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Friday, August 28, 2009

Somaliland: Warning for the election warriors

Medeshi
Somaliland: Warning for the election warriors
Somaliland should negotiate and come together in the elections.
I am calling for all Somalilanders to come together and vote the traditional way to solve the current political turmoil. This is because we have always trusted each other in the ballot vote before the assumed PERFECT server has come and have, therefore, had earlier ballot votes. This is for the sake of Somaliland, otherwise, we may find ourselves part of Somalia due to a certain conspiracy of greater Somalia which is much stronger than the cause of Somaliland.
Should any one refuse negotiations for Somaliland elections, than we may have to re-try wresting again through the jungle warfare and silence propaganda machines like Qaran news, Somaliland.org, Hadwanaagnews and others that incite tribalism and clan devotion, nepotism and sacrifice for the respect for their clan.
Somaliland is not clay porcelain that can be broken so easily and most of those wresting for the power of the seat should know that. Neither Silanyo nor Riyalale deserves to be a President for Somaliland but because of Egal who failed to mentor someone to replace him after death made Riyale inevitable to accept the inheritance of Somaliland presidency.
The current Eilberdaale feud is a mechanical phenomenon made by the foes of Somaliland to create a permanent destabilisation of Somaliland so that there could always be a dispute among Somaliland people.. Most of the contributors to this cause are people outside Somaliland who may lose a little out of the current conflict.. Let us come together and solve the conflict under a tree as per our tradition. This is a plea and not a demand..
( Medeshi)

Somaliland :Only Negotiations are Somaliland’s best option

Medeshi
Ethiopia: Only Negotiations are Somaliland’s best option
Published 08/28/2009
Only Negotiations are Somaliland’s best optionStatement by Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Ethiopia). It’s been almost 20 years now since Somalia had a functioning administration that can exercise effective control over a large part of the country for a significant length of time. Successive efforts at bringing together the various parts of the country as part of a working central government have all too often proved chimerical. Although there are similar efforts currently underway under the auspices of the UN, the progress has largely been a far cry from the kind of effective administration that can be credited with ensuring sustainable peace and stability in the war ravaged country. While the responsibility to resolve the ongoing conflict in Somalia essentially rests on the Somalis themselves, Somalia’s predicament has been rendered even worse thanks in large measure to the unwholesome interference of some irresponsible parties which have relentlessly rooted for the further escalation of the scourge of war in the country. What the regime in Asmara has been doing the last few years is a case in point.
While the international community is accustomed to hearing of the continued carnage and a series of abortive attempts at reconstituting a semblance of functioning governance in Mogadishu, there have, however, been developments in some regions of Somalia that—though largely ignored by the international media—can serve as robust indications of the capacity of the people of Somalia to bring forth a functioning administration on their own. The impressive record that Somaliland has displayed over the last two decades in maintaining peace and stability as well as significant level of democratic governance stands out as exceptionally encouraging. Today, Somaliland has a functioning self administration that not only exercises effective state powers of maintaining peace and stability within its territory; it has also managed—against all odds one should add—to put together institutions that have contributed to the achievement of a credible political process that deserves praise. In fact, what the people of Somaliland have achieved over the last decade becomes all the more impressive in light of the volatile security situation that has invariably been characteristic of the entire region. Quite simply, Somaliland has to all intents and purposes become an example of hope in a region beset by a whirlwind of violence. All along, it has required the concerted efforts and the political will of the administration, opposition parties, civil society organizations and the people to forge the kind of working political dynamic that obtains in Somaliland.
Ethiopia attaches great importance to the excellent relations it has with the Somaliland administration and it has always been supportive of the latter’s commendable political progress. Ethiopia’s goodwill towards the people and administration of Somaliland cannot and should not be viewed separate from its enduring faith in the importance of ensuring sustainable peace and stability in the entire sub-region. Somaliland’s success—no matter how impressive it may have been—should not be taken for granted, however. In a region where sources of misunderstanding and elements of discord have never been in short supply, even the slightest of missteps could potentially play havoc with the hard-won peace and stability that have characterized Somaliland. The recent squabbles between the ruling party and the opposition over issues related with elections are thus things that need to be addressed immediately before they fester to become sources of much division in an otherwise peaceful political process in Somaliland. It is the fervent belief of the Government of the FDRE that the differences that have cropped up between the two sides can and should be addressed in a manner that ensures the credibility of Somaliland’s robust political process.
Despite the success that has been registered so far, the various stakeholders in Somaliland should take it upon themselves to do everything in their powers to further invigorate their institutions with a spirit of mutual trust and sense of responsibility. Of course, not even all of the mature democracies can boast having put in place a system that is foolproof to the tests of mutual distrust. While what its people have achieved is a source of pride and hope, there is an enduring legacy that should be borne by all stakeholders to see to it that the credibility and sustainability of their institutions are insulated from the kinds of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that have all too often ripped apart similar efforts at normalcy in other parts of Somalia.
It is also Ethiopia’s belief that, while the responsibility to seek ways out of the current impasse essentially rests on the parties and people of Somaliland, there are facilitating roles that can be played by Somaliland’s friends such as Ethiopia. It was therefore with this in mind that a high-level delegation led by State Minister for Foreign Affairs Tekeda Alemu spent nearly a week in Hargiessa as part of what will constitute a series of negotiations Ethiopia and other friends of Somaliland would help broker between the Government and the opposition parties. The delegation was satisfied with the level of goodwill displayed both by the government and the opposition parties. The agreements that have been reached after a series of discussions with the two sides have been encouraging. The parties have expressed willingness to address their differences in a civilized manner. Somaliland’s friends have also expressed their commitment to help the two sides sort their differences out. It is Ethiopia’s hope that all the parties will continue their declared commitment to seek peaceful ways out of this impasse and to honor the terms of the understanding they have reached so far.
As stated earlier, sources of misunderstanding and elements of discord are far too many in the region. That Somaliland has managed to avoid a serious pitfall thus far is nothing short of a miracle, indeed. More importantly, the people of Somaliland has way too precious asset at stake—their hard-won peace and stability—to tinker—as it were—with less-than-civil courses. Only those who sincerely go for negotiated deals can carry the day after all.• Statement by Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Saudi Arabia: Son of Prince Naif escapes assassination attempt


Medeshi
Saudi Arabia: Son of Prince Naif escapes assassination attempt
(Photo: Prince Muhammad with King Abdulla)
JEDDAH: Prince Muhammad bin Naif, assistant interior minister for security affairs, escaped an assassination attempt on Thursday night when a wanted terrorist blew himself up inside the prince's house here.
The minister escaped with minor injuries in the suicide bombing that was staged by the terrorist posing as a well-wisher. The body of the terrorist, the only death in the incident, was shattered into bits and pieces.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah visited Prince Muhammad at the hospital soon after the incident to inquire about his health and safety. The king thanked God for saving the minister's life, and commended his services to the country.
The king asked Prince Muhammad why was the terrorist allowed in without proper checks, to which the prince replied, “It was a mistake.”
According to a statement issued by the Royal Court, the suicide bombing took place at 11.30 p.m. while Prince Muhammad was receiving well-wishers who came to greet him on the occasion of Ramadan at his house in Jeddah.
"Among them there was a wanted terrorist, who had previously expressed his desire to surrender himself to the prince," the statement said.
Prince Muhammad said the criminal act would only strengthen his resolve to do more to reinforce the country's security and stability.
"The wanted criminal exploded himself during security inspection," the royal court said, adding that the prince escaped the assassination attempt with minor injuries. The bomb had been fixed to his body and that was triggered when the terrorist received a call from outside, according to Al-Arabiya news channel.
"Nobody else suffered any injuries," the royal court said. The prince later left the hospital after undergoing necessary tests and treatment.
Prince Muhammad was appointed as assistant interior minister 10 years ago. He holds a degree in political science from a US university.
Prince Muhammad, who has attended advanced courses in combating terror inside and outside the Kingdom, has been in the forefront of Saudi Arabia's campaign against Al-Qaeda militants.
Last week, the Interior Ministry announced the arrest of 44 suspected militants linked to an Al-Qaeda cell. The deviants sought to recruit youths and financed their activities through donations secured through charities.
"The suspects were arrested over a period of one year. The operation began on July 20, 2008, and ended on Aug. 2 this year," said Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki.
"Forty-three of those arrested are Saudi nationals," said Al-Turki. He said that some of them had received training in the Kingdom and abroad on the use of light and heavy weapons. Some had received training on mixing and detonating explosive materials. Others received training in counterfeiting documents and identity cards. Their ages ranged between 20 and 60.
Al-Turki said 17 Kalashnikov rifles, 50 machine guns, 42 cases of ammunition and 96 remote electronic detonators were seized from the militants. The spokesman added that the detonators were located underground in two remote areas. One was in the suburbs of Qassim and the other in a valley near the city of Riyadh.
The identities of those arrested were not revealed, but Al-Turki said among them were individuals with proper technical qualifications and some with advanced university degrees. "None of those arrested figure in the list of 85 wanted militants issued in February," he said. "We found 39 magazines hidden in a secret compartment behind a concrete wall inside the home of one of the suspects," he said.

