Archive for the ‘Ethiopian News’ Category

The dictator and his sidekick

Monday, May 12th, 2008

By Yilma bekele

Two of my favorite characters were in the news last week. I do not think they know each other. I am sure of that. But they were both in the news. One was pleading for his life in jail somewhere in the Iraqi desert. His African counterpart was duplicating his past deeds and misdeeds. You know sooner or later he is going to find himself in the same predicament as the Iraqi prisoner. Some of us do not learn from history. Some people think they think they are an exception. ‘That won’t happen to me’ syndrome. Anyway I was surprised to read the small headline in the second page way down at the bottom, ‘Tariq Aziz goes on trial in Baghdad.’ Good old Tariq is still around. I had completely forgotten him.

Let me refresh your memory. His Excellency Tariq Aziz was the former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq. For some reason he is always the Deputy. We have no idea who the Prime Minister was. Tariq Aziz was an advisor to Saddam Hussein, and the ‘voice of Iraq’ to the outside world. Saddam was not much of an English speaking urbane and savvy leader. He did not care for the foreign press.

Saddam was a Sunni Muslim from the central part of Iraq. His father left before he was born. His stepfather was a brutal person and Saddam left home and was raised by his uncle. He drooped out of Law School and joined the Iraqi Ba’ath Party. In 1959, with the backing of the CIA and US intelligence he took part in an attempt to assassinate the head of state General Qassim. The coup failed. Saddam’s next attempt in 1968 was a success and he was appointed Deputy President and Deputy Chairman of the party’s ‘Revolutionary Command Council.’ He consolidated his power and became President of Iraq in 1979.

Saddam and Tariq Aziz met in the 50’s as activists in the Ba’ath Party. When Saddam assumed the presidency, Tariq Aziz became Information Minister. The madman and his sidekick were inseparable. One was prone to moments of irrational action while the other will dutifully try to explain the logic of the madness.

In June of 1972 Iraq nationalized all the assets of the western oil companies. (http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/5873nation.htm) The Oil crisis took place in 1973. The price of oil had a dramatic increase. Iraqi economy was booming. Education, health and welfare showed a marked difference and Iraq was becoming the envy of the Arab world. Politically, Iraq was weaning itself from the ‘iron fist’ of the West and forging closer ties to the ‘Soviet bloc’. Iraq became a member of the ‘non aligned bloc’ of countries.

It was under these circumstances our friend Saddam assumed the presidency. The most logical and rational policy would have been ‘steady as she goes’. Build up the education system and the infra structure of the country and lay a solid foundation for future growth. Unfortunately matters took a wrong turn.

Saddam of Tikrit village was not born to lead positively. The aphrodisiac of power went to his head. He believed his own press and the sycophants around him. He was viewed as the most intelligent Iraqi alive. The year he became president was the year the Shah was overthrown in Iran. Iran was in turmoil. Saddam thought he saw an opportunity to control the Gulf. He invaded Iran. Bad mistake. Iran fought back with everything it got. The war went on for eight years. Iraq lost miserably. It was stuck with $75 billion debt with its economy in ruins.

Saddam was in debt to western banks and rich Arab monarchy’s. The price of oil was dropping and his economy was in trouble. His response was to invade Kuwait. He figured he can control the oil fields and decrease production at the same time forgive himself of his debt to Kuwait.

This became his undoing. The west helped him to come to power. They encouraged him with his war against Ayatollah Khomeini and Islamic power. He was doing their dirty job. They turned a blind eye when he used poison gas against both Iran and his own Kurdish minority. They forgave his human right abuse so long as he did not join the Soviet camp.

Control of the vast Kuwaiti oil field was a no no. Friend Saddam became public enemy number one. All his past transgressions were brought up. There was no lack of evidence. All those massacres, tortures and corruption came back to bite him. He was no longer the ‘enlightened’ leader. No more the ‘bulwark’ against communism. Just a two bit dictator made into playing cards ‘wanted dead or alive’ poster boy.

So we come back to Tariq Aziz. Since the Ba’athist days he stuck with Saddam. First he was the “Information Minister’ then Deputy Prime Minister. He gave interviews and tried to make sense of all the irrational and bizarre acts of Saddam. He had the toughest job in the world. In one of his interviews he said ‘Saddam Hussein is my friend and my leader. But I have to be honest in my description of this man. Saddam Hussein is really a special leader. He cares about everything concerning the life of the people, and the development of the country. He gets interested in any minute detail when it concerns the fate of the country.’

Today Tariq Aziz is a jail in a US run prison camp somewhere in the Iraqi desert. The evidence against him is his signature on a paper ordering the execution of Iraqi citizens found guilty by Saddam’s court. As we all know Saddam was hanged unceremoniously. Aziz is waiting his turn.

What brought all this was an interview with special advisor to the PM of Ethiopia Ato Bereket Semeon. When asked about the PM running for the fourth time he is quoted to have said ‘I think that is the right signal that he can give. He is a loyal soldier and leader of the party who is exemplary in everything. It is for the EPRDF to decide on each one of our fates because we are soldiers of the party. I do not think that we, as individuals, can decide where we work; the culture of the EPRDF is such that any member takes his assignment whether it is to his liking or not and delivers on his task. That has been the case in the past and it will remain so in the future. The party does not believe that the Prime Minister has finished his job. None of us believes that; he has a lot to do and he is capable of doing a lot of things. The party knows its strategic interests and we will adhere to them.’

Well said Ato Bereket, but this proximity to the PM might pay negative dividends in the long run. The once mighty have this tendency to fall from grace with changing of the priorities of the ferenji masters. What is considered a friend is described as a fiend tomorrow. The fernjis have this nasty habit of freezing all accounts and investments, denying of residency permits and even hauling their former allies in front of the International Tribunal in The Hague. No one is immune. Aziz used to wine and dine with President Ronald Regan, Cyrece Vance, US Secretary of State, the Pope and other notables. Today he is dining in a small cell using aluminum plates and plastic forks. Watch and learn.

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The writer can be reached at yilma@pacbell.net

VIDEO: Woyanne official flees after extorting huge sums

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Kinijit Dallas opposes giving Ethiopian land to Sudan

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

The Kinijit Support Group in Dallas, Texas, has issued the follwing statement opposing the illegal land give away of Ethiopian land to Sudan.

መሐል ዳር እንዳይሆን

ከዳላስ ቅንጅት ድጋፍ ቻፕተር የተሰጠ መግለጫ

የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ፀር እና ባላንጣ የሆነው የወያኔ ኢሀአዴግ ፋሽስታዊ አስተዳደር ገና ከመነሻው የጀመረውን አገርንና ህዝብን የመከፋፈል አባዜ በመቀጠል ለዘመናት ተከባብሮ፤ ተስማምቶና ተግባብቶ የኖረውንና በጋራ መተሳሰብ ፤ መረዳዳት እና በጽኑ ወዳጅነት ላይ የተገነባውን የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ እንድነት ለመናድ በጎሳ እና በዘር እየከፋፈለ እንዱ ወገን ከሌላው ጋር እንዲጋጭ እና ህዝቡ እርስ በርሱ እንዳይተማመን ለማድረግ የሚሽርበው ሴራ እና እፀያፌ ድርጊት በሰፊው ቀጥሎ ባለበት ባሁኑ ወቅት ይኽው እረመኔ መንግስት በህዝቡ ላይ የግፍ እገዛዝ ቀንበሩን ከጫነበት ጊዜ እንስቶ እስካሁን ህዝቡን ብፋሽስታዊ እገዛዙ ከማሰቃየቱም ሌላ እገርን ቆርሶ ለባእዳን የመስጠት ደባውንም ቀጥሎበታል።

ሁላችንም እንደምናውቀው ከዚህ በፊት ኤርትራንና የባህር ክልላችንን ያለምንም ህዘበ-ውሳኔ በራሱ ፈቃድ ብቻ ለፈጣሪዎቹ ለኤርትራ ገንጣዮች አሳልፎ በመስጠቱ ይኽው ዛሬ በባህር ንግድና በወደቦቿ ታዋቂ የነበረችው ሐገራችን ወደበ-አልባ ሆና የጎረቤት አገሮችን ወደቦች በመጠቀም ለነዚህ ሀገራት የወደብ ግልጋሎት ፣ የ ጉሙሩክ እና ኤክሳይዝ ቀረጥ ሲሳይ ለመሆን በቅታለች ። ይህም ብቻ አይደለም ወያኔ የሰሜናዊ ትግራይ ግዛት የሆነውንና ከሁሉም የኢትዮጵያ ግዛቶች የተውጣጡ ከ 70 ሺህ በላይ ኢትዮጵያውያን መ ለዮ ለባሾች የተሰውበትን ባድመን አስመልከቶ ከሻብያ ጋር በተነሳው የግዛት ይገባኛልጥያቄ ላይ ውሳኔ ለመስጠት በሄግ ተሰይሞ በነበረው አለም አቀፍ ፍርድ ቤት፣ ወያኔ ያለበቂ ጥናት ዝግጅትና ማስረጃ ለይስሙላ ብቻ ለክርክር በመቅረቡ እነሆ የዓለም እቀፉ ፍርድ ቤት ባድመ የኤርትራ ግዛት እንደሆነች አድርጎ ፈርዳል።

ይህ በእንዲህ እያለ ሰሞኑን ደግሞ አንድ አስገራሚና አሳዛኝም የሆነ ጉዳይ ተፈጥሮ በሐገር ውስጥም ሆነ በዓልም ዙሬያ ያሉ ኢትዮጵያውያንን በሰፊው እያነጋገረ እያስቆጣና ምናልባትም ኢትዮጵያውያን በዘረኛው አገዛዝ ላይ ላንዴና ለመጨረሻ ጊዜ የማያዳግም እርምጃ እንዲውስዱ እየገፋፋ ይገኛል፣ ይኸውም ጉድይ የ 1600 ኪ/ሜ ርዝመትና ከ 30-50 ኪ/ሜ የጎን ስፋት ያለውንና ከሰሜናዊ ጎንደር አካባቢ ጅምሮ አስከ ጋምቤላ ድረስ የሚዘልቀውን የኢትዮጵያ ለም መሬት ለሱዳን መንግስት አሳልፎ መስጠቱ ነው። ይህ አይነቱ የወያኔ ተግባር ከ ሐገር ክህደት ወንጀል ተነጥሎ የሚታይ አይደለም። ውያኔ ዝም ከተባለና በዚሁ ከቀጠለ እገሪቷን በየአቅጣጫው ቆራርጦና በጣጥሶ በመቸብቸብ መሃል ዳር እንዲሆን ካማድርግ አይመለስም። ስለሆንም “መሃል ዳር እንዳይሆን” መላው የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ እንደቀድሞው ሁሉ ዛሬም እምቢ ለሃገሬ ለዳር ድንበሬ ብሎ ክንዱንና አንድነቱን አስተባብሮ በግፈኛው አገዛዝ ላይ መነሳቱና የግዛት አንድነቱንና ሰብአዊ ክብሩን ከማስጠበቅ ሌላ አማራጭ ይኖረዋል ብሎ መገመት የዋህነት ይሆናል።

በዳላስ እና ፎርትዎርዝ የቅንጅት ለአንድነትና ለ ዲሞክራሲ ፓርቲ ድጋፍ ቻፕተር በወያኔ መልካም ፈቃድ ለሱዳን የተሰጠውን የኢትዮጵንያ ግዛት በሚመለከት ይህ ድርጊት ፍጹም ሃላፊነት የጎደለውና ከሃገር ክህደት ወንጀል ተለይቶ የማይታይ በሃገር ላይ የተፈጸመ ደባ መሆኑን በማመን የከረረ ተቃውሞውን ያሰማል ። ከዚህም በተጨማሪ ይህን አምባገነናዊ የወያኔ ኢህአዴግ አሳፋሪና በሃገር ዳር ድንበር ላይ የተቃጣ ሴራ ለማጋለጥ እና የሱዳን መንግስትም በህገወጥ መንገድ ከያዘው የኢትዮጵያ ግዛት በአስቸኳይ ለቆ እንዲወጣ በሚደረገው ሁለገብ ጥረትና ትግል ሁሉ የበኩሉን ድርሻ በቆራጥነት ለመወጣት ዝግጁ መሆኑን አበክሮ አየገለፀ፣ በሐገር ውስጥም ሆነ በውጭ ሐገር የምንገኝ ኢትዮጵያውያን እንዲሁም መላው የኢትዮጵያ መለዮ ለባሽ ይህንን የወያኔ አሳፋሪ ድርጊት ለማጋለጥ እና በህገ-ወጥ መንገድ ግዛታችንን የያዘው የሱዳን ጦርም አካባቢን ለቆ እንዲወጣና ከመሬታችው ላይ በግፍ የተነሱትና የደረሱበት ያልታወቀው ወገኖቻችን ወደ ነበሩበት ቀያቸው እንዲመለሱ ለማስቻል ከመቸውም ጊዜ ይልቅ አሁን የተባበረ ክንዳችንን በወያኔው ዘረኛ አገዛዝ ላይ ማንሳት እንደሚገባ ለማስገንዘብ ይወዳል።

ድል ለ ኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ!!!!

በዳልስ የቅንጅት ለአንድነትና ለዲሞክራሲ ፓርቲ ድጋፍ ቻፕተር
ዳላስ ሜይ10/2008

Ethiopian opposition leader to make major announcement

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Addis Ababa Mayor-Elect Dr Berhanu Nega and colleagues are preparing to make a major announcement next Wednesday in Washington DC, about their future political move. They have scheduled a press conference at the Ethiopian Television Network’s studio on May 14 at 10:00 AM. All Ethiopian and other media are invited to the press conference.

According to sources close to Dr Berhanu, the group will announce the formation of a new political movement that will aim to bring about an end to the Woyanne bloody regime in collaboration with other Ethiopian organizations, including those that are waging armed struggle.

The press conference will be aired live via Ethiopian Review Radio Network, Ethiopian Current Affair Discussion Forum, and other media.

VOA, DW, EriTV, Addis Dimts and other radio programs are also expected to air the press conference to their audience in Ethiopia.

Queen of Sheba's palace discovered in Ethiopia

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

By Catherine Hickley

(Bloomberg) — A team of archaeologists from the University of Hamburg said they discovered the Queen of Sheba’s palace and an altar that may have once held the Ark of the Covenant in Axum, Ethiopia.

A Christian king built a new palace over the 10th-century B.C. structure, which probably didn’t survive for very long, the university said in a statement. The altar, oriented toward the star Sirius, has two columns and may have been where the Ark of the Covenant, the holiest treasure of early Judaism, was kept until the first temple was built in Axum, the researchers said.

“The special significance of this altar must have been handed down over centuries,” the statement said. “This is shown by the many sacrifices found around this spot.”

The Ark of the Covenant, featured in the Indiana Jones movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” was kept in Jerusalem for centuries, according to the Old Testament. After Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians in the 6th century B.C., the ark’s fate isn’t documented in the Bible and it entered the realm of legend.

Ethiopian Christians contend that the ark left Jerusalem much earlier — during the realm of Solomon — and was brought to Ethiopia, where it has long been enshrined in a church and is now accessible only to its guardian, a monk. This theory was explored by the British author Graham Hancock in “The Sign and the Seal.”

Fate of the Ark

The Hamburg team led by Helmut Ziegert has for nine years been investigating the origins of the Ethiopian state and the Ethiopian orthodox church. The central purpose of the field trip was to find out how Judaism arrived in Ethiopia in the 10th century B.C., and to seek clues to the present location of the Ark of the Covenant, the university said.

The palace built over the Queen of Sheba’s home was also aligned with the star Sirius, the statement said. The researchers conjecture that the second palace was built by Menelik, who, legend has it, was the son of Sheba and King Solomon.

The results of the Hamburg field trip suggest that together with Judaism and the Ark of the Covenant, a cult worshipping Sirius came to Ethiopia and practiced its religion until about 600 A.D., the university said.

According to the Old Testament, God ordered Moses to build the Ark of the Covenant, a box made of acacia wood and plated with gold. It is believed to have contained the tablets listing the Ten Commandments.
————————-
To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Hickley in Berlin at chickley@bloomberg.net.

Sudanese government hunts rebels after attack on Khartoum

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) – A curfew in the Sudanese capital has been lifted a day after Khartoum was assaulted by rebels.

That’s according to state-run radio in Sudan. It also reports that a curfew remains in effect in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman, where rebels are said to be still on the loose. Extra checkpoints are still in place throughout Khartoum.

The surprise assault late Saturday is the closest Darfur rebels have ever come to Sudan’s seat of government, which is hundreds of miles from their bases in the far west of the country.

Sudan’s government has issued several statements claiming to have crushed the rebels.

Sudan has also severed relations with Chad, which it accuses of supporting the fighters.

————————-

Last Darfur rebels leave capital, officials say

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – The last of the Darfur rebel forces left Sudan’s capital on Sunday after unprecedented battles in the Khartoum suburb of Omdurman, a government official and a security source said.

“All rebel forces have now left the capital,” Mutrif Siddig, the under-secretary at Sudan’s Foreign Ministry, told Reuters.

A security source from Umm Bedda, the furthest outlying reach of west Omdurman, said rebels had retreated to some 70 km (45 miles) outside the city.

Searches continued inside Khartoum for individuals thought to be insiders due to meet the rebels who fought their way into Omdurman with about 70 vehicles on Saturday afternoon.

“And even those are being chased down by security forces,” Siddig added. Dozens of people were being arrested throughout the capital.

No one was available to comment from the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). On Sunday morning, a JEM commander told Reuters they were in more outlying areas of Omdurman. But no shooting has been heard there since late morning. (Reporting by Opheera McDoom)

———————-
Sudan cuts Chad ties after Darfur rebel attack

KHARTOUM (AFP) — Sudan on Sunday severed diplomatic ties with Chad, accusing Ndjamena of backing a first Darfur rebel assault on Khartoum, and slapped a multi-million dollar price on the head of the alleged mastermind.

The government said it had repulsed the assault by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), allegedly backed by Ndjamena, which saw the insurgents reach Khartoum’s outskirts with the declared intent of toppling the regime.

“We are forced to sever diplomatic relations with this regime” in Chad, President Omar al-Beshir said on state television following the attack on the capital’s twin city of Omdurman just across the river Nile.

“We place the entire responsibility for this attack on Chad,” he said, dressed in his field marshal’s fatigues.

Chad said it regretted Khartoum’s decision, denied any involvement in the attack and condemned a raid on the Chadian embassy. “Chad can only take note of this hasty decision with regret,” said the government in a statement.

Uniformed Sudanese men ransacked the Chadian mission in Khartoum, taking away documents and computer equipment, it added.

The Darfuri attack in broad daylight, one day after Khartoum warned that rebels were marching towards the capital, marks the first time regional rebels have ever brought decades of violence so close to the seat of Sudanese power.

A senior official in the military command told the state SUNA news agency that 250 million pounds (123 million dollars) would be paid to anyone who arrests JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim or provides information on his whereabouts.

Beshir convened an emergency session of the national security council, which included Salva Kiir, the leader of south Sudan that fought its own two-decade civil war until reaching a power-sharing agreement with Khartoum.

Government forces were on Sunday hunting down remnant rebel forces all over the capital and in neighbouring states, rounding up arms and explosives.

The official SUNA news agency said the Sudanese military had killed a leading JEM commander, had chased down, fought and wiped out a 45-man rebel force 50 kilometres (31 miles) from western Omdurman and arrested 300 rebels.

Omdurman remained under curfew but restrictions were lifted elsewhere. The Egyptian news agency MENA said Khartoum international airport was closed and commercial airlines told passengers that flights to Sudan were cancelled.

There were no clear indication from either side on casualty numbers.

JEM’s deputy chief of staff Suleiman Sandal said that his forces had taken Omdurman but were having trouble with the urban fighting environment having come from the desert of Darfur, and had suffered deaths and injuries.

“This is the first time for them to fight in towns and now we are gathering our troops and thinking about what we’re doing,” he told AFP.

He said his forces had been prevented from crossing a key bridge into Khartoum overnight after taking three days to drive from Darfur in a convoy of 400 vehicles in order to depose the regime.

Sudan and Chad have long accused each other of backing rebels seeking to topple their respective regimes.

Foreign ministry official Ali Yousif said that Sudan had evidence of communication between the rebels, the Chad government and the Chadian embassy in Khartoum. He said five or six Chadian diplomats were expected to leave.

One Omdurman resident told AFP he could see smashed cars in the streets and plumes of smoke rising after a night of fighting.

“Up until six o’clock (0300 GMT) this morning there was very heavy bombardment. I can see smoke out of the window and smashed cars from the roof of the building,” said the father of one.

“We’re just being told to stay in and keep a low profile,” a US diplomat said, also asking not to be named.

In February, rebels allegedly backed by Khartoum advanced as far as the gates of the presidential palace in Ndjamena before being repulsed.

Sudanese television on Saturday showed images of what it said were captured rebels cowering in the back of an armoured personnel carrier, along with footage of captured rebel all-terrain vehicles, field artillery and shells.

The White House said it was “very concerned” about the violence and urged both the Darfur rebels and government forces to cease hostilities.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the “use of armed force and military means by JEM” and called for “an immediate cessation of fighting.”

Insurgents ambush Somalia's interior minister

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

MOGADISHU (Garowe Online) – Islamist rebels ambushed an armored convoy transporting Somalia’s internal affairs minister Saturday in the outskirts of the capital Mogadishu, sources said.

Muse Nur Amin, the Interior Minister, was in one of the vehicles but his car was not directly hit by the insurgents.

But two other cars which were part of the Interior Minister’s convoy were laced with bullets and later captured by the insurgents, according to witnesses.

At least four government soldiers were killed and two others wounded, with the Interior Minister escaping the ambush unhurt.

Ali “Ganey” Adan, a police commander in Lower Shabelle region, confirmed to reporters that Interior Minister Amin’s convoy was attacked and local authorities dispatched police units to the area reinforce the government minister.

Al Shabaab spokesman Muktar Robow “Abu Mansur,” who claimed responsibility for the deadly ambush in Lower Shabelle region, bragged that no one on their side was hurt during the skirmish.

In Mogadishu, at least 11 people died from a series of overnight attacks, including two Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers who were killed when their vehicle came under rocket fire in northern Mogadishu.

Five civilians were reported dead when shells hit their homes following street fighting between insurgents and government forces, locals said.

Somalia has been mired in armed conflict since 1991, but the ongoing war is being waged between Ethiopian Woyanne-backed government troops and Islamist-led rebels.

Ethiopian-American completes tours of duty in Iraq

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

ST LOUIS, MO (KSDK) – Saturday night on the University City Loop, a homecoming party at the restaurant known as Red Sea had a distinctly international flavor. The red, white, and blue sat silently next to the green, yellow, and red…colors on the flag of Ethiopia.

Sgt. Meron Aymiro, 24, is a U.S. Army Transportation Coordinator and Radio Transmission Operator, and she just completed her second tour of duty, in Iraq.

Sgt. Aymiro says she rarely had an opportunity to work with the Iraqi people. Still, her name and her ethnicity were occasionally a factor. “They had a lot of Indians, people from Sri Lanka, third country nations, and like they kind of… what’s the word?”

Sgt. Aymiro was asked if people related to her, differently than other soldiers. “Yeah,” she said, “They react to me, differently. They see me smile, and I figured they think I’m from the same country as them.”

So was that helpful?

“That would help, they were more friendly and they want to talk more.”

Gedlu Metaferia is executive director of AMAAM, the African Mutual Assistance Association of Missouri, a group that serves African refugees and immigrants.

Metaferia presented Aymiro with a special certificate.

“This certification of appreciation is given to Sergeant Meron Aymiro for unwavering commitment of sacrifice to the public good. New Americans also serve our military with dedication, defending their adopted country. Meron Aymiro had two tours of duty in Iraq, and she came successfully. And this homecoming encouraged our young people to participate, to give to this country, and to serve in honor, duty, and commitment, to sacrifice.”

Metaferia was asked what this occasion should mean to people who know no country, other than America.

He said, “They can understand when they see this, an Ethiopian-born young lady, who gave the commitment of sacrifice… that is an awesome story. The significance is that immigrants also are becoming citizens and permanent residents are serving our troops.”

Sgt. Aymiro’s decision to join the United States military was met with concern, initially, among her relatives from Ethiopia, and America.

Billie Smith is Aymiro’s grandmother.

“American grand-mother,” she points out. “Oh, my. Oh we worried so much about her. But we’re just thankful she’s made it through, and she’s home. She wanted to further her education, and this was a way to help.”

Alemayehu Assfaw is Aymiro’s father.

“I’m very proud,” said Assfaw. “Actually, the first time she asked me to join the Army, I was shocked. But, I said, ‘If you want to serve your country, go ahead.’ Because her momma, she’s an American.”

Kimberly Smith-Assfaw, Alemayehu’s wife, is Aymiro’s step-mother.

“Initially I was not happy, at all,” said Smith-Assfaw, “I was totally against it. I walked along with her until the very last minute, and that’s what she decided to do. So I supported it.”

An observer pointed-out that Sgt. Aymiro is an American, now.

“Correct. I mean, I still got my Ethiopian blood in me, and I’m still an American… a good combination.”

Sudan rebels say they entered Khartoum

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

By Opheera McDoom

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – A Darfur rebel commander said on Saturday his JEM group had entered Khartoum and was aiming to take power in Sudan.

Khartoum was placed under an overnight curfew after fighting in the west of the capital on Saturday. It would be the first time a rebel group has entered Khartoum.

Heavy gunfire was heard in the west and helicopters and army vehicles headed towards the suburb of Omdurman, witnesses said. Later, artillery was heard.

The Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels said they had taken control of Omdurman which lies on the opposite bank of the River Nile from Khartoum.

“We are now trying to control Khartoum. God willing we will take power, it’s just a matter of time,” senior JEM commander Abdel Aziz el-Nur Ashr told Reuters by telephone.

“We have support from inside Khartoum even from within the armed forces.”

Darfur rebels fought battles with Sudan’s army in the North Kordofan province bordering Khartoum on Friday and Saturday, according to a local government official and witnesses.

The army said the curfew was to preserve the safety of the civilians and the situation was under control.

“We are announcing a curfew in the state of Khartoum from 5 p.m. (1400 GMT) until 6 a.m. starting from today May 10th, 2008,” an army spokesman said on state television.

The shooting in Omdurman could be heard down the telephone of one resident who telephoned Reuters on Saturday.

“There is very, very heavy shooting here and we are all terrified,” the resident called al-Sadig said.

“It’s all green here because of the military uniforms. There is a lot of army on the streets, security men and military trucks,” another witness in the suburb said later.

Many in Khartoum hunkered down at home and the streets were filled by people rushing to their houses.

Diplomatic missions held emergency meetings early on Saturday. They have been on alert since Friday morning. The main phone network crashed in the capital because it was overloaded.

Khartoum houses the bulk of Sudan’s population with an estimated 8 million people living in the state. Despite civil wars ravaging Sudan’s peripheries for decades, the capital has remained a haven of safety with armed clashes unheard of.

ATTACK REPULSED

Earlier, JEM said it was strengthening its forces in Kordofan but not attacking government troops to avoid causing civilian casualties.

But a local government official said the heavily armed rebels had scattered after an army counter-attack.

“The government and the armed Darfur movements are engaged in battles and there was bombing by planes and the rebels have scattered,” Abdel Majid Abdel Farid, a member of the administrative council of North Kordofan’s eastern town of Hamrat al-Wizz told Reuters from the area.

He said the Darfur rebels had spread out on Friday all over the state in an “unprecedented manner,” carrying very heavy weapons.

The army accused Chad on Saturday of backing the rebels. State minister for information, Kamal Obeid, called the events strange and unacceptable. Clearly flustered, he told state television that JEM was “paying the bill for Chad.”

The army told the state news agency SUNA in a statement it had repulsed an attack from the Chadian army which used heavy artillery in the Chad-Darfur area of KashKash late on Friday.

Chad accuses Sudan of supporting rebels who tried to overthrow President Idriss Deby earlier this year.

JEM said earlier it was tightening its control on Kordofan.

“We are deploying our forces as and when we see fit to,” said senior JEM official al-Tahir al-Feki. “We are making a total deployment and getting a grip on Kordofan.

Darfur’s JEM have attacked government forces in Kordofan in the past in hit-and-run raids.

International experts estimate some 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million made homeless in five years of fighting in Darfur after mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms accusing central government of neglect.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for a junior government minister and an allied militia leader accused of war crimes. Khartoum refuses to hand them over and blames the Western media for exaggerating the conflict.

——————
Clashes with Darfur rebels reported near Sudan’s capital

By MOHAMED OSMAN and SARAH EL DEEB

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Hundreds of Darfur rebels reached the outskirts of Sudan’s capital and were clashing with security forces, a rebel leader said Saturday.

Sudan’s army deployed on the streets of Khartoum, putting up checkpoints and imposing an overnight curfew. An Interior Ministry statement said the curfew was in effect while the government was “dealing with the infiltrators.”

The clashes come after days of government warnings that the Justice and Equality Movement, one of Darfur’s most effective rebel movements, was going to target Khartoum. Saturday’s attack is the closest the rebels have ever gotten to the capital.

An Associated Press reporter in Khartoum said security forces ordered residents to clear the streets and armored vehicles were patrolling the capital. Bridges to Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, have been cut by government forces.

In a statement, the military said that “elements” of JEM had infiltrated northern Omdurman.

