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December 30, 2012

Rebel faction arrives in Addis Ababa for peace talks

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Somali Territories as of May 18th 2007, with the latest territorial exchanges in the various conflicts.

Leaders of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia over the weekend of Dec. 22, with the aim of continuing peace talks with the government of Ethiopia. Talks had come to a halt in October of this year over the factions refusal to acknowledge the Ethiopian constitution. In the talks held in Nairobi and mediated by Kenya, the Ethiopian government had set as a condition that the faction respect the National Constitution of Ethiopia and work within the constitutional framework.

Abdinur Abdulahi Farah, the faction’s spokesperson says that it now recognizes the national constitution and is willing to work with the government towards their common goal of national and regional development. He said, “we can’t refuse to accept the National Constitution. It is what made us equal with all the nations and nationalities of Ethiopia.” However, he said this decision to accept these conditions has not been unanimous. Some groups within the larger organization disagree with this decision and still refuse to acknowledge the constitution.

The faction then led by Admiral Mohammed Omar Osman was responsible for an attack on Chinese-run oil exploration field which led to the death of 65 Ethiopian soldiers and nine Chinese oil workers. This attack and the following government crackdown in Ogaden led to the splitting of ONLF into two of three groups. In 2010, The government signed a separate agreement with one of these group claiming to represent a majority of the rebels. This agreement culminated in the release of faction member imprisoned by the government. The talks held in October in Kenya and continuing now in the capital Addis Ababa are an attempt to negotiate an agreement with the remaining members of the ONLF.

The decision to come to peace talks seems to have created a futher divisions and disagreements within the rebel faction from the Somali Region of Ethiopia. However according to Abdinur, “those members of the front who have rejected the National Constitution have no popular support and they are only few led by Admiral Mohammed Omar Osman who is now hiding in Asmara.”

An ONLF rebel unit in 2006

The ONLF is believed to responsible for many attacks on military and civilian targets since 2007. The Ethiopian government has acknowledged the capture or killing of hundreds of rebels in the past. It has also been accused, by the Human Rights Watch of retaliatory attacks in the Somali Region against a civilian population suspected of sympathizing with the rebels. ONLF has been in conflict—in one form or another—with the ruling party of the government, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front since the first {{w:Ethiopian general election, 1995|national elections} in 1995.


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October 19, 2011

Jailed Swedish journalists tried as terrorists

Jailed Swedish journalists tried as terrorists

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ethiopia
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The trial for two Swedish journalists being tried for terrorism in Ethiopia began yesterday. The freelance journalists were arrested after entering from neighboring country Somalia without permission. They allegedly aided a terrorist group and were wounded in a gunfight, in which 15 rebels were killed.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi says the two imprisoned Swedish journalists “made their way into Ethiopia with a terrorist organization that had killed 70 people who worked for a mining company in an attack.” He says “I think it would be a criminal relationship in any country”.

Cquote1.svg If that is journalism, I don’t know what terrorism is Cquote2.svg

—Meles Zenawi

“They are, at the very least, messenger boys of a terrorist organization. They are not journalists,” the prime minister said. “Why would a journalist be involved with a terrorist organization and enter a country with that terrorist organization, escorted by armed terrorists, and participate in a fighting in which this terrorist organization was involved? If that is journalism, I don’t know what terrorism is,” says Zenawi.

Swedish Foreign Minister Bildt is embroiled in allegations related to the case

The journalists were jailed after entering into Ethiopia’s troubled Ogaden region to cover rebel activity in the area. Zenawi claims one of the journalists was arrested on a previous attempt to enter illegally. “The second time he was seized with a terrorist organization in combat.”

The Swedes were found travelling with the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), and were investigating actions by a company with ties to Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum, oil group, and claims of human rights violations in the Ogaden region.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has been criticised for inaction post-arrests. Kerstin Lundell, who wrote a book on Lundin in Africa, says “the fact that Carl Bildt has reason to hide what is going on in Ogaden could explain why these journalists are still in prison.”

Bildt Lundin board member but left previous to the firm gaining an Ethiopian concession for oil exploration.

Journalist Anna Roxvall, who is acting as facilitator of the Swedish journalists says the claim that one of the journalists was arrested previously is wrong. “No, no, no. It is clean cut a lie”, she says.

Sveriges Radio, Sveriges Television, TT and Dagens Nyheter journalists applied for visa to attend the trial but were originally denied entry to the country. Ola Larsmo, writer and chairman of the Swedish Pen says access to information will be restricted if Swedish journalists do not attend. Zenawi says “we do not need to Swedish journalists to prove that our courts operate in accordance with international standards.”