AN

Somaliland : A commitment to the community in Hargeisa

Medeshi
A commitment to the community in Hargeisa
Ahmed Ibrahim is the national director of SOS Children's Villages Somalia and Somaliland. On a recent visit to Hargeisa he accompanied social worker Abdi O. Abdullahi on his regular visits to family strengthening programme beneficiaries in the community. Abdi tells us more.
(Photo: Ahmed Ibrahim with Ms Fatuma Suudi Hassan, Somaliland Minister for Family Affairs and Social Development during her visit to Hargeisa in October last year)
Braving the unforgiving midday summer heat of Hargeisa, and enduring the hilly and rough terrain, the SOS family strengthening programme team headed towards Lixle, an internally displaced persons' settlement near SOS Children's Village Hargeisa. Most of the inhabitants of the village are victims of the Somali civil war of the late 1980s. The village was identified as one of the target areas when the project was being drawn up and has some beneficiary families.
The weekly family strengthening programme family visit is routine and aims to monitor individual beneficiary progress towards self reliance as outlined in their family development plans. But today our visit is special, because travelling with us is Ahmed Ibrahim, the SOS Children's Villages National Director of Somalia and Somaliland. He had earlier asked to visit a family saying that they were part and parcel of our larger SOS family. "They too deserve to be supported emotionally", he says, "this time, I must pay them a visit".
SOS co-workers are very popular
As our car swerved across the dusty, bumpy road leading to the densely populated village, many people, including children, could be seen raising their hands to greet us. "Seems you are very popular here," said Ahmed jokingly. "Sure," I answered. "We are well known here because we support many families in this village."
As we approach the large village, we cannot fail to notice two distinct changes: the road becomes much narrower, while buildings change from permanent brick mansions with high walled fences to small rudimentary huts made of polythene bags, cartons, rugs, old iron sheets and tins.
"This is Lixle," said my colleague Fatma, attracting the attention of the national director as our driver slowed down and pulled off to the side of the road.
Fatuma explains the 'before and after'
We alighted and walked towards a single room made of old and rusty iron sheets. Here, we met Fatuma*, one of the beneficiary families. She was washing her jerrycans to sell milk at a nearby market. Fatuma, who was widowed five years ago and has suffered various health problems, has six children (five boys and one girl).
( Photo :A typical home made from discarded fragments of materials in Hargeisa)
She had presented her business proposal to the SOS family strengthening programme and was given a grant to start a business.
After an exchange of greetings and introductions, Fatuma brought three old jerrycans out for us to sit on. We were humbled by her warm reception and generosity. This is the only furniture she possesses. We gave Ahmed a brief profile of Fatuma's family and the programme intervention. After looking at it, he inquired about her situation before and after she joined the programme.

Fatuma answered: "I used to fall sick frequently and my health was deteriorating rapidly. My children would go without meals for some days so I ended up begging for food from neighbours. None of my children used to go to school. After joining the programme I got free treatment from the SOS Medical Centre and recently I was considered for support in an income generating activity. My children are now at school and I do not worry where their next meal will come from. In fact every time I prepare meals for my children I find myself unconsciously praying for you [SOS]. Little did I know that my previous illness was as a result of hunger and stress".
(Photo: Ahmed Ibrahim with beneficiaries near SOS Children's Village Hargeisa)
A keen listener and eloquent Somali speaker, Ahmed followed Fatuma's personal account with interest. At the end of the conversation he thanked her for the frank and open discussion and encouraged her to continue to put more effort into her business whilst respecting the rights of her children.
Families motivated by the visit
Moving from one edge of the village to the other, we visited four more families and for every family Ahmed would look at the number of children living in the household, the type of family, the services offered by the project and the condition of the family before and after the programme intervention. He advised the families to take full advantage of the programme intervention to improve the lives of their children. Children, he said, are the primary target of the project and they need to be protected and cared for.
Clearly excited, the families were motivated by the director's visit. They promised him their full commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of their children.
The director's visit exposed him to the grim realities of the long-term negative effects of the civil war and the positive contribution of the SOS family strengthening programme in empowering families affected by providing desperately needed support, such as basic health care, education, counselling, advice on children's rights, childcare skills and income-generating activities, thus enabling them to protect and care for their children properly.
That the national director had set aside time to visit beneficiary families in the community was a clear reflection of his determination to uphold the SOS Children's Villages values of courage, accountability, commitment and trust. These values truly are the very foundation upon which SOS Children's Villages was established 60 years ago.
* The name of the lady featured in this account has been changed to protect her privacy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Muhammad Ali pays his last visit to UK


Medeshi
From Times Online
August 26, 2009
Muhammad Ali brings Hyde to standstill with visit to Ricky Hatton's gym
There have been many great moments in the life and career of Ricky Hatton, but few will match the day when The Greatest came to visit.
Muhammad Ali visited Hatton’s new gym in Hyde, Greater Manchester today and Ali brought the town to a virtual standstill.
Ali is attending a dinner in his honour at Old Trafford tonight, one of a series of engagements on what the three-time world heavyweight champion says will be his last trip to Great Britain.
”Ricky has never met Ali before and we have all been very excited about this day for some time,” Ray Hatton, the boxer’s father and manager said. “It’s a great honour for him to come here.”
Ali is visiting the UK to raise money for his favourite charities, including his cultural centre in his home town of Louisville, Kentucky.
The 69-year-old, who has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease since 1984, will also appear at two other dinners held in his honour in Dublin and Stoke-on-Trent in the next fortnight, as well as going to watch the European Jumping and Dressage Championships in Windsor.
During his 21-year career, Ali fought in England three times, including the famous night at Wembley Stadium in 1963 when he was knocked down by Henry Cooper in the fourth round before getting up and stopping the Englishman in the fifth.
In his next fight Ali produced a huge upset to stop Sonny Liston and win the world heavyweight title for the first time.

