Friday, September 30, 2011

Fraudster jailed after faking his own death

Fraudster jailed after faking his own death

By Tom Peck

Anthony McErlean: The fraudster was arrested after investigators working for an insurance company found his fingerprints on his death certificate


Anthony McErlean: The fraudster was arrested after investigators working for an insurance company found his fingerprints on his death certificate

A pensioner from Kent has been jailed after faking his own death in Central America so that he could secure a £520,000 life insurance payout.

Anthony McErlean, 66, was sentenced to six years at Canterbury Crown Court after admitting his false claim. The court heard how McErlean had impersonated his wife and claimed he had died after being hit by a farm truck in Honduras in 2009. Fake documents, including a death certificate, were produced to back up a death benefit claim in the name of his wife, claiming the crash happened as McErlean was changing a tyre.

An invented "witness" said that after the crash farm workers took McErlean's body away to a small village. But the Insurance Fraud Bureau was contacted by officials at Ace European insurance company, which did not make a payment to McErlean.

The firm, already suspicious as it had not been given McErlean's passport, carried out tests on documents relating to his "death" and found McErlean's fingerprints on his own death certificate. Kent Police then arrested him, and found him with a debit card in the name of Green.

Judge Adele Williams told McErlean: "This is deliberate and calculated fraud, not only from corporate bodies but also from the public.

"In my judgment, you were driven by a desire to gratify your own overweening greed. You sought to benefit at the expense of others."

Peter Alcock, defending, said McErlean had experienced financial difficulties since his first wife died after a terminal illness.

He added: "He is sorry for what he has done. He at least made admissions when he was interviewed in respect of the life insurance count. He didn't, in fact, receive anything from the policy."

McErlean received a total of six years behind bars for fraud in relation to the insurance claim, for two counts of theft in connection with the pension payments and for one count of fraudulently obtaining a passport.

The court was told that McErlean, a twice-married father, had previous convictions dating back to 1963. These included convictions for robbery and possession of a firearm.

McErlean was dressed smartly, and showed little emotion as he returned to court. In a previous police interview he had said he "didn't want to be destitute in old age".


Daily Hadith, 30-09-2011

Narrated: Al-Bara bin Azib
Allah's Apostle ordered us to do seven things and forbade us to do other seven. He ordered us: to follow the funeral procession. to visit the sick, to accept invitations, to help the oppressed, to fulfill the oaths, to return the greeting and to reply to the sneezer: (saying, "May Allah be merciful on you," provided the sneezer says, "All the praises are for Allah,"). He forbade us to use silver utensils and dishes and to wear golden rings, silk (clothes), Dibaj (pure silk cloth), Qissi and Istabraq (two kinds of silk cloths).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


New York, Sep 28 2011  5:10PM
The world will be watching to see that the commitments expressed by South Sudan's leader last week before the General Assembly are translated into action, from the way the country manages its security and respects human rights to promoting transparency and good governance, the United Nations envoy to the country said today.

Hilde F. Johnson, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, told a news conference in the capital, Juba, that President Salva Kiir's address on behalf of the newest Member State was "the right message at the right time."

She said it included a commitment by the county to peaceful relations with Sudan, from which it gained independence in a UN-backed referendum earlier this year, as well as to establish a solid foundation for the new nation, based on political pluralism, good governance, transparency and accountability.

"We need to remember that the eyes of the world now are on South Sudan," said Ms. Johnson. "The management of these critical processes and the political milestones will be important for South Sudan's standing internationally."

She commended the President for the steps he is taking in particular to end impunity against financial misconduct and to promote transparency and accountability.

"It is unacceptable when money devoted to developing the new and independent South Sudan ends [up] in private pockets and foreign accounts," she said. "Investigation and prosecution against those involved is a precondition for South Sudan to succeed in building a new, strong and stable nation."

Turning to security, Ms. Johnson noted that UNMISS has been supporting the Government in preventing a further escalation of communal violence, particularly in Jonglei state, where at least 600 people lost their lives in ethnic clashes last month.

The fighting in Jonglei between the Murle and Lou Nuer communities followed large-scale cattle raids by members of the two groups which led to the theft of between 26,000 and 30,000 cattle.

In the wake of the violence, UNMISS promptly deployed peacekeeping troops to defuse tensions and act as a deterrent. It also facilitated visits by religious leaders for conflict mitigation, and carried out "robust" ground and air patrols across the state on a daily basis, said Ms. Johnson.

"What we are doing now is stop-gap measures and trying to get processes in place that can help resolve the issues over time," said the Special Representative. "But it is only through a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy that stability and peace in Jonglei can really happen."

To assist the Government carry out its security responsibilities, UNMISS will help to transform the South Sudan Police Service (SSPS) and to strengthen its institutional capacity.

The UN has already begun training the country's police officers in crime awareness and investigation. Earlier this week, UN agencies began a two-week course for 40 officers in Juba on issues such as identifying and investigating crime and reporting cases.

The training is a partnership between UNMISS, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The latter is also developing a document on police reforms in South Sudan.

Regarding the police force, Ms. Johnson highlighted the need for respect for human rights and training in human rights standards, noting there have been several cases of people reportedly being arrested, detained and beaten up.

A major challenge in this area, she said, is the fact that almost 80 per cent of the police force is illiterate. "To educate illiterate police in human rights standards is not easy, but we are going to look at creative ways of being able to do so."

ANALYSIS: Mixed responses to mixed migration in Africa

ANALYSIS: Mixed responses to mixed migration in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, 28 September 2011 (IRIN) - Abdul worked as a journalist in Somalia before death threats from Al-Shabab militia drove him to leave his native country and head for Mozambique where friends told him he would receive help at Maratane refugee camp in Nampula Province.

 The boat he boarded in Mombasa had 110 other passengers - some Somalis with stories similar to his own, and others Ethiopians, either fleeing their own armed conflicts or drought or both - all crammed together in one vessel by a smuggler aiming to maximize profits.

 Now Abdul and his fellow passengers are all being detained in the same prison in southern Tanzania. Neither the Mozambican police who arrested them in the northern town of Palma and then violently deported them to the Tanzanian border, nor the immigration officials who found them there - naked and stripped of all their belongings - attempted to determine which of the migrants were asylum-seekers entitled to receive protection and assistance, and which were economic migrants subject to immigration laws.

 Countries like Tanzania are starting to realize that their immigration laws are not adequate to deal with the phenomenon of "mixed migration" whereby refugees, asylum-seekers, economic migrants and even victims of human trafficking may be using the same routes, means of transport and smuggling networks to reach a shared destination, but are driven by different motives and have different claims to protection and humanitarian assistance.

 "It has become incredibly difficult to distinguish between different streams of migrants," commented Vincent William, programme manager for the Southern African Migration Programme at the South Africa-based Institute for Democracy in Africa (IDASA). "There's just a lot of uncertainty about how to manage mixed flows and concerns about not allowing people to abuse the asylum system."

