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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Horror stories of torture hound Ethiopia as it proclaims commitment to reform

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[ION: Top officers meet in conclave] - [Ethiopian foreign minister says troops will stay in Somalia] - [Blast wounds Ethiopia regional leader; 11 dead] - [Roche agrees free AIDS drug technology transfer to Pharmaceutical Factory in Ethiopia]

[Bush announces new sanctions against Sudan] - [Bill Gates, Steve Jobs set for historic conversation] - [BP to announce a return to Libya] - [Contestants to vie for kidney on reality show] and more of today's top stories!


Democracy in Ethiopia, Unplugged:
Reflections on a Dream Deferred

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam’s speech at the Oakland Kinijit Support chapter town hall meeting, on the occasion of the second anniversary of the May 2005 elections

Horror stories of torture hound Ethiopia as it proclaims commitment to reform

Evidence suggests nation jails its citizens without reason or trial, tortures many of them and habitually violates its own laws

During the six months that 25-year-old Aman was detained in an Addis Ababa prison, he alleges, police kicked and punched him and kept him for weeks on end in a tiny cell with his hands bound as if always in prayer.

Then there was the day that Aman, a second-year law student at the time, went before a judge and found himself correcting her on the Ethiopian criminal code. She had granted prosecutors' request to detain him for three weeks of investigation, a week longer than the law allows.

“I could not have words to express the situation, it is so difficult,” said Aman, who was never charged with a crime and eventually released. “They appoint judges who have no legal knowledge of law, who learn about the law for six months and sit at the court.”(More...)




Top officers meet in conclave
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1214 25/05/2007

A group of top-ranking Ethiopian military officers have been meeting in a closed session at the ministry of defence in Addis Ababa for the past week. They were asked to check in their cell-phones at the cloakroom before being allowed into the meeting room. The subject of their meeting was not disclosed to the public.

However, according to information pieced together from a variety of sources by The Indian Ocean Newsletter, there was a considerable divergence of opinion during the meeting over the situation in Somalia and the continuing defections of Ethiopian servicemen who flee to Eritrea. The fourth army division is already showing signs of internal tension.

Furthermore, official banners have begun to appear in Addis Ababa displaying the words "betigil memot hiwot" which means to die struggling is to be alive. This is an odd hark back to an old revolutionary slogan of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP, opposition) dating from the 1970s.

In fact, the Ethiopian government wants to honour the victims of the red terror (under the reign of Haile Mariam Mengistu) on May 27 and the national radio station has started playing EPRP songs. The reasoning behind this government strategy of taking over symbols associated with this opposition party still remains somewhat obscure.

Blast wounds Ethiopia regional leader; 11 dead

ADDIS ABABA 05/29 - A grenade attack in Ethiopia`s volatile Somali region on Monday wounded the local president, killed five people at a packed ceremony and sparked a stampede that left a further six dead, witnesses said.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi`s government blamed the attack on the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a separatist movement in the remote eastern area which last month attacked a Chinese-run oil exploration field, killing 74. But the ONLF denied involvement in the attack.(More...)

Also see:
-Ethiopia blames rebel Ogaden for killer blast
-Suspects held for Ethiopia attack
-Ethiopian Grenade Attack, Five Suspects Held

Roche agrees free AIDS drug technology transfer to Pharmaceutical Factory in Ethiopia

BASLE, Switzerland (Thomson Financial) - Roche Holding AG said it has agreed free technology transfers with two African laboratories concerning AIDS medication. The Swiss pharmaceuticals group said it has signed agreements with Addis Pharmaceutical Factory in Ethiopia and Varichem Pharmaceuticals in Zimbabwe.

Under the terms of the deals, the two African laboratories will receive free technical know-how enabling them to produce a generic anti-HIV treatment, based on the process for manufacturing Saquinavir, Roche's drug for the treatment of the AIDS.

Under Roche's technology transfer programme, which was initiated in January 2006, the company has so far signed deals with five African laboratories.(More...)

