UNCUT: The War Against Female Genital Mutilation

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.

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

MIGRANTS DROWN OFF GREEK COAST

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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In Somaliland, Mothers Save Daughters From Genital Mutilation Rites

When fear gets hold of me

When anger seizes my body

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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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Geopolitics

French Hostage Sentenced To Death By Somali Islamists

EURONEWS, AFP, LE MONDE (France)

Worldcrunch

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LA STAMPA
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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Society
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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Geopolitics
Thorsten Jungholt

Is Europe’s Fight Against Somali Pirates Headed To Dry Land?

Germany is likely to approve an E.U. mandate allowing troops to fight Somali pirates not just in the Gulf of Aden, but also along the shore. Is Europe setting itself up for another Blackhawk Down?

There's a lot of traffic in the Gulf of Aden. The Gulf connects the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. Major international sea routes run through here: every trading vessel heading from Europe to the Indian Ocean passes this way. The area also draws many tourists on cruise ships and sailboats.

But there's one serious problem. At its south edge, the Gulf of Aden borders the coast of Somalia. That is a country without a functioning government, where a civil war involving untold numbers of clans and warlords has been raging for 20 years. The situation has made Somalia one of largest humanitarian crisis areas in Africa, with only two significant sources of income: international aid and piracy.

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Geopolitics
Béatrice Gurrey

In Somalia, Where The Black Market Is The Only Source Of Stability

No central bank or state authority to manage the country’s money supply, degenerating schools and universities, no way to know who owns land. Here’s a look at how a stateless country manages to get from one day to the next.

MOGADISHU – A man is counting a big wad of faded cash. Inside Mogadishu's gutted cathedral, women with children are hovering around him. The scene could be mistaken for a man sharing the fruit of a hard day's work.

There is indeed a Somali currency, the shilling, but no central bank or state authority to manage the cash supply. Instead, a group of prosperous businessmen have taken it into their own hands to create cash. The currency was divided back in 1991 when six northern provinces seceded to create Somaliland. The Somaliland shilling was born as the currency of a country that is not recognized by the international community.

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Geopolitics
Christian Putsch

War, Famine And Facebook: Deadly Propaganda Of Somalia's Al-Shabaab Terrorists

Millions of people in Somalia are suffering from hunger – not least because militant al-Shabaab Islamists are refusing to let aid organizations in with food supplies. Meanwhile, the group with ties to al-Qaeda is seeking converts to their cause with a biz

MOGADISHU - The messages were mostly texted, in broken English: "welcome to islam o unbeliever. i am abu mansur al'amrica from america. I am a member of al shabaab in somalia..."

Barigye Ba-Hoku has received hundreds of text messages like this. Until April, the Ugandan soldier was the spokesperson for the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom). His contact details were widely available -- so daily, he got dozens of threatening messages from the al-Shabaab Islamist terror network against which Amisom is fighting.

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Geopolitics

Why The UN Is Sounding The Famine Alarm In Somalia

Already recognized as a humanitarian crisis, the ongoing drought in Somalia has now been officially classified as a "famine." The United Nations made the annoucement Wednesday.

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

The announcement came as no surprise. On Wednesday, the United Nations said that two regions in southern Somalia -- Bakool and Lower Shabelle -- are suffering from famine. Faced with the worst drought in 60 years, the UN estimates that some 350,000 people in the region are without food.

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Geopolitics
Christian Putsch

Flickers Of Hope In Somalia

Plagued by civil war, terrorism and poverty, Somalia and its capital Mogadishu are often described as hell on earth. But thanks to international help and a handful of courageous citizens, some light has appeared at the end of the tunnel for the troubled A

MOGADISHU – It was 2 a.m. when the black SUV of Fasul Abdullah Mohammed, al Qaida's most important man in Africa, began to roll through the streets of Mogadishu. Mohammed was the mastermind behind the terror attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 that killed 224 people.

The terrorist cruised slowly through the city, his pockets filled with several passports and cell phones, as well as $40,000 in cash. The streets of the Somali capital were dark that night – because of the war, electricity is a fitful commodity in most parts of the city – and this allowed the SUV to advance steadily under the cover of darkness. But a wrong turn at an intersection led the car to the place it was supposed to avoid. There was a roadblock, and soldiers everywhere – the car had accidentally entered the UN-controlled part of the city. The driver brusquely accelerated, but the bullets fired were faster.

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Geopolitics

And If Yemen Is Lost?

Editorial: Even before reaching the brink of civil war, Yemen was plagued by a long list of woes, from dire poverty to Islamist terrorists. If Yemen’s neighbors don’t step in to help, the country could slip into a Somalia-like state of chaos that can dest

If you haven't yet, it is time to start worrying about Yemen. The country once referred to as Arabia Felix in contrast to Arabia Deserta to the north is a sum of unhappy handicaps rarely seen in the world – even before it began to inch toward civil war these past few months.

A demographic time bomb, Yemen has seen its population double every 15 years – the country numbers about 25 million inhabitants today – without having the means necessary to properly provide for the people.

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LA STAMPA

“Like Afghanistan Without Nato.” From Somalia’s New Prime Minister, A Cry For Help And A Warning

In an exclusive interview, the US-educated African leader says Islamic terrorists are flocking to his country. And preparing to strike the West.

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