“Your heroic forces are confronting them now,” the statement said, urging citizens to come forth with information.

The statement said the Sudanese forces had stopped the main advance of the JEM forces in neighboring province Kordofan, but that a few had reached Khartoum.

JEM leader Abu Zumam, however, told The Associated Press by telephone that hundreds of his fighters had reached the Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman and engaged government forces. Gunfire could be heard in the background.

“We entered Omdurman by force,” he said, adding that his army of some 700 vehicles planned to take over the state radio building in the city.

JEM once confined its activities to Darfur, where local ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated central government in 2003 complaining of discrimination.

In the last year however, JEM has widened its activities to include Kordofan, the vast province between the capital and Darfur.

More than 200,000 have died in Sudan’s Darfur region and 2.5 million have fled to refugee camps since 2003. Sudan denies backing the janjaweed militia of Arab nomads accused of the worst atrocities in the conflict.

Sudan officially accused neighboring Chad of attacking a border area to provide cover for JEM’s attacks against the capital.

The Sudanese army spokesman, Brigadier General Osman al-Agbash said Chadian forces on Friday attacked the border and were repelled with “heavy losses on the attacking Chadian forces,” he said according to the official state news agency SUNA.

Relations between the two countries, which share a long arid border region home to numerous armed groups have long been strained.

Chad has accused Sudanese authorities of arming rebels who launched a failed assault February on the Chadian capital, N’Djamena. The rebels reached the gate of the presidential palace, but fled toward Sudan after Chad’s army repelled them in fighting that left hundreds dead.

Sudan, meanwhile, has repeatedly accused Chad of supporting the rebellion in Darfur.

Though the two countries signed peace agreement in March promising to prevent armed groups from operating along each other’s shared borders, the accusations have continued unabated.

Associated Press Writer Sarah El Deeb contributed to this report from Cairo, Egypt.

Woyanne gives 1,600 sq km of farm land to Sudan

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

The Ethiopia-Sudan Border Committee is reporting that the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front (Woyanne) has given to Sudan 1,600 square kilometers of fertile farm land. Click here to read the full report [pdf, Amharic]. The Woyanne regime denies the report, but a few months ago, the Sudanese media had reported about it quoting Sudanese government officials. Reportedly, this secret deal between Meles Zenawi and Al Bashir, in return would allow the Tigray region to build a railway from Tigray to Port Sudan. All of the land that was given to Sudan was carved out of Gonder and Oromia regions. Meanwhile, ER Research Unit has learned that the Woyanne regime has moved all air force fighter jets to Tigray. According to eyewitnesses, only a few transport planes and helicopters are left in Debre Zeit.

See also satellite map [click here]

Ethiopian govt gives 1,600 sq km of farm land to Sudan

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

The Ethiopia-Sudan Border Committee is reporting that the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front (Woyanne) has given to Sudan 1,600 square kilometers of fertile farm land. Click here to read the full report [pdf, Amharic]. The Woyanne regime denies the report, but a few months ago, the Sudanese media had reported about it quoting Sudanese government officials. Reportedly, this secret deal between Meles Zenawi and Al Bashir, in return would allow the Tigray region to build a railway from Tigray to Port Sudan. All of the land that was given to Sudan was carved out of Gonder and Oromia regions. Meanwhile, ER Research Unit has learned that the Woyanne regime has moved all air force fighter jets to Tigray. According to eyewitnesses, only a few transport planes and helicopters are left in Debre Zeit.

See also satellite map [click here]

Kinijit North America opposes land give away to Sudan

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

The Kinijit North America support group takes a stand against the give away of western Ethiopian farm lands to Sudan by the ruling Tigray People Liberation Front (Woyanne). Click here to read [pdf, Amharic]

Ethiopians in the U.S. steps up support for Obama

Friday, May 9th, 2008

By Teddy Fikre

There is something powerful occurring in the Ethiopian-American community. People who were never inspired to take part in the political process are realizing that they have a duty as citizens to partake in the political process and be a part of the change that is taking place. While they will always love the land of their birth, they realize that they are deeply ingrained in United States and are vested in the direction of this great country. Never before has a politician inspired so many people from so many backgrounds and countries to unite for one common purposes.

Senator Obama speaks about the power of one–the power that a sole individual has to change their community and eventually change the world. Throughout history, we have witnessed time and again how one person has been able to change the trajectory of a nation and of the world. What we are witnessing now is the same dynamic, and Ethiopians for Obama have taken on this mantle and decided that the way to seek change is to organize and participate in the political process.

What started off with Maeza Siraj over a year ago when she created Ethiopians for Obama on barackobama.com has blossomed into thousands of Ethiopian-Americans working in multiple states to be a part of a historical moment. Ethiopians for Obama has some of the most amazing and talented Ethiopians working together for a common purpose. This is not a top-down organization where anointed leaders send out directives. It is a decentralized group that believes in the leadership of each member instead of depending on the leadership of any one individual.

They follow closely the unbelievable model inspired by Senator Obama when he was a community organizer and has emulated for his campaign. Obama believes in the inherent power of people, that each person has the ability to do amazing things if the opportunity is presented. Thus, Ethiopians for Obama is a collection of talented Ethiopian-Americans from California, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Washington DC, Minnesota and states in every corner of the United States who communicate regularly and implement ideas that can further galvanized the Ethiopian-American community around the Obama message of hope and change. Moreover, Ethiopians for Obama is a diverse group that work together based on interests that are common to all and do not dwell in the differences that have divided for too long. The aim is unity of purpose for the benefit of all—a unity that bridges the chasms of ethnicity, religion, and nationality.

Ethiopians for Obama has conducted a targeted phone-banking effort in the states of Indiana and Pennsylvania . By relying on the vast volunteer base and a simple tool such as the white pages, they were able to collect hundreds of phone numbers based on common last names of Ethiopian-Americans who live in those states and makes calls on behalf of Senator Obama. One is at a loss to explain the joy that the receiving party felt when they heard their fellow Ethiopians calling to ask them to participate in the political process. There was an overwhelming level of support for Senator Obama from those who were called and a lot of folks who otherwise did not consider voting were motivated to vote as a result of the calls they received. This is how change happens, the power of one to inspire another.

Ethiopians for Obama has also traveled to multiple states to volunteer directly for the Obama campaign. Dynamic leaders such as Emebet Bekele, Yohannes Assafa, Lulit Mesfin, Mike Endale, Bizu Hodge and Jim Tufa to name a few, are constantly reaching out to their fellow Ethiopians to encourage them to be involved in the political process while they continue to do the hard work of making phone calls and traveling to different states. They realize that debating and hoping for change is not enough; while there are countless Ethiopians who have and continue to be involved politically and work selflessly to ensure our collective interests, their effort is only as successful as the people who are behind any initiative.

Ethiopians for Obama is growing by the day. The first road-trip to Ohio organized by Ethiopians for Obama was attended by three supporters and the second trip to Philadelphia was attended by six supporters. The most recent trip to North Carolina was attended by nine while those who could not make the trip stayed behind and made hundreds of phone calls over the weekend to Ethiopian-Americans in Indiana . On May 6th, Ethiopians for Obama held a victory party in Washington, DC; over 45 people showed up to support Senator Obama on a historic night. The power of one—this is how change happens, one person inspires a friend, that friend inspires a sister, that sister inspires a mother, that mother inspires a husband. Before you know it, what started as one over a year ago will grow into thousands of Ethiopian-Americans who are determined to be the change we all have been waiting for.

Berhanu Nega to make major announcement

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Addis Ababa Mayor-Elect Dr Berhanu Nega and colleagues are preparing to make a major announcement next Wednesday in Washington DC, about their future political move. They have scheduled a press conference at the Ethiopian Television Network’s studio on May 14 at 4:00 PM. All Ethiopian and other media are invited to the press conference.

According to sources close to Dr Berhanu, the group will announce the formation of a new political movement that will aim to bring about an end to the Woyanne bloody regime in collaboration with other Ethiopian organizations, including those that are waging armed struggle.

The press conference will be aired live via Ethiopian Review Radio Network, Ethiopian Current Affair Discussion Forum, and other media.

VOA, DW, EriTV, Addis Dimts and other radio programs are also expected to air the press conference to their audience in Ethiopia.

Barack Obama – The Power of One

Friday, May 9th, 2008

By Teddy Fikre

There is something powerful occurring in the Ethiopian-American community. People who were never inspired to take part in the political process are realizing that they have a duty as citizens to partake in the political process and be a part of the change that is taking place. While they will always love the land of their birth, they realize that they are deeply ingrained in United States and are vested in the direction of this great country. Never before has a politician inspired so many people from so many backgrounds and countries to unite for one common purposes.

Senator Obama speaks about the power of one–the power that a sole individual has to change their community and eventually change the world. Throughout history, we have witnessed time and again how one person has been able to change the trajectory of a nation and of the world. What we are witnessing now is the same dynamic, and Ethiopians for Obama have taken on this mantle and decided that the way to seek change is to organize and participate in the political process.

What started off with Maeza Siraj over a year ago when she created Ethiopians for Obama on barackobama.com has blossomed into thousands of Ethiopian-Americans working in multiple states to be a part of a historical moment. Ethiopians for Obama has some of the most amazing and talented Ethiopians working together for a common purpose. This is not a top-down organization where anointed leaders send out directives. It is a decentralized group that believes in the leadership of each member instead of depending on the leadership of any one individual.

They follow closely the unbelievable model inspired by Senator Obama when he was a community organizer and has emulated for his campaign. Obama believes in the inherent power of people, that each person has the ability to do amazing things if the opportunity is presented. Thus, Ethiopians for Obama is a collection of talented Ethiopian-Americans from California, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Washington DC, Minnesota and states in every corner of the United States who communicate regularly and implement ideas that can further galvanized the Ethiopian-American community around the Obama message of hope and change. Moreover, Ethiopians for Obama is a diverse group that work together based on interests that are common to all and do not dwell in the differences that have divided for too long. The aim is unity of purpose for the benefit of all—a unity that bridges the chasms of ethnicity, religion, and nationality.

Ethiopians for Obama has conducted a targeted phone-banking effort in the states of Indiana and Pennsylvania . By relying on the vast volunteer base and a simple tool such as the white pages, they were able to collect hundreds of phone numbers based on common last names of Ethiopian-Americans who live in those states and makes calls on behalf of Senator Obama. One is at a loss to explain the joy that the receiving party felt when they heard their fellow Ethiopians calling to ask them to participate in the political process. There was an overwhelming level of support for Senator Obama from those who were called and a lot of folks who otherwise did not consider voting were motivated to vote as a result of the calls they received. This is how change happens, the power of one to inspire another.

Ethiopians for Obama has also traveled to multiple states to volunteer directly for the Obama campaign. Dynamic leaders such as Emebet Bekele, Yohannes Assafa, Lulit Mesfin, Mike Endale, Bizu Hodge and Jim Tufa to name a few, are constantly reaching out to their fellow Ethiopians to encourage them to be involved in the political process while they continue to do the hard work of making phone calls and traveling to different states. They realize that debating and hoping for change is not enough; while there are countless Ethiopians who have and continue to be involved politically and work selflessly to ensure our collective interests, their effort is only as successful as the people who are behind any initiative.

Ethiopians for Obama is growing by the day. The first road-trip to Ohio organized by Ethiopians for Obama was attended by three supporters and the second trip to Philadelphia was attended by six supporters. The most recent trip to North Carolina was attended by nine while those who could not make the trip stayed behind and made hundreds of phone calls over the weekend to Ethiopian-Americans in Indiana . On May 6th, Ethiopians for Obama held a victory party in Washington, DC; over 45 people showed up to support Senator Obama on a historic night. The power of one—this is how change happens, one person inspires a friend, that friend inspires a sister, that sister inspires a mother, that mother inspires a husband. Before you know it, what started as one over a year ago will grow into thousands of Ethiopian-Americans who are determined to be the change we all have been waiting for.

To join ‘Ethiopians for Obama’, click on: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ethiopiansforobama/

Rally in New York to commemorate May 15

Friday, May 9th, 2008

By Tedla Asfaw

As we all are aware of, from May 15 – May 18 Ethiopians in the Diaspora are showing solidarity with their people and reach out to each other and move on the spirit of May 15, 2005 where Ethiopians on their vote back home shook the foundation of tyranny beyond repair forever.

On this spirit, Ethiopians in New York Metropolitan area and from New Jersey have organized a rally on May 15, 2008 on the third anniversary of our people victory over TPLF tyranny.

Since then many lives have been lost and many jailed including Teddy Afro loved by many Ethiopians for his pro-Ethiopian songs. Moreover, the killing has been exported to neighboring Somalia since December 2006 and to our Ogaden for a diversionary plot without success in the name of war on terror financed by Bush administration.

The victims of TPLF are all nationalities and we need to come together to defeat this regime and the
separate ways we go to defeat the regime though has weakened the regime there should be a united assault to give a final blow and take our liberty from the hands of homegrown fascists.

I call all Ethiopians to come on May 15, 2008 to the famous site here in New York City where people of the world gather to show their denunciation of terror and tyranny.

All Ethiopians are invited to come to the Ralph J. Bunche Park in front of Peace Form One obelisk at
First Avenue 42nd Street across the U.N headquarters and celebrate our people victory three years ago over tyranny.

The rally from 9 am to 2:30 pm is also a call for political parties to form a united front against TPLF
and narrow differences among ourselves. As you know the great obstacle of peace, TPLF, currently is busy in giving away Ethiopia’s land for Sudan in exchange of denying oppositions safe heaven to conduct their struggle.

Our struggle against TPLF can not be won while some fight and die and others look on sideline and it is
critical to hold each others hand and remove the regime who is killing and abusing our people each day.

We are also condemning the illegal occupation of Somalia and the killing of elderly, women and children
and show solidarity with fellow Somalis who are now fighting to liberate their land from TPLF forces.

Come and participate on this rally at a critical time our region and Ethiopia has been forced to after
Ethiopians rejected the brutal regime of Melese Zenawi exactly three years ago.

Ethiopian immigrant teen in Colorado gets scholarship

Friday, May 9th, 2008
By John C. Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News

Meron Fitsum, center, plays Connect Four with her sister Makda, left, and brother Hayelom in their Denver home on Tuesday. Meron Fitsum, an 18-year-old high school senior, is among a record number of Daniels Scholarship winners.

Ken Papaleo / The Rocky

Meron Fitsum, center, plays Connect Four with her sister Makda, left, and brother Hayelom in their Denver home on Tuesday. Meron Fitsum, an 18-year-old high school senior, is among a record number of Daniels Scholarship winners.

Meron Fitsum has a habit of coming right to the point.

When asked how she became one of the record number of 265 Daniels Scholarship winners awarded this week, the 18-year- old high school senior tells you the story – her story, the one that intersects with the American dream.

Her parents are from Ethiopia. Fitsum was born in Sudan.

“When I was 2, my family moved from Sudan to America as refugee immigrants, all in hopes of the American dream. Since then, we’ve come across lots of people willing to help us.”

For the past four years, one of those people was Sherry Shepard, information technology director for the law firm of Holland & Hart. Shepard is a volunteer with Byrne Urban Scholars. They lined her up with Fitsum.

Although Fitsum was shy at first, the two bonded quickly over their mutual love of dance, including taking classes in hip-hop dance at the Cleo Parker Robinson studio.

“This is a family that I’ll know forever,” Shepard said Monday. “Even if they don’t have a lot, they’ll feed you forever,” she said, recalling many cups of strong Ethiopian coffee served by Fitsum’s father, Belay, who works as a valet at the Brown Palace.

“This is the only family I know where the kids argue over who’s the smartest,” she added. “And they are all smart.”

Asked who is the smartest among her and her five younger siblings, Fitsum doesn’t miss a beat.

“Me, of course,” she said laughing.

The decision letter from the Daniels Fund arrived a few weeks ago.

Her father called her and said, “OK, I’ve got the mail. Do you want me to open it?”

“Is it fat or skinny?” she asked.

“Fat,” he said.

“Open it.”

A few minutes later, when she called Shepard, who was at a conference in Las Vegas, Shepard said it was hard to tell who was screaming for joy louder, the mentor or the student.

Today, the Daniels Fund plans to announce the names of all 265 students who will receive $6.6 million of scholarships. Thanks to some good portfolio investments, that number is up from 200 scholars two years ago, said fund spokesman Peter Droege. The scholars are from Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah.

Fitsum plans to use her scholarship to attend Saint Louis University, where she hopes to study creative writing.

Her mentor is not surprised that her protege won the scholarship.

“Every time she hears of something that has to do with leadership, she signs up for it,” Shepard said. “She takes the initiative and makes things happen for herself.”

The Daniels Fund by the numbers

The Denver-based foundation started by the late cable magnate Bill Daniels makes grants to nonprofit organizations in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah and on a limited basis to national programs.

70% of money paid out by the fund is given to agencies working in nine areas chosen by Daniels, including education, the homeless, the elderly and children.

30% of the fund’s annual payout is devoted to the foundation’s college-prep and scholarship program.

Geographic breakdown of the funds

* Colorado: 65 percent (50 percent in the Denver area, 15 percent in the balance of the state)

* New Mexico: 10 percent

* Wyoming: 10 percent

* National programs: 10 percent

* Utah: 5 percent

Ethiopians in Norway remember May 15

Friday, May 9th, 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT

To All Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia Living in Norway

A call for participation in the Word Wide March for Freedom, Justice and Human rights in Ethiopia.

Ato Obang Metho, the leader of Anuak Justice Council has taken the initiative and is organizing the World Wide March for freedom, justice and human rights in Ethiopia. The event will provide Ethiopians with an opportune moment to mark May 15, come together and renew their commitment to the struggle for democracy, freedom and justice in their home country. Democratic and peace-loving Ethiopians have decisively beaten the regime of the mercenary TPLF in the ballot box in the historic May 15, 2005 elections. The dictatorial regime does not have any legitimacy and does not represent the country in any way. The regime of Meles Zenawi has refused to accept the democratic and legal decision of the people as expressed in the ballot boxes and continued to impose its illegitimate rule on the country.

The anti-Ethiopian ethnocentric dictatorial regime of Meles Zenawi is in the process of plunging our country into deep crisis and chaos. It has remained defiant and is closing all the venues for the peaceful settlement of the political crisis which is its own making. Besides, there are alarming and unsettling reports of secretive agreements between the illegitimate regime of Meles Zenawi and Sudan which allows the later to grab Ethiopian land. Considering the gravity of the crisis our country is facing at the moment, we have no option but to forge unprecedented unity and stand together in defense of our county and rights.

There will be a public rally to be held in Oslo Norway as part of the world wide march for freedom, human rights and justice in Ethiopia. All Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia are cordially invited to take part in the event and demonstrate their solid unity against repression, treason and tyranny which is jeopardizing the existence their country.

Date: Thursday the 15th of May, 2008 (15-05-08).
Place: In front of the Norwegian Parliament (stortinget).
Time: 15:00 or 3:00p.m. in the afternoon.

The Ethiopian Common Forum in Norway

British gov't rewards Woyanne for its murder spree

Friday, May 9th, 2008

The British government rewards its blood thirsty puppet Meles Zenawi with hundreds of millions of dollars for continuing to terrorize the peoples of Ethiopia and Somalia. We all know that malaria prevention, etc. is all lie. The money will be used to keep the dying regime of Woyanne alive.

————

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) — Britain said on Thursday it will give Ethiopia 2.5 billion birr this year to help the Horn of Africa country try to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Some of the money will be used to send 1 million children to school and buy three million mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria, one of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest killers.

British High Commissioner (ambassador) to Ethiopia Norman Ling said the assistance was the biggest Britain has offered to any African country, adding the aid would be provided through the UK’s Department for International Development.

“The UK is fully committed to helping Ethiopia achieve the MDGs as the assistance of the 2.5 billion birr for this year shows,” Paul Ackroyd, the head of DFID, told a news conference.

DFID has spent some 2.7 billion birr on programmes in Ethiopia over the past four years, Ackroyd said.

One of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at halving global poverty by 2015 is reversing the trend toward a constant increase in the incidence of malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Tigray court sentences three Ethiopians to death

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

It was a show trial by a hastily formed local Tigrean court that took only a couple of months to hear the case and sentence the suspects to death. More likely all the accused were innocent individuals.

(ST) HUMORA, Tigray — The Tigray regional high court on Thursday passed a death and life sentences over 6 Ethiopian accused of bombing a passenger bus at the northern Ethiopian Tigray regions Humora town on March 13.

Nine civilians were killed and another 31 wounded at the bombing of a bus travelling from Humera to Shira town in northern Ethiopia.

The Temporary High Court which was set up by the regional government for this specific case in its hearing today has found all the defendants guilty. The court sentenced three of death penalty and two others to life imprisonment.

The open court, crowded with some 1000 residents of Humora town sank quiet when the central judge, Abraha Meles, cleared his throat to announce the final sentence over criminals.

“Listening to all the witnesses brought from left and right we have found all the defendants guilty” the central judge, Abraha Meles said. After a short pause he continued “accordingly we have passed a death sentence over 3 defendants namely Birhanu Tesfay, Berihu Legesse and Gebretsadkan Bahta.”

“While the court has passed life sentences to Tesfay Kahsay and Birhanu Welday” judge Abraha added.

Among the defendants Birhanu Kahsay pleaded guilty of masterminding the attacks.

The court has also passed 20 years of prison terms over a town police who cooperated with the perpetrators in negligence to his duty and responsibility.

The defendants were charged with terror acts, treason, plotting attacks, arms smuggling, cross-border attacks, and spying.

The temporary court has earlier sat four times to hear the case.

The court also found that the accused had been in contact to commit more attacks with Eritrean officials.

According to a document read at the court, all the “terrorists” have been receiving orders from Eritrean authorities for attacks and had further plans to destroy 26 electric transformers of Humora town and to carry out attacks over government officials.

Abrehet Belay, relative of a victim and resident of the town after the court closed says that the quick legal reaction Ethiopia took is exemplary.

“The legal action taken in no time over the anti-societies by government is exemplary others should follow against anti-peace bodies and it is a clear warning for other terrorists to refrain from such attacks or face the consequences,” Abrehet told Sudan Tribune.

Eritrea denies Djibouti war claim

Thursday, May 8th, 2008
Eritrea has denied that it has any problems with Djibouti, which accuses it of amassing troops on their border.

Earlier this week, Djibouti appealed to the UN Security Council to intervene in order to prevent a conflict over the border village of Doumeira.

In a letter to the UN, Djibouti alleged Eritrea had published new maps showing Doumeira as Eritrean territory.

Grirma Asmerom, Eritrea’s ambassador to the European Union, told the BBC he knew nothing about the letter.

Since Eritrea gained independence in 1993, the country has been involved in two serious conflicts over territory with its neighbours.

‘Real threat’

BBC Somali Service editor Yusuf Garaad Omar says Djibouti’s interpretation of events is alarming.

He said Doumeira is a small border village of little strategic importance home to ethnic Afar people.

“The sudden growth of troops calls for real intervention by the international community because we see it as a real threat,” Djibouti’s ambassador to the UN Roble Olhaye told the BBC’s Network Africa programme.

“We wanted to urge the Security Council to take all necessary measures to prevent any kind of conflagration because the prospect of a real war is there.”

But Mr Asmerom said he was bemused by such accusations.

“There is no such problem with Djibouti; we have never had a problem with Djibouti,” he said.

In 1995, Eritrea clashed with Yemen over the Hanish islands in the Red Sea – one of the world’s major shipping lanes.

Three years later, Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a two-year war over the border town of Badme, in which tens of thousands of people died.

Djibouti and Eritrea clashed twice over their mutual border in the 1990s and nearly went to war.

Both US and France have military bases in Djibouti.

Somali insurgents seize police HQ in Mogadishu (AP)

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Firing rocket-propelled grenades and heavy submachine guns, Somali fighters seized the police headquarters at the heart of the government’s stronghold in Mogadishu on Thursday, in a bold attack that witnesses said killed two soldiers and two policemen.

The insurgents have tried many times to attack the heavily guarded K4 district but Thursday’s raid was their first major success.

It came a day after a bloody Wednesday in the Horn of Africa nation. Insurgents attacked Ethiopian Woyanne military convoys in two rural areas Wednesday, and the soldiers responded by opening fire on civilians, killing at least 17 villagers, witnesses said.

It was not known how many Ethiopians Woyannes died in that fighting. The insurgents said one of their regional commanders was killed.

Elsewhere, a roadside bomb killed three Somali soldiers Wednesday, a military officer said. A separate attack on a World Food Program convoy in central Somalia killed one of the organization’s drivers, U.N. officials said.

In Mogadishu on Thursday, witnesses said, an explosion rocked Makalal Mukrama Road outside the police headquarters in K4 district and plumes of black smoke rose into the night air after fighters set ablaze a captured «technical» — a pickup truck with a submachine gun fixed to its bed.

The blast came after the insurgents seized the police station, yelling «God is great,» witnesses said.
«The fighting was hideous, terrifying,» said resident Hawa Abdi. The gunfire was so heavy that «I thought it would smash the walls of my concrete home.

Elmi Osman, another resident of the area, said bullets crashed through the window of the house where he lives, killing his aunt and a nephew.

Street hawker Abisaq Mohamed said he saw the bodies of two police officers sprawled in the middle of Makalal Mukrama Road, where he lives. He said he also saw two government soldiers killed in the fighting, and one insurgent being carried away.

Insurgents’ spokesman Abdirahim Issa Adow told The Associated Press that his fighters had killed eight policemen. He said one rebel fighter was killed and two were wounded in the attack.

He said the insurgents also fired mortars into two Ethiopian Woyanne military bases in the capital — a claim that could not be verified.

By 8 p.m., the witnesses said, the attackers had disappeared, abandoning the police station as they have other targets, using the guerrilla tactics that have kept alive their insurgency.

On Wednesday, in the central province of Hiran, suspected insurgents attacked an Ethiopian Woyanne convoy with rocket-propelled grenades, witnesses said. «I saw two Ethiopian Woyanne military vehicles burning and several soldiers underneath them, but I cannot confirm whether they were dead,» Ahmedey Farah Hilowle told The Associated Press by telephone from his village 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of the provincial capital, Beletweyne.

The Ethiopian Woyanne troops retaliated by opening fire, killing eight civilians including a woman who was collecting water from a well, villager Abdisalan Muxsim said. Residents said they found the bodies of six insurgents lying in nearby bush.
But Adow, the insurgents’ spokesman, said only two insurgents were killed, including regional commander Amin Barqadle Daad.

Their accounts could not be verified Thursday by Somali authorities. Ethiopia Woyanne, which sent troops into Somalia to back up soldiers fighting insurgents, does not make public its troops’ fatalities.

International human rights groups have accused Ethiopian Woyanne troops of targeting civilians out of frustration over their failure to halt insurgents.

«We inflicted a great loss of lives on them (Ethiopians Woyannes) and destroyed their vehicles, but in retaliation the enemy troops mercilessly killed civilians,» Adow said.

Also Wednesday, in the Lower Shabelle region, Ethiopian Woyanne troops killed nine civilians after suspected insurgents ambushed a military convoy between Yaqberiweyne and Belidogle, 65 miles (110 kilometers) south of Mogadishu, witnesses said.

«During the battle, we ran away from our village to the bush,» resident Said Abukar Ganey said. «This morning, we came back and we found the bodies of nine of our villagers.

Elsewhere, a roadside bomb hit a truck carrying Somali soldiers, killing three troops and wounding six, military officer Madey Hassan Nur said late Wednesday by telephone. He said the explosion occurred just outside Baidoa, the seat of the interim parliament, about 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of Mogadishu.

«An explosion sent us into the air. When we fell back to the ground, three of my colleagues were lying there dead and six others were screaming from their wounds,» Nur said.

In the Mudug region, militiamen demanding money opened fire on a 12-truck convoy transporting food into central Somalia, the U.N. World Food Program said. The driver died of his wounds, officials said.

Hundreds of Ethiopian soldiers have died in Somalia, Ethiopian Woyanne Foreign Affairs spokesman Wahide Belay said from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, earlier in the week. About 3,000 Ethiopian troops are deployed in Somalia, he said. [This is a lie. The fact is that there are over 20,000 Woyanne soldiers in Somalia currently.]
————————-
Associated Press writer Mohamed Sheikh Nor contributed to this report from Mogadishu.

Woyanne bans Ethiopian athletes from Doha Grand Prix

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

ወያኔ የሚሰራውን አሳጥቶታል:: የችጋራም ጥጋበኛ አያድርስ ነው::

DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Ethiopian athletes pulled out of Friday’s Doha Super Grand Prix meet because of political tension between the two countries, organizers said.

«We had prepared everything for them: the visa, the tickets and everything,» said Dahlan Al-Hamad, the president of the Qatar athletics federation. «Unfortunately politics got into sports.

Last month, Ethiopia broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, saying the energy-rich Gulf state had become a source of instability in the Horn of Africa. It cited Qatar’s relations with Eritrea, which is involved in a long-standing feud with Ethiopia over their border.

Qatar said it was astonished by the diplomatic action and denied the accusations that it is hurting Ethiopia’s security.

Seven Ethiopian athlete were on the starting list of Friday’s meeting, including indoor world champions Deresse Mekonnen in the 1,500 meters and Tariku Bekele in the 3,000.

Al-Hamad said the IAAF world athletics federation would look into the matter.

