gaddafi system in place from 1951 until 1963, when Libya was divided into three regions ruled by a monarchy. Libya's National Transitional Council, the interim government based in Tripoli, fear the move could be the first step towards dividing the country, leaving the western part of Libya with only limited resources of oil. A spokesman said: ‗This is very dangerous, this is a blatant call for fragmentation. We reject it in its entirety.' ‗We are against divisions and against any move that hurts the unity of the Libyan people.'
Disturbingly for a united Libya, many in the east accuse the NTC of continuing to favour the west. Any potential break up of the country would alarm Britain, the United States and France who provided massive support to the rebels allowing them to topple Gaddafi. The announcement is aimed at imposing a federal system before the NTC, which has already struggled in its attempts to set a path for post-Gaddafi Libya. The Council has called for national elections in June to select a 200-member assembly that will name a prime minister to form a new government and then write a constitution. The declaration illustrates one of the fundamental weaknesses in Libya since the regime's fall – the lack of political institutions. As a result, since Gaddafi's fall militias across Libya have largely taken authority into their own hands. Afghanistan's president yesterday endorsed a ‗code of conduct' that allows husbands to beat their wives. The code, issued by an influential group of clerics, said that beating your wife is prohibited only if done for reasons outside Islamic law. When asked about the code, President Hamid Karzai said it was in line with religious law and was written in consultation with Afghan women's groups.
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News Headline: Nigeria: Boko Haram Targeting Schools | News Date: 03/07/2012 Outlet Full Name: Human Rights Watch News Text: NAIROBI – The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has set more than a dozen schools on fire in northern Nigeria, Human Rights Watch said today. Since the beginning of 2012, suspected Boko Haram members have attacked, damaged, and, in a few cases, destroyed at least 12 schools in and around Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, temporarily leaving several thousand children without access to education. ―Boko Haram's attacks on schools represent a new and reprehensible development since the group began its campaign of violence in 2009,‖ said Zama Coursen-Neff, deputy children's rights directorat Human Rights Watch. ―Children and educational institutions should be left alone, full stop.‖ Around February 20, the first three schools – Kulagumma Primary School, Abbaganaram School, and Budum Primary School – were set on fire. Between February 26 and 29, at least four schools were burned, and on March 1, five schools were set ablaze in what appeared to be a coordinated attack, including Sunshine Stars Secondary Schooland Success Secondary School, which had an enrollment of 700. As a result of the attacks, news reports state that at least 5,000 students are staying home from school. A purported spokesman for Boko Haram, Abul Qaqa, has claimed the group's responsibility for the attacks on schools and threatened further violence. In emails and phone calls to local and foreign journalists, he asserted the attacks were in response to attacks against Quranic schools and the arrest of local clerics by members of the security forces. Nigerian officials have long accused some
Islamic teachers in this area of using their Quranic schools as recruitment and training grounds for new Boko Haram members. On February 26, Qaqa claimed that the February 20 attacks were in retaliation for raids by the state security forces on Islamic schools in Maiduguri and ―indiscriminate arrests of students of Quranic schools by security agents.‖ On March 5, local and foreign correspondents reported receiving a message from Qaqa that claimed responsibility for all the recent attacks on schools, including an attempt to burn a school that morning. The March 5 attack was reportedly thwarted by the Nigerian military, resulting in the deaths of three Boko Haram members. Qaqa was reported in the local media to have said, ―Certainly, if Quranic education will not be allowed to continue, then secular and Western education will not continue also.‖ All of the attacks have occurred either at night or in the early morning hours. On February 26, Qaqa was quoted as saying, ―We are attacking the public schools at night because we don't want to kill innocent pupils.