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Friday, December 19, 2014

Barack Obama mistaken for waiter at black tie gala - World - NZ Herald News

Barack Obama mistaken for waiter at black tie gala - World - NZ Herald News

Barack and Michelle Obama have revealed their experiences of racism in a wide-ranging interview with celebrity weekly People Magazine published today.
Michelle Obama recalled an incident in a Target department store where she appeared to have been mistaken for a shop assistant; Husband Barack revealed he had once been mistaken for a waiter at a black-tie gala.
"I tell this story - I mean, even as the first lady during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised - the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf," Michelle Obama told People.
"These incidents in the black community, this is the regular course of life."
President Obama said he had variously been mistaken for a parking attendant and a waiter in the past.
"There's no black male my age, who's a professional, who hasn't come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn't hand them their car keys," Obama said, confirming it had happened to him.
Michelle Obama added: "He was wearing a tuxedo at a black tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee."
The Obamas' reflections come at a time of national debate about racism and racial profiling in America following the deaths of several unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers.
Barack Obama was quick to put his own experiences in the context of the indignities suffered by previous generations and more recent cases.
"The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced," Obama said.
"It's one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It's another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress."
The Obamas said they had been engaged in a discussion about race with daughters Sasha and Malia since they were young.
"What we have tried to explain is that history doesn't always move as fast as we'd like; that there are vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow," Obama said. "And although things have gotten enormously better, those biases are still there."

6 die of starvation in 'besieged' Somali town | Africa | Worldbulletin News

6 die of starvation in 'besieged' Somali town | Africa | Worldbulletin News

6 people have died as a result of the siege by the Al-Shabaab, making it difficult to transfer basic commodities with those transferred in trucks being torched or stolen.

World Bulletin / News Desk

At least six people died of starvation over the past week in Somalia's central Buloburde town as a result of an ongoing siege by Al-Shabaab militant group, the local chief said on Friday.
"It is still difficult to transfer basic commodities into the town as Al-Shabaab militants continue to torch merchandize-loaded trucks and steal others," Local news outlets quoted Abdul-Aziz Abdi as saying.
He said that government troops have managed to kick out Al-Shabaab militants from areas near Buloburde but that the town itself is still "besieged" by the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group.
He also said that food supplies from the African peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) had been arriving to the city via airplanes.
He went on to urge the Somali government to work towards lifting the siege on Buloburde and other town in the central Hiiran region.
Buloburde is the second largest city in the Hiran region.
Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.
Earlier this year, the country appeared to inch closer to stability after government troops and African Union forces – deployed in the country since 2007 – drove Al-Shabaab from most of its strongholds.

GEESKA AFRIKA ONLINE The Horn of Africa Intelligence News Group » Somali Style Chaos in Kenyan Parliament Over Security Issues

 The Horn of Africa Intelligence News » Somali Style Chaos in Kenyan Parliament Over Security Issues

The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has faced mounting pressure from the west to boost security since an attack in September 2013 on Nairobi’s Westgate mall that left 67 people dead. Uhuru Kenyatta has urged lawmakers to pass the high level security amendments.
Somali parliament Style Chaos: Television footage showed members of the opposition yelling
Kenya’s parliament has been forced to adjourn after disruptive opposition members of parliament attacked government plans to push through a new security bill. Dramatic scenes unfolded Thursday as MPs shouted, danced and shredded copies of the bill, forcing National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi to call for a 30-minute adjournment. There were also reports of fist-fights between lawmakers.
Television footage showed members of the opposition yelling, tearing up papers and shouting down the speaker of parliament, Justin Muturi, who then suspended the session and said it would resume in the afternoon.
Journalists were barred from the parliament’s press gallery and the live transmission was discontinued.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has faced mounting pressure to boost security since an attack in September 2013 on Nairobi’s Westgate mall that left 67 people dead. He has urged lawmakers to pass the amendments.
The bill would amend Kenya’s existing security law to allow suspects to be held without charge for 360 days — up from the current 90 days –, compel landlords to provide information about their tenants and punish media organizations for printing material that is “likely to cause fear or alarm”. The proposal does not define such material.
“There was disagreement inside the chamber over whether to continue to pass the bill or not and … it degenerated into chaos,” said Mohamed Junet, an opposition member of parliament.
The security law amendments were proposed by Kenyatta’s allies in his Jubilee coalition. Some form of the bill is expected to pass but it was not immediately clear on Thursday whether all its proposals would be included.
The Nine western Ambassadors in Kenya, including those of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Australia, said in a statement on Wednesday they supported plans to improve security but said human rights should also be respected.

