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US Supreme Court Will Hear Social Media Terrorism Lawsuits

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 12:31
The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will hear two cases seeking to hold social media companies financially responsible for terrorist attacks.  Relatives of people killed in terrorist attacks in France and Turkey had sued Google, Twitter and Facebook. They accused the companies of helping terrorists spread their message and radicalize new recruits.  The court will hear the cases this term, which began Monday, with a decision expected before the court recesses for the summer, usually in late June. The court did not say when it would hear arguments, but the court has already filled its argument calendar for October and November.  One of the cases the justices will hear involves Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old U.S. citizen studying in Paris. The Cal State Long Beach student was one of 130 people killed in Islamic State group attacks in November 2015. The attackers struck cafes, outside the French national stadium and inside the Bataclan theater. Gonzalez died in an attack at La Belle Equipe bistro.  Gonzalez's relatives sued Google, which owns YouTube, saying the platform had helped the Islamic State group by allowing it to post hundreds of videos that helped incite violence and recruit potential supporters. Gonzalez's relatives said that the company's computer algorithms recommended those videos to viewers most likely to be interested in them.  But a judge dismissed the case and a federal appeals court upheld the ruling. Under U.S. law — specifically Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — internet companies are generally exempt from liability for the material users post on their networks.  The other case the court agreed to hear involves Jordanian citizen Nawras Alassaf. He died in the 2017 attack on the Reina nightclub in Istanbul where a gunman affiliated with the Islamic State killed 39 people.  Alassaf's relatives sued Twitter, Google and Facebook for aiding terrorism, arguing that the platforms helped the Islamic State grow and did not go far enough in trying to curb terrorist activity on their platforms. A lower court let the case proceed.   

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Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 12:00
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Critics Fear Saudi Prince Seeks Legal Cover With PM Title

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 11:18
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's new title of prime minister could prove more significant abroad than inside the kingdom, where he already wields enormous power.  The appointment by royal decree comes as the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is debating whether the crown prince qualifies for immunity from lawsuits filed in American courts.   Before the crown prince’s new title was announced, a judge gave U.S. lawyers a deadline of October 3 to file a "statement of interest" on the immunity question. But on Friday, citing the crown prince’s new position, the administration requested an additional 45 days to make up its mind, according to a court filing seen by Agence France-Presse.  The 37-year-old de facto ruler of the world's biggest crude exporter has been targeted in multiple lawsuits in the United States in recent years, notably over the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate, which temporarily turned him into a pariah in the West.  His lawyers have argued that he "sits at the apex of Saudi Arabia's government" and thus qualifies for immunity.  Human rights activists and government critics immediately speculated this week that making the crown prince prime minister was a bald-faced attempt to strengthen the immunity claim and skirt legal exposure.  Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Khashoggi-founded nongovernmental organization Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), told AFP it was a "last-ditch effort to conjure up a new title for him" — "a title-washing ploy."  Saudi officials did not respond to requests for comment on the move.   Hit squads and hacks  In October 2020, two years after Khashoggi's death, DAWN filed a complaint in the U.S. along with Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, accusing Crown Prince Mohammed of being involved in a "conspiracy" that led to Khashoggi being kidnapped, bound, drugged, tortured and assassinated.   Last year, Biden declassified an intelligence report that found the crown prince had approved the operation against Khashoggi, an assertion Saudi authorities deny.   The legal threats to the crown prince in U.S. courts go beyond Khashoggi.   He was also named in a lawsuit filed by Saad al-Jabri, a former top intelligence official who fell out of favor as the crown prince maneuvered in 2017 to become first in line to the throne.   That complaint accuses the crown prince of trying to lure Jabri back to Saudi Arabia from exile in Canada. And when that didn't work, "deploying a hit squad" to kill him on Canadian soil, a plot foiled when most of the would-be assailants were turned back at the border.   In yet another case, the crown prince was accused by Lebanese journalist Ghada Oueiss of involvement in a scheme to hack her mobile device and disseminate "stolen personal images" to defame her and prevent her from reporting on human rights issues.   The immunity issue appeared to come to a head over the summer when a U.S. judge gave the Biden administration until August 1 to say whether it believed the crown prince qualified.   After Biden visited Saudi Arabia in July, abandoning a previous pledge to turn Saudi Arabia into a "pariah,” his administration requested an additional 60 days to decide whether to weigh in on the matter.   Assuming the second 45-day extension requested on Friday is granted, the new deadline will fall in mid-November.  'In control' at home   Before this week's announcement, the crown prince, often referred to by his initials, MBS, had been serving as deputy prime minister and defense minister, managing major portfolios from energy to security and beyond.   Little is expected to change inside the kingdom as a result of his new title, said Umar Karim, an expert on Saudi politics at the University of Birmingham.   "MBS was already completely in control, and there was no threat as such to him that could be countered by him becoming prime minister," Karim said.   At the same time, it is not clear whether becoming prime minister will significantly bolster his claim of immunity, given that King Salman remains head of state.   Observers pointed out that the Saudi king chaired a cabinet meeting the same day that the crown prince’s promotion was announced.   Even if the immunity question is resolved in the United States, it is likely to pop up in other countries.  In July, a group of NGOs filed a complaint in France alleging that the crown prince was an accomplice to Khashoggi's torture and enforced disappearance.  They said the charges could be prosecuted in France, which recognizes universal jurisdiction.  The crown prince "does not have immunity from prosecution because as crown prince, he is not head of state," they said.

