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Mohmed Sheik Osman Jawari, the parliament speaker, said 219 parliamentarians endorsed the Cabinet in a vote last week. Three voted against and three abstained. The Cabinet, formed by Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, is expected to be sworn in this week.

The naming of the smaller Cabinet is the latest change undergone by the government this year. A new interim constitution has been passed, a new parliament was seated and a new president was voted in.

The new government must continue to expand its presence in a country worn down by 20 years of conflict. Al-Shabab terrorists continue to attack targets in the capital, Mogadishu.


Peace talks with rebels start Monday in Cuba

BOGOTA — The Colombian government and a Marxist guerrilla group hope to begin full-fledged peace talks Monday, after delaying the process to discuss including civilian groups.

The negotiations between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, were to have begun Thursday.

The Colombian president’s office announced last week that the talks will start Monday in Cuba, and that they will begin by discussing an agenda for the talks to end a 48-year civil war.

Negotiators will be taking up a five-point agenda consisting of land issues, political participation, drug trafficking, disarmament and victims.

A role in the negotiations for civil society groups had been ruled out until now, and it is unclear how they would figure in the process.

Launched at a symbolic meeting in Norway last month, the negotiations are the first in a decade between the government and FARC aimed at ending Latin America’s longest-running insurgency. Three previous attempts to make peace failed.

No cease-fire has been declared as part of the negotiations, and the hostilities have continued to claim lives.

FARC has some 9,200 fighters under arms, according to Colombian defense ministry estimates.

The group, which was founded in 1964, has been dealt a series of setbacks in recent years that have resulted in the death or capture of key leaders and left it much diminished from its peak strength.

From wire dispatches and staff reports