 While much of this movement is originating from the Horn of Africa, the cycle of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has also generated large numbers of refugees as well as those simply seeking better employment and educational opportunities.

 Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's complex and inter-linked political, social and economic crises of recent years have created the region's largest cross-border movement with recipient countries struggling to distinguish between those fleeing political persecution, those in search of a livelihood and those driven by a combination of factors.

 For many the preferred destination is South Africa, the country that not only offers the best prospects for employment, but also has the region's most progressive refugee laws. While there are few legal channels for unskilled migrants to enter South Africa, foreign nationals who apply for asylum can remain in the country for as long as it takes to process their claim and during that time they enjoy freedom of movement and the right to work. The result is an asylum system that has been overwhelmed by more applications than any other in the world, according the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

 Roni Amit, a researcher at the African Centre for Migration and Society at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, said South Africa's Department of Home Affairs has dealt with the backlog of asylum applications mainly by rejecting more people. "The rejection rate is now something like 96 percent," she told IRIN. "Decisions are very cut and pasted and not really individualized."

 Business booming for smugglers

 Under the UN Refugee Convention, refugees are defined as individuals who are forced to remain outside their country of origin because of a well-founded fear of persecution. The Organization of African Unity (now renamed the African Union) definition is slightly broader and includes people compelled to leave their country due to "events seriously disturbing public order".

 Most countries rely on the UN definition, but in countries like Tanzania, immigration officials lack the training or the resources to screen large groups of migrants.

 "Every migrant is treated like a criminal so the same treatment is given to the migrants and their smuggler," said Monica Peruffo of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which recently conducted an assessment of Tanzania's immigration procedures and facilities.

 The job of immigration officials is not made easier by the fact that migrants like Abdul, who have genuine claims to asylum, often delay applying for it until they have reached their chosen destination. Not only does this make them vulnerable to being treated as illegal immigrants in the countries they travel through, it can also harm their chances of being admitted to South Africa. In recent months, South African border officials have started denying entry to asylum-seekers based on the principle that they should have sought asylum in the first safe country they reached. Although no such principle exists in international or domestic law, it has not prevented South Africa from using it as a basis to turn away asylum-seekers from the Horn of Africa [ ].

 "If you try to enter through an official border post and you're denied entry, then your next step is to enter the country illegally and that's where smugglers come in," said Witwatersrand University's Amit.

 Sheik Amil of the Somali Community Board, which represents the interests of Somalis in South Africa, confirmed that business was flourishing for smugglers who charge up to US$3,000 to bring Somalis to South Africa from Kenya, where many begin their journeys at the refugee camps near the border.

 "They have to get half the money before they leave and the other half when they arrive," said Amil, adding that migrants who failed to come up with the second instalment were often held hostage by their smugglers until a friend or relative produced the cash.

 Others have paid with their lives. An unknown number of Horn migrants have died at sea with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reporting that 11 asylum-seekers drowned off the coast of Mozambique in January 2011 alone, while eight suffocated aboard a closed container truck driving from Maratane to South Africa in February.

 Governments "increasingly paranoid"

 In September 2010, Tanzania hosted a regional conference on the issue of mixed and irregular migration. Delegates from government and civil society talked about the need to respect the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their legal status and broaden legal migration channels to reduce dependence on smugglers and illegal border crossings. The meeting ended with calls for greater regional cooperation on migration issues, improved national laws and policies to deal with mixed migration, and better border management.

 But in the last year, little has been done to implement the conference's recommendations. While UNHCR and IOM have continued to advocate putting in place more protective measures, such as constructing refugee reception centres at border posts where proper screening of migrants could take place, and replacing forced deportations with voluntary return programmes, governments tend to view the irregular movement of large groups of migrants through their countries as a threat to national security and have responded by detaining and deporting them. [ ]

 Horn migrants who do make it to refugee camps in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, often use them as a place to rest and regroup before continuing their journey to South Africa, a practice that has heightened concerns about security and abuses of the asylum system.

 "Governments have become increasingly paranoid and it does lead to a situation where genuine asylum-seekers are excluded because of the actions of non-asylum seekers," said IDASA's William, adding that "worries about foreigners taking jobs" often formed a backdrop to such concerns.

 In March of this year, South Africa passed amendments to its immigration legislation [ ] that decreased the amount of time asylum-seekers have to make a formal application for asylum after entering the country, and increased the penalties for those found guilty of violating immigration laws.

 "They don't really seem to have a policy perspective that provides a rational justification [for the amendments]," said Witwatersrand University's Amit. "There's just a general perception that there are too many people entering the country and taking jobs."

 A Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol to facilitate the movement of persons has the potential to reduce irregular migration by creating more possibilities for legal migration, at least within the region, but has stalled since being adopted in 2005. For the protocol to come into effect, nine of SADC's 15 member states have to ratify it but so far only five have done so and no implementation plan has been developed.

 The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have agreed in principle on similar protocols but William said progress on implementation had been very slow.

 "There's concern about potential security risks, but the overriding concern is probably the economic one. There's a perception that migrants will flow to countries with the biggest economies."


'Somaliland is part of Somalia': PM Abdiweli Gas

'Somaliland is part of Somalia': PM Abdiweli Gas

Somalia’s interim Prime Minister Prof. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gas has told the BBC Somali Service that the separatist region of Somaliland is “part of Somalia,” asserting political words that are sure to ignite a tough response from Somaliland’s ruling administration, Radio Garowe reports.

Somali PM Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gas
Prime Minister Gas said that the international community “recognizes Somalia as one country” and commented that a “time shall come when Somali stakeholders including Somaliland will discuss how to strengthen the unity of Somalia.”

The Somali Prime Minister, who was appointed in June, is on a visiting trip to Denmark, days after he addressed the UN General Assembly in New York.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.

Prime Minister Gas said the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia “recognizes Somaliland as a state similar to Puntland,” adding: “What is important is to discuss areas of mutual cooperation and to agree on national interests.”

Speaking about Somali terror group Al Shabaab, Prime Minister Gas: “Within the one-year mandate of my administration, we shall remove terrorist groups from all of Somalia like the way we removed them from Mogadishu.”


Somalia: M/V Eagle Released From Pirate Control

European Union Naval Force Somalia (Northwood)

Somalia: M/V Eagle Released From Pirate Control

press release

Following payment of a ransom, the M/V EAGLE, which was pirated on 17 January 2011 in position 490 nautical miles South of Salalah, Oman has recently been released from pirate control off the coast of Somalia.

The ship is now on her way to a safe port.

The Cypriot flagged and Greek owned M/V EAGLE, deadweight of 52,163 tonnes and a crew of 24 Filipinos was on passage from Aqabar (Jordan) to Paradip (India) when it was attacked.

Somalia: Puntland president makes Cabinet, police changes

Somalia: Puntland president makes Cabinet, police changes

The president of Somalia's Puntland state has made minor changes in Cabinet and the state's police command, Radio Garowe reports.

