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Thursday, April 19, 2007

EU observers' report on the Ethiopia Trials SUPPRESSED

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[VOA: Somali Sub-Clans Said to be Uniting Against Government, Ethiopia ]
[AP: Ethiopian military truck explodes in Somali capital]
[Report says scores of Ethiopian troops flee Somalia to Yemen ] - [Kenya to Begin Shuttle Diplomacy Between Rivals Eritrea and Ethiopia] - [Street battles kill 14 in Somali capital] - [Leave Somalia or face all-out war, Ethiopia told]

[China says it opposes any Sudan sanctions] - [Sarkozy, Royal pull ahead in French election race ] - [Yahoo sued over data on Chinese dissidents] - [Missing BBC correspondent 'alive' ] and more of today's top stories!

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Get on the Bus with Amnesty International

(Picture - 2005 GET ON THE BUS rally at the Chinese Consulate) Last Year Over 1000 student and adult activists from 160 different groups converged in New York City for a day of human rights action and education. This year, Amnesty International aims to make the human rights situation in Ethiopia one of its focus points.

This Friday April 20th:

For the 12th consecutive year, Amnesty International Local Group 133 in Somerville, Mass. is organizing the Get on the Bus (GOTB) trip to New York City for one full day of human rights action and education. We invite you and your group to join other activists to take to the streets of New York City and march for human rights.

The actions for the 2007 GOTB include - ETHIOPIA ACTION (Special Focus Case Mesfin Woldemariam)--Visit Event Site--

EU observers' report on the Ethiopia Trials SUPPRESSED

ETP -- In a letter addressed to the European commission and the European council, the honorable Ana Gomes inquires about the EU observers' (British judge Michael Ellman) report concerning the ongoing trials in Ethiopia; in which opponents of the Prime Minister, human rights activists and journalists stand accused of trumped up charges.

EU commissioner Louis Michel in his reply dated April 16, 2007, says the EU observers' report has already been presented to the government of Ethiopia and some EU officials; but will not be made public until the completion of the trials.

The European Council, however, was more candid than Commissioner Michel - implying that the report was suppressed and the observer, Michal Elman, replaced - after the Ethiopian government expressed its objection.


Somali Sub-Clans Said to be Uniting Against Government, Ethiopia

Somali Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Aideed has formed an alliance opposed to Ethiopia's presence in Mogadishu.

VOA -- In a possible sign that fractious sub-clans of Somalia's Hawiye tribe may be uniting to oppose Ethiopia and Somalia's interim government, a top Islamist leader and the deputy prime minister of the interim government have jointly issued an ultimatum for Ethiopian troops to leave Somalia immediately or face an all-out war. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu has this report from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi.

The ultimatum, issued late Wednesday by Islamist leader Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and Hussein Aideed, was blunt - leave Somalia now or prepare to fight to the death.

The two senior leaders, who are members of the Hawiye clan that dominates the Somali capital, Mogadishu, spoke after holding talks in Eritrea, Ethiopia's archrival in the Horn of Africa.(More...)

Ethiopian military truck explodes in Somali capital

Picture - Hawiye clan soldiers fire towards Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu, Thursday, April 19, 2007. At least 12 people were killed on Thursday during fighting between Ethiopian troops backing Somalia's fragile government and insurgents in the capital, said witnesses, hours after an Ethiopian military truck exploded on the capital's outskirts. Fighting between the two sides resumed Thursday after a day's pause. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)

MOGADISHU, Somalia – An Ethiopian military truck exploded on Thursday on the outskirts of the Somali capital, possibly killing an unknown number of soldiers on board, said a witness, who did not know what caused the explosion.

The explosion comes after two days of intermittent street battles between Ethiopian troops backing Somalia's fragile government and insurgents that saw both sides use tank shells, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Some residents characterized the fighting as the most intense in many years. At least 14 people were killed in the fighting and dozens injured.(More...)

Street battles kill 14 in Somali capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Mortar fire killed three people and wounded six in the Somali capital Wednesday after a night of street fighting left at least 11 people dead and dozens injured, witnesses and health officials said.

