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Friday, September 29, 2006

The Week in Review

Catch-up on major news events you missed in the past week-Plus the weekend’s top stories!

weekend top stories

In the news this weekend: Somalia's Islamists on Ethiopia's border, President of the European commission to meet with Meles,Speaker Hastert bottles up Korean human rights bill and more of the weekend's top stories!

Somalia's Islamists take control of village on Ethiopian border

Somalia's Islamic fighters have seized control of a strategic village near the Ethiopian border, the group said on Saturday. Fighters loyal to the radical Union of Islamic Courts group routed pro-government militia from the village of Jawill, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the Ethiopian border. The only roads between Ethiopia and central Somalia pass through the village. "The militiamen who controlled this village had a good relationship with Ethiopia so we decided they were an obstacle to our control in the region,'' said Hassan Abdirahman, whose Islamic fighters carried out the operation.(More...)

President of the European commission to meet with Meles

The president of the European commission, Mr. Jose Manual Barroso, next Monday will meet Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Mr. Barroso is expected to arrive in Addis Ababa to night.

The delegation led by Barroso comprises three EC's vice presidents and eight commissioners, including Mr. Louis Michel, development commissioner. Mr. Barroso will be visiting Ethiopia for the first time. The delegation, comprising 60 people, will pay a two-day working visit. The objective of their visit is primarily to deepen existing cooperation and partnership ties between the African Union and the EC.(More...)

Speaker Hastert bottles up Korean human rights bill

"The Korean-American community is mounting an intense grassroots lobbying campaign in support of a House resolution calling for Japan to formally acknowledge and accept responsibility for sexually enslaving women during World War II." An aide said "I do not think Hastert was too pleased with the resolution...".(More...)

International News

-EU loan saved Darfur peacekeeping mission - AU
-The Bob Woodward Effect:Newsweek
-Israel plans to complete pullout Sunday
-Russia Halts Troop Withdrawal From Georgia as Tensions Rise
-India police: Pakistan spy agency behind Mumbai bombings
-Branson unveils private spaceship model
-Borat haunts Kazakh president

Press freedom in Ethiopia non-existent: Kifle Mulat

Also in the news:political bigwigs in Addis, Egypt developing nuclear energy program, A message from the Coalition for H.R. 5680, Professor Alemayehu Takes Battle to Hastert’s Backyard and more of today's top stories!

(Picture by EMF) The government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is one of the leading jailers of journalists in the world. Over 20 journalists are in prison and close to a 100 have fled the country. In addition to journalists, over 100 opposition politicians, NGO activists, lawyers, and trade union leaders are currently in confinement. Among the detained journalists is, 26 year old Serkalem Fasil, who was pregnant when she was arrested and subsequently gave birth in prison.

The political bigwigs in Addis Ababa
indian ocean N° 1196 30/09/2006

While some Western embassies had been expecting Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to make substantial changes in the teams leading the various factions of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF in power in Addis Ababa), the outcome of the congresses of these parties was something of an anticlimax. Some minor changes were made at the top of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF, hard core of the EPRDF) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) without changing the overall balance of power. The changes among the leaders of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO) were purely cosmetic and the team leading the Southern Ethiopia People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) remained in control, in spite of an increase in the number of members of the executive of this organisation’s, which incidentally is quite marginal in the governing coalition.

Exit Sebhat Nega. The only new member of the nine man executive council (EC) of the TPLF, chaired by Meles Zenawi, is the Minister of Health Tewodros Adhanom Gebreyesus. He is the first leader of this party not to be the outcome of the guerrilla war waged against the previous Ethiopian regime. A graduate in biology from Asmara University (1986), and then with higher degrees in immunology from the University of London (1992) and community health from the University of Nottingham (2000), he was deputy minister of health before becoming the minister in October 2005 after the elections last year. His promotion was coupled with the demotion of Sebhat Nega, who had for a long time been the Prime Minister’s grey eminence. He left the TPLF EC and is now in 36th place among the 45 members of the central committee (CC), of which his sister Kidusan Nega is also a member. For the remainder, the TPLF executive team has not changed very much. But some people have left the CC (Tesema Gebre Hiwot, Alem Gebre Wahid, Tekle Berhan Araya and Aklilu Damberkai) and the Prime Minister’s wife Azeb Mesfin has joined. Although hated by Seyoum Mesfin (TPLF deputy chairman), Roma Gebre Sellasie (wife of Ambassador Tewolde Gebru, also a member of the TPLF CC), Adhana Haile and Berhane Kidane Mariam (publisher of the TPLF house newspaper) kept their seat on the party’s CC.

Bereket Simeon hands over power. The advisor to the Prime Minister, Bereket Simeon, who is sick, has handed over his seat of deputy chairman of the ANDM to the Minister Tefera Walwa but remains a member of its EC. This team is chaired by Addisu Legesse and includes the leaders of the Amhara Regional State - Ayalew Gobeze and Yoseph Reta - the Minister of Information, Birhan Hailu, the director of the Bahr Dr Management Institute, Ambachew Mekonnen, the representative of the Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission at Bahr Dar, Demeke Mekonnen and some less well-known people like Yohannes Buayalew. Some heavyweight former dignitaries, including some ex-ministers who have become ambassadors (Kebede Tadesse, Tadesse Kassa, Genet Zewde, Dawit Yohannes and Hilawe Yosef) are still members of the ANDM CC.

Change in continuity. Long in internal crisis, the OPDO is still headed by the duo Abadula Gemeda/Girma Biru. The disgraced and the rehabilitated former leader Kuma Demeksa, is also a member of the OPDO CE, as are Jarso and Juneidi Saddo and the Ministers Aster Mammo Negewo and Muktar Kedir. Among the newly promoted figure the former administrator of the Western Wollega region, Zelalem Jamaneh and the former head of the bureau of agriculture and rural development of Oromia Regional State, Driba Kuma. On the other hand, the name of Ali Abdo and a few other former Oromo dignitaries are no longer on the official list of OPDO executive. The Minister Sufian Ahmed has had to be content with a seat on the CC, as have two former members of the OPDO EC, Mohamed Hassen and Alemayehu Atomsa. The SEPDM is still chaired by Hailemariam Desalegn with Shigute as his number two and a handful of government personalities in his CE, such as the Speaker of Parliament Teshome Toga, Kassu Illala, the Ministers Berhanu Adelo and Siraj Fegessa and also the head of the bureau for industry and urban development of the regional administration of south Ethiopia, Mekuria Haile.

Press freedom in Ethiopia debated in London

Exiled President of the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association (EFJA), Ato Kifle Mulat, now living in Uganda, appeared with his hands bound in chains to give accounts of the struggle of journalists, lawyers and other human rights activists as well as his personal struggle in the face of restrictions by the Ethiopian government.

Mulat is reportedly one of the foremost personalities in African journalism. He has been editor-in-chief of many African and bi-lingual newspapers in Ethiopia and internationally. He has been incarcerated on several occasions by the Ethiopian government for his work of press freedom, and was awarded the "Human Rights Journalism Under Threat" award by Amnesty International (AI) UK in May 2004 amongst other accolades.(More...)

