Saturday, January 31, 2009

Imagine Bill Clinton Making Millions just from Appearances & Conversations!

Bill Clinton made millions from foreign sources

By Matthew Lee, Associated Press Writer | January 28, 2009

WASHINGTON – Former President Bill Clinton earned nearly $6 million in speaking fees last year, almost all of it from foreign companies, according to financial documents filed by his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show that $4.6 million of the former president's reported $5.7 million in 2008 honoraria came from foreign sources, including Kuwait's national bank, other firms and groups in Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico and Portugal and a Hong Kong-based company that spent $100,000 on federal lobbying last year.

Executives at many of the firms that paid honoraria to Bill Clinton have also donated large amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation, according to documents it released last year as part of an agreement with Congress on Hillary Clinton's nomination as secretary of state. That agreement was aimed at preventing the appearance of any conflict of interest between the ex-president's charitable organization and his wife's new job as the United States' top diplomat.

In addition to Bill Clinton's income from speaking fees, Hillary Clinton reported joint holdings of between $6.1 million and $30.3 million in a blind trust as well as cash, insurance and retirement accounts worth between $1 million and $5.2 million.

Hillary Clinton made between $50,000 and $100,000 in royalties from her 2003 memoir "Living History." Bill Clinton earned between $100,000 and $1 million in royalties for his 2004 autobiography "My Life," the documents show. The Clintons reported no liabilities.

All senior officials in the Obama administration are required to complete a detailed disclosure of their personal finances, including spouse and children, which is updated yearly.

The two men selected to serve as Hillary Clinton's deputy secretaries of state, Jacob Lew and James Steinberg, also filed financial disclosure forms.

Lew, a former Clinton administration official who recently headed Citigroup's Alternative Investments unit, reported 2008 salary income of just over $1 million along with numerous investments, including between $50,000 and $100,000 in State of Israel bonds.

Steinberg, another former Clinton administration official who recently was a professor at the University of Texas, reported receiving $35,000 in 2008 for foreign speaking engagements, including three before Japanese media firms and one before the Confederation of Indian Industries in New Delhi.

The most Bill Clinton got from a foreign source was $1.25 million for appearing at five events sponsored by the Toronto-based Power Within Inc., a company that puts on motivational and training programs around North America, according to Hillary Clinton's submission.

For one Power Within speech alone, delivered in Edmonton in June 2008, Clinton was paid $525,000, the most for any single event that year. For one event, he got $200,000 and for three others he received $175,000 each, the documents show.

The Hong Kong firm, Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Holdings, paid Clinton a $300,000 honorarium on Dec. 4, 2008. Twenty five days later, on Dec. 29, a man listed as the company's chief financial officer, Jack Xi Deng, made a $25,000 cash donation to the Virginia gubernatorial campaign of Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Hong Kong firm paid at least $100,000 in 2008 to lobbyists on immigration issues.

The other foreign honoraria Bill Clinton received in 2008 are:

• $450,000 from AWD Holding AG, a German-based international financial services company.

• $350,000 from the state-owned National Bank of Kuwait. The Kuwaiti government donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to the foundation's disclosure.

• $300,000 from Value Grupo Financiero SA de CV, a Mexico-based financial holding company, whose chief executive officer, Carlos Bremer Gutierrez, is one of the Clinton Foundation's leading donors. Gutierrez donated between $250,001 to $500,000 to the foundation, according to foundation's documents.

• $250,000 from Germany's Media Control Gmbh, which bills itself as the world's leading provider of entertainment data and was founded by Karlheinz Koegel, who contributed $100,001 to $250,000 to the Clinton foundation.

• $200,000 from Malaysia's Petra Equities Management on behalf of the Sekhar Foundation run by Malaysian multimillionaire Vinod Sekhar who donated between $25,001 and $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to its documents.

In addition to the foreign earnings, Bill Clinton made just over $1 million from domestic speaking engagements, including $250,000 from MSG Entertainment, $225,000 from the National Association of Home Care and Hospice, $200,000 from the United Nations Association, $175,000 from the ING North America Insurance Corp., $125,000 from the Rodman and Renshaw Capital Group and $100,000 from the Hollywood Radio and Television Society.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Global Food Inflation: 60 per cent in Ethiopia and the Madrid Conference

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GLOBAL: Splitting the food bill in Madrid
24 Jan 2009 17:43:04 GMT
Source: IRIN

Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.

JOHANNESBURG, 24 January 2009 (IRIN) - As food inflation shot to almost 60 percent in Ethiopia in 2008, the beneficiaries of a safety net programme offering cash to build resilience to face shocks opted for food.

The rising prices "may have reduced the hoped-for long-term impacts of the programme [to help people become more resilient and break the cycle of dependence on food aid]" said John Hoddinott, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The global food price crisis that led to nearly a billion malnourished people in 2008 is not over, said David Nabarro, coordinator of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis. "Food systems in many countries are not working for poor people."

The economic slowdown has exacerbated the situation. "It means both developed and developing countries have even less funds to invest in social protection programmes to help people become more resilient [and prevent them falling into the poverty trap]."''

The challenges of the food price crisis to social protection programmes will be one of the major issues the global community will focus on at the two-day High Level Meeting on Food Security for All in Madrid, which begins on 26 January.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, will co-chair the meeting, where progress made since the Food Summit in Rome in 2008 will be analysed.

In its most recent report the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the food price crisis had pushed another 40 million into hunger in 2008, bringing the global number of undernourished people closer to a billion.

Food is not going to get cheaper soon; prices of major cereals have fallen by over 50 percent from their peak earlier in 2008 but are still high compared to previous years, said FAO's State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008.

The purchasing power of cash transfers in Ethiopia had been steadily eroded by escalating food prices since the beginning of the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) in 2005, and then spiked in 2008, according to a new joint crop and food security assessment report by FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP). The number of PSNP participants opting for cash transfers dropped from 74 percent in 2005 to 48 percent in 2008.

"Food price inflation is obviously a major challenge for cash transfer programmes, but we didn't predict the scale of inflation during the current food price crisis," wrote Stephen Devereux of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, in a blog on, the website of the Regional Hunger and Vulnerability Programme.