How Kenya's 'Little Mogadishu' became a hub for Somali militants


Medeshi
How Kenya's 'Little Mogadishu' became a hub for Somali militants
The Somali enclave of Eastleigh in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, is now a recruiting and financial center for hardline Islamists fighting in neighboring Somalia.
By Heba Aly Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the August 26, 2009 edition
(Photo: Somali women in veils walk along the main street in the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi )
Eastleigh, Kenya - The streets of Eastleigh, a Somali enclave of Kenya's capital, Nairobi, are crowded and dirty. Sewage and rotting garbage flow through gullies. Police are virtually nonexistent; restaurants are locked, even when open, for safety reasons; and guns are readily available for sale at the market.
No one ever said "Little Mogadishu" was paradise, but now the sprawling neighborhood has become a hub of financing and recruiting for militant Islamists waging holy war in neighboring Somalia, according to residents, security analysts, and diplomats.
"Those who kill people in Somalia are also here – scattered all over the place," says an elderly Sufi Muslim sheikh matter-of-factly. "This is the hotspot of the Somali fundamentalism.... They are recruiting right here in Nairobi."
In the latest chapter in a civil war that has raged since 1991, Somalia's radical insurgents this week rejected the Western-backed transitional government's call for a cease-fire during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Militant and moderate Islamists are battling for control of the rubble-strewn streets of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, fighting that has forced more than 1.4 million people to flee their homes and caused what the United Nations on Wednesday called the country's worst humanitarian crisis in 18 years of war.
But here in Eastleigh, the war takes a different form. Little Mogadishu has become a port through which Somali insurgents raise money and recruit fighters, especially for the militant group, Al Shabab, which has been labeled an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization by the US government.
"What we know is that Al Shabab is very popular in Eastleigh," says Roland Marchal, senior research fellow at the Paris-based National Center for Scientific Research. "Al Shabab has been able at different moments to bring a number of people in Eastleigh to fight in Somalia. It's very likely that a number of economic operators in Eastleigh try to collect money and support this organization."
Why young Somali-Kenyans join militants
Outside a small green-gated home in Eastleigh, the elderly sheikh – who declined to be named due to the grave threat to anyone talking about Somali militant operations – says agents of Somali insurgents have recruited from across the country dozens of Somali-Kenyans, most in their early 20s, who are missing and presumed dead in Somalia. Though their parents were moderate, a lack of employment or alternatives led them to become students of madrassas (religious schools), where they adopted more extreme ideologies, he says. (Read our in-depth story: How one youth was drawn to jihad in Somalia.)
Estimates of the number of recruited Kenyans range from dozens to thousands, most – but not all – Somali-Kenyans. The insurgency benefits from an effective recruitment network that works out of Eastleigh. Diplomats say recruiters use a combination of money and brainwashing to pull in the youths, many of them from refugee camps and areas along the Somali border.
"These young men have no ID papers, no future," says the sheikh. "The only future they see is blowing themselves up and going to heaven." Insurgents in Somalia are increasingly relying on suicide bomb attacks in their offensives.
One woman, the sheikh says, lost her 12-year-old son. She went looking for him in Somalia's southern port town of Kismayo, under insurgent control, and found him training to be a suicide bomber. She returned home emptyhanded. "If she'd tried to bring him, she'd be killed," the sheikh says.
In Somalia, moderate Sufis, belonging to a traditionally peaceful group called Ahl al-Sunna wal Jama'a, have taken up arms to defend their vision of Islam against militant groups, like Al Shabab, that are not only fighting the government, but also desecrating Sufi graves and attacking their more moderate views.
In Kenya, Sufis are also fighting back, but not with guns. Instead, they are trying to keep their children alive through a "counterjihad."
"We are trying to teach our children at home. We don't even send them to madrassas.... We don't trust [the madrassas] with our children," says the sheikh. "If they knew you were writing this, you'd go back without a head."
How money flows through Eastleigh
According to a regional analyst who has studied Somalia for nearly two decades but cannot be named because his work is too politically and diplomatically sensitive, up to $3 million passes through Eastleigh to Somalia every year.
The money comes from businessmen who support the insurgency, from mosques that fundraise, and from foreign donors who sometimes funnel it through Eastleigh. Using an informal money transfer system called hawala, Somalis in any part of the world can make money available in Eastleigh within minutes.
From there, it can be carried north to the porous and badly guarded Kenya-Somalia border. The cash funds anything from guns to fuel to uniforms.
The transfers are hard to track, Mr. Marchal says, because they are generally small payments that do not attract much attention.
But money also gets to Somalia in other ways. He lays out an example: Sympathizers of insurgents knowingly buy sugar from certain vendors in Kenya. They send that sugar to Somalia, where it is resold. None of these activities are illegal, but "then the money disappears," Marchal says. "It's very efficient.... There is no profit, no fee. [All the money] goes to the organization. This is untraceable for anybody."
No entity in Eastleigh has been under more suspicion than the Sixth Street mosque, a small, unimposing building on top of a FedEx shop, hidden among laundry-cluttered balconies.
The mosque is among Al Shabab's main fundraisers in Eastleigh, according to a Nairobi-based official of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Somalia who spoke anonymously because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
"Sixth Street mosque has a history of supporting militant Islamist causes in Somalia since 1991," says the regional analyst. Its leader, Sheikh Umall, has called the Somali government an "infidel government" and a "puppet of foreign interests," he says. But knowing he is a person of interest to the US, Kenya, the AU, and the UN, Umall has sung a more moderate tune in recent months.
Fighters without borders
Unconfirmed numbers gathered by the Institute for Security Studies in Kenya suggest that as many as 1 in every 10 refugees crossing the border from Somalia into Kenya are members of Al Shabab, which has used severe forms of sharia, or Islamic law, such as amputating the hands of thieves and stoning women accused of adultery.
Al Shabab uses Eastleigh to treat its wounded and run madrassas, from which children often disappear, says the AU official.
"They have agents who are here, who brainwash these kids, who end up going there [to Somalia to fight]," he says. "It has become problematic."
The AU and UN say Somali-Kenyan recruits are joined by others from Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, even the United States and Europe – many of whom enter Somalia through Nairobi, according to analysts. Until recently, you could get a fake Somali passport in Eastleigh's Garisa Lodge mall in minutes.
Government plays down Eastleigh concerns
In June, the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation reported that a Kenyan named Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan leads a group of 180 foreigners in Somalia, called al-Muhajirun, fighting alongside the Somali insurgents and connected to the global terrorist group Al Qaeda.
But the Kenyan government denies there is much of a problem.
"We don't believe Kenyans have gone to Somalia or have been recruited to go to Somalia," says Alfred Mutua, the Kenyan government spokesman. "We received reports of attempted recruitment, [but] ... because of our security apparatus, we've made it impossible for them."
In late 2006, when Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia to overthrow Islamists who had taken over, Kenya took precautionary measures, he says. It closed its border with Somalia, allowing only aid workers to enter Somalia from Kenya. The border is heavily patrolled by police, military, and helicopters 24 hours a day, and the government is using satellite technology to monitor vehicles crossing it, says Mr. Mutua.
Reports of recruitment are "mere speculation," he adds, as Kenya has used "very high intelligence" to infiltrate the Somali community and disband any recruiting circles.
Kenyan police spokesman Erick Kirathe says Eastleigh is under high surveillance – both overt and covert – because it is a poorer, more-crowded neighborhood where crime is more likely.
"It is much better policed than is apparent," he says. "Even visibly, there is much more police presence than in other areas."
Because the attention it has received makes it unappealing to terrorists, he argues, Eastleigh is not as threatening as people think.
Mr. Kirathe says no one has been arrested for supporting the Somali insurgency, and "we really don't consider Eastleigh a major risk as of yet."
"It's a point of concern," Mutua adds, "but we feel that we've got the situation under control."
Others beg to differ
Some observers strongly disagree. They say recruitment in Kenya is longstanding and widespread.
"We all know it's happening," one diplomat in Nairobi says, adding that the Kenyan government is unable or unwilling to stop it. The border may be officially closed, but even Mutua admits people are able to sneak through.
But sources say the Kenyan government is beginning to take the threat more seriously. "They are panicking," the diplomat says. "They were not doing their best. Now the threat to Kenya is higher than ever. They have to do something."
It seems the government is starting to feel that way, too. But it remains divided. Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula have called for sending in troops, as Ethiopia had done, to defend the Somali government.
"It will be most inappropriate and inadvisable to do nothing when our national security and regional stability is threatened," Mr. Wetangula said recently.
Authorities fear a backlash
But with hundreds of thousands of Somalis living in Kenya, strong involvement by the government and any taking of sides could expose Kenya to a big risk. Insurgents have already threatened to retaliate within Kenya if attacked.
"There's a reluctance to really mess with the Somalis," the regional analyst says.
The fear is not only on the political level. Insurgents are perceived to have such a presence in Kenya that even average citizens are wary of providing authorities with information on their operations. In Nairobi, activists who speak out against Somali extremists are threatened.
"Because I'm not one of them, then I'm on the other side," says a Somali civil society activist who goes by the name Madobe. He calls the Somali Islamist movement a "cancer spreading very fast," and the insurgents "sub-human." He believes they are tapping his phone and e-mail. "Anytime, I expect a very big knife in my back."

Battle for Nile waters : Egypt denies diversion of Nile waters by Eritrea


Medeshi
Battle for Nile Waters
Egypt State Information Service (SIS) is reporting that Egypt is denying reports that Eritrea diverted one of the Nile tributaries away from Egypt and Sudan.
Dr. Mohamed Nasr Eddin Allam, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation said reports are not true on Eritrea’s diversion of one of the tributaries of River Atbara which is nourishing the River Nile away from Egypt and Sudan.
He added that Eritrea’s technical capabilities are limited in this field and its contribution to the water resources of the Nile Basin is rather weak.
Allam said Egypt has approved last week the establishment of a number of dams in Ethiopia and some Nile Basin countries to cultivate 20,000 feddans by those countries. He affirmed that Egypt does not object the establishment of small dams by those countries, contrary to some parties’ allegations that Egypt is against development process in Nile Basin countries.
Egypt had approved the establishment of Tikrizi dam in Ethiopia since the year 2005 as the Ethiopian government presented the detailed feasibility studies on the dam to Egypt and Egypt approved as it is to be built for only power generation and would not affect Egypt’s quota of Nile water, he added.
The projects of building dams for power generation would also benefit not only Ethiopia but also the down stream countries, Egypt and Sudan.
On the other hand, Allam said the satellite survey of the Nile Basin by the Ministry for the Nile Basin countries indicated that the establishment on the Nile establishments including the small dams would not affect Egypt’s water Quota.
The two largest such establishments is Marwa dam of Sudan which stores 12 billion cubic meters a year and that is within the limit of Sudan’s water quota according to 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan.
The second establishment is that of Tikrizi dam in Ethiopia which stores nine billion cubic meters of water a year and it is used for power generation. Allam added that he made a report to the political leadership in this respect.
Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia at the best and there are cooperation by the two countries in the water question through the Nile Basin countries, the Minister added.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia the eastern Nile Basin countries are conducting studies to carry out a number of power generation projects and power linkage, for the good of the three countries, the Minister added