Egypt developing nuclear energy program

CAIRO, Egypt - Determined to lead the Arab world into the nuclear club, Egypt is working on a nuclear energy program intended to reduce the country's dependency on oil. The program, announced last week by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, is expected to cost as much as $2 billion and will take more than a decade before the plants produce electricity. While other Arab nations also are looking into nuclear research and development, Egypt already has two low-level reactors, a half century of research and the remains of a comprehensive plan that was scrapped after the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986.

Egypt is looking for alternative power sources because of the rising cost of oil and its increasing energy needs. The government estimates that oil reserves in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, will be depleted within 20 years unless new oil fields are discovered.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Professor Alemayehu Takes Battle to Hastert’s Backyard:Task Force H.R. 5680
-*A tribute to ethiopian athletes:Tewodros Abebe*
-Somali Islamists shut radio station
-Senate passes bill on terror detainee trials
-Al Qaeda No. 2: Bush a liar, 'spiller of Muslim blood'
-Pakistan accused of hundreds of terror abductions
-Georgia orders Russia 'spies' held
-Thai junta to anoint ex-army chief
-Thailand: The deal that angered the nation (Newsweek)
-White House gates shut to BORAT

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Barefoot Runner

Also in the news: Government looters Attack ONC Regional Office, children forced to work in Ethiopia,Fears for Safety of Detained Ethiopian and more of today's top stories!

The legendary Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila celebrates after a win at the Rome Olympics. Not only did Abebe win the race running barefoot, but he also set a new world record at 2:16:2. He was the first African to ever win an Olympics medal. Asked later why he ran barefoot, Bikila replied, I wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism"(Without the advantages of western advances) .

Government looters Attack ONC Regional Office

Agents of the incumbent regime in Ethiopia have on the 26th of September broken in to the Oromo National Congress office in Jimma Arjo, East Wallaga Zone and confiscated properties of the organisation.They then went to the homes of the political organisation' s district leaders and threatened them saying :
" you people are still haunted by the gohsts of the OLF ! ".

One of the individuals thus threatened has said his life is in a dangerous situation although the party is legally organised and operating accourding to the laws of the land . It is to be remembered that the TPLF agents have recently stopped a car and confiscated the annual Oromo students' graduation bulletin as part of the crack down on the freedom of expression of students.

Barefoot Runner, by Paul Rambali

The story of Abebe Bikila is a modern fairy tale. He was the first African to win an Olympic gold medal, and his underdog status was unmissable: Bikila won the marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympics in bare feet. He was the son of peasants and unused to footwear, but his upbringing on Ethiopia's high plateau gave him an enormous advantage.

Runners raised at altitude can run further and faster because they need less oxygen and are less vulnerable to dehydration.Bikila complemented this unusual physical capacity with rare competitive spirit. Even confinement to a wheelchair following a car crash did not finish his athletic career; he soon switched to the Paralympics. Bikila's first gold medal was political capital for his emperor. Haile Selassie I, King of Kings and the Elect of God, was then an autocrat with power of life and death over his subjects. Selassie wished Ethiopia - and Africa as a whole - to assume equal status with the developed world , but by the 1960s the gap between the emperor's medieval governance and Ethiopia's need to modernise was becoming unbridgeable.(More...)

Hundreds of thousands of children forced to work in Ethiopia

The United Nations children's agency UNICEF estimates there are hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian youngsters, many as young as five years old currently involved in child labour.

Ethiopia is one of the world's poorest countries and many children are forced into employment or even sold in order to help their families financially. Working children often end up missing out on both their education and their childhood.(More...)

Amnesty International Fears for Safety of Detained Ethiopian Teachers

A global human rights organization says it fears for the safety of two teachers who were arrested in Ethiopia after their union criticized the government. Amnesty International says Wasihun Melese and Anteneh Getnet are being held without charge and are at risk of torture, ill-treatment or "disappearance." The pair was arrested September 23 in the capital, Addis Ababa.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Reward For Murder of Businessman
-Ten government journalists defect: EMF
-S Africa is losing its way - Tutu
-Lawmakers scold HP as top lawyer resigns
-Al-Qaeda tape: More than 4,000 foreign militants killed in Iraq
-Iran will not suspend uranium enrichment for a 'single day'
-Russia Recalls Ambassador From Georgia
-Law student thief caught in getaway cab
-Confucians say, women now welcome
-Here comes the bride ... and her new baby

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How long can a government govern with out the consent of its constituents?

Also in the news:Urgent Press release from Ethiopian Americans for H.R. 5680, EC President to Visit Ethiopia, Ethiopian meddling counterproductive, Fears for two Ethiopian teachers and more of today's top stories

Riot erupted as Ethiopians celebrated the Orthodox Christian day honoring Queen Elena’s ‘finding of the true cross’ in Addis Ababa September 26,2006. picture by WILL CONNORS. (more on this below)

Urgent: Press release from Ethiopian Americans for H.R. 5680

Several thousand Ethiopian-Americans, Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia are expected to rally on Capitol Hill to show their support for a bill called “The Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 5680). In an unusual act, the Speaker of the U.S. House, Dennis Hastert has intervened to prevent the bill from going to the House floor for a final vote. A separate rally is also scheduled in Batavia, IL, a city in Speaker Hastert’s Congressional district.(More...)
How long can a government govern with out the consent of its constituents?

(ETP- Sintayehu Tefera) The annual Ethiopian religious holiday Meskel was celebrated in Addis Ababa yesterday. Prior to the celebrations thousands of federal and city police, on foot as well as on horseback, surrounded “Meskel adebabay” where the ceremony was to take place. Participants, including journalists covering the event, were required to show photo ID in order to get in. Despite the heavy security, protests broke out towards the end of the ceremony when the announcer acknowledged the President and Patriarch (head of the Ethiopian Orthodox church) who were in attendance. Protestors denounced EPRDF (the ruling party) and the patriarch, who is seen by many in Addis as a government sympathizer.

The attending faithful of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, accused the patriarch of corruption and fraudulence. Ethio-Zagol (blogger from Addis) reported; Abune Paulos (the Patriarch) had to leave the procession in a hurry without making his traditional speech. The crowd was heard screaming "leba, leba," (thief, thief) while the patriarch hurriedly made his exit. Witnesses reported seeing tracks full of youth demonstrators being taken away by the federal police. Journalists who tried to find out where the detainees were being taken were ordered to leave the ceremony.

Last years celebrations were also marred with huge protests and inhumane violence courtesy of the Ethiopian federal police. Mass gatherings of any kind in Addis have become an increasing headache for the EPRDF government since they almost certainly end up serving as a platform for the public to express their discontent. EPRDF in its current form has irrecoverably lost the publics confidence, which begs the question; How long can a government govern with out the consent of its constituents?

