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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