Two Ethiopian soccer players arrested
Johannesburg - Botswana's security forces have arrested two of the three Ethiopian soccer players who went missing last weekend, SABC radio news reported on Sunday.
They were arrested at the Swartkopfontein and the Romatswa border post while trying to cross into South Africa.
The third player has fled.
The players disappeared after their club, Defense FC, played against Botswana's Notwane in the CAF Confederations Cup last weekend. - Sapa
Football Players missing in Botswana
Mesert Defar smashes 3,000 indoor record
Meseret Defar from Ethiopia celebrates after her 3,000 meters world record in 8:23.72 minutes during the Sparkassencup track and field meeting at the Hanns-Martin-Schlyer indoor arena in Stuttgart, southern Germany on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Daniel Maurer)
BERLIN, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Ethiopia's Meseret Defar smashed the world indoor record for the 3,000 metres on Saturday, clocking eight minutes 23.72 seconds in Stuttgart to take more than four seconds off the previous best time.
Defar, the Olympic 5,000m champion, was pushed all the way by compatriot Meselech Melkamu, who came in just two hundredths of a second behind her at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle.
The previous record of 8:27.86 was set last year by Russian Liliya Shobukhova in Moscow.
"Meselech was very strong," Defar told reporters. "She led me to this record."
Defar had been confident of setting a new mark after running 8:30.31 in Boston last week, despite a severe cold.
8:23.72 3000m World indoor record for Defar in Stuttgart
Saturday 3 February 2007
Stuttgart, Germany - Even though the Sparkassen Cup meeting was under new management this winter, it was the “same procedure as every year”, with a World record, plus twelve world leading times posted in ten events on Saturday evening in Stuttgart’s Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle. After twenty successful editions under the direction of Fredy Schäfer, the role of impresario tonight moved into the hands of former European Decathlon champion Alain Blondel. But, as the native French Blondel would agree, it was simply “la même chose”.
Freedom Overturned to Serfdom - Wedi Afom’s PFDJ Epoch in Eritrea
In what follows I am influenced to call Issayas Afeworki, the Eritrean President, as Wedi Afom the reason being that the Eritrean youth (be it at home or abroad) romanticize about him with a mixed feeling of love and hate and prefer to call him in whatever case and at whatever moment as Wedi Afom.
Wedi Afom the Phantom:
Wodi Afom is the man considered by almost 90% of the Eritrean public as the person with unflinching determination and military standing that has pulled himself from a commander in chief of the 2nd liberation front in Eritrea (EPLF – that was initiated next to ELF), to a president of a regime recognized in recent years as PFDJ. Throughout his (over a decade and a half) stay in power; and especially after the 1998-2000 Ethiopia-Eritrea border conflict that ended-up in a hazardous aftermath of war and heavy death tall of lives, Wedi Afom has entangled himself in and singled out certain deliberate and desperate pretexts to wage his rampant and tyrannical government system in Eritrea. And for obvious reasons Eritrea shoulders heavy structural fiscal deficits caused by its high levels of spending on national defense, military wears and fittings. PFDJ imports advanced weapons, war-machines, explosives, cluster-bombs and sophisticated ammunitions needed for conducting a likely war. As the result of Wedi Afom’s tyrannical government conditions imposed on the public since 2001 there is wide-spread fear lingering in peoples’ minds that anticipate yet another war to emanate any time along the disputed Ethiopia-Eritrea-border-lines.
All along, Wedi Afom imposed a strict regime on the very Eritrean peoples that struggled with him during the earlier years of the 1970s through to 1990. To date, he refused to introduce a national constitution and a parliament system empowered to devise ways and means in which popular national elections mechanisms may be tailored and regulated. As a result, the Eritrean peoples have not been fortunate enough to periodically nominate leaders coming from different party-lines. Rather, by using the unsettled Ethiopia-Eritrea dispute as his pretext Wedi Afom rules Eritrea by applying the very age-old ad hoc EPLF administrative system that he implemented as its commander in chief while in the bushes of Eritrea. Nominally Wedi Afom claims to have recently established an Eritrean parliament; but there is no sign of parliamentary members conducting procedural functions.
