More than 30 killed in twin attacks in Somalia

The body of lawmaker Amina Mohamed Abdi arrives at Aden Adde International Airport from Beledweyne, Mogadishu, Somalia, Mar. 24, 2022. (AFP)
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Updated 25 March 2022

More than 30 killed in twin attacks in Somalia

  • The first attack in Beledweyne district was carried out by a suicide bomber, and killed two local lawmakers including Amina Mohamed Abdi
  • Minutes later, a car bomb exploded outside Beledweyne’s main hospital where the injured were being taken for treatment

MOGADISHU: The death toll from twin attacks in central Somalia on Wednesday night has climbed above 30, the Beledweyne district police chief told AFP on Thursday, with the Al-Shabab insurgent group saying it was targeting politicians ahead of elections.

The first attack in Beledweyne district was carried out by a suicide bomber, and killed two local lawmakers including Amina Mohamed Abdi and several of her guards as she campaigned for re-election.

Minutes later, a car bomb exploded outside Beledweyne’s main hospital where the injured were being taken for treatment, killing dozens and leaving vehicles in charred, twisted ruins.

“The terrorists carried out the first attack using a suicide bomber and readied a car loaded with explosives in front of a hospital to cause more casualties,” said Col. Isak Ali Abdulle.

“We are still trying to establish the overall number of casualties, but so far we have confirmed that more than 30 people were killed in the second blast alone,” he said.

“These were devastating simultaneous attacks which damaged property as well as causing mass civilian casualties.”

The bombings occurred the same day as three people were killed in a separate attack near Mogadishu’s airport that was also claimed by Al-Shabab.

The Al-Qaeda-linked militants frequently target civilian, military and government targets in Somalia’s capital and outside.

Witnesses described carnage outside the hospital in Beledweyne.

“The second blast was very huge, it occurred in front of the hospital and my brother and one of our neighbors were among the dead,” said Mahad Yare, a Beledweyne resident.

Al-Shabab said it carried out the attacks to target politicians contesting ongoing elections.

The British ambassador to Somalia, Katie Foster, shared her condolences on Twitter, saying: “We strongly condemn the use of violence to intimidate and disrupt the elections.”

The European Union’s ambassador to the country, Tiina Intelmann, also offered condolences, writing on Twitter: “Violence is not a way forward for #Somalia. #EU condemns terrorism and politically motivated killings.”

Earlier on Wednesday, security forces shot dead two gunmen who attempted to storm a heavily fortified area of the Somali capital Mogadishu near the city’s main airport.

The airport complex houses the United Nations, aid agencies, foreign missions and contractors, and the headquarters of the African Union military mission, AMISOM.

Three people were killed in that attack — a policeman, an AMISOM soldier and a civilian.

Al-Shabab has been seeking to overthrow the country’s fragile government for over a decade.

The Horn of Africa nation has seen a spate of attacks in recent weeks as it hobbles through a long-delayed election process.

Somalia’s key foreign backer, the United States, has already imposed travel sanctions on key political figures for undermining the electoral process.

The lower house election is now due to be completed on March 31, paving the way for lawmakers to pick a president.

Somalia’s international backers have warned the election delays distract from the fight against Al-Shabab.

The extremists controlled Mogadishu until 2011 when they were pushed out by AMISOM troops, but still hold territory in the countryside.


US, others walk out of APEC talks over Russia’s Ukraine invasion – officials

Updated 9 min 57 sec ago

US, others walk out of APEC talks over Russia’s Ukraine invasion – officials

  • Representatives from Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Australia joined the Americans

BANGKOK: Representatives of the United States and several other nations walked out of an Asia-Pacific trade ministers meeting in Bangkok on Saturday to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, officials said.
The walkout was “an expression of disapproval at Russia’s illegal war of aggression in Ukraine and its economic impact in the APEC region,” one diplomat said.
Representatives from Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Australia joined the Americans, led by Trade Representative Katherine Tai, in walking out of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, two Thai officials and two international diplomats said.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, saying it aimed to demilitarize and “denazify” its neighbor. Ukraine and the West say President Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked war of aggression, which has claimed thousands of civilian lives, sent millions of Ukrainians fleeing and caused economic fallout around the world.
Another diplomat said the five countries that staged the protest wanted “stronger language on Russia’s war” in the group’s final statement to be issued on Sunday.
“The meeting will not be a failure if (a joint statement) cannot be issued,” Thai Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told reporters, adding that the meeting was “progressing well” despite the walk out.
The walkout took place while Russian Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov was delivering remarks at the opening of the two-day meeting from the group of 21 economies.
The delegations from five countries that staged the protest returned to the meeting after Reshetnikov finished speaking, a Thai official said.