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Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 11:00
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Russian Journalist Sobchak Faces Investigation, TASS Reports

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 10:45
Prominent Russian journalist Ksenia Sobchak faces a criminal investigation over a story that police suspect was "fake," state news agency TASS reported on Monday, citing an unidentified source in law enforcement.  Sobchak, whose late father was the mayor of St. Petersburg in the 1990s and worked closely with Vladimir Putin, hosts a YouTube channel with over 3 million subscribers. She also founded a popular Telegram account which regularly shares stories critical of Russia's mobilization efforts.  TASS reported that Sobchak's story related to "state funding of festivals" and that she could be charged under an article of Russian law that provides for three-year jail sentences.  Neither Sobchak, 40, nor representatives of her news site immediately responded to a Reuters request for comment on the TASS report.  Sobchak has so far avoided prosecution, but authorities have scrutinized her in the past for sharing so-called "LGBT propaganda" and declaring that Crimea was still Ukrainian after its annexation by Russia in 2014.  Since invading Ukraine in February, Russia has cracked down on independent media and prosecuted numerous journalists for spreading "fake" news about what it calls its "special military operation."   

Marchers Call for Peace in Cameroon, But Warring Sides at Odds on Talks

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 10:24
In Cameroon, thousands of people are marching to call for peace in the country's separatist conflict. The daily peace marches, which began on Friday and are slated to continue through Tuesday, come on the third anniversary of talks designed to end the fighting. Marchers say authorities need to do more to return peace to the restive western regions, where fighting has killed about 3,500 people since 2017. The protesters, a majority of them women, say hardly a day goes by without cases of killings, abduction, rape and torching of public edifices in the Northwest and Southwest regions. Monday's peace march was organized by a non-governmental organization called Cameroon, Peace and National Unity. Its president, Clementine Mvogo, said the peace march marks the third anniversary of government-organized peace talks called the Major National Dialogue. “The culture of peace is still very much absent in Cameroon since the holding in Yaounde of a Major National Dialogue from September 30 to October 4 2019. The ongoing peace march in Yaounde is to make the quest for peace a daily struggle of all Cameroonians. All civilians and civil society movements should be concerned about the return of peace to Cameroon,” Mvogo said. After that dialogue, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya implemented recommendations to give the Northwest and Southwest regions more power, including the creation of regional assemblies and elected regional presidents. Zacchaeus Bakuma Elango, president of the Southwest regional assembly, said outreach efforts to the armed separatist groups continue. "We're doing everything we can to convince them to lay down their arms and come to the negotiation table. We have families who have been displaced, children who have not gone to schools for five years, so what becomes of them? Are we coming up with a generation of semi-illiterates?” said Elango. Elango said some people have realized that war is not the answer. “As the years go by, more and more people are beginning to understand that we are in the same country. There were problems and those problems progressively are being addressed and the situation is improving." As evidence of that, he notes that tens of thousands of people who fled the fighting have returned to Southwest towns and villages in Manyu, Lebialem, Meme, Ndian, Fako and Koupe Manengouba administrative units. Elango said several hundred schools sealed by fighters in the region have been reopened. The government says after the dialogue, powers were given to a national commission for the promotion of bilingualism to give equal status to the English and French languages, in order to reduce domination by the French-speaking majority. David Abouem a Tchoyi, a member of the commission, said