Oromo American Citizen Council joins May 15 rally

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

The Oromo American Citizen Council joins the Worldwide March for Freedom, Justice and Human Rights in Ethiopia, starting on May 15, 2008 and ending on March 18

Press release May 7, 2008

We in the Oromo American Citizen Council are writing this letter to declare that we are joining our sisters and brothers of Ethiopia in the March for Freedom, Justice and Human Rights to be held on May 15 – 18, 2008, especially remembering those who fought and died for human rights, freedom, and democracy in Ethiopia.

We are not only commemorating the abortive elections of May 2005, but the event will also serve as a reminder and commemoration of all the atrocities against Ethiopia and its people throughout Ethiopia since 1992.

The Oromo, as well as countless other Ethiopians, have suffered. We have often worked independently to stop these abuses, but it is clear that as we continue our endeavor, we must stand shoulder to shoulder to work together to further this cause if we are to succeed.

The 2005 massacre in the Ethiopian capital is only symptomatic of a much bigger political problem. Even though the May 2005 election in Ethiopia was hailed as a step forward in many corners, the current government is ruling over Ethiopians against their consent.

Our major worry at this time is, unless this is resolved, and resolved to the satisfaction of all the major contending forces, is that the crisis could spin out of control and lead to a full-blown civil war, something which could destabilize the whole of the Horn of Africa.

The continuation of human rights violations in Ethiopia has been partly made possible because the international community has chosen to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Ethiopia. This problem was exacerbated since Ethiopia jumped on the bandwagon of anti-terrorism.

It is our firm belief that Ethiopia supported the anti-terrorism coalition, precisely to get soft treatment from other coalition forces regarding her human rights violation issues. We believe human rights issues should not be traded off for the fake support one gives to anti-terrorism forces.

The international community should in an unequivocal manner tell the Ethiopian government that it should stop the killings and hold free and fair elections in the future. This is a great opportunity for all of us Ethiopians to show our solidarity. So, let us stand together and make our voices heard! It is up to all of us to make these efforts succeed. We call on all other Oromo to come out, wherever you are throughout the world and support this effort.

Oromo American Citizen Council
1821 University Avenue, Suite 336
St. Paul, MN 55104

The fascist dictator travels to South Africa

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

The Ethiopian Community Association in South Africa
PRESS STATEMENT, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 7 MAY 2008

The Ethiopian Community Association in South Africa has a proud tradition of activism, and once again issues this joint communiqué in association with the support groups of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party and The United Ethiopian Democratic Forces on the occasion of the planned visit of Meles Zenawi, the butcher of Addis Ababa, to South Africa. Reliable sources indicate that the embassy is using gullible Ethiopians, opportunists and the supporters of the tribal regime to finalize the reception for Meles. They have hired propagandists.

Meles Zenawi leads a blood thirsty minority tribal regime. The number of people that were killed during the last 17 years of Meles Zenawi’s misrule warrants international investigation. The perpetrators of the grand massacres in Addis Ababa, Afar, Ambo, Awassa, Borena, Hosaina, Gambella, Gojam, Gonder, North Shoa, Nekemt, Ogden, Tigrai and other places are well known to Ethiopians. To counter the international campaign for investigation, the dictatorial regime is spending millions, closing diplomatic doors and also confusing Ethiopian emigrants in South Africa and the rest of the world through sectarian politics, and making false economic promises. The fact is in 2008 there are over 10 million Ethiopians that need food aid. There is rampant inflation and unknown amount of war expenditure.

In April 2008 the minority regime made yet another effort to legitimize its atrocities. It administered a local election in which it was the only contestant. This is in addition to the stolen election of May 15, 2005 in which elected parliamentarians were jailed for more than 20 months on concocted charges. The commander of the minority regime himself was personally responsible for ordering the massacre of civilians in Addis Ababa and the rest of Ethiopia. It is for this blood thirsty dictator that Ethiopians in South Africa are being invited to attend a reception! It is evident that Ethiopia has nothing to celebrate and it is rather bizarre that a forum such as the Pan-African Parliament is used to promote a regime with such poor human rights record.

Africa should stop using double standards. It should show the same concern to Ethiopia as it has done for Kenya and Zimbabwe. It is ridiculous to put Meles at the helm of NEPAD when in fact he is a leader of an illegal minority regime. The “war on terror” should not be used to cover up human right abuses in the Horn of Africa. Therefore, we call upon the international community to disassociate itself from this undemocratic regime.

Pan-African Parliament program [pdf]

FREE POLITICAL PRISONERS! FREE TEDY AFRO!
STOP THE WAR IN THE OGDEN! STOP THE WAR IN SOMALIA!
WE DEMAND A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN ETHIOPIA!

The Ethiopian Community Association in South Africa
Tel: 27+0824819541 or 27+ 0827444860 P.O.Box 17051 Doornfontien 2028, South Africa

Battle rages between Woyanne soldiers, Somali insurgents

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

(Garowe) — Ethiopian Woyanne troops in central Somalia were ambushed Wednesday as they withdrew from one town and were heading back towards the Ethiopian border, locals said.

The fighting erupted around noon as a 30-truck Ethiopian Woyanne army convoy left their positions in Bulo Burte, a town in Hiran region.

The Ethiopian Woyanne contingent was attacked in a hilly village between Bulo Burto and Beletwein, the provincial seat of power.

Local villagers reported that the battle lasted for nearly two hours, as Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers exchanged a barrage of gunfire and artillery with Islamist insurgents.

Unconfirmed reports obtained by Garowe Online indicated that four Ethiopian Woyanne army trucks were burned after sustaining insurgent rocket fire.

There were heavy casualties on both sides of the conflict, according to villagers, but casualty figures were difficult to obtain because of the fierce fighting.

In one brutal incident, Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers who left the frontlines entered a small village where they pulled three Somali civilians from their home and executed them, according to local sources.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Woyanne army’s largest base in Hiran region, located near the border village of Kala-Beyr, was pounded by at least seven mortars early Wednesday.

It is not clear if any soldier was hurt in the mortar attack, but locals said Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers entered surrounding villages to conduct an investigation.

Somalia’s Hiran region remains without a governor, even though Prime Minister Nur “Adde” Hassan Hussein appointed a new administration last month.

Many members of the new regional authority have refused to accept the jobs, citing lack of resources and political discord domestically.

Yusuf Daboged, an Ethiopian Woyanne-backed warlord who was the last governor of Hiran region, has maintained that he is the de facto governor, despite the Prime Minister’s decree replacing him. Mr. Daboged was last reported to be in Kala-Beyr alongside Ethiopian Woyanne military commanders.

Sudan annexing Ethiopian territory (Tecola W. Hagos)

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

By Tecola W. Hagos
Source: tecolahagos.com

Now we are being informed by a patriotic committee of Ethiopians that Meles Zenawi is actively engaged in the handing over of extensive Ethiopian Territory, tens of thousands of acres, to the Government of Sudan. It seems that the Committee that brought to our attention the recent abrogation of duty by Meles Zenawi to defend and preserve Ethiopia has the added difficulty of penetrating the news blackout imposed by the Meles Government. However, it is to the great credit of such courageous and patriotic Ethiopians that we were able to follow and monitor the activities of Meles Zenawi and the EPRDF and the Sudanese Government Officials and military in connection with the ongoing attempt to dismantle and destroy Ethiopia. It is no news that Sudan has ambition to extend its control of the Tikur Abayi (Blue Nile) River basin and conquer the most prized cistern—Lake Tana, but what is unfathomable is the possibility of an Ethiopian leader collaborating with Ethiopia’s historic enemies handing over Ethiopian territory… Read more >>

Teddy Afro denounces his lawyer's statement

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Teddy Afro, who is currently detained in Kaliti jail, said that he rejects the recent statement by his lawyer, Ato Million Assefa, who said in an interview that those who are protesting the artist’s arrest are “bankrupt politicians.” Read more by zikkir News Service

Teddy needs to fire this hodam banda lawyer.

ቴዲ አፍሮ የጠበቃውን መግለጫ አወገዘ

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

የቴዲ ጠበቃ የሆኑት አቶ ሚሊዮን አሰፋ በአገር ውስጥ ለሚታተም (በሳምሶን አሳታሚ) ኢትዮ ቻናል ለተሰኘ ጋዜጣ ደንበኛቸውን ወክለው የሰጡትን መግለጫ አወገዘ፡፡

በኢቲቪ መንግስትን በማወደስ የሚታወቁት ጠበቃው አቶ ሚሊዮን ያለቴዲ ፈቃድ በአገር ውስጥና በውጭ የሚካሄዱና አርቲስቱ እንዲለቀቅ የሚጠይቁ ተቃውሞዎች ‹‹የከሰሩ ፖለቲከኞች ተግባር ነው›› ማለታቸውን አርቲስቱ እንደሚቃውም በቤተሰቦቹ አማካይነት ለደጋፊዎቹ በሙሉ እንዲደርስ ጠይቋል፡፡

ቴዲ በቤተሰቦቹ አማካይነት ባስተላለፈው መልእክት በእንደዚህ አይነት ጉዳይ ላይ ጠበቃው እኔን ወክሎ እንዲነናገር አልፈቀድኩም ብሏል፡፡

Djibouti says Eritrean army entered its territory

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

It is to be remembered that last year the president of Djibouti had handed over to Ethiopia’s fascist dictator 8 helicopter pilots who sought political asylum in his country. Djibouti government officials from the president on down are a bunch of khat-addicted prostitutes.

—————–
Djibouti has accused Eritrea of violating its border by sending troops into its territory.

BBC NEWS — “The two armies are facing each other. The situation is explosive,” said Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh.

Eritrea has denied accusations that its soldiers had dug trenches on the Djibouti side of the border.

The Arab League and the African Union have urged both sides to avoid any action that could lead to an escalation of the long-running border dispute.

The Djibouti leader said he had asked both bodies to help arbitrate.

They are reportedly sending fact-finding missions to the area.

The two countries clashed twice over their mutual border in the 1990s and nearly went to war.

Both US and France have military bases in Djibouti.

America's bipartisan atrocity deepens in Somalia

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

By Chris Floyd

Until we have a politics that considers the fate of all people to be just as important as the fate of “Americans,” there will be no end to this cycle of atrocity and terror, no end to ruin and revenge, no real change, no matter who is elected.

Do you want to know what the entire American political establishment – Democrat and Republican, conservative and “progressive” – really stands for? Do you want to know what they all support, whole-heartedly, without the slightest objection or demur? Do you want to see their true vision for the world, behind all the pious rhetoric and poisonous lies? Then look no further; here it is, in the raw:

A leading human rights group on Tuesday accused Ethiopian troops in Somalia of killing civilians and committing atrocities, including slitting people’s throats, gouging out eyes and gang-raping women. (AP)

The people of Somalia are being killed, raped, tortured; looting is widespread and entire neighbourhoods are being destroyed,” said Michelle Kagari, Africa Programme Deputy Director at Amnesty International, speaking from Nairobi.

Witnesses described to Amnesty International an increasing incidence of Ethiopian troops killing by what is locally termed “slaughtering” or “killing like goats” – referring to killing by slitting the throat. The victims of these killings are often left lying in pools of blood in the streets until armed fighters, including snipers, move out of the area and relatives can collect their bodies.

In one case, a 15-year-old girl found her father with his throat cut upon returning home from school, after Ethiopian security forces swept through her neighbourhood.

Other cases in the report include:

Haboon, a 56-year-old woman from Mogadishu, who said her neighbour’s 17-year-old daughter was raped by Ethiopian troops. When her 13 and 14-year-old sons tried to defend their sister, the soldiers beat them and took their eyes out with a bayonet. The mother fled. It is not known what happened to the boys. This girl is in a coma as a result of the injuries she sustained during the attack.

Guled, aged 32, who said that he saw his neighbours “slaughtered”. He said he saw many men whose throats were slit and whose bodies were left in the street. Some had their testicles cut off. He also saw women being raped. In one incident, his newly-wed neighbour whose husband was not home was raped by over twenty Ethiopian soldiers. (Garowe Online)

Ceebla’a, aged 63, from Wardhiigley, said she fled Mogadishu on 15 November 2007 with her young children after some shooting in the area. One day she saw three men leaving their shops being picked up by Ethiopian soldiers for investigation. The next morning she saw the bodies of the three men on the street. One was strangled with electrical wire. The second had his throat cut. The third had been chained ankle to wrist, and his testicles had been smashed. (Amnesty report)

These Ethiopian (Tigrean People Liberation Front) Woyanne troops were armed, trained and funded by the Bush Administration, then sent into Somalia as a proxy army for yet another Terror War “regime change” operation in late 2006. American military forces have been directly involved in the operation, on the side of the invaders, throughout the conflict, from the very beginning to this day –- as evidenced by the U.S. missile attack last week that killed at least two dozen civilians in the course of an “extrajudicial” assassination of a Somali insurgent leader.

American forces have bombed fleeing refugees, slaughtered innocent herdsmen and destroyed villages in attempts to assassinate a handful of individual alleged, on shaky and specious evidence, to be “part of” or “associated with” or “linked to” al Qaeda. American agents have seized refugees from the Somali war, including U.S. citizens, and had them “renditioned” to the notorious prisons of the Ethiopian dictatorship. And as we have noted here many times, the Bush Administration has sent in death squads to “kill anyone left alive” after American strikes.

There has been no objection to any of this from any major figure in American politics. Barack Obama doesn’t object to it. Hillary Clinton doesn’t object to it. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t object to it. It goes without saying that John McCain and the Republicans don’t object to these latest war crimes. The entire Washington power structure has lined up to support this hideous project: military aggression, murder, destruction and rampant atrocity. Somalia -– already one of the world’s most fragile and ravaged nations -– is being battered into utter destruction before our eyes… and in our names.

“The human rights and humanitarian situation in Somalia is growing worse by the day. This report represents the voices of ordinary Somalis, and their plea to the international community to take action to end the attacks against them, including those committed by internationally-supported [Transitional Federal Government] and Ethiopian forces.”

Security in many parts of Mogadishu is non-existent, and the entire population of Mogadishu bears the scars of having witnessed or experienced egregious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

“There is no safety for civilians, wherever they run. Those fleeing violence in Mogadishu are attacked on the road and those lucky enough to reach a camp or settlement face further violence and dire conditions.”

The American-backed invasion, and the depradations of the American-backed TFG, which was helped into power by Somali warlords in the pay of the CIA, have, inevitably, radicalized opposition forces, some of whom respond with similar brutality. The chaos wrought by the war in Somalia breaks down all vestiges of society and human communion, leaving people prey to freebooting criminal gangs and the ravages of desperation.

In the face of all this deliberately fomented horror –- and its embrace by the entire American political establishment –- it is difficult to regard the U.S. presidential race as anything other than a sickening obscenity, played out on a stage drenched in viscera. “Oh my god, did you hear what Harold Ickes said about Barack?!” “Mercy me, did you hear what those latte-swilling Obamaniks said about Hillary’s gas tax plan?!” This is juvenile navel-gazing taken to sinister extremes. I honestly cannot fathom such people, who pretend to care about politics and policy –- yet ignore the unspeakable ruin and suffering that are the reality of our politics, the accepted, bipartisan results of our policies.

Until we have a politics that considers the fate of Haboon and her children to be just as important, just as meaningful, just as real as our own, there will be no end to this cycle of atrocity and terror, no end to ruin and revenge, no real change, no matter who is elected.

Below we see from the Amnesty report that U.S. proxies in Somalia are using the kind of “counterinsurgency techniques” that fuels extremism and insurgency:

In many cases TFG and Ethiopian Woyanne forces were searching for specific, named individuals believed to have collaborated with armed groups, and in several such cases they beat, arrested or killed someone other than the person they were looking for. In many other cases, TFG and Ethiopian Woyanne forces would sweep entire streets, moving door to door, beating or shooting those they found in areas from which armed groups were believed to have launched attacks, or areas presumed to be armed group strongholds. Many individuals and families under such circumstances were accused of collaboration with armed groups by association or mere proximity to attacks.

Bush’s proxy warriors in Somalia are also practicing “extrajudicial assassination” in the manner of the Crawford Caligula:

Among the most common violations reported were an increased incidence of gang rape, and scores of reports of a type of killing locally referred to as “slaughtering,” or “killing like goats.” These terms refer to extrajudicial killing by slitting of the throat. Amnesty International heard dozens of testimonies stating that the bodies of such victims were left lying in pools of blood in the streets and in homes until combatants, including snipers, evacuated the area and it was considered safe for family and neighbors to retrieve them.

Here are more stories of the actual human beings being ground to bits by the Terror War machine:

Mahad, aged 41, a refugee from the Black Sea area near Bakara Market, described the actions of the TFG: “I cannot say in one story why I wasn’t safe, there are too many stories. My worst experience was one day when the TFG soldiers raided my village. These are the authority troops of Mohamed Dheere (the Mayor of Mogadishu). This was two and a half months ago at about 5am in the morning. I was watching from upstairs in my house. They were in a line and everyone had their hands against the wall. Then the soldiers fired on them, in bursts from their AK47s. They were six or seven meters away from me. I didn’t hear the soldiers say anything. I heard the people screaming, others were reciting the Koran, others were crying. After one hour, when the troops left, we came out to see the bodies. They also looted the village. They were Somali TFG forces. Everyone was killed because they were accused of being al-Qaeda. On another day [in early November], a Tuesday morning, I went to Bakara Market at 7:30am and I saw 21 bodies. I counted them. The bodies were lying alongside the road, all together in a row. They were all shot dead, with bullet holes all over their bodies. I saw two of them had their hands tied. I think they were killed because their clan was supporting the ICU…

Ruwe in Mogadishu, who fled in October 2007, told Amnesty International: “I saw girls get raped in my neighborhood and on the streets. I saw people get slaughtered. I saw people killed in their houses, their bodies rotting for days. It happened to my neighbor’s two girls.

Barni, aged 15, from Hawl Wadaag District in Mogadishu, said her area was controlled by the TFG in mid-2007. But when armed groups attacked the TFG and overwhelmed them in the area, the Ethiopian Woyanne forces came in too. When she came home from school on a day of significant fighting, she found her father with his throat cut, and the rest of her extended family was gone…

Canbaro, aged 35, from the Dayniile District of Mogadishu, lost her eldest son (aged 15), who was killed when he left their house to watch some fighting and was caught in the crossfire in late 2007. On the same day two male neighbors were killed by Ethiopian Woyanne troops when they entered their house. Their wives were “caught by force” (one of many euphemisms for being raped).

Fatima, 28, from the Wardhiigley District of Mogadishu, fled in late 2007 because she and her sisters were “mishandled” (another euphemism for being raped) by Ethiopian Woyanne troops, she said, and she was afraid for her children…

Hibo, aged 52, from the Yaaqsheed area of Mogadishu, now has nine children. Her husband and two other children were killed by Ethiopian Woyanne troops on 27 March 2007. She told Amnesty International, “My story begins with the men not spending the night at home anymore. We were afraid they [Ethiopian Woyanne troops] could break in and take them [family members]. One night when they were entering the bush they were stopped by soldiers who told my husband not to move. He didn’t move, but they searched him and found some money. One of my sons cried out, ‘Don’t take this, we don’t have anything else at home for my mother and the other children.’ One of the soldiers beat my son, and my husband responded by trying to protect him. The soldier beat my husband, and my other son grabbed onto him. The soldier took out his gun and shot him. I saw this from my window. Both boys were shot [dead] and they took my husband. After two days I was called to the hospital to collect my husband. When I arrived he was dead.

Zakaria, aged 41, from the Black Sea area, near Bakara Market, in Mogadishu said, “On 16 October 2007 I was in Somalia. On the fourth night I was there the village was occupied by Ethiopians Woyannes. I was among 41 who were arrested by the Ethiopians Woyannes. We were taken to the military base. I could see the battle wagons, and more than 15 technicals [Technicals are jeeps with heavy machine guns mounted on the back]. I was questioned by a Somali guy who was working with the Ethiopians Woyannes. We were all asked the same question: ‘Why are you here?’ We said we were just living in our homes. When the questions ended, nine of us were taken away and dropped into a lorry. I think these nine were taken to Ethiopia. I think this is because two of them were mullahs with long beards. Others looked ‘normal,’ mostly teenagers, under 20. I used to hear that when the Ethiopians Woyannes made arrests they pick up people who look like Islamists, and they take them to Ethiopia. The rest, 32 including me, we ran away, we escaped, but 11 were killed, shot dead. I could see them falling as they were ahead of me, they were the first group running away. That was the day I decided to flee the country. Later, on 22 November I saw five bodies that had their throats cut. Two of them were beheaded. The area was occupied by Ethiopians Woyannes.

Ebyan, aged 35, from Medina in Mogadishu, just arrived in a settlement two days before Amnesty International interviewed her. She said, “They killed my husband and my father on the same day on 25 November 2007. They were riding together in a car. When they were stopped, my husband started speaking in Somali, but the soldiers didn’t understand. They shot my husband in the forehead. When my father intervened they shot him too. After they killed my husband I hid two of my four children under the bed, and took two with me. I broke the bed over the two beneath so that no one would find them there. Later I came back and found them. I fled and left everything behind.

As noted above, the chaos and societal collapse caused by the “regime change” is breeding extremism and criminal anarchy. From the Amnesty report:

…clan, sub-clan and local political leaders and militias… have acted as bandits, perpetrating raids, robberies and other abuses against civilians, including rape and other forms of sexual violence. For example, those called “Mooryaan” are described as “gun totting young men” or “street kids,” who behave as criminals against civilians.

Nasteexo, aged 25, left Mogadishu because of insecurity. Break-ins had become common. Armed men opposing the TFG, called Mooryaan took her sister: “First they steal, then they take away the girls. Sometimes the girls come back, sometimes they don’t. It was a Thursday in mid-November. We were robbed by armed men. They were only two, and they were masked. They tried to take my sister, but my husband intervened, saying ‘this girl is too young and poor.’ This is when they shot him in the chest with rifles. Then the two masked men ran away with my sister. My husband died after he was shot. I ran away from my home because my husband was shot in front of my kids.

Meanwhile, those who flee the hell of Mogadishu and other cities find no respite from horror on the road:

One woman stated, “On the road from Mogadishu, there are robbers who come and take your money or just fire directly at the buses. Sometimes, there are roadblocks where they stop and ask you for money. If you don’t stop, they will kill you. Other bandits will jump out and shoot straight at the car, killing the driver and robbing the occupants. They will rob them of everything, and drive away with the car, leaving the women and children abandoned on the road. Sometimes, bandits will threaten and rape women—even if they are pregnant or breast feeding. My own family members have experienced things like this.

Amnesty concludes with a ringing declaration that “that war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity have been committed by all parties to the conflict in Somalia.” It goes on to name the TFG and Ethiopia Woyanne as bearing special responsibility for the level of atrocity. But the report omits one chief conspirator in this monstrous crime against humanity: the bankroller, armorer and trainer of the Ethiopian Woyanne invaders, the paymaster of the Somali warlords, the missile-striker, the refugee-bomber, the “extrajudicial” assassin, the renditioner, the wielder of death squads: the United States government, under the direction of George W. Bush, and with the full and willing complicity of the entire political establishment.

——————————

Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

Video: Norway to withdraw its diplomats from Ethiopia

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

OLF denounces the illegal give away of Ethiopian land

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

By Tedla Asfaw

OLF Radio’s Amharic Service May 6 commented that the recent land “transaction” between TPLF and Sudan is a mutual agreement benefiting both regimes.

Sudan according to the commentary will hand opponents to TPLF and make sure its land including the one it was given by TPLF as a “gift” not to be used as a military base by TPLF’s opponents.

We have seen another deal between Puntland administration, Somalia and TPLF that resulted to the handling of ONLF high officials for exchange of guns. There was no land transaction between Puntland and TPLF this time because Puntland has no strong army to challenge ONLF. However, we can not rule out that possibility for the future.

The long term goal of the land “gift” to Sudan according to the OLF commentary is to plant a long term conflict between Sudan and Ethiopia mirroring the Badme “fiasco” which took the lives of tens of thousands of Ethiopians.

It went further and challenged all opponents of the regime to come together and remove this regime to detonate all the bombs planted inside and outside Ethiopia before it takes our people and country for a devastating conflict among ourselves and with neighboring countries.

Ethiopians in Switzerland to commemorate May 15

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Ethiopians in Switzerland will commemorate May 15 by holding a rally in Geneva in front of the United Nations building starting at 2:00 PM.

On May 15, 2005, millions of Ethiopians voted for change. The ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (Woyanne) reacted by unleashing its death squads killing thousands, throwing over 50,000 civilians in concentration camps, shutting down the independent media, and arrested all the top leaders of the opposition party.

Similar activities are being organized to commemorate this day in Washington DC and other cities around the world.


ታላቅ ህዝባዊ ሰላማዊ ሠልፍ ጥሪ በስዊዘርላንድና አካባቢ ለምትኖሩ ኢትዮጵያውያን በሙሉ

ለተከበራችሁ ውድ ኢትዮጵያውያን ሁሉ

የህዝብ ድምጽ የተቀማበትና በአደባባይ የህዝብ ልጆች በአጋዚ ጦር የተጨፈጨፉበት ቀን በማስታወስ ለሚደረገው አለም አቀፋዊ ሰላማዊ ሰልፍ ላይ ለመገኘት ጥሪአችንን እናቀርባለን።

የሰላማዊ ሰልፉ ዓላማ በሃገራችን ላይ የተጣለው የጥፋት ደመናን ለማርገብም ታስቦ ነው።

ይሄዉም ፡-
* በሃገራችን ፍትህና ዲሞክራሲ ከምንጊዜዉም የበለጠ ታፍኖአል
* ህዝባችን ሰብአዊና መሰረታዊ የመኖር መብቱ ተነፍጓል
* መለስና ግብረ-አበሮቹ በህዝባችን ላይ ቀጥተኛ የሆነ ብቀላ እየፈጸሙበት ነው
* የአምባገነኑ መለስ አስተዳደር የዕለት ጉርስን የፖለቲካ መሳርያ በማድረግ በሚሊዮን የሚቆጠሩ ኢትዮጵያውያን ለረሃብ ተዳርገዋል
* የባህረ ነጋሽ ቁስል ሳይደርቅ የሰሜን ምዕራብ የድንበር መሬታችን ቆርሰው ለሱዳን ሰጥተዋል
* መለስና ግብረ አበሮቹ በኢትዮጵያ ላይ እና በህዝቧ ላይ የማያልቅ ጦርነት በመጫር ላይ ናቸው
* የሃገርን ሉዖላዊነት፤ታሪክንና ቅርስን ማጥፋታቸዉን ከጥለዉበታል
* በህዝባችን ላይ አፈናዉና ግድያው በአስከፊ ሁነታ ቀጥሎአል
* በብዙ ሺህ የሚቆተሩ የኢትዮጵያ ልጆች በሃገሪቱ ዙሪያ እየማቀቁ ነው
* ኢትዮጵያዊ መሆንና ስለኢትዮጵያዊነት መናገር ወንጀል ሆኗል ለዚህም እንደ ትልቅ ምሳሌ ኢትዮጵያዊው አርቲስት ቴዲአፍሮ መጥቀስ ይቻላል
* በቴዲ አፍሮ ላይ የሚወሰደዉ ኢ-ፍትሃዊ ድርጊት በኢትዮጵያዊነት ላይ ብሎም የአዲሱን ትውልድ ልብ ለማቁሰል ሆን ብሎ የሚፈጸም ድርጊት ነው

ስለኢትዮጵያዊነትና ለኢትዮጵያ ለመቆም ከእኛ ከኢትዮጵያውያን ሌላ ማንም ሊቆምና ሊቆረቆር አይችልም ።ስለዚህ ህዝባችንና ሃገራችን ካሉበት አጣብቂኝ ችግር ለማዉጣት የዘር የሃይማኖትና የፖለቲካ ልዩነት ሳይገድበን የዜግነት ድርሻችንን እንወጣ።

ስለዚህ ግንቦት 7 ቀን ወይም 15 May 2008 በሚደረገው ሰላማዊ ሰልፍ ላ እንድትገኙ ጥሪአችንን እንቀርባለን

ቦታው ጄኔቫ የተባበሩት መንግስታት ጽ/ቤት ፊት ለፊት ነው
ከ14 ሠዓት ጀምሮ

ኢትዮጵያ ለዘልዓለም ትኖራለች!
የፖለቲካ እስረኞች ባስቸኳይ ይፈቱ!
ቴዲ አፍሮ ባስቸኳይ ይለቀቅ!

ጊዜአዊ አስተባባሪ ተግባር ኮሚቴ

ለበለጠ ኢንፎርሜሽን በዚህ ስልክ ይደዉሉ 0041 79 672 42 87

Amnesty report only "scratches surface of atrocities"

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

NAIROBI (IRIN) – The Somali government denied claims by a rights group that its forces and their Ethiopian Woyanne allies were committing atrocities against the civilian population — even as a civil society source said the report did not go far enough.

Government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon told IRIN on 7 May that in a war situation “some people may get caught in a crossfire but no civilian is deliberately targeted”, insisting that neither the TFG forces nor their Ethiopian allies committed atrocities.

Gobdon said the report was “pure propaganda and fabrication”. He was reacting to a report issued on 6 May by Amnesty International (AI), which has accused all parties to the conflict of committing war crimes against the civilian population.

“The people of Somalia are being killed, raped, tortured; looting is widespread and entire neighbourhoods are being destroyed,” Michelle Kagari, Amnesty’s Africa programme deputy director, said in the report.