The IDS conducted a study in eight districts of Ethiopia in 2008 and found that most households preferred "food only".
What has been done so far

The High Level Task Force, set up in May 2008 in response to the food crisis, had adopted a twin-track approach: emergency interventions, and addressing the underlying structural problems in the food sector by improving agricultural development and seeking to change the way trading systems work.

Nabarro pointed out that since April 2008, the Task Force had developed a Comprehensive Framework for Action (CFA), which proposed that poorer countries allocate additional budgetary resources to social protection systems and increase the allocation to agriculture in their public expenditure.

The CFA also urged donor countries to double their overseas development assistance for food aid, other types of nutritional support, and safety net programmes, and to increase the percentage of assistance invested in food production and agricultural development from the current 3 percent to 10 percent within five years, to reverse a historic under-investment in agriculture.
Nabarro said UN agencies and the Bretton Woods institutions had rallied to the call and had scaled up their operations in the past eight months, and the Task Force members have been working together in at least 27 poor countries to mitigate the impact of the crisis and promote agricultural development.

The European Union has approved a US$1.2 billion facility to boost food production in developing countries affected by the food crisis, he noted. The first tranche of the money is expected to be released soon.

At the Madrid meeting, the task force, along with governments, NGOs and the private sector, will look at strengthening links, broadening partnerships, with NGOs and the private sector, and will consider a financial coordination mechanism to help countries access funds more efficiently.

But the billion-dollar question is: how do you motivate donors to commit in a credit crunch? "National governments work with international organisations like FAO, WFP, IFAD and the World Bank to highlight priority areas for investment," said Nabarro. "Those who invest funds – donors, development banks and private entities want to be confident that the multilateral systems for supporting development work, and deliver results: the money will come in response to well functioning systems."
Action Against Hunger, an international NGO, released a new study this week after conducting household surveys in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Central African Republic, which noted that food inflation did not conclusively result in an immediate increase in acute malnutrition at the national level, but had a significant and consistent impact on livelihoods and dietary diversity in all four countries.

"The Global Food Crisis may resemble a slow-onset disaster rather than a seasonal spike, meaning people may have more time to adjust, and malnutrition rates will only show increases in months or years later."

© IRIN. All rights reserved. More humanitarian news and analysis:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Imperial Ethiopian Orders

The Order of Solomon
The highest Imperial Order. Reserved for emperors, high princes of the Imperial House, heads of state, monarchs.
The Order of Solomon's Seal
Very high order reserved for Prince's of direct line & foreign heads of state.
The Order of the Queen of Sheba
Originally for designed for Princess' of direct line but has been awarded to heads of state and royals.
The Order of the Holy Trinity
Originally for heads of Church but has been awarded to diplomats, heads of state, royals, nobles, and senior military leaders,
The Order of Emperor Menelik II
Awarded in the past to government officials, members of the Imperial Family, foreign dignitaries, royals, nobles and military leaders for service to the crown.
The Order of the Ethiopian Lion
Awarded to government officials, diplomats, advisors, military leaders, royalty and nobility for service to the crown.
The Order of the Star of Ethiopia
Awarded to government officials, diplomats, advisors, military leaders, royalty, nobility, and for service to the crown.
The Order of Saint Anthony
Arguably the oldest order of chivalry still in existence today. Originated in the fourth century. Originally a monastic order. Awarded rarely today. The lowest order in the Imperial pantheon of orders.
The Dynastic Orders have all been initiated since the family was exiled in 1974. These contemporary orders are more commonly awarded by the present Crown than are the older Imperial Orders. Nevertheless, the House Orders represent prestigious awards emanating from the Head of the Imperial House and Origo Fons Honorum Aethiopiae.
The Order of the Ark of the Covenant
The Highest of Dynastic orders. Instituted by H.I.H. Zere Yacob. Rarely awarded outside of the Imperial Family or to senior advisors of government. The only recipient of the order is a member of the priory.
The Order of Haile Selassie I
Originated by H.I.M. Emperor (in exile) Amha Selassie to recognize pan-African development and peace initiatives.
The Solomonic Order of Merit
Instituted by H.I.H. Zere Yacob as a chivalric order of merit. Bestowed in recognition of service to the Ethiopian crown or people of Ethiopia. Typically for humanitarian service.
The Order of Saint Mary of Zion
Instituted by H.I.H. Zere Yacob as a "working" order of chivalry to help generate resources for humanitarian efforts in Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Knighthood
It is within the purview of the Crown to bestow the rank of Knight Bachelor. A Knight Bachelor is not affiliated with any of the Orders but is recognized as a Knight in service to the Crown. A knight Bachelor would rank senior to all Knights holding Dynastic Orders except the Order of the Ark of the Covenant, but not senior to knights of the Imperial Orders. To my knowledge, this rank of knighthood has not been bestowed by H.I.H. Prince Zere Yacob.
The Ethiopian Order of Baronets

The title of Baronet or Gerazmatch is the only hereditary title of nobility available to non-Ethiopians. The title is made available by invitation to ten persons a year. Conditions of the title are based upon established Articles of Homage which defines specific responsibility attendant to those holding the title. The title remains active to the recipient for so long as the conditions defined in the Articles of Homage are honored and continue in this capacity from generation to generation. The Baronet is pledged to provide support to the village specified in the Baronetcy as specified in the Articles of Homage for so long as he lives. The Imperial Ethiopian Order of Baronets constitutes a Noble Company comprised of individuals that hold the title of Baronet or other titles of nobility. Ethiopian nobles inducted into the Imperial Ethiopian Order of Baronets are designated as "Fellows" of the Order and carry the postnominals of Bt.(E). The insignia of the order is a large oval onyx set in silver having in the center a gold Ethiopian Orthodox Cross set with a ruby in the center and emeralds on the four arms of the cross. This is suspended by a silver collar.

All Baronets appointed thus far (5) have been Templars, two of which are members of the Priory.