-Read ethio-zagol's account: Police clashes with scores of protestors

EC President to Visit Ethiopia, AU Headquarter

Addis Ababa - European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso is due here Saturday at the head of a high- powered delegation for a three-day working visit to the African Union (AU) Commission, EC Representative in Ethiopia, Tim Clarke, announced Tuesday. The EC mission to the AU, which will include no less than 10 European Commissioners and three vice presidents, is primarily intended to deepen existing cooperation and partnership between the two continental bodies. (More...)

Fears for two Ethiopian teachers

A human rights organisation has expressed fears for two teachers arrested in Ethiopia last month. According to Amnesty International, the two men are being held incommunicado without charge. Wasihun Melese and Anteneh Getnet are members of the Ethiopian Teachers' Association - the oldest trade union representing some 500,000 teachers. The ETA has criticised the government in the past and says the authorities have targeted it since last year's election.(More...)

Ethiopian meddling in Somalia counterproductive
International relations and security network (ISN)

During the past year, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has come into international disrepute for fixing elections, cracking down on his opposition and violating human rights. As a result, Western donors, among them the US, have withdrawn much of their economic aid to the country. As such, Zenawi may speculate that these policies would be reversed if his country helped prevent the spread of radical Islam in the Horn of Africa.

Clearly, the international community would be wrong to rely on Ethiopia to counter the Islamist threat in Somalia. Instead, it should enable the deployment of African Union peacekeepers and support the ongoing peace talks between the UIC and the Somali interim government. (More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Modified version of EACA’s Congressional toolkit
-Bush to referee dinner between sniping allies
-Schwarzenegger widens lead in Calif. governor race
-Israel frees detained Palestinian deputy PM
-Zero-gravity surgery 'a success'
-First Ever Brain "Atlas" Completed
-Thai generals ban go-go dancers
-Single-parent job plan fuels divorce frenzy

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Amnesty International Urgent Action Appeal regarding the arrest of members of the Ethiopian Teachers' Association (ETA)

Also in the news: Mass arrests as meskel festival approaches,Ethiopian-Americans for HR5680 Peaceful Rally, Congressional toolkit by EACA, Global Competitiveness index and more of today’s top stories.

Picture from last year’s festivities. Learn more about Meskel holiday

Mass arrests as meskel festival approaches


- In a related story: Thousands of Soldiers swarm the Meskel square as revolutionary spirit engulfs Addis (EZ)

Peaceful Rally


Congressional Toolkit

The ETHIOPIAN AMERICAN CIVIC ADVOCACY (EACA) believes that it is time for Ethiopians and Ethiopian Americans to galvanize and enter the American political process in the most direct way possible: Sit face to face with congressional representatives or their staff and get them to commit to Ethiopia’s cause. With many Ethiopian Americans new to this type of activism, EACA has put together a toolkit on how to make meetings with a member of congress a success.

- Congressional Toolkit

Amnesty International Urgent Action Appeal September 26, 2006
Regarding the arrest of members of the Ethiopian Teachers' Association (ETA)

Wasihun Melese and Anteneh Getnet, both members of the teachers' trade union, the Ethiopian Teachers' Association (ETA), were arrested in the capital, Addis Ababa, on 23 September. They are being held incommunicado without charge and are at risk of torture, ill-treatment, or "disappearance".

Wasihun Melese was arrested at his home by police, who took him to the police Central Investigation Bureau (known as Maekelawi), where he is still detained. He is a teacher at Addis Ketema High School in Addis Ababa and a prominent activist in the Addis Ababa branch of the ETA. He is an elected member of the ETA's National Executive Committee. (More...)

Global Competitiveness index

Ethiopia has fallen four places from last year (to 122 out of 127 countries) and continues to fall in a number of important areas in the Global Competitiveness index released today.

New Film Depicts Coup Attempt Against Military Regime

In early October 2006, Abugida, a two hour-long Amharic movie, directed and produced by renowned Ethiopian actor Mulualem Tadesse, will be released at Alem Cinema.

Abugida is based on events that took place in Ethiopia during and after the May 1989 coup attempt, when high ranking generals and senior officers plotted to overthrow Mengistu Hailemariam.

The coup d'etat, which was immediately thwarted, resulted in officers involved in the plot being killed, others facing the same fate following the verdict reached at a special military tribunal and many more thrown in jail. One of the key pieces of evidence that surfaced following the coup attempt hinted that some of the officers involved in the plotting were actually being promoted. Instantly, the government, out of fear that those involved in the plot may further continue with their actions, launched a massive manhunt. (More...)

- Watch video of General Fenta Belay after he was arrested by government loyalists, May 1989

Today's Top Stories

-Mr. Obang O. Metho speech
-Europe vows to give AU $70m
-Rice disputes Clinton on terror claims
-Romania and Bulgaria to join EU
-Blair's emotional farewell
-Earth may be at warmest point in 1 million years
-Three-year-old buys pink convertible on Internet
-Alleged Hitler landscapes sell for $220,000

Monday, September 25, 2006

Get Ethiopian troops out of Somalia

Also in the news: EPRDF’s rule coming to an end by attrition (article), Somali Islamists take main port city, ruling party of Sudan invited to EPRDF’s meeting and more of today’s top stories.

Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia celebrates with an Ethiopian flag after he won the Men's competition of the 33rd Berlin Marathon in Berlin in Germany, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2006 in a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes and 56 seconds. Around 40,000 runners from more than 100 countries took part in the event. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Somali Islamists take main Somali port city

Forces belonging to the Islamic Courts Union have captured the southern Somali port city of Kismayo after the regional commander ruling the region fled. "Kismayo has fallen and not a single bullet was fired," an Islamist source in the capital Mogadishu told Reuters on Monday. The Islamic militia moved into the city after Colonel Abdikadir Adan Shire, also known as Barre Hiraale, the leader of the Juba Valley Alliance, a clan-based militia that controlled the area, fled on Sunday, officials and witnesses in Kismayo said.(More...)

In a related story: Somalia`s Increasingly Beleaguered Government Has Accepted an Offer of CIA Assistance to Investigate a Pair of Political Car Bombings

EPRDF’s rule coming to an end by attrition

(By Zerihun Tesfaye)

With the unleashing of terror in the urban centers and the rural communities of Ethiopia after the debacle of the May 2005 elections, what little legitimacy Meles & his clique might have claimed over the years were totally lost. Events unfolding in the past year have made this abundantly clear. The semi state of emergency Meles declared the day after the elections can only be seen as an admission of the loss of this legitimacy and, at the same time, as a declaration that from that time onwards, his rule is going to rest on the security apparatus and the military.

How difficult must it be then, when the institution on which he and the clique pinned their hopes for their future rule starts being eroded under their watchful eyes in such a short time. Such is indeed the case when you have two Generals (a decorated war veteran!) Colonels, other officers and soldiers defect en masse; and to make it worse, declare their intention of joining opponents of the regime and declaring their intent to fight for its overthrow.(More...)