Two presidential decrees signed by Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole this week featured new police commanders and replacements for two deputy ministers.

Former Deputy Minister of Women's Development, Ms. Seynab Ugas Yasin, was appointed to become Puntland's new Deputy Minister for Health.

The former Deputy Health Minister, another woman politician named Maymun Abdi Duale, was appointed to become the Deputy Minister for Women's Development.

Thirdly, a new Director-General was appointed for the Puntland Ministry of Aviation and Airports. Ms. Saido Hussein Ali takes over after former Director-General of Aviation and Airports, Ms. Faduma Abdi Madobe, was fired.

Separately, another presidential decree appointed nine new police commanders.

New changes include: deputy commander of police logistics; deputy Puntland police commander; Bari regional police chief and his deputy; deputy commanders for airport and port police in Bossaso; deputy commander of Birmadka mobile police unit; and Nugal regional deputy police commander.

The police reforms come at a time when security institutions in Puntland are under increasing public scrutiny.

Puntland, located in northeastern Somalia, has its own state government, security forces and policies and supports the formation of a federal government in Somalia.


SAFA, PSL to help Somalia


SAFA, PSL to help Somalia

Cape Town - The South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) have joined forces in assisting and contributing to the massive humanitarian effort that is currently on the go in Somalia. 

SAFA and the PSL have formed a joint committee under the leadership of SAFA vice-president Mandla Mazibuko and Kaizer Motaung.

The Committee has recommended that a fund be established immediately with the goal of raising at least R1 million. 

The Fund received its first boost with a donation of R500 000 from the PSL. 

The Association is also generating its own contribution to the fund, including donating 10% of the gate takings from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Sierra Leone on October 8.

SAFA and the PSL's pledge comes in the wake of a call from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to all its members and federations to contribute as millions of people continue to suffer in Somalia and around the horn of Africa due to famine.

"The international community through the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies are responding to the emergency situation, but it continues unabated. Urgent humanitarian support is needed for these countries. The African football family cannot stay without reacting to this severe food crisis. 

"I would like you to mobilise football clubs in your country to help fight this challenge," CAF president Issa Hayatou said in a statement.

SAFA is expected to officially hand over the cheque to CAF at their next Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt.

"We as SAFA are committed to the principle of African Solidarity and we are asking each Member, Associate Member, LFA and other key SAFA stakeholders to see what they can contribute to this fund. 

"We would also like to request the civil society at large to assist the football relief effort by raising funds in their areas of operation to aid in the emergency relief effort currently underway in the Horn of Africa. 

"We cannot stand by and watch when our fellow people find themselves under such terrible conditions," said SAFA CEO Robin Petersen.

His words were echoed by the PSL.

"We have a responsibility for the well being of our fellow brothers and sisters on the African continent, "commented PSL CEO, Zola Majavu.

"Every cent helps and I also urge other sporting organisations to get involved and assist in whatever way," 

A letter has also been sent to all sponsors within the SAFA and PSL family to assist and contribute to this worthy cause.

Peterson has received the PSL's R500 000 cheque from his counterpart, Zola Majavu.

KENYA: Mau evictees still waiting three years on

KENYA: Mau evictees still waiting three years on

NAKURU/NAIROBI, 28 September 2011 (IRIN) - Evicted from their homes in 2009 when the government initiated efforts to restore Kenya's largest water tower, the Mau Forest Complex, thousands of the affected families are still without permanent shelter.

 The fact that the country's policy on internally displaced persons (IDPs) has remained in draft form since 2009 does not give the evictees hope that their plight will be resolved soon.

 "The first time we were thrown out of Mau Forest in November 2009, we were promised resettlement in three months, but the time has turned to years and still nothing," Joseph Maritim, a Mau evictee living at Tirigoi camp, told IRIN. "We have known no homes for three years now, yet even our tents are too tattered for chickens to live in, let alone human beings."

 Even as the Mau evictees remain uncertain about their resettlement, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Chaloka Beyani - who recently visited the country - urged Kenya to urgently address the dire living conditions and human rights of the Mau and other IDPs in the country, including those displaced by post-election violence and natural disasters.

 "A comprehensive strategy on internal displacement is essential to Kenya, which has experienced repeated waves of internal displacement in the past, provoked by post-election violence but also other causes," Beyani said on 27 September at a news conference in Nairobi at the end of his nine-day visit.

 "I encourage the Government of Kenya to adopt the draft policy on protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, the necessary implementing legislation which will be essential to give practical effect to the policy, and to ratify the Kampala Convention [African Union Convention on Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons - ] at the earliest opportunity."

 As Kenya heads for general elections in 2012, Beyani said, it should step up efforts to implement durable solutions for IDPs and to involve them in peace and reconciliation efforts.

 "In my visits to sites of return and resettlement I found that there was often a lack of basic services, such as sanitation facilities, which needs to be addressed, while many of those remaining in displacement after several years face health, shelter and education challenges which we would only expect to see in an emergency phase, and require immediate attention," Beyani said.

 IDP strategy

 He said the challenges should be addressed through the adoption of a comprehensive strategy [ ], founded on a human rights-based approach and international and regional standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the Great Lakes Protocol for Protection and Assistance to IDPs, and the African Union Convention on Protection and the Kampala Convention.

 For the Mau evictees, suffering, delays and confusion over resettlement continue to dominate their lives three years later. While the need to restore the water tower - whose more than 120,000 hectares were lost for 20 years - is crucial, authorities seem to have neglected issues of humanitarian concern of those evicted.

 Ruth Chepkoech, another evictee, said a political motive seemed to exist for their continued stay in camps.

 "They are waiting for next year [general elections] so that everyone who wants to become president will promise us resettlement. The government seems to be deriving pleasure from our suffering," she said.

 Chepkoech, a mother of six, said her family often went for days without food as government and relief agencies rarely helped the evictees. She said the last time they received relief food was in July. Even then, she said, "the food only lasted two weeks because we took two meals a day. If we had not skipped lunch, it would have lasted an even shorter time."

 To survive, most of the Mau evictees - adults and children alike - seek casual jobs. "With the current inflation, everyone has to work for his/her own stomach," Chepkoech said.

 According to Noor Hassan Noor, chairman of the Mau Forest Restoration Interim Coordinating Secretariat, some 6,500 families have been evicted from the Mau complex, while 23,500 more were likely to be evicted in the next phase of the complex's restoration.

 Mandate extended

 The restoration of the Mau has been conducted through public-private partnerships.

 The government recently extended the secretariat's mandate by 18 months, giving it more time to complete the evictions and restore the Mau.

 However, Noor said: "Even another [extension of] two years will not be enough; we have only reclaimed 27,000 acres [10,926ha] and have another 80,000 [32,376ha] to go."

 Asked when those evicted would be resettled, Noor said: "I cannot tell when every evictee will be resettled, but we are already working with Chinese experts to fund them to grow bamboo after resettlement."

