Weekly News Update 12 July 2013

Small & Micro Enterprise Promotion Service/ via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1693/culture/2603/Handcrafts-alive-in-Yemen.htm

Small & Micro Enterprise Promotion Service/ via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1693/culture/2603/Handcrafts-alive-in-Yemen.htm

Highlights:
Exaggerated hopes for Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference?
IRIN — 10 July 2013
The latest humanitarian bulletin published this week by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that “although the National Dialogue is key to ultimately resolving the crisis, it also runs a real risk of overshadowing the immediate need to maintain effective humanitarian assistance for the rest of 2013.”  While regional NDC fact-finding meetings seem to have been appreciated by Yemenis, including those displaced by fighting between government forces and Houthi rebels in the north, cynicism is rife regarding the ability of the NDC to find a solution to people’s basic needs. But in other quarters, the NDC is sometimes seen as a magic bullet that can end the conflict, insecurity and lack of basic development.

Yemen’s National Dialogue Paralyzes Government
Al-Monitor — 10 July 2013
More than 30 Members of Paliament, (MPs) of different political parties are taking part in the national dialogue that requires, according to its bylaw, full devotion to its agenda, something that makes the dialogue mission impossible to achieve given the specified timeframe. The mission is supposed to be realized within six months, half of which has already passed. Clearly, none of them could balance attending parliamentary sessions and the dialogue. Thus, parliament paid the price with the absence of more than 30 MPs, 10% of parliament. The paralysis of the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen not only affected parliament, but its repercussions also reached the executive authority. Many prominent ministers in the current transitional cabinet are also members of the national dialogue, including the ministers of foreign affairs, industry, tourism and communications. Consequently, their ministries and institutions are suffering greatly in their absence.

Can this Facebook clone become the biggest social network in Yemen?
Wamda — 9 July 2013
They’ve customized elements to specifically serve the Yemeni ecosystem. In addition to a customized Arabic interface, two features make SocialPalz unique. The first is a categories section, where all posts are categorized according to selected topics. While Facebook’s Graph Search allows users to conduct very advanced searches to find information, so advanced that it’s been called “scary good.” But for Yemen’s audience, which is just coming online, the founders reason, clickable categories like Sports, News, Politics, Economy, Technology, and Entrepreneurship are easier to use. In a sense, they bridge the gap from old-school discussion forum to social network. Hopefully, Alfagieh will later work on updating the platform to keep up with how savvy the community becomes. The second feature is a job posting board, which users can reach by selecting the “Jobs” category, which filters their newsfeed to reveal potential jobs posted by other users. This is very important to Yemeni youth, as unemployment rates are high in the country, and across the region.

Security:
Al-Qaeda back in Abyan?
Yemen Times — 8 July 2013
Security officials announced a high state of alert for Abyan governorate on Saturday, one month after the return of thousands of internally displaced people who were assured of the governorate’s stability. The Ministry of Interior has ordered all security forces to take safety and security measures in order to prevent the return of Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants to the governorate.

Bomb blast kills three soldiers in Yemeni capital
Reuters — 6 July 2013
A roadside bomb in Yemen’s capital Sanaa killed three soldiers and injured two others during a security patrol early on Saturday, a security official said. The official said the blast targeted a car in Sanaa’s al-Hasaba district, a center of opposition to former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh who was ousted early last year.

Yemeni colonel shot dead in ambush near home: defense ministry
Reuters — 8 July 2013
A Yemeni army commander was shot dead in eastern Yemen on Monday as he was leaving home for work, the Yemeni Defense Ministry website said on Monday. More than 70 military and security officers have been killed in southern and eastern Yemen since 2011 as Islamists exploit a power vacuum and political chaos left by a mass uprising that forced former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

Yemen fights extremism with awareness campaigns
Al-Shorfa — 10 July 2013
Yemeni Minister of Endowments and Guidance Hamoud Abad says extremism and terrorism present an image of Islam that cannot be tolerated. Islam does not promote a culture of death, but rather focuses on life, co-existence, co-operation and peace, he tells Al-Shorfa.  Abad spoke with Al-Shorfa about terrorism, its root causes and Yemen’s strategy to fight it.

Oman seizes more than 30,000 pistols in port transit; report says guns were Yemen bound
AP via Washington Post — 11 July 2013
Oman police say they have seized more than 30,000 pistols aboard a tanker, which a newspaper reports was bound for neighboring Yemen. The seizure comes two years after an Abu Dhabi court sentenced six people for a foiled plot to smuggle 16,000 pistols from Turkey to Shiite rebels in northern Yemen.

Kidnapping on the rise
Yemen Times — 11 July 2013
Fatima Al-Alghbari, a human rights activist, says that these kidnappings have negative long-term effects. Tribesmen, she says, think only on the short-term benefits.  “Kidnapping tourists affects the future of Yemen,” Al-Alghbari says. “Tourists stop visiting Yemen in spite of our amazing tourist sites.” Profits Yemen gained from tourism in 2011 and 2012 dropped in comparison to 2010. Around 874,000 tourists entered Yemen in 2012. In 2009 over one million tourists visited the country, Fatima Al-Horibi, head of the Tourism Promotion Council explained.

