Click Here for EthioPolitics NEWS

New! EthioPolitics presents "ARTIST OF THE DAY"
where we feature artists from all over the world who have
contributed significantly to the world of music.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Qaliti qalkidan: Letter from Qaliti prison] - [Russia to cancel Ethiopia debt] - [Britons 'tried to pay off kidnappers'] - [U.S. hires contractor to help with peacekeeping ] - [Peacekeepers suffer first casualties in Somalia]

[Congo uranium smuggling scandal] - [House Democrats to unveil plan for troop pullout from Iraq] - [IAEA freezes assistance programs to Iran] - [Dreams of bombs, bad guys haunt Baghdad's children] and more of today's top stories!

(InatEthiopia by Artist Afewerk Tekle, 1963) -- March 8, As women around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, we remember Ethiopian women prisoners of conscience , at this time languishing in prison. Birtukan Mideksa , Journalist Serkalem Fasil (gave birth in prison), Nigist Gebrehiwot , Seblework Tadesse, Hirut Kifle, Wubitu Mosha (detained with her four-year-old son) - and the many more whose names we do not know.



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

Qaliti-Qalkidan: Letter from Qaliti prison

Writer's name withheld for his protection

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


Seven women journalists are currently in prison worldwide. They are Munusamy Parameshawary (Sri Lanka), Saidia Ahmed (Eritrea), Serkalem Fassil (Ethiopia), Rabiaa Abdul Wahab (Iraq), Umida Niyazova (Uzbekistan), Agnes Uwimana Nkusi (Rwanda) and Tatiana Mukakibibi (Rwanda)

(Picture - Serkalem Fassil)

"More and more women journalists are the victims of murder, arrest, threats or intimidation," RSF said. At the same time, "more and more women are working as journalists, holding riskier jobs in the media and doing investigative reporting."

The most striking case, RSF said, is that of Anna Politkovskaya's recent murder in Moscow. "This mother of two paid with her life for her opposition to the Russian government's policies in Chechnya."

Serkalem Fasil, an Ethiopian journalist, is in detention under appalling conditions, and gave birth to a son in prison in June. In Vietnam, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy lives under constant harassment and threat for her writings.(More...)

Britons 'tried to pay off kidnappers'

Two Ethiopians abducted with five British Embassy staff by armed men yesterday told how the group had tried to buy their way out of trouble before being marched into the desert.

(Picture - Ethiopia's Afar Region, near the place where five British embassy staff were kidnapped)

Ali Mohammed Ismail and Abdul Ali Ahmed told The Daily Telegraph how they were woken by gunfire at their camp in the village of Hamedela last Thursday.

Minutes later, three raiders armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles burst inside their crude shack. Mr Ismail, 20, and Mr Ahmed, 28, then watched as the embassy party, consisting of four Britons and one French citizen, tried in vain to buy their safety with cash and goods.

The group and 13 Ethiopian captives were then marched into the rough volcanic terrain of the Danakil desert. The raiders, who numbered at least 20, also stole about 12 camels, carrying food and water.

"They put me with the tourists and we began walking northwards," said Mr Ismail. Mr Ahmed said: "They were okay. They were walking at the same pace as us. They were not falling behind. They were not crying and no one had harmed them.(More...)

Russia to cancel Ethiopia debt

Addis Ababa - Russia will write off the remaining $160m debt owed to it by Ethiopia, said Moscow's ambassador to the Horn of Africa nation on Wednesday.

In 2005, Russia cancelled just over $1.1bn owed to it by the Horn of Africa nation, which was ruled from 1974-'91 by former Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and his Soviet-backed regime.

"Ethiopian and Russian officials have conducted discussions, and have agreed on how best to cancel the remaining $160m debt which Ethiopia owed to the former Soviet Union," said the Russian envoy Michael Afanasiev.(More...)

Amnesty Issues new Urgent action appeal for over 60 CUD supporters

Amnesty International

"A mother, Wubitu Mosha, detained with her four year old son, is among the detainees"

It is now known that over 60 officials or alleged supporters of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) party, arrested in different parts of the country, have been detained incommunicado since mid-December 2006 or early 2007.

Most are still held at the police Central Investigation Bureau (known as Maikelawi) in Addis Ababa but several were transferred to Kera police station in the Kirkos suburb of Addis Ababa. Five of those transferred were identified as Alemayehu Seifu, Tilahun Ayele, Yonas Getachew, Tadesse Zenebe and Gedlu Ayele.

A mother, Wubitu Mosha, detained with her four year old son, is among the detainees. All the detainees have been denied access to relatives and lawyers, and are at risk of torture or ill-treatment. New reports claim that several detainees have been beaten by police.(More...)

Peacekeepers suffer first casualties in Somalia

MOGADISHU - An ambush on African Union peacekeeping troops in Mogadishu left 12 civilians dead, according to a new toll Thursday, as more Ugandan soldiers arrived at the capital's heavily-fortified airport.

Ugandan army spokesman Paddy Ankunda told AFP that two AU peacekeepers were slightly injured in the gunfight Wednesday sparked by an ambush at a notorious junction near the airport.

"We have started investigations to find out what happened and who were the gunmen," Ankunda said, adding that the convoy had been heading to the Global Hotel, the AU civilian command centre, in northern Mogadishu.(More...)

U.S. hires contractor to help with peacekeeping in Somalia

The State Department has hired a major military contractor to help equip and provide logistical support to international peacekeepers in Somalia, giving the United States a significant role in the mission without assigning combat forces.

DynCorp International, which also has U.S. contracts in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, will be paid $10 million to help the first peacekeeping mission in Somalia in more than 10 years.

It's a potentially dangerous assignment. When the first 1,500 Ugandan peacekeepers arrived in Somalia's capital Tuesday, they were greeted with a mortar attack and a major firefight. And yesterday, attackers ambushed the peacekeepers in Mogadishu, setting off another gunfight.(More...)

UN, African Union, propose 24,000 force for Darfur

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 (UPI) -- The United Nations stepped up pressure on Sudan over its embattled western-most region of Darfur on two fronts.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has written a new letter to Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir detailing a proposed African Union-U.N. hybrid force of up to 24,000 personnel to help resolve the deadly conflict.

On the second front, Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, this month's president of the U.N. Security Council called in Khartoum's envoy, Ambassador Abdalmahmood Mohamad of Sudan.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Congo arrest over missing uranium (The Democratic Republic of Congo's top atomic energy official is being held over allegations of uranium smuggling)
-House Democrats to unveil plan for troop pullout from Iraq
-No military solution to Iraq - US chief
-Dreams of bombs, bad guys haunt Baghdad's children
-IAEA freezes assistance programs to Iran
-Taliban: We're Ready For NATO (Insurgent Commander Says 4,000 Fighters Are PreparedTo Battle Largest-Ever NATO Offensive)
-At the Polls, Northern Ireland Tries to Resurrect Self-Rule
-Soccer fan punishes child's foul with karate