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127 Somalis evacuated from Yemen by International Organisation for Migration

The Somalis will be evacuated by air to Mogadishu and by sea to Berbera under the project implemented by IOM and by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)

Somali Refugees, VOA

Geneva, November 12, 2016: The International Organisation for Migration have evacuated 127 Somalis fleeing the conflict in Yemen, including women and children, the IOM said on Friday.

The Somalis arrived in Berbera, Somaliland, from Sanaa, Yemen on a boat organised by IOM with financial support from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), IOM stated.

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The successful operation was the first under $10 million KSrelief-funded project and paves the way for a further 2,500 Somali nationals stranded in Yemen to be evacuated over the next seven months, IOM said.

The Somalis will be evacuated by air to Mogadishu and by sea to Berbera under the project implemented by IOM and by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

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Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since a Saudi-led Arab coalition in March 2015 began bombing Shia Houthi rebels who overthrew president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and allied with parts of the Yemeni army have engaged in fighting with forces across the country that are nominally loyal to the exiled president.

International efforts to find a political solution to the war are at an impasse. (IANS)

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Tech Giant Google Refuses to Remove Controversial Saudi App

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have also criticised Google and Apple for allowing the app on their platforms

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google has refused to pull out a controversial government app from Saudi Arabia which lets men track and control women who travel, saying it does not violate its Play Store policies.

According to a report in the Business Insider on Sunday, the tech giant told the office of California Democrat Representative Jackie Speier, who had called for the removal of the app called “Absher”, that the app does not violate its terms of service.

The US Representatives Speier, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and 11 others have demanded that Apple and Google must both remove the app.

Speier called Google’s response “deeply unsatisfactory”.

“The responses received so far from Apple and Google are deeply unsatisfactory. As of today, the Absher app remains available in both the Apple App store and the Google Play Store even though they can easily remove it,” Speier was quoted as saying.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California.

Apple was yet to announce its decision.

Absher allows Saudi users to access government services and also offers features which allow “Saudi men to grant and rescind travel permission for women and to set up SMS alerts for when women use their passports”.

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An earlier report suggested Saudi men could use the app to control female dependents.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have also criticised Google and Apple for allowing the app on their platforms. (IANS)