the conflict still persists because many separatist leaders refused to take part in the dialogue. "I regret bitterly that some of our brothers and sisters, especially those who are abroad, couldn't be part of that jamboree. When I read the recommendations, I saw some of them which could be game changers and I think it is important to note that the head of state said that the recommendations should be implemented according to the means and the capabilities of the state." Three years on, the prospects for peace talks remain stalled. Some separatist groups say they are not ready for any dialogue, while others say the talks should be held outside Cameroon. Separatist leaders based in Europe and the United States have expressed concern they will be arrested on charges of terrorism if they come home for peace talks. Cameroon maintains that the 2019 dialogue was successful and no talks will be organized outside the country. The stalemate doesn’t bode well for peace in the western regions, and suggests that Yaounde will see more marches like the ones taking place this week.

Sacheen Littlefeather, Who Declined Oscar on Marlon Brando's Behalf, Dies at 75 

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 10:19
Native American actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather, who declined the best-actor award on behalf of Marlon Brando during an Oscars protest in 1973, has died aged 75, the motion picture Academy said on Monday. Littlefeather, who the Hollywood Reporter said died at her home in California on Sunday surrounded by loved ones, was catapulted to fame when her friend Brando boycotted the 45th Oscars ceremony over what he viewed as the stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans in films and on television. Taking to the stage in a traditional buckskin dress to refuse the Oscar — awarded for Brando's portrayal of Vito Corleone in "The Godfather" — in his stead, she gave a critical speech on the same issue, also drawing attention to a protest at Wounded Knee, South Dakota against the mistreatment of American Indians. She was booed off for her remarks and boycotted by the film industry for decades. This year Littlefeather, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, received a belated apology letter from then-Academy president David Rubin, and last month the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures held an event in her honor. "I was representing all indigenous voices out there, all indigenous people, because we have never been heard in that way before," she said, reflecting on what happened in 1973.

Ethiopia Tigray Rebels Withdraw from Parts of Amhara

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 10:18
Ethiopia's Tigray rebels have said they are withdrawing from parts of the neighboring Amhara region, which they entered shortly after renewed hostilities broke out with federal government forces in August. In a statement, the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) described the move as a “tactical” redeployment of its forces and said it was necessary to counter an "invasion" from the north.  The fresh fighting has seen Eritrea renew its involvement in the war, on the side of Ethiopia’s federal government. Last month the Tigray forces said Eritrea had launched a “full-scale” offensive across the region's northern border.  “Accordingly, we have made geographical adjustments by withdrawing from Amhara areas we had entered in the direction of the south,” the latest TPLF statement said.  It added that the withdrawal had been underway for three days and could be reversed if pro-government forces made further attacks on the southern fronts.  Separately, Tigray spokesman Getachew Reda said on Twitter that his region’s forces had inflicted “tens of thousands” of losses on pro-government units.  VOA was unable to verify these claims. The areas affected by the fighting are mostly cut off from phone and internet access, and journalists are currently barred from travelling there.  Ethiopia’s federal government has remained tight-lipped amid the recent fighting and has not commented on the Tigray force’s latest statement.  Eritrean forces fought alongside Ethiopia's federal forces when the Tigray conflict first broke out in November 2020, before they were both forced to withdraw in June 2021.  Asmara's re-entry into the conflict has drawn international condemnation. 