Get Ethiopian troops out of Somalia

(The Christian science monitor)

Ethiopia's actions seem to be in the best interest of the United States, as a militant Islamic regime in Somalia would be a major complication in the war on terror. However, Ethiopia is neither suited to promoting peace in Somalia nor interested in pacifying the troubled land. In truth, no country stands to gain more than Ethiopia from a war against the Islamic militias in Somalia. Ethiopian troops in Somalia are regarded as hated foreign interlopers whose sole purpose is to prop up an unpopular and powerless regime. Ethiopian soldiers on Somali soil strengthen the Islamic Courts by allowing them to claim the mantle of nationalist defenders, which garners them popular support and undermines the country's transitional government. Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is not only aware that his actions have increased the possibility of conflict, but is counting on the outbreak of war to win him aid.(More...)

Sudan’s ruling party to participate in Ethiopia’s EPRDF conference

Deputy chairman of the Sudanese ruling National Congress Party for Political and Organizational Affairs Nafei Ali Nafei participates in the celebrations of the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling party in Ethiopia, on convocation of the party’s 6th conference Sunday. Member of the Secretariat of External Relations at the NCP and member of the delegation Ambassador Osman al-Sayed said in a statement to State-run SUNA that Nafei would address the EPRDF conference.(More...)

BRAD PITT ON his Ethiopian baby’s HAIR

In discussing his Ethiopian daughter Zahara in the October issue of Esquire magazine, actor Brad Pitt reportedly offers white parents advice on how to care for the hair of a black child, based on his experiences with "Z." "For white people who might be having a little trouble with black-person hair, Carol's Daughter is a fantastic hair product," he says, according to the product’s Web site. (See image here-We got it for Z. Now her hair has this beautiful luster. And it smells nice, too." Zahara, adopted by Angelina Jolie and Pitt on July 6, 2005, was born Tena Adam in Ethiopia on January 8, 2005. The celebrity couple picked her up at a Wide Horizons For Children orphanage in Addis Ababa.

Today's Top Stories

-Ethiopian officer defects to Germany:First report by ER
-Measured bites don't choke:editorial
-Aristocrat's murder trial stokes tensions in Kenya
-Pope meets Muslim envoys
-The Rise of Jihadistan:NewsWeek
-Clinton defends bin Laden efforts, rips host
-BA plane diverted as baby makes early arrival

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Week in Review

Catch-up on major news events you missed in the past week-Plus the weekend’s top stories!

weekend top stories

In the news this weekend: Significant number of judges resigning says reporter, ION on defection of Ethiopian diplomats and officers, kidnapped ICRC workers released, Osama bin Laden dead?, Ethiopian’s face great danger on ships to Yemen, Ethiopian Human Rights Lawyer Refused Entry and more of the weekend's top stories!

Federal Courts of Ethiopia burdened as more judges resign

Courts are increasingly being burdened by shortage of judges as the number of those resigning is on the rise. Reliable sources told The Reporter that a significant number of judges have already handed in their resignation to the judicial administration commission and are expected to resign this year. Last year more than ten judges resigned. The same sources said that most of the resigning judges were from the first instance court.(More..)

Red Cross hostages released without harm in Ethiopia

A rebel group released two international Red Cross workers Saturday, five days after abducting them in a remote part of eastern Ethiopia. The United Western Somali Liberation Front said it mistook the men for oil workers exploring in the Ogaden region, which is largely inhabited by ethnic Somalis. Somalia lost control of the region to Ethiopia in 1977, but the rebels say it belongs to them. "The abductors contacted us today and released the men unharmed and without conditions," said Patrick Megevand, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ethiopia.(More...)

Meles' former chief of protocol defects
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1195 23/09/2006

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi ’s former head of protocol, who had accompanied him on several international State visits, has defected. According to Diplomatic sources, Addis Abadi Tesfaye , who had become Consular Attaché of the Ethiopian embassy in Ottawa (Canada) has recently left his post and asked for political asylum in the United States. He is not the only person to have done so. Daniel Ikubesillasie , third secretary and financial attaché of the Ethiopian embassy in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) did likewise.

Also featured in this week's issue of the Indian Ocean Newsletter

-Army officers defect
-A former Marxist at the bank
-French Consul looking for volunteers

Click here to read all three articles

Ethiopian Human Rights Lawyer Refused Entry Into Britain

Prominent Ethiopian human rights lawyer Derbew Temesgen Meshesha, who is supposed be addressing a seminar on ‘Public Order, State Security and Press Freedom in Ethiopia’ at the Royal African Society next week and the Frontline (journalists) Club, has been refused an entry visa by the British Embassy in Addis Ababa. This is despite expectations from Foreign and Commonwealth officials in London who were hoping he could brief them on the current situation in the Horn of Africa. Meshesha was also set to address a meeting at the Frontline Club on the situation in the Horn of Africa.(More...)

Ethiopians beaten to death on ships to Yemen - U.N.

Dozens of African migrants crossing the Gulf of Aden to Yemen died this month, many after smugglers beat them and threw them overboard, sometimes just for requesting water, the U.N. refugee agency said on Friday. Some 2,143 people from Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan made it to shore in Yemen, Redmond said. Survivors said some of their fellow passengers were beaten to death with wooden and steel clubs, and others died when the rickety vessels capsized. "Upon departure, the smugglers confiscated water and food, including dates," Redmond said, citing witness reports from a recent sailing from Somalia to Yemen. "Survivors said people on the boats were beaten and thrown overboard by smugglers just for requesting water." (More...)

-Moonies take hold:ION via debteraw
-They're Allowed to Take Notes:CarpediemET
-Haile Gerima on Ethiopia’s Current Film Productions
-US Embassy and City Sign Agreement to Preserve Hager Fikir Theatre
-'Osama dead', unconfirmed report says
-Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan ill
-Palestinian rappers live to the beat of conflict

Yamamoto for good governance

Also in the news: announcement from Holland support group (EHRCO), rebel group claims abduction, 'Betrayal of Democracy'in Ottawa, Leave no Stone unturned, khat outlawed and more of today’s top stories!

The Ethiopian Human Right Council Support Group Holland

The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (Addis Abeba): most of its members are currently languishing in government prisons in Ethiopia –(archive picture)

October 10, 2006 marks the 15th anniversary of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), the first and prominent human rights organization in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years, EHRCO has struggled to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law under enormous political and administrative pressure and resource constraints.

As a non-profit foundation established in 1996 to assist EHRCO in its arduous endeavors, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council Support Committee in Holland (EHRCO-SCH) has, among other things, organized a number of conferences and workshops over the years. The last conference was held between the 17th and 18th of June 2005. The conference was planned amid widespread, though guarded, optimism among Ethiopians and others about the prospects for a peaceful electoral process and the beginning of a genuine transition towards a democratic political system that is governed by democratic principles and respectful of citizen’s rights.(More...)

