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Friday, November 10, 2006


Also in the news: Farewell Mr. Hastert! Good Bye Mr. Armey! So long Mr. Zenawi!, War on terror gets Ethiopia a pass on human rights, Gebrselassie heads Fukuoka entries, Peaceful Rally - Meles’s Visit, U.S. military begins relief operations for flood victims in eastern Ethiopia, Is the Chinese Government Helping Africa’s Impoverished Nations - or Exploiting Them?,

International: Mubarak opposed to Saddam Hussein hanging, Rwanda nun jailed over genocide, Bush - Pelosi talk of cooperation but rifts loom, Military strike on Iran possible says Israeli official, British spy agency tracking 30 potential terror plots and more of today's top stories


Congressman Donald M. Payne
Congressman Michael Honda

As you are well aware, since the May 2005 elections, conditions in Ethiopia have deteriorated. Many people are incarcerated, including elected members of Parliament, political leaders, and human rights defenders. As the Ethiopian Commission of inquiry stated in its final report, 193 people were killed in June and November 2005, and many more were injured.

Ethiopia is an important country for many of us in Congress. Our primary objective and hope is to see a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Ethiopia. The people of Ethiopia have suffered for far too long due to abuse of power, civil war, and natural disasters. If conditions do not improve soon and Ethiopia plunges into another round of civil war, the consequences for Ethiopia and the entire region could be devastating and perhaps irreversible.

The government of Ethiopia organized and conducted perhaps the most open and competitive elections ever in May 2005. The previous elections, especially the 1995 and 2000 elections were largely boycotted and judged to be neither free nor fair. The fact that opposition parties openly participated in a hotly contested election campaign and over 90 percent of the registered voters went to the polls on Election Day demonstrated that active and peaceful engagement in the political process can bring change for the better. Unfortunately, what was seen as a positive development in the May elections was soon marred by unnecessary violence against peaceful demonstrators.

The way the Government of Ethiopia handled the post-election environment contributed to the sorry state of affairs we are witnessing today. We strongly believe that the report by the Ethiopia Commission of Inquiry must not be used for political purposes. What is important to focus on is what we can do to avoid such things from happening again.

It is also pivotal that those who committed these violent acts be held accountable. Please join us as members of the Ethiopia Commission of Inquiry brief Members of Congress, staff, and the public on their findings. We hope you will be able to attend this important briefing on November 16th at 11:00 AM in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building. [Read Press Release]

War on terror gets Ethiopia a pass on human rights

Soon after the September 11 attacks, Mr. Meles proclaimed himself an ally in the war on terror. Since then, he has worked with neighbors to foment unrest in Sudan, where a fundamentalist Islamic government is in power, and sent troops into Somalia against an Islamist militia that has solidified control over most of that country after 15 years of anarchy and warlordism.

Mr. Smith's bill would have included an exemption for aid directed to Ethiopia's counterterrorist or peacekeeping activities. The bill has strong support from the Ethiopian community in Washington, most of whose members support the main opposition party in their homeland and were outraged by the violent suppression of protests after parliamentary elections last year. (More...)

Farewell, Mr. Hastert! Good Bye, Mr. Armey! So long, Mr. Zenawi!

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam

How the tables can turn...

When Mr. Hastert bottled H.R. 5680 in the International Relations Committee just before the midterm recess, most supporters of the bill were deeply disappointed, and angry. We had labored long and hard to get the bill to the floor, and done a marvelous job of generating unanimous bipartisan support for it in committee. In the eleventh hour, we found out that we had been double-crossed by Speaker Hastert.

Hastert’s action in blocking the legislation from floor action was not entirely unanticipated, but we considered his intervention so remote that we failed to develop effective counter-strategies. After all, Hastert showed no signs of opposition to the bill at any prior time, nor did he manifest the slightest interest in it until late September. Hastert gave us a September surprise. (More...)

Commentary from Addis on the phony inquiry commission report



Peaceful Rally - PM Meles’s Visit
Kinijit Support Group in The Netherlands


Also see:
-EC Invites Meles to Brussels

Is the Chinese Government Helping Africa’s Impoverished Nations - or Exploiting Them?
(Judge Greg Mathis, BlackAmericaWeb)

Leaders from China and 48 African countries recently announced a trade agreement worth $1.9 billion. The pact includes investment deals, low-cost loans and aid, all to help boost development in Africa. Let’s hope Africa does benefit from this partnership.

China is sure to profit -- the country’s power players are known for making and benefiting from deals that other nations thought impossible. But what about Africa? Will this new deal pull Africa’s nations from the depths of poverty or exploit the country’s people and resources, as so many other relationships -- reciprocal or forced -- have done in the past? (More...)

Also see:
-China and Africa: Times Online

Gebrselassie heads Fukuoka entries

TOKYO, Japan -- Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie heads a strong field for the 60th running of the prestigious Fukuoka marathon on December 3.

The two-time Olympic and four-time world 10,000 meters champion will be running the fifth marathon of his career and is determined to sign off his 2006 season with a victory.

I just want to be run and win in Fukuoka," he said. "I will not be attempting a personal best or a world record. I will just race to win."

Nevertheless, a fast time is almost guaranteed with Gebrselassie taking on Morocco's twice world champion Jaouad Gharib and defending champion Dmytro Baranovskyy of Ukraine. (More...)

Science: Monster storm seen on Saturn

A freaky storm two-thirds the diameter of Earth and unlike anything ever seen before has been spotted on Saturn.

The tempest, some 5,000 miles wide (8,000 kilometers), has an oddly human-looking, hurricane-style eye. But it is very different from a terrestrial hurricane, scientists said Thursday.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft photographed the huge storm. It swirls with 350 mph (560 kilometer-per-hour) winds at the ringed planet's south pole. It has a remarkably well-defined eye, ringed by clouds that soar 20 to 45 miles high (30 to 75 kilometers), or up to five times taller than hurricane clouds on Earth. (More...)

Today's Top Stories

-U.S. military begins relief operations for flood victims in eastern Ethiopia
-Rwanda nun jailed over genocide
-Mubarak opposed to Saddam Hussein hanging
-Bush, Pelosi talk of cooperation, but rifts loom
-Gates sees Iraq exit by 2008 (Robert Gates was selected on Wednesday to succeed Donald Rumsfeld)
-Israeli official: Military strike on Iran possible
-British spy agency tracking 30 potential terror plots
-Iraqi Official: 150,000 Civilians Dead
-Israel on high alert for fear of attack
-Dancing eunuchs taxing red-faced shopkeepers