Their News [Archives:2008/1216/Local News]

December 15 2008

Japan Provides Additional Emergency Aid to the Flood-Affected Population

To alleviate sufferings of those affected by the devastating floods in late October in the south-eastern governorates, and in response to Yemen Floods Response Plan submitted by United Nations and endorsed by the Government of Yemen, the Government of Japan has decided to provide USD 800,000 as additional humanitarian emergency aid to the flood-affected population in Yemen.

The Government of Japan will provide USD 500,000 of this assistance through UNHCR to help covering part of the financing gap of the projects that UNHCR intends to implement. These projects will include distribution of emergency relief items including shelter materials (tents, plastic sheets, mattresses, blankets and shelter kits) and collecting data on the affected population, monitoring access to basic assistance and services for the most in need, and support government program to recover loss documentation.

The other amount of USD 300,000 of this assistance will be provided through UNICEF to help covering part of the financial gap of the projects that UNICEF intends to carry out. These projects are targeted for preventing further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation for vulnerable households in affected areas; improving access to save drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities; reducing avoidable mortality and morbidity; and improving the health and nutritional status of the concerned population. The projects will evaluate child protection needs through establishing child protection monitoring mechanisms and provide services. They will also support the return of children to school in the aftermath of the floods.

It is worth mentioning that the Government of Japan provided last month USD 200,000 worth of emergency items for the flood-affected population in Yemen. These items included large family size tents, sleeping pad, blankets, water purifier and plastic sheets. This makes the total amount of Japanese assistance to the flood-affected population is USD 1,000,000 (one million US dollars).

EC allots Euro19 million to support health, administration in Yemen

The European Commission (EC) allocated on Saturday Euro19 million to support fields of health and public administration in the country.

A press release issued by the EU, made clear that the grant is within the EC annual assistance program to Yemen for 2008 to support two components in theses to fields.

According to the press release, half of the amount (Euro9.5 million) would be appropriated to finance the second phase of the reproductive health and population in governorates of Hajjah, Amran and Mahweet, noting that this program is an expansion to the current EC-financed program in the governorates of Taiz, Lahj and Hodeidah.

The second half of the grant has been allocated for the program of supporting reforms in juvenile's justice, rule of law and administrative reform and aiming at strengthening the capabilities of Yemeni public authorities and civil society in the filed of juveniles' justice in accordance with the United Nation standards.

Former Indonesian Foreign Minister, All Alatas Passed Away

Former Foreign Minister Ali Alatas died of a heart attack on Thursday morning (11th December 2008) at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. He was 76.

Mr. Ali Alatas was born in Jakarta on Nov. 5, 1932. In his late teenage years, Ali became a journalist for the Niewsgierf daily (1952) and worked as an editor for Aneta News Portal (1953-54).

Following his marriage at the age of twenty two, Ali was assigned as Secretary II in Bangkok (1956-1960), after which he held the post of Information and Cultural Relations Director at the Foreign Ministry (1965-66), going on to become a Councilor at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington DC (1966-70).

Upon his return to Indonesia, Ali was again appointed Director of Information and Cultural Relations, a post he held from 1970-72. He was later appointed Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Directorate General (1972-75), following which he became a member of Special Staff and Head of the Foreign Ministry's private secretariat (1975-76).

Ali became the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the UN in Geneva from 1976-78 and, on his return, was Secretary to the Vice President for four years. He was reassigned as Indonesia's Permanent Representative from 1983-87 — this time in New York.

As Foreign Minister from 1988 to 1999, Ali Alatas was the public face abroad during President Soeharto's era. The late Ali Alatas continued as Foreign Minister under Soeharto's successor, B.J. Habibie. He continued to act as foreign policy advisor to successive presidents — Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati Soekarnoputri and now Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Indonesia has a lot to thank him for, as he managed to maintain the nation's standing and integrity in the international community when the country was beset with problems at home that could have sullied its image. His biggest contributions as Indonesia's chief diplomat included helping to negotiate peace in Cambodia and to some extent, the southern Philippines.

He was also the main driver in the development and expansion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the 1990s, which would become one of the most successful regional organizations in the world.

His leadership, personality, character, negotiating skills and articulation helped to bring international accolades for Indonesia.

Last but not least, he was also one of the leading Hadramy communities in Indonesia that surely play an important. In June 2005, he visited Yemen, and had a chance to have a trip to Hadramout as his ancestral hometown in which he was greeted with proud and honor by the people of the town.

