Somaliland247's Blog

October 24, 2011

Edna Adan will give a presentation at the upcoming TED conference in Geneva


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Edna Adan will give a presentation at the upcoming TED conference in Geneva

Posted on Oct 23, 2011 in Edna Adan, Hospital News, Somaliland

Edna Adan will give a presentation at the upcoming TED conference in Geneva about her work in service to the women of Somaliland.

She will discuss how she came home to Hargeisa in 1997 from a career at the World Health Organization to find Somaliland’s health care system in ruins. “The ten year Civil war from 1982 to 1991 caused the death of a quarter million of our people and destroyed 95% of the country including schools and hospitals.” And so she decided to build a hospital using her own life savings and her pension.

With our limited resources, we know that country-wide coverage with doctors and graduate midwives will not be possible for a long time which is why we have chosen a low-tech, low-cost and time-effective solution: To train as many Community Midwives as we can, and train them now as a priority!

Edna’s message is, “If Somaliland which is among the least developed countries in Africa can do it, anybody can!”

The live webcast takes place from 4-6pm Geneva time on Sunday 27 November. Remember to watch.

If you’ve never before seen a TED video, then go to their web site www.TED.com and pick any video at random. They’re all very brief and they are all treasures. Edna feels honored to have been chosen for inclusion among such luminaries.

Ednahospital.org : http://www.ednahospital.org/2011/10/edna-at-ted/

Kris plans huge trek for Somaliland hospital

Filed under: NEWS — somaliland247 @ 12:00 pm
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Kris plans huge trek for Somaliland hospital

 

ORMISTON’S Kris McBride is embarking on a 1800km walk across Egypt in January to raise awareness and funding for a maternity hospital in Hargeisa.

Kris said growing up with five sisters provided impetus for the trip, which finishes at the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa.

Kris leaves Cairo on January 2, 2012, heading south to Aswan (900km intending to walk 30km daily), taking the ferry to Wadi Halfa, walking to Atbara in central Sudan, then heading to the Red Sea. He said he intends to catch a boat down the sea to Dijibouti before walking the final 500km.

Kris will be joined by a friend, Chris, from England.

“We have been provided with a video camera from Ink Productions in the UK and a satellite phone from another company. We have also been given a few smaller things, so things are coming together,” Kris said.

He said he was currently seeking more sponsors in order to kit out with trekking boots, a bag and gas cooker.

Kris moved to Ormiston at age eight, and attended Cleveland State High School.

“I am doing what I can to help the female population and highlight the facts facing these women in Somaliland,” he said.

Baysidebulletin: http://www.baysidebulletin.com.au/news/local/news/general/kris-plans-huge-trek-for-somaliland-hospital/2334051.aspx

October 23, 2011

Somaliland needs its independence


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Somaliland needs its independence

 

All three of the Somaliland’s parties adamantly support secession from Somalia, which has been confirmed by a referendum in 2001

By Ahmad Mohamoud Silyano,

October 23, 2011

Drought, famine, refugees, piracy and the violence and terrorism endemic to the shattered city of Mogadishu, a capital ruined by civil war: these are the images that flash through peoples’ minds nowadays when they think of the Horn of Africa. Such perceptions, however, are not only tragically one-sided; they are short-sighted and dangerous.

Behind the stock images of a region trapped in chaos and despair, economies are growing, reform is increasingly embraced, and governance is improving. Moreover, with Yemen’s government imploding across the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa’s strategic significance for maritime oil transport has become a primary global security concern. In short, the Horn of Africa is too important to ignore or to misunderstand.

Of course, no one should gainsay the importance of combating famine, piracy, and militant groups like the Al Shabab. But, at the same time, we have seen my homeland, Somaliland, witness its third consecutive free, fair, and contested presidential election.

In the wider region, too, things are looking up. South Sudan gained its independence this July at the ballot box. And Uganda has discovered large new deposits of oil and gas that will help to lift its economy. After decades of enmities, the peoples and nations of the Horn of Africa are learning how to cooperate and align their interests. For example, Somaliland and Ethiopia are collaborating on the construction of a gas-export pipeline from Ethiopia’s Ogaden region, promising new jobs and income for people in one of the poorest and least-developed parts of the world.

