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Somalia's Shebab boasts of twin hotel bombing killing 11

Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab said Thursday it carried out a twin bombing of a hotel in Mogadishu that killed 11, boasting it was the start of its campaign for the new year. "This is the beginning of 2014," Shebab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said in a New Year message, a day after the hotel attacks. "The fate of foreigners and local mercenaries will remain the same until they leave the country... they will have no safe haven in Somalia."

Deadly car bomb attack at Mogadishu hotel: Somali police

A car bomb targeting a hotel in Mogadishu exploded Wednesday, killing an as yet unspecified number of people, Somali police said. "A booby-trapped car exploded against hotel Jazeera," said officer Muhidin Ahmed, adding that the blast had caused deaths and injuries, without giving figures. nur-aud/hmn/cc

Third explosion at Jazira hotel in Somali capital: witness

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A third bomb exploded on Wednesday outside the Jazira hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, about an hour after two earlier blasts. A Reuters photographer at the scene said the bomb had been planted inside a car that was being searched by security forces. (Reporting by Feisal Omar; Editing by Richard Lough and Alison Williams)

Somalia evacuates citizens from South Sudan conflict

War-torn Somalia flew back home Monday some 130 citizens who had been working in troubled South Sudan, the latest of thousands of foreigners to flee violence in the world's youngest country. Western nations including the United States and Britain flew in military aircraft to evacuate their citizens after fighting began in South Sudan two weeks ago. Regional countries including Kenya and Uganda have also organised airlifts for their citizens, but the evacuation organised by Somalia challenges the basket case image the Horn of Africa nation has had for many years.

Somali parliament approves new prime minister

Somalia's parliament on Saturday approved as the new prime minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, a political newcomer and economist who faces tough challenges in the war-torn nation. All but three lawmakers in parliament voted to approve President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's nomination of the economist who has worked with several international organisations and banks. Three abstained from voting, and none opposed. "A total of 243 out of the 246 gave a vote of confidence to the new prime minister," said parliamentary speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari.

Suicide bombers kill 36 Shi'ite pilgrims in Iraq -police

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Suicide bombings in Iraq killed at least 36 people on Thursday in attacks targeting Shi'ite pilgrims ahead of a major holy day next week, police said. Two years after U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq, violence is at its highest level since 2006-7, when strife between Sunnis and Shi'ites killed tens of thousands of people.

Gunmen in Somalia kill three Syrian doctors, three Somalis

Insurgents in Somalia shot dead three Syrian doctors and their three Somali colleagues Wednesday as they travelled to a hospital outside the capital Mogadishu, an AFP reporter said. Their bullet-riddled bodies were carried into Mogadishu's Medina hospital after the attack on road leading from the capital to Afgoye, a town a short distance west of the city. nur-pjm/cc

Japan to boost ties with Arab nations for stable supply of gas

Japan and Arab countries agreed Monday to strengthen their ties toward ensuring the stable supply of natural gas at competitive prices, while also pursuing "multi-layered" economic relations through cooperation in medical and various other fields. The agreement was reached during a ministerial-level meeting of the Japan-Arab Economic Forum, held for the first time since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster and the spread of democratization movements in the Middle East.

Japan to boost ties with Arab nations in energy, other fields

Japan and Arab countries agreed Monday to strengthen their ties toward ensuring the stable supply of natural gas at competitive prices, while also pursuing "multi-layered" economic relations through cooperation in medical and various other fields. The agreement was reached during a meeting of the Japan-Arab Economic Forum, held for the first time since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster and the spread of democratization movements in the Middle East.

Top US diplomat says Somalia rape case 'abhorrent'

The United States' top diplomat for Africa on Friday condemned as "abhorrent" a Somali court decision to sentence an alleged rape victim along with two journalists who reported her story. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Washington would nevertheless continue to support Somalia's internationally-backed government, describing it as far from perfect but still the "best alternative" for the country.
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