The Order of the Ark of the Covenant

The Order of the Ark has typically been reserved for highly placed persons with a long history of loyalty and service to the Crown. This is a relatively new order initiated by H.I.H. Zere Yacob, and has only been awarded once. The insignia is a rendition of the Ark of the Covenant in gold on a red background surrounded with a gold Star of David. The insignia is augmented with diamonds and rubies.

The Order of Saint Mary of Zion

This Order of chivalry is open to individuals who wish to join and meet the criteria (members of the Templar Order meet all requirements). Proceeds derived from this order are used exclusively for humanitarian work within the projects defined by the crown. Passage fee for the Order is $500 with a yearly oblation of $250. The Order is awarded in three ranks, Knight / Dame, Commander, and Grand Cross. The insignia is a rendition of Mary with Christ Child on a sky blue background. The insignia is accented with Amethysts and Aquamarine. The ribbon is sky blue and mulberry. The Order is awarded in three common ranks of Knight / Dame, Commander, and Grand Cross. The rank of Grand Collar is reserved for royals and for individuals within the Order who display exceptional service over an enduring period of time.

The Solomonic Order of Merit (formerly known as the MEOLJ)

This is a chivalric order of merit awarded in recognition of efforts supporting the crown and the Ethiopian people. Being an order of merit, it incurs no cost to the recipient other than the cost of the insignia should the recipient desire to own it. The Order is awarded in three grades, Knight / Dame (silver breast star), Commander (gold breast star), Grand Cross (cordon). A collar of the Order is reserved for exceptional service or prolonged loyalty to the Crown. The Order is also awarded in three classes. Knights of Justice for those working directly for the Crown, Knights of Honor for recognizing those providing service but outside of the organizations of the Crown, and Knights of Grace for members of the clergy, who are contributing to the efforts of the Crown. The insignia is the same for recipients regardless of class. This has been awarded with some frequency within the Priory in recognition of our work in Ethiopia. Additional bestowals are pending and it is anticipated that this Order will become commonplace within the Priory as our work in Ethiopia continues. The insignia is a gold Lion of Judah surmounted on a disc of ebony surrounded by a Star of David enameled green. The ribbon and cordon are green with thin red and yellow striping on each edge.


There are several specific commendations that lie within the prerogatives of the crown and specifically within the prerogatives as delegated from the Crown to the Imperial Chancellor. There exist twelve specific commendations housed within the organization of the Order of Saint Mary of Zion but which are available to award to anyone within the chivalric system of the Crown. The following is extracted from the Statutes of the Order of Saint Mary of Zion.

Section 1. Commendations There exists within the Order twelve specific commendations. While these are specific to the Order, the Crown has the option to award these to individuals not directly affiliated with the Order in recognition of comparable service to the Crown.

Section 2. Specific Commendations The following are listed in ascending order of precedence.

Service Medal. This is awarded to members upon reaching service levels of 5, 10, and 20 years.
Knight's Cross. Awarded for chivalric service to the Order.
Amha Selassie I Founders Medal. Awarded to those instrumental in recruiting and forming new commands of the Order.
The Order of the Horn of Africa. Awarded for knightly pilgrimage to Ethiopia.
The Crescent of the Nile. Awarded for professional services (medical, legal, clerical) to the Crown or the People of Ethiopia.
The Cross of Axum. Awarded for religious services to the Order or the Crown.
Haile Selassie I Humanitarian Service Medal. Awarded for direct humanitarian services as performed in the name of the Order or the Crown.
Star of the Empire. Awarded to leaders that demonstrate exemplary service while in a position of administration or command.
Legion of Valor. Awarded for personal sacrifice to the Order.
Order of the Crown. Awarded for personal sacrifice to the Crown.
Dynastic Order of Honor. Awarded for exceptional service or sacrifice to the Crown or to oppressed peoples in the name of the Crown.
Imperial Order of Merit. Awarded only upon recommendation of the Grand Master for exceptional service to the Crown.
Any commendation can be awarded more than once with each additional award being signified with a small bronze star affixed to the ribbon of the respective decoration. Any award can be bestowed with "distinction" such being designated with a bronze "D" affixed to the ribbon of the respective decoration.
The following members of the Priory have received Imperial Orders.

The Order of Emperor Menelik II : Belai Habte-Jesus

The following Dynastic Orders have been bestowed to members of the Priory.

The Order of the Ark of the Covenant : Belai Habte-Jesus

The Solomonic Order of Merit
Grand Collar (GCSOM) : H.R.H. Prince Estifanos Mengesha Seyoum
Grand Cross / Class of Justice (GSOM) : Belai Habte-Jesus, Steve E. Pehrson, Thomas J. Allred, Steven D. Clark, Ron Ivie, Linda Briggs
Commander / Class of Justice (CSOM) : Bobby Richardson, Cynan Benedikt, Garry Bryant, Don Wood (proposed), Lloyd Neilson (proposed)
Knight or Dame / Class of Justice (KSOM / DSOM) : Rev. Lynn Truman, Kami Pehrson, Astrid Allred, Carol Rasmussen, Callie Webb, Ed Lombard-Stewart, Jacqueline Benedikt (proposed)

The Order of Saint Mary of Zion
Grand Collar (GCMZ) : H.R.H. Prince Estifanos Mengesha, Betwoded Belai Habte-Jesus
Grand Cross (GMZ) : Steve E. Pehrson, Thomas J. Allred, Steven D. Clark, Ron Ivie
Commander (CMZ) : Bobby Richardson, Cynan Benedikt
Copyright © 2001 All Rights Reserved
The Priory of the Mountain of the House of the Lord
Last update: 22 Jan 2001

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Horn and its challenges with Good Governance Continues VOA January 20, 2009 Ethiopian Government Minister Reacts to U.S. Senators' Criticism
James Butty

A senior Ethiopian official says his government has a responsibility to maintain law and order and would not be swayed by outside criticism. The official, Bereket Simon, an advisor to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, was responding to a letter from four influential U.S. senators to the Ethiopian prime minister.

In their letter, the four senators, including Russell Feingold, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa, warned that U.S.-Ethiopian relations could become more difficult because of the Ethiopian government's actions against its opposition.