Ethiopian foreign minister says troops will stay in Somalia

Ethiopian foreign minister, Seum Mesfin, revealed that the thousands of Ethiopian military forces backing the tenuous Somali transitional government would not be withdrawn immediately, saying they rescued the Somali population from Islamic hardliners.

He made the remarks following his arrival in Mogadishu in early this week while he witnessed the resetting up of Ethiopian embassy in the war-torn country.

“Many Somali officials, civil society members and tribal elders asked that we should not leave Somalia while it is still vulnerable and we are determined to make sure that Islamists do not come back and traumatize the population,” he said.(More...)

Also see:
-Somalia Slipping Away
-Gunman kills judge in Mogadishu attack

Ethiopia begins 10-day population count

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Africa's second most populous country, Ethiopia, began a 10-day population count Tuesday, an exercise aimed at helping the government plan economic and social programs and help donors target their aid better.

Over 100,000 census officials fanned out across Ethiopia on Tuesday. The last census was in 1994 when officials found out there were 54 million Ethiopians in the country. Preliminary results of the population count will be released in five months, and final results in 1½ years.(More...)

Bush announces new sanctions against Sudan

WASHINGTON — President Bush ordered new U.S. economic sanctions today to pressure Sudan's government to halt the bloodshed in Darfur that the administration has condemned as genocide.

(Picture - Relatives mourn over the body of a one-year-old child who died of malnutrition in a refugee camp near a town in the Darfur region of Sudan)

"I promise this to the people of Darfur: the United States will not avert our eyes from a crisis that challenges the conscience of the world," the president said.

The sanctions target government-run companies involved in Sudan's oil industry, and three individuals, including a rebel leader suspected of being involved in the violence in Darfur.

"For too long the people of Darfur have suffered at the hands of a government that is complicit in the bombing, murder and rape of innocent civilians," the president said. "My administration has called these actions by their rightful name: genocide. "The world has a responsibility to put an end to it," Bush said.(More...)

Also see:
-China Rejects US Sanctions Against Sudan For Darfur Conflict

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs set for historic conversation

SAN FRANCISCO - For more than two decades, Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft chairperson Bill Gates have sparred over the issues that were crucial to the development of the technology industry.

Issues such as whether it's wiser for a company to partner or build everything itself. Or the primacy of software versus hardware in personal computers. Or which is more important: how easy it is to use a product or what it can do once you figure out how?

sometimes friendly but often not, has always been from a distance.

Until now.

Although Gates made a famous phone call to Jobs in 1997 and the two shared a stage briefly at a 1983 Apple promotional event, the two industry icons have never had a public conversation.

So when they sit down next Wednesday for a 75-minute joint interview in front of a gathering of tech executives, their long history and competing philosophies should make for an interesting - if not history-making - discussion.

The conversation at the fifth annual "D - All Things Digital" conference in Carlsbad, California, comes as Gates and Jobs are head in very different directions, and as the companies they co-founded both face big challenges.(More...)

Also see:
-Jobs & Gates, the Biggest Reunion Since Simon & Garfunkel
-Bill Gates and Steve Jobs on stage, unscripted

Miss Japan wins Miss Universe

MISS Japan, Riyo Mori, has been chosen as Miss Universe 2007. Australian entrant Kimberley Busteed was eliminated in the first cut.

Mori, 20, was overwhelmed when the Miss Universe crown valued at $305,604 was placed on her head by last year's winner Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza of Puerto Rico. First runner-up was Natalia Guimaraes of Brazil, second runner-up was Ly Jonaitis of Venezuela and third, Honey Lee of Korea.(More...)

Today's Top International Stories

-Nigeria's New President Calls For Reconciliation
-BP to announce a return to Libya
(Oil giant BP is set to announce that it has struck a deal to return to Libya after an absence of more than 30 years)
-Obama offers universal health care plan
-Five Britons 'seized in Baghdad'
(Five Britons are reported to have been kidnapped from Iraq's finance ministry in Baghdad)
-Iran Charges 3 Americans With Spying
-Thousands Flee Violence in Lebanon
-Contestants to vie for kidney on reality show