 The bamboo, he said, would earn the resettled evictees a living and prevent them from destroying the forest.

 Resettlement promises

 In early 2011, Kenyan Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, who visited one of the camps, promised the evictees that they would be resettled within the year. But nine months down the line, none of the families has been moved to a new location where they can legally own a piece of land as promised.

 At a recent political meeting in Nakuru, the provincial capital of the Rift Valley, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the evictees would be resettled within the next two weeks in what observers saw as a bid to woo the Kalenjin vote - the majority of evictees and the largest ethnic group in the province.

 "But no one has come to tell us to prepare for resettlement so far, yet the second week is almost halfway gone since the Prime Minister made this promise," noted Maritim, who is a spokesman for the evictees.

 Only time will tell if the evictees will move to homes that the government has promised.

 "We are working closely with the Ministry of Lands and will see to it that all evictees are resettled, but I cannot give the exact time that resettlement will take," Noor said.

 Evictions continue

 However, Noor said a fresh wave of evictions would begin in the next month and continue until the targeted 107,000ha of lost forest cover is reclaimed.

 Meanwhile, efforts to safeguard the reclaimed parts of the Mau that had not been destroyed have been boosted by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), which has provided more forest rangers and intensified patrols in the area.

 But the presence of heavy security within Mau has led to conflict between locals and forest rangers. Over the past two months, at least seven rangers have been attacked and badly injured while protecting the Mau Forest.

 "Some people who were used to destroying forests are not willing to embrace conservation even when there is a threat of losing Kenya's most important water tower," Alex Lemarkoko, the KFS deputy commandant, told IRIN.

 He said KFS had initiated projects involving the youth, some of whom made a living through illegal logging and burning charcoal.

 The youths are employed as scouts to form part of the Forest Security team, "but there are people who do not want to work, they think they have a right to steal from the forests", Lemarkoko said.



Film: Soldiers' Stories

Film: Soldiers' Stories

NAIROBI, 28 September 2011 (IRIN) - IRIN's latest film follows two Ugandan soldiers - a female gunner and a male nurse - serving in the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) at a critical stage in the battle for Mogadishu, between Al-Shabab militants and the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government.

 From their training in Uganda to deployment in the shattered city in July 2011, Roselyn Namutebi and Otto Moses share their thoughts and fears on the frontline of one of the world's most intractable crises.

 Reflecting on why they serve, their relationship with Somali civilians, and what it means to leave friends and family at home, the film offers a rare glimpse into the reality of modern peace support missions. [Film link]

 Soldiers' Stories, a 24-minute high-definition production, offers a unique view of a regional peace-enforcement operation.

 IRIN's last film on Somalia, A State of Need [], produced in 2006, examined the fragile period when central authority was exercised by the Union of Islamic Courts.

 For the full menu of available film titles, please visit the IRIN film

SOMALIA: Work together to achieve recovery, agency urges

SOMALIA: Work together to achieve recovery, agency urges

NAIROBI, 28 September 2011 (IRIN) - Non-traditional humanitarian actors must work with the UN and other relief agencies for Somalia to move from relief to recovery, urged officials of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) [ ].

 "Somalia has been moving from relief to relief without much progress; consequently, we have created a large relief-dependent population in the country," Atta al Manane, the OIC assistant secretary-general and head of humanitarian affairs, told a conference on Somalia's recovery process.

 "For effective change, we must begin with the Somali youth, who currently have no future at all; we have a generation of 18 to 25-year-olds who think Somalia's future is in the hands of those with arms and that to live you have to kill.

 "Somalia has been forgotten for a long time; when you talk about Somalia, people say: 'Somalis don't need assistance, they need only peace!'. But now [with the famine] there is a new trend, a lot of money is being poured into the country, we must use this opportunity to bring about change," Manane said. "The current situation demands that we work in such a way as to bring real change by initiating development projects that can change people's lives.

 "After 20 years of pouring money into Somalia we find ourselves confronted by famine. Can we speak about development while there is a war? Humanitarians can provide the answer."

 He said Muslim organizations were doing a huge job in Somalia but they needed more capacity, funding and training.

 Hany el Banna, chairman of the Humanitarian Forum [ ], which hosted the 26-27 September conference with the OIC, said recovery in Somalia was now a "compulsory duty" for humanitarian actors, who should spend significant amounts of their funding on building capacity in local Somali organizations.

 "We should focus on activity that will empower the youth and find ways of accommodating this growing population," Banna said. "We are here to engage in finding the roadmap to Somalia's recovery."

 Officials representing 70 humanitarian organizations - ranging from UN agencies, the Red Cross/Crescent movement, Islamic and western international NGOs as well as Somali NGOs - attended the conference.

 Emphasis on women

 Hilal Bouh, an administrator at Al-Hayatt Medical centre in Borama, Somaliland, said: "Any plan [of action] should put Somali women at the forefront. Today in Somali society, women have assumed far greater responsibility than they ever had. They are the breadwinners, care-givers, in addition to their duties as mothers."

 She said there should be more women in decision-making bodies, be they political or social.

 Bouh said Somali girls were not being educated as well as boys, despite the fact that many families depended on the support of girls in the diaspora. "If a family can afford to send one or two children to school, they will usually send the boys, so educating the girl child should be a priority for all of us."

 Funding pledges

 On 24 September, at a mini-summit in New York on the Horn of Africa drought crisis, the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, commended regional initiatives by the African Union, the OIC and others, stressing that "effectiveness will depend on the ability of people to work together".

 At least 13 million people have been hit by drought [ ] and famine in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, according to the UN.

 More than US$218 million of new aid was pledged by Norway, Republic of Korea, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Russian Federation, Luxembourg, Chile and Hungary.

 According to a situation report [ ] on the crisis published on 22 September by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the situation in Somalia remains acute. Food insecurity continues to increase, with four million people food insecure, OCHA said, adding that mass internal and external displacement continues as people flee hunger and insecurity.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


New York, Sep 27 2011  5:10PM
West African countries today called for enlarging the 15-member Security Council to give their continent its due representation on the United Nations body whose decisions are legally binding, as opposed to the recommendations issued by the 193-member General Assembly.

They also voiced full support for mediation as a means of pre-empting crises, the theme of this year's Assembly annual general debate.

"Negotiations for Security Council reform must be intensified with the adoption of a precise timetable for their conclusion," Foreign Minister Nassirou Bako-Arifari of Benin told the Assembly, proposing 2015 as the target date for giving Africa permanent representation on an enlarged body.

"It is time to put an end to this intolerable injustice which excludes a whole continent Africa, the only one, from the supreme decision-making body on international security."

He also called for reinforcing the operational capacities of the UN and regional organizations to face the world's multiple crises. "At the global level we believe in the virtues of multilateralism; that's why we have even more need for a UN which must be entrusted with a more decisive role in world governance, a UN which will be the spearhead for actions that will promote, within a framework of inclusion, lasting global solutions to all types of crises," he said.