In one incident, a 56-year-old woman described to Amnesty officials how Ethiopian Woyanne troops raped a neighbour’s 17-year-old daughter in 2007 and that when the girl’s two brothers, 13 and 14 years old, tried to help her, Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers gouged out their eyes with a bayonet.

In another, Amnesty reported, a 32-year-old man said he saw his neighbours “slaughtered”, adding that he saw many men whose throats were slit and whose bodies were left in the street.

“Some had their testicles cut off,” the man told Amnesty. He also saw women being raped.

Yet the real scale of Somalia’s “dire” rights crisis remained unknown because international aid agencies were under heavy pressure not to expose the abuses they witnessed, Amnesty said, and local journalists were often silenced by threats.

A civil society source in Mogadishu agreed and said the report “only scratches the surface” and did not go far enough. “It touches on a very small portion of what actually happens here,” said the source, who requested anonymity.

He said that killings, rape and disappearances were daily occurrences in Mogadishu.

“As I speak to you we are looking for two young men, Osman Mohamed Haji and Ahmed Abdulle Soomane, who disappeared on 24 March.” He said no one knew who took them or why. “This is becoming normal in Mogadishu,” he said. “I have no doubt in my mind that war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed with total impunity.”

Amnesty’s Kagari said: “The testimony we received strongly suggests that war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity have been committed by all parties to the conflict in Somalia – and no one is being held accountable.”

The report also quoted witnesses who accused the insurgent group Al Shabaab militia of indiscriminate attacks on civilians and threatening journalists perceived as not favorable to them.

The report said the transitional government, as the recognised government of Somalia, bore the primary responsibility for protecting the human rights of the Somali people, adding that the Ethiopian Woyanne military, which is the main backer of the TFG, also bore responsibility.

It called for the “attacks on civilians by all parties to stop immediately. Also, the international community must bear its own responsibility for not putting consistent pressure on the TFG or the Ethiopian Woyanne government to stop their armed forces from committing egregious human rights violations.”

OLF denounces the give away of Ethiopian land to Sudan

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

By Tedla Asfaw, New York

The Oromo Liberation Front’s (OLF) radio Amharic service on its May 6 broadcast commented that the recent land “transaction” between TPLF and Sudan is a mutual agreement benefiting both regimes.

Sudan according to the commentary will hand opponents to TPLF and make sure its land including the one it was given by TPLF as a “gift” not to be used as a military base by TPLF’s opponents.

We have seen another deal between Puntland administration, Somalia and TPLF that resulted to the handling of ONLF high officials for exchange of guns. There was no land transaction between Puntland and TPLF this time because Puntland has no strong army to challenge ONLF. However, we can not rule out that possibility for the future.

The long term goal of the land “gift” to Sudan according to the OLF commentary is to plant a long term conflict between Sudan and Ethiopia mirroring the Badme “fiasco” which took the lives of tens of thousands of Ethiopians.

It went further and challenged all opponents of the regime to come together and remove this regime to detonate all the bombs planted inside and outside Ethiopia before it takes our people and country for a devastating conflict among ourselves and with neighboring countries.

Woyanne accuses Amnesty of smear campaign

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Woyannes, who have accused Norway and Qatar of supporting terrorism, and Ethiopian Review and other media of genocide, is now going after Amnesty International, one of the most respected human rights organizations, for exposing the war crimes of Meles Zenawi’s occupation forces in Somalia. Reuters and other media are smearing Ethiopia’s name by associating Woyanne and its evil deeds with Ethiopia, or calling it Ethiopian government. Woyanne is not a government or a political party. It is a gang of murderers, thieves and rapists — it is a criminal enterprise acting as a government or ruling party.

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia Woyanne accused Amnesty International of a smear campaign against it on Wednesday after the rights group said Ethiopia Woyanne troops in Somalia had killed civilians by slitting their throats.

Thousands of Ethiopia Woyanne soldiers are stationed in Somalia where they are helping the government fight Islamist-led insurgents.

In its second report on abuses in Somalia in two weeks, Amnesty said on Tuesday that all parties to the conflict had committed abuses.

However, it said it had received an increase in reports of violations of Somalis by Ethiopia Woyanne troops, with allegations of gang rape and civilians having their throats slit among the most common.

“This is an outright and deliberate lie, fed to Amnesty by groups affiliated to al Shabaab, groups that use the cover of human rights to promote their terrorist agenda,” Ethiopia’s Woyanne Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

“It is deplorable that Amnesty International has lent itself to an obviously disgraceful smear campaign against the armed forces of Ethiopia Woyanne, using highly emotive, even racist language.”

The ministry accused Amnesty of ignoring widespread human rights abuses by the al Shabaab, including assassinations of political and religious leaders, desecration of dead bodies and the cutting of throats of Muslim clerics who oppose it.

Al Shabaab is the armed wing of a sharia courts movement that ruled most of southern Somalia for six months in 2006 before being ousted by allied Somali-Ethiopian Woyanne forces.

Ethiopia Woyanne said the timing of Amnesty report was designed to help al Shabaab “in the recruitment of terrorists by deliberately inciting hatred and animosity based on lies” and to derail talks due to start in Djibouti on Saturday.

The United Nations has brokered tentative peace talks due to begin on Saturday between 15 officials sent by Somalia’s interim government and a similar number of delegates from the Eritrea-based Somali opposition.

Amnesty urged Ethiopia to read its report and study the allegations against its troops, rather than issue accusations.

“In light of the devastating testimony we received from ordinary Somalis who have been the victims of brutal attacks by all parties to the conflict, we expect the Ethiopian Woyanne government to support a call for an international independent commission into the serious crimes being committed,” a spokesperson said.

Last month Amnesty said Ethiopian Woyanne troops killed 21 people in Mogadishu’s Al Hidaaya mosque, adding that seven of the victims had their throats slit. Ethiopia Woyanne rejected the report and said its forces had never been involved in such incidents.

(Additional reporting and writing by Katie Nguyen in Nairobi; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Jon Boyle)

Musicians at risk of speaking out

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

(IFEX) — Musicians are the latest target in Cameroon’s quest to silence critics of the recent constitutional amendments that eliminate term limits for the President, report the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and the Network of African Freedom of Expression Organizations (NAFEO). Elsewhere in Africa, Ethiopian police have detained an editor and seized a magazine over the cover story of a pop icon, say the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association (EFJA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Lapiro de Mbanga, a prominent Cameroonian protest singer and a known member of the opposition party Social Democratic Front, was arrested on 9 April and accused of masterminding February’s riots against the high cost of living. According to MFWA sources, Mbanga’s arrest was tied to a song he wrote called “Constipated Constitution”, which warns President Paul Biya of the amendments’ dangers.

Joe La Conscience, who also wrote a song condemning the amendments of the constitution, was arrested in March and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, allegedly for arranging an “unlawful” sit-in at the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé. La Conscience was reportedly protesting against the closure of leading broadcasters Equinoxe TV and Radio Equinoxe in connection with their coverage of the ongoing crisis. The day after his non-violent protest, security forces stormed his home in Loum and killed his 11-year-old son, say news reports.

The Constitutional Amendment Bill, adopted by the National Assembly in Cameroon on 10 April, allows an unlimited number of presidential mandates, which critics say empowers President Paul Biya to continue to rule for life. The amendments also grant immunity to the President for any acts committed by him during his time in office.

Freemuse, a free expression organisation for musicians and composers, is leading a campaign in support of the two arrested singers. Get involved, at: http://www.freemuse.org/sw26753.asp

Meanwhile, a magazine with a cover story about the imprisonment of Ethiopia pop singer Teddy Afro was seized on 2 May and its editor and three support staff were themselves jailed, a move coinciding with World Press Freedom Day, says the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists’ Association (EFJA).

Ten thousand copies of the monthly entertainment magazine “Enku” were impounded by police on 2 May, the day before it was due to hit the newsstands. The publisher and deputy editor of the magazine, Alemayehu Mahtemework, was put in jail, along with three support staff.

CPJ says that police impounded the paper allegedly after receiving a tip from an informant at the printer that the cover story could lead to “incitement”.

The story focused on the trial of reggae star Teddy Afro, whose real name is Tewodros Kassahun. Kassahun was arrested and charged last month with causing the death of a young man in a hit and run accident in November 2006.

Kassahun’s popular song, “Jah Yasteseryal”, became a popular anthem of anti-government protesters during unrest following the disputed 2005 parliamentary elections, according to local sources.

Despite releasing 15 Ethiopian journalists who were jailed on trumped-up anti-state charges last year in connection with a brutal 2005 media crackdown, Ethiopian authorities have not relented in their long-standing pattern of repression of independent media through intimidation and arrests, CPJ says.

DW radio reports about Ethiopian farm land give away

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Germany Radio today reports, among other news, about the giving away of Ethiopian farm lands to Sudan by the Woyanne regime. Click here to listen.

Woyanne troops behead, castrate Somalis (AI)

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

guardian.co.uk — Soldiers, insurgents and bandits are routinely attacking Somalian civilians, carrying out murder, rape, and robbery on villagers, and destroying entire districts, Amnesty International said yesterday.

Gang rape and throat cutting — referred to locally as “killing like goats” — is prevalent. Incidents of gouging out eyes, beheadings and castration have also been reported. Amnesty’s report is based on interviews with scores of traumatized refugees who fled the war-ravaged country, where 6,500 civilians have been killed in the past year.

Unarmed civilians are reported to be caught up in the battle between Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers and Somalian government troops fighting the remnants of the Islamic Courts Union, which was ousted by Ethiopian Woyanne forces in 2006. Amnesty said the blame for civilian deaths was shared by all parties but it highlighted an “increasing incidence” of gruesome methods employed by Ethiopian Woyanne forces following incidents in which the bodies of several Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers were dragged through the streets of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, by Islamist insurgents.

Ethiopia’s government Woyanne dismissed Amnesty’s report as unbalanced and “categorically wrong”. A spokesman said hundreds of Ethiopian Woyanne troops had died fighting the Islamist insurgency.

Guled, a 32-year-old refugee, described seeing neighbors with their throats slit, and their corpses left in the street. “Some had their testicles cut off,” Guled said, adding that a newly married woman who lived next door to him was raped by more than 20 Ethiopians. Another interviewee told Amnesty of a report that Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers had cut the throat of a young child in front of the mother. “Even schools are being used as cemeteries, because people cannot take bodies outside the city,” Galad, a 60-year-old journalist, was quoted as saying.

Michelle Kagari, the deputy director of Amnesty’s Africa Programme, said: “The people of Somalia are being killed, raped, tortured; looting is widespread and entire neighbourhoods are being destroyed. The testimony we received strongly suggests that war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity have been committed by all parties to the conflict in Somalia and no one is being held accountable.”

The Amnesty report said: “Among the most common violations reported were an increased incidence of gang rape, and scores of reports of a type of killing locally referred to as… ‘killing like goats’.”

It quotes Butaaco, a 30-year-old refugee from Mogadishu, as saying: “I saw girls get raped in my neighborhood and on the streets. I saw people get slaughtered. I saw people killed in their houses, their bodies rotting for days.”

Somalia has been in a state of chaos since 1991, when warlords overthrew the dictator Mohamed Siad Barre after 21 years in power and then turned on each other. Last year, Islamist militants took control of most of southern Somalia, including Mogadishu. Ethiopia Woyanne sent in troops in December 2006 and ejected them. Since then, Mogadishu has been caught up in a guerrilla war between the government and its Ethiopian Woyanne allies and the Islamist insurgents. Up to 1 million Somalians are internally displaced.

German radio reports about farm land give away

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Germany Radio today reports, among other news, about the giving away of Ethiopian farm lands to Sudan by the Woyanne regime. Click here to listen.

Video: Sosina Wogayehu's amazing circus performance

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Sosina performing in New York City

Ethiopian circus star Sosina Wogayehu

Sosina was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1978. She started doing gymnastics at the age of 7, and was Ethiopian Gymnastics Champion at ages 9 and 11. She joined Circus Ethiopia in 1993, and toured the world for five years as an acrobat, contortionist and dancer, including performances at the Adelaide Festival, the Womad Festival in England, and a performance for the Queen of the Netherlands.

Sosina moved to Australia in 1998. In 1999 she completed a Diploma in Small Companies and Community Theatre at Swinburne University, including spending a month doing work experience with Australia’s flagship contemporary circus, Circus Oz, and participating in a Melbourne Women’s Circus community performance. She supported her studies and training with a job at Africako, where she was employed for her specialist Ethiopian hair braiding skills. Sometimes Sosina performed as a “hair busker”, braiding hair, adding colorful extensions and bright found objects and offering a free smile to the shoppers in Auckland St, St Kilda.

Sosina was fortunate to complete her diploma just as the Swinburne University National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) sought applications for their inaugural two-year diploma in circus arts. She was a successful applicant, and was one of its very first graduating students in 2001. While studying at NICA, she developed her world-class, solo, bouncing ball juggling act, and a ladder-balancing act. These acts, along with her stage presence, her contortion, her creativity, and her ability to work effectively in a collaborative creative environment led Circus Oz to offer her a position in their permanent performance ensemble in 2002.

Ethiopians march for freedom, justice and human rights

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Press Release: May 6, 2008

Plans are well underway for the four-day event, Worldwide March for Freedom, Justice and Human Rights in Ethiopia, starting on May 15, 2008 and ending on Sunday, March 18, but the invitation is still open for more people to join in as organizers and support people. Teleconference meetings are being held daily to assist participants in the process.

On May 4th and 5th, two teleconferences each day were held by the organizers of these events and we want to update the public about what is going on.

First of all, those involved in this international committee include representatives from twenty different organizations from all over the world. Although some represent political groups, all those participating have agreed to work together as a non-political group focused on bringing freedom, justice and human rights to Ethiopia. If you are someone or an organization who did not get an invitation from us, we are sorry because we may not have your contact information, but we would look forward to you contacting us because what we are planning is for all organizations, communities, religious groups and civic groups.

Once this Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia starts after this four-day event, we would not want you to feel that we intentionally excluded you. We do not want anyone left out that is interested in joining so please contact us now. It is absolutely not too late. You are welcome! This includes Woyane supporters and EPRDF members who want a better and more humane Ethiopia for the future.

Four events are scheduled and they include:

Day One: Thursday, May 15 – A DAY OF REMEMBERANCE: The Tent of Grieving and Celebration

Day Two: Friday, May 16 – A DAY OF UNITY: Worldwide March for Ethiopian Freedom, Justice and Human Rights

Day Three: Saturday, May 17 – DAY OF REACHING OUT: Building New Connections

Day Four: Sunday, May 18 – DAY OF PRAYER: Confession, Thanksgiving, Reconciliation and Petition

Because of time constraints, every committee member on the international worldwide committee is to act as the mobilizer of the group(s) in their area. This committee member then will act as the liaison between the local groups and the international worldwide committee. This central committee will have the responsibility to oversee the overall planning, assisting the implementation at the local level as much as is needed.

We continue to ask for more volunteers who would be willing to organize and participate in one or in all of the four events occurring over the duration of the four days—the day of remembrance, the day of the march, the day of unity and the day of prayer. If possible, we ask that you participate in all of the four daily events in your community.

It does not matter the number of people who participate, even if you could bring together five or ten. Others may be able to mobilize more, but together, Ethiopians worldwide may be able to call attention to the lack of freedom and justice in Ethiopia and so begin the hard work of coming up with solid solutions for the dilemma we are in.

If there is a community not connected yet, you can start immediately and then contact us. If there is a group in some state or region who has never been involved before, we ask you to get involved now and we will help you—step by step.

Some immediate tasks to be completed:

  • We ask you to reach out to other civic or religious organizations—not necessarily Ethiopian—to be part of this. For example, in Switzerland, the Switzerland Trade Union has agreed to rally with Ethiopians for Human Rights. Ethiopians should reach out to non-Ethiopians like this as it will only increase the interest in what is going on and it will also encourage the press to want to cover the story.
  • Each committee in each community will need to identify a person ready to answer questions from the press and make the initial contacts with the press so there is press coverage of the event. This person, or another appointed person should be ready to answer questions as to why this rally is necessary and important.
  • Reach out to others in the Horn of Africa or in Africa and include them in these activities. Many of them have been suffering as well and we need to bridge the gaps between nations as well as within our nation.
  • On day three, hold a town hall meeting or another kind of meeting at a community center, religious building or public building where Ethiopians can talk—not about politics, but about how to build new relationships with people from different groups coming together as one people.
  • Collect funds in your community to be used for flyers, posters or travel expenses for those who may need to travel outside their areas.
  • Make requests for permits to allow your group in front of your state capital. The goal is to have the rallies occur simultaneously all over the world. The posters and signs used in the rallies will be similar.
  • The universal petition of what we are rallying for will be prepared and distributed to everyone. It will discuss the human rights abuses in Ethiopia.
  • Mobilize people—call people in your community—go to the churches, mosques, synagogues, community centers, schools and any other place you might be able to engage people.
  • In all activities, reflect and act on this principle: In order for Ethiopians to survive, we need to put humanity before ethnicity.

Worldwide Committee Meeting Schedule:

Because of the time constraints, every day until next week, there will be a meeting at 3:00 PM Eastern time for those in Europe, Africa, Australia or the Middle East. Another meeting at 8:00 PM Eastern time for those in North America. If anyone wants to participate, email us at ethiopiansmarchforfreedom@yahoo.ca. Remember, there is still a need for more people. It is not too late to join and to contribute in making this successful. It depends on individuals doing their share.

Important points about the proposed May 15-18 March:

  1. It is non-political.
  2. The programs will involve as many Ethiopians and Ethiopian organizations as are willing to participate.
  3. The reasons for the previous failure to have an impact on the dictatorship in Ethiopia has been the unwillingness or inability of the various organizations to come together to form a united front against the regime.
  4. The main objective of the march is to commemorate the first truly democratic election in Ethiopia in May 2005, which was stolen from the people of Ethiopia. It will also commemorate the loss of thousands of lives among people from all the ethnic groups in Ethiopia!
  5. Most importantly, the events will be a starting point of a movement to reclaim Ethiopia for Ethiopians, by uniting under one movement.
  6. It is of critical importance that all participants tone down politics while efforts are being made to put out the fire of division that has engulfed Ethiopia, and instead to look around to find brothers and sisters from other organizations and ethnic groups in order to hold hands and forge a united front.

What is next?

The march is really the first step in a unified approach to address the problems within Ethiopia. An umbrella organization will be necessary to coordinate further actions. This is just the beginning signifying the launch of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia.

  1. Draft the petition to be used universally all over the world: A petition for the March, to be used by all participants, will be drafted. This will be done in the next few days and should be available to be studied and adopted by the March Organizers before distribution to participants.
  2. Fund raising: Urgent actions on this front was suggested and plan for collections should be in place immediately to make money available for purchase of necessary items, payment for transportation etc. It was noted that there is very little time available for this, immediate institution of the process should start.
  3. Follow-up Meeting: In view of the urgency of this process and the limited time available a follow-up meeting has been arranged for Tuesday, May 6, 2008. The meeting for the European members will be at 3.00 p.m. EST and for the North American members it will be at 8.00 p.m EST.

For further questions, please contact: ethiopiansmarchforfreedom@yahoo.ca

RSF condemns the arrest of magazine publisher

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of Alemayehu Mahtemework, the publisher and deputy editor of the entertainment monthly Enku, on the night of 2 May in Addis Ababa, and the seizure of 10,000 copies of its latest issue.

The press freedom organisation also condemns the arrest of three people with no connection to the magazine who happened to be in the vehicle carrying the copies that were about to be distributed.

“The Ethiopian authorities have sent a very negative signal by choosing the eve of 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, to arrest a journalist and seize an issue of an independent magazine,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“Although aware of the climate of self-censorship prevailing in Addis Ababa, we chose to send the government a positive signal by withdrawing Prime Minister Meles Zenawi from our list of press freedom predators, in order to salute the efforts it has made in the past year,” the organisation added. “But if this case is not resolved quickly and this kind of incident recurs, we will have to review our decision.”

The cover story of the issue that was seized by the police was about the controversial arrest of Tewodros Kasahun, a very popular singer who supports the opposition.

March for Freedom, Justice and Human Rights in Ethiopia

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Press Release: May 6, 2008

Plans are well underway for the four-day event, Worldwide March for Freedom, Justice and Human Rights in Ethiopia, starting on May 15, 2008 and ending on Sunday, March 18, but the invitation is still open for more people to join in as organizers and support people. Teleconference meetings are being held daily to assist participants in the process.

On May 4th and 5th,  two teleconferences each day were held by the organizers of these events and we want to update the public about what is going on.

First of all, those involved in this international committee include representatives from twenty different organizations from all over the world. Although some represent political groups, all those participating have agreed to work together as a non-political group focused on bringing freedom, justice and human rights to Ethiopia. If you are someone or an organization who did not get an invitation from us, we are sorry because we may not have your contact information, but we would look forward to you contacting us because what we are planning is for all organizations, communities, religious groups and civic groups.

Once this Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia starts after this four-day event, we would not want you to feel that we intentionally excluded you. We do not want anyone left out that is interested in joining so please contact us now. It is absolutely not too late. You are welcome! This includes Woyane supporters and EPRDF members who want a better and more humane Ethiopia for the future.

Four events are scheduled and they include:

Day One: Thursday, May 15 – A DAY OF REMEMBERANCE: The Tent of Grieving and Celebration

Day Two: Friday, May 16 – A DAY OF UNITY: Worldwide March for Ethiopian Freedom, Justice and Human Rights

Day Three: Saturday, May 17 – DAY OF REACHING OUT: Building New Connections

Day Four: Sunday, May 18 – DAY OF PRAYER: Confession, Thanksgiving, Reconciliation and Petition

Because of time constraints, every committee member on the international worldwide committee is to act as the mobilizer of the group(s) in their area. This committee member then will act as the liaison between the local groups and the international worldwide committee. This central committee will have the responsibility to oversee the overall planning, assisting the implementation at the local level as much as is needed.

We continue to ask for more volunteers who would be willing to organize and participate in one or in all of the four events occurring over the duration of the four days—the day of remembrance, the day of the march, the day of unity and the day of prayer. If possible, we ask that you participate in all of the four daily events in your community.

It does not matter the number of people who participate, even if you could bring together five or ten. Others may be able to mobilize more, but together, Ethiopians worldwide may be able to call attention to the lack of freedom and justice in Ethiopia and so begin the hard work of coming up with solid solutions for the dilemma we are in.

If there is a community not connected yet, you can start immediately and then contact us. If there is a group in some state or region who has never been involved before, we ask you to get involved now and we will help you—step by step.

Some immediate tasks to be completed:

  • We ask you to reach out to other civic or religious organizations—not necessarily Ethiopian—to be part of this.  For example, in Switzerland, the Switzerland Trade Union has agreed to rally with Ethiopians for Human Rights. Ethiopians should reach out to non-Ethiopians like this as it will only increase the interest in what is going on and it will also encourage the press to want to cover the story.
  • Each committee in each community will need to identify a person ready to answer questions from the press and make the initial contacts with the press so there is press coverage of the event. This person, or another appointed person should be ready to answer questions as to why this rally is necessary and important.
  • Reach out to others in the Horn of Africa or in Africa and include them in these activities.  Many of them have been suffering as well and we need to bridge the gaps between nations as well as within our nation.
  • On day three, hold a town hall meeting or another kind of meeting at a community center, religious building or public building where Ethiopians can talk—not about politics, but about how to build new relationships with people from different groups coming together as one people.
  • Collect funds in your community to be used for flyers, posters or travel expenses for those who may need to travel outside their areas.
  • Make requests for permits to allow your group in front of your state capital. The goal is to have the rallies occur simultaneously all over the world. The posters and signs used in the rallies will be similar.
  • The universal petition of what we are rallying for will be prepared and distributed to everyone. It will discuss the human rights abuses in Ethiopia.
  • Mobilize people—call people in your community—go to the churches, mosques, synagogues, community centers, schools and any other place you might be able to engage people.
  • In all activities, reflect and act on this principle: In order for Ethiopians to survive, we need to put humanity before ethnicity.

Worldwide Committee Meeting Schedule:

Because of the time constraints, every day until next week, there will be a meeting at 3:00 PM Eastern time for those in Europe, Africa, Australia or the Middle East. Another meeting at 8:00 PM Eastern time for those in North America. If anyone wants to participate, email us at ethiopiansmarchforfreedom@yahoo.ca. Remember, there is still a need for more people. It is not too late to join and to contribute in making this successful. It depends on individuals doing their share.

Important points about the proposed May 15-18 March:

  1. It is non-political.
  2. The programs will involve as many Ethiopians and Ethiopian organizations as are willing to participate.
  3. The reasons for the previous failure to have an impact on the dictatorship in Ethiopia has been the unwillingness or inability of the various organizations to come together to form a united front against the regime.
  4. The main objective of the march is to commemorate the first truly democratic election in Ethiopia in May 2005, which was stolen from the people of Ethiopia. It will also commemorate the loss of thousands of lives among people from all the ethnic groups in Ethiopia!
  5. Most importantly, the events will be a starting point of a movement to reclaim Ethiopia for Ethiopians, by uniting under one movement.
  6. It is of critical importance that all participants tone down politics while efforts are being made to put out the fire of division that has engulfed Ethiopia, and instead to look around to find brothers and sisters from other organizations and ethnic groups in order to hold hands and forge a united front.

What is next?

The march is really the first step in a unified approach to address the problems within Ethiopia. An umbrella organization will be necessary to coordinate further actions. This is just the beginning signifying the launch of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia.

  1. Draft the petition to be used universally all over the world: A petition for the March, to be used by all participants, will be drafted. This will be done in the next few days and should be available to be studied and adopted by the March Organizers before distribution to participants.
  2. Fund raising: Urgent actions on this front was suggested and plan for collections should be in place immediately to make money available for purchase of necessary items, payment for transportation etc. It was noted that there is very little time available for this, immediate institution of the process should start.
  3. Follow-up Meeting: In view of the urgency of this process and the limited time available a follow-up meeting has been arranged for Tuesday, May 6, 2008. The meeting for the European members will be at 3.00 p.m. EST and for the North American members it will be at 8.00 p.m EST.

For further questions, please contact: ethiopiansmarchforfreedom@yahoo.ca

Ethiopia ranks one of the worst countries for mothers

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Ethiopia under the Woyanne fascist dictatorship ranks as one of the worst countries for mothers.

——————-

Mother’s Day Report Card: The Best and Worst Countries to Be a Mother

Sweden Tops List, Niger Ranks Last, United States Ranks 27th

Westport, Conn. (May 6, 2008) — Save the Children, a U.S.-based independent global humanitarian organization, today released its ninth annual Mothers’ Index that ranks the best — and worst — places to be a mother and a child. The Mother’s Index, highlighted in the organization’s State of the World’s Mothers 2008 report, compares the well-being of mothers and children in 146 countries, more than in any previous year.

Nordic countries sweep the top rankings of the best places to be a mother, while countries in sub-Saharan Africa dominate the bottom tier. Sweden tops the list, while Niger ranks last among countries surveyed. The United States places 27th this year, one slot down from last year’s ranking.

The top-10 countries, in general, have very high scores for mothers’ and children’s health, educational and economic status, while the 10 bottom-ranked countries are a reverse image, performing poorly on all indicators.

Conditions for mothers and their children in countries at the bottom of the Index are bleak. On average, 1 in 21 mothers will die in her lifetime from pregnancy-related causes. More than 1 child in 6 dies before her fifth birthday, and roughly 1 in 3 suffers from malnutrition, and only 3 girls for every 4 boys are enrolled in primary school.

“A mother’s well-being is connected to her children’s well-being,” said Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children. “It is not surprising, then, that in the worst places to be a mom, both women and children die young.”

“There is a great divide between the status of mothers’ health and well-being in rich and poor countries,” added MacCormack, referring to the Mother’s Index rankings. “In rich nations, where women have access to basic health care, giving birth is usually a time of joy. But in poor countries, where there is little or no access to skilled health workers, it is typically tragic. Every woman in the 10 worst countries is likely to suffer the unbearable loss of a child in her lifetime.”

The gap in availability of maternal and child health services is especially striking when comparing Sweden, at the top of the list, and Niger, at the bottom. Skilled health personnel are present at virtually every birth in Sweden, while only 33 percent of births are attended in Niger. A typical Swedish woman has almost 17 years of formal education and will live to be 83. Meanwhile, 72 percent of Swedish women use some modern method of contraception, and only 1 in 185 will lose a child before his or her fifth birthday. In stark contrast, in Niger, a typical woman has less than three years of education and the life expectancy of a girl born today is only 45. Only 4 percent of Nigerian women use modern contraception, and 1 child in 4 never sees a fifth birthday. At this rate, every mother is likely to suffer the loss of a child during her lifetime.

“To close the gap and improve conditions for mothers and children, especially among the poorest, the global community needs to do a better job of providing mothers with access to education, income-earning opportunities, and basic health care – for mothers and their children,” said MacCormack.

Zeroing in on the children’s well-being portion of the Mothers’ Index, Italy finishes first and Niger finishes last out of 168 countries. While nearly every Italian child ─ girl and boy alike ─ enjoys good health and education, children in Niger face a 1 in 4 risk of dying before age 5. In Niger, 44 percent of children are malnourished, and less than half of children are enrolled in primary school.