The senators said they were concerned about the re-arrest of opposition leader Birtukan Midekssa and the passage of a law restricting civil society groups.

Bereket Simon, advisor to the Ethiopian prime minister told VOA the U.S. senators' criticism and accusations are unwarranted.

"If anyone is breaking the law, it's their problem and not our problem. Ethiopian government believes government has a mandate and an obligation to ensure the rule of law in Ethiopia. So it's an unwarranted accusation and criticism," he said.

The senators said in their letter that they were concerned about the re-arrest of opposition leader Birtukan Midekssa. Simon said the opposition leader broke the rules of her conditional pardon.

"First these opposition leaders had been tried and sentenced, and they asked for conditional pardon. Government granted them a conditional pardon which literally means if this person once again transgresses the law of the land, it would be a breach of the pardon, and that's what she did. We don't accept double standard here. We believe citizens who don't have the backing of (U.S.) senators are equal to those who don't have the backing of senators wherever. She has made mistakes and she has to account for it. Why should we be criticized by the senators?" Simon said.

The letter, dated January 16th, was signed by Senator Russell Feingold, chair of the Senate's subcommittee on African Affairs. Other signatories are Senator Patrick Leahy, Richard Durbin, and Johnny Isakson.

The senators criticized Ethiopia's recent law restricting civil society groups. Simon said foreigners do not have the same political rights as Ethiopian citizens to participate in Ethiopian affairs.

"The law differentiates between citizens and foreign-based NGO. Citizens have every right to participate in Ethiopian politics. In fact it is mandated by Ethiopian Constitution. So government cannot put a limit. On the other hand, those foreign-based NGOs who are here because of the privilege that is given to them by the government do not have the political rights to participate in Ethiopian affairs," Simon said.

He said Ethiopia is not worried about the U.S. Senators' criticism of the Meles Zenawi government, especially at a time when a new U.S. administration led by Barack Obama is about to take over the leadership of the U.S. government.

"No matter what the times might be, these Congressmen are telling us not to enact laws that are useful to Ethiopia. They are going to put pressure on us because we enacted our own laws. This Ethiopia; it's a sovereign state. I don't think any Congressman can tell us what to do," Simon said.
___________________________________________________ AP January 20, 2009 Former Somali president seeks asylum in Yemen

SAN'A, Yemen — Somalia's former president, an ex-warlord who was forced from government, sought political asylum in Yemen, arriving Tuesday in a private jet from his impoverished homeland, an aide and a Yemeni security official said.

One of the former president's aides confirmed that Abdullahi Yusuf was offered a permanent home in Yemen, which lies across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia.

Yusuf's decision to seek asylum confirms his retirement from politics in the impoverished Horn of Africa nation, which has not had a functioning government since 1991.

The 75-year-old former warlord resigned in December following a series of public quarrels with his prime minister.

The aide said it was possible Yusuf could return to Somalia or move to a third country, such as the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia.

Yemen and Somalia are two of the world's poorest countries, according to the U.N. Human Development Index.

Yusuf and his family arrived in Yemen aboard a private jet, said the Yemeni security official, adding that the former president will stay at a hotel for few days before moving to a house provided for him.

Both the official and the aide asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Two years ago, Ethiopian troops intervened on Yusuf's behalf to drive an Islamic administration out of the Somali capital and much of the country's south. But after Yusuf's government was unable to deliver security or social services, the Islamist insurgency began to regain ground until it controlled all of central and southern Somalia.

The Somali government's presence is now limited to pockets of the capital, Mogadishu, and the parliamentary seat of Baidoa.

The Islamists have splintered into several factions and some have begun fighting each other, raising fears that Somalia may sink deeper into chaos.

______________________________________________ Reuters January 19, 2009 FACTBOX-Foreign navies combat Somali pirates
Foreign navies have foiled a string of pirate attacks off Somalia this year, raising hopes that the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean shipping lanes can be made safer.Around 20 warships from 14 different countries are patrolling the area, their exact numbers and location unknown for security reasons.


* The U.S. Navy on Jan. 8 announced a new task force specifically dedicated to combating piracy in the region. The San Antonio, an amphibious transport dock, serves as the command-and-control ship with two aircraft and two other U.S. Navy ships. More than 20 nations are part of the Combined Maritime Forces. U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Terence "Terry" McKnight has been named the commander of the new task force which will be fully operational by the middle of January.


* The EU deployed an air and naval force off Somalia from December, replacing NATO ships. Up to ten EU nations are participating, including Greece, France, Germany and Britain in the first phase from December to March. The German frigate FDS Karlsruhe fought off a pirate attack in the Gulf in late December.


* Three Chinese warships arrived in the area in January in the first such naval deployment by Beijing outside its waters.


India deployed INS Tabar in October to escort Indian ships. According to the Indian navy, the Tabar came under fire from a suspected pirate mother ship on Nov. 18, returned fire and sank the pirates.


A Malaysian warship sent a helicopter to help scare away Somali pirates trying to attack an Indian vessel in the Gulf of Aden on Jan. 1.


Russia's navy sent a Baltic Fleet frigate, the Neustrashimy (Fearless), to the Gulf of Aden in September to combat pirates. Russian forces helped foil an attempted hijacking of a Dutch-registered cargo ship laast week.

- - - -

Below are some of the dozen or so ships believed to be still held:

FAINA: Seized Sept. 24. The ship was carrying 33 T-72 tanks, grenade launchers and ammunition destined for Kenya's Mombasa port. Pirates have demanded $20 million in ransom.

STOLT STRENGTH: Seized Nov. 10. The chemical tanker had 23 Filipino crew aboard. It was carrying 23,818 tonnes of oil products.

TIANYU 8: Seized Nov. 13/14. The Chinese fishing boat was reported seized off Kenya. The crew included 15 Chinese, one Taiwanese, one Japanese, three Filipinos and four Vietnamese.

CHEMSTAR VENUS: Seized Nov. 15. The tanker was travelling from Dumai, Indonesia, to Ukraine. It had 18 Filipino and five South Korean crew.

