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January 10, 2007

Who Will Lead Somalia

Somali officials announced today that US airstrikes may have killed a leading Al Qaeda operative. In the capital Mogadishu, violence between insurgents and Ethiopian troops is sending scores of people to the hospitals.

Somalia has been lost in chaos for the past 30 years, but this week's fighting marks a surprising turn of events. Two weeks ago, the Union of Islamic Courts, which had taken control of Somalia from a UN-recognized transitional government, was pushed out by the Ethiopian military. Days later, the US began its air strikes.

Abdurahman Ali Osman grew up in Somalia. As a young man in Mogadishu, he knew some of the kids who would grow up to become Islamist extremists and leaders of the Islamic Courts. For a time, Abdurahman worked as principal advisor to the Somali prime minister--then, this past summer, he switched sides and became a spokesman for the Islamists.

Abdurahman talks with Dick about his belief in making peace through the ancient Somali practices of resolving disputes and why, despite everything, he still has hope for Somalia.



Americans are burying themselves in debt--and that makes big business for debt collectors. Hank Babb has worked the job for 23 years, and he has plenty of stories about how he gets all kind of people to pay up.

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