Thursday, November 20, 2008

Since Sep 13, Eritrean govt has interfered with delivery of U.S. Embassy’s diplomatic pouches - Washington warns against travel to Somalia and Eritrea

Thursday 20 November 2008 AFP report via Sudan Tribune - Washington warns against travel to Somalia and Eritrea:
November 19, 2008 (WASHINGTON) — The State Department issued yesterday a warning against travel to Somalia and Eritrea, following attacks in Somalia’s Puntland and Somaliland regions, and after the Eritrean government interfered with the delivery of U.S. diplomatic pouches.

"Kidnapping, murder, illegal roadblocks, banditry, and other violent incidents and threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners can occur in many regions" in Somalia, the State Department said in a statement.

Five suicide car bombs ripped through key targets Oct. 29 in northern Somalia, including U.N. offices and a presidential palace, killing 19 people and the five bombers.

Noting that the U.S. has no diplomatic presence in the country, the statement said "U.S. citizens also are urged to use extreme caution when sailing near the coast of Somalia." A number of attacks and seizures by pirates have occurred in the waters off the Horn of Africa, "highlighting the continuing danger of maritime travel near the Horn of Africa," the State Department said.

In addition to unrest between rival political factions and clans in Somalia, the statement issued Saturday mentioned violent attacks in Mogadishu, border disputes in Somaliland, as well as kidnappings and attacks against international relief workers.

The State Department also warned against travel to Eritrea, noting that "since September 13, the government of Eritrea has repeatedly, and in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, interfered with the unfettered delivery of the U.S. Embassy’s diplomatic pouches."

"Until this matter is resolved, the consular section of the U.S. Embassy has no choice but to suspend all non-emergency services." The U.S. Embassy in Asmara has been unable to receive "critical" materials and supplies such as U.S. passports, the statement said.

The State Department also noted heightened tensions along the country’s borders with Ethiopia and Djibouti and escalating tensions between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pirates tow Saudi oil-tanker to Somali port with US Navy in pursuit - Islamist terrorists on brink of taking Mogadisu where govt is on its last legs

Excerpt from today's Snowmail by Jon Snow, Channel 4 News, UK:

Now they've captured an oil-tanker. The Somali pirates who've been hijacking ships and ransoming them for millions have claimed their biggest prize so far.

This ship is apparently Saudi, though the foreign office has confirmed that a couple of Brits are on board. Reports are pretty hazy. At one point, it looked like the ship had been freed, but the latest report suggest it's being towed to a Somali port.

We report on the maritime anarchy that now prevails off the east coast of Africa, matched by the anarchy in Somalia itself where Islamist rebels are on the brink of taking control of Mogadishu, and the government is on its last legs.
Visit Channel 4 News website for today's 7pm news report.
- - -

Excerpt from today's Newsnight email by Jeremy Paxman, BBC2, UK:

Somali pirates have hijacked a giant Saudi owned oil tanker in the Indian Ocean which was travelling towards the US. The vessel is now heading towards the Somali coast, with the US navy in pursuit. The vessel can hold up to two million barrels of oil - more than one quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily exports - worth over $100 million. What can the US military do about it? We'll have the very latest.
Visit BBC website for today's Newsnight report.


Security Alert: US Embassy in Ethiopia issues terror alert warning US citizens against taking part in the Great Ethiopian Run 23 Nov 2008

November 14, 2008 report from Anyuak Media US Embassy in Ethiopia issues terror warning:
November 13, 2008 (NAIROBI, Kenya) - The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia has warned American citizens against taking part in the Great Ethiopian Run because of the threat of terrorism.

Great Ethiopian Run 2007

Photo: Great Ethiopian Run 2007 (ENA/AM)

Friday's message says embassy staff and their families should not to take part in the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) race set for Nov. 23. The message followed an unspecified terror warning from the Ethiopian government about the race featuring tens of thousands of runners from Ethiopia and around the world. The race is led by distance great Haile Gebrselassie.

