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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New U.N. leader to visit Addis

Also in the news: [Police Violence in the Streets of Addis] - [Siye Abraha's closing statement] - [U.N. eyes more cuts in Eritrea-Ethiopia peace force] - [Islamist Fighters Captured Fleeing Somalia] - [Clan Divisions Threaten Somalia Government] - [Al Amoudi to build new resort at Bawadi]

International: [Sudan says U.S. troops raided its embassy in Iraq] - [Bush won't reauthorize eavesdropping program] - [Israel's military chief offers to resign over Lebanon war] - [Defense team of Saddam honoured in Libya] and more of today's top stories!

The scientists who mind the Doomsday Clock moved it two minutes closer to midnight on Wednesday -- symbolizing the annihilation of civilization and adding the perils of global warming for the first time. (More...)

-[Audio] Public Radio: Ethiopia’s Quagmire in Somalia (Ken Menkhaus—Associate Professor, Political Science, Davidson College; Former U.N. Policy Advisor on Somalia)

- [Audio] Public Radio: The Efforts of Ethiopia and the U.S. in Somalia (Ahmed Samartar—Dean, Institute for Global Citizenship, Macalester College)

- Siye Abraha's closing statement -


Meles Zenawi hails Kadhafi`s peace efforts in Somalia

Tripoli, Libya, 01/17 - Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi has commended Libyan leader Mouammar Kadhafi for his sustained efforts towards peace, political and social reconciliation in Africa, and particularly in Somalia.

This was expressed Tuesday in Tripoli by visiting Ethiopian foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin, during a meeting with his Libyan counterpart Abderrahmane Chalgham to whom he handed a message from Zenawi to Col Kadhafi.

Mesfin said the Ethiopian prime minister and people had great respect for the Libyan leader for the efforts he has deployed to reinforce unity and stability in the African continent.

During the meeting, Mesfin reaffirmed his country`s willingness to withdraw its forces from Somalia as quickly as possible, noting that Ethiopia intends to withdraw its troops in weeks but would like to leave behind a state of national reconciliation and to help Somalis rebuild their country.(More...)

U.N. eyes more cuts in Eritrea-Ethiopia peace force

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council, frustrated by the long-stalled peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea, is leaning toward more cutbacks in the peacekeeping force monitoring their shared border, diplomats said on Tuesday.

Most members of the 15-nation council support cutting the force to 1,700 from its current 2,300, although some African states worry that too few peacekeepers could risk a new flare-up in the 1998-2000 border war between the Horn of Africa neighbors that killed 70,000 people, the diplomats said.

The council in May 2006 trimmed the peacekeeping force to 2,300 troops from 3,300. U.N. troops were first sent to Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2000 to enforce the ceasefire ending their border conflict. As part of the peace agreement, both countries pledged to accept a new border as set out by an international commission.

But the new border has never been marked out after Ethiopia rejected part of it and Eritrea objected that Ethiopia was not being held to its word, leading to a four-year impasse. (More...)

Lewit Blog: Police Violence in the Streets of Addis

Yesterday while coming home from work I passed a group of policemen standing in a semi-circle. Though they were dressed in the tan uniforms of the local police, it was obvious by their guns and boots that they were actually federal security forces.

In the middle was a man who looked to be in his late-twenties, on his knees with his arms tied behind his back. His nose was bleeding and it was obvious that he had been beaten.

There must have been at least 6 or 7 of them. Before the traffic started up again, I saw the man look around in confusion and then flop over in the dirt on his side while the policeman moved closer--to close the cirlce, and, I assume, to block such crimes from the view of passing cars. Then they started kicking him.(More...)

Islamist Fighters Captured Fleeing Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 17 — Somali Islamist fighters, possibly including some top leaders, were arrested as they tried to escape across the border into Kenya, Kenyan authorities said today. The arrests raised the possibility of a sticky asylum issue.“We have detained a number of people, but we are still trying to determine their identities,” said Alfred Mutua, spokesman for the Kenyan government.

According to Somali officials, one of the Somalis captured by Kenyan soldiers may be Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the second in command of the defeated Islamist Court Union forces.

Gen. Ismail Qasim Naji of the Somali transitional government said that Sheikh Sharif’s briefcase was recently discovered at a jungle hideout in southwestern Somalia.

“It had some important documents in it,” General Naji said at a press conference in Mogadishu, Somalia’s seaside capital. When a reporter asked what they were, the general replied, “Top secret.”

Ethiopian-led troops routed the Islamist forces that controlled most of Somalia, including the capital, last month after the Islamists mounted an attack on Baidoa, the seat of the country’s transitional government. (More...)

Al Amoudi to build new resort at Bawadi

Dubai: Al Amoudi, a diversified business group, said it will develop an Ottoman Palace Hotel and Resort at Bawadi, the Dh100 billion hospitality and tourism boulevard near Dubailand.

The company yesterday signed an agreement with Bawadi to create the resort that will replicate the 16th and 17th century era. The agreement confirming the partnership was signed between Saeed Al Muntafiq, chief executive of Tatweer, Bawadi's parent entity and Shaikh Mohammad Al Amoudi, chairman of Golden Leaves Hotels and Resorts Ltd at the Bawadi offices in Dubai.

Al Muntafiq said: "Shaikh Mohammad Al Amoudi represents the best of private sector entrepreneurship and is proof of much of what is happening in African development.(More...)

New U.N. leader to visit Addis

(CapitalEthiopia) The new U.N. Secretary-General Mr.Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he will attend an African Union summit in Ethiopia and a meeting on Lebanese reconstruction on his first major trips abroad, reflecting his intention to prioritize Africa and the Middle East.

The AU summit in Addis Ababa scheduled for January 29th to 30th will address three of the world's most visible hot spots - the Darfur region of Sudan, Somalia, and the Congo. "Africa will be the focus of many of my priorities, and my first major trip will reflect that focus," Ban Ki-moon told a news conference.

On his way to Africa, Ban will stop in Paris to attend an international donors' conference on January25 focused on the reconstruction in Lebanon following a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in the summer. He said he wanted to "inject new momentum into the search for peace and stability in the Middle East."

The focus of much of the AU summit will be the four-year-old conflict in Darfur in which more than 200,000 people have died.

"It is particularly important that we succeed in putting a strong, well resourced force on the ground," he said, alluding to the widespread belief that the 7,000-strong AU force currently patrolling the region is too small and ill-quipped to adequately protect civilians.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has repeatedly refused, most recently on Wednesday, to allow U.N. peacekeeping troops to replace the beleaguered African force, saying any international force would be "colonialist."

Today's Top Stories

-Clan Divisions Threaten Somalia Government
-Sudan says U.S. troops raided its embassy in Iraq
-Mullah Omar 'hiding in Pakistan'
-NATO: Taliban leader detained in Afghanistan
-Bush won't reauthorize eavesdropping program
-Israel's military chief offers to resign over Lebanon war
-Countdown to the Apocalypse: Scientists Change Doomsday Clock
-China blocks entry to Scorsese's "Departed"
-Defense team of Saddam honoured in Libya