Somalia : Refugees in Jowhar run out of food


Medeshi
NAIROBI, 27 August 2009 (IRIN) - Two months after food deliveries to Somalia's south-central town of Jowhar were halted, several thousand internally displaced persons (IDPs) are facing a food crisis, sources said.
"The little food we were given in June is gone; we have had nothing in the last two months," Asiyo Jilibey, a community leader, told IRIN on 27 August. "I don’t know what will happen next but if help does not arrive soon we are in trouble."
(Photo: A boy at an IDP camp in Jowhar: An estimated 9,000 IDP families (49,000 people), live mostly in seven camps in Jowhar - file photo)
An estimated 9,000 IDP families (49,000 people), live mostly in seven camps in the town, 90km north of the capital, Mogadishu. The camps are Dayah, Kalagoye, Bada Cas, Baryare, Bulo Matuuni, Biyafo and Sheikh Omar Camp.
Jilibey said most of the IDPs had been in the camps since early 2007, when an upsurge in violence in Mogadishu sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing, "but we had a new influx in May, June and early July [2009]".
Food distributions were stopped in Jowhar after June due to insecurity, according to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
"We last distributed 124.46MT of assorted food assistance to 8,190 Jowhar IDPs in June," Mahamud Hassan "Guled", a spokesman for WFP Somalia, said. "But due to the insecurity, our local partner could not distribute the planned July food rations to the IDPs and the situation remains the same this month."
The Islamist al-Shabab has been in control of Jowhar since May 2009. The group raided and looted UN offices there. Jowhar was the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) main hub for the southern and central regions of Somalia.
(Photo: A girl cooking outside Sheikh Omar IDP camp in Jowhar: Two months after food deliveries to Jowhar were halted, several thousand IDPs are facing a food crisis )
“Some days nothing”
Mumino Ibrahim, a mother of seven, said she had no food left and was on her way to town find some work.
"Maybe I will get enough so we can have a meal tonight," she said, adding that she had left her children in the care of the oldest, a 10-year-old girl. "Some days I get enough for a meal and some days nothing."
Ibrahim, a resident of Dayah Camp, along with 451 other displaced families [2,706 people], said if she did not leave the children to look for work, "they will starve. There is no one else."

Fartun Salah, a mother of four, said she arrived in Dayah Camp two months ago, fleeing violence in Mogadishu. "I went back [to the city] when the Ethiopians left but had to flee again."
She said the violence was worse now than in 2007. "I thought that after the Ethiopians we would have peace but this is worse than before.
"I do odd jobs when I get them, like everybody else, but sometimes it is not even enough for one meal. My children are hungry and only God can save us now," Salah said.
Jilibey said it was common to see families putting a pot on the stove "with nothing but water so the children will think food is coming and sleep".
The situation is made worse because the odd jobs that many IDPs depend on have disappeared. "There is hardly any business activity in the area, so nobody is hiring," she said.
Jilibey said the situation was "very desperate and people will likely die if we don’t get help soon".
Theme(s): (IRIN) Food Security, (IRIN) Refugees/IDPs

Somali pirates open fire on US navy helicopter


Medeshi
Somali pirates open fire on US navy helicopter
(AFP)
MANAMA — Somali pirates aboard a captured vessel have opened fire on a US navy helicopter on the high seas as it carried out a surveillance mission over the boat, the navy said on Thursday.
There were no reported casualties or damage from the incident which occurred on Wednesday morning off the pirate-infested coast of Somalia, said a statement from the Bahrain-based US Naval Forces Central Command.
"Somali pirates aboard the motor vessel (M/V) Win Far fired what appeared to be a large calibre weapon at a US navy SH-60B helicopter," the statement said.
"The helicopter was conducting a routine surveillance flight of M/V Win Far, currently held at anchorage by Somali pirates south of Garacad, Somalia, when the incident occurred," it added.
The shooting came as the helicopter returned to the USS Chancellorsville, where a video recording of the incident was noted, it said, adding that during the flight the crew was unaware of the attack.
The navy identified the Win Far as a Taiwanese-flagged vessel which was seized by pirates earlier this year.
"Over the past 135 days it has been used as a 'mother ship' to conduct other known pirate attacks, most notably the US-flagged Maersk-Alabama in April," it said.
According to the US navy, the pirates are holding hostage more than 30 crew members of the Win Far.
So far this year, there have been 114 attempted attacks on merchant vessels in the region, 29 of them successful, according to the US navy.
The world's naval powers have deployed dozens of warships to the lawless waters off Somalia over the past year to curb attacks by pirates threatening one of the world's busiest maritime trade routes.

Somaliland : Job advert for Local Security Assistant - BURAO

Medeshi
Local Security Assistant - Burao, Somaliland
Closing Date: Wednesday, 09 September 2009
More jobs by tag: Effectiveness; Humanitarian Assistance; Information Exchange; Knowledge Management; Local Government; Minimum Operational Security Standards; Public Administration; Risk Assessment; Rules and Regulations; Security Management
LOCAL SECURITY ASSISTANT - BURAO
Location :
Burao, SOMALILAND
Application Deadline :
09-Sep-09
Type of Contract :
Service Contract
Post Level :
SC-4 (Service Contract)
Languages Required : Arabic English
Starting Date :(date when the selected canditate is expected to start) 09-Nov-2009
Duration of Initial Contract : 12 months (with possibility of extension)
Expected Duration of Assignment : 12 months (with possibility of extension)
Background
The overall mandate of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) is to provide leadership, operational support and oversight of the security management system to enable the safest and most efficient conduct of the programmes and activities of the United Nations System.
UNDSS Somalia is supporting the UN Agencies through security advice and guidance so to enable the UN Agencies to conduct their operations in the safest way possible. UNDSS has it?s headquarter in New York and have operations in more than one hundred countries.
The LSA will report to the Field Security Coordination Officer (FSCO) of the region for functional security matters. The LSA assists in the implementation of security operations and all matters relating to the management of safety and security for UN personnel in the country or in the region of assignment.
Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of key functions:
Assists CSA/FSCO in collecting, updating and communicating information regarding the security situation in the country;
Assists in maintaining the Security Plan, including updating staff lists;
Supports the CSA/FSCO with the assessment of Minimum Operational Security Standards (MOSS) for the duty station;
Assists in reporting security incidents affecting UN staff, offices and assets;
Organizes and delivers training courses on security awareness and preparedness;
Assists in ensuring residential (Minimum Operating Residential Security Standards ? MORSS)and office safety, and security preparedness;
Provides general administrative assistance to the CSA/FSCO
The Local Security Assistant (LSA) works under the direct supervision of the FSCO and the overall supervision of the Chief Security Adviser or the Deputy Security Adviser with the following general responsibilities:
Liaison:
Liaising and coordinating with the local government security organizations and with other organizations, groups in Somalia by establishing and maintaining formal and informal contacts with focal points on operational level and facilitating the information exchange necessary for the safe conduct of UN operations;
Assist and advise the FSCO on attaining proper networking with local groups who may be relevant for the security and safety of UN staff, assets and operations in Somalia;
Updating of Security Documents:
Maintaining the Security Plan, including updating staff lists, security surveys and other security related planning documents;
Information gathering for the purpose of updating security related documents;
Maintaining Minimum Operational Security Standards (MOSS) for equipment:
Observe the country specific MOSS and identify shortfalls on DSS side:
Suggest and implement measures to address these shortfalls in close cooperation with other DSS staff;
Advise and assist FSCO in Somalia on the implementation of MOSS;
Assessing the security situation in Somalia:
Over arching assistance to the FSCO in Somalia in their assessments and analysis of the security situation in Somalia;
Provide written input for the Security Risk Assessments conducted on Area- and Country level in Somalia to the concerned FSCO;
Conducting security surveys and providing advice on security measures for the residences of UN staff and UN Organizing traininoffices in Somalia;
Assisting the UNDSS Training Officer and the FSCOs in identifying specific needs of security training for local Somali staff in Somalia;
Other security tasks assigned by the Supervising Officer
Competencies
Corporate Competencies:
Demonstrates commitment to UNDP?s mission, vision and values
Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
Functional Competencies
Knowledge Management and Learning
Shares knowledge and experience
Actively works towards continuing personal learning and development in one or more practice areas, acts on learning plan and applies newly acquired skills
Development and Operational Effectiveness
Ability to administer and execute administrative processes and transactions
Ability to extract, interpret, analyze data and resolve operational problems
Ability to perform work of confidential nature and handle a large volume of work
Good knowledge of administrative rules and regulations
Strong IT skills,
Leadership and Self-Management
Focuses on result for the client and responds positively to feedback
Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude
Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure
Required Skills and Experience
Education:
Completion of Secondary School and a diploma (complemented with 5 years experience) in business administration, public administration, journalism, languages, security or related field.
A university bachelors degree or higher is desirable but not a requirement.
A military staff college or police college combined with experience in a senior command post may be accepted in lieu.
Experience:
A minimum of 3 years experience in the field of security/safety, journalism, community services, humanitarian assistance or related field; experience with an international organization, NGO or IGO is desirable.
Excellent knowledge of the political and security situation in Somalia and good networking within Somalia;
Language requirements:
Fluency in written and spoken English and Somali is essential, including the ability to draft, edit and finalize documents in English. Knowledge Arabic is desirable
Other requirements:
UNDP reserves the right to conduct background checks on applicants.
UN employees are NOT allowed to carry firearms while on duty.
The use of any drugs, including but not limited to ?khat? during working hours is not tolerated.
Candidates considered for the post may be required to undergo a drug test.
Terms of Service
This is a non-staff contract under the Service Contract modality of hiring of the UNDP. Individuals engaged under a Service Contract serve in their individual capacity and not as representative of a government institutions, corporate body or other authority external to UNDP. The incumbent shall not be considered as staff of UNDP, the UN common system or the government and are therefore not entitled to any diplomatic privileges or any other special status or conditions.
UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
Apply here: http://jobs.undp.org/cj_view_job.cfm?job_id=12081