Tolerant society

Although there is much that we can and will do to help ourselves, the Horn of Africa can still benefit from international assistance. But the international community needs to do more than provide food and medicine to victims of famine and drought. We need pro-growth investments that will help provide jobs for our peoples and products and resources for the world. That means focusing on promoting market economies and stable government, rather than subsidising failure and failed states.

Unfortunately, at least with respect to Somaliland, this is not the case. For 20 years, ever since we re-established our independence — we had voluntarily joined with Italian Somaliland to form Somalia in 1960 — the international community has closed its eyes to the successful democracy that we have built. Even more perverse, it appears to be demanding that we abandon the peaceful, tolerant society that we have established and submit to the control of whatever government — if there even is one — rules (or misrules) the remainder of Somalia from the rubble of Mogadishu.

Our successful democratic experiment is being ignored in part because of a hoary ruling a half-century ago by the Organisation of African Unity, the precursor to today’s African Union. Back then, with the recent demise of the colonial empires stoking fears of tribal rivalries and countless civil wars, the OAU ruled that the frontiers drawn up by the imperial powers should be respected in perpetuity.

A 2005 report by Patrick Mazimhaka, a former AU deputy chairman, cast doubt on the application of this rule in Somaliland. As Mazimhaka pointed out, the union in 1960 between Somaliland and Somalia, following the withdrawal of the British and Italian colonial powers, was never formally ratified. But his report has been left in a drawer ever since.

So when should a people be able to declare their independence and gain international recognition? The Palestinians’ decision to take their case to the UN has put this issue on the front burner. International law is of no help here; indeed, the World Court has offered only scant guidance.

The basic principles that I believe should prevail, and which Somaliland meets, are the following:

  • Secession should not result from foreign intervention, and the barriers for recognising secession must be high;
  • Independence should be recognised only if a clear majority (well over 50 per cent-plus-one of the voters) have freely chosen it, ideally in an unbiased referendum;
  • All minorities must be guaranteed decent treatment.
  • All three of Somaliland’s parties adamantly support independence, confirmed overwhelmingly by a referendum in 2001. So there is no question of one clan or faction imposing independence on the others. Yet, although Somaliland is deepening its democracy each day, our people are paying a high price because of the lack of international recognition. World Bank and European Union development money, for example, pours into the black hole that is Somalia, simply because it is a recognised government. Somalilanders, who are almost as numerous as the people of Somalia, are short-changed, getting only a fraction of the money wasted by Somalia.
  • Justice demands that this change. The national interest of most of the world’s powers requires a Somaliland willing and able to provide security along its borders and in the seas off our coasts. Our people are willing. But, to paraphrase former British prime minister Winston Churchill, give us the tools, and the international recognition, so that we can finish the job.

— Project Syndicate, 2011

Ahmad M. Mohamoud Silyano is President of Somaliland.

Somaliland: French Delegation Signals Increased Cooperation


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Somaliland: French Delegation Signals Increased Cooperation

 

French Ambassador to Djibouti Rene Forceville met with President Siilaanyo to discuss economic assistance and trade relations between the two nations.


Somaliland’s President Mr. Ahmed Mohamoud Siilaanyo met with a French delegation today [20 October 2011] that is on a short visit to Somaliland. The meeting took place at the presidential office in Somaliland’s capital of Hargeisa.  Somaliland president briefed the delegate about the general situation in the country.

According to press release issued from the presidential spokesman Mr. Abdilahi Mohamed Daahir ‘Cukuse,’ Somaliland president Mr. Siilaanyo held a high level meeting with French delegation. The meeting was held at the office of the president today as the press release states.

The French delegation is headed by the French ambassador to Djibouti Mr. Rene Forceville.

The ambassador stated that the main aim of their visit was to enhance and upgrade the cooperation and the bilateral relation between Somaliland the French government.

The ambassador further added that his government is keen on assisting Somaliland with development and enhancing private trade.