‖ Attacks on schools by armed groups not only put children and teachers' lives at risk, but they may also deprive children of an education, Human Rights Watch said. Schools may close and children drop out entirely. Even when classes resume after an attack, the quality of education may suffer when students and teachers are afraid and learning materials are damaged. Threats of attacks may also force neighboring schools to close or parents to keep their children at home. Nigeria is a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which guarantee children the right to education. Boko Haram, which means ―Western education is a sin‖ in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria, seeks to impose a very strict form of Sharia or Islamic law in northern Nigeria and to end corruption. Violence by Boko Haram can be traced to five days of clashes in 2009 between the group and members of the security forces in Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, and Kano states that left more than 800 people dead, including at least 30 police officers. The police captured and summarily executed, outside the police headquarters in Maiduguri, the Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, along with at least several dozen of his followers. A year later, in July 2010, Boko Haram began a campaign of increasingly deadly attacks, including suicide bombings that have claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people. The group has claimed responsibility for bombing churches, police stations, military facilities, banks, and beer parlors in northern Nigeria, as well as the United Nations building and police headquarters in Abuja, the nation's capital. Suspected Boko Haram members, often riding motorcycles and carrying Kalashnikov military assault rifles under their robes, have gunned down numerous police officers, soldiers, and Christians, and assassinated local politicians, community leaders, and Islamic clerics who oppose the group. The vast majority of these incidents have taken place in Maiduguri. In response to the escalating attacks, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on December 31 in parts of Borno, Niger, Plateau, and Yobe states. Boko Haram alleges that Islamic teachers who run Quranic schools have been detained by the security forces during sweeps throughout neighborhoods and villages in and around Maiduguri. Some 1,000 Chadian nationals living in Nigeria, including many children studying at Quranic schools, have reportedly fled from Nigeria to Chad in the last few weeks as a result of operations and abuses by the Nigerian security forces. Human Rights Watch is concerned by reports that the Nigerian security forces have used excessive force, including the burning of villages, arbitrary arrests, and other abuses during some of these raids, and urges the state and national governments to ensure that all law enforcement operations are conducted in full accordance with international human rights standards. ―Nigeria's security forces have been under immense pressure to address the rising tide of attacks
by Boko Haram,‖ Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Right Watch said. ―Besides taking measures to prevent violence, though, the authorities need to make every effort to keep the police and military from committing abuses and making matters worse.‖
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News Headline: EU To Increase Funding For Peace Keeping In Somalia | News Date: 03/08/2012 Outlet Full Name: RBC Radio News Text: NAIROBI – The European Union on Wednesday pledged to increase its funding for African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by 100 million euros up to 2013. The funding would also strengthen AMISOM's military presence in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean waters up to 2014 to help contain the threats posed by terror and piracy groups, China's Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement issued from Kenya's Prime Minister's Office. The Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga who had appealed to the EU and other international communities, said: ―There is light at the end of the long tunnel of Somalia crisis and the international community must not let the opportunity slip by again.‖ During a meeting with the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels, Odinga said that the stabilisation of Somalia must include investment in improving livelihood in the Horn of Africa, including northern Kenya which has paid steep price for Somalia chaos. He took the opportunity to thank European Union for its consistency in seeking a lasting solution to the instability in Somalia. While, Rompuy praised Kenya's role in fostering peace, stability and development in the Horn of Africa. ―It is my hope that by combining our efforts we can contribute to greater security in Somalia and to restore peace and stability in this country,‖ he said. Rompuy thanked Kenya for sending troops to Somalia and for agreeing to integrate the troops with the other forces in the country. He said the EU decided last week to extend its Naval Force Operation ATALANTA for two years until December 2014. Odinga said the EU and Kenya have similar stand on environmental issues and called for collaboration in development of green energy and environmental conservation. He also appealed to the EU to allow members of the East Africa Community to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement as a bloc and not as individual states. The EU is also to deploy a civilian crisis management mission to strengthen maritime capacities in the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean region, Rompuy disclosed. On the upcoming elections in Kenya, Odinga assured the EU that the polls would be free, fair and transparent, adding that the country had learnt from its past mistakes. The EU President said they were ready to send an election observer mission to Kenya should the
government request for it.