Today, it is an open secret that both Eritrea and Ethiopia have once again started to beat their respective drum sand toot their horns signaling the coming of an eventual war along the disputed boundary line. And in clandestine, preparations for a likely battle are under-way on either sides of the buffer zone dividing the Ethiopia-Eritrea border line. And legitimizing the clouds of war that is hanging over the sky of the two nations; on the pretext of maintaining the young Eritrean sovereignty in tact; and on the alleged reason of performing all needed national duty to keep Eritrea going economically strong on its own, Wedi Afom has turned Eritrea into a mere military garrison and a country of communist labor camps.
Having lost his lingering lust to listen to the Eritrean elite-class that he deems from ideological stand point as vacillating and strongly entrenched to its self-aggrandizing livelihood and life style in the Western World, Wedi Afom passionately befriends himself particularly with the common Eritrean peoples whom he thinks are living in him and he reciprocally is living in them.
Wedi Afom’s cohorts (who seldom complain about him) and the silent majority of the rural poor consider this staunch and stubborn leader as their hero who must be obeyed by all means, by all accounts, and at any cost without whose effort they would not have been estranged from the “Ethiopian colony”. Wherever and whenever Wedi Afom is out to pay a curtsey visit into the country, or is on a supervisory tour to project sites within Eritrea, the public gathers around him and adores him by giving him a tribute and praise through performing a circular Tigrinya dance and songs – usually carried-out by lining-up and moving in a circular ambiance and semblance; jokingly, some Eritrean-American youth living in New York City label this Tigrinya chanting and dance style as: “Luggage Claim”.
Overall, one wonders as though Wedi Afom and his hand-picked PFDJ-elites, cabinet appointees, the rank and file of PFDJ-thugs and spy are all jointly desperate to destroy the hitherto standing Eritrean people’s dreams since the start of the 30-years-long-struggle and march towards freedom?
By imposing the residues of his good old Maoist Communist strategies and collective laboring on all the nine ethnic groups of Eritrea alike, Wedi Afom and his communist Mafiosi clicks have crashed the visions and views of freedom for which each household had sacrificed their family members.
Which way Eritrea – cheerful or cheerless future?
As though to say: “In a nation where one-eyed man is the king”, the euphoria of Eritrean freedom and the dance of independence have suddenly fade away just within a period of three years (1990-1993). And since 1993 when Wedi Afom presided over his Eritrean leadership, serfdom seem to be the doom of the day; throughout the new nation, the Eritrean public is caught-up in disdain and disillusionment of independence; as they are living under the iron-handed Wedi-Afom’s slavery camps wherever they may be within the Eritrean bounds.
The ideal ethos of the Eritrean public commonly has been fanning for mottos like: Eritrean unity in diversity, the Eritrean work ethics, the Eritrean families’ religious values, shared interests and lingering common dreams for a better Eritrea have all gone into oblivion. The Eritrea set to be moving to resemble Singapore within East Africa has now become an isolated military garrison state entrenched in a communistic style of regime. The young nation where the sun is claimed never to set has now become impoverished held in darkness; even before the sun rises once again to bring the morning lights to the ever yearning Eritrean public that is cursed to live on rationed government alms supply for its basic necessities. The Eritrean person on the streets finds his/her everyday life tied to a stick and barely moving at the edge of a knife; he/she feels as captives held tight under Wedi Afom’s despotic PFDJ-regime that makes consistent declarations announcing rules and regulations pertaining to the forthcoming Ethiopia-Eritrea border war. In fact, one’s life is bitterly held up-tight and intolerable any further. Peoples’ last resort of survival mechanisms seem to be nearly exhausted.
The University of Asmara (UOA), the sole center of higher education in that tiny Horn Africa state, is non-existent. In its place, in his recent blatant decision, Wedi Afom has already assigned military experts who have already compartmentalized and converted UOA into several military colleges where college deans are designated military colonels, captains, or senior officers. Likewise teaching timetables in Eritrean high schools have already been altered into schedules delivering political awareness and military trainings run under a centralized political-bureau. Obviously, subjects taught and indoctrination given here are highly politicized and militarized by way of preparing students for their likely demise once gone into the Sawa military camps where they are bound to give militaristic and other labor services conducted under the pretext of providing national services.
