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Monday, March 12, 2007

SMN: Ethiopian and Somali government forces physically abusing somali Journalists

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[CUD chairman Hailu Shawl’s eye condition deteriorating in prison] - [Ambassador Donald Yamamoto Interview] - [Tribal help sought in kidnap hunt] - [Group: 1,700 civilians killed in Somali strife] - [“Low-cost” generic drugs as health hazards in Ethiopia] - [Meskelsquare: Herald hacked]

[U.S. condemns attacks on protesters in Zimbabwe ] - [Chavez and Bush battle for Latin American hearts] - [New Al Qaeda Tape Critical of Hamas] - [President Chirac Bows Out of French Politics] and more of today's top stories!


100,000 Letters Campaign: UPDATE AND FAQs

The Coalition for H.R. 5680

The Coalition for H.R. 5680 is pleased to provide the following update on the international Ethiopian Diaspora response to the campaign to deliver 100,000 letters-in-ten-days to President Bush.

From the tens of thousands of emails we have received, and other information we have gathered from numerous others sources, we are please to report the following:

- The response to the letter campaign has been overwhelming, enthusiastic and massive.

- While we can not affirmatively state that 100,000 letters have been delivered to the White House, we can assert confidently that tens of thousands of letters have been delivered based on an extrapolation of the massive influx of email we have received at

- As evidenced in the postings on the various websites, discussions in the chat rooms and radio programs, and the enormous number of email communications we have received, the letter writing campaign was adopted and collaboratively undertaken by diverse and independent political, civic and social groups, organizations and associations, particularly in the United States.(More...)

CUD chairman Hailu Shawl’s eye condition deteriorating in prison

Due to prison authorities refusal to allow the appropriate medical care to CUD chairman Hailu Shawl, the eye condition he has been suffering from in the past is getting significantly worse, says a report by Tensae radio.

Hailu and the other CUD official incarcerated in Kality prison are classified by human rights groups, such as amnesty and HRW - as prisoners of conscience.(More in Amharic...)

Tribal help sought in kidnap hunt

Ethiopian and Eritrean officials are contacting a network of Afar tribal elders in the search for five missing tourists, says the UK foreign office.

Contrary to reports, they said British government investigators had not had any direct contact with the kidnappers.

British Embassy officials have found one of the damaged cars used by the group - four Britons, one French citizen and their Ethiopian staff. They have not been seen since being abducted 11 days ago in north Ethiopia.

On Sunday British Embassy staff used a pick-up truck to bring back the damaged Land Rover from Hamedali, in the remote Afar region near Eritrea, to Mekele in northern Ethiopia.(More...)

“Low-cost” generic drugs as health hazards in Ethiopia


It is common in this country for physicians to form alliances of sorts with local pharmacies in order to supplement their meagre government salary of 1200-1400/month (approximately $175 USD).

Many pharmacies carry only specific brand-name drugs and the physicians, in turn, prescribe those medications exclusively--the profits of which are then shared between the two parties.

In late November 2006, the Ethiopian Drug Administration and Control Authority (DACA) closed down over 60 local pharmeceutical agents for “failure to comply with national quality control standards” after recent visits to manufacturing headquarters in India apparently revealed shockingly inadequate production conditions.

It was further discovered that several of these Indian drug companies initially submitted an entirely different drug for testing (capable of passing quality control inspection procedures) at the national Louis Pasteur Laboratory in Addis.

Then, upon being awarded the contract, quality of the drug promptly declined—resulting in an entirely different, sub-standard product to be exported and distributed within Ethiopia.(More...)

SMN: Ethiopian and Somali government forces physically abusing somali Journalists

For the second consecutive day, journalists working for Shebelle Media network were harassed, beaten and detained by Ethiopian and Somali government forces.

Director of Shabelle Media Network, Mrs. Shukri Sheikh Ali, has expressed concerns over the harassment and beatings inflicted up on Shabelle journalists yesterday and today.

“This is really, a serious threat to the freedom of expressions in Somalia. Abdirahman Aladala, one of our reporters was beaten and stoned by government forces at El Irfeed, in the north east suburb of Mogadishu yesterday” said Shukri Ali in a statement released today.(More...)

Ambassador Donald Yamamoto Interview

...What is the size and extent of the U.S. mission to Ethiopia?

I've been in the area for 11 years and the number of people has doubled during that time, from 70 people. The United States has identified four countries as cornerstones, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Ethiopia, because of their populations and their positions in the regions.

Ethiopia ranks second in Africa in contributing peacekeeping troops and about fifth or sixth around the world, which is remarkable. After the G8 summit in 2005, all the countries decided that there was a need for a standby military force in Africa, an African solution to African problems.

The U.S. has trained about 18 countries. Ethiopian troops are the most disciplined, some of best peacekeepers around. They proved themselves very good in civil affairs in last year's flood.

Every two years there is some type of famine. We are committing resources to developing the economy, sustainable agriculture, expanding trade and job creation.(More...)

Group: 1,700 civilians killed in Somali strife

MOGADISHU, Somalia - More than 1,700 civilians were killed and 2,000 wounded in Somalia during the past year, a local human rights organization said Saturday.

Elman Human Rights Group said most of the deaths from March 9, 2006, to March 10, 2007, occurred in Mogadishu, one of the world's most violent and gun-infested cities. The group based its estimated figures on hospital reports and interviews with wounded victims in the country that has seen little more than anarchy for more than a decade.

Much of the death toll stems from months of battles that culminated in a radical Islamic militia wresting control of southern Somalia from an alliance of warlords in June.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Meskelsquare: Herald hacked (homepage of the state-controlled Ethiopian Herald has been hacked for days)
-U.S. condemns attacks on protesters in Zimbabwe
-Report condemns Sudan over Darfur(investigators have accused Sudan's government of "orchestrating and participating" in crimes in Darfur that include murder, mass rape, and kidnap)
-Man blows himself up in Moroccan web café
-Chavez and Bush battle for Latin American hearts
-New Al Qaeda Tape Critical of Hamas
-Iran Issues Bank Note With Nuclear Symbol
-President Chirac Bows Out of French Politics (President Jacques Chirac has announced that he will not stand as a candidate in the looming presidential election, ending a career of more than 40 years at the top of French politics)
-Pro-Kremlin parties win Russian regional polls
-US: Black leads still absent from network dramas