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News Headline: 9 Top Terrorists Obama Has Whacked | News Date: 03/07/2012 Outlet Full Name: Asharq Alawsat News Text: By Lois Parshley and Uri Friedman On the campaign trail, Barack Obama didn't sound like the second coming of George W. Bush. But Obama the president has defied critics who claimed he would be soft on terrorism, expanding the CIA's powers and ramping up drone strikes (at least 239 drone strikes were approved in the last three years, according to reporter David Rohde, writing in Foreign Policy). Far from the squeamish former law professor he was often portrayed as in 2008, Obama has turned out to be commandoin-chief, ordering more targeted killings than any recent president. Here are some of the most highprofile casualties of Obama's tough tactics. OSAMA BIN LADEN Al Qaeda's late leader, who gained infamy after orchestrating the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, is seen in the image above in Afghanistan. On May 1, 2011, bin Laden was killed in a covert operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, led by the U.S. Navy SEALS. He was quickly replaced by his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. ANWAR AL-AWLAKI An American-born radical and key leader of al Qaeda's Yemen branch, Awlaki was killed on Sept. 30, 2011, by a drone strike. Fluent in English and Arabic, Awlaki - who was a U.S. target for two years and had survived a previous targeted killing attempt - was a radical Yemeni-American cleric who frequently lectured on violent jihad against the United States. His lectures, which were widely disseminated online, were linked to more than 12 ongoing terrorism investigations throughout Britain, Canada, and the United States. Awlaki's killing was controversial, but the Obama administration insists its assassination of a U.S. citizen without trial was legal. As The New York Times reported, "The administration's secret legal memorandum that opened the door to the killing of Mr. Awlaki found that it would be lawful only if it were not feasible to take him alive, according to people who have read the document." ABU HAFS AL-SHAHRI A Saudi Arabian national and chief of al Qaeda operations in Pakistan, Shahri was killed in September 2011, reportedly dealing a major blow to the terrorist network in the Pakistani region of Waziristan. Around the time of his death, CIA director David Petraeus told the House Intelligence Committee that al Qaeda was far weaker today than it was 10 years ago, though it still remained a threat. "Heavy losses to al Qaeda's senior leadership appear to have created an important window of vulnerability" for the group in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he explained. "Exploiting that window will, however, require a sustained, focused effort." ATIYAH ABD AL-RAHMAN A CIA-operated drone strike in Pakistan reportedly killed the Libyan-born Rahman, a top operational figure under the leadership of Ayman al-Zawahri, on Aug. 22, 2011. The New York Times reported that "American officials described Mr. Rahman's death as particularly significant as compared with other high-ranking Qaeda operatives who have been killed, because he was one of
a new generation of leaders that the network hoped would assume greater control after Bin Laden's death." ILYAS KASHMIRI A U.S. drone strike on June 3, 2011, reportedly killed Kashmiri, the commander of the Kashmirbased militant group Harakat-ul Jihad al-Islami and a key al Qaeda operational leader in Pakistan, as he was taking tea in an apple orchard in South Waziristan. Speculation surrounded his death, however, since the strike disfigured its victims beyond recognition and Pakistani intelligence officials had mistakenly pronounced Kashmiri dead in 2009. BAITULLAH MEHSUD A U.S. drone strike on Aug. 5, 2009, killed Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, as he was receiving treatment for a kidney illness in Pakistan's tribal areas. A Foreign Policy profile a month earlier had described Mehsud, who was blamed for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, as "Pakistan's biggest problem, and the man who has taken his country of 176 million to the center of the West's war on terror." SALEH ALI SALEH NABHAN U.S. commandos killed Nabhan on Sept. 14, 2009, in a daylight helicopter raid on a convoy carrying al Qaeda targets in southern Somalia. Nabhan was thought to have orchestrated the bombing of an Israeli hotel and a failed missile strike on an Israeli airliner in Mombasa, Kenya in 2002, in addition to playing a role in the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. At the time, the New York Times interpreted the operation as a shift away from President George W. Bush's use of cruise missiles and gunships to strike suspected terrorists in Somalia - an effort by the Obama administration to "go to greater lengths to avoid civilian deaths." SAEED AL-MASRI Masri, al Qaeda's operational leader in Afghanistan and third-in-command (a shifting position), died in an American missile strike in Pakistan's tribal areas in May 2010. An American official described Masri, an Egyptian-born militant also known as Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, as al Qaeda's "chief operating officer, with a hand in everything from finances to operational planning," and "the organization's prime conduit to bin Laden and Zawahri." The Sept. 11 Commission had reported that Masri privately argued against the 9/11 attacks "because he feared the U.S. response" to the assault. MOHAMMAD HAQQANI This son of the al Qaeda-linked and Taliban-allied militant Jalaluddin Haqqani was killed in North Waziristan by a U.S. drone on Feb. 18, 2010, as he visited his older brother Sirajuddin, the apparent target of the strike. In an article for Foreign Policy, Pakistani analyst Imtiaz Gul observed that while U.S. officials had long accused Pakistan of protecting the Haqqani network, which primarily carries out attacks against international forces in Afghanistan, the attack on the Haqqani compound "could be proof that the two allies are increasingly on the same page on this issue."