Somaliland president took the opportunity to brief the delegate about the general situation in the country and the genuine peace and stability that Somaliland has achieved.

The president added that Somaliland has achieved miracles when it comes to maintaining security on the ground and its territorial waters and it is now working hard on achieving genuine development.

Somaliland president hailed the French delegate’s arrival to Somaliland and he seized the chance to demand that the French government as well as the international community provide assistance to Somaliland when it comes to the underscored achievements.

Somaliland president was accompanied by the planning and development Dr. Sacad Ali Shire and the foreign affairs secretary Dr. Mohamed Rashid Sh. Hasan.

The French ambassador to Djibouti Mr. Rene Forceville was accompanied by Renu Morechaux from the French defense ministry and the first secretary at the French embassy to Djibouti, Alexdener Jabet.

article published by JSL Times

October 13, 2011

Raised Catholic, soldier and wife convert to Islam


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Raised Catholic, soldier and wife convert to Islam

By Nancy Montgomery
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 10, 2011

The Tarantinos say converting to Islam has given them new purpose, meaning and guidance in their lives. The adults have given up music and alcohol. The children have given up the tooth fairy and Santa. In their back yard, from left are Andrew and Jayden, and their parents, Chris and Cristina.

MANNHEIM, Germany — They’d both been reared Roman Catholic, she in Mannheim, Germany, he in Kissimmee, Fla.

But when Spc. Chris Tarantino deployed to Iraq in 2006, his wife began to ask questions about life and death that led her to convert to Islam.

“I was really, really scared something was going to happen to him,” said Cristina Tarantino.

She started to wonder what happened after death, she said, and how to best live life on earth.

She was spending time with her older sister, who had converted to Islam after marrying a Palestinian, and she sought her sister’s guidance.

Her sister’s answers about Islam made sense to Cristina and gave her some serenity, she said.

She discussed her spiritual progress with her husband in frequent phone calls between Camp Taji, Iraq, and Mannheim.

Even so, “I was kind of shocked when I heard her say it — ‘I’ve accepted Islam,’” Chris, now a sergeant, said.

His first question was whether she had begun wearing a hijab. She wasn’t ready yet, she said. But he didn’t ask her a lot, he said. “I asked for guidance in my prayers.”

And by last year, the second time he deployed to Iraq, the blond, blue-eyed soldier had also become a Muslim. He decided not to hide it.

“I went to Kuwait and bought a prayer rug and started praying right there,” he said. “I saw it wasn’t the end of the world to say I was a Muslim.”

During the past decade of fighting in Muslim countries, some soldiers occasionally have to battle perceptions that Muslims are hostile to the military they serve.

Chris enlisted in the Army in 1998, before radical Islamists attacked New York and Washington, D.C., and the U.S. went to war in two Muslim nations. He said he’d never had any feelings, positive or negative, about Muslims, even when heading to Iraq.

“All I knew was we were going to combat terrorism,” he said. “As a soldier, I just did what I was told. They say ignorance is bliss. I guess I was ignorant.”

Then, as his wife grew more religious and he was drawn with her to a Sunni mosque in Mannheim, he said the whole idea of radical, violent jihad against the West seemed utterly wrong.

“I follow the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. What the prophet Muhammad teaches does not condone that,” Chris said. “I don’t associate myself with radicalism whatsoever.”

But his situation is unusual: He’s the only U.S. soldier at his German mosque, one of the few Muslims in the Army and one of even fewer Muslim soldiers who are not from a traditionally Muslim family or African-American.

“I have to say that I’ve met zero that are of my race,” he said. And although the couple’s conversion is personal, not political, his views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and war in general, have changed.

“As Muslims, we believe that if you kill one innocent person, it’s as if you’ve killed the entire world. But if you save one person, you save the entire world,” said Chris, who is in the Signal Corps and works on communications equipment. “I want to be on the side that’s helping.”

As part of that idea, the couple helped start a non-profit group to send food and medical supplies to Somalia, a failed state undergoing the worst famine in decades.

Since 2006, the country has faced an insurgency led by al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group that controls much of southern Somalia.