Amongst the crowded court audience were eighteen Swedish journalists and several Western diplomats, including US ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Booth.

Voice of America says legal experts expect a quick resolution. The accused’s lawyers claim a four-to-six month trial is likely. An unnamed attorney close to the trial has claimed a negotiated settlement is still possible. The two journalists face fifteen years in prison if convicted of engaging in terrorist activity. The trial is scheduled to resume tomorrow.


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November 17, 2009

Rebels say 626 Ethiopian troops killed in clashes

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Ethiopia,Ogaden,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Rebels say 626 Ethiopian troops killed in clashes

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ethiopia
Other stories from Ethiopia
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Location of Ethiopia

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ONLF rebels
Image: Jonathan Alpeyrie.

A rebel group in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region said today that it has killed 626 government troops after heavy fighting near the border with neighboring Somalia. The government, however, has dismissed the claim, calling it “a complete fabrication”.

A communiqué sent to news agencies by e-mail announced that a multi-front offensive launched by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) on November 10 is still in progress. The communiqué, believed to be sent from ONLF offices in Europe, says 626 Ethiopian troops have died, and the statement says the battlefields are littered with bodies of soldiers. It described ONLF casualties as “minimal”, but gave no details.

A rebel communiqué issued on Friday said the rebels had captured seven towns along the border with Somalia.

“The operation involved thousands of ONLF troops and resulted in two days of heavy fighting. A significant number of Ethiopian troops have been killed and their military hardware captured or destroyed,” read a statement by the ONLF.

They said that they entered the towns of Boodhaano, Galadiid, Gunogabo, Hamaro, Higlaaley, Obolka, and Yucub, where the Ethiopian government had stationed troops and military hardware. “ONLF forces were warmly welcomed by the population in these areas and are administering medical care to those civilians killed by retreating Ethiopian occupation forces,” the statement continued.

The reports could not be independently verified, as journalists are not permitted into the region. Ethiopian government spokesman Shimelis Kemal, however, called the ONLF claims completely false. In a telephone interview with the Voice of America news agency, he described the communiqués as a desperate measure used occasionally by the rebels to portray the region as being in turmoil.

“This group used to make exaggerated claims,” said Shimelis Kemal. “This is the usual lie, deliberately fabricated by this terrorist group.” He also told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the rebel’s announcements were “baseless claim, blank propaganda. This terrorist group is currently disbanded from government campaigns.”

Shimelis denied any government troops had been killed, and said the current fighting is between the rebels and local militia groups. “The rebels were expelled and defeated by the local militia,” said Shimelis. “The army was not involved there.”

Ethiopia calls the rebels “terrorists” backed by neighboring rival Eritrea, and with ties to the Somali group al-Shabab. Eritrea and the ONLF both denied the links, and there is no independent verification of the charges.

Government troops launched a fierce offensive against the ONLF in early 2007 after the rebels attacked a Chinese-owned oil exploration field in Ethiopia’s Ebole district, killing 74 people. The ONLF accused the troops of conducting a “scorched earth” campaign, a claim that was strongly denied by the government.

The United Nations twice requested access to the region to conduct independent human rights assessments, but Ethiopia refused the requests.

Government spokesman Shimelis said that 2007 offensive effectively ended the ONLF’s military capability. “Since the Ebole incident, the ONLF bandit group is on the run,” he said. “Recently however, they have tried to raid some administrations in the localities, and that attempt had been effectively defeated by the local militia.”

Ethiopia has recently attempted to assure oil companies the ONLF no longer has the ability to threaten exploration and production in the Ogaden region. However, Ethiopia’s mines and energy minister was quoted this week as saying no petroleum reserves had been found in the country, despite years of search.

The ONLF has been fighting for greater autonomy or independence for the Ogaden since Ethiopia seized the mostly Somali-speaking region in a war with Somalia more than 30 years ago.



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September 16, 2009

Somali hospital hit by shells after continued unrest

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Mogadishu,Ogaden,Politics and conflicts,Somalia — admin @ 5:00 am

Somali hospital hit by shells after continued unrest

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Somalia
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The Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the internationally recognized government of the former state of Somalia, could not stop an attack conducted by insurgents in the capital as they shelled the city’s port; but, some rounds fell short which led to dozens of casualties.