The Book of Condolences would be prepared at the Indonesian Embassy in Sana'a starting on Monday, 15th December 2008.

Poynter invites college students to multimedia boot camp

College juniors, seniors, graduate students or recent graduates are sought for an intensive, multimedia boot camp to take place in Florida, in the United States. Deadline to apply: January 30, 2009.

The Poynter Institute will welcome 40 writers, photojournalists, graphic artists, designers, broadcast and multimedia journalists to be fellows through the program, the “Fellowship for College Journalists.”

Fellowships will run from May 17 to 29. Tuition is free, but fellows are responsible for transporation to the U.S., obtaining a visa and paying for housing.

By January 30, interested applicants must send a completed application, which includes a 500-word essay, a bio, one letter of reference from a faculty adviser, and three to five work samples.

World's Press Condemns Travel Restrictions on Arab Journalists

Authorities in Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Syria have prevented four Arab journalists and human rights activists from attending the Arab Free Press Forum, an annual gathering in Beirut, Lebanon, that examines how independent media can be effective despite widepread repression in the region. The travel restrictions drew condemnation from the World Association of Newspapers, the organiser of the event.

“The journalists were prevented from attending to keep them from testifying about press freedom restrictions in their countries,” WAN said in a statement, which condemned the actions and called on the Tunisian, Saudi Arabian and Syrian governments to stop harassing independent journalists and bloggers and allow them to travel and to speak freely.

Airport police in Tunisia on Wednesday prevented journalist Litfi Hidouri and human rights lawyer and writer Mohamed Abbou from boarding a plane to Beirut, where the two-day conference begins on Friday. Mr Hidouri was placed in detention, where he was reportedly still being held Thursday evening, and Mr Abbou was allowed to return to his home. WAN called for the immediate release of Mr Hidouri.

Saudi blogger Fouad Al-Farhan, who was scheduled to speak on a panel examining the changing face of Arab blogging, was prevented from boarding his flight on Wednesday. He had recently been released from prison but was unaware that he was banned from traveling.

Mazen Darwish, Director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, was also prevented from leaving his country. It was the second time he was prevented from attending the Forum.

Mr Abbou and Mr Hidouri were scheduled to participate on a panel that will examine the increased censorship and harassment facing journalists and civil society activists in Tunisia.

The Arab Free Press Forum, organised by WAN and the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, annually draws independent journalists from across the Arab world to Beirut to address the challenges and opportunities facing Arab media. Full details of the conference can be found at

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom and the professional and business interests of newspapers world-wide. Representing 18,000 newspapers, its membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 11 regional and world-wide press groups.

Al Jazeera Goes Into Citizen Journalism

A citizen-journalism upload portal has been launched by Qatar-based Arabic satellite network Al Jazeera, “seeking eyewitness news reports from its vast international audience.” According to an English translation of the project's website, posted by Yelvington's blog, Al Jazeera's aim is to “raise awareness” of issues of public interest and be a “bridge” between peoples and cultures by providing “unbiased coverage of events.”

Yelvington speculates that Al Jazeera “will have quite a challenge protecting itself from fraud and manipulation,” as citizen journalism can be skewed. The network commits itself to “the principles of professionalism in the institutional framework” through a code of conduct, which requires it to present and “provide views and different opinions without bias or partiality to any of them.”

The use of citizen journalism in such a volatile region could lead to the network's exploitation. However, despite the opportunity for false and slanted reporting, citizen journalism also offers an opportunity for the community to express its opinion.

Al Jazeera's code of conduct calls for “transparency” by the network, and requires that all sources be named and verified. Provided that the network follows through with its principles, this project could be a transforming force for the region in both its approach and progression to multimedia.

Islamic Relief Qurbani project

Islamic Relief Yemen with support from IR branches concluded the Qurbani project by which poor families in six governorates benefited from the sheep distribution on the occasion of Al-Adhha Eid. Mahwait, Sa'ada, Sana'a, Ibb, Taiz and Hadramout communities benefited from the 25,425 euro project which provided 339 sheep to be used during Eid Al-Adhah by 1,356 families.

The families were selected according to a field survey targeting the poorest communities in those six governorates and providing them with meat and helping them celebrate the occasion.

Islamic Relief (IR) has been working in Yemen since 1998 on Ramadhan and Qurbani projects. In 2003 IR registered a field office to implement large-scale projects that would have a long-term impact on Yemen's development.

Projects include water, health, orphans support and building partnerships between Muslim organisations and other aid agencies working in Yemen.