Country Comparisons:

The Mothers’ Index presents individual country comparisons for poor countries that are especially startling when one considers the human suffering behind the statistics:

  • 1 child in 4 does not reach his or her fifth birthday in Afghanistan, Angola, Niger and Sierra Leone. In Sweden, only 1 child in 333 dies before age 5.
  • Fewer than 15 percent of births are attended by skilled health personnel in Afghanistan and Chad; 96 percent of births are attended by skilled health personnel in Sri Lanka.
  • Over the course of her lifetime, 1 woman in 8 will die in pregnancy or childbirth in Afghanistan. Compare that to 1 in more than 47,000 in Ireland.
  • A typical woman in Angola, Dijbouti and Niger has less than four years of schooling versus a typical woman in Australia or New Zealand who receives over 20 years of formal education.
  • A girl born in Swaziland will not live to see her 30th birthday. Compare that to a girl born in Japan who will live to 86 years old.

Key Indicators:

The status of mothers was compared in 146 countries based on the following indicators of women’s and children’s well-being:

  • Lifetime risk of maternal mortality
  • Percentage of women using modern contraception
  • Skilled attendant at delivery
  • Female life expectancy
  • Expected number of years of formal schooling for females
  • Ratio of estimated female-to-male earned income
  • Maternity leave benefits
  • Participation of women in national government
  • Under-5 mortality rate
  • Percentage of children under age 5 moderately or severely underweight
  • School enrollment ratios
  • Ratio of girls to boys enrolled in primary school
  • Percentage of population with access to safe water

Video: Meles dancing with fellow vampires

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Zenawi and his goons may not know it yet, but their ugly end is coming sooner than they think.

Woyanne troops gang rape Somali Women (AP)

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

By MALKHADIR M. MUHUMED

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A leading human rights group on Tuesday accused Ethiopian Woyanne troops in Somalia of killing civilians and committing atrocities, including slitting people’s throats, gouging out eyes and gang-raping women.

In a new report, Amnesty International detailed chilling witness accounts of indiscriminate killings in the Horn of Africa country and called on the international community to stop the bloodshed.

Ethiopia’s government Woyanne said the report was unbalanced and “categorically wrong.”

The London-based rights group said testimony it received suggested all parties to Somalia’s conflict have committed war crimes. But it singled out Ethiopian Woyanne troops, who are in the country to back Somalia’s U.N.-sponsored government, for some of the worst violations.

The rights group said it obtained scores of reports of killings by Ethiopian Woyanne troops that Somalis have described as “slaughtering like goats.” In one case, “a young child’s throat was slit by Ethiopian soldiers in front of the child’s mother,” the report says.

Ethiopia’s Woyanne Information Minister Berhanu Hailu said the report was “totally unfounded.”

“Normally when they report they do not balance it out. They have to go and see the reality for themselves. They shouldn’t report from abroad saying this is happening,” he told The Associated Press in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

UNHCR Closes Two Camps in Western Ethiopia

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

In western Ethiopia, UNHCR has officially closed two of the four camps hosting refugees from South Sudan following a successful repatriation season in which some 23,000 refugees from the two camps — Bonga and Dimma – went home. The returns were assisted by UNHCR, mainly to Blue Nile state and to a number of other states in South Sudan. About 2,000 refugees made their way home using their own means.

Before the start of the return operation in March 2006, the two camps, which opened in the early 1990s, had a combined population of nearly 28,000 refugees. Last week’s closures bring to three the number of camps which have been emptied in western Ethiopia since last year. Yarenja was closed in March 2007.

The repatriation operation has now halted for the rainy season and is scheduled to resume again in November. Some 3,000 refugees remaining in the two camps will be transferred either to Fugnido in the Gambella region or to Sherkole camp in the Benishangul-Gumuz region. Some of the refugees awaiting camp transfer have indicated that they will be returning home to Sudan later in the year using their own means.

UNHCR is now working with the government and other partners, particularly the UN Country Team in Ethiopia, to rehabilitate the camp environment and infrastructure, including water systems, schools, health centres, warehouses, office and residential premises, skills training workshops and equipment. These facilities will be handed over to the local administration for use by the local community.

The regional administration in Gambella has already decided to convert Bonga camp into an agricultural training centre. UNHCR is enlisting the support of other organisations such as UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to help transform the camp facilities. In Dimma, there are proposals to use the facilities to set up a technical training college.

In a separate development yesterday (Monday), the return home of Sudanese refugees from Sherkole camp in north-western Ethiopia came to a halt ahead of the rainy season, which makes the roads impassable. Between mid-March and 5 May, a total of 4,523 of the more than 6,000 refugees were helped to return, mainly to the Upper Nile State in South Sudan. So far, UNHCR has helped more than 30,000 Sudanese refugees to return home from Ethiopia since the launch of voluntary repatriation.

Overall, some 275,000 Sudanese refugees have returned to South Sudan Since 2006 from various surrounding countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. Some 125,000 have returned with UNHCR assistance. This year alone, some 47,000 Sudanese refugees have returned home, mainly with UNHCR assistance.

Yechalal Victory Party, Tuesday

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Ethiopians for Obama invites all Ethiopians in the DC metro area to Duke City on Tuesday, May 6th to watch the results of the Indiana and North Carolina Primaries.

Tuesday will be a historic night, it could mark the night that Obama wraps up the Democratic nomination and takes a decisive step towards the White House. Duke City will broadcast the primary results live, you will be able to hear the broadcast loud and clear through the premium sound system. Once Obama delivers the victory speech, DJ Yared will be playing the best of Ethiopian and American music to celebrate this momentous event.

Duke City is located in the heart of “Little Ethiopia” on U St NW Washington DC. The upstairs section is reserved for Ethiopians for Obama, all are welcome to watch history in the making.

Event Details:
Place: Duke City
Address: 1208 U St. NW Washington DC
Time: 7:00 PM-victory
Cost: Free all night

Please RSVP at theodorefikre@yahoo.com We look forward to meeting you and witnessing history in the making. Please forward to all your friends and family. See attached document for the official flyer.

Puntland returns Ethiopians to face torture

Monday, May 5th, 2008

By Derek Kilner, VOA

Listen audio clip

An Ethiopian rebel group has accused the government of Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region of detaining Ethiopians and handing them over to Ethiopian Woyanne security forces. The Ethiopian government Woyanne denies the accusation that follows similar reports of increased security cooperation between Ethiopia Woyanne and Puntland. Derek Kilner reports for VOA’s East Africa bureau in Nairobi.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front, which is waging an insurgency in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia that borders Puntland, said Puntland officials detained several Ethiopians from Ogaden on May 1, handing at least five over to Ethiopian Woyanne officials.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front says the incident was part of a broader security agreement between Puntland and Ethiopia Woyanne to send Ethiopians suspected of involvement with the rebels into Ethiopia Woyanne custody.

The May 1 incident follows a trip by Puntland’s president Adde Muse to Ethiopia Woyanne last month and has been reported in the Somali media in recent days. But Bereket Simon, [propaganda] advisor to Ethiopian Prime Minister dictator Meles Zenawi, denies the existence of an agreement with Puntland.

“Basically, we cooperate with regional governments in many respects,” Simon said. “Of course, fighting terrorism is a common agenda for all of us because terrorism is a menace in this part of the world. But we have no deals that infringe on the rights of citizens. So basically, it is a wild accusation.”

Last month, the Ogaden National Liberation Front said two of its members were arrested by Puntland authorities and delivered to Ethiopian Woyanne officials. The rebels say such actions violate international law, because the detainees face a substantial risk of torture or execution by the Ethiopian government Woyanne.

Puntland officials have denied those claims. VOA was unable to reach Puntland officials for comment on the rebel’s recent accusations.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front has been operating for more than two decades in Ethiopia’s Ogaden, an ethnically Somali region that has been contested in the past by the governments of Ethiopia and Somalia.

Many Ethiopians displaced by the conflict have fled across the border to Puntland, and Ethiopia Woyanne says members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front have organized operations from Puntland.

Puntland has warm relations with Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government, whose president, Abdullahi Yusuf, is a former president of Puntland and has supported Yusuf’s cooperation with the Ethiopian government Woyanne. But Puntland has generally avoided the conflict that has wracked southern Somalia, and the extradition of Ethiopian citizens is seen as a new development.

Ethiopian Woyanne troops have occupied Somalia since December 2006, when they backed Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government in wresting control of the capital Mogadishu from the Islamic Courts Union. But since then, a variety of Islamist and clan-based groups have been waging a growing insurgency against the Ethiopian Woyanne presence.

Police detain editor, impound magazine over pop icon story

Monday, May 5th, 2008

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS

New York, May 5, 2008—Police in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, have detained a journalist and three support staffers of a private entertainment magazine since May 2. Local journalists say the detentions are related to a cover story about the high-profile trial of Ethiopia’s most popular pop singer, Tewodros Kassahun.

Deputy Editor and owner Alemayehu Mahtemework and the three media workers from the monthly Enku remained in police custody today without charges and were expected to be taken to court on Tuesday, according to the same sources. Local journalists also reported that Editor-in-Chief Fekadu Mahtemework went into hiding after being summoned for questioning on Saturday.

Mahtemework and the others were picked up early Friday evening as they carried 10,000 copies of the current edition from the printer to their offices. The police impounded all the copies of the paper, allegedly after receiving a tip from an informant at the printer that the cover story could lead to “incitement,” according to local journalists. The story focused on the trial of jailed pop music icon and government critic Kassahun, better known as Teddy Afro, and included interviews with his lawyer and fans.

“The seizure of Enku and the arrests of its staffers is a continuation of the Ethiopian government’s ongoing efforts to stifle the private press from freely reporting on important public issues,” said CPJ’s executive director Joel Simon. “We call on the Ethiopian authorities to abandon these crude tactics of intimidation and release our colleagues immediately. We also condemn this flagrant act of censorship and ask that the authorities return the confiscated copies of the magazine.”

Speaking to CPJ via telephone today, Ethiopian Information Ministry spokesman Zemedkun Tekle claimed no knowledge of the matter, but declared that the police had the right to intervene if there are “problems” with any content. He referred inquiries to the police. CPJ’s calls to Ethiopian federal police were not immediately returned.

Kassahun was arrested and charged last month in connection with a hit-and-run incident in 2006, according to news reports. Kassahun’s popular song, “Jah Yasteseryal,” became a popular anthem of anti-government protesters during unrest following the disputed 2005 parliamentary elections, according to local sources.

Despite releasing 15 Ethiopian journalists who were jailed on trumped-up anti-state charges last year in connection with a brutal 2005 media crackdown, Ethiopian authorities have not relented in their long-standing pattern of repression of independent media through intimidation, arrests, criminal prosecutions, and legal and administrative restraints, CPJ research has found.

In February, police detained three journalists from Islamic newspapers for two weeks and confiscated equipment and filed criminal defamation charges in connection with a public petition critical of the education minister. Meanwhile, three independent journalists acquitted and set free last year have been blocked from launching new newspapers, and two Eritrean journalists, arrested in 2006, continue to be held incommunicado in Ethiopia.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit www.cpj.org.

Berhanu Nega visits Seattle, May 11

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Dr Berhanu Nega will hold a town hall meeting with Ethiopians in Seattle on May 11, 2008.

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The causes of the current Ethiopian soaring inflation rate

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Dr. Seid Hassan, Murray State University

The most significant and daunting problem facing Ethiopia today is the rampant inflation rate. As reported by bloomberg.com, the Ethiopian Statistical Agency has reported that inflation for March 2008 has risen to 29.6%, food price inflation even being higher (39.4%). Some reports indicate the inflation rate in January 2008 to be in the range of 36%. According to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the causes of this rampant inflation rate are a growing economy, greedy merchants, and/or farmers who happen to demand higher prices for their products or an increase in demand.

Let us use economic theory to scrutinize the statements made by the Prime Minister. According to many reports, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has suggested to the Ethiopian parliamentarians that the current rampant inflation rate can in part be associated with the current rise in the Ethiopian economy. By this, he probably meant to suggest that the rising inflation rate is partially caused by an increase in demand – a concept related to the so-called demand-pull inflation. If that is what he meant, the explanation he tried to give is either mechanical or a result of a misunderstanding of the concept of demand-pull inflation or due to a disingenuous misrepresentation of the facts.

His statements could be construed as being mechanical and a lack of an understanding of the concept of demand-pull inflation because he might has been just shifting the demand curve without knowing the factors that shift it. To begin with, a demand-pull inflation is gradual in nature and is mainly caused by continuous government spending. Government spending might indeed has played a role in the rising Ethiopian inflation rate but, as I will show below, it is not the main cause of this fast and rampant inflation rate. If the Prime Minister is to tell us that the rampant inflation rate is caused by a growing economy and an increased demand, we should observe reductions in the unemployment rate in the country.

Unfortunately, not only we do not see any reduction of the unemployment rate, but the unemployment rate must be embarrassingly so high that the government does not even want to tell us what it is! Moreover, if the increased demand is caused by higher demand for the goods and services produced by individual firms, the same firms, faced with such higher prices, must be paying higher wage rates to attract more workers. What one observes in Ethiopia is not increasing wages, but hungry people running around the major cities trying to make for the day! If firms were indeed paying higher wage rates, the same higher wage rates would have increased the cost of production (decrease supply) thereby offsetting the increase in demand. A rise in the cost of production (decrease in supply) exacerbate the inflation rate and may even play role for the economy to contract! In any case, the rampant inflation rate being caused by a rising demand – which necessitates a rise in real wages, is ruled out since the fact on the ground suggests otherwise.

It is also reported that Mr. Zenawi told the Ethiopian parliamentarians that the now “free and independent Ethiopian peasantry”, which is asking higher prices for its produce is to blame for the rampant inflation rate that is taking place in the country. If, indeed, the Ethiopian peasants are asking higher prices for their outputs, these same higher prices must induce them to produce more. The higher outputs should increase supply and reduce the price of agricultural outputs. In short, the increase in demand should be completely offset by the increase in supply; hence, there should not be any significant changes in prices. This, of course, is not the case.

In fact, this is not the first time that Mr. Zenawi deceptively used the millions of destitute Ethiopian peasants to his political advantage. As Kahsay Berhe in his 2005 book aptly put it, all that Meles Zenawi has done, beginning in the 1970s, is control the socioeconomic life of the peasantry (see pp. 74-76). Not only is Meles Zenawi controlling the life of the peasantry, but his party has also been extorting the peasantry by levying its exorbitant and exploitative fees of fertilizers. By doing so, his party has been acting like leeches, bed bugs, lice, and the mujelie – all of them combined – sucking up the bloods of the poor peasants from top to bottom! To add insult to all of these injuries, Mr. Zenawi now tell us that the Ethiopian peasants are now free enough to demand higher prices for their produce! The fact of the matter is that, by not privatizing land, the Meles government is committing despicable crimes against humanity. By not privatizing land, the government is using land to continue terrorizing the peasantry and holding them hostage in their own country. By not privatizing land, the government has denied the peasants from creating capital using their own land as collateral. By not privatizing land, the government has pushed the peasants to be less careful about, the impact of overgrazing, soil and wind erosion that has engulfed the country. The current land tenure system falsely guaranteed land to every peasant. Such false guarantees encourage increased fertility. The negative impact of all of these would be felt for many generations to come. The fact of the matter is that these ridiculous policies have condemned nearly 85% of the population to be more destitute, forget about them being so rich and free! The fact of the matter is that, as the weekly Addis Fortune magazine on its May 20, 2007 edition aptly put it, farm productivity has declined leading the Ethiopian peasants into increased poverty!

The causes of the rampant inflation rate in Ethiopia- A Dummy’s Guide

  1. Increase in the money supply. As anyone who has taken baby Economics 101 understands, the cost of printing a $100.00 bill is less than $0.25 (with an apparent profit of at least $99.75 going to those who print the money!) The same analogy applies to the Ethiopian case. It is clear from this that there is a strong and built-in temptation to print more and finance a government’s budget deficit through the creation of money. Economic history also indicates that weak and corrupt governments tend to finance their expenditures by borrowing and monetizing the debt. As far as Ethiopia is concerned, the IMF has reported that the broad money supply in Ethiopia has been growing relatively fast in recent years. The excess reserves that the entire banking system is faced with also indicate that the system is flooded with cash, among other things. This stealth way of financing government spending and party owned parastatals is dangerous and is an outright theft of the public. We are not even mentioning the daily street talk that fake money being circulated within the country. In any case, the increase in the money supply leads to ‘too many birr chasing too few goods’ – resulting in high inflation rates.
  2. The low interest rates (and negative real interest rates) - It has been reported that interest rates in Ethiopia are unacceptably low being in the range of 8-10%. On the other hand, the country is faced with a rampant inflation rate, some indicating it to be about 36%. Assuming that it is 29.6%, as recently reported by Bloomberg.com, the real interest rate (the interest rate adjusted for inflation) is -20% (negative) or more. In nonprofessional terms, this means that, if, for example, I am a borrower and you are a lender, you pay me 20% to use your assets! You can see how addictive I would be to such an unfair payoff! Such negative interest rates redistribute income and assets from the lenders (savers) to the borrowers! Given the fact that most of the borrowers and the ones who have access to the savings, by hook or crook, are TPLF owned companies (parastatals) and it cadres, they will continue to do everything in their power to exploit the poor savers! Such an excessive borrowing by party parastatals, known to be cronyism, is also dangerous and may lead to a financial crisis, a concept briefly discussed below.
  3. Souring oil prices: The Voice of America one time reported that close to 96% of the foreign earnings of the country is spent on oil imports. The soaring oil prices affect the cost of production in a negative way thereby decreasing the supply of goods and services. The electricity outages and blackouts in the country will continue to affect the overall growth of the economy, in addition to making the consumer to suffer. How in the world Ethiopia, which nearly spends all of its foreign exchange earnings on oil imports finds economic growth from soaring oil prices, Mr. Prime Minister? How many Ethiopians could be hoodwinked when someone tells them the economy is growing while food is being rationed at the same time? The fact of the matter is that the soaring oil prices are affecting the growth of all non-oil producing countries, let alone a country that is pending all of its export earnings on oil imports!
  4. Increase in money supply from abroad: Many reports indicate that between 35% and 40% of the Ethiopian government budget is financed through the so-called economic aid and ODA (Official Development Assistance). The huge volume of foreign money entering the country bolsters the demand for goods and services, and as a result increases the risk of inflation unless their impact is thwarted by raising interest rates on treasury bills to ease their inflationary pressures. When a government receives the assistance in foreign currency, these foreign reserves are then spent on imported goods and services, or exchanged for funds in the national currency. To be honest, the inflationary effects of loans or aid are weak compared to the increase in the domestic money supply but if the aid is large and continuous, as is the case for Ethiopia, they add to the scenario of “too many dollars chasing too few goods.” This inflationary cost adds to the costs of foreign aid, both practical and psychological- both of which have lasting and damaging effects on a country. If, in fact, foreign aid were that good, many borrowing nations, including Ethiopia would have developed by now. Many experts, such as William Easterly, Kenneth Rogoff and others have argued, quite convincingly, that the empirical evidence indicating that counties developed using foreign aid is either nonexistent or thin.
  5. War Expenditures: In general, governments finance their wars by borrowing and printing money, rather than presenting a bill directly in the form of higher taxes. This is especially the case if the tax-base is rather weak and/or the government in question does not have the support of its people. As we all know, the Ethiopian government has invaded a neighboring country. It is also at odds with its own people after it has stolen their votes after the 2005 election. The government is spending huge sums of money to crack down descent and to pay for those who are loyal to it. In addition, it is conducting the no-war-no-peace policy with neighboring Eritrea. Were it not for its invasion of Somalia – which might have severely broken its military power, and were it not for a lack of public support for the government, it would have been at war with Eritrea. For creating unnecessary wars is in the nature dictatorial and despotic regimes like the TPLF! The fact of the matter is that the government is spending huge sums of money to feed, transport, and arm the hundreds of thousands of its soldiers stationed at the borders. These war expenditures add more to the existing shortages and inflationary pressures. The inflationary costs, whether the wars are financed by printing more money or borrowing, they will be paid by future generations. These costs even do not include the human costs of wars and potential enemies they have created for generations to come.
  6. Remittances: These are monies sent by Ethiopian expatriates living overseas. Even though there is no exact estimate of this amount, the amount of Ethiopian remittances is believed to be in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.4 billion every year. Even though remittances provide cushions to potential economic shocks of a country and benefit receiving households, among other things, they exacerbate the “too many dollars chasing too few goods” scenario. The inflationary impact the remittances made worse by the existing shortages.
  7. Inefficiencies within party controlled parastatals: Everyone, including multilateral agencies such as the IMF acknowledge that the TPLF controls most of the major corporations. They all indicate that this is one of their concerns. Unfortunately, the same agencies never said a word when the TPLF cadres possessed the former government owned corporations and institutions at throwaway prices through the so-called privatization process. To have complete control of these institutions, the EPDRF has installed its cadres within them. These cadres, as political appointees, are just there to monitor and guarantee loyalty. They are not paid based on their efforts towards the production of goods and services. These cadres are highly paid, too! As a result, they raise the cost of production and inefficiency. The effect of this, of course, is a decrease the aggregate supply, which results in an increase of the general price level. The inefficiency created by inserting party cadres within corporations and government agencies is, of course, an integral part of the corruption conundrum that has engulfed the country.
  8. Shortages –both food and finished products: The real and major culprits behind the rampant inflation rates are, in fact, the existing shortages as evidenced by the fast rising food and finished product prices! This being the case, Mr. Zenawi decided to inform us that the culprits behind the rising prices are a growing economy and the peasants asking more for their products! Obviously, such statements are disingenuous at best. On the one hand, the Ethiopian government has acknowledged that about 9 million Ethiopians are facing starvation. There are also pockets of places in many parts of the country, where one can easily find people affected by droughts and shortages. In addition, major aid organizations such as UNICEF and the United Nations indicate that the number of Ethiopians who live under food deficits every year is about 26 million! On the other hand, Mr. Zenawi dared to tell us, sitting in Minelik Palace, that the Ethiopian peasantry is getting rich! What is Mr. Zenawi to tell us about the peasant beggars that we all see everyday in the streets of Addis Ababa all the other cities?
  9. Declining foreign exchange reserves: Just like any central bank, the central bank of Ethiopia holds these assets in gold, dollars, euros and securities of possibly other countries. Each country must have enough foreign exchange reserves to allow it to service its foreign debt and import goods and services. The foreign exchange reserves are used to back the country’s liabilities and its own currency. They are also used to manipulate and stabilize exchange rates. Shortages of foreign exchange reserves imply that the country will be unable to service its foreign debt and/or unable to import goods and services and important inputs used by domestic firms. If these reserves become dangerously low, capital flight and a dry-up of foreign loans may ensue. Both of these scenarios usually lead to a financial crisis. A financial crisis is a collapse of the currency, which is what is happening right now.
  10. The Impact of the Fake Gold: As mentioned above, central banks use gold as their reserves, as part of their capital and as collateral to their liabilities. The extent of the gilded steel-humorously called by Ethiopians as-balestra- will be unknown as the total worth of the same balestra is estimated to be between $18 million and $37 million. Indeed, this amount is relatively small even for a poor country like Ethiopia, especially compared to the amount of the looting that has been taking place in the last 17 years! It, however, speaks volumes about the extent of corruption in the country! Given that such an incredible extortion has reached even the Central Bank of Ethiopia, one can legitimately suspect that such things cannot happen without the involvement of higher authorities. As shown in You Tube, the extortion has made the country a laughing stock of world financial networks! What else would be next to steal from that poor country? What else would be left to steal!? The most dramatic impact of the fake gold on the country could well be its contribution to a potential financial crisis. The fake gold strongly indicates that the banks and financial institutions of the country are poorly supervised and their capital/asset ratios could well be inadequate. Many reports indicate that the Ethiopian lenders and borrowers are linked via special (party affiliation) ties and practices. Such an activity is called crony capitalism- a situation that arises when favoritism spills over to the business sector. This is one of the factors for the East Asian financial crises, which took place in the late 1990s. It has also been reported that the Ethiopian government owned banks are suffering from many non-performing loans. If enough of their borrowers declare for bankruptcies and/or depositors lose confidence in the banking system, such difficulties may have contagion effects and lead to a financial crisis. Let us hope that neither the publicly owned nor the privately owned banks have not borrowed short internationally (in hard currency) and lent long nationally (in birr). If this is not the case, there is a possibility that the country maybe heading to a financial crisis! In any case, the discovery of the fake gold within the central bank should have some negative impact on the declining birr (increased inflation rate).
  11. Foreign debt: The World Bank classifies Ethiopia as one of the highly indebted countries in the world. Ethiopia’s debt, being over $2.8 billion in 2006, after receiving a huge debt relief in recent years, is simply unsustainable. This is just what the joint team of the IMF and the World Bank found before a debt relief was implemented. The same team undertook a detailed assessment of the country’s solvency and concluded that the country was indeed insolvent. If either the country is unable to service the debt and/or the foreign creditors refuse to extend additional credit and rollover the existing debt, a financial crisis will ensue. Such a situation will be exacerbated by capital flights, as both enriched TPLF officials and foreigners move their financial assets out the country. Some British media outlets had already indicated capital flights to have indeed taken place after the enriched officials got a scare by the 2005 Ethiopian elections results. Past and current history of foreign debt clearly indicates that large-scale foreign debt is highly correlated with corruption and embezzlement of money by the elite in developing countries (who were often placed in power by the powerful countries themselves). As mentioned above, such a scenario was detected after the 2005 Ethiopian election. It is also important to remember many loans also come with very strict conditions, a couple of them being preferential exports and structural adjustment policies. As part of the structural adjustment policies, debtor nations are required to liberalize their economies, allow free markets so that their resources could be easily extracted, privatize domestic industries, cut back their expenditures, eliminate/reduce their subsidies and tariffs. They are also told to reduce investment regulations in order to attract foreign investment. For anyone who has followed the special relationship between Ethiopia the IMF and the World Bank, these conditions ring a bell on his/her ears! When things go out of hand, the IMF, the World Bank and lender nations also ask debtor nations to devalue their currencies and increase their interest rates. In fact, the IMF notes that the birr is overvalued and the interest rates are too low. If the rampant inflation rates continue to rise unabated, it will not be long for these two agencies to put the familiar conditionalities on the country- raise interest rates and devalue the currency! Both of them will bring hardship for the country and the people!
  12. Rising world food Prices: The rising world food prices do not appear to have any significant impact on the Ethiopian rampant inflation rates. This is in part because the world food crisis is a relatively recent phenomenon while the Ethiopian high inflation rates are endemic in nature. The rising world food prices, however, could have a devastating impact on the Ethiopian rampant inflation rates. This is so in part because the main causes of the country’s high inflation rates are food shortages and any food shortages in the rest of the world will just make things worse. As of this writing, nations such as the United States are planning to cut their food aid to recipient nations such as Ethiopia. The World Food Program has also announced that it will cut its food aid supplies to the same recipient nations, including Ethiopia. All of these add up to the already existing shortages inside Ethiopia. Shortages are the worst causes of rising prices.
  13. Budget and Current Account Deficits: A nation faces a budget deficit when the government spends more than it takes in as taxes. The budget deficit for 2007 was expected to be $740 million, with a debt/GDP ratio of close to 54.5%. One potential concern regarding the annual budget deficit and/or debt is that, if they grow sufficiently large relative to GDP, lenders could begin to question the government’s creditworthiness and then demand very high interest rates. This would have serious consequences for investment and growth. To rectify the budget crisis, the government would have to cut spending and/or raise taxes. Both the cut in spending and the increase in taxes would lead to an economic recession.
  14. The Monetization of Food Aid: This is the money spent by aid organizations to help starving Ethiopians (known as cash funding). It has been reported that aid agencies and NGOs are locally buying some of the food aid that they deliver to needy Ethiopians. To be honest, many economists, including this writer, believe that it is better to grant poorer nations income support in the form of cash or vouchers to help purchase local commodities, rather than flooding developing world food markets with international food. Among other things, the cash grants or vouchers stimulate local markets while the food aid will depress local them. At the same time, however, purchasing the food within the country has the potential to drive up the local price, thereby exacerbating the inflationary problem! Moreover, the presence of aid agencies and NGOs who are feeding the needy Ethiopians clearly show that there are insufficient resources available to deal with Ethiopian hunger at present. Again, such a situation clearly indicates a shortage, and not a sign of economic development and an increase in demand!

According to the CIA World Fact Book, the Ethiopian current account for 2007 was estimated to be $1.851 billion, but the IMF estimates indicate it to be $3.891 billion. When the country borrows too much, as is the case for Ethiopia, any future income obtained via imports will go to foreigners rather than the people in the country. In other words, Ethiopia will be poorer, just like with a budget deficit. Secondly, such a large relative to GDP growth annual current account deficit and/or foreign debt could invite lenders to question the country’s creditworthiness and then demand very high interest rates. This would have serious consequences for investment and growth. In addition to higher nominal interest rates, a high current account deficit, in general, is followed by a falling domestic currency. A falling currency makes foreign imports to be more expensive relative to exports. To rectify the current account deficit, the government may resort to further devalue the currency. A devaluation of the currency may instigate capital flights leading to a financial crisis. A financial crisis always leads to an economic recession and high unemployment. Both of these macroeconomic imbalances contribute to the existing inflation rates and are in general culprits behind a financial crisis.

