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This Happened

This Happened — September 21: Al-Shabaab's Westgate Mall Attack

On this day in 2013, armed militants from the Islamist extremist group Al-Shabaab stormed the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, targeting shoppers and employees in a violent siege. The siege took place from September 21 to September 24.

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This Happened—December 26: The Mother Of All Tsunamis

In 2004, a 9.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, triggering a tsunami and series of tidal waves that became one of worst natural disasters in recorded history

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How Climate Change And Ukraine War Have Put Somalia On The Brink Of Famine

In Somalia, four rainy seasons have failed to arrive, leaving the land desiccated and people starving. But drought alone is not enough to cause these numbers. A perfect storm of factors is setting the stage for a monumental human tragedy that most of the world is ignoring.

BAIDOA — When Oray Adan arrived in Baidoa six months ago, she was pregnant, exhausted and undernourished to the point of not even having the strength to eat. Drought had dried out the land in the village of Bakal Yere, in Somalia, where she and her husband had been farmers. But the drought had condemned their livestock to death and driven the family to starvation. In the month before she fled, three of their four children had died from hunger and diseases that, if they had lived practically anywhere else, would have been easily treated with simple antibiotics.

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To save her surviving two-year-old son and the one she was carrying, Oray Adan walked two weeks and reached the nearest urban center in desperate need of care, water and food. She arrived in Baidoa, a city in south-central Somalia, and was referred to a medical center for malnourished children. She was skeletal, as was the child she held by the hand—a thinness that lingers even now, stretching to her now four-month old newborn, Shukri Mohamed, who should weigh eight pounds, but weighs only two.

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UNCUT, A Multimedia Report On Female Genital Mutilation

An ordinary room, or a dark hut in a rural village. A razor blade bought at a market will suffice, or a sharp knife, or simply a shard of broken glass. Sometimes needle and thread, or the thorns from a wild-growing bush. The women of the family restrain the little girl while a circumciser is paid to inflict in her a pain so intense that it will never be forgotten.

For at least 200 million women around the world, the passage from infancy to adulthood is marked by the blood of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Follow this link for an exclusive webdoc on women's war against female genital mutilations.


Refugee Drownings, Google's Apple Payout, More Oscar Controversy


Eight children were among at least 21 migrants who drowned early this morning after their boats sank off the Greek coast, AFP reports. Dozens more are reported missing, but 48 survivors managed to reach the shore. The tragedy comes amid renewed debate about the European Union's borders. "If Europe is not capable of protecting its own borders, it's the very idea of Europe that will be questioned," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the BBC. In comments aimed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her open-door policy, he added that the EU can't "say or accept that all refugees, anyone fleeing the terrible war in Iraq or Syria, can be welcomed in Europe." His Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte said that the EU had "six to eight weeks" to save the EU's Schengen system of border-free travel.

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UNCUT: The War Against Female Genital Mutilation
Emanuela Zuccalà

In Somaliland, Mothers Save Daughters From Genital Mutilation Rites

When fear gets hold of me

When anger seizes my body

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Christian Putsch

Serving Lunch And Cheating Death In Mogadishu

The singular story of a Somali restaurateur who left the sweet life in the UK to return to his war-ravaged homeland, where he has survived multiple attacks on his restaurant.

MOGADISHUWhen the injured had been taken care of and the dead taken away, Ahmed Jama went to his kitchen. He tied the white apron around his waist and began cooking.

Soup with spinach, pumpkin, potatoes and herbs from his own vegetable garden. Deciding what spices to use, the muffled bubbling sound of the boiling water, the familiar motions with pots and pans — these things have often calmed him during a crisis. He feels safe here. Even on the day when the dusty smell of destruction was stronger than the smell of the food.

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Domenico Quirico

Somalia, When Al-Qaeda Arrives From Everywhere

MOGADISHU - General Barisse’s men are in the pick-up trucks, one next to the other, holding their weapons, looking around.

They do not fidget, a military patience having descended upon them: they simply wait. They have been waiting for food, pay, the enemy's attack -- in this, they also wait for the end of a war that does not seem to want to end.

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Christian Putsch

In Somalia, The Show Must Go On

In Mogadishu, artists have been forced to work underground for the past 21 years. Now as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab warlords lose their grip on the city, Somalian culture rises from its ashes, as symbolized by the reopening of the once bombed Mogadish

MOGADISHU - Jabril Abdulle had a seat in the VIP section at the Somali National Theater in Mogadishu. Rightly so, if you consider that for nearly six months the 42-year-old lived for the theater, collecting more than $100,000 in donations. Abdulle, the director of a peace organization called the Center for Research and Dialogue in Somalia (CRD), also dedicated countless hours to helping musicians, painters and actors overcome their fears, all so the building – which during 21 years went unused for its true purpose – could be reborn.

Culture was an early victim of the country's Civil War. Music was forbidden until the al-Shabaab terror organization lost its merciless grip on the capital nine months ago. Until then, the theater had been used as an arms depot. Now the idea is for it to become a lasting symbol of peace in a nation that has known war since 1991. The bombed roof hasn't been repaired yet. Only a generator provides electrical current. And the theater is dusty through and through. But that's not important – because where there's culture, there's life. There's freedom. Those are the things that matter.

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