BISCAGLIA: Seized on Nov. 28. The Biscaglia, a Liberian-flagged chemical tanker, had 30 crew on board: 25 Indians, three Britons and two Bangladeshis.

NAMES UKNOWN: Seized on Dec. 10. Pirates hijacked two Yemeni fishing vessels with a total of 22 crew in coastal waters in the Gulf of Aden. Five crew reportedly escaped.

NAMES UNKNOWN: Seized on Dec. 16. A yacht with two on board, an Indonesian tugboat used by French oil company Total and a 100-metre (330-ft) cargo ship belonging to an Istanbul-based shipping company were hijacked.

BLUE STAR: Seized on Jan. 1, 2009. The Egyptian merchant ship was sailing east with a cargo of 6,000 tonnes of urea, a product used as a fertiliser. It had 28 Egyptian crew aboard.

NAME UNKNOWN: A product tanker was seized on Jan. 3 in the Gulf of Aden. 15 crew members were taken hostage.

A total of 14 incidents have been recorded this month with 8 vessels fired upon 4 attempted boardings and the two hijackings.

Sources: Reuters/International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds List/

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Making Justice responsive to Good Governance standards!

Thank you Dr. Belai!

Re: Justice in the Horn and recent imprisonment of Birtukan Medeqsa Deme

Comments from Ethioforum.

What would Zegeye (The slow man) say about this?

Dr. Belai, you are one of rare Ethiopians who have shown us the directions when we got lost and continue to do so when going gets tough while people like Wondimu Mekonnen and Tolosa Wakene run away when they couldn't stand the heat for they didn't have thick that could have helped them get through.

Unfortunately, there are people like Zegeye who are residual products of intermingled relationships of different people who are elated by the arrest of Bertukan who seemingly possesses a Divine like political power in mobilizing the people to revolt against the regime that Zegeye is dying of its love.

Demissie Assegid

From: Belai FM Habte-Jesus
To: EthioForum Mailing List
Sent: Friday, 9 January, 2009 10:10:49
Subject: [EthioForum] - Let us feed Birtukan First and then talk about justice and struggle later!
Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and friends of Africa/Ethiopia:

The Bloomberg News is reporting a very dire situation in Kaliti/Akaki Prison. I wondered what the Ethiopian Constitution and Law (Fitha-bher and Fitha-Negest Say on a State Prisoner going to die of Hunger Strike?

Are doctors allowed? Is Feeding tube allowed?

Can they bail out and recover at home? Can we learn from Bernstein Mad doff who is out on Bail after robbing the world of $50 Billion Dollars?

Is Bertukan Mideqsa Deme more dangerous than Bernstein Maddoff of $50 Billion Robbery but staying at home? Is this a fair world where the real criminal stays at home and the lady who misunderstood or has different understanding of her pardon goes to jail? What is taking place in our beloved home region?

When known criminals and terrorist sympathizers are sitting in Parliament and making all sorts of collaborative activities with known terrorists are paid by the state to create havoc, a lady who has proven that she will only work under the constitution in a peaceful manner is going to jail. Remember Birhanu Bonga who declared war and terror is free teaching terror in Pennsylvania?

The blessed Ethiopian government should get him extracted to his cell in Kaliti, but that will not happen as he perhaps has American Passport and still expects to be a Prime Minister for Ethiopia or a Mayor for Mercato?

How can we address discrepancy of human right and legal system across the world.

Just imagine for Bertukan's daughter to see her mother die in Jail of hunger strike? What do these Elders who negotiated the deal do when one of their negotiator dies in Prison.

What is the consciousness of Ethiopians to be like after letting the only Woman Political Leader die in jail of hunger for discrepancies in understanding of her Pardon?

What happened to common sense? Wasn’t Classical Ethiopia known for its justice as testified by Homer, the Prophet Mohammad and early noble people of the classical world?

What happened to the Revolutionary Democrats who went to the Bush allegedly to bring justice to all! What went wrong?

The constitution is clear that you cannot bring to Justice the same person twice for the same alleged crime. The constitution also demands that no one should ever be put to jail unless he or she is read their alleged crime and are represented by lawyer and the Judge makes pronouncements.

What is the role of the Pardon Board, how can it meet in three days and put Ms Birtukan to jail when they have 20 days to examine the case. It just does not make sense.

I cannot imagine we should keep quiet and let Bertukan Die. Where is Professor Isaac and Pastor Daniel and President Girma in all these?

I just wonder when we will see fairness and justice to women in Ethiopia.

The frustration and agony of my people continues, and when will it end?

Let common sense Prevail and feed Birtukan

I trust people with commonsense and compassion will stand up and request Ms Medqsa to feed and the Prison Guards and Justice System to give her time to recover!

Dr B


January 8, 2009

Jailed Ethiopian Opposition Leader Mideksa on Hunger Strike

Jason McLure
Ethiopia’s leading opposition politician is in her 10th day of a hunger strike after she was jailed for life on Dec. 29 following a dispute with the government, according to her mother.

Birtukan Mideksa, 34, has been taking only juice and water and is being held in solitary confinement in a windowless 3-meter by 4-meter (10-foot by 13-foot) cell in Ethiopia’s Kaliti prison, said her mother, Almaz Gebregziabhere, who visited her in prison yesterday.

“I didn’t recognize her because of how she’s changed,” said Gebregziabhere, 72, in an interview today at her home in Addis Ababa. “I begged her for the sake of her daughter to eat, but she didn’t.”

Prison officials have banned all visitors except Gebregziabhere and Mideksa’s 3-year-old daughter, Halle, from visiting her, Gebregziabhere said.

Gebregziabhere, speaking in Amharic through a translator, said the family had been unable to hire a lawyer for Mideksa because those contacted on her behalf have turned her down as a client, fearing government reprisals.

Mideksa, a leader of the now-dissolved Coalition for Unity and Democracy party, was first jailed after Ethiopia’s 2005 elections, in which the CUD claimed victory. She and dozens of other opposition leaders were sentenced to life in prison, though they were released in 2007 after a pardon agreement with the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

She was re-arrested Dec. 29 after she rejected government demands that she make a public statement saying she had formally requested the original pardon.