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Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 10:00
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UN Warns Deadly Diseases Spreading Fast in Flood-Ravaged Pakistan

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 09:37
A senior U.N. official warns flood-ravaged Pakistan is entering a second wave of death and destruction from outbreaks of diseases, including malaria, dengue, diarrhea, scabies and other skin diseases. Julien Harneis, U.N. Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan, said the first wave of this climate-induced disaster has caused wide-scale destruction of roads, bridges, homes, and other infrastructure. “They show what happens, what are the consequences when we do not stop global warming. The scale of it is beyond imagination. It is a climate change disaster that you can see from space.” The United Nations reports an estimated 1,700 people have lost their lives, a third of them children, and 12,800 have been injured. It says more than 33 million people are affected by the floods, which have displaced 7.9 million. Harneis said the wave of diseases spreading across the affected areas will lead to many more deaths, especially among children, millions of whom are suffering from acute malnutrition. The U.N. Children’s Agency (UNICEF) said at least 3.4 million children need immediate lifesaving support. Harneis said people are getting ill and dying from lack of health, nutrition, water and sanitation services, and lack of access to latrines across the flooded affected areas. “People who are defecating in the waters and then drinking from those same waters. Children who are washing in those waters. So, that is the driver of illness and disease and at the same time more than 1,700 health facilities and hospitals have either been destroyed or damaged.” Consequently, he noted, the health systems that normally would protect people from such risks are not fully functioning. He said another threat is food insecurity, as the World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the number of hungry people in Pakistan will rise from the current 5.9 million to 7.2 million without urgent international support. The United Nations issued a flash appeal for $160 million at the end of August. Given the immensity of the disaster and the growing needs, Harneis said the U.N. will launch a revised lifesaving appeal for $816 million on Tuesday.

Kim Kardashian Settles SEC Crypto Charge, to Pay $1.26 Million

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 09:24
Kim Kardashian has agreed to settle charges of unlawfully touting a crypto security and to pay $1.26 million in penalties, disgorgement and interest, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Monday. The SEC said in a statement that reality television star and influencer Kardashian failed to disclose that she was paid $250,000 to publish the post about EMAX tokens, the crypto asset security being offered by EthereumMax on her Instagram account. "This case is a reminder that, when celebrities or influencers endorse investment opportunities, including crypto asset securities, it doesn't mean that those investment products are right for all investors," SEC Chair Gary Gensler said. The U.S. regulator also charged Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a music producer known as "DJ Khaled" in November 2018 for allegedly not disclosing payments they received for promoting investments in initial coin offerings. Neither Mayweather nor Khaled Mohamed Khaled admitted or denied the SEC's charges, but agreed to pay a combined $767,500 in fines and penalties.

