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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Professor Lyons: He would just laugh at us

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:

[NY Times: New York Times Journalists detained, beaten and threatened By Ethiopian Military Personnel]

[IPI to Keep Ethiopia on Watch List] - [Energy-hungry Beijing suffers a backlash in Ethiopia] - [Was Satellite Radio Invented by way of Ethiopia?] - [New Continent-Wide African Aviation Agency Aims to Boost Air Safety]

[Aid convoy under fire in Lebanon] - [New York cabs to go green by 2012] - [British prosecutors accuse former KGB agent In Litvinenko Death ] - [Poll: Most U.S. Muslims reject suicide bombings] and more of today's top stories!


Ethiopian millenium in Atlanta, Georgia: Bringing africans together


NY Times: New York Times Journalists detained, beaten and threatened By Ethiopian Military Personnel


A NEW YORK TIMES report says Ms. Vick (journalist) was kicked in the back, and all three reporters were repeatedly threatened!

NEW YORK TIMES, May 22, 2007 -- Three journalists for The New York Times were arrested by the Ethiopian military on May 16 in the Ogaden region of the country, held for five days and interrogated at gunpoint, and then released on Monday without any charges being lodged against them, The Times said today.

(Picture - New York Times reporter Jeffrey Gettleman)

The three journalists — Jeffrey Gettleman, 35, Nairobi bureau chief; Vanessa Vick, 43, a photographer; and Courtenay Morris, 34, a videographer — were reporting on the conflict in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia when they were detained by soldiers in the town of Degeh Bur.

While in detention, they were moved to three different jails before being released from a prison in Addis Ababa on Monday. The three journalists, who have now left Ethiopia, said they were never told why they were detained, and that Ethiopian military officials refused to notify the American embassy of their arrest. During questioning, Ms. Vick was kicked in the back, and all three were repeatedly threatened.(More...)

Ethio-Zagol, as usual, was the first to break this story. Excellent Job EZ

Also see:
-CPJ: Ethiopia frees New York Times journalists after five-day detention
-'NY Times' Staffers Released After Being Held In Ethiopia
-Ethiopian military held 3 New York Times journalists for 5 days

...He would just laugh at us

The Center for Public Integrity

Meles, the prime minister, is "the victorious-against-terrorists" said professor Lyons. "He is not worried if the [U.S.] ambassador says we are concerned about prison conditions. He would just laugh at us."

...thanks to a concerted lobbying effort on behalf of the Ethiopian government and objections from the State Department, supporters of the Ethiopian government managed to stop a bill in Congress that would have cut off security assistance on human rights grounds.

The Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights Advancement Act, introduced by Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., in June 2006, proposed to put limits on military aid to Ethiopia — with the exception of peacekeeping and antiterrorism programs — until the government released all political prisoners and provided fair and speedy trials to other prisoners held without charges.

The bill swiftly passed the House International Relations Committee with bipartisan support. That's when both advocates and opponents of aid to Ethiopia became active.

The Ethiopian diaspora in the United States launched a letter and e-mail campaign to push the legislation in Congress. To counter that grass-roots effort, the Ethiopian government hired a well-established law and lobbying firm in Washington, DLA Piper, to quash the bill; DLA Piper says its work on Smith's bill was only part of its $50,000 per month representation of the Ethiopian government.

The lobbying team included former House Republican majority leader Dick Armey and 12 other lobbyists. DLA Piper also produced and distributed a nine-page memo highlighting the Ethiopian government's opposition to the bill.(MORE...)

IPI to Keep Ethiopia on Watch List

At the Board Meeting of the International Press Institute (IPI), in Istanbul, Turkey on 12 May 2007, the IPI Board voted unanimously to keep Ethiopia, Nepal, Russia, Venezuela and Zimbabwe on the IPI Watch List.

Commenting on the Ethiopia situation, IPI Director Johann P. Fritz said, "While I welcome the release of imprisoned journalists in Ethiopia, a number still remain in detention. I hope the Ethiopian authorities will immediately release these journalists and refrain from introducing a press law that contains a number of clauses that undermine freedom of the press."

Energy-hungry Beijing suffers a backlash in Ethiopia

Chinese state companies have been expanding across the African continent in pursuit of raw materials at an accelerating pace and with apparently far less attention to risk than some of their western peers.

Their push for minerals and mineral rights began in southern Sudan where the Chinese oil company CNOOC began building oil pipelines in the late 1990s - long before separatist rebels struck a deal with the Khartoum regime to end decades of civil war.