The message did not say if the event was named as a specific target but reminded U.S. citizens of deadly bombings this year in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is fighting insurgent groups and supporting the U.N.-backed government in Somalia.
- - -

Warden Message
November 14, 2008
Security Alert – Great Ethiopian Run
The U.S. Embassy is issuing this warden message to inform American citizens that in light of the Government of Ethiopia’s warning of an unspecified terrorist threat concern in Ethiopia, as detailed in a Warden Message dated November 6, the Embassy has ordered all Embassy American staff and their family members not to take part in the Great Ethiopian Run, scheduled for November 23 in Addis Ababa.  Private American citizens are likewise advised to avoid the event.  This precautionary measure is in keeping with the Embassy’s advice that Americans avoid public gatherings and public places.

The Embassy takes this opportunity to reiterate its advice to American citizens to avoid public gatherings and public places, including hotels, and that they avoid using public transportation and transportation hubs.  The Embassy further reminds Americans there have been targeted bombings in various parts of Addis Ababa over the past year that resulted in serious injuries and/or deaths. 

Americans are reminded to review their personal safety and security posture and to remain vigilant especially at public events and venues.  Americans are advised to beware of unattended baggage or packages left in any location, including in minibuses and taxis.

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs internet website at, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings can be found.  Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. Federal Holidays.)

The U.S. Embassy is located at Entoto Avenue, P.O. Box 1014, in Addis Ababa; telephone: 251-11-124-2424; emergency after-hours telephone: 251-11-124-2400; consular fax: 251-11-124-2435; web site:
- - -

Ethiopia Issues Terror Warning

November 06, 2008 Voice of America report by Peter Heinlein, Addis Ababa - Ethiopia Issues Terror Warning
The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has issued a heightened security alert a day after Ethiopia's government warned of an imminent terrorist attack. VOA's Peter Heinlein in the Ethiopian capital reports the alert coincides with a government roundup of ethnic Oromos, including several prominent citizens, on suspicion of collaborating with terrorists.

An e-mail sent by the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia advises Americans in the country to avoid public gatherings and public places. The message specifically mentions hotels as places to avoid.

The message was sent less than 24 hours after Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Task Force warned of an imminent terrorist attack and urged citizens to be vigilant.

Police recently rounded up about two dozen members of Ethiopia's largest ethnic community, the Oromos, and charged them with aiding terrorists. Among those arrested were the top managers of two of Addis Ababa's finest hotels, as well as the leader of one of the largest Oromo political parties.

Witnesses say those detained were told during a courtroom proceeding that they were suspected of collecting money and sending it to known members of the Oromo Liberation Front, an armed insurgent group.

Bereket Simon, senior adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was quoted earlier as saying the leader of the Oromo Federal Democratic Movement, Bakele Jirata, had been working 'hand in glove' with terrorists.

In an e-mail sent to VOA this week, the OLF said its fighters had killed 31 Ethiopian soldiers in a clash October 31 in eastern Oromia region. The message told of two other similar clashes earlier in the month. Government spokesman Zemedkun Tekle dismissed the OLF message, calling it fabricated, and an attempt by the rebels to get attention.

Police were out in force in Addis Ababa after the security alert.

Security was especially tight around the city's best hotels, but diplomats and political observers cautioned not to read too much into the timing of the terrorist warning and the arrest of prominent Oromos.

They note other violent insurgent groups also operate in Ethiopia, including the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which is blamed for several suicide bombings last week in the Somaliland and Puntland regions of neighboring Somalia.

The ONLF is also blamed for a deadly attack on a Chinese-run oil exploration site in Ethiopia's Ogaden region last year.

The leader of Ethiopia's largest Oromo party, Merara Gudina, tells VOA he does not understand why the crackdown is occurring.

"Really I could not make heads nor tails of it except that the government is sometimes routinely harassing Oromos and political activists, [and] all of us on the legal platform especially during the elections. These things are routine," he said.

Merera, who heads the Oromo National Congress, and the leader of the Oromo Federal Democratic Movement parliamentary bloc both vehemently deny any involvement with the OLF insurgency.