‘Humane Condition’

Bereket Simon, an adviser to Zenawi, said he wasn’t aware of Mideksa’s fast.

“We have a prison system whereby we hold prisoners in a humane condition,” Simon said. “This is a case where she has said that she didn’t ask for pardon and the decision of the judiciary is being applied. At this point, I don’t think it requires intervention by lawyers.”

Simon also said the government wasn’t interested in potential mediation efforts by the independent group that negotiated Mideksa’s initial release.

Following their release in 2007, some former CUD leaders chose exile in the U.S. or U.K. Mideksa stayed in Ethiopia and formed a new party that planned to contest the 2010 elections.

“Look what has happened to her,” said Berhanu Nega, who along with Mideksa led the CUD movement in 2005, in a phone interview from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The government “will never allow any peaceful transition in that country.”

Call to Struggle

Nega, who was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in 2005 before his imprisonment, has called for armed struggle to oust Zenawi. Nega left Ethiopia after his release from prison in 2007 to teach at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

His new movement, Ginbot 7, has formed an underground network inside Ethiopia with the goal of overthrowing Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, Nega said.
The U.S., which views Ethiopia as a key ally in the fight against terrorism, offered a rare rebuke to Zenawi’s government following Mideksa’s arrest, warning Ethiopia to avoid steps that appear to “criminalize dissent.”

Government opponents accused the state of rigging the May 2005 poll, sparking protests in Addis Ababa. A judicial inquiry after the election concluded that government security forces had killed 193 opposition supporters in the unrest.

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & Prosperity
Win-win synergestic Partnership 4P&P-focusing on 5Es: Education+Energy+Ecology+Economy+Enterprises;
C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545

--- On Thu, 1/8/09, Awde Ethiopia wrote:

From: Awde Ethiopia
Subject: We would rather die on our feet than live on our knees!! - Franklin D. Roosevelt
To: "globalbelai"
Date: Thursday, January 8, 2009, 7:30 PM

Dear globalbelai,

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said "We, and all others who believe in freedom as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees"

Here is an Amharic article based on this wonderful quote.

( )

Stand up against Injustice and Zenawi's Arrogance!

globalbelai, Say It Loud - I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees!!


'Yes We Can ; Yes We Will'


Email us @

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Crisis and Good Governance in the Horn in 2009

Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of Africa and the Horn:

Happy New Year and Blessed Genna or Lidet on January 07, 2009

As you look forward to the new year imagine the following possibilities:

Imagine a Hamas like activity in the Horn, or Hana Gobeze from Protugal under the guise of European Union covert activities all over again in Ethiopia or a Cuban Crisis from Iran and Israel in the Afar Danakil areas in the Horn in 2009?

Just imagine al the counter intelligence activities raging in the horn under the banner of human rights, and good governance; and try to scan an environment where magine a sitting duck governance waiting for a disaster to happen.

Try and imagine a new law regulating quasi government and non government operatives under the titles of this and that without border!

Stretch your imagination further and imagine where the Bottom Billion will be without any protection from the likes of Bernestien Maddoff, etc doing their rent seeking behavior on us!

Just imagine paying rent to the Mad Hoffs and Global Roberry Without Borders, etc, Just imagine the concern of UN to address this critical issues. Please read below for your information.

Dr B

no-reply@IRINnews. org]
Subject: ETHIOPIA: Do they know it's (il)legal?

ETHIOPIA: Do they know it's (il)legal?

DAKAR, 23 December 2008 (IRIN) - Is a proposed law to regulate charities in Ethiopia an attempt to regulate a sprawling sector and block foreign political interference or a clampdown on civil society?

A draft proclamation published and revised several times this year has been criticised by African and international rights groups. Ethiopian civil society groups allege some provisions are unconstitutional.

Critics argue the proposed rules, especially on foreign funding of
Ethiopian NGOs, will deliberately stifle local human rights groups critical of the government and could disrupt aid operations implemented by local groups.

The government disagrees. Meles Tilahun, a whip in parliament, told IRIN: "The law is needed to create a conducive environment for NGOs and CSOs [civil society organisations] and provide a separate legal framework for them. It does not mean to shut them down."

The government has, however, commented that the charity sector has been used by "political activists" who are working on "other
issues", not "catastrophes that required aid and assistance", according to a communiqué released in September 2008.

The law, the Proclamation for the Registration and Regulation of Charities and Societies, has been passed by Ethiopia's Council of Ministers but has not yet been presented to parliament, where pro-government MPs command an overwhelming majority. A hearing is expected on 24 and 25 December.

A donor official told IRIN: "There is currently no standard operating
procedure for CSOs to work in Ethiopia and having a common set of rules and regulations is a good thing."

But attempts to revise the law seem to be running out of time. "We've
been lobbying to get the bill changed before it is enacted but we've almost come to the end of the road," said the head of an international NGO in Addis Ababa, who asked not to be named.

The (draft) law

The law establishes an oversight agency, rules and supervision for the
establishment of trusts and endowments, societies and charities. Rules
governing fund-raising, membership and governance are detailed. Strong
powers to investigate and oversee CSOs and tough penalties are set out.

Most controversially, the law restricts activity in human and democratic
rights, gender or ethnic equality, conflict resolution, the strengthening of
judicial practices or law enforcement. Only Ethiopian charities or societies having no more than 10 percent of their spending from "foreign
sources" would be able to work in those areas.

However, several categories of organisation are exempted, according to a copy of the draft law http://www.crdaethi html/index. php
on the NGO consortium Christian Relief and Development Association
(CRDA) website:

"Religious organisations, international or foreign organisations
operating in Ethiopia by virtue of an agreement with the government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; 'Edir', 'Ekub' [traditional
cooperative schemes] and other similar cultural or religious associations; and societies governed by other laws."

The impact on international NGOs with government agreements may therefore be limited.


