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Thursday, March 15, 2007

IFJ Director: Eritrea and Ethiopia creating a lasting legacy of intolerance for free expression

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[vigil for eight Ethiopians still being held captive] - [Monument to Ethiopians who died en route to Israel dedicated at Mt. Herzl] - [Kenya defends prisoners' transfers to Ethiopia and Somalia] - [Liya Kebede re-appointed goodwill envoy] - [IRIN: Up to 40,000 civilians flee Mogadishu]

[Condemnation mounts against Mugabe] - [Al Qaeda's No. 3 says he planned 9/11] - [Global powers agree on UN sanctions for Iran] - [U.S. moves to unfreeze N. Korea funds] and more of today's top stories!

Ethiopians whose roots trace back to Judaism, board a plane at Addis Ababa's airport March 15, 2007.REUTERS/Eliana Aponte

Monument to Ethiopian Jews: A monument commemorating the more than 4,000 Ethiopian Jews who died in Sudan while attempting to reach Israel was dedicated at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Thousands of Ethiopian Jews immigrated to Israel via Sudan in the 1970s. In 1984, Operation Moses airlifted thousands more who had been residing in camps.(More...)


Professor Mesfin Woldemariam's letter from Kality Prison- (Amharic) (English)

IFJ Director: Eritrea and Ethiopia creating a lasting legacy of intolerance for free expression

journalists in Eritrea and Ethiopia who have been held for years without trial in deplorable conditions and denied any contact with lawyers or their families.

"Eritrea and Ethiopia are both creating a lasting legacy of human rights abuse and intolerance for free expression that is not just taking a toll on society but also on the health and well being of the journalists they have detained for an unconscionably long time," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office.

The IFJ sent an open letter to the Swedish Parliament calling on it to facilitate the release of 20 journalists jailed in Ethiopia for periods ranging from more than a year to almost three years and 15 journalists imprisoned in Eritrea for almost six years.(More...)

Also see:
-The IFJ Calls on the Swedish Parliament to Urge Release of Journalists Imprisoned in Ethiopia and Eritrea

Vigil for eight Ethiopians still being held captive

Ethiopia's British community is to hold a vigil on Thursday night for eight Ethiopians still being held captive after their kidnap in the Afar region.

There has been concern over the safety of the Ethiopians who were taken hostage along with five British embassy workers earlier this month.

Armed bandits seized them, but freed the foreigners to the authorities of neighbouring Eritrea on Tuesday. Eritrea has denied Ethiopian claims that they were behind the kidnapping. The Afar region straddles the border of Ethiopia and Eritrea.(More...)

Kenya defends prisoners' transfers to Ethiopia and Somalia, denies United States behind actions

Kenyan authorities on Wednesday defended the secret transfers of dozens of prisoners and rejected allegations that its ally the United States was directing its actions. The U.S. government refused to confirm or deny allegations that it played a significant behind-the-scenes role.

A spokesman for Kenya's police, who'd detained at least 150 people who were caught fleeing December's U.S.-backed war against Islamist militias in Somalia, said top levels of government in Kenya and Somalia had directed the transfers of at least 80 of the prisoners.

The spokesman, Gideon Kibunja, said U.S. law enforcement agents had provided "consultations" to Kenyan authorities, who held and interrogated the prisoners. The countries routinely cooperate on terrorism cases in Kenya, where alleged al-Qaida operatives bombed the U.S. Embassy in 1998.

"Kenya is an independent state," Kibunja said. "We can consult with friends. We cannot take orders."(More...)

IRIN: Up to 40,000 civilians flee Mogadishu

Escalating violence and insecurity in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, forced at least 40,000 civilians to flee the city in February, United Nations humanitarian agencies working in the country have said.

"Insecurity, fear of attacks, removal from public buildings and outright violence are the main reasons for the movement of peoples and more than 40,000 people have left Mogadishu in the past month," the agencies said in a February situation report released on Wednesday.

Insecurity had also affected the ability of humanitarian organisations to respond to emergencies and emerging needs. "The insecurity has restricted mobility and access and this undermines efforts to re-engage at a level that would be a commensurate response to humanitarian needs," they said.(More...)

Liya Kebede re-appointed goodwill envoy for maternal, newborn and child health

Geneva, Mar.15 : Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), has re-appointed top Ethiopian fashion model Liya Kebede as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health after a successful first two years in the role.

She was initially appointed in advance of World Health Day 2005, which focused on the health of mothers and their children.

As WHO Goodwill Ambassador, Liya Kebede will continue to highlight the fact that each day on average 1600 mothers die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth and nearly 11 million children die each year before they reach their fifth birthday, including four million who die within the first 28 days of life. Almost all these deaths occur in developing countries, although millions of lives could be saved using the knowledge we have today.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Condemnation mounts against Mugabe
-The web watchdog biting Kenya's MPs
-Al Qaeda's No. 3 says he planned 9/11, dozens of other plots
-Global powers agree on UN sanctions for Iran
-Palestinian PM unveils unity team (Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya has unveiled a national unity cabinet after months of negotiations between his Hamas movement and Fatah)
-U.S. moves to unfreeze N. Korea funds
-New Leopard Species Found in Borneo
-Finally, something good about being old..