Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yemeni National Reconciliation Government formed

SANA'A, Dec. 07 (Saba) - Vice President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued Wednesday the republican decree No. 184 for 2011 forming the Government of the National Reconciliation.
Based on the nomination of General People Congress (GPC) and its allies and the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) and its partners, the decree announced the government's members as follows:
1- Mohammed Salem Basindwa - Prime Minister;
2- Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, Minister of Foreign Affaires;
3- Yahya al-Shu'aibi, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research;
4- Hamoud Ubad, Minister of Endowment and Islamic Affaires;
5- Amat al-Razzaq Hummad, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor;
6 - Omar al-Kurshumi, Minister of Public Works and Roads;
7 - Awadh Saad al-Socatri, Minister of Fisheries Wealth;
8 - Mohammed Nasir Ahmed, Minister of Defense;
9 - Saleh Hasan Sumai, Minister of Electricity;
10 - Hisham Sharaf, Minister of Oil and Minerals;
11 - Nabil Shamsan, Minister of Civil Service and Insurance;
12 - Muammar al-Eryani, Minister of Youth and Sports;
13 - Abdul-Qader Qahtan, Interior Minister;
14 - Mohammed al-Sa'adi, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation;
15 - Ahmed Obaid Bin Daghr, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology;
16 - Ali Mohamed al-Yazidi, Minister of Local Administration;
17 - Sakhr Ahmed al-Wajih, Minister of Finance;
18 - Abdul-Hafez Nomu'an, Minister for Technical Education and Vocational Training;
19 - Farid Ahmed Mujawar, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation;
20 - Abdul-Razzaq Yahya al-Ashwal, Minister of Education;
21 - Ahmed Qassim al-Ansi, Minister of Public Health and Population;
22 - Houriah Ahmed Mashhour, Minister of Human Rights;
23 - Mohammed Ahmed al-Mikhlafi, Minister of Legal Affairs;
24 - Qasim Sallam, Minister of Tourism;
25 - Abdo Razzaz Saleh Khaled, Minister of Water and Environment;
26 - Abdullah Aubal Mandhouq, Minister of Culture;
27 - Mujahid al-Quhali, Minister for Expatriate Affaires;
28 - Wa'ed Abdullah Bathib, Minister of Transport;
29 - Murshed Ali al-Arashani, Minister of Justice;
30 - Saad al-Din Ali Bin Talib, Minister of Industry and Trade;
31 - Rashad Ahmad al-Rassas, Minister of State for Parliament and Shura Council affairs;
32 - Ahmed Ali al-Amrani, Minister of Information;
33 - Jawharah Hamoud Thabet, Minister of State for Cabinet Affaires;
34 - Shaif Ezi Saghir, Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet;
35 - Hasan Ahmed Sharaf al-Din, Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet.

Yemen vice president decrees unity government-agency

Wed Dec 7, 2011
SANAA Dec 7 (Reuters) - Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued a decree on Wednesday setting up a unity government headed by opposition leader Mohammed Basindwa, the state news agency Saba said.
The decision comes as part of an agreement to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh out of power after 33 years in office and end months of public protests that have paralysed the country and pushed it to the brink of civil war.

ICRC Alarmed By Escalating Violence In Yemen

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7(Bernama) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is deeply alarmed by escalating violence in the Yemeni city of Taiz as well as the security situation which was making it extremely difficult for medical personnel to treat the injured.
Eric Marclay, the ICRC's head of delegation in Yemen, said there were worrying reports of injured people being unable to reach the medical facilities, and of facilities being attacked and damaged.
"The violence has had a serious impact on basic services in recent weeks, with life-saving medical services especially hard hit. The escalating violence on the streets of Taiz has left dozens dead or wounded'" he said in a statement posted on the ICRC website.
In some cases, Yemen Red Crescent volunteers and others transporting the injured, have been prevented from saving lives or have been injured themselves.
"Trying to save life can cost you your own these days," Marclay said.
"Anyone who is injured must be able to receive life-saving medical care without delay. Access to health care infrastructure must not be arbitrarily denied or limited. It is essential that medical staff, vehicles and facilities be protected and respected," he added.
The Geneva-based ICRC, which has a regional office here, also calls on the authorities, fighters and all others involved to respect human life and dignity and to allow first-aid and medical teams to treat and transport injured people in safety.
The organisation, which has been helping medical facilities cope with casualties since the unrest started in Yemen early this year, said that for the last few days, a team of ICRC surgeons had been working hand in hand with local doctors in Taiz, carrying out life-saving surgery.

