- - Wednesday, October 26, 2011

KENYA

Grenade-thrower admits being al-Shabab member

NAIROBI | The Kenyan suspect arrested after two grenade blasts exploded in Nairobi says he is a member of the Somali militant group al-Shabab.

Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, 28, pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday to nine charges, including being responsible for Monday’s twin grenade blasts.

The blasts came about a week after hundreds of Kenyan forces moved into neighboring Somalia to attack al-Shabab militants.

Al-Shabab, Somalia’s most dangerous militant group, threatened to carry out terror attacks in Kenya in retaliation.

Police arrested Oliach on Tuesday and said he was from a Kenyan tribe and was not ethnic Somali.

SOUTH AFRICA

U.N. official: Climate talks come at bad time

PRETORIA | U.N. climate talks that begin next month in South Africa coincide with a global financial crisis hurting efforts to raise money to fight climate change, the U.N.’s climate chief said Wednesday.

“This is not the best time to be talking about finance, because all developed countries are in a financial crisis,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, to a press briefing ahead of the talks, which will be held Nov. 28 to Dec. 9 in Durban.

She urged developed countries to think of the funds as a long-term need that will outlive the gloomy economic picture troubling the eurozone.

“The financial needs of climate, both for adaptation and for mitigation, are not short-term needs. They are long-term needs, and they need to be seen in that respect. The financial crisis is a financial crisis that we have now but that is not a long-term crisis for the next 20, 30 years,” she said.

Negotiators are trying to raise money for a Green Climate Fund that would give $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing countries to help fight climate change and its effects.

The fund was agreed at the 2010 climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, but negotiators still have to hammer out where the money will come from and how it will be managed.

KENYA

Somali fighting worsens humanitarian crisis

NAIROBI | Recent heavy fighting in Somalia, including Kenya’s military assault in the south, is deepening the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the war-torn nation, aid agencies warned Wednesday.

Fighting has choked aid deliveries and blocked civilians trying to escape across the border into Kenya, while heavy rains have raised the risk of water-borne diseases potentially fatal for a weakened population.

The United Nations estimates that 3.7 million Somalis - about one-third of the population - are on the brink of starvation and tens of thousands already have died in a country that has lacked effective government for two decades.

Civilians who already have fled extreme drought now are “facing multiple displacements in the wake of the military activities,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned.

“The military buildup is causing anxiety among the civilian population,” it said.

“Movement of humanitarian personnel and supplies are also likely to be restricted, subsequently affecting the timely delivery of assistance to populations in need.”

Kenya’s unprecedented military incursion 11 days ago stunned the region. It was launched after attacks on its territory and the abduction of several foreigners on its soil who were taken to Somalia.

Oxfam warned that “the situation in Somalia is increasingly alarming,” adding that famine zones are “expected to spread over the next month, including to some of the regions that are now facing further conflict.”

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