See Convert on Page 5

The famine, caused by drought, war, restrictions on aid groups and continuous chaos, has pushed 4 million Somalis — more than half the population — into “crisis,” according to the United Nations. Some 750,000 are at risk of death in the next few months, the U.N. says.

“The unfortunate reality is that Somalia is the most difficult operating environment for humanitarians in the world today,” Nancy Lindborg, USAID’s assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, wrote on the U.S. State Department official blog. “Access continues to be denied by Al-Shabaab and other armed groups, creating an indefensible situation where they would rather put hundreds of thousands of Somali lives in jeopardy than allow humanitarian aid in.”

But the Tarantinos and others at Al-Faruq Omar Mosque felt they had to do something.

Cristina was one of seven people from their mosque who formed a group called IslamischerHumanitaererEntwicklungsdienst, or the Islamic Humanitarian Development Service(www.IHED.de)

In just a few weeks, the charity had collected and put onto pallets 135 tons of food and medical supplies, Cristina said. Her husband provided some of the muscle.

“I help when there’s a load to be carried,” he said.

It was all collected, organized and carried during Ramadan, when Muslim adults don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. “You’re talking about some guys who were completely kaput,” Chris said.

The food and supplies were picked up from a warehouse near Cologne and shipped by sea late last month. Cristina said the supplies would arrive in northern Somalia in the beginning of November, then be driven to the central region for distribution. Another charity, Human Plus, found sponsors to pay for transporting the supplies, which cost about 40,000 euros or $57,400.

At home, the Tarantinos continue to study their new faith and seek to live it as fully as they can.

Cristina wears the hijab when she leaves the house, as well as a long skirt and long sleeves. In Germany, her clothes rarely raise an eyebrow. At their mosque, for instance, “there are so many German converts,” she said, mostly women. There are also Moroccans, Bosnians, Poles and Russians.

The family lives on base, and when she goes to the commissary, people stare at her. “I feel like an astronaut,” she said. “Last time, when I went with my sister, they asked her if she was there to work,” she continued, explaining that some Turkish women wearing hijabs clean the local schools.

“I tell my husband, ‘They probably think you brought me from Iraq.’”

But her husband has never had a problem with acceptance. Soldiers in his unit, the 72nd Signal Battalion rear detachment, know he’s a Muslim. “I’d stop for prayer. I’d talk to them about Islam because it’s my chance to do a good deed,” he said.

“At first, they were – “What?” “You are?” “Really?”’ he said. After, they’d say, “Sgt. Tarantino, it’s prayer time.’ They were respectful,” he said.

Only once did he get a bad reaction. He greeted a “brother,’’ another Muslim soldier, and an African-American, by saying in Arabic, “Peace be upon you.”

“And the other soldier said, “Shhh,’” Chris said.

He plans to get out of the Army within the next year and move the family to the United States. Cristina plans to continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in communications, and her husband plans to continue his studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

“The same stuff I’ve been trained to do. Just without a gun,” he said.

The couple met on base in Mannheim more than a decade ago. They’ve been married three times: Once at city hall, once in church and the last time at their mosque.

One of the hardest things about their conversion had to do with their two young sons. “We were like, ‘What do we tell the kids?’’’ Cristina said. “So, gradually there was no tooth fairy, no Santa Claus. … They took it very well.”

Chris gets a little uncomfortable when the discussion gets around to the afterlife, the promise to men of multiple virgins, and the possibility of his taking more wives in the future. His wife made it clear where she stands.

“It’s an option, but it doesn’t mean it’s an option you should take,” Cristina said. “I have to say we’re very Europeanized that way.”

montgomeryn@estripes.osd.mil

Source: Stripes.com: http://www.stripes.com/news/raised-catholic-soldier-and-wife-convert-to-islam-1.157423

October 6, 2011

Somaliland: BBC World Services interview with Hasan Giire, one of the founders of ExtendedBITS

Filed under: NEWS — somaliland247 @ 2:37 am
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Somaliland: BBC World Services interview with Hasan Giire, one of the founders of ExtendedBITS