Afghan Protests Continue Against School Attack as UN Raises Death Toll to 53 

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 09:14
Female students in Afghanistan took to the streets for a third day in a row Monday to seek justice for victims of last week’s suicide bombing of an education center in Kabul, as the death toll continues to rise. The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said Friday’s powerful blast in the capital, Kabul, had killed at least 53 people, including 46 girls and women, and wounded more than 110 others. “Girls and young women [were] the main victims. Casualty figures likely to rise further,” the UNAMA tweeted Monday. "Our human rights team continues documenting the crime: verifying facts & establishing reliable data to counter denial & revisionism.” The attack targeted the private Kaaj tutoring center in Dasht-e-Barchi, a western Kabul neighborhood home to the Afghan minority Shia Hazara community. Survivors said there were 400 boys and girls, separated by a curtain, in line with Taliban instructions, taking a mock university entrance exam when the bomber detonated his explosives in the girls’ section. The Islamist Taliban government has come under severe criticism for failing to provide security to what rights groups see as the most persecuted Afghan minority group. The violence has sparked domestic and international outrage, prompting Afghan female students in several cities to stage protests. On Monday, dozens of university students marched through the streets of Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of the northern Balkh province, demanding justice for the victims. Taliban security forces allegedly locked a group of women students in their dormitory to prevent them from joining the rally, according to social media videos. VOA could not verify the authenticity of the footage showing a girl trying to unsuccessfully break the door lock with a brick. Kabul, western Herat, and central Bamiyan are among the cities where demonstrations have been held since Friday by mostly Hazara women students. Protesters also have pressed the Taliban to ease restrictions on women’s rights to work and education, while others have expressed support for ongoing protests in neighboring Iran. Taliban security forces have disrupted protests by firing in the air, but some have accused them of beating or firing at demonstrators. The Taliban have barred grades seven through 12 from resuming secondary schools in most of the country since they seized power a year ago. The Islamist group also backtracked on promises to open all Afghan schools in March. However, the Taliban have opened public and private universities to women students across Afghanistan, with strictly segregated classrooms for male and females. No one has claimed responsibility for Friday's blast in Kabul, which critics see a setback to women seeking education in defiance of strict Taliban polices. "Our last hope was educational institutions. Unfortunately, now the institutions are also under threat," said Sakina Nazari, a 25-year-old resident and former Kaaj student whose family friend was badly injured in the attack. Private tutoring centers have provided a lifeline to girls wanting to further their education and a chance to go to universities, where women are still allowed, though they face increased restrictions and growing economic challenges. The UNAMA has called on the Taliban to bring to justice those responsible, urging the Islamist rulers to “fulfil obligations to ensure safety of all Afghans.” The United States, Pakistan and other countries have also denounced the violence. The Taliban have vowed to enhance security of all Afghans following the attack and have sent their representatives to Hazara victim families in a bid to reassure them of protection against possible future attacks. The Taliban foreign ministry in a statement has condemned Friday’s attack and other such incidents as the work of “malicious networks” and “a conspiracy by the enemies” of Afghanistan to create divisions among the Afghan people. “The Islamic Emirate does not believe in any ethnic or religious division of the Afghan people and considers itself responsible for protecting the lives of all Afghans,” the ministry said. “While pledging to all our compatriots that we will do more to identify and bring to justice perpetrators of these attacks, we urge all foreign parties to refrain from issuing irresponsible statements on Afghanistan's internal affairs beyond expressing condolences." Previous attacks against Afghanistan’s Hazara community have been claimed by the local offshoot of the self-proclaimed, Sunni-based, Islamic State group, known as Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K. The terrorist outfit has stepped up its extremist violence since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021 when all U.S.-led foreign troops withdrew from Afghanistan after almost 20 years of war. Some information in this report came from Reuters.

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Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 09:00
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Australia Imposes More Sanctions on Russia Over Annexation of Ukrainian Regions   