Oromos are Ethiopia's largest ethnic community, making up as much as 35 to 40 percent of the country's estimated 80 million people

Ethiopia's capital has been the scene of several terrorist attacks this year. In May, a bomb blew up in a taxi van in front of the Hilton Hotel, killing six people, including a man with dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship. A coordinated series of gas station bombings killed three people in April, and a blast in a public hall last month killed four and injured more than 20 others. 
- - -

See Ethiopia Watch Friday, November 14, 2008: Ethiopian authorities warning of terrorist attacks - Ethiopia arrested individuals it said had links to OLF leaders in Eritrea - November 7, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) — Ethiopia on Friday said that an extremist group leader who is responsible for a number of terror attacks is killed by local people in the Western Oromia region of Wollega Zone.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

In Ethiopia, the Government said that 4.6 million people faced starvation, but aid agencies claimed that the true figure was closer to 10 million

August 18, 2008 (The Times) by Tim Albone in Fendi Ajersai and Jack Malvern
Food price rises push 14m to the brink of starvation:
Rapidly rising global food costs have contributed to the worst hunger crisis in East Africa for eight years, with at least 14 million people at risk of malnutrition, aid agencies said yesterday.

In Ethiopia, the worst-affected country in the region, the Government said that 4.6 million people faced starvation, but aid agencies claimed that the true figure was closer to 10 million.

Drought has worsened food shortages, and Oxfam said that the number of acute malnutrition cases had reached its highest level since the droughts of 2000, when mortality rates peaked at more than six people per 10,000 per day. The official definition of a famine is more than four deaths per 10,000 per day.

Ethiopian farmers said that the crisis was caused by the absence of the Belg rains, which were due in February and March. “It’s really hard. People are eating whatever they can find,” said Gemeda Worena, 38, the tribal head of Fendi Ajersai, a village in southern Ethiopia where six children died in one week this month. “We hadn’t had rain for the last eight months. We had to buy water to save our lives, but now we have nothing.”

Mr Worena said that the price of maize had risen fourfold in the past year, a severe blow for villagers with what little money they had saved.

Surprisingly, when The Times visited the region, the fields were alive with maize and most afternoons a warm rain fell. “Here the problem is acute,” said Jean de Cambry, the emergency co-ordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières in southern Ethiopia. “It is very surprising and very strange, because everything is so green. But food stocks at household level are empty or close to empty.”

The United Nations World Food Programme is providing emergency food assistance to 3.2 million people in Ethiopia and 900,000 people in northern Kenya, where poor rains and political violence have disrupted food production.

The programme is also feeding 707,000 people in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda, where erratic rainfall has prevented 90 per cent of the population from planting for the current growing season, and aims to give help to 115,000 people in Djibouti, just under a quarter of the tiny country’s population.

The UN says that 2.6 million people in Somalia are in need of food assistance as a result of drought, conflict, hyperinflation, and high food and fuel prices. The World Food Programme believes that the figure will rise to 3.5 million in December.

Chris Leather, a food security expert for Oxfam, said: “We haven’t seen such high rates of acute malnutrition, of above 20 per cent, in as many places as we’re seeing right now, since 2000.” He said that 3 per cent of those found to have acute malnutrition had a high risk of dying if there was no intervention.

In Fendi Ajersai, the haunting wails of women paying their respects to the dead have become more frequent in recent months. When The Times visited this month villagers were mourning the latest victim of the famine, Tariky Gamedo, a football-loving, 13-year-old boy.

“He was my brother,” cried Basha Dekeo, 25, as her father tried to hold her flailing arms, “He is gone.”

Mr Worena said: “We have lost six kids this week.”

Despite the recent rainfalls and the apparent lushness of the countryside, the future does not look much better. Next month the harvest takes place, but many expect it to be smaller than is needed. Planting has been done largely by hand because so much livestock died before the rains arrived. The animals that survived are so skinny that when they can work the pace is pitifully slow.

Accurate numbers of how many people have died of hunger are impossible to find, with the Ethiopian Government seemingly determined to cover up the true extent of the problem.

Access to areas affected by famine is strictly controlled, with journalists needing permits. At one feeding centre, government officials refused The Times permission to photograph or film it.

At a feeding centre run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the town of Senbeta Shalla, the severity of the problem was clear to see. More than a thousand people queued for food and medical aid, and many had stick-thin limbs and swollen bellies, their desperation clear to see.

“The rains failed, everybody lost their crops,” Gamtou Defso, 70, a farmer, said. “We are just eating anything we find on the ground. I am hungry and I feel really sick . . . We don’t have any food to eat.”

Mieke Staanssens, the field co-ordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières, said: “They don’t even have the energy to cry.”