-Outline of Conference Themes

I will promote transparency in Ethiopia's political process: Yamamoto

If confirmed by the full Senate, Yamamoto said he would work with Ethiopians to promote "an open and transparent electoral process, inclusion of all parts of society in the democratic process, engagement of all opposition parties to ensure full and dynamic participation in political decision-making, tolerance of dissent, an independent judiciary with transparent and accountable judicial processes, the consistent protection of human rights, and a free and responsible press."

An obstacle to progress, he told the Senate panel, was the ongoing trial of more than 100 opposition leaders and their supporters, civil society leaders, and journalists, which "continues to generate concerns about the future of Ethiopia’s democratic development."(More...)

Islamists in Somalia Outlaw Khat Sale and Purchase Or Use During the Holy Month of Ramadan

Sheik Ahmed Abdulahi Hussein Fanah, the Islamic Courts leader for social affairs and regional relations has introduced a new law banning selling and using "Khad", a narcotic plant commonly used in Somalia.

"During the holy month of fasting Ramadan, we have proscribed the sale, purchase and use of Khad and anyone seen selling or purchasing it, will be punished in accordance with the Shari'eh of law", said Sheik Fanah.

Asked if Khad business could be back at night, Fanah stopped short over answering the question, alleging that it was not time to differentiate between day and night. Sheik Fanah stated the warning statement during an interview by Shabelle Radio in Mogadishu Normally during the holy month of Ramadan (the only month Muslims fast during the year) Muslims fast from pre-dawn to sunset by abstaining eating, drinking and all evil deeds, including gossiping and insulting. Banning Khad is the first time ever since former late president Siyad Barre government.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-CD Calendar lands forty in jail:EZ
-Somali rebel group in Ethiopia claims abduction of Relief workers
-Leave no Stone unturned for the release of Kidnapped ICRC Workers
-'Betrayal of Democracy' in Ottawa
-Somali Islamists stage execution
-Dying as Darfur awaits peacekeepers
-Bush 'taken aback' about reported threat to Pakistan
-Hezbollah Chief Leads Huge Rally
-Purges under way in Thailand
-Pope Benedict XVI to meet Muslim ambassadors
-At least 15 die in German magnetic train crash
-Burglars get severed heads shock
-Gambians vote with their marbles
-Court says $32,000 is too much to fondle bosom

Thursday, September 21, 2006

ONLF Statement On Abduction Of I.C.R.C Staff In Ogaden

Also in the news: more on Lucy's baby, raising our profile on Capitol Hill, Vancouver Book launching Ceremony, Contact made with kidnapped victim and more of today's top stories!

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) strongly condemns what appears to be the deliberate abduction of two humanitarian aid workers employed by the ICRC in Ogaden.

The abduction or harming of aid workers in Ogaden is unacceptable under any circumstances and represents a clear attempt to divert attention from and undermine the legitimate struggle of the people of Ogaden for self-determination. The continued detention of these aid workers serves no other purpose than to discourage international humanitarian assistance to our people. As such, the perpetrators of this act shall be considered by us to be clear enemies of the people of Ogaden and the ONLF.

The ONLF calls upon the captors to immediately release the two ICRC employees unconditionally and unharmed. We further call upon the ICRC to not be discouraged but rather to step up operations in Ogaden where hundreds of civilians have recently been arbitrarily detained by the Ethiopian government in Jijiga and other towns in Ogaden. These civilian detainees are in desperate need of ICRC intervention and assistance.

We wish to assure the families of the detainees that this act, carried out by a few, in no way represents the wishes of the people of Ogaden.

Ogaden National Liberation Front (O.N.L.F)

Lucy's baby

(by Andrew Heavens)

How often do you get to name a new cultural icon? The icon is the one on the left. It is the fossilised skull of a three-year-old girl who died about 3.3 million years ago in what is now Dikika in Ethiopia's Afar region. That makes her the oldest toddler ever discovered. She was unveiled yesterday in a lecture theatre in the basement of the National Museum in Addis Ababa by proud paleontologist Zeresenay Alemseged (the one on the right) who led the team that found most of her skeleton about five years ago. At the end of his presentation, he turned to the audience of journalists and academics and politicians and asked 'So what shall we name her'. It seemed to be a genuine request. He hadn't decided and wanted us to make the historic decision there and then. He had a few pointers.(More...)

-More pictures of Lucy’s baby by Journalist Andrew Heavens
-NPR:Ancient Fossil Child Discovered in Ethiopia

Contact made with Irish man held in Ethiopia

The father of the Irish aid worker abducted in Ethiopia has said he understands direct contact was made with his son by Red Cross officials overnight.

Donal Ó Súilleabháin, 41, from Co Sligo, was travelling with six other colleagues when they were abducted by an armed group in the southern town of Godé at about 10am on Monday. Five of the seven aid workers were subsequently released, but Mr Ó Súilleabháin and an Ethiopian colleague are still being held.(More...)

Ethiopian-American group tries to raise profile on Capitol Hill

In the spare moments before the lunch rush and then later before the dinner crowd arrives, Mesfin Mekonen, manager of the Reliable Source restaurant, works a second, unpaid job: lobbyist. Mekonen, who moved to the United States from Ethiopia in 1972 at age 20, is the Washington representative for the Ethiopian-American Council, which is trying to add the Ethiopian diaspora to the list of prominent ethnic lobbying groups.

The Council started in the late 1990s out of frustration at recurrent famine problems in Ethiopia. Determined to convince Congress to provide aid but not sure how the process worked, Mekonen began by appealing to the sympathies of office receptionists, asking them in fluent though accented English to let him talk to a person who best could help.(More...)

I'd rather die than go back

A FAILED asylum seeker found hanged left a note saying: "I can't go back. I'd rather die." Engineer Abiy Abebe was found dead in Liverpool just hours after his application was rejected. Liverpool coroner Andre Rebello told an inquest into the 35-year-old's death it was "more likely than not" he had killed himself.
Today his family spoke of their horror at his death on July 5.(More...)

Today's Tops Stories

-Dr. Berhanu’s Book launching Ceremony in Vancouver
-From Kerchele to the USA: EMF
-Sudan welcomes Darfur extension
-Analysis: Chavez: Bush is the 'devil'
-Iraqi forces take over from Italians in south
-Israel kills 5 in Gaza; Hamas welcomes Quartet move
-Does torture really work? Newsweek
-German police shadowed man before CIA seized him: witness
-How to Avoid War: Newsweek
-'Space flight' for Nigerian girl
-Grad. business students in U.S & Canada more likely to cheat
-Man bites panda after panda bites man

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Meles condemns TPLF’s performance

Also in the news: Urgent message to Illinois Ethiopian Americans, FIDH’s findings, review of Dr. berhanu’s book, kidnappings in Ethiopia, Lucy's Baby found in Ethiopia and more of today’s top stories

The 8th organizational conference of the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) which takes place once every three years has started last Monday. Reports indicate security has been extremely tight in the region with cars going into Mekele being subject to rigorous searches. There were also accounts of Pedestrians randomly being asked to show IDs. Witnesses say thousands of fully armed federal police and the regions state police have descended on Mekele. Non government Journalists were barred from attending the meetings including reporters from the VOA and Deutsche Welle German radio.