Despite the growing presence of Chinese workers in far-flung corners of Africa there have been relatively few reports of them falling victim to violence or becoming ensnared in localised conflicts.(More...)

UN in row over crisis in Somalia

The United Nations is in deep disagreement with Somalia's interim government over the scale of the crisis in the capital, a top UN official says.

UN aid chief John Holmes says the dispute complicated his talks in Mogadishu with government officials.

The UN says some 300,000 people fled the city during recent clashes but the government says less than 30,000 left. Some 1,300 people died during the fighting between Ethiopian-backed government troops and insurgents.(More...)

Also see:
-UN, Somali govt disagree over crisis in Mogadishu

New Continent-Wide African Aviation Agency Aims to Boost Air Safety

DOUALA, Cameroon (AP) -- When a brand-new Kenya Airways Boeing 737 crashed into a jungle swamp seconds after take-off from Douala airport this month, killing all 114 people aboard, authorities mistakenly thought it had plunged 100 miles to the south.

Two days passed before they found out from local villagers that the wreckage was just 3.4 miles from the terminal building, almost within view of the airport's southern boundary.

The absence of radar at Douala International Airport, the initial lack of concern at the plane's failure to report to air traffic control after take-off and the seemingly lackadaisical search effort renewed apprehensions about the safety of African air travel.(More...)

Was Satellite Radio Invented by way of Ethiopia?

The answer is yes. The same country that has brought the world the likes of the world’s richest person of African descent Mr. Mohammed Al Amoudi has also brought the world Noah Samara.

Mr. Samara is indeed the founder and CEO of WorldSpace, which pioneered the satellite radio technology, thereby being the first to introduce the technology to the market.

Noah Samara was born in Ethiopia and comes from a very diverse background. He was born to an Ethiopian mother and a Sudanese father. At the age of 17, Noah left Ethiopia and the familiar East African coast for America, in search of a better education.

He found the education that he was looking for, while in America and his educational sojourn ended with him receiving his law degree from Georgetown University.

The area that he chose to specialise in was satellite communications law. Prior to the launch of World Space, Noah embarked on career that was heavily weighted towards satellite technology.

In 1990 he resigned from his job and began working towards the launch of WorldSpace. And $USD 2.5B later World Space was up and running with it’s first satellite-AfriStar. The company has been lauded for it’s ability to reach remote area’s of the world with vital information, via satellite transmission.(More...)

British prosecutors accuse former KGB agent In Litvinenko Death

Tuesday of murder in the radioactive poisoning of fellow ex-operative Alexander Litvinenko and sought his extradition from Russia. The case is sure to challenge already-tense relations between London and Moscow.

(Picture - Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko left, and at right, former KGB officer Andrei Lugovoi, now charged by British authorities with Litvinenko's murder)

Andrei Lugovoi had met with Litvinenko at a London hotel hours before the former agent turned Kremlin critic fell ill with polonium-210 poisoning.

Lugovoi has repeatedly denied any involvement in interviews with the police and media, and he reiterated that position on Tuesday.

``I consider that this decision to be political, I did not kill Litvinenko, I have no relation to his death and I can only express well-founded distrust for the so-called basis of proof collected by British judicial officials,'' Lugovoi was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti and other agencies as saying.(More...)

Also see:
-Russia says cannot extradite Lugovoy to Britain
-The radiation trail
-Timeline: Alexander Litvinenko

Biographer delves into life of Einstein

The scientist whose name became synonymous with "genius" was certainly that, blessed with a gift for innovative, creative thinking and endless reserves of determination.

But there were other sides to the legendary physicist. There was the celebrity, thrust into the limelight by his theories of special and general relativity, treated by the press as dignitary and spokesman. There was the quotable wit whose image has lent itself to every avuncular movie scientist since the advent of sound.

And there was the sometimes diffident family man, capable of both shocking coldness and gentle humility. He was, in short, quite a human being.

He not only had a rebellious creativity that was unmatched by anyone since Isaac Newton, he also had an engaging personality, passionate beliefs and a sparkling humor that made him a celebrity rivaled by only Charlie Chaplin," Isaacson says in a phone interview from a West Coast book tour stop.(More...)

Today's Top International Stories

-Son fights Amin's bloody legacy (Former Ugandan leader Idi Amin Dada's son wants a truth and reconciliation commission to probe alleged atrocities committed during his father's rule)
-New York cabs to go green by 2012
-Aid convoy under fire in Lebanon
-Israel and Militants Trade Deadly Attacks in Gaza
-American Academic Accused of Plotting Revolution in Iran
-Poll: Most U.S. Muslims reject suicide bombings
-Museum offered head for shrinking