One should not forget the impact of the U.S. economic problem. The current U.S. economic crisis is expected to have a negative impact on the world economy. Some economists are even predicting a worldwide recession. Whether the recession becomes worldwide or not, a huge meltdown in the U.S. economy is expected to take place. A drop in commodity prices is also expected to take place. As a major exporter of commodities such as coffee, gold, and oil seeds, Ethiopia may face dramatic drops in its exports resulting in a further deterioration of the already blotted current account deficits.

Clearly, all the above factors indicate that the culprits behind the rampant Ethiopian inflation rates are neither the growing economy nor the Ethiopian peasantry getting richer than before. Is the rampant inflation reversible? Alternatively, one may add a related question: Can the Ethiopian government stop a potential financial crisis taking place in the country in the near future? The answers to these questions clearly depend on whether the government would be able to reverse the causes of the rampant inflation rate and symptoms of the financial crisis listed above. If the answer is, “No, the government is incapable to reverse them,” then buckle up, poor Ethiopian people: more hunger, hardships, and desperations may be in the offing! God forbid!


The writer, Dr. Seid Hassan, is Editor of The Journal of Business and Public Affairs , and professor of economics at Murray State University in Murray, KY, USA. Email: seid.hassan@murraystate.edu

References

“Ethiopia Inflation Accelerates to 29.6% in March on Food Costs” – Bloomberg.com

“Ethiopia PM Introduces Tough Anti-Inflation Measures” – VOA

Dr. Merera Gudina. “The Ethiopian Parliament as a Student-Teacher Behavior” to be found at:

Agerachinen Enadin/TG (pseudo name): “The Ethiopian Economy and the Way Forward,” to be found at: http://www.addisvoice.com/article/ethioeconomy.pdf

Genet Mersha, “The Seeds of Resentment and Future Instability in Ethiopia,” to be found at: http://abbaymedia.com/News/?p=879

Genet Mersha “The Case for Much Needed Change: Is Ethiopia’s Economic Growth Sustainable?” available at: http://www.aigaforum.com/Is_Ethiopia_Economic_Growth_Sustainable.htm

Berhe, Kasay: Ethiopia: Democratization and Unity: The Role of the Tigray Liberation Front. Verlagshaus Monsenstein und Vannerdat, 2005.

Hassan, Seid: “On the Roles played by the IMF and the World Bank – A Critical Analysis – in Amharic)” to be found at here

IMF Country Report No. 07/247 on the Ethiopian Economy, to be found at http://www.imf.org

The CIA World Fact Book

Calum Miller: “The Human Development Impact of Economic Crises”

Easterly, William R., “Africa’s Poverty Trap” The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2007, p. A11.


1 For those who are acquainted with economics, the concepts of demand-pull and cost push have become less appealing to the economics profession. As a result, most current principles of textbooks do not even bother to cover these topics.

Iceland to explore geothermal possibilities in Ethiopia

Monday, May 5th, 2008

By Thorleifur Petursson

ethiopiaIceNews — In January this year, the government of Iceland signed a bilateral agreement with Ethiopia over the matter of geothermal explorations in Africa. As a result of the agreement, a group of experts from Iceland will be conducting a geothermal survey in the rift valley region, according to reports in the Addis Fortune.

Ambassador Svavar Gestsson, especial envoy to the ministry of foreign affairs for Ethiopia said that the study would make clearer the exact nature of the country’s geothermal potential. “Ethiopia has an estimated potential of 1000mw of power from geothermal energy located in the rift region,” he said.

The ambassador added that the details of a preliminary agreement are likely to be finalised within the month.

The Ethiopian Geological Survey revealed that geothermal possibilities are likely in the Afar, in the Fentale and Aluto Langano areas of the rift region.

“If the project starts as scheduled, it would be completed in three years as the country is using a fast-track approach,” said Alemayehu Tegenu minister of Mines and Energy (MoME).

The fast track approach involves working around the clock 24-hours a day rather than the regular eight hour working day.

Iceland will be lending technical assistance to the Ethiopian project. According to Tegenu, Iceland will be assisting with the maintenance of obsolete drilling plants. Before any work begins, however, a feasibility study must be conducted.

Rolling Out a Rainbow of Yellow Pages: African Phone Book Is Part Of a Trend

Monday, May 5th, 2008

By S. Mitra Kalita
Washington Post

Flipping through entrepreneur Tesfu Sintayhu’s Yellow Pages yields some expected results: dentists who will whiten teeth, contractors who install granite countertops and lawyers promising divorces in three weeks or less.

But Sintayhu’s pages also contain the name of the capital of Swaziland, the country code for calling Kenya, deejays who can remix Ethiopian music and answers to questions on the U.S. citizenship exam.

Last year, Sintayhu and three friends published what they believe is the first African Yellow Pages in the United States. Intended to help African immigrants, from the newly arrived to the firmly established, the 456-page publication offers bus schedules, information on individual countries and their embassies, travel resources, listings of schools, churches, mosques and hospitals, and a business directory that runs from African stores to video services.

Now, from their office in Falls Church, the team behind the African Yellow Pages is preparing to publish a second edition this summer. They promise that it will be bigger, better and, in some ways, less African.

“The best gynecologist may not be an African,” said Ahadu Woubshet, a managing partner. “We’re targeting the market for any business owner. . . . from multinationals to small mom-and-pop shops.”

Woubshet said that as long as a company wants to do business with Africa or its emigres in the U.S., he can talk them into buying advertising space in the book. And by that logic, Woubshet suggests he should be talking to most businesses in Northern Virginia, which has been redefined and transformed by immigration.

On doorsteps, in supermarkets and at trade fairs, ethnic business directories are piling up one heavy book after another. Vega Hispanic Yellow Pages, which was distributed in the Washington area for decades, was sold last year for $4 million to Hispanic Yellow Pages Network LLC, a growing Tampa, Fla., chain trying to acquire Latino directories nationwide. Business directories targeting Korean, Arab, Indian and Chinese immigrants also serve the region.

On the fifth-floor offices of the African Yellow Pages, many of these phone books sit stacked high on a desk. The office down the hall houses the Indian Yellow Pages and members of that staff helped the Africans put their book together. Managing partner Mimi Alemayehou said the competing books were a source of inspiration as she worked on the African version.

“We looked at them,” said Alemayehou, who also works as an international consultant for organizations doing development work in Africa. “Why reinvent the wheel when we can just learn from them? There’s definitely a need for Yellow Pages dedicated to specific immigrant communities. A family arrives in America and they want to know where to get their spices, where to take an English as a Second Language class.”

With full-page ads costing about $3,000 and DaimlerChrysler Corp. serving as their lone corporate sponsor, the partners estimate the first book generated $250,000 in revenue.

“When you get into smaller and smaller niches, the prospect gets more daunting,” said Charles Laughlin, an analyst with the Princeton, N.J.-based Kelsey Group, which tracks the phone book and directory industry. “Small businesses tend to think, ‘If I am going to spend a dollar, I want to get 5, 10, 20 in return. If they can demonstrate that members of the community favor the businesses, they may have a reasonable proposition.”

Beyond the book, Alemayehou and her partners have lofty goals. They want the Yellow Pages to promote African unity and help Americans get beyond images of Africa as impoverished, war-torn and famine-ridden. They don’t ignore the problems — statistics on AIDS in Africa fill the book, for example — but the entrepreneurs also cite a surge in development on the continent, especially in Ethiopia (where all four partners were born), the boom in the Nigerian Stock Exchange, tourism in Mozambique and the deep pockets of African immigrants. In the 2000 Census, the African emigre population in the U.S. was shown to earn a median income of $42,000 and number around 881,000 — although the Yellow Pages publishers assert that the number is closer to 1.8 million.

The Washington area has more African immigrants than any other region in the U.S., with many of the immigrants lured by jobs at the World Bank or other development agencies. But the publishers of the Yellow Pages say the mainstream knows little about their community.

“Half the population doesn’t know we have cars and buildings in Africa,” said Ben Mitiku, vice president and co-founder of the African Yellow Pages. Mitiku also works at CVS as a pharmacist and promotes African concerts and festivals. “We get frustrated with the representation of Africa.”

About 50,000 copies of the first directory were printed, and the publishers are scrambling to distribute the remaining 20,000 or so before the next phone book comes out. In early April, they handed some out at an African bridal show. Alemayehou recently brought a suitcase of books with her to London, where she attended a conference on the African diaspora.

Like the entrepreneurs who fill the pages of their book, they are trying to think of new markets, trying to think beyond their yellow book, trying to think big. There’s been interest in a directory for New York’s African community. Perhaps other marketing opportunities can be mined if a database of African businesses is created, they said. Or perhaps a partnership with the D.C. United soccer team, since marquee player Freddy Adu was born in Ghana.

“This is going to be a very, very big business,” said Sintayhu, who quit his job as a network programmer to work on the Yellow Pages and other products full time. “I see the potential.”

U.S. Congressman demands the release of Teddy Afro

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

U.S. Congressman from California, Mr Dana Rohrabacher, joins the Ethiopian people in demanding the immediate release of Teddy Afro. He sent the following short and to-the-point letter to dictator Meles Zenawi.

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Bomb blast in Mogadishu kills 5 Woyanne invaders

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

A job well done by Somali freedom fighters.

(Press TV) — At least five Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers have been killed in a military vehicle explosion near their base in Mogadishu’s Tawfiq district.

Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers were patrolling near a water tanker in Mogadishu’s Tawfiq district, when their military vehicle was hit by a road-side bomb killing at least five and wounding dozen others, Press TV correspondent reported.

The tanker was also heavily damaged by insurgents’ heavy gunfire.

Meanwhile, several members of Somali Parliament have stepped down from office in protest against Mogadishu’s full support for Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers in the country.

Kenenisa wins 5k, sport fans demand 'Free Teddy'

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: The celebration over Kenenisa Bekele’s win in the 5k turned into a protest by the 35,000 sport fans inside the Addis Ababa Stadium who chanted “Free Teddy! Free Teddy!” The live broadcast by state-controlled TV immediately switched to sport commentators when the protest started. Shortly after that, the notorious Federal Police, Meles Zenawi’s death squads, entered the stadium and the event ended without further incident.

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(AP) — World record holder Kenenisa Bekele held on to win the 5,000 meters in Ethiopia on Sunday at the African Athletics Championships.

The Ethiopian, who pulled out of Wednesday’s 10,000, won the shorter race in 13 minutes, 49.67 seconds. Isaac Songok of Kenya finished a close second 13:49.91, and Ali Abdush of Ethiopia was third.

Bekele’s younger brother, Tariku, traded places with Kenenisa Bekele throughout the race but finished fourth. The elder Bekele, who also holds the world record in the 10,000, pulled out of that event because he said he didn’t have enough time to recover from winning his sixth world cross-country title in Scotland in March.

Bekele said he had also planned to skip the 5,000, but eventually succumbed to pressure to compete before a home crowd.

“I had to change my decision to run because many people were asking about me, ‘Why didn’t Kenenisa run in front of his own country?”‘ Bekele said.

Songok took an early lead Sunday, but the Bekele brothers soon took over and led a five-man pack for the rest of the race. Songok, however, surged ahead in the last lap to take silver.

The 5,000 drew a mixed crowd of long-distance hopefuls, including barefoot runner Matjeane Masilo of Lesotho, who finished 11th in the 20-man race, and Abdinasir Sa’id Ibrahim of Somalia, who finished 17th.

“My practice is very hard because my country is in a war,” Sa’id Ibrahim said between gulps of air and swigs from a bottle of water.

“Sometimes I can’t make training because there is fighting.”

Bekele’s win confirmed Ethiopia’s domination of the distance events as the championships. The host country swept the men’s and women’s 10 000, and Ethiopians got two medals in each of the 5 000 races.

Ethiopian women also took gold and silver in the 3 000 steeplechase.

Zemzem Ahmed won in 9:44, and Mekdes Bekele – who is not related to the Bekele brothers – finished ahead of third-place Ruth Bosibori of Kenya.

South Africa won the most medals at the five-day event, taking 12 gold and 22 overall. Nigeria was next with 19 medals, including seven gold.

Ethiopia finished third in the medals table with 15 overall, including six gold, while Kenya had 16 with five gold.

Ethiopian women sweep 10,000-metre race

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

(AP) ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopian women swept the 10,000-metre race on Saturday at the African Athletics Championships in a repeat of the men’s team success.

Tirunesh Dibaba edged out her older sister Ejegayehu Dibaba by one second to finish in 32 minutes, 49 seconds. Ayalew Wude of Ethiopia was third, five seconds behind the winner.

”We are very proud,” Ejegayehu Dibaba said. ”I’m happy to get the silver medal while my sister gets gold.”

On Wednesday, Gebregziabher Gebremariam, Ibrahim Jeylan and Eshetu Wondimu took gold, silver and bronze for Ethiopia in the men’s race.

Angeline Nyiransabimana of Rwanda initially led the three Ethiopian runners and Lucy Kabuu of Kenya in a five-strong group. But after leading for half of the race, Nyiransabimana unexpectedly walked off the track. Kabuu fell behind with about a third of the race left and the three Ethiopian runners stayed in a tight pack through the finish line.

Tirunesh Dibaba was one of the few top Ethiopian runners to participate in the five-day championships, after men’s 10,000-meter Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele dropped out, citing insufficient training time. Marathoner Haile Gebrselassie did not enter the championships.

Dibaba’s rival, Meseret Defar, took silver in Friday’s 5,000-meter race after being upset by Meselech Melkamu.

The championships feature more than 800 competitors from 41 African nations. Ethiopia, with 140 athletes, has the most participants.

South Africa led the medal count Saturday evening with 17 medals including nine golds.

Woyanne soldiers collect illegal tax along Somalia border

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

BELETWEIN, Somalia May 3 (Garowe Online) – The Ethiopian Woyanne army is collecting taxes in frontier districts along the country’s shared border with Somalia, a former district official has said.

Abdirahman Buruki, a former deputy mayor in Beletwein, the capital of Hiran region, told journalists Saturday that Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers along the Kala-Beyr border crossing are causing “a lot of problems” for civilian and commercial traffic traveling between Somalia and Ethiopia.

Mr. Buruki, who resigned from his post a month ago, indicated that the Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers are accompanied by former Hiran regional government officials.

He stated that tens of trucks are filed in a line near the Kala-Beyr crossing, adding that the Kala-Beyr mayor informed him personally that the soldiers are collecting “illegal” taxes while accusing the Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers of “torture” in some cases.

According to Mr. Buruki, former Hiran Governor Yusuf Daboged is “no longer a government official,” although he is in Kala-Beyr alongside the Ethiopian Woyanne army commanders running the illegal operation.

Somali Prime Minister Nur “Adde” Hassan Hussein has recently appointed a new administration for Hiran region, but many of the newly appointed officials have publicly rejected their posts.

PM Hassan Grilled in Parliament

The interim Prime Minister of Somalia, Nur “Adde” Hassan Hussein, was grilled with questions on the parliament floor Thursday, where he tried to defend the credibility of his administration.

Prime Minister Nur Adde, who returned to the south-central city of Baidoa yesterday, told lawmakers that his four-month-old administration is continuing to pursue national reconciliation to end Somalia’s 18-year civil war.

“My administration is trying hard to stop all the raging conflicts, to help Somalis understand each other and to establish a consensus government,” Prime Minister Nur Adde said.

He admitted that there is general insecurity across the country, citing the lack of resources as a primary factor crippling the transitional government’s ability to secure the country.

“After research, we have found that the security forces are not paid and do not receive food [on the regular],” the Prime Minister said, adding that the government will train security forces with a national character to help restore order in Somalia.

The Prime Minister was asked several questions by the MPs, but his responses were concise and at times vague, according to parliamentary insiders.

It was later decided that the parliament would continue questioning Prime Minister Nur Adde at a later date.

Officials reject government posts

Yesterday, a decree issued from the Office of the Prime Minister appointed a new administration for the central Hiran region after former Governor Yusuf Daboged was chased out of the provincial capital Beletwein by Islamist guerrillas last month.

Prime Minister Nur Adde appointed 15 officials to hold various government posts in Hiran, including the governor, the mayor of Beletwein, and commanders of the military and police.

But at least seven officials named by the Prime Minister for Hiran region have publicly rejected their posts.

The two deputy governors, three deputy district commissioners and the regional military commander have all refused to accept their posts.

Col. Ahmed Elmi Guute told Garowe Online that he is “not ready” to hold the post of Hiran regional army commander, especially in light of the recent assassination of the last man to hold the post.

Beletwein has lacked an effective regional government for the past two weeks.

Ethiopian maid in UAE found hanging

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

By Afkar Abdullah, Khaleej Times

SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — Sharjah police have started investigations into the death of an Ethiopian housemaid who was found hanging in the house of her employer in Umm Khanoor area on Thursday.

The 23-year-old maid, identified as Fatihia A.M. was found hanging with a piece of cloth in her room.

The police said that the maid died in her employer’s hands when he tried to save her by removing the cloth which she used to stangle herself.

The maid’s employer told the police that she committed suicide after talking on the phone with her sister who is abroad.

The maid had been working at her employer’s house for one year.

She was normal and nothing odd had been observed in her behaviour.

Captain Abdullah Rashid, duty officer at Al Haira police station, is investigating the case.

Mogadishu mayor to be ousted

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

(Press TV) — Somali Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Abdi has said Mogadishu’s mayor will soon be ousted from his position due to his failed administration.

According to Press TV correspondent, two weeks of conflict between the Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hossein and Mayor Mohamed Omar Habeeb led to a decision to oust the mayor and determine a new administration for the Banaadir region, a resolution well received by the people, dissatisfied with the way the city was being run.

Only a week ago Mayor Mohamed Omar Habeeb, a warlord fast losing power, was disarmed by his supposed allies, the Ethiopian Woyanne forces, after failing to pay up the usual sum his administration regularly doled out to the Ethiopian Woyanne army.

Newspaper with Teddy Afro on the cover impounded

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

By Eskinder Nega,

ADDIS ABABA — About 10,000 copies of a non-political monthly magazine, Enku, has been impounded by the police and its publisher and deputy editor, Alemayehu Mahtemework, imprisoned.

The magazine was impounded last night just before it was set to hit the market early today, Saturday.

Along with the publisher, three other persons in no way connected to the Magazine but who were in the van carrying the magazine out of the printing press were also imprisoned.

The magazine’s cover story is about the imprisonment of Ethiopia’s pop icon and critic of the government, Tewdros Kasahun, which is stirring political passions in the country.

The imprisoned are due to appear before court on Tuesday.

Woyanne frees eleven Kenyan Muslims, some in bad condition

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

By David Ochami

(Africa Press International) — Eleven Muslims deported to Somalia from Kenya after the collapse of Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union (ICU) have been released from Ethiopian Woyanne jails and taken to Somalia.

It is not known why they were freed without charges.

But 19 Kenyans deported and detained with this group remain in Ethiopian Woyanne jails in Addis Ababa and Awasso cities.

An unnamed Kenyan among those released has not returned to the country for fear of persecution.

About 60 Kenyans and foreigners were deported to Somalia on January 27 after crossing from the war torn country in the wake of the collapse of the ICU spurred by an Ethiopian a Woyanne invasion.

Kenyan and Ethiopian Woyanne authorities accused them of links with the ICU and Al Qaeida. Most were taken to Ethiopia and some to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Reports in Somalia’s Dobley town and Daadab on Kenya’s border with Somalia indicate one of the deportees was Kenyan without identification papers. Relatives declined to divulge further details.

In Nairobi the Muslim Human Rights Forum that has fought against US led renditions said its officials have met some of the released former deportees on the Somalia border.

Al Amin Kimathi, head of the forum, said the eleven were set free from Awasso and taken to Baidoa in South Central Somalia in February, apparently after being cleared by a military tribunal.

The official said one Kenyan has become deaf because of inhuman detention conditions. Independent accounts from former deportees show two detainees are now paralysed and one has lost an eye.

“It shows the extent of torture and atrocities in these jails,” said Al Amin.

Video: Teddy Afro's plight and other news

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Woyanne bans Ethiopians from traveling to Beirut to work

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Dummy Woyannes do not reliaze that Ethiopians are migrating in massive numbers because the Woyanne regime made it impossible for them to live and work freely in their own country.

(APA) ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia Woyanne has banned Ethiopians from traveling to take up jobs in Beirut because of “human rights violations” and “various domestic violence” committed against its citizens working there.

The [Woyanne] Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said on Thursday that the decision to suspend work travel to Beirut was made after thousands of Ethiopians suffered human rights abuses and harassment in Beirut.

“Suspending the work travel to Beirut was the only solution to minimize the human rights abuses on our citizens,” said Zenebu Tadesse, the state minister for labour and social affairs.

During the past few years, a number of Ethiopians have been killed in Beirut by their employers.

The ministry said it would take strong action against any employment agency trying to send workers to Beirut.

It is estimated there are over 50,000 Ethiopians working in Beirut, mainly women who work as house maids.

Over 100,000 Ethiopian workers are believed to be working in the Arab countries of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia celebrated Labour Day on Thursday with calls for hard work to improve productivity and bring Ethiopia to “middle class standard” status in 10-15 years.

Zimbabwe election board says opposition won

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

BBC NEWS — Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has told an all-party meeting that Morgan Tsvangirai won almost 48% in March’s presidential election, reports say.

The result would mean the Movement for Democratic Change leader is 2% short of the 50% required to avoid a run-off against President Mugabe, who won 43%.

A source at the meeting told the BBC the figures were tabled at the start of the process to verify the final result.

Earlier, Mr Tsvangirai insisted he had won an outright victory in the poll.

On Wednesday, government sources told reporters that Mr Tsvangirai had beaten the president, but had not won enough of the vote to avoid a second round.

The opposition and human rights groups have accused the authorities of waging a campaign of violence to ensure Mr Mugabe wins any run-off.

Dispute

The crucial meeting at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) offices began what officials called the “verification process”, in which representatives of the candidates each presented their calculations for the final result.

If the numbers fail to agree, the commission has said the candidates must then go back over the paperwork until they all accept the figures.

“Where we don’t agree, we will pull out every relevant document to ensure we have the same figures,” ZEC chairman George Chiweshe said beforehand. “At some stage, we have to agree.”

According to a BBC source in the meeting, commission officials said Mr Tsvangirai had won 47.8% of the vote, ahead of Robert Mugabe, who took 43.2%.

Although none of the candidates have commented on the meeting and discussions are due to resume on Friday morning, it is almost certain that a dispute is now under way, the BBC’s Peter Greste in Johannesburg says.

In an interview with France 24 television earlier, Mr Tsvangirai insisted he had won the 29 March vote outright, and that a second round was unnecessary.

Based on the results his supporters collected from individual polling stations, the MDC has “come up with a result which we feel is credible”, he said.

Mr Tsvangirai’s electoral agent, Chris Mbanga, is reported to have told the electoral commission on Thursday that the MDC leader had won 50.3%.

Mr Tsvangirai has also accused Mr Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party of using the delays to stuff ballot boxes and force the second round run-off, which he says the president plan’s to win using a combination of fraud and intimidation.

So, even if the electoral commission orders a full recount, the MDC is unlikely to accept the outcome, our correspondent says.

Meselech defeats Meseret to win the 5,000-metere race

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

(AFP) — Ethiopia’s world and Olympic 5,000 metres champion Meseret Defar suffered a shock defeat finishing second to compatriot Meselech Melkamu at the African athletics championships on Thursday.

Melkamu, the world indoor 3000m silver medallist powered her way to an easy victory after breaking away in the last 400 metres to win in 15 minutes 49.81 seconds.

Defar beat Kenya’s Grace Momanyi in a photo-finish for second place although both runners were awarded the same time of 15:50.20.

Earlier Nigeria entered its name in the medals table when African champion Olusiji Fasuba and Damola Osayami made it a sprint double in the men’s and women 100 metres events.

It was Fasuba’s third title at these championships and the 23-year-old Nigeria said he was satisfied with his performance only four months before the Olympic Games in Beijing.

“My plans for the Olympics are good. I wasn’t ready to run 10.10 now and it came,” said Fasuba, who clocked a personal best 9.85 in Doha in 2006.

“I believe that by the time I get to the sea level and do more speedwork and some more competitions I will be able to run my time consistently”, he added

Guinea’s Fatmata Fofanah won the women’s 100m hurdles beating her Nigerian arch-rival Toyin Augustus into second place.

Fofanah, who like Augustus trains in the United States clocked 13.10 – two seconds ahead of the Nigerian with Cameroon’s Carole Kaboud Me Bam a distant third in 13.52.

Calling all Ethiopians in the DC Area

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

By Teddy Fikre

There are 11 vans rented and ready to go, with the option of getting more vans for this weekend’s trip to North Carolina. Ethiopians for Obama have been working hard to ensure Senator Obama’s nomination and ultimate victory in November. North Carolina presents us with another opportunity to contribute to change and take part in our great democracy.

This is a call to all Ethiopians in the DC metro area to join E4O in making a difference in North Carolina. We will be leaving Friday (May 2nd) at 7:00 PM and returning Sunday evening. The transportation has been taken care of, housing will be provided–names have to be submitted by the close of business today so that we can ensure space in the vans for all those who can make it.

Please join Ethiopians for Barack Obama on our caravan for change this weekend. You will get a chance to meet your fellow Ethiopian-Americans who have made unbelievable contributions in this primary season. There are a lot of Ethiopians in North Carolina, and they will be elated to see their fellow Ethiopian-Americans taking part in such a noble effort.

Forward this to all your friends and family, anyone who wants to make the trip to North Carolina this weekend, please email theodorefikre@yahoo.com and put “Yechalal NC” in the subject header along with a phone number you can be reached at in the email. I will see everyone who can make it on Friday.

UN council may reconsider Eritrea-Ethiopia force

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

By Claudia Parsons, Reuters

UNITED NATIONS – U.N. Security Council members said on Wednesday they may reconsider the future of a peacekeeping force on the Eritrean border with Ethiopia because of obstruction of the force’s work by Eritrea.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report earlier this month that if the peacekeepers abandoned the 620-mile (1,000-km) border, a new war could break out, although both countries have said they do not plan to renew hostilities.

Council members voiced anger last week at moves by Eritrea to force the U.N. peacekeeping mission to leave its border.

The United Nations has almost completely withdrawn some 1,700 troops and military observers from a buffer zone along the border between the two Horn of Africa rivals after Eritrea cut fuel supplies to the mission.

Eritrea said countrywide shortages had prompted the move, but President Isaias Afwerki has stated that the continued presence of U.N. peacekeepers on the Red Sea state’s border with Ethiopia, scene of a 1998-200 war, was illegal.

The peacekeeping force, known as UNMEE, had been stationed in a 15.5-mile (25-km) zone inside Eritrea.

Eritrea turned against UNMEE because of the United Nations’ inability to enforce rulings by an independent commission awarding Asmara chunks of Ethiopian-held territory.

South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, current Security Council president, said in a statement on behalf of the council that the continuation of Eritrea’s “obstructions” had reached a level that undermined the force’s mandate.

“The Security Council recalls its previous condemnation of Eritrea’s lack of cooperation,” Kumalo said.

He said the council stood ready to assist the parties reach an agreement but the responsibility to do so lay with the two Horn of Africa countries themselves.

“The Security Council will, in the light of consultations with the parties, decide on the terms of a future U.N. engagement and on the future of UNMEE,” he said.

Ethiopia Woyanne has offered to hold talks with Eritrea but Eritrea says it must must first withdraw from its territory. Both sides have amassed troops in recent months. (Editing by Chris Wilson)

Alleged Qaeda agent in Somalia killed in U.S. attack

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

The presence of Mr Ayro, whether his association with Al Qaeda is true or not, had been a liability to the Somali people’s fight against the fascist Woyanne occupation. As the report by the NYT indicates, it was Somalis from Ayro’s own clan who gave the U.S. military the necessary intelligence on his whereabouts. Now that the U.S. has accomplished its mission or eradicating Ayro, hopefully it will stop supporting Woyanne’s illegal and murderous occupation of Somalia.

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The New York Times
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN and ERIC SCHMITT

NAIROBI, Kenya — Aden Hashi Ayro, long identified as one of Al Qaeda’s top operatives in East Africa and the leader of the Islamist comeback in Somalia, was killed Thursday morning by an American airstrike, according to American and Somali officials.

Mr. Ayro was one of the most feared and notorious figures in Somalia, a short, wispy man believed to be in his 30s who had gone from lowly car washer to top terrorist suspect blamed for a string of atrocities, including ripping up an Italian graveyard, killing a BBC journalist and planning suicide attacks all across Somalia.

He was a military commander for the Shebab, an Islamist militia which the American government recently classified as a terrorist group, saying it was linked to Al Qaeda.

Somalia officials said his death could be a key turning point in defeating the Islamists, who have seized several towns in recent weeks, and in bringing peace to the country.

“This will definitely weaken the Shebab,” said Mohamed Aden, consul for Somalia’s embassy in Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya. “This will help with reconciliation. You can’t imagine how many Somalis are saying, ‘Yes, this is the one.’ The reaction is so good.”

Maj. Sherri Reed, a spokeswoman for the United States Central Command in Tampa, Fla., confirmed that the military had attacked “a known Al Qaeda target” in the central Somalia town of Dhusamareb, but declined to give more details of the pre-dawn strike.

“It’s significant,” said Major Reed, who said there was no evidence to suggest there were any civilian casualties from the attack.