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 08:23
Australia has hit Russia with a fresh round of sanctions over Moscow’s claimed annexation of four regions in Ukraine. Travel restrictions and financial penalties are being imposed on Russian-backed separatists and senior officials. Campaigners are urging Australia to supply more weapons to Ukraine. The new sanctions imposed by Australia will target 28 Russian-appointed separatist ministers and officials. The government in Canberra has said they are trying to legitimize Russia’s actions in Ukraine through “sham” referendums and disinformation. Friday, President Vladimir Putin declared that four regions of Ukraine, including Donetsk and Luhansk, would be absorbed into Russia. Australia has joined a chorus of global condemnation of the annexations. Defense minister Richard Marles told reporters Sunday they were illegal. “The unprovoked aggression from Russia in respect of Ukraine is such a flouting of the U.N. Charter, of the global rules-based order it must not be allowed stand,” he said. Ukrainian groups in Australia continue to urge the Canberra government to provide more military assistance to Ukraine. Australia has provided missiles and Bushmaster armored personnel carriers. Stefan Romaniw, the co-chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations, says military support and sanctions send a clear message to Russia’s President Putin. “What is an Australian Bushmaster going to do in Ukraine? What it has done has been very effective in helping to reclaim part of Ukrainian soil and taking over territory. This morning Bushmasters are towing Russian tanks. The question of whether sanctions work or don’t, he [President Vladimir Putin] has to get a message that he is not welcome in the international community, he is toxic,” he said. Australia has already imposed sweeping sanctions on Russian institutions and its political and military leaders, including President Putin. Russia has responded by placing Australia and other European nations, the U.S., Japan and South Korea on a list of “unfriendly countries.” Australia has also filed with the International Court of Justice, or the ICJ, in support of a case brought by Ukraine against Russia for violating the Genocide Convention. It joins other countries, including New Zealand, Denmark and Spain. The ICJ has ordered Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine and said it had not seen any evidence to support Moscow’s justification for the war. Russia has failed to comply with the order.

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Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 08:00
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Iran's Supreme Leader Blames US, Israel for Protests

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 07:44
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday the widespread protests following the death in police custody of a young woman last month are not the actions of “ordinary Iranians” as he accused the United States and Israel of planning the demonstrations. The protests, now in their third week, have been met with a crackdown by police and security forces. A tally of government statements compiled by The Associated Press gave a death toll of at least 14 people with 1,500 arrests, while rights groups say at least 130 are dead with thousands arrested. Khamenei said the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was a “sad incident” and that he was heartbroken. Iran’s morality police arrested Amini in Tehran for allegedly not following the country’s strict dress code and she died in a hospital three days later after falling into a coma. The government said she died of a heart attack. Her family rejected that account, saying Amini had no history of heart problems and that she was instead beaten. They called for accountability. Thousands of people gathered in several countries Sunday to condemn Iran’s crackdown on protests in that country that began after the death of Amini. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Amini should be alive today. “The only reason she’s not is because a brutal regime took her life and took her life because of decisions she should be making about what she would wear or not wear,” he said last week.  Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

Car Bombs Rock Somali Town at Center of Mobilization Against Al-Shabab 

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 07:24
Heavy explosions rocked the central Somali town of Beledweyne, according to witnesses. Residents told a VOA reporter in Beledweyne that two car bombs targeted Lamagalay, the local government headquarters in the eastern district. Lamagalay is where the offices of the deputy leader of Hirshabelle state, the governor of Hiran region and other local government officials are located. Sources say heavy casualties are feared following the attack. Beledweyne, about 337 kilometers north of Mogadishu, has been the center of a recent local community mobilization against the Islamist militant group al-Shabab. Local officials including the governor of Hiran region, Ali Jeyte Osman, led community forces who fought alongside Somali government forces, seizing dozens of villages from al-Shabab. Monday’s explosions came hours after the Somali government on Sunday evening reported that a senior al-Shabab official was killed in an operation in Haramka area in Middle Jubba region on October 1. In a statement, the Ministry of Information said al-Shabab co-founder Abdullahi Nadir was killed in an operation by the national forces in collaboration with international partner forces. Abdullahi Nadir, also known as Abdullahi Yare, is a senior al-Shabab official who held multiple posts within the group including the media, finance and preaching or “Da’wah” departments. Nadir has been a close ally of the late al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane who was killed in a U.S. strike in September 2014, and the current emir Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah. The United States put $3 million bounty on Nadir’s head and $6 million on Ubaidah’s head. Haramka is an area controlled by al-Shabab, an indication that the operation against Nadir likely involved airstrikes. The U.S. Africa Command, which conducts airstrikes against al-Shabab, has not yet commented. And most recently, Somalia’s Interior Minister Ahmed Moallim Fiqi told local television that Turkey has “joined” in providing air support to the Somali government. Fiqi did not specify operations or specific dates for Turkish participation in attacks against al-Shabab. The Turkish government is yet to confirm the reports. Somalia Defense Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur hailed the reported killing of Abdullahi Nadir. He hinted that the reported killing of Nadir may have been retaliation for those killed by al-Shabab. He said the killing of Abdullahi Nadir is the beginning of attacks in response to the killing of late Mogadishu police chief Brigadier General Farhan Mohamoud Adan who was killed Friday by an al-Shabab improvised explosive device, or an IED, near Mogadishu, and the killing of Elmi Hagar Gure in an al-Shabab attack near Moqokori town in Hiran region last week. Gure is a traditional elder who participated in the mobilization. “Accountability is just beginning,” Nur posted on his official Facebook account in Somali before the explosions in Beledweyne. Al-Shabab has not confirmed or denied the reported killing of Abdullahi Nadir.