The hunger crisis

8 out of 10 workers in Ethiopia are involved in agricultural activities

15 droughts in Ethiopia since 1965

50% of Ethiopia’s total goods and services are made up of agriculture

1 million people starved to death in the 1984-85 famine

Source: The International Food Policy Research Institute, The Red Cross,
Have your say - Copy of Comments

Every year, if not every day, the USA sends extraordinary amounts of aid to Africa. People forget that President Bush has given more aid than any leader in history. What the world needs to ask is WHY Africa's leaders STOP the flow of this aid to their starving people. THIS is where the story lies..
Kim, NY, USA

I support World Vision, it gets most money to the starving families. I support my church who has missionaries all over the world who also meet physical as well as spiritual needs.
Tina, Brighton, US

It makes no difference if you support Oxfam or Satan the devil, or God. No money on earth can save these people from themselves. They are their own worse enimies, the sectarian violence, while they fight no one grows food, so people starve to death. People have kids they can't feed.
Daphne Kenward, Cambridge, UK

Please tell us, the readers of your tragic article, what practical things we can do to help. Supporting Oxfam is obviously a great way to help but would it be possible to send a few planes loaded with food to help a few people?
Pam Lee, Brize Norton, U.K.

Welcome to globalisation- Food produced in these countries are sold to the highest bidder, usually a foreign buyer, which puts the prices beyond the Locals. Similarly, Tourist hotels pay double the price for seafood so much so that some locals have not eaten prawns although they live by by the sea!
Lakshman Dalpadado, Kotugoda, Sri Lanka

How can every every citizen of the world have access to food & water at all times?
This is the way the Elite's of the world need it, they need to be poorer starving people, they need there slaves still!
They tell the rich how much they can keep out the wages and leave the poor to starve!
Andrew, Hartlepool, England, GB

Well said all. How much does it cost to keep a person from starving to death? How much do we spend on booze, ipods, phones etc...
James, Stockport, UK,

In the light of Africa's experience, encouraging UK reliance on home grown produce is clear and dangerous nonesense.We need to ensure that world trade in food flourishes so we can buy it from where it is available and indeed cheapest.
Peter, London, England

Whenever we complain about the rising price of groceries, fuel etc we should remind ourselves what it really means to lack the bare essentials. We in the UK could do without Sky, eating out, drinking alchohol, holidays abroad etc. We should stop complaining and count our blessings..........
sophie smith, london, uk

Josh, London - hear hear. I keep saying exactly the same thing myself. To see the millions wasted on the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, for example - a spectacle bearing no relation to the sports that follow it - seems too me unthinkable in the face of such a gap between rich and poor.
Eleanor, Yorkshire,

Wow, it's like human compassion never existed when reading these comments.
Howard, Manchester,

Liberals and enviro-wackos decided that it would be a good thing for the environment if we burned corn-based ethanol in our cars instead of gasoline. So thanks to this stupid idea we are now growing corn to burn instead of growing it to eat. We should go back to growing corn to feed people.
Patrick C., Irvine, USA

To the extent the United States and Europe have contributed to this with biofuel subsidies and bans on genetically modified crops, we have committed a terrible crime.
Dennis Duggan, Charlotte, NC, USA

Have we become so de-sensitized to such horror that we can now shrug it off with "What else is new?" Take a reality check. How ever bad the governments of these countries are, surely the people should not be made to suffer to teach them a lesson?
Lee, Manchester, England

Just wait for Bob Geldof to appear before he returns home to his multimillion pound home each evening. If he really cared he would give all his money away.
Paul Davis, York, uk

instead of wasting money on yet another extravagant, pointless olympics - why doesnt britain do something useful with the money it will squander on 2012 and give it to the starving children of the world. that will be a much more useful and rewarding thing to do with the money,
josh, london,

I live in Nairobi and the short rains last October were very poor as well as the long rains from March to May..La Nina affected the entire region from 1999 to 2000, its the same again for the last year. We in Nairobi are currently experiencing Water Rationing! Its not just climate change..
ravi, nairobi, kenya

When I was at school in the 60s we raised money for famine relief. Nothing seems to have changed. Perhaps we should not be trying to live on land that cannot produce enough food to feed the population. In the natural world animals would move to where there is food or die.
Diana, Hull, England