On his report, president of the Party (TPLF) Meles Zenawi, to the astonishment of the attending crowd acknowledged; the lack of efficiency in completing government projects, lack of democratic culture in the society, the failings of government officials in answering key questions raised by the public and the squandering of money allocated for development purposes.

Despite the fact that he stopped short of taking personal responsibility, his report to the general assembly is seen by most as an admission of guilt concerning the many failings of TPLF’s policies particularly in Tigray, as well as Ethiopia in General.

Urgent message to Ethiopian-Americans in Illinois

By Dr. Alemayehu G. Mariam

"Let me first say that, without any action on your part, Ethiopian-Americans in Illinois and in 14th Illinois Congressional district have been dealt a historic role in determining whether our people in Ethiopia will have freedom, democracy and human rights, or continue to swelter with the heat of injustice and oppression. I am not sure if you would have voluntarily welcomed such a historic responsibility, but I am afraid, being the constituents of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, that responsibility has now been thrust upon you. And so, you must now lead the charge to get H.R. 5680 to the floor. But as I ask you to take up the mission of rescuing H.R. 5680 from captivity in the office of your representative from Illinois, and delivering it to the House floor for a free debate and vote, I must share with you my own personal and profound sadness. Your representative, Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has abandoned Ethiopia. And forgive me if I offend you, but he has abandoned you as well."(More...)

Review of Dr. Berhanu's New Book (Amharic)



FIDH (The International Federation for Human Rights) strongly condemns the continuing repression of human rights defenders and is also extremely worried about the physical and psychological wellbeing of members. Indeed, since the second crackdown on mass protest, three of EHRCO’s veteran staff have been forced into exile for fear of their lives. Several EHRCO members have been arrested arbitrarily and held in detention for various periods of time. Due to fear of retaliation by government agents, families and friends of victims have been reluctant to come to EHRCO's office and report violations of human rights. Even victims of arbitrary arrest and torture have been unwilling to speak about their sufferings for fear of further retribution. EHRCO is now operating in a very hostile environment.(More...)

The Stephen Colbert Bridge?

The government of Hungary ran an online poll. People were invited to vote for the person who would get his or her name on a new bridge over the Danube. Tuesday night, comic Steven Colbert caught wind of the contest and instructed his viewers to vote for him. Colbert ended up with 30 percent of the vote, far ahead of any other contender. (More...)..also see..'And to your left, the Stephen Colbert Bridge'

Today's Top Stories

-Two Red Cross workers kidnapped in Ethiopia
-"Lucy's Baby" -- World's Oldest Child -- Found by Fossil Hunters
-On Hama Tuma’s 'Of Spade and Ethiopians'
-Decision for Darfur peacekeepers
-Chavez calls Bush 'devil' in U.N. speech
-Thai army chief has king's endorsement
-Indonesian Leaders Accept Pope's Apology
-Israel gets 'sign of life' from captive soldier
-Shouting Match At Saddam Trial
-Massachusetts Voters to Decide Next Governor in Historic Election
-Crocodile Hunter a hard act to follow

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Serving the repressive TPLF regime is a historical crime, say two senior Ethiopian officers

Also in the news: Ethiopian PM hails NAM summit, Ethiopia responsible for assassination, Convicted Criminals Released and more of today’s top stories

The transitional President of Somalia narrowly survived an assassination attempt when a car bomb exploded near the country's parliament building in Baidoa. (More on this below)

Click here for Video of Brig. General Hailu Gonfa and Col. Gemechu Ayana's Interview

Two senior Ethiopian Army officers who recently joined the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) abandoning the TPLF regime said that serving the repressive regime is a historical crime.

In an interview with Eritrean Television, Brig. General Hailu Gonfa, who was a senior official in the Ethiopian Defense Ministry and Col. Gemechu Ayana, commander of the 8th Mechanized Force said that the Ethiopian people have gone through untold suffering over the past 15 years and that they have been repeatedly putting forth demands to alter such a state of affairs but to no avail. The two senior army officers went on to say that as their demand fell on deaf ears, they were compelled to raise up arms against the regime and thus join the popular struggle.

They stressed that the Army being part of the people should serve a popularly elected government and not individuals. The two officers further pointed out that as the majority of members the Ethiopian Army have come to understand this way of thinking, they are being subjected to heinous repression on the part of TPLF cadres.

Stating that the regime is making futile attempts to pit the Ethiopian people against one another on the basis of nationality, ethnicity and regionalism so as to prevent them from fostering unity, Brig. General Hailu Gonfa disclosed that this same divisive policy is being practiced by cadres within the Army who have no sense of patriotism at all.
defeat of the TPLF in the 2005 elections, Col. Gemechu Ayana emphasized on his part that serving this illegal clique is a historical crime, and as such it is naпve to think that such a brutal regime would change its ways.

In a message they conveyed to the Ethiopian people, the two senior Army officers called on the population to continue their resistance in an intensified manner. They particularly reminded the country’s Armed Forces to direct their weapons against the bloodthirsty regime.

Islamists accuse Ethiopia of Baidoa blasts

The leader of executive council of Islamic Courts Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed accused the Ethiopian government of being behind today’s bomb explosions that targeted the cars of president Abdulahi Yusuf Ahmed just as he finished an speech to the parliamentarians in Baidoa city, the temporarily capital of the UN recognized transitional federal government. Two cars full of explosives have blown off outside of the parliament hall killing at least 11 people most of president’s body guards and injuring dozens more. President’s driver and Colonel Abdisalan Yusuf Ahmed who was Yusuf’s brother were among the dead, government officials said. The president escaped unharmed.(More...)

Convicted Criminals Released Due to Prison Overcrowding

(Adebabay)prison overcrowding is worrying the EPRDF leaders. Thus, recently they have released hundreds of prisoners who were convicted of theft and murder. According to inside sources, the number of political prisoners has risen sharply. Prisons in Addis, Oromiya and Amhara regions are becoming overcrowded. One short term solution devised by the EPRDF is to release other prisoners convicted of theft and murder. Inside sources confirm that only a few of them get an official pardon from the President. Many of them, however, are released after pledgeing their support to the government and promising to assist in their capacity. Source say some of these released individuals become plain close spies.(More...)

Non-Aligned Movement summit

Havana summit opens with attacks on US, defense of a related story..Ethiopian PM hails Havana summit

Today's Top Stories

-Ethiopian diarrhoea death toll climbs to 182
-Let's Give HR 5680 the Support it Deserves
-No end in sight to Darfur troubles
-Bush, Iran president to face off at U.N.
-A Date With a Dangerous Mind:TIME Cover Story
-Military launches a coup in Thailand
-Turk workers urge pope's arrest
-British soldier is first to admit war crime
-Refugee who fled Iran's mullahs becomes first woman space tourist
-Thief accidentally turns himself in
-Old Reuters report - bob Marley celebrated

Monday, September 18, 2006

The First Stop for the EU High-Level Delegation Visit of the AU should be Kalati Prison!

