Cheap mobile phones transforming society in Somalia

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Somali courtship used to be an elaborate process in which clan elders decided on pairings and the prospective groom was required to pay a hefty bride price to his betrothed's father. But now, with dirt cheap cell phones available everywhere -- one of the odd quirks of an economy that hasn't been regulated at all for two decades of anarchic civil war -- couples can elope much more easily. Meanwhile, one of the groups contending for control of the country, the Islamist Al Shabaab militia, is banning musical ringtones in the territory it controls.

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