Although there is clearly an element of higher cost in food production and delivery due to oil prices , the huge increases seem to suggest that suppliers are making a fortune out of the increased demand. Surely, essentials such as food and energy should have some sort of world price control
C.Wood, Camberley, UK

Does anyone realise that in Britain people scavenge for discarded food outside supermarkets. This is the extent that our welfare state has deteriorated to. This is the state that our governments economic policies have reduced our economy to. And it's happening right here in Britain now!
colin, wolverhampton, UK

Suffer the little Children..............................What would Christ think ? What does Christ think ?
ian payne, walsall,

The reason of all this mess is simply socialism, protectionism, and the prevalent elite attitudes that they know best what's in the people's interests instead of letting people choose for themselves. Stop all subsidies, open borders and reach free trade!!! That's the only way to feed the world!
Amir Weitmann, Jerusalem,

Much global food price inflation is a direct result of excessive money supply growth in the west. It may help if the Red Cross were to invite central bankers to tour the affected areas, for a first hand look at their achievements...
Pat, Coramandel, New Zealand

This is not a politically correct game, as we have millions in the UK including children living below the poverty line, who suffer hunger and coldness as part of normal life. All this talk about giving £billions to Africa whilst our own go hungry shows gross irresponsibility of goverment.
tanz, brighton, uk

Be honest. As much as it hurts to see the plight of Africa, the upteen trillions of pounds, dollars, francs & marks in aid have made no difference. Britain & Europe once shouldered the White Man's Burden, but were not wanted. Now, aid only benefits dictators & keeps the poor from revolting.
Bob Evans, Anaheim, California

We need to do something to help these starving people. Provide more food and better way for utilizing water and water resources.
Naleen Lal, Northern California,

When it was called Rhodesia, they were able to feed much of sub-Saharan Africa. Now, the country can't feed itself.
Jim, Memphis, USA

Every bank should have an OXFAM charity box where you can donate money for the starving of the simple, so needed...Also, buy a stranger's meal for them - we do that in Florida - now and again.
anna, fl, usa,

So, what else is new?
Sam Young, Paris, France


East Africa is in the grip of a drought-induced food disaster, with 15 million people facing severe food shortages

July 30, 2008 (Times Online) report - Ethiopian food crisis: a family's struggle:
East Africa is in the grip of a drought-induced food disaster, with 15 million people facing severe food shortages. Mark Lang, from the Christian relief agency Tearfund, has just returned from Ethiopia

If you’ve never met someone facing severe hunger, let me introduce you to Demisse Mada.

Demisse is a three-year-old boy living in a highland village in southern Ethiopia. Actually the word living doesn’t seem right because it’s not life that he’s experiencing but an existence and a harrowing one at that.

Lack of food has left Demisse devoid of the normal signs of life you might expect to find in a three-year-old.

He does not play, run around or laugh. In fact he barely moves at all. Hunger has deprived his tiny frame of energy.

Most of the time we are with his family he stands rooted to the spot, looking ahead, his face a study of seriousness beyond his years.

His belly is bloated, most likely caused by intestinal worms, and his legs are desperately thin. Press three of your fingers together and they will be wider than one of Demisse’s legs.

A member of our team, who has seen many malnourished children in the course of his worldwide work, assesses that Demisse is showing the symptoms of marasmus – or acute wasting.

He classifies the boy as severely malnourished which is about as bad as it gets in hunger terms.

One of the most striking legacies of the malnutrition is that Demisse doesn’t smile. Not once in the several hours we are with his family. It’s not right but then again nor is the situation that he and his family face.

Right now this little boy and tens of thousands of young children like him are enduring a food disaster that is affecting large tracts of Ethiopia.

Tearfund has been working with church partners over the last few months to respond to this crisis, helping to feed 15,000 people, but it is becoming clear that the scale of the response needs to be stepped up to match the growing need for help.

Short season rains due earlier this year failed to fall in sufficient quantity, if at all, or at the right time, resulting in an extended drought.