In November, a CRDA task force welcomed the concept of a legal framework for CSOs, but set out a number of objections to the draft:

the definitions of charities and permitted activities;

the lack of a right to judicial review or appeal and the requirement that CSOs must have branches in five regions; "discriminatory selection and privileging of
mass-based organisations" ;

lack of recognition for self-regulation by the sector;

a 30 percent restriction on administrative costs;

too many board members nominated by the government;

charities not exempt from taxes and duty;

and requirement to register with the authorities within one year of
the bill taking effect.

The CRDA-sponsored report also argues that the foreign funding provisions restrict the participation of the Ethiopian diaspora and the constitutional freedom of assembly.

http://www.crdaethi Documents/ Comments% 20of%20the% 20CSO%20Task% 20for
ce% 0on%20the%20Fourth% 20Draft%20Legist lation.pdf

The CRDA commentary is only one of several critiques published by Ethiopian civil society, including prominent groups such as the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, which is frequently critical of the government and heavily dependent on foreign funding.


The US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) alleged the law represented "a complex web of arbitrary restrictions on the work civil society groups can engage in, onerous bureaucratic hurdles, draconian criminal penalties, and intrusive powers of surveillance" and urged parliament to reject the bill.

Amnesty International, the development committee of the European
Parliament, and the civil society lobby group CIVICUS, also criticised the law, as did the US government.

"I am not aware of an NGO law elsewhere that is more restrictive, "
said Chris Albim-Lackay, senior researcher in HRW's Africa division.

"It will render the activities of most international and local human
rights organisations Illegal."

However, despite reservations, many NGOs and donors agreed that regulation was needed.

But ultimately the law could end up weakening Ethiopian civil society, some argue.

"Everyone respects sovereignty.

But it depends what you define as national interest. We think it's healthy that people complain about the government and provoke citizens to complain because it leads to better outcomes for societies as a whole," the NGO representative said.

Other NGO laws

Ethiopia is not alone in coming under fire for its NGO law. In 2004,
Zimbabwe passed a law banning domestic groups working on human rights and governance from receiving foreign funding, including Zimbabweans abroad. The law set up a government oversight mechanism that the US Bureau of Public Affairs called "highly intrusive and subject to political
manipulation" .

Russia's 2006 NGO law means the government can decline to register
branches of foreign organisations where their "goals and objectives create a threat to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity, national unity, unique character, cultural heritage and national interests of the Russian Federation".

And in the countries hosting western critics, there are restrictions too.
In the UK, foreign NGOs must register under one of six categories:

prevention or relief of poverty;

advancement of education, religion;

health or saving lives; citizenship and community development;

human rights;

conflict resolution or reconciliation, and can lobby for political or legal
change only if it would further one of these goals.

The Ethiopian government has mentioned US law in its defence.

In the USA, tax-exempt NGOs can lobby but "may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of their activities and may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates". However, "social welfare" tax-exempt organisations are not limited in this way.


Ethiopia receives more than US$1 billion of humanitarian and development
aid every year, and reports indicate some 3,300 NGOs operate around the country.

"A significant number of programmes under the new law could be
prohibited," a donor official told IRIN, referring to those focussing on strengthening the judicial system, conflict resolution, and democracy and governance.
"If the law is implemented in black and white, some non-profits might have no future," an NGO head told IRIN.

International NGOs are concerned about the status of local non-profits that play a major role in implementing projects (and might fall foul of the 10 percent rule) and the "rights-based" discourse and advocacy element in NGO work.

Some argue that over the past two decades NGO work has inevitably become more "political". Others have been reassured they will not have to leave or curtail their "classic humanitarian" operations and advocacy relating to food, health, education and water and sanitation.

"While regulation is needed, the law could have a 'chilling'
effect on aid operations in Ethiopia, by creating an atmosphere of fear, distrust and potentially weakening innovation. That is where the law is quite threatening, " a donor representative told IRIN.


Advocacy may have paid off in small ways.

There have been some improvements to the latest draft bill, issued in
December, according to Catherine Shea, programme director with the US Center for Not-for-Profit Law, with the punishment of a prison sentence dropped for unregistered NGOs.

However, employees of charities that fail to keep proper accounts, or whose administration costs exceed 30 percent of overall programming costs, can still be imprisoned.

One aid official said the restrictions followed apparent meddling by NGOs after the 2005 elections - the move is designed to ensure outsiders do not interfere in 2010 elections.

The government's September commentary pointedly objected to aid operations being used by "political actors... which can sway votes in national elections".

aj/cb/bp/mw[ END]

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Subscribed Email: act-ethiopia@ nca-ethiopia. org BBC January 6, 2008Ethiopia imposes aid agency curbs The bill bans aid agencies from working on the rights of children

Ethiopia's parliament has passed a controversial bill imposing tight restrictions on aid agencies.

Foreign agencies are prohibited from a number of areas including human rights, equality, conflict resolution and the rights of children.

Local groups that receive more than 10% of their funding from abroad are also banned from working in these areas.

Under discussion for months, the bill has already been considerably modified amid objections from aid organisations.

Parliament approved the legislation on Tuesday - Orthodox Christmas Eve - by 327 votes to 79, according to the AFP news agency, before members headed home for the holiday.

The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa says at the heart of the bill and causing the most fuss is a clause aimed at preventing foreign interference in issues which the government believes should be a purely Ethiopian affair.

It's an attempt by the ruling party to banish all those it sees as a threat to its tight grip on power Temesgen Zewdie opposition MP

She says some of the organisations affected, like the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, could be seen as political and have long been a thorn in the government's flesh.

But, she adds, if the law is rigorously applied it could also catch much less controversial groups which are doing valuable work but would never be able to fund their activities from purely local sources.

The bill bans international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from five sorts of activity:

• The advancement of human and democratic rights

• The promotion of equality between peoples, sexes or religions

• Campaigning for children's rights or the rights of the disabled

• Conflict resolution and reconciliation

• Work on criminal justice issues.

The bill's provisions imposing the same restrictions on Ethiopian NGOs which receive more than 10% of their funding from foreign sources will affect many agencies, according to our correspondent.

She says this is because a number of foreign donors prefer to channel their aid through the voluntary sector rather than giving it to the government.

