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Friday, March 09, 2007

Britain cautious on reports Europeans kidnapped in Ethiopia 'safe'

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Meron Ahadu: a woman of substance] - [Ethiopia govt say European hostages "safe" with rebels-local leader] - [Rich get richer on the Forbes billionaires list] - [Desert telegraph brought first word on Ethiopian hostages] - [Salt merchants learn to survive Ethiopian desert ]

[U.N.: Rape Widespread in Darfur Conflict] - [Gingrich had affair during Clinton probe] - [Iraq readies for regional meeting in Baghdad] - [EU leaders agree to cut greenhouse gases] and more of today's top stories!

Jewish Ethiopian men attend a morning prayer service at compound while awaiting immigration to Israel March 8, 2007. More than 5,000 Ethiopian Jews are waiting to migrate to Israel to reunite with their families, according to a Jewish Agency. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte (ETHIOPIA). [Supermodel Esti Mamo on what its like to live as an Ethiopian-Israeli and her Aliyah experience...]



The Coalition for H.R. 5680: If you live in California, please contact your state assembly member or senator and ask for their support in co-sponsoring and/or voting for AJR 12.

For Sample Letters and the California Assembly Member Roster [Click here....] (word doc.)
Also see:
- California Joint resolution to Urge Bush, Congress to support human rights in Ethiopia

Ethiopia govt say European hostages "safe" with rebels-local leader

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Five Europeans and eight Ethiopians kidnapped in remote northern Ethiopia are "unharmed and safe" in the hands of Afar separatist rebels holding them across the border in Eritrea, an Afar leader said on Friday. Eritrea immediately repeated its denial that the captives were on its territory.(More...)

Britain cautious on reports Europeans kidnapped in Ethiopia 'safe'
BRUSSELS (AFP) - The British government said it was checking media reports on Friday that five Europeans kidnapped in Ethiopia are safe and well -- but urged caution.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett (picture), speaking on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels, said: "We have had indications that there are people who are saying that the hostages are OK.

"Obviously the issue as to where they are is something that's having to be looked at."

A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair added that London was trying to "establish the facts" concerning the reports. "It is important that we take this very carefully for the sake of all those involved," he said.(More...)

Rich get richer on the Forbes billionaires list

The members of the 2007 Forbes Billionaires List are worth more than they were last year. A record 946 people making the list this year are worth $3.5 trillion - $900 billion more than in 2006. The list includes 178 new billionaires.

Leading the parade of the rich for a 13th straight year is Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. He's followed by friend and fellow philanthropist Warren Buffett.

Two-thirds of last year's billionaires are richer this year, with net worths up for nearly every member of the top 50. There are 415 billionaires from the U.S., representing 44 percent of the entire list.

The 61 year old, Ethiopia born Mohammed Al Amoudi, who Has invested more than $1 billion in Ethiopia, from hotels to gold mines, is at a respectable number 86 with a Net Worth of $8 Billion. Mr. Al Amoudi's ranking on the list has fallen from 77 last year. However, his total net worth has gone up by over $1 billion. [See Al Amoudi's profile] [See Forbes List]

Meron Ahadu: a woman of substance

(Lulit Mesfin)

Yes, Virginia! Ethiopian-American women have arrived. On March 5th, 2007, one of our own, Ms. Meron Ahadu was honored by the California Sate Assembly as Assembly District 47 Woman of the Year.
This recognition is a telling story of how far and how long Ethiopian women have come through the years since we have spread our wings throughout the four corners of the globe.

It should not surprise us either that Meron was chosen for this honor. Whether she is working on issues of human rights in Ethiopia, voter registration drives in her community, or conducting interviews for the International Ethiopian Women Organization’s Sunday morning radio program, her community activism is second to none.

In fact, she is truly one of the few women in the diaspora who is passionately engaged in the struggle for peace, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia.

Meron Ahadu is the daughter of the legendary journalist and diplomat, Ambassador Ahadu Sabure. Anybody who has listened to her articulate interviews knows that the limb does not fall too far from the tree.(More...)

Desert telegraph brought first word on Ethiopian hostages


Dallol sulphur springs in Afar (REUTERS/Michel Laplace)

In an era of satellite phones and the internet, it seemed unremarkable that the first word on the fate of a group of British diplomats kidnapped in Ethiopia should come via a news agency 'snap' picked up almost instantly by 24-hour news stations.

The source for the report was an Ethiopian community leader who had just returned to Addis Ababa after a trip to the Afar region, where the four Britons and a Frenchwoman were seized by gunmen last Thursday.

Ismael Ali Gardo said that the five, and eight Ethiopians captured with them, had been abducted by an Afar separatist group and were being held in a settlement over the Eritrean border. They were, he reported, "unharmed and safe".

Mr Ismael said that the news, the first clear indication as to the hostages' fate, had trickled back via nomadic herdsmen passing through the desert region, who traditionally greet each other as they pass each other in the desert and, having sat down together, painstakingly swap news under the system of dagu.(More...)

Qaliti-Qalkidan: Letter from Qaliti prison

Writer's name withheld for his protection

-Letter from Qaliti prison (Amharic)
-Letter from Qaliti prison (English translation)

Salt merchants learn to survive Ethiopian desert

Ethiopia (Reuters) - Like his father, grandfather and generations before them, Berhe Amare has spent his life walking camels along treacherous caravan routes from Ethiopia's Afar desert to the Tigray highlands.

His two-week treks are made in blazing heat with thieves and thirst equal threats, but Amare does not complain.

"It is a good business," the salt merchant says, clutching a walking stick and adjusting his headgear to keep out the dust. "But we become very weak as the journey is difficult due to the temperatures."

His eight camels pick up blocks of salt bought from mines along lakes below sea level for 1.5 Ethiopian birr ($0.18) each. After walking through the desert and up barren mountains into the Tigray, he sells them for between six and 10 birr each.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Somalia AU plane 'catches fire'
-U.N.: Rape Widespread in Darfur Conflict
-Bush tries to win Latin America's hearts and minds
-Gingrich had affair during Clinton probe (Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair)
-Hearings set for 'high-value' Guantanamo inmates
-EU leaders agree to cut greenhouse gases
-Iraq readies for regional meeting in Baghdad
-Israel to Probe Human Shield Allegations (In New Charges, Israeli Group Says Troops Used Palestinian Civilians As Human Shields)
-Report: Heather Wants $19K A Day From Paul