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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Local administration asks Somalia govt to remove Ethiopian troops from capital

Also in the news: [Kennedy Center Ceremony marred by protesters] - [Qaliti Qalkidan update and letter from qaliti prison] - [Mogadishu Residents Refuse to Give Up Guns to Ethiopians] - [Somalia reverses broadcaster ban] - [revised itinerary of the Inquiry commission’s west cost tour]

International: [Obama takes first step in presidential bid] - [Report: Castro in 'grave' condition] - [UN: 34352 Iraqi Civilians Killed In '06] - ['Dreamgirls,' 'Babel' top the Golden Globes] and more of today's top stories!

The wrath of Sheik Mohammed Ali Al-Amoudi toward the private press (he stopped short of mentioning their names) was abundantly evident to those high level government officials and invited guests on Tuesday night, January 10 (More...)

Qaliti Qalkidan update

The newly formed Qaliti Qalkidan has been busy both out front and behind the scenes, working for the release of prisoners of conscience, promoting human rights and democracy in Ethiopia. They have just released a summery report of goals the covenant has accomplished in the past and what it hopes to do in the future.

We applaud Qaliti Qalkidan for the report; other pro-democracy groups, political parties, and organizations should follow suit and make it a habit to disclose what they have done in the past plus what they plan to contribute in the future to the struggle for democracy in Ethiopia.
[See Qaliti Qalkidan's report here]

- Letter from qaliti prison, written in the fall of 2006 – released to the public for the first time. qalitiqalkidan. (names withheld for obvious reasons). [Read letter]

The Coalition for HR5680

See revised itinerary of the Inquiry commission’s west cost tour

Kennedy Center Ceremony marred by protesters

ETP - Attendees of the celebration hosted by the Kennedy Center and Georgetown University in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King were surprised by Ethiopian protestors this past Monday, January 15, 2007.

The event started out with a number of musical performances followed by an address from the newly elected mayor of Washington, DC Adrian M. Fenty. Soon after, the first ladies of Zambia, Rwanda and Ethiopia emerged to receive awards for their leadership in the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS.

It was at this point that several protests and shouts were heard from audience members sitting in the concert hall. There were also protests outside in the millemium stage where several people were gathered to view a broadcast of the celebration. Shouts of “You are the wife of a butcher! “, “Georgetown University Shame on you!”, “That woman has blood on her hands” were heard.

The speaker to present the award was unable to complete his speech and implored the protestors to keep quiet in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King. There were less protests after that and the protestors were asked to leave and some were escorted out of the building.

Though some may see this as a disruption of the celebration of the great Dr. Martin Luther King others argue that honoring the wife of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a leader who has failed to stand for the equality and unity of his people but instead has shrewdly worked to divide his country based on ethnic lines, is a disgrace to the memory of Dr. King.

Local administration asks Somalia govt to remove Ethiopian troops from capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia Jan 16 - The newly-appointed regional administration for Banadir, where Mogadishu is located, has requested from the interim Somali government that heavily-armed Ethiopian troops be removed from the interior of the capital.

The new Banadir administration, headed by Mayor Mohamud Hassan “Adde Gabow,” was appointed in a presidential decree yesterday and marked their first act of governance by requesting the withdrawal of Ethiopian soldiers from Mogadishu.

Local leaders are engaged in back-to-back meetings with traditional elders, business groups and community activists from Banadir region to find common ground on disarmament efforts.(More...)

Mogadishu Residents Refuse to Give Up Guns to Ethiopians

A 13 year-old student was killed in Mogadishu when hundreds of demonstrators turned many parts of the city more chaotic than usual.

The sight of burning tyres, roadblocks, motorists escaping violent youths hurling stones - none of this is new to Mogadishu residents. But in recent days, protesters have been shouting Allahu-Akbar (God is great), the slogan of the Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC).

The demonstrations were in reaction to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) order to members of the public to surrender their arms, especially in the Somali capital whereby TFG forces and Ethiopian troops have established collection centres.

"We are not going to surrender our weapons to Ethiopians - our arch enemy," shouted a protester. "We want the Ethiopian forces out of our country first." The latest protests generated havoc in the city. Blocked traffic routes, closed businesses and deserted streets were some of the consequences.

Business people generally react to such riots by coming out of their premises with guns. "We often fire into the air to scare away troublemakers," said a trader who requested anonymity. "We know they are orchestrated by hatemongers." During the demonstrations, several people were killed and others injured. (More...)

Obama takes first step in presidential bid

WASHINGTON – Democratic Sen. Barack Obama said today he is taking the initial step in a presidential bid that could make him the nation's first black to occupy the White House.

Obama announced on his Web site,, that he was filing a presidential exploratory committee. He said he would announce more about his plans in his home state of Illinois on Feb. 10.

"I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago," Obama said in a video posting. "I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics. So I've spent some time thinking about how I could best advance the cause of change and progress that we so desperately need."

Obama, a 45-year-old with little more than two years into his Senate term, is the most inexperienced candidate considering a run for the Democratic nomination. He quickly rose to national prominence, beginning with his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and his election to the Senate that year, but still is an unknown quantity to many voters.

Two best-selling autobiographies — "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream" and "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" — have helped fill in the gaps but have still only touched a fraction of the public.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Somalia reverses broadcaster ban
-Report: Castro in 'grave' condition
-Pakistan Strikes Militant Hideouts
-UN: 34352 Iraqi Civilians Killed In '06
-Bombing at university kills 60
-'Dreamgirls,' 'Babel' top the Golden Globes