Mr. Bako-Arifari also appealed for international help to fight piracy that has recently intensified off Benin's coast in the Gulf of Guinea.

Foreign Minister Djibrill Yipènè Bassolé of Burkina Faso said his country had been engaged for more than a decade in efforts to reform the UN "to allow it to conform with the exigencies of a world that is in full transformation.

"For Burkina Faso, reform must take into account the interests of all Member States and increase the effectiveness of our Organization in handling peace and security, stability and development in all parts of the world," he said.

With regard to mediation he cited the role of Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaoré in helping to resolve crises in Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Togo.

Mauritania's Foreign Minister Hamady Ould Hamady <"">called for Security Council reform that would include permanent representation for Africa and the Arab Group. "The Security Council must fairly reflect the will of the entire international community," he said.

He also noted that organized crime, such as kidnapping, terrorism, and drug, weapon and human trafficking, had been expanding for many years in the Sahara region, posing a threat to peace and stability. In cooperation with neighbouring countries, Mauritania had put a stop to the activities of those terrorist groups and made it impossible for them to move freely, he added.


New York, Sep 27 2011 12:10PM
An equitable distribution of resources and greater political participation could ease some of the discontent that many young people feel across the world and prevent popular uprisings such as those seen in North Africa and the Middle East, Trinidad and Tobago has told the United Nations.

"In a world linked by social media, the risk of a peoples' uprising that transcends continents and borders is real. It is a kind of social chaos which we must prevent," said Surujrattan Rambachan, Trinidad and Tobago's Foreign Minister, in his <"">address to the annual general debate of the General Assembly yesterday.

"The world must now more than ever allocate its resources equitably, ethically, sustainably and transparently."

He observed that while the theme of this year's general debate at the General Assembly is the role of mediation in the settlement of disputes among nations, there also has be to "real mediation between generations.

"Leaders must now adopt styles of leadership which embrace actively listening to the views of those governed. Leaders must develop approaches which are consensus building and promote participation as people now demand a greater say in how their futures are to be shaped."

Dr. Rambachan urged the UN to recruit more women as mediators, especially from the so-called small island developing States (SIDS), stressing that as the most vulnerable group in times of conflict, women must also play a key role in the conflict resolution and prevention.

Noting that youth are also more susceptible to the negative effects of armed conflicts, he urged support for international mechanisms aimed at rehabilitating young people who have been involved in strife.

"We call on States that in a position to do so, to contribute to UNICEF (UN Children's Fund), the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and the Victims Trust Fund of the ICC (International Criminal Court), which assist in the rehabilitation of children and other victims of armed conflict."

13 Qof oo ku dhintay laba Baabuur Oo Daad ku qaaday Dooxa Agabar

13 Qof oo ku dhintay laba Baabuur Oo Daad ku qaaday Dooxa Agabar

Hargeysa (Somaliland.Org)-Alle ha u naxariistee waxa ku geeriyooday 13 qof oo 11 ka mid ahi dumar yihiin kadib markii ay  xalay laba gaadhi oo ah nooca Land Cruser-ka ah oo ka baxay magaalada Hargaysa kuna sii jeeday dalka Jabuuti uu daad xoogani ku qaaday dooxa weyn ee degmada Agabar oo ilaa konton Km dhinaca waqooyi kaga beegan caasimada Hargaysa.

waxaana  maydadkii la keenay galabta  Cisbitaalka guud ee caasimada Hargaysa. waxaa goobta uu khasaarahan balaadhan ee nafeed ka dhacay booqday Wefti ka tirsan Xukuumada Somaliland oo uu horkacayay Wasiirka Wasaarada Madaxtooyada Md. Xirsi Cali X. Xasan, iyo Wasiirka Waxbarashada iyo Tacliinta sare Marwo Samsam Cabdi Aadan iyo gaadiid badan oo ka tirsan Madaxtooyada ayaa ka qayb qaatay sidii dadkii Mashaqadan ku geeriyooday iyo kuwa ku dhaawacmayba loogu soo qaadi lahaa Cisbitaalka guud ee Caasimada Hargaysa oo galabta la keenay.

Wasiiraddan ayaa qoysaskii ay ka baxeen 13-ka qof u diray dhambaal tacsi ah waxaanay  ILAAHAY uga baryeen inuu naxariistii jano ka waraabiyo, qoysaskii iyo shacbiga Somaliland ee ay ka baxeena samir iyo iimaan ka siiyo.

Isugaynta tirada guud ee labadaas gaadhi saarnayd ayaa dhamayd 29 qof waxaana haatan dhaawacooda la dawaynayaa 16 qof oo ka badbaaday Masiibadaasi argagaxa badnayd,warku wuxuu intaasi ku darayaa in la xidhay labadii darawal ee labadaas baabuur watay isla markaana la baadhayo sababta keentay inay rakaab intaas le'eg ku biimeeyaan dooxa degmada Agabar

Weriye Cumar Maxamed Faarax


Somaliland: SF Swiss Financial Bank Investment set to open branch in Somaliland

Somaliland: SF Swiss Financial Bank Investment set to open branch in Somaliland

HARGEISA (SomalilandPress)—Swiss Financial Bank the owners of Banque De Depot Eet De Credit Djibouti (BDCD) today annouced their intention of opening a Somaliland co-shared bank in the country. Their current branch in Djibouti offers range of products and diverse services from agriculture credit to Islamic Savings banking account.

Speaking to at a meeting held in Hargeisa, Pierre Marazzato the Managing Director and Sales manager of SF Swiss Financial Bank said "we intend on opening a branch of our bank in somaliland where by Somaliland citizens will own 60% and 40% owned by SF Swiss Financial Bank". Mr. Marazzato went on to say that Somaliland citizens should get the higher percent because there are the owners of the country and should benefit from this partnership. Pierre marazzato concluded by saying once legislators pass the new banking law, we will be the first to open a branch in Somaliland.

This news is seen as a judgment to Somaliland's democratization and development thus will connect the unrecognized country to the global market. Speaking after Mr. Marazzato was Somalialnd Banking Director Mr. Abdi Dirir Abdi who said the country urgently needs international banking sector because that will help the development of the country and bring in new investors into the country. Another guest speaker at the event was Djibouti Minister of Commerce Mr. Abdillahi Ahmed Abdi who spoke about his country's experience with SF Swiss Financial Bank and how 51% of Banque De Depot Credit Djibouti is owned his country and the rest SF Swiss Financial Bank. Few of the country's top businessmen were also in attendance from Haji Ahmed Dahir (Baxsane), Mohamed Ali managing director of Omaar Trading and Suldan Ali Koshin traditional leader and scholar of Banking and graduate of Georgetown University in the USA.