But an American military official in Washington, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operation, said that at least four Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from a Navy ship off the Somali coast had slammed into a small compound of single-story buildings in Dhusamareb, a well-known hideout for Mr. Ayro and his associates. The official confirmed Mr. Ayro was dead, along with several top lieutenants.

“This was in the works for some time,” said the official. He said that American intelligence agents had been tracking Mr. Ayro for weeks, through a combination of communications intercepts, satellite imagery and other intelligence.

Human rights organizations have upbraided the American government for launching air strikes against terrorist suspects inside Somalia and killing civilians instead, which has happened several times in the past year. But this time the missiles seemed to find their mark.

Around 3 a.m. Thursday morning, residents of Dhusamareb were jolted out of bed by several large explosions. According to witnesses and a spokesman for the Shebab, more than 10 people were killed, including Mr. Ayro, Mr. Ayro’s brother and several other high-ranking Shebab commanders.

Some witnesses said as many as 30 people were dead and that residents were counting skulls to determine the precise number of casualties.

“Infidel planes bombed Dhusamareb,” a Shebab spokesman, Mukhtar Ali Robow, told Reuters. “Two of our important people, including Ayro, were killed.”

The American official said: “For the Horn of Africa, this is pretty significant. He’s certainly considered a leader in Al Qaeda’s effort there. This can be chalked up as a success.”

Dhusamareb, a town of about 100,000 people along one of the few highways in Somalia, is a stronghold of the Ayr clan, which Mr. Ayro belongs to. In the past few weeks, residents said, Islamist fighters had moved into the town, part of their strategy to wrest back control from the Transitional Federal Government, which is officially in charge of Somalia but wields little power on the ground.

In 2006, Mr. Ayro was one of the militia commanders of an Islamist movement that briefly ruled Somalia. That rule ended in December 2006 when Ethiopian troops, backed up by American intelligence and air power, ousted the Islamists.

Since then, American forces have launched several airstrikes inside Somalia, including one in January 2007 which was thought to have wounded Mr. Ayro.

In the past attacks, cruise missiles were often used, launched from American war ships in the Indian Ocean.

American officials have said they have been given permission by Somalia’s government to attack terrorist suspects on Somali soil. American officials have accused Mr. Ayro of protecting wanted Qaeda members, including some of the men thought to have planned the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Mr. Ayro’s life story is a bit sketchy. According to Somali intelligence agents, he dropped out of school at a young age to wash cars and join one of the street-gang type militias that was fighting for control of Somalia in the early 1990s after the central government collapsed.

He became friends with a leader of his clan, Hassan Dahir Aweys, who arranged for him to go to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against American forces in 2001. He then returned to Mogadishu and trained fellow fighters in explosives, according to the International Crisis Group, a research organization that specializes in analyzing conflicts.

In January 2005, Mr. Ayro desecrated the graves of dozens of Italians who had been buried in Mogadishu decades ago, when Somalia was an Italian colony. Mr. Ayro was essentially disowned by his clan after that. But his militant activities only increased, and in February 2005 he was blamed for gunning down a BBC news producer outside her hotel in Mogadishu.

Mr. Ayro had recently gone to Dhusamareb with a band of his fighters to help set up a local administration. But clan elders rejected him, said Mohammed Uluso, a leader of the Ayr clan, because the elders “didn’t want to mix up their legitimate goals with something suspicious.” That might have been part of Mr. Ayro’s undoing, because Somali officials said that people in Dhusamareb provided American forces with up-to-the-minute intelligence on Mr. Ayro’s movements.

Mr. Uluso said Mr. Ayro was small and thin and looked like “a high school student, not this big guy the Americans were after.”

Mr. Uluso said he thinks the Shebab will continue to be a potent resistance force even after Mr. Ayro’s death because many young Somalis see the Shebab as a “heroic cause” in terms of standing up to the Americans. (Shebab is the Arabic word for youth.)

“The Shebab won’t just disappear,” Mr. Uluso said. “But now that the hunt for Ayro is over, at least people will get their freedom back. So many people were hurt and oppressed in the effort to get him.”
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Jeffrey Gettleman reported from Nairobi, Kenya, and Eric Schmitt reported from Washington.

Ethiopia's Lucy defines Arizona professor's life

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

By Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic

TEMPE, Ariz. — The man who found Lucy, the world’s most famous fossil, is never far from her. Just steps from Donald Johanson’s office at Arizona State University is a tiny skeleton made of plastic casts of the 3.2 million-year-old fossil. They’re wired together and propped inside a glass box.

Lucy souvenirs decorate Johanson’s office: an “I Love Lucy” button, a framed Lucy stamp issued in Ethiopia and porcelain Lucy salt-and-pepper shakers.

Single discoveries often define a scientist’s career, but nothing in Johanson’s field was as big as the Lucy find in 1974.

Lucy is the oldest, most complete skeleton of an adult ancestor of humans. A new ancestral species, Australopithecus afarensis, she prompted a controversial overhaul of the evolutionary tree. Scientists since have found older fossils, but none has matched Lucy’s fame.

In four decades, Johanson and colleagues gathered about 370 additional specimens, shedding further light on the species. As director of Arizona State’s Institute of Human Origins, Johanson oversees seven scientists who have generated their own recent headlines. He, though, will forever be identified with Lucy and will always wrestle with the riddles the fossil continues to pose.

Johanson sits in his office beneath replicas of famous cave paintings in Lascaux, France. His resonant voice quickens as he speaks of Lucy as if she were alive, recalling how “we found her.”

The 31-year-old paleoanthropologist had just finished his Ph.D. His team had chosen a remote area in northeastern Ethiopia, known as Hadar, because of the fossils regularly coughed up by the region’s shifting tectonic plates. Rare, heavy rains cut deep gashes into the hills and reveal ancient fossils to the sharp-eyed scientist.

That Sunday, Johanson felt lucky. The son of a widowed immigrant cleaning woman, he had been told by his high-school counselor that he wasn’t smart enough to attend college. He went anyway. And now, on this clear morning, he wrote the words “feel good” in his journal.

Accompanied by a graduate student, Tom Gray, they walked and looked for fossils in the heat of more than 100 degrees.

A brownish-gray object caught Johanson’s eye. The 2 1/2-inch fossil had a curved flare resembling a humanlike elbow. They quickly spotted more fossils: a piece of jaw with a molar, parts of a leg and arm, a shard of skull.

Johanson knew they had made a rare and special find.

They gathered up the pieces of jaw, marked the spot and jumped into a Land Rover for the half-hour trip back to camp.

They stayed up all night, drank beer and celebrated. The Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, played on a tape recorder.

Johanson’s girlfriend, Pamela, said, “Why don’t you call her Lucy?”

The name took hold.

For three weeks, the team scoured the hillside and gully, uncovering fossil fragments and pieces. Time and the elements had scattered Lucy over an area about the size of a living room. They found no two fossils the same, which reinforced Johanson’s theory that the fossils belonged to one individual.

Johanson spent the next five years intensely studying Lucy. The Ethiopian government agreed to let him borrow the fossils because the country had no sophisticated labs. To get her to the United States, he wrapped her in toilet paper, packed her in a yellow, foam-lined suitcase and carried her aboard a plane.

Lucy moved into a new home at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where Johanson worked as a curator. She was kept in a 5-foot safe in his office.

Analyzing Lucy took years. Johanson had to juggle research with his job at Case Western Reserve University, museum duties, other field expeditions and subsequent fossil finds. He enlisted the help of another scientist, Tim White, to help.

The pair would meet late at night in the museum’s lab. Using plaster casts of the fossils, they compared and measured the various features. They argued for months about whether the fossils represented a new species.

In the end, they decided the evidence was convincing. The species had walked upright and had a brain no bigger than a grapefruit. Its hands resembled human hands, with more curled fingers. Its estimated size ranged from 3 and a half feet to 5 feet tall and about 60 pounds to 100 pounds.

Their resulting 1979 paper in the journal Science announcing the new species drew worldwide attention. The paper challenged prevailing evidence that walking upright evolved along with an enlarged brain.

The paper drew harsh criticism from other scientists, including famous paleoanthropologists Mary Leakey and her son, Richard, who accused Johanson of being hasty in his conclusions. Johanson stood his ground.

In 1980, he returned Lucy to the Ethiopian government, knowing he could return to study her. He since has seen Lucy many times and never tires of the reunion, of seeing the 47 pieces that emerged to reshape his life.

World Bank rewards Woyanne for its atrocities

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

The only difference between the World Bank and Al Qaeda is that Al Qaeda carries out its own terrorist actions, whereas World Bank commits its evil deeds through blood thirsty gangs such as Woyanne whose soldiers just today have gunned down 13 unarmed civilians in Somalia. The following press release, which is full of lies, makes any decent human being sick. Contrary to the WB’s claim, the only thing that is developing in Ethiopia is Woyanne’s pocket and the number of its victims. The WB’s blood money is fueling Woyanne’s state-sponsored terrorism in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

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World Bank launches new assistance strategy for Ethiopia

Press Release No:2008/289/AFR

WASHINGTON — The World Bank today launched a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Ethiopia. The strategy covers the period July 2008 – June 2011 and aims to help Ethiopia sustain its strong performance in economic growth and basic service delivery in recent years.

Ethiopia has entered the early stages of a ‘dual take-off’ in the provision of basic services and in economic growth. Over the past decade, its efforts to improve basic services have shown impressive results. Primary school enrollments have tripled, child mortality has almost been cut in half, and the number of people with access to clean water has more than doubled. Over the last four years, GDP growth has averaged over 11 percent per year. The percentage of Ethiopians living in poverty, which stood at 46 percent in 1996 and 44 percent in 2001, fell to 39 percent in 2006.

‘Ethiopia’s achievements on growth and basic service delivery are remarkable,’ said Ken Ohashi, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia. ‘At the same time, sustaining this good performance will require addressing several looming challenges. The Bank will provide its full support to Ethiopia in this regard.’

These challenges in the near term, as outlined in the CAS, include managing macroeconomic risks (inflation and trade imbalances); stimulating private investment further; opening more economic opportunities for the disadvantaged groups, especially women, youth, and food-insecure households; and improving quality of services in line with the strong progress on access. In the longer term, Ethiopia must also address its fundamental vulnerability to drought, through environmental protection as well as further industrialization; continue to improve governance; and develop stronger cooperative ties with neighboring countries.

The Bank’s strategy will help address these challenges by supporting the implementation of key elements of the Governments’ Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP). Accordingly, the Bank’s support, both financial and analytical, is focused around four main pillars:

- Fostering economic growth. The Bank will support the country’s macro-fiscal stability as well as key sectors such as agriculture and infrastructure (roads, energy, water). It includes a focus on regional cooperation on large-scale infrastructure. A particular emphasis will be placed on strengthening supply responsiveness of the economy, leading to sustained growth and expansion in private investment.

- Improved quality of and access to basic services. The second pillar aims to help Ethiopia complete its move toward universal access to essential services in health, education, agriculture and water, and step up its efforts to enhance the quality of such services. It also includes support for enhanced citizens’ voice to improve quality of basic services through greater involvement of communities, citizens, and civil society in the decision making and monitoring processes.

- Reducing Vulnerability. The Bank will continue to support Ethiopia in addressing food insecurity. As part of a comprehensive approach to improving the lives of the poorest, it will seek to help address environmental degradation and population pressures and support greater economic engagement of women and youth.

- Fostering Improved Governance. The Bank will continue its strong emphasis on improving government effectiveness and quality of public administration, enhancing the accountability and responsiveness of government, and increasing empowerment and demand for accountability.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is expanding its reengagement in Ethiopia to support the development of the private sector. IFC has recently approved an investment in the cement industry, which is the Corporation’s first investment project in Ethiopia in over 18 years.

Extensive consultations were carried out in the formulation of the strategy in order to obtain a wide range of perspectives from diverse stakeholders on the priorities, challenges and options for the Bank’s activities and role in the country. Stakeholder groups from the government, the private sector, civil society organizations, academia, opposition members of parliament, community groups, and other donors took part in the consultations.

The Bank’s program for Fiscal Year 2008 is based on an initial International Development Association (IDA) allocation of about $635 million at current exchange rates. The size of the lending program for the rest of the CAS period will depend on IDA’s 15th replenishment, which envisages significant funding increases for IDA borrowers. The annual allocation of IDA resources, however, will reflect a country’s policy and institutional performance relative to other countries, portfolio quality, per capita income levels, and population.

For more information on the World Bank in sub-Saharan Africa visit: www.worldbank.org/afr

For more information on the World Bank in Ethiopia visit: www.worldbank.org/ethiopia

Contacts

In Washington:
Aby Toure
(202) 473 8302
akonate@worldbank.org

In Addis Ababa :
Gelila Woodeneh
(251-1) 662 77 00
gwoodeneh@worldbank.org

Ethiopians sweep the 10,000-meter race

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

(Associated Press) — ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia swept the men’s 10,000-meter race Wednesday on the opening day of the African Athletics Championships.

Gebregziabher Gebremariam won in 28 minutes, 17 seconds after pulling away from the pack halfway through the race. Junior champion Ibrahim Jeylan finished second, and national champion Eshetu Wondimu was third.

The three Ethiopians linked arms after the race for a victory lap in front of about 25,000 fans.

Olympic champion and world record holder Kenenisa Bekele withdrew from the race earlier Wednesday for unspecified reasons.

“I will not run it,” Bekele told The Associated Press. “I can’t answer for you by telephone. It’s very difficult.”

Bekele’s withdrawal is not expected to affect his chances of running at this year’s Beijing Olympics.

Haile Gebrselassie, the former world record holder and two-time Olympic champion in the 10,000, was not selected to Ethiopia’s team for the event. But Gebrselassie is still hoping to run the 10,000 in Beijing after pulling out of the Olympic marathon.

Woyanne troops gun down 13 Somali civilians (AP)

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS) MOGADISHU — Ethiopian Woyanne troops allied to Somalia’s shaky government opened fire on civilians in a street in southwestern Somalia, killing 13 on Wednesday after an explosion there killed two soldiers, witnesses said.

Witness Mohamud Ahmed Nur said an explosion apparently caused by a remote-controlled land mine killed the two Ethiopian Woyanne troops, who were patrolling the town of Baidoa.

The soldiers, he said, then opened fire in all directions, killing at least 10 civilian passers-by outright.

Mohamed Hussein Diriye, a doctor at the town’s main hospital, said three more people died later of their injuries and that seven others were still being treated at the hospital, he said.

“It was a horrific scene, blood scattered everywhere,” said witness Jamal Haji. “I saw the dead bodies of at least 10 people lying in the middle of the road.”

Baidoa is 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, and is the headquarters for the Somali parliament. Several senior government officials also live there.

Days of celebration and march for a new Ethiopia

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

A suggested schedule with a daily emphasis for the Ethiopian Days of Focus on the future of all of us Ethiopians coming up on May 15 –18, 2008:

Summary:

These are the days we celebrate peace and renew our commitment to the resolution of all conflict by peaceful means. We commit or renew our commitment to political and social reconciliation in Ethiopia.

For all of these things to succeed, we, the Ethiopian people have to take ownership. Start organizing in your community. This is not a message made for a political statement alone, but it is about creating a future not only for us, but also for future generations where we can live and thrive together.

It will take time and effort. Even in family disagreements it takes a lot of work to resolve problems and challenges, so let us not be hesitant to work hard to build a NEW ETHIOPIA and better future for those who will be left behind. Be an advocate for the future. Be a better good Samaritan to others than you expect towards yourself. This is the only way this effort will truly succeed.

Day One:
Thursday, May 15 – A DAY OF REMEMBERANCE: The Tent of Grieving and Celebration

Day Two:
Friday, May 16 – A DAY OF UNITY: Worldwide March for Ethiopian Freedom, Justice and Human Rights

Day Three:
Saturday, May 17 – DAY OF REACHING OUT: Building New Connections

Day Four:
Sunday, May 18 – DAY OF PRAYER: Confession, Thanksgiving, Reconciliation and Petition

Activities
Thursday, May 15 –DAY OF REMEMBERANCE: A Tent of Grieving and Celebration.

In Ethiopian culture, erecting a tent is part of the way one grieves the loss of a loved one. It is when family, neighbors, friends, community members and even passersby mourn the loss of someone who has died. The family of the one who died and those who attend support each other by joining under this tent of grief, remember and honor the memory of the person who died.

This day is to remember all the Ethiopians within the country who have been killed, who have disappeared or who have died from the humanitarian disasters that accompany tyranny. Let us not let them die in vain. This is the day we can remember the sacrifices of those who not only died to build democracy in Ethiopia, but let us also remember and pray for those still in prison or still suffering throughout the country. This is a day to remember the innocent victims before and after the 2005 massacres as well as those who died during those protests for freedom. The tent can also be used for a wedding celebration. Let us celebrate of the spring of true Democracy in Ethiopia, 2005

Action suggestions:

* Pray for those still locked up in prison or are suffering in many other ways.
* Call or write to someone or group who has lost a family member, ethnic group members, etc to express your sympathy and remembrance of their lost one.
* Publish or read aloud a list names of those who died
* Wear traditional cultural clothes of mourning, when marching, use slogans like “Our people did not die in vain.”
* Ask people outside your groups about their losses or do research on this
* Take 10 or more minutes to reflect on these losses and what hopes you have for the future of democracy for generations to come. Resolve to contribute what you can to help.
* Ask these questions: Are the people of Ethiopia still thirsty for democracy? Will the victims of torture, massacre and illegal detentions ever get justice? Do your best to help and encourage others to do the same.

Friday, May 16 – A DAY OF UNITY: Worldwide March for Ethiopian Freedom, Justice and Human Rights

This is the day for a Worldwide March for Ethiopian Freedom and Justice—a day when all Ethiopians put their humanity before their ethnicity. Leaders of all political parties, civic groups, religious groups and others should make a statement about the shared value and worth of every person in the greater family of Ethiopians. This Friday can also be a day of prayer: Confession, Thanksgiving, Reconciliation and Petition for our Muslims brothers and sisters.

It is a day when those from all over Ethiopia should be invited to march side by side with other Ethiopians from every diverse group within the country. Public talks should be about the suffering of others. One group should carry a sign for another—signs that might say, “Eradicate tribal thinking!” or “God created us equal.” Ethiopians could wear T- shirts with a slogan, “I love Ethiopia” or “No to ethnic politics,” or “Do your share” or “No one group will be free unless we all are free”

This is a day to celebrate our Ethiopian unity—a day for us to declare that we are not defined by others who want to control us politically by dividing us ethnically. It is a day we say, we have much ethnic diversity, but one Ethiopian national identity.

This is a day to reflect upon what Ethiopia has become and what she could be. This is day we celebrate the principles of democracy which includes reaffirmation of the ultimate power of the people, the principles of justice, the rule of law and human rights. Increase our understanding of democratic rights and principles by reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Amharic version at:), (English version at http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html.)

It is a day we reflect on what we have done to help Ethiopia and its people, how to get involved if we are not, how to contribute more if we already are. It is a day to think about solutions to Ethiopia’s problems.

We ask civil society leaders, political activists, political and community leaders, journalists and others in formal or informal leadership positions to sponsor, encourage, promote and lead activities, especially public ones that promote Ethiopian unity and ethnic diversity.

The critical points here are:

1. Leaders and members of all Ethiopian communities come together
2. The special messages from the different ethnic groups should be revealed to the world to emphasize solidarity between these groups.
3. A petition signed by the participants should be delivered to the offices of the Leader of the countries, their legislature or their foreign office. The non-partisan nature of the solidarity must be made clear.

Saturday, May 17 – DAY OF REACHING OUT: Building New Connections

This is a day to reflect upon what Ethiopia has become and what she could be if only we could live in greater harmony and peace. It is a day we reflect on what we have done to help Ethiopia and its people, how to get involved if we are not. It is a day to think about solutions to Ethiopia’s problems.

In Ethiopian culture, we brew coffee and sit in circles where our hospitality is not limited to anyone. On this day, organize coffee circles where a family, community, church, mosque, synagogue or other organization could brew coffee or tea and then invite some Ethiopians you have never before included in your circles. Reach out beyond own ethnic groups. Invite people to your home and cook some food—perhaps people of whom you are skeptical or people you have met in the last several days. Reach out in different directions.

Let us celebrate our diversity. Read about other groups. Give opportunity for someone outside your own ethnic group to speak at your home or meeting, even by having them read a poem, or by sharing a humorous or an interesting story of their culture or experience.

Different political parties could speak on behalf of others with the leaders reaching out to leaders of other groups to bring new groups together. Religious leaders, political leaders, civic leaders and others should all make an attempt to find a way to start a dialogue that could lead to better understanding, improved relationships and new ways to work together on shared goals.

The same or similar format as on May 15 could be used, but people will have become a bit tired at this point. But a lot of near encounter will have occurred on the 15th and the 16th and small groups in homes in semi-private setting around coffee etc is ideal to discuss the events thus far and ponder the way forward.

Sunday, May 18 – DAY OF PRAYER: Confession, Thanksgiving, Reconciliation and Petition

This is a day to seek our Creator God as our only real hope and to restore any brokenness in our relationship. As flawed people, we need to confess our wrongful ways and seek God’s help in correcting them.

We thank the Almighty for his beneficence and mercy. It is a day to thank God for his creation, for his goodness, his faithfulness and for his love for each of us and for our neighbor. We can also thank him for his promises to “be found” by us if we earnestly seek Him with all our hearts, souls and minds.

He also wants us to reconcile with our family, neighbors and countrymen. This is a day we ask each other forgiveness for what we have done wrong intentionally and unknowingly. We must reconcile with God, ourselves, and with others. Go to others, asking for forgiveness, saying you are sorry for what you have done or for something others of your group has done to them. Tell them how you feel.

Create an environment for your and their descendents to live in peace rather than on unresolved grudges, anger and difficulties from the past. Reach out to others in the spirit of forgiveness and acceptance.

This is a day of petitioning God with every specific request. We pray for His help in resolving Ethiopia’s critical situation in ways beyond what we could even ask or imagine. We are also part of what helps or hinders our country, so we should pray to become the kind of people that do right to our neighbors.

This is a day when we call on our religious leaders to lead us through prayer vigils, teaching, services or readings. It is a day to offer private prayers wherever we may be – in our homes, businesses, cars, at work or in our houses of worship.

The congregations should make through their church, mosque and synagogue leaders, special sermons, discussions and prayers for those who have gone and those who are still in prisons throughout the country. In this case, the emphasis should be on unity and solidarity.

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For more information please contact
Worldwide March for Ethiopian Freedom and Justice Organizing Committee
By E-mail at: ethiopiansmarchforfreedom@yahoo.ca

Kenenisa Bekele quits African Championships

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

(Eurosport) –According to sources, the Ethiopian has not yet fully recovered after competing in the World Cross Country Championships.

Abraham Jeylan, Eshetu Wondimu and Gebregziabher Gebremariam will represent Ethiopia in the discipline on the opening day of the event.

Bekele has also pulled out of the 5,000 metres, meaning that he will not be competing in the event in Addis Ababa at all.

His next track appearance is scheduled for May 24th at the FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands, where he will run the 5,000 metres.

The action in Addis Ababa began with the decathlon in good conditions and temperatures of around 22°C.

The fastest time in four heats of the women’s 100 metres was 11.55, set by title defender Vida Anim of Ghana as all the favourites advanced.

The three finals to be run on the first day are the men’s 10,000 metres, men’s shot put men and women’s hammer throw.

Running – an Ethiopian obsession (BBC)

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

By Alex Capstick
BBC News, Addis Ababa

Ethiopia is staging its first major international athletics event – the African Athletics Championships – giving sports fans a rare chance to see close up the athletes carrying the country’s hopes for glory at the Beijing Olympics. The BBC’s Alex Capstick went to Addis Ababa to investigate why running is Ethiopia’s national obsession.

It’s 0630 as runners gather in the forests overlooking Addis Ababa. There’s not a breath of wind, and at an altitude of more than 3,000 metres the air is thin.

These are considered perfect training conditions for endurance runners, and virtually every day of the year thousands of them pitch up here and spend an hour or two pounding the rutted dirt tracks.

Getaneh Tessema is in charge of the group I’m with and says he chooses the area because “it is very quiet, it is not so hilly, flat, and you know running in the forest is fantastic, we like it”.

He has spent the last decade on the lookout for future champions and his current group includes members of the Ethiopian marathon team.

“The runners are mostly from the countryside, and in the countryside most children they go to school on foot – like every day five, 10 kilometres, and you know, nobody knows that, but that’s training.

“Ethiopians are light and are also hard-working and they like to fight – and I think that’s the reason why they are so good.”

Dream of glory

Ethiopia’s obsession with running can be traced back to 1960, when the barefooted Abebe Bikili was a surprise winner of the Olympic marathon in Rome.

The success of Ethiopian athletes continued. Haile Gebrselassie remembers listening on his father’s radio to events at the Moscow games in 1980, when Miruts Yifter won two gold medals.

“I was seven, I had a chance you know to follow his winning. I wanted to be like a Miruts Yifter and my dream was to be like him.”

Haile Gebrselassie is now considered the finest distance runner of all time.

His collection of honours includes two Olympic 10,000 metre titles and multiple world records. He’s idolised in Ethiopia, the busy road I’m standing on is named after him. And everybody wants to be like Haile.

“It’s amazing when they follow the good steps of Haile Gebrselassie. Let them follow my good things the next generation has to improve”

‘Women stay in home’

The Entoto Mariam church is located in the hills above the capital. It is in another area frequented by groups of runners, and world and Olympic medals have been deposited in the church museum.

My guide tells me Ethiopia’s deeply religious athletes promise to leave them here, or in other places of worship, on display for everyone to see. Among them is one won by Derartu Tulu.

She became the first black African woman to claim an Olympic title when she was first in the 10,000 metres at the Barcelona Games in 1992. Her performance proved to be an inspiration to other women in Ethiopia.

They include the reigning Olympic 5,000 metre champion Meseret Defar who I went to meet at her villa in Addis Ababa.

Like Derartu Tulu, she’s been a role model to young women seeking a life outside the traditional confines of the home, although the effect hasn’t been the same across the country.

“The women stay in the house,” she says. “For a woman in Ethiopia, running is very difficult. In Addis Ababa no problem, it is very good but outside the woman she only work in house or is going to the school – everything is for men.”

Every morning in the heart of Addis Ababa knots of runners are strung out over the cracked steps of Meskel Square.

Most of them dream of progressing to the national stadium, just a short distance away.

But first they must grab the attention of one of the top coaches.

Competition is fierce, and the deep well of running talent in Ethiopia shows no sign of drying up.

Woyanne's U.S. lawyers to do pro bono work in Ethiopia

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

DLA Piper law firm represents the fascist Woyanne regime’s interest in the U.S. for $50,000 per month.

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By Ben Moshinsky

(thelawyer.com) — DLA Piper is teaming up with Northwestern University School of Law and Accenture to donate much needed resources to the Addis Ababa Law School in Ethiopia.

DLA Piper and Accenture lawyers will travel to Addis Ababa to teach courses in tax, company law, international arbitration and corporate crime at the law school during the spring term this year. The project will last two years.

Through New Perimeter, DLA Piper’s pro bono arm, the firm will update the school’s law library and launch a new law and economic development research centre.

Sheldon Krantz, director of New Perimeter and partner in DLA Piper’s Washington office said: “Addis Ababa Law School is the premier law school in Ethiopia, but it currently faces extremely challenging circumstances. It’s severely hampered by aging facilities and a lack of financial resources that compromise the school’s ability to provide a solid legal education for its students.”

Video: Woyanne atrocities in Somalia, other news

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Judge tells Teddy Afro to return to court after 30 days

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Popular singer Teddy Afro had appeared in court today and was told to come back after 30 days. He was then taken back to his dark prison cell in Kality. Hundreds of the notorious Federal Police troopers had surrounded the courthouse as Teddy appeared before the judge. Journalists who went to the court, including ER’s undercover reporter, were roughed up by the police. Some were briefly detained and released after being told not to show up at Teddy’s next court appearance.

Somalia is doing better in Internet usage than Ethiopia

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

According to Internet World Stats, Ethiopia with a population of 80 million has only 164,000 Internet users (0.2% of the population), compared to 750,000 in Uganda, 2,770,300 in Kenya, and 3,500,000 in Sudan. The chigaram Woyanne regime is purposely limiting the usage of the Internet by outlawing private ownership of Internet Services in order to control the flow of information. Somalia, that has no government and minimal infrastructure, is doing better than Ethiopia in Internet usage. In Somalia, 0.8% of the population uses the Internet compared to 0.2% in Ethiopia.

AAF president arrives in Addis Ababa to attend CAA Championships

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 28, 2008 (ENA) – The President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Lamine Diack on Saturday evening arrived in Addis Ababa to attend the opening ceremony of the 16th CAA African Athletics Championships in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Diack (SEN), who is the honorary president of the CAA, will also attend the African Athletics Hall of Fame Gala at the Sheraton Addis on Tuesday evening and will preside over the CAA Council Meeting a day earlier on April 28th.

The IAAF has contributed generously towards the staging of the 16th CAA African Athletics Championships by funding the construction of a warm-up track, rental of timing and results management equipment, and providing competition grants.

Other dignitaries expected in Addis Ababa for the opening ceremony and African Athletics championships include IAAF Senior Vice President Sergey Bubka, Vice President Dahlan Al Hamad, European Athletics Association (EAA) President Hansjorg Wirz, North American and Caribbean Athletics Confederation (NACAC) President Teddy McCook, and Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Issa Hayatou.