Also in the News:Public Demonstration NY, Jailed leaders protest, Hooray Wolfowitz, shopping in Paris, Gebre Mariam’s speech, Football aid for Ethiopia and more of today's top stories


Please contact immediately Congressman Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and request that he allow H.R. 5680 to go the floor for a final vote without any further delay. Every one needs to call the Speaker’s office as many times as necessary to get the message across.

Contact Speaker Hastert at the following numbers:
Phone: 202-225-2976
Fax: 202-225-0697
For Further information contact:
Tel# 323-988-5688
Fax# 323-924-5563

(...More urgent news from HR5680 task force)

By the Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES) Scandinavian Chapter

A person of morality takes harmony as his criterion, but he does not follow others blindly and can speak out what he thinks right.’
- Confucius, Chinese Sage

In his new book: ‘As the Dawn of Freedom Breaks’ Dr. Berhanu wrote:

“I am writing this book entirely devoid of any type of hatred. I know any idea and politics built on hatred is self-defeating and destructive and not productive. Being imprisoned by the forces of the regime has not changed this position by me. Far from prison weakening my position, in fact being in prison has strengthened my belief that hate is a feeling that one not at all ca afford to being burdened with. I held this view during the election campaign; I feel it more strongly now in prison.” (Berhanu Nega, As the Dawn of Freedom, Kalati Prison, 2006)(Translation by NES)

1. Introduction

Three events are taking place at the same time. The announcement by the European Commission to travel to Addis Ababa to negotiate a deal to stem African immigration to Europe; a month of September signalling that Ethiopia is being near a throw away time to its millennium next year, having just entered its 1999 years on 9/11; and the start of a major launch of the path breaking book authored by Dr. Berhanu who is now for nearly a year in Kalati prison on 17, September, 2006 in the USA.(More...)

Hooray Wolfowitz, boo Hillary Benn

"We simply cannot afford to turn a blind eye when we encounter corruption involving our projects ... It means that money should be going to build clinics and schools and provide adequate housing for the poor (and not) to enrich corrupt individuals,"
-Paul Wolfowitz
British government wants the World bank to have fewer rules attached to the loans it gives to developing countries.
- Hilary Benn
The World Bank, for the most part, used to avoid mention of corruption, believing it should stay out of "politics." Paul Wolfowitz current President of the World Bank has challenged this culture. Many, including Britain's international development secretary Hilary Benn, are intensely criticizing Mr. Wolfowitz agenda. It is clear the World Bank’s policy so far has made little difference in the lives of the poor, it is time to try a new approach; by demanding more accountability and transparency Mr. Wolfowitz is moving the World Bank in the right direction.

Current news on this issue: IMF reform, World Bank graft plan both approved

A dignitary goes shopping in Paris
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1194 16/09/2006

(This is an Indian Ocean Newsletter report, unfortunately it does not disclose the identity of the individual featured in the story)

An official of the governing coalition EPRDF and member of the central committee of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF, the dominant party in Addis Ababa) went shopping in the luxury stores in Paris this week. He made a stop in Paris on his way home from the United States, spending almost 18,000 euros (over 190,000 birrs) since the beginning of this week on perfume, women’s clothes and handbags in Champs Elysée Sephora, Louis Vuitton to name but a few.
Prof. Alemayehu Gebre Mariam’s speech at the premier of the documentary "Betrayal of Democracy"

"From the first tyrants of ancient Athens to the present day, they are all afflicted by the same malady.They all believe they can rule by force.They do not believe it is necessary to have the consent of the people to govern.

They believe they can solve the problems of their society by jailing, killing and persecuting those who disagree with them. And the rogue’s gallery of tyrants in East Africa testifies to that. Al Bashr betrayed democracy in the Sudan. Said Barre in Somalia. Idi Amin in Uganda. And Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia. In May 2005, Mr. Zenawi had a serious collision with democracy. He was injured badly, and he will never be the same again.

A Grand Public Demonstration

Once hailed as one of Africa's new model leaders, Meles Zenawi's democratic credentials are under assault from growing ethnic and political rifts. Regardless of what the West does to sustain him in power, the people of Ethiopia are determined to overthrow him by peaceful means if they can or by force if they must. Since Meles Zenawi has committed democide as a result of his regime murdering citizens for political reasons, the Ethiopian Diaspora have organized themselves to confront the tyrant when he appears at their turf in the United States. Ethiopians who reside in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York will be coming to the United Nations in New York City on September 22nd to show their solidarity with the people of Ethiopia.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Political prisoners protest limitation on visitation right
-Spate of defections continues (ION)
-Football aid after Ethiopia flood
-Somali president escapes bomb, gunfire that kills 11
-Arabs Vs Africans in Somalia, Sudan Crises
-World leaders face a U.N. overloaded with crises
-Iraq al-Qaida says pope, West are doomed
-Shark that walks on fins is discovered
-Village elders order trial by boiling oil

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Week in Review

Two high ranking military Officers defect

Also in the news: Meles in Havana, Ethiopia: Lowest rate of enrollment for children, Ethiopian aliya to stay at 300 a month and more of today's top stories

(Audio) Interview of Brigadier General Hailu Gonfa and Colonel Gamachu Ayana. Forward to 10:45 (OLF)


Brigadier General Hailu Gonfa
Colonel Gamachu Ayana

Until a few days ago, we were officers in the Ethiopian army sworn to protect the country’s laws and diverse people from any threats. To our deepest dismay, we have come to the conclusion that the greatest threat to Ethiopia and the people emanates not from elsewhere but from the regime on power.

Over the last years, the armed forces have been systematically reduced to protecting the narrow interest of a small clique determined to cling to power at all costs. Under the circumstances the choices confronting us are: Either to remain with the same oppressive machinery or wait and see hoping against hope that things would improve on their own or through a miracle. We have waited too long; we cannot wait any longer.

Despite the calls by opposition groups to peacefully deal with the dire situation, EPRDF is showing no inclination whatsoever to address the country’s mounting social, economic and political problems. Instead, it is intensifying repression. Even though this repressive machinery did not spare any people in the country, the magnitude and scale of repression, harassment and intimidation committed against Oromo people has no comparison. Moreover, it is considering new military adventures in the region that would not serve the legitimate interests of all affected--and could plunge the region into chaos.

Throughout the years we served this regime, we were hoping things would improve over time and expected the regime would also resolve political conflicts peacefully and truly democratize the country where political power emanates from the will of the people not from force. Now we have found this to be an empty promise. We are particularly elated that the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) has offered a hope not only to eliminate the specter of more mayhem but also chart a better future through a process of dialogue involving all stakeholders in the search for comprehensive solutions.

We regret that the regime has flagrantly, and without serious consideration, rejected this offer of goodwill and continued on its path of destruction. We cannot therefore continue to defend a minority and overwhelmingly rejected regime, sadly, that is committing untold atrocities against our own people.