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News Headline: Are the Seabees making a difference? Chaplain finds out | News Date: 03/07/2012 Outlet Full Name: Ventura County Star - Online News Text: By Lt. Greg Uvila
As Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5's deployment draws down, as the evening sun sets, we recall the many gorgeous sunrises and enthralling sunsets we witnessed across the continents of Africa and Europe, emblematic of our positive contribution to America's global ―Hearts and Minds‖ campaign. However, the daily world of a Seabee is too real: endless training, demanding project deadlines, monotonous repetitive labor, the sweat, the angst and, yes, even tears. These stormy fronts within cause one to really question: How positive was our presence overseas? Seabees wonder within and occasionally question out loud, ―Are we making a difference in this abstractly defined Global War on Terrorism?‖ Does the water well we just drilled make a difference when the villagers break it two weeks after it is installed? Will the local citizens utilize the modern maternity ward we are constructing, or will it remain vacant as they stubbornly hold to thousands of years of customs regarding childbirth? And the schools, who will come teach here when we leave? What will be taught inside these walls? How will these chalkboards be marked, what politic will it speak? In the chaplain world, we speak of marking individuals for good, sharing compliments, speaking words of life and encouragement, spiritual speak-blessing. Seabees speak the language of hammer and saw, loader and roller. Their ―marking of good‖ of our global friends and allies is seen in placing concrete, building bridges, drilling wells, cutting roads and engineering air strips. Marked for good, the barren countryside of Ethiopia. We have brought fresh water to an impoverished village. Think desert, think hot, think fresh drinking water for the first time in this locale. The community is so taken by the new reality that guards from within the region are being hired to help keep the well — well, a functioning well! Marked for good, outside of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. We reached out to a nearby orphanage through the simplicity of soccer matches, offering our hearts through our futbol skills with the hope that Djiboutian and Somalian minds will see that Americans are a worthy ally in the global community. Marked for good, close to Dikhil, Djibouiti. We completed a solar-powered school and laid the foundation for a medical facility whose main mission is the safe delivery of newborn children. Estimates are that every year, 500 Ethiopian, Somalian and Nomadic women will benefit from the maternity ward. Marked for good, Acitrezza, Sicily. Beyond Sigonella, we reached out with assistance, extending helpful hands into a fishing village with much-needed repair of a Catholic church. Behind the effort is the conviction that the Sicilian partnership will enhance the view of America's military presence in Europe. Marked for good, Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia. As we completed the Gende-Gerard schoolhouse, we also finished the renovation of their playground, making it a safer and cleaner place. Our Seabees' hard work reminds us that schools and playgrounds are where children's innocent dreams are born and precious passions discovered. As NMCB 5's last jet whisks west, our Global War on Terrorism questions are laid to rest. We have marked two continents, dozens of communities and hundreds of newfound friends for good.
