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Thursday, February 01, 2007

RSF: 32 Journalists Jailed in China, 24 in Cuba and Ethiopia up one spot to third with 21

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news: [ETHIOPIA Food Security Update:10m need humanitarian aid] - [Somali newspapers: Washington negotiating with Islamists over the release of US soldiers] - [Burundi joins Somalia peace force] - [Sheikh Sharif Ahmed released, heading to Yemen] - [Hundreds protest in Somali capital]

International: ['Clean' Obama remark stalls Senator's presidential bid] - [Al-Maliki: Iraq won't be battleground for U.S., Iran] - [Indonesia to declare H5N1 disaster] - [Exxon Mobil reports $39.5B annual profit] - [Reuters: Beyonce named most desirable woman] and more of today's top stories!

US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Jendayi Frazer (L) and UN special envoy to Somalia Francois Fall. The United States believes that Somali Islamists who had, until recently, been running parts of the country, are regrouping in Saudi Arabia and Eritrea, Frazer said in an interview with the Financial Times. Photo:Simon Maina/AFP (More...)

Worldwide Demonstrations, Prayer and candle light vigils for Ethiopia’s prisoners of conscience continues:

-Los Angeles (little Ethiopia), candle light vigil - February 11
-Demonstration In front of CNN Los Angeles branch office - February 16
-Kinijit LA message - The time is NOW!

Somali newspapers: Washington negotiating with Islamists over the release of US soldiers

The US government began to negotiate with the leader of the ousted Islamic Courts Union Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed over the release of 11 American personnel that had reportedly been captured by the defeated Islamists in southern Somalia, unnamed source reports on Monday.

The Dubai based Al-Khaleej newspaper quoted reliable diplomatic sources indicating that the US ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger had had four rounds of talks with the detained Islamist leader Sheikh Ahmed over the American soldiers who are hostage to his supporters hiding in southern jungles of the war-torn country, Somalia. (More...)

Also see:
-US diplomat bids the release of 11 US soldiers seized in Somalia

Sheikh Sharif Ahmed released, heading to Yemen

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Top Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed -- seen by many as a key to reconciliation in post-war Somalia -- has left the custody of Kenyan intelligence and was reported by a Web site to be heading to Yemen.

"It's true that I'm heading to Yemen," he was quoted as saying on the Web site of the London-based ONKOD news agency run by a Somali journalist.

Contacted by Reuters at an undisclosed location in Nairobi, Sharif said he was in good health but declined to confirm his future plans. "I am 100 percent fine," he told Reuters.

"But there are no questions I can answer at this time." Several Islamist leaders have taken refuge in Yemen since their movement's defeat over the New Year in an offensive by Somali government forces backed by the Ethiopian military.(More...)

Reporters Without Borders issues its 2007 annual press freedom survey

32 journalists jailed in China, 24 in Cuba and Ethiopia up one spot to third at 21: Reporters Without Borders

The Ethiopian regime of prime minister Meles Zenawi has blocked openly-critical websites and blogs since May 2006. For the first time in its history, the Ethiopian government appears to have launched itself into web censorship.

From May to June 2006, most blogs and opposition websites were inaccessible in the country. The government denied being behind it. However, at the end of November, these online publications against mysteriously disappeared, which makes the hypothesis of political censorship appear more plausible.

In Ethiopia, around 20 newspaper publishers and editors are still imprisoned, accused of “high treason” for having backed an opposition challenge to the May 2005 election results. Neither the international outcry nor the protests of its western allies have been heeded by the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, which has put out callous statements about the prisoners, one of whom gave birth to a baby boy in the prison infirmary. [Read full report]

Also see:
-Group: 81 Reporters Killed in 2006 - Ethiopia third jailer
- Deadliest Year For Journalists In Decade

ETHIOPIA Food Security Update:10m need humanitarian aid

About 1.9 million (82 percent of the 2.3 million) of the people in need of emergency assistance in 2007 are in pastoral areas of the south and southeast with 56 percent in Somali Region and 26 percent in Oromiya Region.

Given the current food security situation, there is unlikely to be a significant upward revision of needs during the year unless the forthcoming belg/gu season (late February to May) for belg dependent and pastoral areas fails. Historically when this occurs an additional 2 million people can find themselves in need of assistance. (More...)

Hundreds protest in Somali capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Hundreds of Somalis demonstrated Thursday against a plan that would place foreign peacekeepers in the country.

The protesters chanted anti-government slogans and burned tires, a day after the African Union said three battalions of peacekeepers from Uganda and Nigeria were ready to be deployed in Somalia and will be airlifted in as soon as possible.

"We will not tolerate foreign troops coming to our country," demonstrator Saida Hussien said. "We will show the world that we are against the foreign troops."

The demonstrators, who protested in northern Mogadishu — an area known for its strong support of the Islamic group — carried placards that read, "We don't want foreign troops," and "Down with Ethiopia," referring to Ethiopia's military intervention that routed the Council of Islamic Courts. (More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Burundi joins Somalia peace force
-'Clean' Obama remark stalls Senator's presidential bid
-Olmert testifies to commission investigating Lebanon war
-Al-Maliki: Iraq won't be battleground for U.S., Iran
-Exxon Mobil reports $39.5B annual profit
-Indonesia to declare H5N1 disaster
-75,000 protest tortilla prices in Mexico
-Berlusconi Makes Public Apology to Wife
-Beyonce named most desirable woman: survey
-Big baby causes sensation in Cancun