It is time for us to take side in the fight between tyranny and liberty. Accordingly, we have dissociated ourselves from TPLF/EPRDF and joined the liberation struggle of our people gripped by the claws of tyranny. We have therefore joined the Oromo Liberation Front that is a member of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) to realize the age-old dream of all peoples for freedom and democracy.

To the Ethiopian Armed Forces: The incumbent regime has been fooling us all by falsely extolling its commitment to freedom, democracy and speedy economic development. This commitment has been put to test over the last 15 years. The tyrannical behavior of the regime demonstrates that this pledge runs skin deep and does not show any sign of change, which makes all our efforts and sacrifices in vain. We believe as long as the regime continues to defy the will of the people, our problems would multiply. That is why it has to be compelled to desist from its destructive path or be removed. We therefore call on you to follow our example and join the just and popular struggle.

To the international community: The minority Ethiopian regime does not have the capacity or the legitimacy to continue to rule the country. The regime, whose dismal 15 year tenure is more than enough to gauge its goodwill, needs to be pressed rather than appeased to submit to the call for dialogue. We strongly urge you to reconsider your support for it as it does not any more serve our common strategic interests.

Also see: Ethiopian officers 'join rebels' (BBC)

Two senior Ethiopian army officers have defected to join the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the rebel group says. The two are Brig Gen Hailu Gonfa and Col Gemechu Ayana, who commanded the Eighth Mechanized Division.(More...)

Ethiopian aliya to stay at 300 a month

Ethiopian immigrants hold up pictures of their relatives still living in Ethiopia during a demonstration outside Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office in Jerusalem September 12, 2006. About 1,000 Israelis of Ethiopian decent participated in a demonstration calling for the Israeli government to grant permission for their relatives living in Ethiopia to immigrate. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte (ISRAEL)

The rate of Ethiopian aliya will not be cut as proposed by the Treasury, but will remain at 300 people a month, according to sources close to the issue. The government will work out the financial details necessary to finalize the decision on Thursday, a highly-placed source told The Jerusalem Post. Others sources have said that there would first be an interministerial meeting on the subject before the budget is officially presented to the Knesset, but not until next week at the earliest. The draft budget, which was approved by the cabinet Tuesday night, isn't expected to reach the legislature until after the High Holy Days.(More...)

Ethiopia: Country Among Those with Lowest Rate of Enrollement for Children Education

Ethiopia is one of the Sub-Saharan countries with lowest rate of enrollment for children, according to a new report released Tuesday by the International Save the Children Alliance. The 48-page report, which was released in 40 countries worldwide said more than 43 million children living in conflict-affected countries are not able to attend school, with Ethiopia among the countries with least schooling for children.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Meles leaves for Havana to attend 14th NAM Summit
-George Clooney Makes Darfur Demands
-Tanzania gangsters turn vigilantes
-Nigerian candidates in graft con
-Muslims demand Pope's apology
-Castro Not Well Enough to Attend Summit
-US: E.coli outbreak is linked to spinach
-Picasso portrait goes on display
-America's Film Rating System Is a Sham

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ethiopian newspaper confirms defection

Also in the news: Ethiopian idol controversy, Ethiopians Seek Political Asylum korea, Measles and diarrhea outbreak in Tigray, UK withholds World Bank donation and other top stories of the day!

Flooding affects 357,000 Ethiopians: U.N.

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The number of Ethiopians affected by last month's devastating flash floods has reached 357,000, including 136,528 forced to abandon their homes, a U.N. humanitarian agency said on Thursday.

Flooding from overflowing rivers has killed some 1,000 people in parts of Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia since early August. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said Ethiopia's northern Amhara region was the worst-hit in the giant Horn of Africa nation, with 97,000 people affected, of which 37,000 have lost their homes. "Large areas of cropped land in the Amhara region are swamped by the floods," it said in a report. The report said Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile River, has expanded by 50 meters (160 ft) and increased the risk of further flooding. (More)

Ethiopian news paper confirms defection


Woldemichael Meshesha, Vice President of the Federal First Instant Court, has reportedly sought asylum in the US this week, according to Deutschwelle Amharic news program.

Woldemichael was elected to serve as a committee member of the independent inquiry commission that is set up to look into the recent killings in Addis Ababa and other parts of the country in election-related clashes between security forces and civilian protestors. In a related development, Alemayehu Zemedkun, deputy general prosecutor, is also said to have also sought asylum to the US . Zemedekun, 41, whose wife and two children remain in Addis Ababa , arrived in the United States on August 2. According to reports from the Sudan Tribune , Zemedkun fled after the government realized he was not going to launch a judicial attack on the opposition, and considered him sympathetic to them. He was a deputy general prosecutor when the government filed charges against opposition leaders for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government after the May 2005 elections. Zemedekun offered his resignation, but it was not accepted when he was here.

US State Department spokesman declined to confirm the case, noting they never comment on asylum requests.

Ethio-Zagol first broke the story

12 Ethiopians Seek Political Asylum in Korea

A group of 12 Ethiopians, including grandchildren of Korean War (1950-53) veterans, have requested political asylum in Korea, the Justice Ministry said yesterday.

Officials at the ministry's immigration bureau did not confirm why the Ethiopians sought refuge. ``A group of 12 made an application for political asylum this morning. Six of them are grandchildren of visiting Ethiopian war veterans and the other six are from a performance troupe that accompanied them,'' said Eun Ki-bum from the immigration bureau. (More...)

A Controversial end to Ethiopian Idol

One of the most popular Ethiopian television shows ever, Ethiopian Idol, awarded an Atoz car on September 8 to the vocal winner of 1998. The finalists for the category, Eyobe Yeshanew, Ashnafi Legese, Daneil Berhanu, Surafel Yeheyaes, and Dagmawit Tshaye preformed in front of 800 audience. Surafel Yeheyaes, 23, said: “Ethiopian Idols have done a lot for me and the rest of us.”

Rumors circulating around the unhappy audience claimed that the judges were corrupt. Surafel said: “if I had the money to corrupt the judges I wouldn't be here in the first place.”

“Corruption!”, “You can't judge!” were among the many accusations shouted that day before the protesters left the hall in anger.

The problem made the award ceremony gloomy, even though it was the biggest of all. The problem with the audience started early in the day when guards pushed people with invitations away since the hall was full.

Famous personalities were unable to pass due the number of people around the gate trying to enter when the door opened for the special guests. The hall was already full at 4 o'clock because people without cards already entered to support their friends from 2 o'clock. Invited gusts were thus ejected by the guards, which soured the total program. (More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Measles and diarrhea outbreak in Tigray
-Wolfowitz corruption crusade creates waves
-UK withholds World Bank donation
-Tutu urges sanctions over Darfur
-Judge tells Saddam he wasn't a dictator
-Iran says open to "new conditions" over atom standoff
-Shanghai muddle over popular name
-Scientists discover giant planet orbiting star
-Whitney Houston to End Rocky Marriage