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News Headline: The European Commission's humanitarian response |
News Date: 03/07/2012 Outlet Full Name: ReliefWeb - Online News Text: The European Commission's humanitarian work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva begins a four-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Her aim is to raise awareness within the international community of the humanitarian needs and the demands for relief in Africa's second largest country. The DRC is experiencing one of the world's most drawn-out emergencies and needs urgent help. The European Commission is at the forefront of providing this help - it will channel €59 million of humanitarian funds to the DRC in 2012, a 10 per cent increase compared to last year. Humanitarian situation in the DRC The DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world. Despite abundant resources and relative political stability in recent years, it is at the bottom of the 2011 Human Development Index. Out of a population of around 66 million, 1.7 million people are currently displaced. The humanitarian situation remains precarious due to the risk of indiscriminate violence, the difficulty to access basic services and the effect of insecurity on harvests. Such serious problems mean that the DRC is facing several humanitarian crises simultaneously: in the eastern Kivu provinces there are confrontations between the national armed forces and armed rebel groups; in the north-eastern Orientale province there are repeated attacks committed by or attributed to the rebel group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA); and also ethnic conflicts are rife in the north-western Equator province. On top of internal displacement, there are approximately 426,000 Congolese refugees in neighbouring Tanzania, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville) and South Sudan. The European Commission's humanitarian response In its humanitarian work, the European Commission focuses on alleviating the effects of displacement, the violation of human rights and the atrocities committed against civilians. Most recipients of the European Commission's humanitarian assistance are the direct victims of recent and ongoing conflicts and the host communities where the displaced have found shelter. Health: The DRC regularly faces epidemics, especially cholera and measles, which kill thousands of people. The spread and high impact of these diseases is boosted by poverty, which leads to shortage of routine vaccinations, bad and inefficient control at entry points (borders, ports, etc.). The European Commission finances projects to improve access to health care in the areas affected by irregular population movements, epidemics or other emergencies. The conflict in the DRC has been marked by a number of human rights abuses including the use of sexual violence. Most of victims are women and girls. The Commission-funded Panzi Hospital in Bukavu has treated 26,983 women, from 2004 to 2011, for gynaecological disorders, most of them severe cases of reproductive or sexual trauma. Nutrition: Sufficient and regular access to nutrition is a bigger challenge in the central part of the DRC than in the conflict areas, where the long-established presence of humanitarian organisations has largely alleviated nutrition concerns. Food insecurity is caused by displacement, violence and disease. The European Commission supports vulnerable populations to find new ways to make a living after their lives have been
disrupted by conflict. The Commission encourages its partners on the ground to use the assistance that best suits local conditions – for example, through cash and vouchers where this is feasible. Water, Sanitation, Environment and Hygiene Promotion: Access to clean water and basic sanitation facilities are largely inadequate in parts of DRC and a lot can be improved in hygiene policies and practices. The European Commission strives to meet these needs by funding operations such as the rehabilitation of the water supply network in areas from which people had fled but to which they are now returning. Shelter and non food items: Among the runaways from conflict, many have lost their household belongings during the fighting and pillaging. The European Commission is helping them get back on their feet by funding the provision of kitchen utensils, mosquito nets and farming tools. These projects to meet simple human needs bring in immediate and tangible benefits – improving living conditions and easing the return to self-sufficiency. Access to remote areas and displaced people: Due to logistical problems and lack of infrastructure in large areas of DRC, the transport of personnel and goods by land or air is risky, difficult and expensive. This also hinders the provision of humanitarian assistance, which is further complicated by military operations and attacks against humanitarian workers. To circumvent these problems, the European Commission runs a humanitarian air service, called ECHO Flight, which has three airplanes in DRC and one airplane in Kenya. This service enables humanitarian workers to reach remote regions and bring relief. In 2011, 18,826 passengers were transported by ECHO Flight, along with 378 tonnes of humanitarian cargo in the DRC.
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News Headline: Congo rescue efforts grounded days after deadly blast | News Date: 03/07/2012 Outlet Full Name: France 24 News Text: By Ben McPartland Efforts to search for survivors in the Brazzaville neighbourhoods flattened by a huge explosion on March 4 remain on hold because of fears of further blasts, international aid groups told France 24 on Wednesday. The Red Cross and other aid agencies were still waiting to be given the green light to enter the disaster area surrounding the Mpila district in the Congo Republic's capital city. The explosion catapulted rockets and shells into the surrounding densely populated neighbourhood leaving at least 246 people dead, hundreds injured and many thousands without homes. There are fears that hundreds of bodies lie buried beneath the rubble. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told FRANCE 24 on Wednesday that unexploded shells still litter the area making it too dangerous for aid teams to search for survivors in the debris. ―It's still a no-go area but we are evaluating the situation all the time,‖ Maria Puy Serra from the Central Africa Division of the ICRC told FRANCE 24. ―From the very first moment after the explosion, we had around 100 volunteers of the Red Cross ready to begin pulling out the wounded and dead but the level of security is still not at the level it needs to be because of all the unexploded ordnance,‖ she said.