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Swine flu keeps Muslim pilgrims at home


Medeshi
Swine flu keeps Muslim pilgrims at home
DUBAI, 26 August 2009 (IRIN) - Far fewer Muslims than normal are undertaking the lesser pilgrimage known as 'Umrah' because of coordinated efforts by health ministers in the Gulf and beyond to counter the spread of H1N1 2009.
The numbers are some 30 percent down on normal levels and a variety of precautions are in place.
According to a 23 August World Health Organization update, there were 3,128 laboratory-confirmed cases of pandemic H1N1 reported in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
Saudi Arabia had the highest number of cases with 595 and four deaths, followed by Kuwait with 560 cases and no deaths, and Egypt with 509 cases and one death.
However, WHO figures are far more conservative than those of local governments. Earlier this week, the Saudi Health Ministry reported that its H1N1 cases had reached 2,000, with 14 deaths, and the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported 1,072 cases and two fatalities in Kuwait.
WHO has expressed concern that there may be a second wave of the virus because of the approaching cooler season.

Precautions


The authorities in the Middle East have urged Muslims to avoid the 'Hajj' in late November and 'Umrah', if possible, and have banned travel there for those below 12 or over 65, as well as for pregnant women and those suffering from chronic diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, bronchial diseases and obesity.
Iran has banned all its citizens from making the 'Umrah' pilgrimage this year and has cancelled all flights to Saudi Arabia during Ramadan, which ends around 19 September.
Airports and border crossings in the region have installed flu surveillance equipment and quarantine procedures, and pandemic H1N1 awareness campaigns are widespread. Health ministries have advised people to avoid large gatherings, whether religious or not, and to avoid the social custom of kissing and shaking hands at gatherings.
The United Arab Emirates, which recorded its first H1N1 death on 21 August, is considering reducing the duration of Friday sermons in mosques and the daily 'Tarawih' prayers that occur only in Ramadan.
Mecca and Medina
'Hajj' and 'Umrah' tour operators are worried about the impact on their businesses. Some have said governments have over-reacted to what is, so far, not a particularly lethal virus. Tour operators across the region have complained of mass cancellations of 'Hajj' and 'Umrah' trips and have said they stand to lose millions of dollars because of commitments already made to Mecca hotels.
In Mecca, business could fall by 40 percent during Ramadan, according to the Mecca Chamber of Commerce, and in neighbouring Medina, officials said they expected business to be down by 70 percent.
A panel of experts is being set up in Mecca specifically to deal with the H1N1 virus for 'Hajj' and 'Umrah' pilgrims. Saad Al-Qurashi, chairman of the National Hajj & Umrah Committee, told Arab News that the panel would be distributing surgical masks to 'Umrah' pilgrims and would hold workshops to spread awareness of the necessary precautions to be taken.

Somalia hostage tells of escape


Medeshi
Somalia hostage tells of escape
A French security adviser seized by Islamist militants in Somalia has told the BBC how he escaped from his captors without a struggle while they slept.
Marc Aubriere was kidnapped from a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, along with a colleague last month.
He told the BBC Somali Service that after fleeing his Hizbul-Islam captors he walked for five hours until he reached the presidential palace.
French foreign ministry officials say the second hostage is still being held.
“ I'm happy and I will soon see my family ” Marc Aubriere French agent
The pair were part of a team who were in the country to train troops from the UN-backed interim government, which is battling Islamist rebels for control of the country.
Mr Aubriere described his immense relief at being free.
"Of course I feel better than one day ago. Yes I feel very well. I'm happy and I will soon see my family," he said.
He said he had been well-treated and well-fed by his captors from the hard-line Islamist group Hizbul-Islam.
But he said was worried about his colleague, who the BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says is being held by another Islamist faction, al-Shabab.
'Without violence'
Earlier reports said Mr Aubriere killed three militants as he fled, but he denied the claims.
"I escaped at midnight last night. The guards were very tired and sleepy. I didn't kill anyone or injure anyone while escaping," Mr Aubriere said.
France's foreign ministry also denied any violence was used and other reports that he had been freed after a ransom was paid.
"Despite certain allegations and rumours, this happened without violence and France did not pay a ransom," spokesman Eric Chevallier told reporters.
Al-Shabab and Hizbul-Islam control much of southern Somalia, but analysts say al-Shabab is known for being the more radical of the two groups.
Al-Shabab fighters care little for their public image and they have carried out killings on camera.
Both groups are said to have links to al-Qaeda and have been reinforced by foreign fighters.
Somalia has not had a functioning central government since 1991.
Moderate Islamist Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was sworn in as president in January after UN-brokered peace talks.
He promised to introduce Sharia law but the hardliners accuse him of being a Western stooge.
Story from BBC NEWS:

After Kennedy, Tributes and Uncertainty


Medeshi
After Kennedy, Tributes and Uncertainty
By JOHN M. BRODER
August 27, 2009
Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew acclaim and tragedy in near-equal measure and who will be remembered as one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the Senate, died late Tuesday night. He was 77.
(Photo:Mr. Kennedy on Capitol Hill in 2007 -More Photos > )
The death of Mr. Kennedy, who had been battling brain cancer, was announced Wednesday morning in a statement by the Kennedy family, which was already mourning the death of the senator’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver two weeks earlier.
“Edward M. Kennedy — the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply — died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port,” the statement said. “We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever.”
President Obama issued a statement acknowledging Mr. Kennedy’s accomplishments. “An important chapter in our history has come to an end,” the statement said. “Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States senator of our time.”
Mr. Kennedy had been in precarious health since he suffered a seizure in May 2008. His doctors determined the cause was a malignant glioma, a brain tumor that often carries a grim prognosis.
As he underwent cancer treatment, Mr. Kennedy was little seen in Washington, appearing most recently at the White House in April as Mr. Obama signed a national service bill that bears the Kennedy name. Last week Mr. Kennedy urged Massachusetts lawmakers to change state law and let Gov. Deval Patrick appoint a temporary replacement upon his death, to assure that the state’s representation in Congress would not be interrupted by a special election.
While Mr. Kennedy was physically absent from the capital in recent months, his presence was deeply felt as Congress weighed the most sweeping revisions to America’s health care system in decades, an effort Mr. Kennedy called “the cause of my life.”
On July 15, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, which Mr. Kennedy headed, passed health care legislation, and the battle over the proposed overhaul is now consuming Capitol Hill.
Mr. Kennedy was the last surviving brother of a generation of Kennedys that dominated American politics in the 1960s and that came to embody glamour, political idealism and untimely death. The Kennedy mystique — some call it the Kennedy myth — has held the imagination of the world for decades, and it came to rest on the sometimes too-narrow shoulders of the brother known as Teddy.
Mr. Kennedy, who served 46 years as the most well-known Democrat in the Senate, longer than all but two other senators, was the only one of those brothers to reach old age. President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were felled by assassins’ bullets in their 40s. The eldest brother, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., died in 1944 at the age of 29 while on a risky World War II bombing mission.
Mr. Kennedy spent much of last year in treatment and recuperation, broken by occasional public appearances and a dramatic return to the Capitol last summer to cast a decisive vote on a Medicare bill.
He electrified the opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August with an unscheduled appearance and a speech that had delegates on their feet. Many were in tears.
His gait was halting, but his voice was strong. “My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here, and nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight,” Mr. Kennedy said. “I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.”
Senator Kennedy was at or near the center of much of American history in the latter part of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st. For much of his adult life, he veered from victory to catastrophe, winning every Senate election he entered but failing in his only try for the presidency; living through the sudden deaths of his brothers and three of his nephews; being responsible for the drowning death on Chappaquiddick Island of a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, a former aide to his brother Robert. One of the nephews, John F. Kennedy Jr., who the family hoped would one day seek political office and keep the Kennedy tradition alive, died in a plane crash in 1999 at age 38.
Mr. Kennedy himself was almost killed in 1964, in a plane crash that left him with permanent back and neck problems.
He was a Rabelaisian figure in the Senate and in life, instantly recognizable by his shock of white hair, his florid, oversize face, his booming Boston brogue, his powerful but pained stride. He was a celebrity, sometimes a self-parody, a hearty friend, an implacable foe, a man of large faith and large flaws, a melancholy character who persevered, drank deeply and sang loudly. He was a Kennedy.
Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, one of the institution’s most devoted students, said of his longtime colleague, “Ted Kennedy would have been a leader, an outstanding senator, at any period in the nation’s history.”
Mr. Byrd is one of only two senators to have served longer in the chamber than Mr. Kennedy; the other was Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. In May 2008, on learning of Mr. Kennedy’s diagnosis of a lethal brain tumor, Mr. Byrd wept openly on the floor of the Senate.
Born to one of the wealthiest American families, Mr. Kennedy spoke for the downtrodden in his public life while living the heedless private life of a playboy and a rake for many of his years. Dismissed early in his career as a lightweight and an unworthy successor to his revered brothers, he grew in stature over time by sheer longevity and by hewing to liberal principles while often crossing the partisan aisle to enact legislation. A man of unbridled appetites at times, he nevertheless brought a discipline to his public work that resulted in an impressive catalog of legislative achievement across a broad landscape of social policy.
Mr. Kennedy left his mark on legislation concerning civil rights, health care, education, voting rights and labor. He was chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions at his death. But he was more than a legislator. He was a living legend whose presence ensured a crowd and whose hovering figure haunted many a president.
Although he was a leading spokesman for liberal issues and a favorite target of conservative fund-raising appeals, the hallmark of his legislative success was his ability to find Republican allies to get bills passed. Perhaps the last notable example was his work with President George W. Bush to pass No Child Left Behind, the education law pushed by Mr. Bush in 2001. He also co-sponsored immigration legislation with Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. One of his greatest friends and collaborators in the Senate was Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican.
Mr. Kennedy had less impact on foreign policy than on domestic concerns, but when he spoke his voice was influential. He led the Congressional effort to impose sanctions on South Africa over apartheid, pushed for peace in Northern Ireland, won a ban on arms sales to the dictatorship in Chile and denounced the Vietnam War. In 2002, he voted against authorizing the Iraq war; later, he called that opposition “the best vote I’ve made in my 44 years in the United States Senate.”
At a pivotal moment in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Mr. Kennedy endorsed Senator Obama for president, saying Mr. Obama offered America a chance for racial reconciliation and an opportunity to turn the page on the polarizing politics of the past several decades.
“He will be a president who refuses to be trapped in the patterns of the past,” Mr. Kennedy told an Obama rally in Washington on Jan. 28, 2008. “He is a leader who sees the world clearly, without being cynical. He is a fighter who cares passionately about the causes he believes in without demonizing those who hold a different view.”
Mr. Kennedy struggled for much of his life with his weight, with alcohol and with persistent tales of womanizing. In an Easter break episode in 1991 in Palm Beach, Fla., he went out drinking with his son Patrick and a nephew, William Kennedy Smith, on the night that Mr. Smith was accused of raping a woman. Mr. Smith was prosecuted in a lurid trial that fall but was acquitted.
Mr. Kennedy’s personal life stabilized in 1992 with his marriage to Victoria Anne Reggie, a Washington lawyer. His first marriage, to Joan Bennett Kennedy, ended in divorce in 1982 after 24 years.
Senator Kennedy served as a surrogate father to his brothers’ children and worked to keep the Kennedy flame alive through the Kennedy Library in Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he helped establish the Institute of Politics.
In December, Harvard granted Mr. Kennedy a special honorary degree. He referred to Mr. Obama’s election as “not just a culmination, but a new beginning.”
He then spoke of his own life, and perhaps his legacy.
“We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make,” he said. “I have lived a blessed time.”
Kennedy family courtiers and many other Democrats believed he would eventually win the White House and redeem the promise of his older brothers. In 1980, he took on the president of his own party, Jimmy Carter, but fell short because of Chappaquiddick, a divided party and his own weaknesses as a candidate, including an inability to articulate why he sought the office.
But as that race ended in August at the Democratic National Convention in New York, Mr. Kennedy delivered his most memorable words, wrapping his dedication to party principles in the gauzy cloak of Camelot.
“For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end,” Mr. Kennedy said in the coda to a speech before a rapt audience at Madison Square Garden and on television. “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”
A Family Steeped in Politics
Born Feb. 22, 1932, in Boston, Edward Moore Kennedy grew up in a family of shrewd politicians. Both his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, and his mother, the former Rose Fitzgerald, came from prominent Irish-Catholic families with long involvement in the hurly-burly of Democratic politics in Boston and Massachusetts. His father, who made a fortune in real estate, movies and banking, served in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, as the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and then as ambassador to Britain.
There were nine Kennedy children, four boys and five girls, with Edward the youngest. They grew up talking politics, power and influence because those were the things that preoccupied the mind of Joseph Kennedy. As Rose Kennedy, who took responsibility for the children’s Roman Catholic upbringing, once put it, “My babies were rocked to political lullabies.”
When Edward was born, President Herbert Hoover sent Rose a bouquet of flowers and a note of congratulations. The note came with 5 cents postage due; the framed envelope is a family heirloom.
It was understood among the children that Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., the oldest boy, would someday run for Congress and, his father hoped, the White House. When Joseph Jr. was killed in World War II, it fell to the next oldest son, John, to run. As John said at one point in 1959 while serving in the Senate: “Just as I went into politics because Joe died, if anything happened to me tomorrow, Bobby would run for my seat in the Senate. And if Bobby died, our young brother, Ted, would take over for him.”