A closer look at drones

A closer look at drones

The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Sept. 25:

Reports that the United States is establishing bases for drone aircraft in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula are the latest example of a transformation in the war on terrorism that poses serious questions about overreach and accountability. According to the Washington Post, a "constellation" of bases would allow the targeting of al-Qaida affiliates and other terrorists in Yemen and Somalia, new battlegrounds in the conflict with Islamic militants. Though some of the drones are supposed to be unarmed, the overall effort is designed for counter-terrorism, a term that encompasses both the gathering of intelligence and targeted killings. Bases are being established or have been established in Ethiopia, the Seychelles and Djibouti.

Clearly the CIA and the Pentagon regard the campaign of assassination by air as a success. And in some ways, drone warfare is preferable to the alternative. For example, attacks by drones are less likely to result in the death of unintended victims than strikes by, say, fighter jets. That's not to say that there hasn't been collateral damage, but if one accepts the basic principle that assassination of enemy operatives is legitimate and that some innocent lives will be lost in the process, the use of unmanned aircraft doesn't change the moral calculus.

But are these targeted killings in fact legitimate? One worrisome aspect is the geographical reach of the strategy. We're at war in Afghanistan (a conflict that has spilled over into Pakistan), but do we also have the right to kill people we think may pose a threat in Somalia or Yemen? And if we can do it in Somalia and Yemen, can we also do it in London or Los Angeles? Would we think it was acceptable if Russia gunned down a Chechen terrorist on the streets of New York? Granted, the battlefield in the war against terrorism transcends national borders, but surely there must be some limit? Instead, Congress is moving to expand the theater of operations. A defense bill approved in May by the House of Representatives authorizes force directed against "al-Qaida, the Taliban, and associated forces," but doesn't include any geographical limitations whatsoever.

We're also concerned about the process by which the military and the CIA determine who belongs on a target list. The United States should not be aiming its missiles at everyone who associates with al-Qaida and similar groups, or at mere propagandists. (The U.S. government now considers Anwar Awlaki, the American citizen thought to be on a target list, an operative as well as a spokesman for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.) Decisions about targeted killings should be reviewed at the highest levels of the administration and monitored closely by Congress.

Targeted killings raise serious moral and legal questions, but the Obama administration seems determined to expand their use as the United States withdraws forces from Afghanistan. If the policy is to be pursued, it should be subject to more stringent oversight. That includes a greater effort to avoid civilian casualties - an effort the administration insists it makes - and a decision to limit aerial assassination to terrorist leaders who are actually planning attacks on the United States. The establishment of new drone bases accentuates the importance of such controls.

Read more:

Islam Feruz exit to Chelsea disappoints Celtic's Johan Mjallby

Islam Feruz exit to Chelsea disappoints Celtic's Johan Mjallby

Islam FeruzSomalia-born Feruz has been with Celtic since the age of 10

Johan Mjallby says it is especially disappointing that Islam Feruz has left Celtic considering the club helped the forward's family flee from Somalia.

The 16-year-old's agent has been quoted as saying that the Scotland youth international is to join Chelsea.

"It is probably extra disappointing because the club put a lot of faith in Islam and wanted him to be succesful here," said Celtic's assistant boss.

"But it's hard to tell a player to be here if he doesn't want to be here."

Feruz was spotted in Glasgow as a 10-year-old and the late Tommy Burns, who was then Celtic's youth coach, was instrumental in helping prevent his family being sent back to Somalia.

it is disappointing to lose a young, talented player. But, at the end of the day, it is down to him where he wants to play

Johan MjallbyCeltic assistant manager

The Scottish Premier League club point out that they took the family out of the Castlemilk housing estate to the more fashionable west end of Glasgow.

And Feruz became eligible to play for Scotland after having had five years of schooling, although he could yet switch back to the land of his birth at senior level.

But the youth, tipped as one of the brightest prospects in British football, has not returned to Celtic since last season.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was quoted this week as blaming the forward's new agents for giving him bad advice.

"The last thing I heard is that he's not going to play for us any more and will be playing for Chelsea from now on," said Mjallby.

"I don't know all the details, but it is disappointing to lose a young, talented player.

"But, at the end of the day, it is down to him where he wants to play."

Celtic will hope to receive a compensation fee of around £300,000 should Feruz sign for another club now that he is old enough for a professional contract.

Chelsea have yet to confirm the signing of the teenager, despite his agent claiming that a deal has been done.

Somalia: Mishandling Turkish Scholarships, a Sign of Institutional Corruption

Somalia: Mishandling Turkish Scholarships, a Sign of Institutional Corruption

By Faysal Mohamud

"By not taking any action and leaving the process for the incapable authorities, Turkish government is not only serving the interest of individuals, but allows its noble mission badly represented"

Following the famine that ravaged the country, Somalia has regained a global attention that not only focused on the insecurity in the country but also on the serious shortages of public servants capable to manage the crisis such as teachers, doctors, nurses and other health professionals. The prolonged conflict has caused educated professionals to immigrate to developed countries with a handful of them still working in the country, defying threats of murder and indiscriminate attacks- those working in Mogadishu hospitals, schools and universities provide a living example.

The international aid delivered to Somalia in the past has served as a short term solution. The country needs long term solutions to end its endurance. The visit of Turkish Prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to Mogadishu was significant in that it gave the prime minister firsthand experience in the level of the crisis in the country. Without his visit, Erdogan may not have pledged the large scale of aid his government is to deliver now.

Erdogan realized that Somalia's needs are beyond short term solutions to avert further deterioration of the famine and the overall situation in Somalia. As a result he mapped out long term plans to help Somalia emerge out of its chaos. This would include lending political support to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), building public institutions, i.e. schools, hospitals, and training the young generation in Turkey.

It is against this backdrop that the Turkish government has offered recent scholarships to Somalia which has been distributed to some regions of the country. Whether the distribution was fair or not is a matter of grave concern.

This is not the first time Somalia received scholarships from abroad. Countries like Sudan, Egypt, and Yemen have been offering scholarships since the collapse of the central government. Notably, most of Somalia's newly qualified doctors, currently operating in the country had graduated from Sudanese Universities. Sudan had managed the scholarships in two ways, either by giving directly to the administrations in Somalia or by locally providing university seats to Somali students in Khartoum through its Foreign Students' Office. Remarkably, the last option ensured that many Somali students make their way to Sudanese universities without being discriminated or being overcharged by Somali officials who sell the scholarships in the open market.

After 1991, Somalia had gone through a period of no-recognition for any authority in Somalia and as such, countries providing scholarships to Somalia were either accepting Somali students who applied directly to their universities or working with educational organizations in the country.

However, when transitional governments came to business, as well as regional authorities, scholarships have been forwarded to the authorities to distribute to students fairly based on their merits and achievements. Regrettably, this has not been the case. The scholarships were distributed based on individuals' kinship to officials in the administration. For an administration that practices ineptitude in delivering basic public services, such unfair distribution of scholarships is not a great deal.

Currently, the scholarships and the international aid to Somalia is managed by the TFG which is required to distribute it to the 18 regions of Somalia including Puntland State of Somalia and the Break-away Somaliland which still remains unrecognized.