Vatican appoints new envoy to Ethiopia

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

VATICAN CITY (Zenit.org) — Benedict XVI appointed the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to represent him in Ethiopia at ceremonies commemorating the new Christian millennium and the national Eucharistic congress.

A Latin-language letter to Cardinal Ivan Dias, dated March 27, was made public Saturday. In the message, the Pope names the cardinal his envoy to the millennium ceremonies and the May 2-4 Eucharistic congress, which will be held in Addis Ababa.

Father Tsegaye Kenini of the archdiocese of Addis Ababa, former secretary-general of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, and Father Tesfaye Tadesse, superior-general of the Combonian Missionary Fathers in Ethiopia and president of the conference of religious superiors-major of Ethiopia, will accompany the cardinal.

Ethiopia uses a calendar that marks New Year on Sept. 11 — or on Sept. 12 in a leap year — and has an eight-year difference with the Gregorian calendar used in the West.

54 Nigerian athletes fly to Addis Ababa

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

(PM News) — Fifty four athletes and 10 officials will fly the colours of Nigeria at the African Athletics Championship in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The African meet holds from tomorrow, Wednesday 30 April to 4 May, 2008.

Some of the athletes and officials left for Addis Abba, venue of the competition yesterday. They will be joined by their foreign-based counterparts before the commencement of the championship tomorrow.

Sunday Bada, the Technical Director of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) said he is expecting good a good outing from the contingent at the end of the tournament on Sunday.

Meanwhile, corporate organisations in the country have once again come under the hammer, following their apathy towards sports development. The latest swipe came from Bada, who said in an interview with brilafm that it is odd that companies and corporations are yet to support various sporting associations in an Olympics year.

He noted that the federations are groaning under financial constraints in preparing teams for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, while the business sector is not lending a hand.

“It’s such a really bizarre situation that companies and multi-nationals in this country are still not coming out to support sports, not even in this year of the Olympics.

“Normally, one would have thought that the companies would have used the opportunity to cash in on the milage they are bound to get from supporting associations for the Olympics.

“Lavish attention should be coming for sports at a time like this, but we are facing a different situation. It’s very strange and rather discouraging,” he lamented.

The AFN performance director stated further that countries like Bahamas and Jamaica are doing well in the Olympics because they are serious in their approach to development.

“It’s such issues like development and funding that we are facing. We intend to face them squarely and confront them, as we march towards the Olympics in China,” he declared emphatically.

Ethiopians in DC held rally demanding freedom for Teddy Afro

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Several Ethiopians had gathered in front of the Woyanne-occupied Ethiopian embassy in Washington DC on Monday to demand freedom for Teddy Afro, a popular singer who appears to have been thrown in jail on trumped up charges. The protesters chanted “Free Teddy!” as heavy rain poured down on them.

Teddy Afro is currently being held at the infamous Kaliti prison inside a dark room. He is charged by the Woyanne government with hitting and killing a homeless man with his car about two years ago.

Listen to the VOA report for more on Monday’s protest rally at the Ethiopian embassy in DC. Click here.

A bridge over Red Sea is being planned

Monday, April 28th, 2008

(AFP) — Moses once parted the Red Sea and now Osama bin Laden’s half-brother is planning to build a bridge over it.The proposed bridge would link Yemen to Djibouti, creating a man-made link between the Middle East and Africa.

Costing 14 billion euros ($23.5 billion), stretching around 28.5 kilometres and encompassing a six-lane motorway and a four-track railway, the bridge would be of Biblical proportions.

Meanwhile, the man behind it bears a familiar name, too – Tarek bin Laden, half-brother of the Al Qaeda leader.

Tarek, a Saudi construction magnate, has been lobbying the Yemen and Djibouti governments to back the project, which would create a direct link between Arabia and east Africa, without the need to travel by the Sinai peninsula.

Djibouti Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita said his government was not actively involved.

“The project fell on us from the sky with the proposal by Osama bin Laden’s brother, who has a construction company in Saudi Arabia,” Mr Dileita told AFP.

“People are talking about it a lot here – the Yemenis are convinced the project will be carried out with Saudi and Emirates’ funds to connect the Arab world to Africa.”

New cities

The plan envisages building new cities at either end of the bridge, which would itself in fact be a combination of bridges, with a stop-off point in the centre of the “Bab ed Mandeb” (Gates of Hell) straights at Perim Island.

“Numerous American, Yemeni and even French businesses are taking part in the project,” the Prime Minister said.

“But the big advantage will be to take millions of African Muslims to Mecca, by train or by bus.”

Indeed, on top of the commercial and logistic aspects, one of the key attractions of the bridge is spiritual – serving as an easier crossing for millions of African Muslims who make the pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, each year.

One of the new cities at either end of the bridge would be called the City of Light (Medinet an Noor) and at 600 square kilometres would be six times the land mass of Paris and serve as a trade, commercial and tourist hub for anticipated traffic.

“We don’t yet know if it will be in the north of Djibouti or in Yemen,” Mr Deleita said.

The bridge would in total measure around 28.5 kilometres, including a 3.5 kilometre link to the island and a final 13 kilometre crossing to Africa — the longest suspension bridge in the world.

That, the developers say, could create 100,000 construction jobs over the 10-year build time.

Major obstacles

However, there are major obstacles in the way, both man-made and natural.

The bridge will cross a site known for intense seismic activity.

In 1978, massive tectonic plate movement triggered an eruption from Djibouti’s Ardoukoba volcano and an earthquake measuring between three and 5.3 on the Richter scale.

The lava flows radically altered the seabed.

Yet the Ministry which looks after Djibouti’s environment says it is confident the project design can plan for such acts of nature.

The general secretary of the Ministry for the Environment, Towns and Urban Planning, Aboubakar Douale Waiss, says such tectonic plate shifts are not something that happens suddenly, but are generally predictable.

“So the key is for architects to come up with plans which take into account these movements,” he said.

Port trade

Another potential dilemma is the fate of Djibouti’s port, which currently handles more than 120,000 vehicles a year, mostly on business to and from Ethiopia.

A road bridge would seriously dent that trade.

But Mr Waiss insisted the increased economic and political stability of Djibouti will be enough to support both bridge and port.

“The bridge and the port are complementary,” he said.

“There are huge populations in the areas behind Djibouti – 80 million in Ethiopia alone – and the traffic will just continue to grow.”

Finally, as the United States and France have substantial military bases in Djibouti, there are fears the new link will prove a tempting terrorist target, or simply provide easier access to some of the impoverished states in the Horn of Africa for Islamic extremists.

ICU controls 90% of South Somalia, its leader says

Monday, April 28th, 2008

(Press TV) — The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) has captured ninety percent of south Somalia, a leader of the body, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed says.

In an interview with Aljazeera TV on Monday, he said that the union has taken 90% of south Somalia under its control to date.

The comments are made as the southern parts of the country have been engulfed in flames of war and unrest.

On Monday, a clash erupted between two clans near port city of Kismayu, leaving 5 civilians dead and 13 others injured, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Also on the same day, 8 civilians and 4 government soldiers were killed as armed man attacked a government check point in northern Mogadishu’s Siinay district.

In another incident, Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers were hit by land mine explosions in Baidoa in the country’s south-central region, 256 kilometers northwest of the capital, Mogadishu.

The explosions left several soldiers killed and injured but the number of casualties have not yet been known.

Seven civilians are reportedly killed as the soldiers opened fire after the explosions.

Until the end of 2006, the Islamic Courts Union controlled most of southern Somalia and the vast majority of its population, including most major cities such as Kismayo and Mogadishu.

Teddy Afro is held in isolation, in dark room

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Ethiopia’s popular singer Teddy Afro is held in isolation inside a dark room at Kaliti prison. Also, unlike other prisoners, he is not allowed to go outside of his cell for fresh air, according to close family members who have visited him over the weekend.

Several friends of Teddy were prevented from visiting him for the Ethiopian Easter holiday (Fasika) on Sunday. Only 5 family members were allowed to see him. The opposition UDJ vice-chaiperson Birtukan Mideksa was one of those who were turned away by prison guards yesterday.

The harsh treament Teddy is getting in prison gives credence to the suspecion that his arrest is politically motivated.

Ethiopians in the Washington DC area are holding a protest rally today in front of the Ethiopian embassy demanding the release of Teddy Afro.

Namibia supreme court rules in favor of an Ethiopian immigrant

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Government of the Republic of Namibia v Getachew (SA 21/2006) [2008] NASC 4; (15 April 2008): The appeal followed a High Court case in which an immigration officer committed perjury during his testimony in court resulted in N$65 000 being awarded to an Ethiopian resident of Namibia for the three months that he had spent in illegal detention in 2004 and 2005. The summons was instituted by Dereje Getachew who sued the Namibian Government for wrongful and unlawful arrest and consequential detention. The court unreservedly held that the trial judge erred when he determined that the respondent’s arrest was unlawful: ‘The arrest was justified on the basis of a clearly proved reasonable suspicion on the part of the arresting immigration officer that the respondent’s presence in Namibia was probably unlawful.’ The court decided the detention was lawful for the first period of 28 days, but was unlawful from 15 October 2004 to 27 January 2005.

Source: Legalbrief

Kenyans set to conquer Africa in Ethiopia

Monday, April 28th, 2008

By Mutwiri Mutuota, The Standard –The national team to the 16th Africa Championships in Athletics left for Addis Ababa with a promise to get the job done at the home of their fiercest rivals.

“So far, we have trained well and have no injuries to report. Everyone is ready to go to war and we have an experienced team that will go there to fight,” team captain and 2001, 1500m World Youth Champion, Isaac Songok, said at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Sunday.

The 40-strong team accompanied by 13 officials left aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight for Addis Ababa.

“We hope to return in glory because our discipline has been very high and we are all motivated,” Songok, who will be the major medal hope in 5000m said.

The athlete who missed the national team to the World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh last month after he was dropped from the preliminary squad, promised to atone for the disappointment at the continental event.

“It will be my first African Championship and being an Olympic year, I am aiming to do well so that I qualify for Beijing,” said the athlete who has also appeared in two World Championships (Paris and Helsinki).

Team head coach, Julius Kirwa, remained optimistic that the team, considered to be the country’s B side, would compete favourably with the hosts who have all their big guns waiting to pounce.

“We are ready and the athletes are very determined. I have a team that has runners from 100m to the javelin and I expect medals in all events,” he said.

The send-off accorded to the team was lacklustre considering. The Government minister who handed them the Kenyan flag was not even expected in the first place.

Transport minister, Chirau Ali Mwakwere, was enroute somewhere else but chanced on the team, smartly decked in black suits and promptly assumed the role of officially seeing it off.

“I am happy to hear that you have prepared well and I believe that you are the best athletes in the world. Ethiopia is located in high altitude, but conditions are similar to Nairobi so you should cope well,” Mwakwere said.

Ethiopian couple wins George Washington Parkway 10-mile

Monday, April 28th, 2008

By Steve Nearman, The Washington Times – Ethiopians Worku Beyi and Bizunesh Deba were married three years ago. They train together in the Bronx borough of New York City, where they live with other competitive Ethiopian runners. The couple frequently races together, too, for the Westchester Track Club.

Yesterday over 10 misting miles between Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria, Beyi and Deba put on dominating solo performances to sweep the George Washington Parkway Classic.

The 21-year-old Beyi shed eventual runner-up Steven Crane of Silver Spring after two miles and ended in 48:26, more than four minutes ahead of Crane.

The 21-year-old Deba shed her competition in the first two steps, darting ahead of eventual runner-up Erin Moore of Woodbridge by nearly a minute in the first mile. Deba, back in training for the past year after suffering an ankle injury, hit the finish line in front of Robinson Terminal in 58:52. Moore was far back in 1:05:52.

With a weak men’s field up front, Deba was able to place fifth overall with the slowest winning women’s time in five years.

Beyi and Deba, who each earned $500, became just the second couple in the race’s 24-year history to sweep the top prize. Steve and Lori Taylor did it in 1994, when the Parkway Classic was a 15-kilometer distance.

Beyi struggled last year against former housemate Demis Tefera, who decided this year to run the Pike’s Peek 10K in Rockville. Last year, the two staged a sprint for the finish, with Beyi losing by one second in 47:31. There was no such drama in this year’s race, but it was still not easy.

“This year was hard,” said Beyi, who ran fairly even halves with an opening 24:10 five-mile split. “Since nine months ago, my hamstring on both legs are hurting. After four, five miles, I was hurting. My right one is better, but the left one is not good. I was taking it easier this year because I have Bloomsday [12-kilometer race in Spokane, Wash.,] next weekend.”

A record 3,027 runners started the race and more than 900 toed the line in the accompanying 5K, which was won by Bert Rodriguez of Arlington (15:34) and Robyn Ellerbrock (19:34).

Pike’s Peek 10K

Training partners Joel Melly and Reuben Chebii, Kenyans living in West Chester, Pa., and Demis Tefera, an Ethiopian residing in Takoma Park, crested the hill near the finish of the Pike’s Peek 10K.

In a repeat of last weekend’s Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon, Melly had the better of Chebii at Pike’s Peek, crossing the finish line first in 29:00. Chebii was right behind in 29:02, and Tefera was a second off Chebii in third.

It was a different race for the women. Genet Gebregiorgis, an Ethiopian living in Silver Spring, broke the field and won in 33:57. Hirut Mandefro (34:23) of Takoma Park, Alemgena Desta (34:32) of Silver Spring, Laura Turner (36:09) of the District and Christine Ramsey (36:19) of Baltimore followed.

The 33-year-old Gebregiorgis was sixth in the 5,000 meters in the 1997 IAAF World Championships in Athletics and was a part of five silver-medal-winning teams in the short course event at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships (1998 to 2002).

Kinijit-U.K. to hold its general assembly on May 11

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Kinijit-U.K. will hold its general assembly on May 11. See the flier below for details.

Top US diplomat for Africa calls for UN sanctions on Zimbabawe

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

This same shameless diplomat did not utter a word of condemnation when her friend Meles Zenawi unleashd his death squads on unarmed civilians following the May 2005 elections.

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(BBC) – The top US diplomat for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, has said the UN Security Council should consider sanctions on Zimbabwe over the post-election crisis.

She told the BBC that if the situation did not change “we should contemplate multilateral sanctions through the UN”.

Ms Frazer, who is touring the region, urged African leaders to speak “very loudly” against post-poll violence.

Opposition and human rights groups allege a government campaign of abuses in the wake of last month’s vote.

Four weeks after the elections, results from the presidential race remain unreleased.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which overturned President Mugabe’s parliamentary majority for the first time in 28 years, says its candidate Morgan Tsvangirai won the presidency outright.

Independent monitors have also said he got the most votes, but may not have gained the absolute majority necessary to avoid a run-off poll.

‘Youth militia’

Ms Frazer said the US Embassy in Zimbabwe had received documented evidence of more than 450 people who had been beaten since the vote, one death and about 1,000 people who had been displaced.

The MDC says 15 of its supporters have been killed.

The US envoy has been touring southern Africa, seeking to push regional leaders towards more open criticism of Mr Mugabe.

“The region needs to speak very, very loudly and very clearly to President Mugabe and his government to say that the violence must come to an end immediately,” she said.

“It’s unacceptable to beat people just because they’ve decided to go out and vote.”

HAVE YOUR SAY The UN should impose sanctions on Zimbabwe but a military intervention would be more helpful Tafara Shoko, Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki has been mediating between the two sides, but correspondents say the long-time Mugabe ally’s policy of “quiet diplomacy” has been widely derided.

Ms Frazer’s comments came a day after a partial recount of votes in the presidential election failed to reverse Mr Mugabe’s lost parliamentary majority.

“We believe the whole recount exercise is just an exercise in delay… in allowing Robert Mugabe to intimidate the population, to create the machinery so that he can rig [a potential run-off] vote if necessary,” she told the BBC.

‘Pattern of violence’

Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission has said that the recounts in 23 constituencies should be completed by Monday, after which party representatives will be invited to a “verification” process, leading to the release of the long-awaited presidential results.

Sunday saw fresh condemnations over mounting evidence of a government-sponsored campaign of intimidation against opposition supporters.

The Archbishop of York, leading a day of prayer for Zimbabwe, urged members of the army and police not to “terrorise the ordinary citizens” and warned them “not to prop up a government” that “lacks legitimacy”.

And UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, said she was “particularly concerned about reports of threats, intimidation, abuse and violence directed against NGOs, election monitors, human rights defenders and other representatives of civil society”.

She said reports suggested “an emerging pattern of political violence inflicted mainly, but not exclusively, on rural supporters of the opposition MDC party” although there were “some reports of MDC supporters resorting to violence and intimidation”.

In Harare, lawyers continued to seek access to about 200 opposition supporters arrested during a police raid on MDC offices on Friday.

The government says they are suspected of involvement in political violence, although the MDC say many of them were taking shelter after fleeing intimidation in rural areas.

Elections, Qatar, commodity exchange and Teddy Afro

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

By Yilma Bekele

All these far flung concept, country, system and a celebrity have one thing in common. The current Ethiopian regime is the unifying factor here. It is a well-planned and calculated move by the princess of darkness from Arat Kilo. They are a ploy to put too much up on the screen, too many things all at once and it is very difficult to focus. We are inundated with too much information. It is difficult to hit a moving object.

When there is too much noise from the regime, you know something is up. You have to be alert to separate the chaff from the grain. They just throw everything at you. This time their main aim was to deflect attention from the sham ‘election’ they were orchestrating. It was considered to be a non-event by everybody except the regime.

All the reports by major media and internationally respected organizations concluded that the government was running UN opposed. It was systematically preventing any opposition participating in a meaningful way. The so-called election was an utter failure with everybody ‘ including the ‘loyal opposition’ dropping out the last minute.

It is good enough for begging, borrowing, ‘close your eyes and let me fool you’ purpose, but nothing else. Only Woyane thinks it was a good idea. They hope in time the world will forget and it will be fait acompli. In the eyes of the world players Ethiopia will be considered another ‘failed state’. In the international arena, legitimacy is a powerful calling card. Ethiopia lost that in the aftermath of the 2005 elections. Now it is sinking deeper into the realm of Jean Bidel Bokassa and Mobutu Sese Seko.

Remember during the Kenyan election fiasco, they always mentioned the stolen Ethiopian election and the aftermath. When they are discussing Zimbabwe they always bring out the 2005 election. It has become a landmark for stealing and killing to stay in power. The Ethiopian government does not have legitimacy to utter a word regarding these major incidents in our continent. Instead of being a respected and neutral go between the warring parties we are shamed into sitting in the background and keeping quiet. It is because the power of those in charge does not emanate from the people rather it comes ‘out of the barrel of the gun’ directed against the people. We are being held as a good example of ‘poverty stricken and botched elections’ with the government accused of killing hundreds of civilians in cold blood. Another ‘banana republic’.

Nothing like diversion to change the subject.

Qatar was thrown into the mix to involve the foreign media. Instead of reporting about the failed elections, the inflation, and the famine they gave the ferenjis something they could report. They reported it dutifully. ‘Ethiopia severs ties with Qatar’ was everywhere. It was a non-news but Woyane made it news. Qatar does not give a damn regarding the so-called ‘diplomatic relations’ with Ethiopia. Ethiopia needs Qatar not the other way around. Thus trying to give a finger to a 700-pound gorilla is not a good idea. It is fortunate the gorilla found it amusing and shrugged it off. If they were hot headed like Woyane over twelve thousand needy Ethiopians will be sent home. Hey they are indifferent to seventy million Ethiopians, a few thousand in Qatar is nothing to loose your sleep about.

Next was the story of the famous ‘Ethiopian Commodity Exchange’ (ECX). Only TPLF will come up with something like this. Who needs comedians with Woyane around? You can trust them to pretend the most absurd is the most rational. Let us see, the concept of a ‘Commodity Exchange’ in Ethiopia will be as out of place as a ‘water park’ in the Sahara, a ‘monastery’ in Las Vegas or a ‘Hitler’ museum in Tel Aviv. It just doesn’t flow.

Commodity exchange is one of those purely capitalist enterprises, which has basic requirement of its own to succeed. The first is ‘Democracy’ where ideas and wealth is exchanged openly. Then we need open and transparent system where the information presented should have credibility with the consumer. Independent institutions not beholden to any government or outside forces are a must. Faith in the fairness of the system is the most critical aspect of the capitalist system.

Today’s Ethiopia doesn’t even come close to any of the above. The economy is controlled by the government or its subsidiaries, the Central Bank does not know the difference between Gold and Lead and the communication system is still rooted in the last century. Most of all there is no such thing as ‘private confidential’ information in Ethiopia. The Police State knows everything. The much-ballyhooed opening of the so-called ECX is nothing but another scam on the ferengis and a smoke screen to divert our attention from the election fiasco. The girls of Mitmita blog have a hilarious take on this unique institution.

At last the minority regime was forced to use what is has been holding in reserve for the last year and a half. Throw our beloved Teddy Afro into Kaliti. TPLF planned this a long time back. Teddy has been a thorn on their side for too long. The young man has the nerve to come up with lyrics and songs that stirred our inner soul and increased our pride on being Ethiopian. What the Woyane was destroying, Teddy was building. What the Woyane was insulting Teddy was praising. One Teddy was greater than the sum of all Woyane.

Teddy’s imprisonment was a two-pronged attack. The first is to divert attention till they finished seating their minions as the new sheriff in all of Ethiopia. The second was intended to show that Woyane is in charge. Nothing like a high premium prisoner to show who the boss is. Another attempt to emasculate us and break our will to challenge them. Not to worry, all their loud statements end up biting them back. Woyane is the same old confused, disoriented ‘keystone cops’ that can’t shoot straight even if their life depended on it.

As their imprisonment of Kinijit leaders ended up galvanizing the country against them, as their unprovoked invasion of Somalia is uniting the Somali against them, so will the imprisonment of our favorite son make us angry and end up making us see the real nature of Woyane. We have three thousand years of built up ‘Ethiopianess’ DNA interwoven in our very essence. Believe me Woyane is a shooting star here now gone in a second phenomena. We will still be here. Just keep your eyes on the prize. Melkam Fasika my beautiful brothers and sisters. May the Ethiopian God give Teddy the strength in this time of hardship!

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The writer can be reached at yilma@pacbell.net

Sudanese army burns Ethiopian villages

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Ethio-Sudan Border Committee reports that last week the Sudanese army entered Ethiopian territory and has burned at least 24 farming communities. The Sudanese have also rounded up and taken away several Ethiopians from the villages. The Woyanne army in the area took the side of the Sudanese and has accused the villagers of attacking Sudanese troops… Read more in Amharic >>

የሱዳን ጦር መንደር አቃጠለ፣ ኢትዮጵያውያን ታሥረው ወደ ሱዳን ተወሰዱ

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

ከኢትዮጵያና ሱዳን ድንበር ጉዳይ ኮሚቴ የተሰጠ መግለጫ

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ሚያዚያ 18 ቀን 2000 ዓ. ም. (April 26, 2008)

ሀ) ሰኞ ሚያዚያ 13 ቀን 2000 ዓ. ም. ከጥዋቱ አራት ሰዓት (April 21. 2008 @ 10:00 A.M.) ላይ ከፍተኛ ቁጥር ያለው የሱዳን ጦር ሠራዊት ቋራ ወረዳ ነፍስ ገበያ የተባለውን ከፍተኛ የርሻ አካባቢ በድንገተኛ በመውረርና የአካባቢውን ሕዝብ በማሸበር፣

1ኛ 24 የርሻ መንደሮችን በእሳት አቃጠለ

2ኛ 34 ኢትዮጵያውያኖችን ይዞ በማሠር ወደ ሱዳን ወሰደ። ከነዚህም ውስጥ አቶ መሐሪ የተባሉት ሰው የአንዱ የተቃጠለ የርሻ ቦታ ባለቤት ሲሆኑ 33 ደግሞ በርሻ ቦታዎች ተቀጥረው የሚሠሩ ዘበኞች፣ አሠሪዎችና የቀን ሠራተኞች ናቸው።

3ኛ ጦሩ አንድ ትራክተር ይዞ ከመሔዱ ሌላ የአካባቢው ሕዝብ የሚገለገልበትን አንድ የእህል ወፍጮ በእሳት Aቃጥሏል።

ለ) ዓርብ ሚያዚያ 17 ቀን 2000 ዓ. ም. ጦሩ ወደ ነፍስ ገበያ በመመለስ በአንድ ባልተቃጠለ የርሻ መንደር ላይ በደንብ የተደራጀና የታጠቀ የፖሊስ ካምፕ መሥርቶ ተመልሷል።

ሐ) የአካባቢው አራሾች በየአቅጣጫው እየተሰደዱ በሚገኙበት በአሁኑ ወቅት በቋራና በጎንደር መካከል ያለው የኢሐዴግ አግአዚ ጦር ደግሞ ለሚሸሹት ገበሬዎች በሱዳን ጦር ላይ ጦርነት ከከፈታችሁ እኛ በስተጀርባችሁ ጠብቀን ነው የምንጨርሳችሁ በማለት ሌላ የሽብር መልእክት በማስተላለፍ ላይ ይገኛል።

በየጊዜው የሚከሰቱትን ሁኔታዎች እየተከታተልን መግለጫዎችን እናወጣለን፣ የአገር ወዳድ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ይህንን ግፍን አስመልክቶ በምናደርገው እንቅስቃሴ ትብብራችሁን እንጠይቃለ።

የኢትዮጵያ ሉዓላዊነት ለዘለዓለም በልጆቿ ይጠበቃል!
We’ll reclaim our country

ከኢትዮጵያና ሱዳን ድንበር ጉዳይ ኮሚቴ
e-mail:- leethiopia@yahoo.com

Bush's 'anti-terror' ally beheads Somali civilians

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

By Chris Floyd

(The Baltimore Chronicle) — Earlier this week, we noted reports that Ethiopian Woyanne invaders in Somalia had killed several clerics and other unarmed people in a mosque north of Mogadishu during the recent bloody reprisals against civilian areas launched by the Bush-backed invaders and their Somali allies. At the time, sketchy reports from the BBC indicated that at least 10 people had been killed in the mosque.

Now Amnesty International has charged Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers with killing 21 people in the mosque — and slitting the throats of seven of their victims, the Herald-Sun reports. Amnesty said the invaders are also holding dozens of children they captured during the raid:

Amnesty said those killed at the mosque included imam Sheikh Saiid Yaha and several scholars of the moderate Tabligh group that operated there.

“Eye-witnesses report that those killed inside the mosque were unarmed civilians taking no active part in hostilities,” Amnesty said. “Seven of the 21 were reported to have died after their throats were cut – a form of extra-judicial execution practiced by Ethiopian forces in Somalia.”

Amnesty urged the Ethiopian Woyanne military to release all 41 children it said were held after the mosque raid. “Witnesses have told Amnesty International that Ethiopian Woyanne forces would only release the children from their military base in north Mogadishu ‘once they had been investigated’ and ‘if they were not terrorists’,” it said.

Some of the children — who were aged as young as nine — were reported to have been freed, though the majority were still in custody, Amnesty said.

Witnesses said they had seen beheaded bodies lying outside the mosque after the fighting.

Let us stress the plain fact once again: These atrocities are the direct result of a “regime change” operation launched with the funding, arming, training — and direct military intervention — of the United States government.

Bush has gladly embraced the Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi whose soldiers are entering mosques and beheading unarmed clerics and kidnapping children. Bush has even sent in American troops to support the efforts of his Ethiopian proxies. All of this is being done, ostensibly, as part of the effort to “combat terrorism.” In reality, of course, the Bush-Zenawi “regime change” operation is itself a massive and ongoing act of state terrorism, one that dwarfs any of the outrages perpetrated by Islamic extremists. And of course, such atrocities only beget more extremism.

They are also hindering efforts to bring the carnage in Ethiopia to an end, as the story by the Herald-Sun’s Andrew Cawthorne makes clear: Some moderate Islamist leaders have reacted to the mosque incident, and a recent upsurge of fighting in Mogadishu, by postponing plans to join UN-sponsored peace talks.

But no doubt this suits Bush, Zenawi, and the CIA-paid Somali allies very well. As in the other “regime changes” of the Terror War, Bush and his clients do not want “peace” — unless it is the peace of the grave that comes from the annihilation.

What did the American “papers of record” have to say about this American-backed atrocity? Both The New York Times and the Washington Post ran the same small Reuters story trumpeting Ethiopia’s Woyanne’s denial of the killings. Except for a two-sentence summary of Amnesty’s charges, the entire top half of the story dealt with statements from minions of the Ethiopian dictator, denouncing Amnesty’s “lies.” The story also describes the Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers as being “stationed” in Somalia, in order “to bolster the interim government.”

Ethiopia Woyanne is occupying Somalia by force of arms and engaging in murderous reprisals — yet all the Times and Post can bring themselves to say is that Bush’s brutal allies are merely “stationed” in Somalia. No doubt the Völkischer Beobachter used to speak of Nazi troops “stationed” in France, Poland and Russia, just as Pravda spoke of Soviet troops “stationed” in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

This is the precise moral level of the Terror War. The American Establishment — and the two “progressive” Democratic presidential candidates — accept it. The American press abets it. The deluge of innocent blood will go on.
———————-
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

Video: Teddy Afro – 'alamin ale libe'

Saturday, April 26th, 2008