- Somali leaders representing different groups - opposition, the ousted Islamic Courts Union (ICU), former members of the transitional government, civil society and Somalis in the Diaspora - have begun a conference in the Eritrean capital Asmara.
Under the banner of Somali Congress for Liberation and Reconstitution, delegates are brainstorming on how to emancipate Somalia from Ethiopian occupation, create national unity, foster national reconciliation among Somalis and end the violence caused by the foreign occupation.
The forum is a new political platform that seeks to protect the interests of Somalia and Somalis as well as create a common front against the transitional government. It brings together all those groups excluded from the just concluded Somali peace and reconciliation conference jointly organised by the transitional government and the international community in Mogadishu.
More than 300 delegates and observers from the Arab League, European Union and United Nations, are said to in attendance. Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of the ousted ICU, is also among the delegates.
Since the ousting of the ICU from power by the Ethiopian-backed troops last December, there has been a surge in violence in Somalia, particularly Mogadishu. In the past four months, the UNHCR said about 400,000 Somalis have fled the fighting in Mogadishu.
Ethiopian government promised to withdraw troops from Somalia after the deployment of African Union peacekeepers. The continental body planned to deploy 7,000 troops to Somalia to maintain law and order. But apart from the 1,600 peacekeepers deployed by Uganda, no other African country provided troops.
For several months, Ethiopian and government troops have been fighting to counter insurgency targets by insurgent groups in Mogadishu.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.