The politically engrained tough times have worsened due to the declining socio-economic stance in Eritrea. In sum, for most people, the short-lived euphoria and dance of Eritrean freedom has now turned into a long hauling labor camp serfdom where nearly 300, 000 Eritrean youth are captivated and toiling under army officers control. They are foot-soldiers languishing in tough military servitude in the name of national re-construction and self-defense revitalization after the worst days of the recent border clashes with Ethiopia.
Currently, by way of staying away from the outdated communistic serfdom camps waged and set-up by the PFDJ regime, thousands of Eritrean youth, who no longer are able to endure the military and political mayhem and socio-economic troubles at home, have already commenced their exodus to foreign lands; with hope to start a new life and a new home in Diaspora; that happens regardless of the likelihood of facing critical challenges and unwavering risks if caught while attempting to escape. There are some cases where young people who got caught were either tortured or even faced death sentences.
What a tragic moment for these 4th generation Eritrean youth? One may wonder if it is just the norm in Eritrea to face challenges of war and skirmishes that appear within or outside Eritrea since the last century. As the result of the ever lingering war conditions decades after decades, young people usually end-up in military garrisons in one form or another (be it at the hands of colonial rulers, outlaws, or liberation fronts; this fate was occurring during each young person’s great grandfather’s life time (the Italian Askari conditions of the 1890s and the Italian colonization of 1940s); this is also true of his/her grand-father (during the liberation fronts sever fight of the 1970s through to the 1990s); also true of his/her father during the 1998-2000 Ethiopia-Eritrea border fight. And currently, he/she is set yet to fight the disputed forthcoming Ethiopia-Eritrea border war. What a fate? What a generational livelihood bound to struggle through war-mongering regimes of one kind or another? Why is it so persistent on Eritrea? When is the Eritrean population to opt for peaceful life? It is beyond my ability to discuss these quarries.
Eritrean polity founded on communistic garrisons
Unfortunately, the Eritrean law and order and for that matter the overall polity has been tailored and scrutinized by handful PFDJ-cohorts who are still caught-up with their nostalgic memories and love of the communistic hay days of the 1970s and 1980s in the bushes and deserts of Eritrea. Wodi Afom and his running dogs still keep on day-dreaming about expanding the good-old communistic style of garrison life in today’s Eritrea that is sandwiched between globalization on the one hand and Wedi Afom’s Hippocratic tyrannical regime on the other hand. Their mind-set is still mirroring the fighter’s life conditions and is still lingering to have it all once again. Eritrea, once envisioned as the future Singapore of East Africa has ultimately turned out to be a nation of prisoners of conscience just like those people under the Phol-Phot’s regime in Kampuchea. In fact, countless Eritrean people coming from all walks of life have now ended up indefinitely imprisoned; these include, among others, but not limited to, 15-ministers, several religion leaders, businessmen, women and the youth.
If it was not for the forthcoming war over the disputed Ethiopia-Eritrea border line, the Eritrean youth who flee the country would not have run-away from home like a motherless child. Indeed, looked at from a classical economic view point, this is a lost opportunity cost for Eritrea in terms of trading off the active human power for maintaining a tyrannical regime’s system in place. However, if peace had reigned in Eritrea, these youth would have been dearly kept assets that may turn the mountain into a flat plain; build and lead Eritrea into progress; and bring about boundless prosperity. Unfortunately, they are forced to run-away from serfdom at home; no longer being able to enjoy the fruits of “freedom” and “independence” in Eritrea. The situation in Eritrea is far from nonviolent livelihood. To the contrary it remains turbulent and the menu for the regime’s political turmoil is quite lengthy. The turbulent political stance is both domestic and foreign by character where the youth is trapped from its daily routine and assigned to join Sawa every now and then. As though parents have to pay their dues to this government by giving away their dearly loved young sons and daughters, from the outset, the PFDJ take the youth into account as the regime’s own entity and treats them within the Sawa camps like serfs; by assigning them whenever and wherever circumstances be appropriate with its political strategies, strains and stress. In return, the energetic youth longing to discover the world around them, consider the PFDJ as their masters who must be obeyed without complaints and signs of fatigue.