Nobel Medicine Prize Winner Discovered the Neanderthal Genome 

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 07:05
This year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to a Swedish scientist for decoding the DNA of the Neanderthal, modern humans’ closet extinct relative. In a statement Monday the Nobel Organization said Svante Paabo is being honored “for pioneering a new approach to study our evolutionary history.”   The 67-year-old Swede overcame the extreme technical challenges of handling fragile, ancient DNA samples to succeed in obtaining the genome sequence, the organization said.    “This was followed,” according to the statement, “by his sensational discovery of another extinct hominin, the Denisova, entirely from genome data retrieved from a small finger bone specimen.”   Paabo’s work proved that Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans mixed “during periods of co-existence,” resulting in the inclusion of archaic DNA in present-day humans.” Paabo is affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, Germany, and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, in Okinawa, Japan. The prize for Medicine is the first of five to be awarded this week, which will culminate with the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The Economics Prize follows on October 10.  It is the only prize not created under Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel’s will. The formal Nobel Prize ceremony will be held in December in Stockholm.

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Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 07:00
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Hurricane Orlene Roars Toward Mexico's Pacific Coast 

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 3, 2022 - 06:57
Hurricane Orlene roared toward Mexico's Pacific coast between the tourist towns of Mazatlan and San Blas on Monday, with authorities there suspending classes and setting up shelters. After growing into a hurricane Saturday, Orlene quickly added power, peaking as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 215 kph early Sunday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. But winds slipped back to 165 kph by late Sunday night. The storm moved over or near the Islas Marias, a former prison colony being developed as a tourist draw. The island is sparsely populated by government employees and buildings there are made of brick or concrete. Orlene was forecast to hit Mexico's Pacific coast along a sparsely populated, lagoon-dotted stretch of mainland south of Mazatlan by late Monday. By late Sunday night, Orlene was centered about 140 kilometers northwest of Cabo Corrientes — a point of land that juts into the Pacific just south of Puerto Vallarta - and was headed north at 13 kph early Sunday. A hurricane warning was in effect from San Blas to Mazatlan. The government of Jalisco state, where Puerto Vallarta is located, suspended classes Monday in towns and cities along the coast. The state civil defense office posted video of large waves crashing on a dock at Cabo Corrientes. In Sinaloa, where Mazatlan is located, some emergency shelters were opened. The center said the storm would likely begin weakening as its moved closer to land. But it was still projected to hit as a hurricane. It could bring flood-inducing rainfall of up to 25 centimeters in some places, as well as coastal flooding and dangerous surf. The ports of Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta were closed to ships and Mexico's navy announced that ports including Mazatlan, San Blas and Nuevo Vallarta were closed to small craft. Mexico's National Water Commission said Orlene could cause “mudslides, rising river and stream levels, and flooding in low-lying areas.” The hurricane center said hurricane-force winds extended out about 30 kilometers from the center and tropical storm-force winds out to 110 kilometers.