A defence of the bill published by the ruling party described this attitude as a neo-liberalist concept which sees African governments as obstacles to development.

The government denies the bill is intended to restrict aid work.

"Civil organisations will be able to function without hindrances. They won't face restrictions as long as they respect the country's laws," government whip Hailemariam Desalegn said.

'Very difficult'

But opposition MP Temesgen Zewdie was quoted by AFP as telling MPs before the vote: "As far as we're concerned, it's an attempt by the ruling party to banish all those it sees as a threat to its tight grip on power."

Madhere Paulos director of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers' Association told the BBC that 99% of its funding to provide legal aid to women currently comes from abroad.

She said her members would continue to give up their time for free.

"But when we think about the premises, when we think about the court fees that we pay for our clients, the transportation, the medical fees for those who are victims of rape and sexual violence, it's very difficult to think of only using voluntary contributions."

The US government in particular has protested loudly to the Horn of Africa nation about the proposals, but to very little effect, says our correspondent.

Ethiopia is among the world's top aid recipients.



January 6, 2009
UN proposes Green Zone-style base in Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya — Three masked gunmen fatally shot a Somali aid worker Tuesday, as the U.N. envoy to Somalia said the United Nations should create a Baghdad-style Green Zone in the African country so he can base all his aid workers there.

The U.N. now keeps its international Somalia staff members in Kenya to shield them from the risk of attacks and kidnappings. In 2008, at least 13 aid workers were killed in Somalia, which has not had an effective government since 1991.

"It is very difficult to address (the) Somali situation from Nairobi (the Kenyan capital). I think it is even negative," the envoy, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said during a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya. "We should have a Green Zone, if necessary, in Somalia."

Ould-Abdallah did not give a time frame for creating a fortified, walled-off area like the Green Zone in Iraq used by U.S.-led forces, but it would be costly and time-consuming.

Somalia is now at a dangerous crossroads. The president resigned in late December, saying he has lost most of the country to Islamic insurgents, and the Ethiopian troops who have been protecting the fragile, U.N.-backed government have begun pulling out, leaving a dangerous power vacuum. Islamic groups are starting to fight among themselves for power.

On Tuesday, three gunmen shot Ibrahim Hussein Duale, a 44-year-old Somali who was a school feeding monitor in the Gedo region of central Somalia, the U.N. World Food Program said. Duale leaves a wife and five children, the agency said in a statement.

Somalia has been beset by anarchy and an insurgency that has killed thousands of civilians and sent hundreds of thousands fleeing. Foreigners, journalists and humanitarian workers are frequently abducted for ransoms in the Horn of Africa nation, which the United States fears could become a haven for al-Qaida.

On Tuesday in the capital, Mogadishu, the spokesman for the small African Union peacekeeping force said an AU soldier was killed during a land-mine clearing operation.

The lawlessness also has allowed piracy to flourish off the coast. In northeastern Somalia, a regional security minister said France had handed over 19 Somali pirates to local authorities.

Ould-Abdallah said he hopes an upcoming parliamentary vote — expected in Somalia by Jan. 28 — to name a new president will not be corrupt like past votes that have been tainted by secret deals.

"Somalis have to work to expand their government, try to have a government of national unity and vote for a new president," Ould-Abdallah said.
__________________________________________________________ New Vision, Uganda January 4, 2009 Uganda to review Somalia deployment Sunday
A displaced Somali woman and her children arrive at Ealasha, south of Mogadishu

Steven Candia and Agencies

UGANDA is reconsidering the continued presence of her forces in Somalia following the pull-out of Ethiopian forces from the volatile country.

Foreign affairs state minister Okello Oryem yesterday said consultations were ongoing to assess the magnitude of the risk facing the UPDF soldiers serving on an African Union peace keeping mission.

�Our commanders and those of Burundi are in consultation with the AU to determine the amount of risk and if it is established that the level of risk is high, then a pull out is the most prudent thing,� Oryem said without specifying where the consultations were taking place.

There was no point, Oryem said, for the UPDF to remain on the peace keeping mission in light of the Ethiopian pull�-out when other countries that had pledged to contribute soldiers towards the mission were not honouring their pledges.

Only Uganda and Burundi have sent forces to Somalia, accounting for the 3,000 forces presently serving on the mission there.

Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa had pledged to contribute forces towards that mission but have not met their pledges.

Okello said under the earlier arrangement, the UPDF was in-charge of the ports, Mogadishu Airport, the Presidential Palace, train and to provide the Somali forces with Intelligence.

�The Ethiopians were in-charge of Mogadishu town and the surrounding areas of the city. They would provide a buffer. If their (Ethiopians) pullout means the warlords are going to begin taking on our troops, we will just pull out,� he said.

Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia in late 2006 to help kick-out the hard-line regime of the Islamic Courts Union.

After two years of battling a bloody insurgency and watching the government it backed fall apart, Ethiopia decided to withdraw.

Trucks loaded with Ethiopian soldiers and their belongings began filing out of the capital Mogadishu on Friday.

Only ramshackle government forces and an undermanned African Union force of around 3,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi will stand between insurgent groups and complete control of Somalia once Ethiopia leaves.

The Ethiopian government, in a statement issued on Saturday, pledged not to leave a power vacuum when it completes its troop withdrawal from neighbouring Somalia in the coming days.

The statement said the heads of the African Union mission to Somalia (AMISOM), the military of the Transitional Federal Government and the Ethiopian Defence Forces in Mogadishu had already met in Addis Ababa to analyse the situation and work out plans to be carried out subsequently.

Analysts fear that the Ethiopian departure could worsen the conflict.

The insurgents are far from united and some are warning the insurgent groups could splinter and begin fighting, sending Somalia spiralling further into chaos.

As the Ethiopians pullout, clashes have intensified between a relatively new Islamist group, Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca, which has clashed with the strongest group, al-Shabaab, in recent days. Dozens died in the fighting.

There is, nonetheless, some optimism that the resignation of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed last Monday and the departure of the Ethiopians could give fresh impetus to an ongoing UN-backed peace process and help create a government of national unity.