This week, thousands of students have taken exams in Puntland to 'qualify' for the scholarships given by the Turkish government. The examination is not the only way to ensure fairness in the system but also to give these vital chances to the most capable students who can benefit most from studying in a developed country.

The examination was held in two cities in Puntland; Galkayu and Garowe, the capital. Thousands of Students who were given short notice were pouring to the two cities in search of their luck. 'Five thousand' students were said to have participated in the competition.

Elders and residents in Bossaso, the largest city in Puntland have complained about the way the scholarships had been managed. One commentator in Horseed media, an independent news outlet in Puntland, criticized the selection process questioning the authority's claim to have marked the exams of 5,000 participants within hours without indicating if machines had been used, although the availability of such facilities is not likely. The commentator posted images of students in the examination room, looking at each other's work while the examination is under way.

Alarmingly, some students who had been told to have passed the examination were said to be replaced with others who had not passed nor tried the exam because of their close relationship to members in the government or officials in the education sector. Although some of the individuals can be named, it is not significant at this point.

Frankly, such practice is not only ill-treated but a serious crime as it inflicts a mental trauma on to the young, vulnerable students who have made such a long journey, only to be humiliated by their own authorities. It leaves them helpless, defenseless, and feeling worthless which, in turn, exposes them to violent radicalization. The authorities have made clear that they are in office to serve their immediate family.

The Turkish government should open its own office in Somalia to recruit students who are capable to study in their country. They should also suspend the current scholarships until Somalia's authority put in place mechanisms to ensure that scholarships are well managed. By not taking any action, leaving the process for the incapable authorities, the Turkish government is not only serving the interest of individuals, but allows its noble mission badly represented.

The success made by trusts such as CfBT, which had managed English-taught secondary schools in Somalia where outperforming students were sent to Kenya for higher education through EU funding, should be considered and built upon in this regard. All sorts of corruption should be monitored, criticized and not be tolerated.

The writer can be reached at

Somalia: Finnish Police Confirm terrorist suspects linked to al-Shabab

Somalia: Finnish Police Confirm terrorist suspects linked to al-Shabab

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has confirmed that two persons detained on suspicion of engaging in the recruitment and financing of terrorists are Somali citizens.

Finnish police say that a man and woman arrested on suspicion of financing terrorism and terror recruitment are linked to al-Shabab, Somalia's most powerful militant group.

The suspects say they sent small amounts of money to Somalia. The 34-year-old man is also suspected of recruiting at least one person abroad to commit an act of terrorism overseas.

The male suspect has lived in Finland since 2005 and has applied for Finnish citizenship. He has held a number of jobs in Finland and has also been self-employed. The 28-year-old woman, a student, arrived in the country in 2008.

Intelligence officials detained the suspects on September 7 in the Helsinki region in Finland's first terror-linked arrests.
Police are also investigating other people, some of them abroad, and have confiscated material evidence during house searches in the capital region.
Officials have until December 15 to charge the suspects.

Source: YLE


New York, Sep 26 2011  7:10PM
The soccer stars and United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane announced today that proceeds from the next UN all-star charity game will go to the world body's continuing efforts to fight the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.

The two former World Cup champions and FIFA Players of the Year will lead a team against German side Hamburger Sport-Verein (HSV) in the Match Against Poverty, a yearly event aimed at reminding people about the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"I am proud of the success of the Match Against Poverty and very honoured that clubs such as HSV have offered to host the event," said Ronaldo, who has been at the helm of the initiative since its inception in 2003.

This year's match will be played at Hamburg's Imtech Arena on 13 December.

"Through the 2011 edition in Hamburg we hope we will be able to raise both awareness and funds for the people in need in the Horn of Africa," Mr. Zidane said, referring to the ongoing famine and drought which has affected more than 13 million people.

"And, while I obviously hope to win," he added, "the Match Against Poverty is much more than a game: it is part of the global fight against poverty."

The UN Development Programme (UNDP), which will receive two thirds of the match proceeds, said it will use them to bolster humanitarian efforts in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where the UN is providing food, water, shelter and health services to those afflicted.

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark emphasized the need to increase all humanitarian actions in the affected countries.

"We need to scale up these humanitarian actions to reach those in need before it is too late," she said. "At the same time, we must also focus on longer term solutions so that families are better able to cope when this kind of crisis hits."

Proceeds from previous Matches Against Poverty have benefited projects in more than 27 developing countries, including recovery efforts in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why is integrity inportant in Somaliland I will say this

Why is integrity inportant in Somaliland I will say this- A.D.Musse

It should be a crime to steal millions of dollers from ordinary somalilanders, thereby causing death to millions of innocent people

throught sustained hunger and malnutrition,luck of adequate health care andinflationary prices,which make it impossible for millions of somalilanders or main land somalia to provide their families with basic needs.
The above quote tells us why corruption must be fought with all means.
If any country to get rid of corruption and poverty we have to start with the politicians,who are the ones who put the rules in place and ones who are supposed to enforce them.
Take the example of Norway,where i am living,Norway has 8.8 points onscale where 10 is the best and 0 is the worst.The best African country,Botswana has 5.6 pionts, which is the only country Africa above 5 points.
Let us start with their salaries and fortunes on the 15.10.2005 Norway chanched their govermment.The following day all the new ministers assets and salaries were disclowsed in one of the newspapers.Only one of them any assets worth mentioning and the rest did not make more mony then approximatly 20-30%above any average working person in the country.
Any country that has ever devoloped at any significant pace,has managed to control corruption and dishonest in gavermment and in business in general,as well as managing the development of a democratic society,which is the base for conquering corruption.When i use the word "control`"i dont mean that there is no corruption at all,only that corruption is rarely practised.There is no country in the world without corruption.
Wherever there are human beings there will be corruption,because you will always find people who want "get rich quick"or could us some extra mony without working for it.Somaliland or all africa is therefore is not alone in this terrible diseas, which is for a country what cancer is to a human being.

However,as Africa or Somaliland is the last developed continent in the world today and therefore has the most to gain,its more important to do something here than any other place in the world.
Africa is also the continent,which gets the most mony in aid from other country and therefore must develop in to a transparent society where accounttability should be pratised at any time.

Where to start
We must start with the people who have not yet been corrupted in their thinking.But who are they?They are the children and the students.
Somaliland needs people with integrity who are prepared to work for their country,not their own pockets,these are also the people who will make history in their country and they will be remembered for there Integrity,not how much mony they have accumulated.I strongly believe in this(Poor people are the solution,not the prolem)
It must however be clear to the people in general, that everyone must do their contribution,if the country they live in is to prosper,and this is the only way that all the people in the end will benefit.
It must be collective lift from every body,no govermment or politicion can do anything without the support from the people.