Although surrounded by the trappings of wealth — stately houses, servants and expensive cars — young Teddy did not enjoy a settled childhood. He bounced among the family homes in Boston, New York, London and Palm Beach, and by the time he was ready to enter college, he had attended 10 preparatory schools in the United States and England, finally finishing at Milton Academy, near Boston. He said that the constant moving had forced him to become more genial with strangers; indeed, he grew to be more of a natural politician than either John or Robert.
After graduating from Milton in 1950, where he showed a penchant for debating and sports but was otherwise an undistinguished student, Mr. Kennedy enrolled in Harvard, as had his father and brothers. It was at Harvard, in his freshman year, that he ran into the first of several personal troubles that were to dog him for the rest of his life: He persuaded another student to take his Spanish examination, got caught and was forced to leave the university.
Suddenly draft-eligible during the Korean War, Mr. Kennedy enlisted in the Army and served two years, securing, with his father’s help, a cushy post at NATO headquarters in Paris. In 1953, he was discharged with the rank of private first class.
Re-enrolling in Harvard, he became a more serious student, majoring in government, excelling in public speaking and playing first-string end on the football team. He graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, then enrolled in the University of Virginia School of Law, where Robert had studied. There, he won the moot court competition and took a degree in 1959. Later that year, he was admitted to the Massachusetts bar.
Mr. Kennedy’s first foray into politics came in 1958, while still a law student, when he managed John’s Senate re-election campaign. There was never any real doubt that Massachusetts voters would return John Kennedy to Washington, but it was a useful internship for his youngest brother.
That same year, Mr. Kennedy married Virginia Joan Bennett, a debutante from Bronxville, a New York suburb where the Kennedys had once lived. In 1960, when John Kennedy ran for president, Edward was assigned a relatively minor role, rustling up votes in Western states that usually voted Republican. He was so enthusiastic about his task that he rode a bronco at a Montana rodeo and daringly took a ski jump at a winter sports tournament in Wisconsin to impress a crowd. The episodes were evidence of a reckless streak that repeatedly threatened his life and career.
John Kennedy’s election to the White House left vacant a Senate seat that the family considered its property. Robert Kennedy was next in line, but chose the post of attorney general instead (an act of nepotism that has since been outlawed). Edward was only 28, two years shy of the minimum age for Senate service.
So the Kennedys installed Benjamin A. Smith II, a family friend, as a seat-warmer until 1962, when a special election would be held and Edward would have turned 30. Edward used the time to travel the world and work as an assistant district attorney in Boston, waiving the $5,000 salary and serving instead for $1 a year.
As James Sterling Young, the director of a Kennedy Oral History Project at the University of Virginia, put it: “Most people grow up and go into politics. The Kennedys go into politics and then they grow up.”
Less than a month after turning 30 in 1962, Mr. Kennedy declared his candidacy for the remaining two years of his brother’s Senate term. He entered the race with a tailwind of family money and political prominence. Nevertheless, Edward J. McCormack Jr., the state’s attorney general and a nephew of John W. McCormack, then speaker of the United States House of Representatives, also decided to go after the seat.
It was a bitter fight, with a public rehash of the Harvard cheating episode and with Mr. McCormack charging in a televised “Teddy-Eddie” debate that Mr. Kennedy lacked maturity of judgment because he had “never worked for a living” and had never held elective office. “If your name was simply Edward Moore instead of Edward Moore Kennedy,” Mr. McCormack added, “your candidacy would be a joke.”
But the Kennedys had ushered in an era of celebrity politics, which trumped qualifications in this case. Mr. Kennedy won the primary by a two-to-one ratio, then went on to easy victory in November against the Republican candidate, George Cabot Lodge, a member of an old-line Boston family that had clashed politically with the Kennedys through the years.
When Mr. Kennedy entered the Senate in 1962, he was aware that he might be seen as an upstart, with one brother in the White House and another in the cabinet. He sought guidance on the very first day from one of the Senate’s most respected elders, Richard Russell of Georgia. “You go further if you go slow,” Senator Russell advised.
Mr. Kennedy took things slowly, especially that first year. He did his homework, was seen more than he was heard and was deferential to veteran legislators.
On Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, he was presiding over the Senate when a wire service ticker in the lobby brought the news of John Kennedy’s shooting in Dallas. Violence had claimed the second of Joseph Kennedy’s sons.
Edward was sent to Hyannis Port to break the news to his father, who had been disabled by a stroke. He returned to Washington for the televised funeral and burial, the first many Americans had seen of him. He and Robert had planned to read excerpts from John’s speeches at the Arlington burial service. At the last moment they chose not to.
A friend described him as “shattered — calm but shattered.”
A Deadly Plane Crash
Robert moved into the breach and was immediately discussed as a presidential prospect. Edward became a more prominent family spokesman.
The next year, he was up for re-election. A heavy favorite from the start, he was on his way to the state convention that was to renominate him when his light plane crashed in a storm near Westfield, Mass. The pilot and a Kennedy aide were killed, and Mr. Kennedy’s back and several ribs were broken. Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana pulled Mr. Kennedy from the plane.
The senator was hospitalized for the next six months, suspended immobile in a frame that resembled a waffle iron. His wife, Joan, carried on his campaign, mainly by advising voters that he was steadily recovering. He won easily over a little-known Republican, Howard Whitmore Jr.
During his convalescence, Mr. Kennedy devoted himself to his legislative work. He was briefed by a parade of Harvard professors and began to develop his positions on immigration, health care and civil rights.
“I never thought the time was lost,” he said later. “I had a lot of hours to think about what was important and what was not and about what I wanted to do with my life.”
He returned to the Senate in 1965, joining his brother Robert, who had won a seat from New York. Edward promptly entered a major fight, his first. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Voting Rights Act was up for consideration, and Mr. Kennedy tried to strengthen it with an amendment that would have outlawed poll taxes. He lost by only four votes, serving lasting notice on his colleagues that he was a rapidly maturing legislator who could prepare a good case and argue it effectively.
Mr. Kennedy was slow to oppose the war in Vietnam, but in 1968, shortly after Robert decided to seek the presidency on an antiwar platform, Edward called the war a “monstrous outrage.”
Robert Kennedy was shot on June 5, 1968, as he celebrated his victory in the California primary, becoming the third of Joseph Kennedy’s sons to die a violent death. Edward was in San Francisco at a victory celebration. He commandeered an Air Force plane and flew to Los Angeles.
Frank Mankiewicz, Robert’s press secretary, saw Edward “leaning over the sink with the most awful expression on his face.”
“Much more than agony, more than anguish — I don’t know if there’s a word for it,” Mr. Mankiewicz said, recalling the encounter in “Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography,” by Adam Clymer (William Morrow, 1999).
Robert’s death draped Edward in the Kennedy mantle long before he was ready for it and forced him to confront his own mortality. But he summoned himself to deliver an eloquent eulogy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.
“My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it,” Mr. Kennedy said, his voice faltering. “Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will someday come to pass for all the world.”
A New Role as Patriarch
After the funeral, Edward Kennedy withdrew from public life and spent several months brooding, much of it while sailing off the New England coast.
Near the end of the summer of 1968, he emerged from seclusion, the sole survivor of Joseph Kennedy’s boys, ready to take over as family patriarch and substitute father to John’s and Robert’s 13 children, seemingly eager to get on with what he called his “public responsibilities.”
“There is no safety in hiding,” he declared in a speech at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., in August. “Like my brothers before me, I pick up a fallen standard. Sustained by the memory of our priceless years together, I shall try to carry forward that special commitment to justice, excellence and courage that distinguished their lives.”
There was some talk of his running for president at that point. But he ultimately endorsed Hubert H. Humphrey in his losing campaign to Richard M. Nixon.
Mr. Kennedy focused more on bringing the war in Vietnam to an end and on building his Senate career. Although only 36, he challenged Senator Russell B. Long of Louisiana, one of the shrewdest, most powerful legislators on Capitol Hill, for the post of deputy majority leader. Fellow liberals sided with him, and he edged Mr. Long by five votes to become the youngest assistant majority leader, or whip, in Senate history.
He plunged into the new job with Kennedy enthusiasm. But fate, and the Kennedy recklessness, intervened on July 18, 1969. Mr. Kennedy was at a party with several women who had been aides to Robert. The party, a liquor-soaked barbecue, was held at a rented cottage on Chappaquiddick Island, off Martha’s Vineyard. He left around midnight with Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, took a turn away from the ferry landing and drove the car off a narrow bridge on an isolated beach road. The car sank in eight feet of water, but he managed to escape. Miss Kopechne, a former campaign worker for Robert, drowned.
Mr. Kennedy did not report the accident to the authorities for almost 10 hours, explaining later that he had been so banged about by the crash that he had suffered a concussion, and that he had become so exhausted while trying to rescue Miss Kopechne that he had gone immediately to bed. A week later, he pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and was given a two-month suspended sentence.
But that was far from the end of the episode. Questions lingered in the minds of the Massachusetts authorities and of the general public. Why was the car on an isolated road? Had he been drinking? (Mr. Kennedy testified at an inquest that he had had two drinks.) What sort of relationship did Mr. Kennedy and Miss Kopechne have? Could she have been saved if he had sought help immediately? Why did the senator tell his political advisers about the accident before reporting it to the police?
