Muslims in dry Somalia break Ramadan fast with little but water

News Network
March 29, 2023

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Mogadishu, Mar 29: This year's holy month of Ramadan coincides with the longest drought on record in Somalia. As the sun sets and Muslims around the world gather to break their daily fasts with generous dinners, Hadiiq Abdulle Mohamed and her family have just water and whatever food might be at hand.

Hadiiq Abdulle Mohamed is among more than 1 million Somalis who have fled their homes in search of help while an estimated 43,000 people died last year alone.

She and her husband and their six children now take refuge in one of the growing displacement camps around the capital, Mogadishu.

Ramadan brought an increase in food prices for a country already struggling with inflation caused in part by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the withering of local crops by five consecutive failed rainy seasons. Millions of livestock that are central to people's diets have died.

Now food is even harder to come by for those displaced. For Ramadan, Mohamed and her family rely on well-wishers to provide their single meal a day. First, they break their fast with water and pieces of dates, then spoons of rice.

Finally, they eat the donated meal of rice cooked with mixed meat, bruised banana and a small plastic bag of juice, which Mohamed waits in line for hours under the searing sun to obtain.

“I recall the Ramadan fast we had in the past when we were enjoying and prospering,” she said.

“We would milk our goats, cook the ugali (maize porridge) and collard greens and drink water from our catchment. However, this year we are living in a camp, without plastic to cover us from rain, without food to eat, thirsty and experiencing drought. We have this small hot meal, but do you think that this can feed a family of six children, plus a mother and father? That is not possible.”

The family once was prosperous and owned farmland and goats in a village about 140 kilometres (87 miles) west of the capital.

Now they try to get by on the little money her husband makes by carrying goods in a wheelbarrow. But food prices have soared so much that his income is no longer enough to buy a 1 kilogram (2.2 pound) bag of rice.

The inflation in Somalia pinches the more well-off, too. The typical Ramadan fast-breaking meal includes samosas and other snacks; juice and tea and coffee; the main dish of rice or spaghetti or flatbread with camel, goat, chicken or fish; and finally, dessert.

The Horn of Africa country imports the majority of its food, from Ukraine-grown wheat to the bottles of Mountain Dew stocked in some gleaming Mogadishu shops. Meanwhile, prices of basics like rice and cooking oil continue to rise in parts of the country.

This month, World Food Program monitoring reported that supply chain resilience was generally good in Somalia, but the spike in demand for Ramadan would be “a disadvantage to vulnerable households who depend on local markets.”

“We are really experiencing a soaring price of food and another basic commodities,” said Ahmed Khadar Abdi Jama, a lecturer in economics at Somalia University.

“Whenever there is an external factor that can reduce the supply of food, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it is more likely that Somalis will feel a low supply.”

For example, a kilogram of camel meat that cost about USD 4 before the holy month now costs about $6. But this inflation will subside after the month is over, Khadar said.

Ramadan is a month of alms and forgiveness throughout the Muslim world. With the growing number of Somalis displaced by the drought, the imams of the mosques in Mogadishu are leading efforts to encourage the city's wealthy and others who can afford it to sympathise with the poor and give generously.

“Some people need food to afford to break their fast," said one imam, Sheikh Abdikarim Isse Ali. "Please help them.” 

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News Network
September 18,2023

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The Melkar Degree College, located at Marnabail village in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada, observed its ninth graduation day on its campus on September 16. Prof M M Khan, head of the Department of Studies in Electronics, Mangaluru University, was the chief guest. 

Mr Khan reminded the fresh batch of graduates that degree is not the end of learning but just a level. He exhorted that everyone should continue to increase her/his knowledge through reading and thereby improve mental ability too. 

He called upon the students to develop a scientific, rational and thoughtful personality enriched with experiences of life. 

Presiding over the event, Dr S M Rashid Haji, chairman of the management committee of the college, advised the students to develop their personality by cultivating discipline and patriotism along with studies and emerge as notable persons in the society.  

Rasheena and Fatima Parveena, the toppers in B Com and BA courses were honoured on the occasion whereas 64 students were conferred with bachelor degrees. 

B K Abdul Latheef, principal of the college, was present. The event commenced with prayer by students. Nazmiya Jasmin of 2nd year B Com welcomed. Nusaiba Banu of final year B Com proposed vote of thanks. P Zubaida of final year BA compered the event.

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News Network
September 20,2023

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United Nations, Sept 20: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue of Kashmir during his address to world leaders at the high-level 78th session of the UN General Assembly session.

"Another development that will pave the way for regional peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia will be the establishment of a just and lasting peace in Kashmir through dialogue and cooperation between India and Pakistan,” Erdogan said in his address to the General Debate Tuesday.

"As Turkiye, we will continue to support the steps to be taken in this direction,” he said.

His comment comes weeks after he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi during which both the leaders discussed strengthening trade and infrastructure relations.

Erdogan said it was a matter of pride that India was playing a role at the United Nations Security Council. He said he favoured making five permanent and 15 'temporary' members as permanent members of the UN Security Council.

"Those 20 (5+15) should be permanent members of the UNSC in rotation. But as you know, the world is bigger than five. When we say the world is larger than five, what we mean is that it's not only about the US, UK, France, China and Russia," he said.

In recent years, the Turkish leader has referred to the issue of Kashmir in his address to world leaders at the high-level UN General Assembly session.

Last year, Erdogan raked up the issue of Kashmir during his address to world leaders at the high-level UN General Assembly session here.

“India and Pakistan, after having established their sovereignty and independence 75 years ago, they still haven't established peace and solidarity between one another. This is much unfortunate. We hope and pray that a fair and permanent peace and prosperity will be established in Kashmir,” Erdogan had said.

In 2020, Erdogan in his pre-recorded video statement to the General Debate had made a reference to Jammu and Kashmir. India had at that time termed it as “completely unacceptable”, saying Turkey should learn to respect the sovereignty of other nations and reflect on its own policies more deeply.

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News Network
September 11,2023

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New Delhi, Sept 11: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday began a state visit to India, after participating in the G20 Summit over the weekend, to review bilateral ties and cooperation in areas ranging from energy to security.
 
The de facto Saudi ruler, who also holds the post of prime minister, will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the day-long visit.

Saud Al-Sati, the Saudi deputy minister for political and economic affairs, travelled to New Delhi last month to review preparations for the visit by Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS as he is popularly known. Al-Sati, who earlier served as the ambassador to India, met Ausaf Sayeed, secretary (overseas Indian affairs) in the external affairs ministry, and reviewed the gamut of bilateral relations.

The current Saudi ambassador, Saleh Eid Alhusseini, also met external affairs minister S Jaishankar last Tuesday. “Look forward to the further development and progress of the India-Saudi Arabia relationship across all domains,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

Modi and MBS had a phone conversation in June when they reviewed bilateral cooperation and discussed ways to bolster ties in connectivity, energy, defence, trade and investment. This was the first contact between the leadership of the two countries since China brokered a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Saudi Arabia has emerged as one of India’s key partners in West Asia in recent years, especially in defence, security and energy. Saudi Arabia is also home to 2.6 million Indians, one of the largest concentrations of expatriates in the region.

MBS last visited India in February 2019, and this was followed by a visit to Saudi Arabia by Modi in October the same year, when the two countries created the Strategic Partnership Council. This body has two pillars – a political, security, social and cultural committee headed by the foreign ministers, and a committee on economy and investments led by the Indian commerce minister and the Saudi energy minister.

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