Photo: Lack of food has left Demisse devoid of the normal signs of life you might expect to find in a three-year-old (Mark Lang)


Photo: Demisse's grandmother Malaka, with some of the family's seven children (Mark Lang)
Have your say - Copy of comments

How interesting!
Ethiopia is waging a cool war in Somalia, has border issues with Eritrea with countless soldiers marauding around and, surprise!, it cannot feed its very own people.. And we (Europe) are pouring money to .. feed the bottomless pockets of its leaders? Talk about donor's fatigue..
Daniele Pierangeli, Roma, Italy

Ethiopia is awash with young children. Officially, 43% of the population is under 14. There's no correlation between the country being able to feed itself and its rate of procreation. So temporary food aid is no solution. Aid MUST be in the form of birth control education and farming technology.
P Williams, London,

In 2005 Ethiopa spent 296 million dollars on military expenditure. Every penny we give in aid props up this vile situation. I, for one, will never give another penny to Africa, unless it is for an African-initiated grassroots scheme like the Under Tree Schools in southern Sudan.
SarahN., London, UK

The population doubles in this country every few years. No aid in the past would have produced better results that trying to stick a plaster on it. The only aid I support is no aid and birth control.
Frederick, London, UK


Friday, November 14, 2008

Ethiopian authorities warning of terrorist attacks - Ethiopia arrested individuals it said had links to OLF leaders in Eritrea

November 8, 2008 Sudan Tribune report by Tesfa-alem Tekle - Ethiopia says "terror" group ring leader killed :
November 7, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) — Ethiopia on Friday said that an extremist group leader who is responsible for a number of terror attacks is killed by local people in the Western Oromia region of Wollega Zone.

Police said that, Legesse Wegi, leader of “Kawerji”, a previously unknown self-styled extremist group was killed by local people after he attempt to escape from a military operation launched to clear "anti peace" elements in the region.

Police sources also said that the deceased who also served as OLF Central Committee Member and OLF military commander is the mastermind behind twin attacks occurred in April at two privately-owned National Oil Companies and also in a taxi minibus that left scores dead.

Wegi is also told to have been responsible for 12 foiled bomb plots during the Ethiopian millennium celebration in the capital.

During the past few days Ethiopia has arrested a number of individuals it said had links to OLF leaders in Eritrea, were mobilizing finance and dispatching illegal weapons and also recruiting members for their opposition activities.

Earlier this week Ethiopian authorities warned of imminent terrorist attacks and urged the public to remain alert and to work hand in glove with security forces.


China proposed to Ethiopia an agriculture technology center, construction of hydropower stations and an oriental industrial zone to attract investment

November 13, 2008 Sudan Tribune report - China proposes to Ethiopia to develop close ties:
November 12, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) – China proposed to Ethiopia to enhance bilateral relations through expanding joint cooperation and coordinate their positions on world affairs to safeguard their interests.

The offer was made during a visit by the speaker of the Chinese parliament Wu Bangguo to the country from November 8 to 10, the official Xinhua reported.

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), called on in his meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi that the ruling parties, legislature and governments of the two nations to step up exchange and cooperation.

Wu also proposed the two nations to focus on three key projects that he believed would be vital to foster the bilateral cooperation, referring to an agriculture technology demonstration center, an all-packed economic and trade project including the construction of hydropower stations and the establishment of an oriental industrial zone to attract investment from Chinese companies.

"China encourage its companies to expand investment in Ethiopia and will adopt open policies on technology transfer and as well as training program for the Ethiopian personnel," Wu told Meles.

Echoing on Wu’s proposal, Meles said the Ethiopia-China cooperation has become an important drive for the country’s development. The cooperation with China is of vital importance to push forward Ethiopia’s development and the Ethiopian government highly values it, Meles noted.

He said the Ethiopia would make its efforts to further implement the projects between the two sides and consolidate the cooperation in fields such as agriculture, infrastructure and human resource.
- - -

November 9, 2008 Sudan Tribune report - Chinese speaker visits Ethiopia:
November 8, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) – A Chinese delegation led by the speaker of the Chinese parliament, the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress, Wu Bangguo arrived here on Saturday in a working visit to Ethiopia.

Chinese top legislator Wu, who is invited by Degefi Bula the speaker of the Ethiopian House of Peoples Representatives, said in press statement released after his arrival hailed the rapid growth of the bilateral relations between the two countries. He also underscored that the bilateral cooperation between the two nations have yielded remarkable achievements in fields such as economy and trade, culture, public health and tourism.

"We have witnessed the best ever relations and I hope my visit would help promote traditional friendship and cement cooperation with mutual benefit in an effort to bring the China-Ethiopia all-round and cooperative partnership to a higher level," Wu said in the written statement.