The controversy became so intense that Mr. Kennedy went on television to ask Massachusetts voters whether he should resign from office. He conceded that his actions after the crash had been “indefensible.” But he steadfastly denied any intentional wrongdoing.
His constituents sent word that he should remain in the Senate. And little more than a year later, he easily won re-election to a second full term, again defeating a little-known Republican, Josiah A. Spaulding, by a three-to-two ratio. But his heart did not seem to be in his work any longer. He was sometimes absent from Senate sessions and neglected his whip duties. Senator Byrd, of West Virginia, took the job away from him by putting together a coalition of Southern and border-state Democrats to vote him out.
That loss shook Mr. Kennedy out of his lethargy. He rededicated himself to his role as a legislator. “It hurts like hell to lose,” he said, “but now I can get around the country more. And it frees me to spend more time on issues I’m interested in.” Many years later, he became friends with Mr. Byrd and told him the defeat had been the best thing that could have happened in his Senate career.
Turmoil at Home
In the next decade, Mr. Kennedy expanded on his national reputation, first pushing to end the war in Vietnam, then concentrating on his favorite legislative issues, especially civil rights, health, taxes, criminal laws and deregulation of the airline and trucking industries. He traveled the country, making speeches that kept him in the public eye.
But when he was mentioned as a possible candidate for president in 1972, he demurred; and when the Democratic nominee, George S. McGovern, offered him the vice-presidential nomination, Mr. Kennedy again said no, not wanting to face the inevitable Chappaquiddick questions.
In 1973, his son Edward M. Kennedy Jr., then 12, developed a bone cancer that cost him a leg. The next year, Mr. Kennedy took himself out of the 1976 presidential race. Instead, he easily won a third full term in the Senate, and Jimmy Carter, a former one-term governor of Georgia, moved into the White House.
In early 1978, Mr. Kennedy’s wife, Joan, moved out of their sprawling contemporary house overlooking the Potomac River near McLean, Va., a Washington suburb. She took up residence in an apartment of her own in Boston, saying she wanted to “explore options other than being a housewife and mother.” But she also acknowledged a problem with alcohol, and conceded that she was increasingly uncomfortable with the pressure-cooker life that went with membership in the Kennedy clan. She began studying music and enrolled in a program for alcoholics.
The separation posed not only personal but also political problems for the senator. After Mrs. Kennedy left for Boston, there were rumors that linked the senator with other women. He maintained that he still loved his wife and indicated that the main reason for the separation was Mrs. Kennedy’s desire to work out her alcohol problem. She subsequently campaigned for him in the 1980 race, but there was never any real reconciliation, and they eventually entered divorce proceedings.
Although Mr. Kennedy supported Mr. Carter in 1976, by late 1978 he was disenchanted. Polls indicated that the senator was becoming popular while the president was losing support. In December, at a midterm Democratic convention in Memphis, Mr. Kennedy could hold back no longer. He gave a thundering speech that, in retrospect, was the opening shot in the 1980 campaign.
“Sometimes a party must sail against the wind,” he declared, referring to Mr. Carter’s economic belt-tightening and political caution. “We cannot heed the call of those who say it is time to furl the sail. The party that tore itself apart over Vietnam in the 1960s cannot afford to tear itself apart today over budget cuts in basic social programs.”
Mr. Kennedy did not then declare his candidacy. But draft-Kennedy groups began to form in early 1979, and some Democrats up for re-election in 1980 began to cast about for coattails that were longer than Mr. Carter’s.
After consulting advisers and family members over the summer of 1979, Mr. Kennedy began speaking openly of challenging the president, and on Nov. 7, 1979, he announced officially that he would run. “Our leaders have resigned themselves to defeat,” he said.
The campaign was a disaster, badly organized and appearing to lack a political or policy premise. His speeches were clumsy, and his delivery was frequently stumbling and bombastic. And in the background, Chappaquiddick always loomed. He won the New York and California primaries, but the victories were too little and came too late to unseat Mr. Carter. At the party’s nominating convention in New York, however, he stole the show with his “dream shall never die” speech.
With the approach of the 1984 election, there was the inevitable speculation that Mr. Kennedy, who had easily won re-election to the Senate in 1982, would again seek the presidency. He prepared and planned a campaign. But in the end he chose not to run, saying he wanted to spare his family a repeat of the ordeal they went through in 1980. Skeptics said he also knew he could not fight the undertow of Chappaquiddick.
A Full-On Senate Focus
Freed at last of the expectation that he should and would seek the White House, Mr. Kennedy devoted himself fully to his day job in the Senate, where he had already led the fight for the 18-year-old vote, the abolition of the draft, deregulation of the airline and trucking industries, and the post-Watergate campaign finance legislation. He was deeply involved in renewals of the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing law of 1968. He helped establish the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He built federal support for community health care centers, increased cancer research financing and helped create the Meals on Wheels program. He was a major proponent of a health and nutrition program for pregnant women and infants.
When Republicans took over the Senate in 1981, Mr. Kennedy requested the ranking minority position on the Labor and Public Welfare Committee, asserting that the issues before the labor and welfare panel would be more important during the Reagan years.
In the years after his failed White House bid, Mr. Kennedy also established himself as someone who made “lawmaker” mean more than a word used in headlines to describe any member of Congress. Though his personal life was a mess until his remarriage in the early 1990s, he never failed to show up prepared for a committee hearing or a floor debate.
His most notable focus was civil rights, “still the unfinished business of America,” he often said. In 1982, he led a successful fight to defeat the Reagan administration’s effort to weaken the Voting Rights Act.
In one of those bipartisan alliances that were hallmarks of his legislative successes, Mr. Kennedy worked with Senator Bob Dole, Republican of Kansas, to secure passage of the voting rights measure, and Mr. Dole got most of the credit.
Perhaps his greatest success on civil rights came in 1990 with passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which required employers and public facilities to make “reasonable accommodation” for the disabled. When the law was finally passed, Mr. Kennedy and others told how their views on the bill had been shaped by having relatives with disabilities. Mr. Kennedy cited his mentally disabled sister, Rosemary, and his son who had lost a leg to cancer.
Mr. Kennedy was one of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s strongest allies in their failed 1994 effort to enact national health insurance, a measure the senator had been pushing, in one form or another, since 1969.
But he kept pushing incremental reforms, and in 1997, teaming with Senator Hatch, Mr. Kennedy helped enact a landmark health care program for children in low-income families, a program now known as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-Chip.
He led efforts to increase aid for higher education and win passage of Mr. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. He pushed for increases in the federal minimum wage. He helped win enactment of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, one of the largest expansions of government health aid ever.
He was a forceful and successful opponent of the confirmation of Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court. In a speech delivered within minutes of President Reagan’s nomination of Mr. Bork in 1987, Mr. Kennedy made an attack that even friendly commentators called demagogic. Mr. Bork’s “extremist view of the Constitution,” he said, meant that “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of Americans.”
Some of Mr. Kennedy’s success as a legislator can be traced to the quality and loyalty of his staff, considered by his colleagues and outsiders alike to be the best on Capitol Hill.
“He has one of the most distinguished alumni associations of any U.S. senator,” said Ross K. Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University who has worked in Congress. “To have served in even a minor capacity in the Kennedy office or on one of his committees is a major entry in anyone’s résumé.”
Those who have worked for Mr. Kennedy include Stephen G. Breyer, appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton; Gregory B. Craig, now the White House counsel; and Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Obama administration’s top official for compensation.
Mr. Kennedy “deserves recognition not just as the leading senator of his time, but as one of the greats in its history, wise in the workings of this singular institution, especially its demand to be more than partisan to accomplish much,” Mr. Clymer wrote in his biography.
“The deaths and tragedies around him would have led others to withdraw. He never quits, but sails against the wind.”
Mr. Kennedy is survived by his wife, known as Vicki; two sons, Edward M. Kennedy Jr. of Branford, Conn., and United States Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island; a daughter, Kara Kennedy Allen, of Bethesda, Md.; two stepchildren, Curran Raclin and Caroline Raclin; and four grandchildren. His former wife, Joan Kennedy, lives in Boston.
Mr. Kennedy is also survived by a sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, of New York. On Aug. 11, his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver of Potomac, Md., died at age 88. Another sister, Patricia Kennedy Lawford, died in 2006. His sister Rosemary died in 2005, and his sister Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948.
Their little brother Teddy was the youngest, the little bear whom everyone cuddled, whom no one took seriously and from whom little was expected. He reluctantly and at times awkwardly carried the Kennedy standard, with all it implied and all it required. And yet, some scholars contend, he may have proved himself the most worthy.
“He was a quintessential Kennedy, in the sense that he had all the warts as well as all the charisma and a lot of the strengths,” said Norman J. Ornstein, a political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute. “If his father, Joe, had surveyed, from an early age up to the time of his death, all of his children, his sons in particular, and asked to rank them on talents, effectiveness, likelihood to have an impact on the world, Ted would have been a very poor fourth. Joe, John, Bobby ... Ted.
“He was the survivor,” Mr. Ornstein continued. “He was not a shining star that burned brightly and faded away. He had a long, steady glow. When you survey the impact of the Kennedys on American life and politics and policy, he will end up by far being the most significant.”