Fadumo Muyadin, a schoolteacher, told The Associated Press that she saw two women and one man dead when she went to see whether victims of the attack in the northern part of Mogadishuh needed help. She said she drove some of the wounded to a hospital.

It was not clear who fired the mortars, witnesses said.(More...)

Leave Somalia or face all-out war, Ethiopia told

Ethiopia must withdraw its troops from Somalia immediately or face an all-out war that "no army" could resist, three senior Somali leaders warned on Wednesday.

The three, including top Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hussein Aidid, who holds a post in Somalia's government, were meeting in the Eritrean capital for talks.

Aidid said Somalis will unite against the "brutal occupation" of Ethiopian forces, who earlier this year helped the government's armed forces wrest control of much of Somalia from an Islamist movement.(More...)

Report says scores of Ethiopian troops flee Somalia to Yemen

Sana'a - Scores of Ethiopian army troops have arrived off the coast of Yemen onboard two boats belonging to smugglers after they fled fighting with Islamic insurgents in Somalia, a press report said on Tuesday.

Some 89 Ethiopian soldiers arrived in the Arqa area in southern Yemen after crossing the Gulf of Aden from Bosaso city in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in northeast Somalia, the al-Ayyam daily newspaper said in a report on its website.

The paper said 49 Somali refugees were aboard the boats that carried the soldiers, who were wearing civilian clothes.(More...)

ETHIOPIA: Thousands exposed to danger from landmines

ADDIS ABABA, 18 April 2007 (IRIN) - Ethiopia's Afar and Tigray regional states are so heavily mined that hundreds of thousands of people living there are exposed to danger from the ordnances, official statistics show.

Most of the landmines were planted during the recent Ethiopia-Eritrea boundary war, which was mainly fought in the two states because they share borders with Eritrea. Data compiled by the national Landmine Action Office shows that 375,899 and 66,478 people in Tigray and Afar regional states, respectively, are exposed to the danger of landmines.

According to a local NGO, Rehabilitation and Development Organization (RaDO), at least 39 new mine and UXO (unexploded ordnance) accidents were recorded in the two regions between January 2005 and May 2006. Ten people were killed and 16 injured.(More...)

Kenya to Begin Shuttle Diplomacy Between Rivals Eritrea and Ethiopia

Kenya's Foreign Ministry says it is preparing an intense diplomatic shuttle to bring an end to the crisis between Horn of Africa rivals Eritrea and Ethiopia over Somalia. VOA correspondent Alisha Ryu reports from Nairobi.

Kenya's Deputy Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula says ministry officials are working hard to lay the groundwork for Foreign Minister Raphael Tuju to begin the shuttle in the next two weeks.

"It is a process that involves wide-ranging consultations between several capitals," he said. "The details of how we are going to go about it are being worked out."(More...)

Campaign launched to re-erect Bikila and Wolde statues

(Left)Abebe Bikila, (center)Mamo Wolde, (right)Yidnekachew Tessema

The names of Abebe Bikila and Mamo Wolde hold a legendary aura in the history of the Olympics. The two Ethiopian runners gave their country an Olympic marathon monopoly in the 1960s, from Bikila’s barefoot victory along a torch lit Appian Way in Rome 1960 - Ethiopia’s first ever gold medal - and then his successful defence in 1964 in Tokyo - this time wearing shoes - to Wolde’s title win in Mexico City in 1968, when aged 38.

Bikila died on 25 October 1973 and Wolde passed away on 26 May 2002, and in their honour statues were erected by a grateful nation in St. Joseph cemetery in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

However, on the evening of 7 March 2007 the statues were vandalized and while the police have been investigating they so far they have not been able to identify the criminals.(More...)

Today's Top International Stories

-Heavy shelling in Somali capital
-China says it opposes any Sudan sanctions
-Gates Urges Iraq to Hasten Push to Defuse Sectarianism
-Yahoo sued over data on Chinese dissidents(human-rights group filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Yahoo Inc. for allegedly providing information to the Chinese government)
-Sarkozy, Royal pull ahead in French election race
-Missing BBC correspondent 'alive'
-IAEA: Iran making nuclear fuel in underground plant
-Silvio Surrounded by Girls: What Does Mrs. Berlusconi Say?