National Dialogue:
The spreading sectarian rift
The Economist — 9 July 2013
Yemenis are quick to stress that tension in the far north and in the separatist-inclined south have rather more to do with economics and politics than with religion. The Houthis practise Zaidism, a branch of Shia Islam nearly exclusive to Yemen, whereas the southerners are nearly all Sunni Muslims. Yemen’s Sunnis and Zaidis have usually got on well. Recent deadly clashes north of Sana’a, the capital, between Houthis and Sunni Islamists were largely caused by political and tribal power struggles in which religious affiliation played little role. But the rise of sectarian rivalry, fuelled from afar, has made matters worse. “This is something new to Yemen, something we’ve never seen before,” says a Western-educated scion of a prominent tribal family near Sana’a. “I fear for where this country is heading.”

Southerners commemorate ‘unforgettable black day’
Yemen Times — 8 July 2013
Millions of Southerners gathered in Hadrmout’s Al-Qurnish Square on Sunday to commemorate Southern Land Day which coincided with the nineteenth anniversary of 1994 civil war. Millions of Southerners from various Southern governorates gathered at the massive rally for three days. It was the eighth such gathering since the establishment of the Southern Movement, or Hirak, in 2007. Demonstrators chanted slogans and called for the secession of the South.

A rare idealist in Yemen’s hinterlands
Christian Science Monitor — 9 July 2013
In a part of Yemen where power often seems derived from guns, money, and pedigree, Nasser Muhtam is a rare idealist. Though a scion of a prominent local family – and thus part of a class often dismissed as self-interested keepers of the status quo – he has devoted himself to fighting for change, working to lay the groundwork for a civil society in one of the least developed areas of Yemen. “My dreams are like anyone’s dreams,” he says. “Comprehensive development, people living in safety and security, with peace and dignity.”

NDC Update
Yemen Times — 11 July 2013
Islamists in the National Dialogue Conference, mainly the Islah and the Rashad parties, are trying to revoke their approval of the 30 percent quota for women, however. Women of the conference threatened to withdraw if the quota was revoked.

Civil disobedience paralyzes southern provinces
Yemen Times — 8 July 2013
Civil disobedience paralyzed life in Aden, Lahj, Dhale, Shabwa and Mukalla Provinces. It was in response to calls by the Southern Movement (SM) on the anniversary of 1994 war. The SM in Mukalla was reported to be divided as some loyalists supported the disobedience and others refrained, according to media sources.

Hadi says government must find funding for 20 Points implementation
Yemen Times — 11 July 2013
President Hadi has assigned government officials the task of locating financing for the implementation of the 20 Points as stipulated by the implementation mechanism of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative. The 20 Points include an apology for the country’s civil war in 1994, the government’s wars against Sa’ada, and the immediate release of those who were arrested during that period.

Economy/Governance:
Additional power attacks leave Sana’a in the dark, again
Yemen Times — 11 July 2013
Another attack on Marib Power Gas Station power lines in Marib’s Al-Damashiqa district left Sana’a and other governorates without electricity on Monday. It was the third attack within 24 hours, and it cut all power from the first and second electrical circuits, said Harith Al-Amri, the deputy manager of Public Electricity Corporation.

Over 57 tons of expired, counterfeit goods destroyed
Yemen Times — 8 July 2013
The Capital Secretariat is carrying out another campaign to inspect and weed out expired and counterfeit perishable and non-perishable products. The campaign started in June and will continue throughout Ramadan, said Khalid Al-Khwlani, the director of the Industry and Trade office in Sana’a. The office has also met with major importers of food commodities to ensure that there is no mark-up for the Ramadan season.

Garbage collectors, in search for justice
La Voix du Yemen — 7 July 2013
Many garbage collectors complain today that they are still not officially employed and are only contracted to work receiving between $3.80 to $4 per day.  They work 360 days a year, with no holidays, no social or medical insurance, and the years of work do not count towards promotion.

Media:
Yemen in the Eye of the Beholder
Asharq Al-Awsat — 10 July 2013
Scanning through the recent articles published on Yemen by the international media, we find the usual topics: terrorism, political instability, kidnappings and poverty. By itself, this is not so bad. It would be naïve to expect otherwise: “If it bleeds, it leads” is a rule of thumb for the modern media, and these topics are important and deserve to be covered. However, what is problematic is that to the casual outside observer, this is all there is to Yemen. It is a land of complex political, social, cultural and religious traditions, like every other country, but reduced to a baseline of frightening and seemingly intractable problems. Looking in from the outside, it might seem that Yemen is a basket case that was never destined to be a country for too long anyway.

Justice:
Yemeni prisons in dismal condition
Yemen Times — 11 July 2013
Lawyer and human rights activist Ahmed Arman said that health conditions at Yemeni prisons are some of the worst in the world. Prisons lack water and sanitation, Arman said, and health facilities are not isolated, making them ideal for disease transmission. Prisons are overcrowded, and facilities designed to hold 500 prisoners routinely contain 1,000 inmates or more.

Migrants:
Yemen seeks help for workers returning from Saudi Arabia
Yemen Times — 8 July 2013
Yemeni authorities have requested help from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the 200,000 Yemenis who have returned from Saudi Arabia during the previous three months. In a statement issued on Friday, IOM said that Yemeni authorities have requested shelter, water supplies and vehicles to transfer basic supplies.

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