―We have to be cautious. It is a disaster,‖ Puy Serra added. Despite further smaller explosions some frantic relatives have taken the rescue effort into their own hands and undertook a treacherous search among the debris for their loved ones. The ICRC is coordinating efforts with other aid groups on the ground, including the French Red Cross and liaising with the Congo government which was providing ―very good cooperation‖. As well as focusing attention on making sure hospitals have enough medicine to treat the wounded, aid teams are also trying to register the hundreds of children who have lost contact with their parents or been left orphaned after the disaster. The force of Sunday's detonation was so strong it shook buildings in Kinshasa, the capital of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo which is separated from Brazzaville by the three-milewide Congo River. A reporter for the Associated Press in Brazzaville described the scene of devastation as a ―wasteland of twisted metal, buckled homes and children's shoes‖. The government has declared an official period of morning until all the victims have been buried. Clearing a path to safety Efforts to find those victims will depend on the work of the Congolese military and organisations like the British based charity Mines Advisory Group (MAG). In the immediate aftermath of the explosion a MAG team joined soldiers in trying to cool down the affected zone with water where the heat and unexploded shells meant there was a high risk of further blasts. Nick Roseveare chief executive of MAG told FRANCE24 on Wednesday that teams were currently trying to clear a safe path to allow rescue teams to enter. ―It is very, very difficult and dangerous because there is a huge amount of explosive debris scattered around the area. The last thing we want is more deaths and injuries that could be avoided,‖ Roseveare said. Authorities were warned The arms depot was the largest of its kind in the country, housing 250kg bombs. It is not the first time this kind of disaster has struck in Africa. In 2002 over 1000 people were killed when a fire at a barracks in the Nigerian capital of Lagos sent rockets flying across the city. In 2007 it was Mozambique's turn to suffer the deadly consequences of a fire at an arms depot storing weapons from the civil war. More than 100 people were left dead in the capital Maputo. Similar blasts killed dozens in Tanzania in 2011 and 2009. After the catastrophic consequences of Sunday's fire in Brazzaville, attention has once again focused on the locations of these arms depots and the safety of the weapons they hold. According to MAG's head of operations in Congo, Lionel Cattaneo, the Congolese authorities had been warned about the dangers of storing munitions in such a densely populated residential area. But the Congolese army, like those of many nations in a region prone to coups and armed
uprisings, still prefer to keep the arms close at hand in case of any attempts to overthrow governments. ―They're scared they'll have difficulties getting their munitions if they have genuine need of them,‖ Cattaneo, told Reuters news agency. ―Clearly it was not ideal to keep them there. They were aware of the problems,‖ he added. Cattaneo said the unwillingness of some African armies to get rid of obsolete munitions means the depots will remain a danger.
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News Headline: USS Halsey Sailors Volunteer at Girls Orphanage in Victoria, Seychelles | News Date: 03/08/2012 Outlet Full Name: U.S. AFRICOM News Text: By Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Farrington VICTORIA, Seychelles — Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) volunteered at the Saint Elizabeth Orphanage for Girls, during a port visit to Victoria, Seychelles, March 4, 2012. Twenty sailors refurbished a playground and spent time playing games with children, helping foster a good relationship between the U.S. Navy and the local community. "It was extremely rewarding to meet and interact with many of the orphans, especially one young girl who I really enjoyed being able to spend time with," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jessica Henry. "Overall it was a great experience that I will never forget." Forgoing a day spent out on the town at one of Seychelles' markets, beaches or restaurants, Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Raynor chose to volunteer at the orphanage in order to represent the Navy giving back to the community. "Their smiling faces when they saw the playground completely rebuilt and their rooms cleaned was by far the best part of my port visit to Seychelles," Raynor said. "It was a great experience helping rebuild the playground and also being able to spend time with the kids at the orphanage." In addition to the playground, sailors also cleaned the rooms of the orphanage and helped organize toys and supplies for the children. Halsey is the flagship for Combined Task Force 151, a multinational, mission-based task force working under Combined Maritime Forces, to conduct counter-piracy operations on Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean.