In addition to Degefi, Wu is scheduled to meet with Ethiopian President Girma Wolde Giorgis, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Speaker of Council of People’s Representatives Teshome Toga to exchange views on bilateral relations and other regional and international issues of common concern.

The Chinese official also will visit the African Union (AU) headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital. It is the first visit to the AU headquarters by a Chinese top legislator.
Related reports at Sudan Tribune

- China proposes to Ethiopia to develop close ties
- Ethiopia, Djibouti sign customs transit agreement
- Ethiopia’s Tigray region pardons over 2000 prisoners


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Remember the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour

On 2 May, 1915, in the second week of fighting during the Second Battle of Ypres Lieutenant Alexis Helmer was killed by a German artillery shell. He was a friend of the Canadian military doctor Major John McCrae. It is believed that John began the draft for his famous poem 'In Flanders Fields' that evening.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.


The poppy is the recognized symbol of remembrance for war dead. The flower owes its significance to the poem In Flanders Fields, written by Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John McCrae, a doctor with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, in the midst of the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium, in May 1915.

The poppy references in the first and last stanzas of the most widely read and oft-quoted poem of the war contributed to the flower's status as an emblem of remembrance and a symbol of new growth amidst the devastation of war.

Remembrance Day Poppy

Two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month because that was the time (in Britain) when the armistice became effective. The two minutes recall World War I and World War II. Before 1945 the silence was for one minute, and today some ceremonies still only have one minute of silence despite this.

In the United Kingdom, although two minutes' silence is observed on November 11 itself, the main observance is on the second Sunday of November, Remembrance Sunday. - Wikipedia
- - -

"The Meaning of God"

By Mahatma K. Gandhi
(Young India, October 11, 1928)

There is an indefinable mysterious Power that pervades everything.

I feel It, though I do not see It.

It is this unseen Power which makes Itself felt and yet defies all proof,
because It is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses.

It transcends the senses....

That informing Power or Spirit is God....

For I can see that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth, truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists.

Hence I gather that God is Life, Truth, Light. He is love.

He is supreme good.

But he is no God who merely satisfies the intellect
If He ever does.

God to be God must rule the heart and transform it.
- - -

Gandhi's Peace Prayers

Hindu Peace Prayer
I desire neither earthly kingdom, nor even freedom from birth and death. I desire only the deliverance from grief of all those afflicted by misery. Oh Lord, lead us from the unreal to the real; from darkness to light; from death to immortality. May there be peace in celestial regions. May there be peace on earth. May the waters be appeasing. May herbs be wholesome and may trees and plants bring peace to all. May all beneficent beings bring peace to us. May thy wisdom spread peace all through the world. May all things be a source of peace to all and to me. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (Peace, Peace, Peace).

Islamic Peace Prayer
We think of Thee, worship Thee, bow toThee as the Creator of this Universe; we seek refuge in Thee, the Truth, our only support. Thou art the Ruler, the barge in this ocean of endless births and deaths.
In the name of Allah, the beneficient, the merciful. Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations. Give us wisdom that we may know each other and not despise all things. We shall abide by thy Peace. And, we shall remember the servants of God are those who walk on this earth in humility and, when we address them, we shall say Peace Unto Us All.

Christian Peace Prayer
Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS, for they shall be known as The Children of God. But I say to you: love your enemy, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. Give to everyone who begs from you; and, to those who take away your goods, do not ask them again. And as you wish that others would do unto you, do so unto them as well.

Jewish Peace Prayer
Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that we may walk the paths of the Most High. And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation - neither shall they learn war any more. And none shall be afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.

Shinto Peace Prayer
Although the people living across the ocean surrounding us are all our brothers and sisters why, Oh Lord, is there trouble in this world? Why do winds and waves rise in the ocean surrounding us? I earnestly wish the wind will soon blow away all the clouds hanging over the tops of the mountains.

Bahá'í Peace Prayer
Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity. Be fair in thy judgement and guarded in thy speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind and a guiding light unto he feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
- - -

Further reading

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - Sudan Watch:
The Anglo-Zulu war - A Lesson Learned?


Cross posted to Sudan Watch, Congo Watch, Uganda Watch, Kenya Watch