Click Here for EthioPolitics NEWS

New! EthioPolitics presents "ARTIST OF THE DAY"
where we feature artists from all over the world who have
contributed significantly to the world of music.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

European Parliament condemns EU Commission's invitation to Prime Minister Meles

**Breaking news: Meles suspends air force chief** (EZ)

Also in the news: Letter to Commissioner Louis Michel, More than 70,000 sign Oxfam petition, Somali tensions mount after Ethiopian troop movement

International: Darfur woes spread, Somalis protest Khat ban, Democrats defy Pelosi-elect Hoyer House leader, Iraq ministry hostages 'tortured', Scientists unravel DNA of 38,000-year-old Neanderthal, Nobel prize-winning US economist dead, Jacko on stage at awards ceremony and more of today's top stories

European Parliament condemns EU Commission's invitation to Prime Minister Meles - demand unconditional release of all political prisoners

In a strong message from MEPs to a fellow EU institution, the resolution "deeply regrets the EU Commission's invitation to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to address the European Development Days" (being held from 13 to 17 November 2006 in Brussels), "especially on governance issues, a decision which sends out the wrong signal with regard to EU policy on respect for human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance".

Lastly the resolution points out that Ethiopia is a signatory to the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement, "which stipulates that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential element of ACP-EU cooperation". It therefore "asks the Commission and Council to closely monitor the situation in Ethiopia, and considers that development cooperation programmes under the Cotonou Agreement should be contingent on respect for human rights and good governance".[Read Resolution]

To Commissioner Louis Michel

Dear Commissioner,

We are writing this letter to express our puzzlement and indignation in view of the policy of the European Union concerning the flagrant human rights violation in Ethiopia.

Those of us who happen to have the privilege to live in Belgium have admired your courage and political engagement while you were the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Your position on the Iraq war, your stand on human rights and forthrightness had led us to believe that you are a principled politician. As such, we had welcomed your appointment to the post of the European Commissioner in charge of development cooperation with a lot of enthusiasm and hope. We saw the opening of a new era where respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law will be central to EU's policy on cooperation and development.

However, our enthusiasm has unfortunately given way to disillusionment. As you know, the Ethiopian government, having refused to accept the verdict of the May 2005 elections, has proceeded with massive detention of elected opposition deputies, leaders of the opposition, human rights defenders, journalists, educators, members of local and international NGOs, and thousands of ordinary citizens.(More...)

More than 70,000 sign Oxfam petition calling on Starbucks to sign licensing agreement to recognise Ethiopia’s ownership rights to coffee names

As of today over 70,000 people have taken Oxfam’s online action urging coffee giant Starbucks to review its position in relation to Ethiopia’s attempts to claim ownership of the country’s most famous coffee names.

The public has mobilised impressively since Oxfam revealed the obstacles faced by Ethiopia to gain more value from its high quality coffee beans.

Ethiopia, an extremely poor country that produces some of the best coffee in the world, is trying to gain greater leverage in a supply chain that is weighed down by injustice and inequity and biased against producers. Control of its coffee names through trademarking would give Ethiopia a fairer share of the profits of the global coffee trade.

“It’s amazing to see how many people have been moved to take action,” said Seth Petchers, Oxfam International’s Make Trade Fair campaign coffee lead. “Engaging the public on this issue has been critical. People are not only showing their support of Ethiopian coffee farmers, they are also supporting Ethiopia’s ground breaking approach of using intellectual property rights to alleviate poverty.” (more...)

Somali tensions mount after Ethiopian troop movement

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Heavily armed Ethiopian troops propping up Somalia's weak government have retreated after an advance towards Islamist fighters amid fears of war in the Horn of Africa nation, witnesses said on Thursday.

Tensions have mounted between the Western-backed interim administration and the powerful Islamists whose control over most of southern Somalia has challenged the government's plans to impose central rule on a country in chaos since 1991.

The Islamists are just 30 kms (18 miles) away from the government's sole outpost Baidoa, where residents say Ethiopian troops are protecting President Abdullahi Yusuf's government and have dug trenches around its nearby military camp.

Residents said Ethiopian soldiers had advanced on Wednesday from the camp to man a checkpoint in Modmodey, a remote village surrounded by maize fields and within striking distance from the Islamists' defence line in Buur Hakaba. (More...)

Congress will Hold Human Rights Briefing on Ethiopia today

(Audio) *VOA Interview with Congressman Payne*

An Ethiopian Commission of Inquiry report last month found that 193 people were killed in post-election violence in 2005. Some members of the commission who have defected said security forces used excessive force and even committed massacre. But the final report submitted to the Ethiopian parliament said security forces did not use excessive force.

Democratic Congressman Donald Payne is a member of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations. He talks with VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty about a briefing he and other members of congress are sponsoring today (Thursday) on human rights in Ethiopia.

“The briefing is going to listen to members of the Ethiopian Commission Inquiry. This was a commission that was established in Ethiopia to review the violence in the post-election period after May 2005. They will brief the members and the public about their report. As you know, the report found that the government used excessive force in dealing with post-election unrest,” Payne said.

Some Ethiopian government sources have called today’s briefing an interference in Ethiopian affairs. But the New Jersey congressman says he and other members of Congress and the public simply want to see whether the two versions of the commission’s report coincide.(More...)

Also see:
-“According to our investigation 193 civilians were shot dead by the security forces": Judge Wolde-Michael Meshesha
-Summary Report on Panel Discussions on Human Rights in Ethiopia - The Urgent Need to Pass H.R. 5680

Nobel prize-winning US economist Milton Friedman has died at the age of 94

His death was confirmed by the Friedman family, and by the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank. Mr Friedman, who coined the phrase "there's no such thing as a free lunch", was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 1976.

Known as the high priest of monetarism, his ideas gained popularity in the 1980s when they influenced the policies of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

The leaders were won over by Mr Friedman's idea that the supply of money was the key factor in determining economic growth and the rate of inflation.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Somalis protest ban on the popular narcotic leaf khat
-U.N. mulls central Africa force as Darfur woes spread
-Marine jailed for killing
-Democrats defy Pelosi, elect Hoyer House leader
-Iraq ministry hostages 'tortured'
-Scientists unravel DNA of 38,000-year-old Neanderthal
-Jacko on stage at awards ceremony, disappoints fans
-Remote chance to catch a thief