Palestinian teenager shot dead by Israeli forces during raid in occupied West Bank

Updated 36 min ago

Palestinian teenager shot dead by Israeli forces during raid in occupied West Bank

  • Jenin refugee camp has served as a flashpoint amid recent tensions following a wave of attacks
  • Last week journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli firing while covering a raid

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: A Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli forces early Saturday during a raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.
“A 17-year-old boy was killed, and an 18-year-old was critically wounded by the Israeli occupation’s bullets during its aggression on Jenin,” a statement by the health ministry said.
Jenin refugee camp has served as a flashpoint amid recent tensions following a wave of attacks in Israel in which 19 people were killed.
Thirteen Palestinians were injured last week during an operation by Israeli forces in the camp in which one Israeli commando and one Palestinian were also killed.
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett named the Israeli commando as Noam Raz.
The Palestinian was later named as Daoud Al-Zubaidi, a brother of Zakaria Al-Zubaidi, who headed the armed wing of the Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and briefly escaped from Israeli prison last year.
The raids came hours before violence erupted at the funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera journalist who was killed last week while covering another Israeli raid on the camp.
As her funeral unfolded, Israeli police stormed the grounds of a Jerusalem hospital as the body of the slain journalist was being transported for burial, prompting an international outcry.


Six Saudis make list of Arab world’s most inspirational businesswomen

Updated 42 min 22 sec ago

Six Saudis make list of Arab world’s most inspirational businesswomen

  • List recognizes women who have used their influence, experience and ambition to make a mark
  • All Saudi women honored have made a significant contribution to the Kingdom’s evolving landscape

LONDON: Six trailblazing Saudis have been named among Arabian Business magazine’s 50 most inspirational businesswomen.

The list, published last week, recognizes women who have used their influence, experience and ambition to make a mark in the region.

All of the Saudi women honored have made a significant contribution to the Kingdom’s evolving landscape, in fields as diverse as architecture and philanthropy.

Among them was Princess Lamia Bint Majed Al-Saud, the secretary general and member of the board of trustees at Alwaleed Philanthropies, who is regarded as a pioneer of women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia.

Winner of the Achievement in Philanthropy prize at the Arab Woman of the Year Awards in 2017, the princess launched her own publishing company in 2003, which now produces three magazines from Dubai, Cairo and Beirut.

Given that female empowerment in the Kingdom is an integral part of Saudi Vision 2030, it was no surprise to see Mae Al-Mozaini, founder and CEO of The Arab Institute for Women’s Empowerment, on this year’s Arabian Business list.

Al-Mozaini is also the founder of Nusf, a social enterprise dedicated to helping advance the economic and social well-being of women across the Arab world.

Ghada Othman Alrumayan, group chief marketing and communications officer at ROSHN, was another inspiring business leader to make the list.

A national community developer and Public Investment Fund project, ROSHN is responsible for implementing one of the largest residential real estate projects in the Kingdom.

The three other Saudi women to be recognized were Mona Althagafi, Rabaa Abdulaziz Al-Othaim and Rasha Al-Hoshan.

As country director for Saudi Arabia at Serco, Althagafi is responsible for steering the British company’s growth in the Kingdom. With more than 20 years’ experience, she has held various positions within government and the private sector.

Engineer and founder of 4A Architects, Al-Othaim was recognized for her outstanding work in the Kingdom’s health, hospitality, residential and commercial sectors.

Owner and founder of interior design company Rasha Al-Hoshan Est, Al-Hoshan holds degrees in interior design and architecture from some of the world’s top universities. She is also responsible for introducing leading furniture brands like Nada Debs, Fendi Casa and B&B Italia to the Saudi market.


Britain wants to arm Moldova to protect it from Russian threat — The Telegraph

Updated 21 May 2022

Britain wants to arm Moldova to protect it from Russian threat — The Telegraph

Britain wants to send modern weaponry to Moldova to protect it from the threat of invasion by Russia, The Telegraph reported, citing Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
She told the newspaper that Russian President Vladimir Putin was determined to create a “greater Russia” even though his invasion of Ukraine had failed to achieve quick success.
Russia has called the invasion it launched on Feb. 24 a “special military operation” aimed at disarming Ukraine and ridding it off radical anti-Russian nationalists. Ukraine and its allies have dismissed this as a baseless pretext for war.
Moldova, which borders Ukraine to the south west, is not a member of the NATO alliance.
Truss said talks were taking place to make sure that Moldova’s defenses could deter any future attack.
“I would want to see Moldova equipped to NATO standard. This is a discussion we’re having with our allies,” she told The Telegraph.
“Putin has been absolutely clear about his ambitions to create a greater Russia. And just because his attempts to take Kyiv weren’t successful doesn’t mean he’s abandoned those ambitions,” she said.
If Truss’s plans are adopted, NATO members would provide modern weaponry to Moldova, replacing its Soviet-era equipment, and will train soldiers on how to use it.


Bilawal Flies To China Today

Updated 21 May 2022

Bilawal Flies To China Today

May 21: The Nation reported that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will visit China from today (May 21-22) to hold talks with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi with an aim to cement the iron-clad friendship further.

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