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Monday, February 05, 2007

Women's group calls for prayer as verdict day approaches for Ethiopia's prisoners of Conscience

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news: [Bereket Simon: We are not torturing CUD supporters] - [Yemen Grants Political Asylum To Top Somali Muslim Leader] - [Honorary consul-general of Ethiopia in Pakistan commits suicide] - [No confirmation of Al-Qaeda deaths in Somalia: Meles] - [Gunmen attack Somali port] - [Birr depreciates against dollar]

International: [Chinese President Takes Tour to Namibia] - [Bush submits $2.9 trillion budget to Congress] - [Taliban preparing for new offensive] - [Russian tycoon Khodorkovsky charged with money-laundering] - [75 percent of Indonesian capital Jakarta flooded] - [Were the Super Bowl Ads Any Good?] and more of today's top stories!

The exchange rate for buying cash notes and transactions in Ethiopia has reached 9.0157 birr for one USD as of January 26, 2007. (More on this below)

Visit 'Free Ethiopia’s Prisoners of Conscience' Action Center


Women's group calls for prayer as verdict day approaches for Ethiopia's prisoners of Conscience

Ethiopian Women for Peace and Democracy call for a 15 day World Wide Prayer Campaign for Ethiopia’s Prisoners of Conscience

press release - We, concerned Ethiopian women & mothers looking to contribute to the nonviolent struggles for peace, justice, and the development of democracy in Ethiopia, call on all Ethiopians, friends of Ethiopia and all concerned peace loving people to join us in prayer as we call on the "Power of One" through the power of the multitude, to solidify our intention of peace, love, tolerance and forgiveness.

We ask you to join us in our desire to bring peace through the power of prayer forming an energy field of oneness and the unity of the Divine to heal our nation's suffering.(More...)

Bereket Simon: We are not torturing CUD supporters

(Audio) Interview

Ethiopia says it is not torturing supporters of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) who are being held in prison. The Ethiopian government also repeated its allegations against bitter rival Eritrea of plotting to bomb Addis Ababa during the African Union summit last week. In a statement late last week, Amnesty International accused Ethiopia of holding CUD supporters in incommunicado. Amnesty also said the prisoners may have been torture.

Bereket Simon is advisor to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He said the accusations are part of what he called the usual Amnesty International smear campaign against Ethiopia.(More...)

Yemen Grants Political Asylum To Top Somali Muslim Leader

Yemen has granted political asylum to head of Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who is expected to leave Kenya for Yemen on Monday, Yemeni officials said Sunday.

"The Yemeni government has granted Sheikh Sharif refugee status and residence permit," a senior Yemeni government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

He said Yemen regards Sharif as a moderate among the leaders of the Somali Islamic movement. (More...)

Also see:

Honorary consul-general of Ethiopia in Pakistan commits suicide

KARACHI: Fifty-six-year-old Jawed Arshad, the honorary consul-general of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Pakistan since 2001, committed suicide according to his family at his residence in KDA Scheme No. 1 Friday. The honorary consulate general’s office was located at his residence.

Arshad lived with his wife, son and daughter-in-law however, no one, except for his guards were at home at the time. The police said that he shot himself right below his right ear and the bullet made an exit from the other side. Ten days earlier he had returned from the UK after undergoing open-heart surgery, said the duty officer at the Bahadurabad police station. “It appears to be a suicide for now,” said Gulshan-e-Iqbal TPO Saquib Memon. “However, we can only be completely sure after the post mortem. His family said that he was disturbed due to his illness.” (More...)

No confirmation of Al-Qaeda deaths in Somalia: Meles

LONDON (AFP) - There is as yet no confirmation of the deaths of targeted Al-Qaeda suspects who may have been killed in recent fighting in Somalia, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said in an interview published in the Financial Times.

Meles told the business daily that though bloodied papers had been found belonging to Aden Hashi Ayro, a militant suspected by the United States of protecting leaders of an east African Al-Qaeda cell that bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, reported sightings of him suggest he is alive.

The prime minister also said that Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and Hassan Turki, two leaders of the Islamic Courts Union -- a hard-line Islamist party that implemented Sharia law in the parts of Somalia it controlled -- were "alive and moving in and out of Kenya on the border." (More...)

Gunmen attack Somali port

Mogadishu - Unknown gunmen fired several rocket-propelled grenades at the main port in Somalia's capital, which has seen spiralling violence since government forces and their Ethiopian backers took it over from an ousted Islamic movement.

No casualties were reported from the attack on the port. Hours before the explosions there, an African Union military delegation arrived in the southern town of Baidoa, 250km northwest of the capital, Mogadishu, to assess security ahead of a planned peacekeeping deployment. (More...)

Also see:
-Somali reconciliation meeting opens amid attacks

Birr depreciates against dollar

(Capital) The official exchange rate for buying cash notes and transactions of one USD reached nine Ethiopian birr for the first time. Since Ethiopia began a free market economy after the fall of the Derg regime, the foreign exchange rate has been determined by market forces. The exchange rate for buying both cash notes and transactions has reached 9.0157 birr for one USD on January 26, 2007.

In common modern usage, devaluation (a reduction in the value of a currency with respect to other monetary units) specifically implies an official lowering of the value of a country's currency within a fixed exchange rate system, by which the monetary authority formally sets a new fixed rate with respect to a foreign reference currency.

A fixed exchange rate, sometimes (less commonly) called a pegged exchange rate, is a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is matched to the value of another single currency or to a basket of other currencies, or to another measure of value, such as gold.

In contrast, depreciation is most often used for the unofficial decrease in the exchange rate in a floating exchange rate system (a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is allowed to fluctuate according to the foreign exchange rate). The value of currency is determined by the interplay of money supply and money demand.

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