Somali refugee with NZ passport facing terror charges in Australia - National News | TVNZ

Somali refugee with NZ passport facing terror charges in Australia - National News | TVNZ

A 24-year-old Somali refugee who holds a New Zealand passport will stand trial next year for breaking Australia's tough anti-terror laws.
This morning a Melbourne judge decided there was enough evidence against Amin Mohamed to send him to trial on four charges of preparing to enter a foreign state to "engage in armed hostilities".
Mohamed was stopped by Federal agents at Brisbane Airport last September as he attempted to board a flight to Turkey. He is accused of preparing to fight in the Syrian civil war and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
He was told his New Zealand passport had been cancelled and when questioned told authorities he was flying to meet his fiance - but couldn't tell them her name.
The NZ Government won't discuss the case or say how his passport was cancelled. But Mohamed's lawyer told ONE News that Internal Affairs cancelled the passport just eight days after re-issuing it, claiming there were "reasonable grounds" to believe Mohamed might be involved in terrorist activity.
Evidence presented in court alleged Mohamed was recruited by Sydney man Hamdi al Qudsi who was arrested as part of Australia's so-called terror raids last December. Police intercepted phone calls between Mohamed and al Qudsi and say coded conversations allegedly talk of a big job involving holy warriors and martyrdom.
Mohamed's father died in Somalia's civil war and he, along with his mother and four sisters, fled the country 16 years ago, arriving in New Zealand as refugees. He graduated from AUT University in 2012 with a business degree.
Friends who knew him here say the charges are completely at odds with the kind of person he was, describing him as gentle, fun and non-religious. But Mohammed moved to Melbourne at the end of 2012 and his family believe he was radicalised when he relocated to Sydney last year.
Australia's terror levels have heightened in the past year following a number of terror related raids and this week's deadly hostage drama in Sydney further ratcheted up the stakes.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

MN: 4 Charged In $4 Million Gov’t Benefits Scam

A former daycare operator is in jail while police search for her husband as part of a multimillion-dollar fraud investigation.

Yasmin Ali of Fridley and her husband, Ahmed Mohammed, are charged with felonies along with two other men — Joshua Miller of St. Paul and Jordan Smith of Cottage Grove.
Ali and Mohammed owned the Deqo Family Centers in St. Paul and Minneapolis, which provided daycare services to low-income families.
Minnesota offers child care payments for mothers who average 20 hours of work a week, with an income level that qualifies. The state pays the child care provider directly.
To get the payments, prosecutors say the Deqo Centers would recruit mothers, especially those with several children. If they didn’t have jobs, they could go on the daycare’s payroll, and they wouldn’t have to work nearly as much as the daycare was telling the government.
Ramsey County attorney John Choi calls it a complex scheme.
“The defendants provided counties with pay stubs overstating hours that were worked by the mothers,” Choi said. “In some cases, no wages were paid to the mothers, but pay stubs were created to make it appear as if wages had been paid.”
That money then was going to the company operated by Ali, Mohammed and Miller.
In just one ten-month period, the group allegedly took in more than $3 million in fraudulent payments.
Choi wouldn’t comment on what the group may have done with the millions, but he says officials are working to get the money back.
“I am a supporter of the safety net in our community,” Choi said. “And it’s very troubling and very disheartening to know that there are people in our community who would take advantage of those good intentions of our public.”
Choi says the investigation of one crime led to two others.
Investigators also found evidence of a similar scheme involving personal care attendants, which Smith allegedly took part in.
They also allege the group committed tax evasion by not reporting all the profits they made through their illegal activities.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Somali president appoints new prime minister

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud appointed Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as his new prime minister in a press conference held at Villa Somalia.

Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, the former holder of the premiership and Somalia's ambassador to the United States, held the post from 2009 to 2010, when he resigned due to an ongoing feud between himself and former President Sharif Ahmed.
The appointment comes after the previous Prime Minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, lost a vote of no-confidence in the Somali parliament on December 6 following a disagreement with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud over cabinet appointments.
If his appointment is confirmed by Somalia's parliament, Sharmarke, a Somali-born Canadian citizen, would become the country's third prime minister in 26 months.
Sharmarke, 54, has worked with the United Nations in Sudan and Sierra Leone, and earned a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in political economics from Carleton University in Ottawa.
On July 14, 2014, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke became Somalia's first ambassador to the United States in more than 20 years.
Sharmarke's father, Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, was Somalia’s prime minister and second president since independence. On October 15, 1969, President Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke was assassinated by his bodyguards, and a few days later on October 21, General Siad Barre seized power in a bloodless military coup.
Sharmarke has 30 days to appoint a new cabinet, which will have to be approved by parliament.
Source: Hiiraan Online

Somali shop attacks worry MEC - Crime & Courts | IOL News |

Somali shop attacks worry MEC - Crime & Courts | IOL News |

Recent arson attacks on Somali-owned shops in KwaMashu, near Durban, could be motivated by xenophobia, KwaZulu-Natal community safety MEC Willies Mchunu said on Tuesday.
“Attacking foreign-owned shops is equal to xenophobic attacks,” Mchunu said in a statement.
These acts were “against the values South Africa stands for”.
Mchunu said there had been two petrol bomb attacks on shipping containers, from which Somalians operated their businesses, in the area's C-section.
Police were only able to confirm one attack, last Thursday, in which two people, a Somali business owner and his assistant, sustained serious burns.
“ 1/8 The owner and assistant were 3/8 accosted by two unknown males who threw petrol bombs through the window,” Major Thulani Zwane said.
He said the motive was not yet known and no arrests had been made.
Mchunu said the attacks were “unwarranted”.
“If people have got issues with the level of competition presented by foreign business owners and their impact on local business owners, such must be discussed through proper channels and peacefully.”
Mchunu said a community meeting would be held about the matter on Thursday.