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News Headline: Trade Union Group, A.N.C. Ally, Holds Strikes in South Africa | News Date: 03/08/2012 Outlet Full Name: New York Times News Text: JOHANNESBURG — Tens of thousands of South Africans marched in the streets of the nation's major cities on Wednesday in a national strike called by Cosatu, the powerful group of trade unions, a crucial ally of the governing African National Congress that is growing increasingly critical of its policies.
The stated reason for the strike was to protest new highway tolls and the practice of contracting out jobs through temporary-employment firms, at lower pay and with fewer benefits than permanent workers get, a practice known here as labor broking. But the strike tapped a deep undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the A.N.C., which has governed South Africa since white minority rule ended in 1994. ―We voted for the A.N.C., but we can't even send our children to school because of their corruption,‖ said Thabiso Bopape, 30, a contract worker for the postal system who earns much less than regular government employees doing the same work. Mr. Bopape and thousands of others gathered in downtown Johannesburg on Wednesday, wearing the T-shirts of their unions and waving placards denouncing corruption and capitalism. Zwelinzima Vavi, the secretary general of Cosatu, said in a fiery speech that racial apartheid was increasingly being replaced by economic apartheid. He said there would be civil disobedience if the government went ahead with its plans to charge tolls on highways that were built with tax money. ―We have fired our first warning shot,‖ Mr. Vavi told the cheering crowd. ―There are still many bullets in our chamber.‖ The marches come at an important moment for the A.N.C., which is celebrating its centennial this year. The party faces growing doubts from a public that has historically returned it to power with huge majorities. The party will hold its conference to choose a leader in December, and in June it will hold a policy conference to discuss ideas for how to tackle some of the country's most bedeviling problems, like unemployment that reaches 40 percent among young people. South Africa is often roiled by protest. Demonstrations, sometimes violent, happen almost daily in the townships where the poor struggle to live without basic services like electricity, water and toilets. But the outpouring on Wednesday came from working people, not the destitute, and their protests took place not in distant townships but in the heart of South Africa's cities. The toll issue was a flashpoint for their anger. ―We already paid once, why should we pay again?‖ said Busi Harishe, 34, a shop clerk who joined the protest. ―Petrol prices are already high. Working people are suffering too much.‖ Julius Malema, the contentious former leader of the A.N.C.'s youth league, also spoke to strikers on Wednesday. Mr. Malema was expelled from the party for breaking rules and espousing controversial positions contrary to party policy, like calling for mines to be nationalized. He also faces an investigation into his personal fortune, which has expanded along with his political influence. Young marchers like Mr. Bopape said Mr. Malema, who is appealing his expulsion, should stay in the party. ―He is the voice of the youth,‖ Mr. Bopape said. ―No one else is speaking for us.‖
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News Headline: United Nations News Briefs - Africa |
News Date: 03/08/2012 Outlet Full Name: UN News Centre News Text: DR Congo: UN peacekeeping mission receives tactical helicopters from Ukraine 7 March – The United Nations peacekeeping chief today expressed his gratitude to Ukraine for providing tactical helicopters for the mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), saying the contribution will enhance the force's capacity to protect civilians. Libya: UN envoy envisages flexible, integrated mission to support transition 7 March – The top United Nations envoy for Libya told the Security Council today that the Organization's mission in the North African country plans to maintain a ―light footprint‖ there while striving to provide flexible, responsive and high quality expertise to support the democratic transition. New UN project aims to tackle youth unemployment in Guinea 7 March – Young people in Guinea will receive skills training that will help them find jobs under a new project set up today by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and funded by the Government of Japan. UN deploys team to assist Republic of Congo authorities after arms depot blasts 7 March – The United Nations humanitarian office said today it has deployed a team to the Republic of Congo to support authorities after the explosions earlier this week at an ammunition depot that killed at least 200 people and injured some 1,500 others
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