((Ask not what your country can do for you,but what you can do for your country)).
When people in Somaliland start feeling responsibility for their country and want to contribute to the building of it, things will start to change for the better…

thank you

An Olympian challenge: To record all 205 national anthems

An Olympian challenge: To record all 205 national anthems

That was the task set for the London Philharmonic in time for next year's Games. Adam Sherwin hears the results

Monday, 26 September 2011

Each anthem must be approved by the nation's sporting associations, forcing the arranger to keep a wary eye on the recent global instability.

Each anthem must be approved by the nation's sporting associations, forcing the arranger to keep a wary eye on the recent global instability.

It's been an epic musical journey, beginning in Afghanistan in April and concluding with Zimbabwe. The London Philharmonic Orchestra has finally recorded the last of the 205 national anthems to be played at the medal and welcoming ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics.

But the Arab Spring means the work, which ended at Abbey Road Studios yesterday afternoon, may be revisited. Libya's National Transitional Council has replaced the nation's Gaddafi-venerating anthem, while a new country, South Sudan, came into existence halfway through the sessions.

The musical marathon has taken 50 recording hours, with the LPO performing each anthem under the tutelage of composer and conductor Philip Sheppard. "I'll be perfectly happy not to hear another anthem for a long time," he admitted.

The orchestra's 36 musicians had just 12 minutes to sight read and master each anthem. Mr Sheppard had to track down recordings of some more obscure works himself.

"I actually hadn't heard of Bhutan and the only version of their anthem (Druk tsendhen –The Thunder Dragon Kingdom). All I could find was a field recording of a man singing it in a temple," he said.

Each version must be approved by the nation's sporting associations, forcing the arranger to keep a wary eye on the recent global instability.

Libya's NTC moved swiftly to replace the anthem introduced by Muammar Gaddafi, Allahu Akhbar, ("God is greatest above plots of the aggressors") and restore Libya, Libya, Libya, the anthem which marked the nation's independence in 1951 and which was used until the 1969 coup.

"The majority of anthems are about the country but Libya's was associated directly with Gaddafi," Mr Sheppard said. "It doesn't reflect the new government. I suspect Libya won't be the only nation that we have to find a way to accommodate. We can change the anthems if someone writes us a cheque to go back in the studio."

The LPO is waiting to learn the sporting aspirations of South Sudan. "I don't believe they have applied for the Olympic status yet," said Mr Sheppard.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is relying on the LPO to avoid diplomatic gaffes. "There have been occasions where the wrong anthem has been played when two countries have been at war with each other," the composer said.

Anthems have been recorded alphabetically to reduce chances of a nation being overlooked. "We have been very careful; there are three different countries with the name Congo. We started with Afghanistan and we end with Zimbabwe."

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, recently complained that the British anthem was too short compared to those of other nations, which allows non-UK winners to savour their podium triumph for that little bit longer.

Mr Sheppard said the most difficult anthems to bring something unique to are God Save The Queen and La Marseillaise because they are so familiar to most people. The longest anthem is Uruguay's, which he tried in vain, to shorten.

"It runs to seven minutes and has seven different tunes. It's as if they couldn't decide which one to go with. I tried to chop it into bits," he said.

Even the smallest nations, who have little hope of winning a medal, will enjoy their moment of national pride.

Their anthem will be aired at the welcoming ceremony and at their arrival at the Olympic Village.

Mr Sheppard, a film soundtrack composer, admits the process of getting a thumbs-up for each of the recordings has been frustrating.

The LPO had to gain copyright approval for 80 anthems. "It's like having 205 film executive producers looking over your shoulder," Mr Sheppard said.

The London games are the first where one company, Universal Music, will write, record and publish all original music surrounding the sporting event.

The first official release, a Torch Relay song performed by Tinchy Stryder and Dionne Bromfield, Amy Winehouse's goddaughter, is being released today.

Tom Fletcher of McFly has written an Olympics' mascot theme. However Universal has no plans to compile the ultimate album of 205 national anthems. Such a release could swiftly be overtaken by global events.

Longest: Uruguay has the edge when performed but in lyrical terms Greece's "Hymn to Liberty" is the most elongated. An 1823 poem by Dionysios Solomos, it runs to 158 stanzas. Only the first three and last two are usually played.

Shortest: "Oh, Uganda Land of Beauty" runs to just eight bars. All three verses are performed at international football matches.

Blank page: Cyprus has no anthem, preferring to sing that of Greece. Afghanistan went without from 1999 to 2002, when the Taliban imposed a ban on music.

Oldest: Although "God Save the King/Queen" first established the notion of national anthems in the early 18th century, Japan's Kimigayo uses 9th century poetry.

One hit wonder: Somaliland's new wordless national anthem was played on the nation's independence day, 26 June 1960. But only five days later the new nation merged with the former Italian Somaliland, to become Somalia, and the wordless anthem was duly scrapped.

Least vocal: Spain's "La Marcha Real" has no words. Several attempts to introduce words have failed as many Spaniards more closely associate with their regions than with the nation as a whole.

Most familiar: Liechtenstein's "Oben amjungen Rhein" (Up Above the Young Rhine) is sung to the same tune as "God Save The Queen".

... And the best (or worst) of the lyrics


Liberty, Liberty, Orientals.

This is the outcry which our nation saved and its braves in fierce battles of sublime enthusiasm enflamed

This Holy gift of Glory we deserved

Tyrants: Tremble !

Tyrants: Tremble !

Tyrants: Tremble !


When we spoke, nobody listened to us,

So we have taken the noise of gunpowder as our rhythm,

And the sound of machine guns as our melody,

We are determined that Algeria should live.


This land is free, free at last.

Its servile state has now finally ceased.

The martial turmoil of yesterday,

and the horrible clamour of war,

are followed today, in harmonious contrast,

by sweet hymns of peace and unity.


In agony, the Virgin

Tears out her hair,

and bereft of her love,

leaves it to hang on a cypress.

Regretting her hope

is covered by a cold headstone,

but glorious pride

hallows her fair skin.


Anger gathered in Your bosom

And You struck with Your lightning

From Your thundering clouds

Now the plundering Mongols'


Fatherland, before your children become unarmed

Beneath the yoke their necks in sway,

May your countryside be watered with blood,

On blood their feet trample.

Burkina Faso

Against the humiliating bondage of a thousand years

Rapacity came from afar to subjugate them for a hundred years.

Against the cynical malice in the shape

Of neo-colonialism and its petty local servants.


For a long time the Peruvian, oppressed,

Dragged the ominous chain;

Condemned to cruel serfdom,

For a long time, for a long time, for a long time he moaned in silence.

But as soon as the sacred cry

"Liberty!" was heard on its coasts,

he shook off the indolence of slavery,

the humiliated, the humiliated

the humiliated neck he raised

the humiliated neck he raised

the neck he raised!

Republic of Tuva

When I walk in my forest

I will always be satisfied

Because my forest is rich with

animals and everything I need.

Republic of Kazakhstan

While honouring our mothers and respecting

The cream of cream of our rising nation

We welcomed all ill-starred and struck by ruin.