Sahel facing major food crisis in 2012, warns EU aid commissioner

Humanitarian aid chief urges immediate action as 7 million face food shortages ahead of further anticipated shortfalls
Mark Tran
*, Wednesday 7 December 2011
Africa's Sahel region faces a severe food shortage next year because of erratic rainfall and localised dry spells, the EU commissioner for humanitarian aid crisis response has warned.
Kristalina Georgieva said investing in the Sahel now was not just the ethically and morally right thing to do, but would be less expensive than waiting for disaster to strike, as was the case in Somalia.
Seven million people are already facing shortages in Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, with major shortfalls in food production in many areas. The figures point to a massive problem of food availability next year, according to the European commission.
The commission last month increased humanitarian funding to the Sahel by 10m euros, on top of the 45m euros it has given to the region this year. Niger and Mauritania have already declared a crisis, prepared national action plans, and appealed for international help.
Most of the population in the Sahel is heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture and livestock for survival. The poor 2011/12 growing season in the region, which has experienced erratic rainfall followed by localised dry spells, has caused alarm. Increased world market prices for rice are expected to have a negative impact on rice import levels and on prices in west Africa. As a consequence, the EU fears many of the poorest households will be unable to get their hands on enough food.
Georgieva expressed her frustration with the international community's inability to respond in timely fashion to crises. "Too often the massive response comes when the crisis is already deepening and on the six o'clock news," she said. "We have to be ready to act independently of the news cycle."
That sense of frustration came through clearly in the crisis in east Africa, where the early warning systems foretold drought – the worst in some areas for 60 years – but the international response was tardy. Georgieva said the crisis in the Horn of Africa, where 13 million people were in need of emergency help, is expected to last at least until the spring and perhaps the summer. But the number at risk of dying from hunger has fallen because of the massive international response.
Despite the problems of access posed by al-Shabaab, the Islamist insurgents in Somalia, Georgieva said relief efforts from Turkey, the Arab League and other Muslim countries had made a big difference. The EU commissioner, however, expressed concern at the long-term spillover effects from the Somalia crisis, with Somali refugees fleeing to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen and Kenya, where some 450,000 have found shelter at the world's largest refugee camp in Dadaab, on the border with Ethiopia.
"As long as Somalia is unstable, the people who have left will not go back," said Georgieva.
The EC's funding for the Sahel is being spent on food supplies, mobile clinics to identify early signs of malnutrition, and cash transfers for women.
"I was in Niger recently and asked a man whether he was upset that money was going to women," said Georgieva. "He had a big smile on his face and said it was a good idea because if the money was given to him he would have bought a bicycle."
Fuelling concerns about the Sahel are prospects for surrounding countries, including Nigeria, where harvests are expected to be poor, depriving the region of buffer stocks.
Georgieva emphasised the importance of taking preventive measures against drought. Citing the example of the Moyale district in northern Kenya, she said simple techniques such as water harvesting – collecting rainfall on roofs – and reducing livestock numbers had prepared the people well for this year's drought.
"One of the most valuable lessons from Kenya is that long-term initiatives on drought resistance pay off," said Georgieva.
The EC says its funding for the Sahel means the most vulnerable households in the worst affected areas will be protected at the onset of the "lean" period, three months from now. In the longer term, the Sahel is expected to come under increased pressure from climate change.
According to a UN environment programme study released yesterday, the visible consequences of climate change include increased competition for freshwater and land among fishermen and farmers, leading to tensions and conflict. The destruction of crops due to droughts has forced farmers to migrate, caused a rise in food prices, and displaced people. The study called for more investments in climate change adaptation policies to prevent conflict in the region.

Yemen PM says government imminent, U.N. warns on civilians

Mohammed Ghobari,
December 7, 2011
SANAA (Reuters) - Yemen's new prime minister said on Tuesday that an interim government intended to pull the country back from the brink of civil war would be formed in the next 48 hours.
The announcement came as forces opposing and loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh pulled back from some positions in the southern city of Taiz, after a bout of fighting there killed at least 20 people.
The violence has threatened to derail the formation of the government, a key element a Gulf-brokered deal to end Saleh's 33-year rule.
Mohammed Basindwa, a former foreign minister representing opposition parties who are to split cabinet posts with Saleh's party, told Reuters he expected the government to be agreed on Wednesday night or the following day.
Basindwa last week said the opposition's commitment to the power transfer depended on ending the bloodshed in Taiz, a hotbed of protests against Saleh.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a bloc of Yemen's richer neighbours, shares U.S. fears that the struggle over Saleh's fate could lead to chaos and embolden al Qaeda's Yemeni branch.
On Tuesday the belligerents withdrew from some positions they held in the city, some 200 km (120 miles) south of the capital Sanaa, leaving residents to survey the devastation.
"The two sides are fighting a guerrilla war. I lost all three of my businesses in 48 hours," said Mahmoud Hamid Sharaf, a merchant speaking outside his warehouse of computer equipment.
He said fighters from the Republican Guard, a unit led by Saleh's son, had fought from the warehouse before looting it.
The city's security chief acknowledged government troops had caused casualties in the city, but said anti-Saleh fighters were extending the fight.
"The use of heavy artillery in the city is wrong but our soldiers are acting in self-defence, sometimes the only way to defend ourselves is to use a suitable weapon used by the others," said Abdullah Qairan.
Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, demanded in a statement the government rein its forces in Taiz.
"...(D)espite the successive deals and ceasefires, Government security forces continue to use live ammunition against unarmed protestors," the statement said.
A committee tasked with implementing a ceasefire between the two sides moved through streets littered with buses wrecked by artillery shells, heaps of burning rubbish and shops with windows blown out by gunfire and shelling.
"We are trying desperately to de-militarise the city, to persuade the army to return to their barracks and the tribesmen to go back to their villages, if this doesn't happen, Taiz will pay the price in blood," a member of the committee said.
The fighting came as the coalition of opposition parties that signed the power transfer deal with Saleh last month said they had agreed on their candidates for an interim government.
Opposition figures have warned formation of a government could founder if the other side puts forth names linked to gross abuses during the attempt to crush protests against Saleh, who would enjoy immunity from prosecution under the transition deal.
The government is to see Yemen through to presidential elections which Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the vice president to whom Saleh has transferred his powers, has set for February 21.
Any post-Saleh government would face multiple challenges including resurgent separatist sentiment in the south, with which Saleh's north fought a civil war in 1994 following their unification under his rule four years earlier.
The region is the site of conflict between government forces and Islamist fighters who have seized chunks of an entire province, displacing as many as 100,000 people.