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Friday, May 11, 2007

Congressional Hearing: Is There a Human Rights Double Standard? U.S. Policy Toward Ethiopia

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Uncensoring the Internet] - [BBC: Blair passes on his African vision ] - [Was al Qaeda ever in Somalia?] - [Source: Aid workers kidnapped in Somalia are safe ] - [Heartfelt hip-hop]

[Zimbabwe Likely to Head Key U.N. Body] - [Blair's Likely Successor Takes The Mic] - [Iran, North Korea seek to boost cooperation ] - [Sarkozy's Luxury Vacation Stirs Controversy in France] and more of today's top stories!


5K Walk Kinijit DC Metro - May 12

Is There a Human Rights Double Standard? U.S. Policy Toward Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia

Joint Hearing With the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health

Un-censoring the Internet

(IHT) Programmers at the University of Toronto have developed a new version of software called Psiphon, which aims to help Internet users get around government controls.

People in places where the Internet is censored can use Psiphon when their contacts in other countries download the software to their own machines, creating a proxy computer for those in the censored countries to use.

[psiphon website] "psiphon is a human rights software project developed by the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies that allows citizens in uncensored countries to provide unfettered access to the Net through their home computers to friends and family members who live behind firewalls of states that censor."

-(Video) Psiphon - New Way TO OVERCOME GOVERNMENT BLOCKAGE OF THE InterNET - Psiphon
-Psiphon Usage....

Also see:
-Watchdog - Ethiopian Govt. blocks opposition Web sites
-Ethiopia #1 on the list of countries where press freedom is deteriorating

Was al Qaeda ever in Somalia?

WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda has failed for more than a decade to establish an operational base in Somalia due to the country’s austere environment and inhospitable clans, a new U.S. military report says.

Fears that Somalia, on the Horn of Africa and accessible by land and sea, is ripe to become an al Qaeda hub have so far failed to materialize.

“Al Qaeda found more adversity than success in Somalia,” states the report by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. “In order to project power, al Qaeda needed to be able to promote its ideology, gain an operational safe haven, manipulate underlying conditions to secure popular support and have adequate financing for continued operations. It achieved none of these objectives.”

The report is based in part on 27 recently declassified al Qaeda documents seized during the war on terrorism and on recent developments in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. Ethiopia, a U.S. ally, in December ousted a radical Islamic group that attempted to take power.(More...)

BBC: Blair passes on his African vision

...Mr Blair had the misfortune - at the time - to find himself sitting next to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, his erstwhile friend and member of the Commission for Africa.

Only, Prime Minister Meles had - during 2005 - locked up members of the Ethiopian opposition after unrest following disputed elections. Another blow perhaps, to the "African Renaissance"?

The body language between Blair and Meles, and the rather noticeable gap between their chairs at the news conference seemed to reveal a strained relationship.(More...)

Source: Aid workers kidnapped in Somalia are safe

semi-autonomous Puntland region are in good health and their abductors are negotiating with local elders to free them, a source close to the captors said on Friday.

The source, who did not want to be named, said the Briton and Kenyan were being held near where they were seized on Wednesday, some 75 miles (120 km) south of Puntland's main port Bossaso. They worked for the CARE International relief agency.(More...)

SundayTimes: Eritrea hosts regional rebels

ASMARA - They sip cappuccinos and gesture in debates, their papers and satellite telephones strewn on tables of hotels in Asmara, a refuge for the Horn of Africa’s dissidents and self-imposed opposition leaders.

For a diverse group of people, from Ethiopian opposition groups and deserting soldiers to Somali politicians and Sudanese rebel leaders, the Eritrean capital is a popular stopping point.

"We are the free opposition," said Sharif Saleh Mohammed Ali, a spokesman for 42 former lawmakers who fled Somalia when Ethiopian-backed government troops ousted an Islamist movement at the start of the year.

"We are now engaged in finding alternative solutions for Somalia," said Ali, who met here with top Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. Surrounded by colleagues wearing sharp suits and embroidered pillbox hats, Ali sits on the same couches in the state-run Embasoira Hotel that previously hosted Eastern Sudanese rebels.(More....)

Heartfelt hip-hop

(Rapper Gabriel Teodros, who was born in Ethiopia, wants to help others through his music. He will perform Thursday at Hell’s Kitchen)

...“East Africa” is among the songs that reference Teodros’s Ethiopian heritage. “I was actually born here. My mom left when she was 18. “I grew up in an Ethiopian household, it was just on Beacon Hill. So a lot of the experiences I’m talking about on those songs are my uncles, aunts, cousins – plus my personal experiences as well. But it’s all in there.”

Teodros also uses his rap skills to mentor kids at Seattle Public Schools, Langston Hughes and through the WAPIFASA outreach program.

“My mission with music wasn’t just about making some music and making some money off of it,” he said. “It’s always been about helping out some kids who are just like me, because hip-hop helped me out a lot personally. It let me know that I wasn’t alone in this world. It let me know that I wasn’t crazy. It let me know that I could overcome any obstacle.”(More...)

Today's Top International Stories

-Zimbabwe Likely to Head Key U.N. Body (Zimbabwe Likely to Head Key U.N. Development and Environment Commission Despite Protests)
-Blair's Likely Successor Takes The Mic
-German court rejects appeal by jailed 9/11 helper
-Rice confronts assertive Russia with less leverage
-Iran, North Korea seek to boost cooperation
-Sarkozy's Luxury Vacation Stirs Controversy in France
-Dalai Lama eyes retirement