Late last week, Somali insurgents conducted a mortar attack in downtown Mogadishu missing their intended target at the city’s seaport; instead, hitting a veteran’s hospital killing between 6 and 9 former soldiers and wounding at least 12 others. Many of the hospital’s patients are veterans from Somalia’s 1977 conflict with Ethiopia in the Ogaden, according to government spokesman Shiek Abdirisaq Qeylow. The disabled veterans were gathering and chatting in the hospital’s courtyard ready for the iftar (Futuru), the feast that breaks the dawn-to-dusk fast observed during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, when the shells fell, according to the Associated Free Press. Their home, De Martino Hospital, was collateral damage in what was meant to be an attack on the seaport according to Mohamed Abdiazis, a Somali Policeman. Victims were taken to the Medina Hospital which is where four of the victims died. Eyewitnesses said that several rounds hit the seaport and the main jail.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Al-Shabab, the militant youth group that has now taken the reigns of the insurgency in Somalia after the dissolution of the Islamic Courts Union, is widely suspected. Al-Shabab seeks to institute the strictest sense of Shar’ia Law in Somalia and is a seam of contention for their participation in the government. Earlier this year, the newly elected Somali President agreed to implement tenets of Shar’ia into the nation’s statutory codes, however negotiations quickly broke down over the details.

While the TFG has made attempts to quell violence in the capital and in other parts of Somalia, little success has been realized. The government relies on assistance from the African Union to maintain some semblance of order in Mogadishu. Parts of the country like Somaliland in the north have claimed de-facto independence in the absence of a central government capable of protecting all parts of the country.



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April 3, 2009

G20 protests: Inside a labour march

G20 protests: Inside a labour march – Wikinews, the free news source

G20 protests: Inside a labour march

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Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

The South Wales protesters gathered on the steps of the National Museum, Cardiff
Image: Steve Chapple.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

The Youth Fight For Jobs assembles.
Image: Killing Vector.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Cquote1.svg Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’ Cquote2.svg

—Youth Fight for Jobs, chant #5

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman”); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!”. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Police escorted the march along the entire length of its route.
Image: Killing Vector.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

The march enters the City of London. The top of The Gherkin, a symbol of London’s financial center, can be seen in the background.
Image: Killing Vector.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The march finds empty streets in the Tower Hamlets
Image: Killing Vector.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

Cquote1.svg There’s nobody to protest to! Cquote2.svg

—Peter, march steward

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

Marchers chant labor slogans in Wapping

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

Marchers take in lunch in Victoria Park. Speakers from organized labor address the crowd.
Image: Killing Vector.

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

Cquote1.svg A demonstration is always a means to and end. Cquote2.svg

—Neil Cafferky, London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

Members of the International Bolshevik Tendency display signs and sell literature in Victoria Park
Image: Killing Vector.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

A march steward calls out a chant

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

Police cover all roads leading into the ExCel Centre.
Image: Killing Vector.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

A speaker demands an end to dictatorship in Ethiopia

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front’s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

Ogaden Somalis demand an autonomous homeland.
Image: Killing Vector.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo”, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.



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April 24, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: April 24, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: April 24, 2007 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: April 24, 2007

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A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, April 24, 2007.

74 killed in raid on oil field in Ethiopia

Location of Ethiopia

65 Ethiopians and 9 Chinese were killed in their sleep Tuesday in a predawn raid on an oil field in Abole, a small town in southeast Ethiopia’s Somali state. Seven Chinese were kidnapped.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attack on the field which is run by a Chinese firm.

At a news conference, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said: “Such an outrage, the cold-blooded murder of people who were building roads and engaged in other development activities, is a measure of the level of barbarity involved.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Liu Jianchao, condemned the attack, which he said involved more than 200 gunmen.

Sources


Armed wing of Hamas declares end of truce

Location of Palestinian Territories

In response to weekend raids by Israel, the armed wing of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, declared and end to a 5-month old truce and fired rockets into Israel. The rockets caused some damage, but no injuries were reported.

The Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) urged calm. “The government is interested to keep the ceasefire and the calm and we are trying, through consultation and discussion with the Palestinian factions, to take a position in order to protect our people,” PA spokesperson Ghazi Hamad said.

PA President, Mahmoud Abbas who is a member of Fatah, said: “The violation of the truce is an exceptional event that will not last.”

The Defense Minister of Israel, Amir Peretz warned against further attacks, but so far Israel has not made an armed response.

Sources


Mexico City legalizes abortion

Location of México

México City, the capital of the world’s second-largest Catholic country, Mexico, voted today to legalize abortion.

City lawmakers passed legislation that legalizes abortion during the first three months of pregnancy. Hitherto, abortions were only legal in cases of rape, if the woman’s life is in danger, or if there are signs of severe defects in the fetus.

The legislation passed in the face of pressure from Mexican bishops who spoke out against the law. Opinion polls indicated that Mexico City residents were fairly evenly split on the issue.

Sponsors of the bill argued that the deaths of some 1,500 women during illegal abortions over the last ten years showed the need to legalize it.

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