BBC World Services  interview with Hasan Giire, one of the founders of ExtendedBITS Aired On Tuesday September 27, 2011

Hasan Giire is Dutch Somalilander

VIDEO

Full Interview Transcript:



Journalist:

We go to Somaliland now, because Somaliland would like you to know that its open for business. And it doesn’t suffer at all of famine and/or pirates. While Somalia keep being one of the best illustrations in the world of a failed state. Tragically unable to deal famine and no government to deal with warfare. The northern breakaway region know as Somaliland is carefully developing it’s economy. It isn’t recognized as a sovereign state by anyone, but today a Dutch company is setting up a software business in Somaliland. The man behind extended bits as the company is called is a IT-engineer based in Utrecht Hasan Giire.

Hasan:

We set a private limited company in the Netherlands and we set up a limited company in Somaliland. Our company in Somaliland is an IT-factory.  What we do there is we build software and we test software. What we are doing is that our Dutch office will do the preparation and in Somaliland our employees will execute the test cases that we prepared for them.

Journalist :

What is the benefit of doing it in Somaliland? Is this classic outsourcing, you are finding the cheapest place to do the job.

Hasan:

No, the idea behind this business is Somaliland, more than 70% of the people don’t have work. And when people, when a young person graduates, they only think about leaving the country. What we want to prevent is those kids leaving their own country.

Jounalist:

Isn’t it difficult to convince international capital to go and invest in a country that after all isn’t recognized by most of the international community?

Hasan:

I was expecting this question. The way we set up our business is that our customer or our investor are doing business with a Dutch company.

Journalist:

So it’s you the Dutch company that takes the risk of dealing with Somaliland? You insulate your customers from that risk.

Definitely, In Somaliland all is in the private path. In the city we are setting this business up, in the city of Borama, there are four different companies providing electricity. The internet or telecommunication is provided by five or six different companies. Compared to a lot of other African countries the rate of internet connection or the rate of calling internationally is cheaper than all the eastern African countries.

Journalist:

What would you want? Presumably Somaliland would want more investment from big international companies. Are there any big names that would consider investing in Somaliland?

Hasan:

To give you an example: the Coca Cola company is investing  10 million dollars in bottling plants. Now a days you see Chinese companies investing in Somaliland. You see Malaysian companies investing in Somaliland. In the part of Somaliland where I’m coming from that is the outer region, we set up more than 26 primary schools, we set up a boarding school, we set up a secondary school. All that was financed by the people in the Diaspora. In Somaliland there are twelve universities.

Journalist:

What you are describing is something that goes completely against what most people would say, don’t you find it frustrating when people say to you Somaliland; that is where no government is and its full of pirates.

Hasan: 

Laughs. The funny thing is when I start telling them I’m from Somaliland, they don’t understand. To make them understand I tell them it is the quiet part of Somalia.

http://www.extendedbits.com/

ExtendedBITS: Building a bridge between Somaliland and Europe


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ExtendedBITS: Building a bridge between Somaliland and Europe

By Bertil van Vugt 

Every month the VC4Africa team places a new venture in the spotlights. Now we will meet Hasan Giire, one of the founders of ExtendedBITS.

Can you please describe your venture?

ExtendedBITS is an international enterprise with the headquarter in the Netherlands and a software factory in Somaliland. Our business model is providing Dutch and later European companies with (extra) IT-resources. Our office in Somaliland employs young IT-professionals. Those specialists will be working as an extension for their Dutch clients. Our office in the Netherlands serves as the contact point for our clients. All agreement between our company and clients is subject to Dutch laws.

We strongly believe that quality software will drive development. The value of the finished product and the satisfaction of the client are based on the quality insurance throughout the entire project cycle: from requirements to design, from design to development and from development to acceptance of the product. Clear and transparent communication between the parties is therefore imperative. We are providing dedicated professionals for short and long periods of time.”

Can you explain about the current situation in Somaliland?

