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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Invite Meles to Summit

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Seven Ethiopian troops killed in heavy fighting, bodies dragged through Mogadishu] - [Ethioapin Helicopters fire on Somali market] - [Analyst says Somalia a Handicap for Ethiopia] - [Ethiopia calls for action on Eritrea] - [Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee]

[Rwanda to probe downing of former president's plane] - [Castro Attacks Bush on Biofuels in First Article Since Surgery] - [How Britons were conned by Iranian gunboat trick] - [Ten of the best April Fool's Day hoaxes: US museum] and more of today's top stories!

Smoke rises in the horizon above the Towfiq neighborhood in Mogadishu. Ethiopian helicopters have fired missiles on southern Mogadishu as heavy fighting across the Somali capital left 30 people dead in an offensive against insurgent fighters.(More on this below) Picture - AFP/Mustafa Abdi

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Invite Meles to Summit

ETP -- The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), a Group within the European Parliament, has invited Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to attend its 2007 summit.

The summit which will be held in Dakar - Senegal from 1 to 3rd April, aims to strengthen liberal democratic values, according to ALDE.

Attendees list includes 12 African leaders, heads of state from the Pacific and Caribbean countries. The theme of the summit is Liberalism and Governance: the Social Liberal State.

(Picture - Commmissioner Louis Michel and Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia)

EU Commissioner Louis Michel will attend the summit and is expected to give one of the opening speeches along with Graham Watson, President of the ALDE Group at the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, many within the Ethiopian community in Europe and elsewhere disapprove of ALDE’s decision to invite Prime Minister Meles to this summit.

In a letter to European human rights groups, the Ethiopian community in Europe is asking liberal MEP’s to distance themselves from the invitation extended to Ethiopia’s primer. (Read letter below)

After over 15 years in power, Prime Minister Meles presides over a country that still cannot feed its own people and is very much dependent on the U.N. World Food Program. Approximately half of the Ethiopian population lives on less than one U.S dollar a day, which is not enough to buy a single meal.

Since the parliamentary elections of 2005 human rights and press freedom have suffered significantly in Ethiopia.

Amnesty international has accused the government of Meles Zenawi of torture and extrajudicial killings. Journalists, renowned human rights activists and opposition party leaders are currently detained in the country’s notorious Kality prison.


-Letter from the Ethiopian community in Europe

-To protest Prime Minister Meles’s Invitation to the Summit, click here, find the MEP you wish to contact -- write or call

-ALDE event schedule
-Event website

Seven Ethiopian troops killed in heavy fighting, bodies dragged through Mogadishu

MOGADISHU (AFP) - Seven Ethiopian soldiers were killed in heavy fighting on Thursday in the south of Mogadishu, and two of their bodies were dragged through the streets, an AFP correspondent witnessed.

Dozens of men and women pulled the bodies of two soldiers in the street, shouting "We will kill the Ethiopian troops", while five other bodies in Ethiopian uniforms lay on the ground in the southern district of Shirkole.

Nearby an Ethiopian military vehicle burned in the street. Loudspeakers had earlier transmitted calls for residents to come out and fight the Ethiopian troops backing Somalia's transitional government.(More...)

Ethioapin Helicopters fire on Somali market, at Least 30 dead

NewYork Times -- Any hope for a quick peace in Mogadishu, Somalia’s turbulent capital, was snuffed out today when Ethiopian troops stormed into the center of the city, setting off clashes that killed more than 30 people.

According to hospital officials in Mogadishu, most casualties were civilians caught in the crossfire between Ethiopian tanks and insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades.

Many residents now say they were better off under the Islamist administration, which briefly controlled Mogadishu last year until Ethiopian troops invaded.(More...)

Also see:
-SomaliNet: 15 Ethiopian soldiers killed in Mogadishu violence
-Reuters: Death and carnage in Somalia
-Shabelle: Two Ethiopian tanks damaged
-USA Today: Bombs dropped in Somalia
-Washington Times: Renewed violence in Somalia
-Somalia: A chaos of clans, Islamists, foreigners

Ethiopia calls for action on Eritrea

Ethiopia accused Eritrea on Thursday of arming anti-Ethiopian rebels and urged the United Nations to take action against its long-time Horn of Africa foe.

Eritrean officials were not immediately available to comment, but always deny such allegations.

Addis Ababa and Asmara have routinely fired harsh rhetoric at each other since a 1998 to 2000 border war killed 70 000 people. But tensions have climbed higher in recent months amid conflict in neighbouring Somalia and a kidnapping near their frontier.

"The Eritrean government ... is now organising, arming and training anti-peace Ethiopian elements to carry out its proxy war and cause destruction in the country," Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Parliament on Thursday.(More...)

Analyst says Somalia a Handicap for Ethiopia

VOA -- The al-Qaida terrorist organization has issued a call for Islamic extremists around the world to come to the aid of Somalis fighting the country's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its chief backer in the region, Ethiopia.

As VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu reports from VOA's East Africa Bureau in Nairobi, Ethiopia, which still has thousands of troops in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, is facing a threat it had hoped it had eliminated, when Ethiopia's military dismantled the leadership of Somalia's Islamist movement last December.

Appearing recently in an Internet video on al-Qaida's official media Web site, a prominent leader in the organization, Abu Yahya al-Libi, said it was the duty of all Muslim holy warriors to go to Somalia and help Somalis end what he called "the occupation of Abbyssinians and their apostate lackeys."

Chicago Tribune: Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee

In this caffeine-addled corner of the world, the bean and its brew are both blessing and curse, swirled together in a single cup.

JIMMA, Ethiopia -- Inside the coffee plant's corrugated metal fence, men look more like mules as they lug 100-pound sacks of coffee on their backs.

But as midday nears, a heavenly scent wafts from the corner, where Ahmed Achoumeto, 25, pounds a pile of black coffee beans in preparation for the noontime break.

"I am terribly addicted. If I don't get coffee, I can't see properly," he said, standing barefoot in the dirt, grinding the beans with a primitive 3-foot-long wooden pestle and a mortar made of a hollowed tree stump. "Almost everyone here is addicted."(More...)

Zimbabwean Opposition Leader Released

HARARE, Zimbabwe Mar 29, 2007 (AP)— The country's main opposition leader was freed after being held by police for several hours, party officials said Thursday, as southern African leaders gathered in Tanzania to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Police denied arresting Morgan Tsvangirai Wednesday as he prepared to talk to reporters about a wave of political violence that left him briefly hospitalized earlier this month.

"It doesn't matter how long he was deprived of his freedom, he was still arrested," Tsvangirai's aide, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, told The Associated Press Thursday.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Mugabe defiant as condemnation grows
-Rwanda to probe downing of former president's plane(Rwanda to investigate the death of a former president killed when his plane was shot down, widely seen as the trigger for its 1994 genocide)
-Democrats turn up the heat on Bush over Iraq
-How Britons were conned by Iranian gunboat trick (The speed and cunning shown by the Revolutionary Guards suggests that their action was premeditated)
-Castro Attacks Bush on Biofuels in First Article Since Surgery
-Arabs endorse peace plan, warn of nuclear arms race
-Ten of the best April Fool's Day hoaxes: US museum