“Until 1960 Somaliland was a English colony. And when the area became independent from Britain, it was part of Somalia until 1991. After the civil wars in the country, Somaliland decided to be independent from the rest of the country but is not yet a recognized country by the international community. Most people are not aware that Somaliland is a stable country in the region, so they expect risks in investing in our company. We need to tell them about the situation and the fact that there is a local, good functioning government. To give an example, Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft-drink maker, plans to set-up a bottling plant in the breakaway republic of Somaliland, saying its stability and economic growth provide “conducive” conditions for investment.

There is a free market in Somaliland; utilities like electricity and the telecommunication is in the hand of private companies. In every city, there is more than one company providing those services. Compared to other African countries, Somaliland possesses the best and cheapest rate for telecommunication  (telephone and internet) connection.  Also, the government stimulates business to flourish. The registration of a company can be done within three days. Most of African countries, registration of a company take something like 20 to 40 days.

The people of Somaliland decided to construct their country, set up schools and universities. Every region has one or more universities. Currently more than 2000 students graduate each year from those local universities and high education institutes. Life in there is pleasant if one have work and income. The weather is always good and the people are very friendly.”

Can you tell us about your cooperation with the Eelo University in Borama?

“Intellectuals from the Awdal region set up Eelo University in 2007 and it is specialized in the field of engineering. Our cooperation is the extension of IT-knowledge within the country. First; ExtendedBITS will be the future employer of the graduated students of Eelo University. In the second phase, we will provide extra curriculum activities to the students.”

Who are your clients?

“Our clients are small and medium size IT-companies in the Netherlands that are needing extra resources to implement projects in time. Currently Dutch companies complain about the lack of professional workers in the field of engineering and that is why they outsource the work to Indian or other firms to alleviate this situation. ExtendedBITS is capable to deliver quality, flexibility and cheap hourly rate. Our young professional are eager to establish a decent life in their country and are therefore willing to make the extra miles. The management of the company is from both The Netherlands and Somaliland.  We understand the language and business culture of both countries.”

What are the main questions possible investors have when you talk to them?

“Our strength is that we do not depend on external investments to start our business. At this moment we are about to start with our first assignment and the income of this project will cover our costs. But of course a financial injection will help us to grow more quickly and speed up the international certification process.”

How can members of VC4A contact you?

“Members can contact me via my VC4Africa profile, e-mail: hasan_giire [at] yahoo.com  or  info [at] extendedbits.com and skype: hasan.giire. Also see our website: http://www.extendedbits.com

Source: Venture Capital for Africa:-http://vc4africa.biz/blog/2011/09/23/extendedbits-building-a-bridge-between-somaliland-and-europe/

October 5, 2011

Somaliland sends first humanitarian mission to Somalia

Filed under: NEWS — somaliland247 @ 8:17 pm
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Somaliland sends first humanitarian mission to Somalia

A humanitarian delegation from the Republic of Somaliland donated relief aid for 9,000 drought-displaced families in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, during a recent visit. It was the first such visit since the region declared unilateral independence from the rest of the country in 1991.

“We plan to distribute food for 9,000 families and medicine for four hospitals,” Hasan Abdi Awed, chairman of Somaliland’s chamber of commerce and leader of the eight-member delegation, said on 30 September. “The food we are distributing will last the beneficiary families one month.”

Awed said the Somaliland government had announced in late August that it would participate in the international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Somalia, which has been hit by famine and drought across most of its south-central regions.

Mohamed Shugri Jama, a spokesman for the delegation, told a news conference in Hargeisa before the visit: “We collected about $700,000 donated by the people and the government of Somaliland, and we have split into two delegations, one will be in Mogadishu distributing the food aid there, while another will go to the refugee camps [in Dadaab] in Kenya.”

Receiving the Somaliland delegation at Mogadishu’s airport, the city’s governor and mayor, Mohamed Ahmed Nur Tarsan, said: “We are glad to receive the delegation from Somaliland, which is here in response to the humanitarian crisis. It is not the amount of their contribution that matters but their empathy is more important.”

Somaliland, in the north of the country, is a former British protectorate that joined Italian Somaliland to form the Republic of Somalia in 1960. In 1991, the north-western region declared its independence from the rest of Somalia and has enjoyed relative stability and peace unknown in Mogadishu.

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