The public is rarely consulted by PFDJ protagonists on sharing its opinions pertaining to national matters. Nor have parents a say over their young children’s fate but to hand them over to PFDJ upon order. At the end of the day, the general public and parents in common are bound to obey the endless streams of government decree and declarations coming from the golden mouth of Wedi Afom. As standing army, the youth are alert and ready to join national service when called upon and assigned to work at any time and at any place the PFDJ wishes them to be.
The Eritrean peoples (young, old men and women alike) who are deprived of their inalienable human rights have continued to escape from military camps or as cynically remarked by the local people as: "warsay-yikeako slavery camps". As Wodi Afom is governing Eritrea with heavy-iron- handed rules and regulations that deny the public its sole freedom, Eritrea is a nation under a state of barricades and barriers. Literally speaking that means, the hard fought Eritrean independence for 30 years is simply a short-lived euphoric episode of 1990-1993, eventually stolen by Wedi Afom and his henchmen honking and tooting horn for an empty pride. Wedi Afom and his henchmen are riding on the shoulders of the Eritrean public gravely caught in an eternal economic malady. Wedi Afom, his PFDJ tyrannical cohorts and their ardent supporters among the public are spotted as the trinity of Eritrean tyranny – whose Tigrinya acronym is: "higdef".
Eritrean state capitalism – a commercial-boom or bankruptcy
Through out Eritrea, small and medium scale market enterprises have eventually been replaced by state owned market places run under state capitalism principles in which enterprises of the latter type are managed and controlled by the PFDJ designated companies.
Under state capitalism the echelon of the government strata have wider access to resources and commodities than the silent majority of the population that is left at the mercy and will of PFDJ’s cabinet decisions for the choice of their consumables to buy from market places. In a market place run by state capitalism, the PFDLJ ruling class has not devised any revenue systems including: taxation, enterprise ownership licensing regulations, and management ethics; simply, commodities move and reach consumers at PFDJ’s ruling class convenience. Considering that many of the small and medium sized private business enterprises as bankrupt, the PFDJ regime has order these enterprise owners to liquidate their businesses and give way for state capitalist devised enterprises to flourish instead. In clandestine, many had to transfer their capital to foreign lands within Africa. The capital allotted for entrepreneurial purposes within the PFDJ companies’ treasure chest is moving towards disappearance as the state treasury is also short of hard currency to speak of.
As regards provision of investment opportunities, the PFDJ-regime’s arbitrary and complex set of regulatory requirements keep on discouraging potential national and international investments from bringing their capital and opining up of business ventures that may likely also create job opportunities. Unfortunately, by PFDJ’s decree, potential investors are required to present exclusive business appraisals and proposals to the regime’s investment center much ahead of the initial business start-up time. Well procedurally, such pre-conditions may be taken as acceptable had it been in a system where the globally accepted free-market system was functioning. The stumbling block here is the state-capitalism system put in place by PFDJ as an acceptable and a correct enterprise initiative procedure and actually monopolizes every business venture existing within the bounds of Eritrea. Consequently, in due course of time, Eritrean economy is moving down the drain from bad to worst living the working class of Eritrea in disillusion, trauma and fatigue.
As regards exports, the state capitalist system has become less focused on how to even use the national fishery products for export marketing purposes; leave alone to diversify its exportable production capabilities. The whole attention seem to be drawn to the forthcoming war fronts rather than opting for devising palatable national plans pertinent to export marketing ventures.
According to the PFDJ-cohorts and its die-hard supporters in Diaspora the sufferings of the Eritrean socio-economic predicament is blamed on the TPLF/ EPRDF/ Weyane regime in Ethiopia, the Eritrean opposition groups, the international agencies (including the UN and EU and the USA).
How independent is Eritrean independence?
On a serious note, how independent is Eritrean independence, which we observe as being held tight under the yoke of a tyrannical regime - a regime that has isolated itself from the rest of the international community? In a political climate where the border-dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea is not yet clearly and decisively settled; after over a decade and half of separation between Ethiopia and Eritrea; in a political milieu where some Ethiopians are still wagging their weapons claiming access to the sea; considering Wedi-Afom as their arch-foe principal of the training camps of Ethiopian ethnic liberation fronts in Eritrea for his own revenge against TPLF/Weyane; as ridicules meddling in other nations affairs raising several territorial claims and disputes; Cases in point are: claims made against Yemen, Sudan, and Ethiopia; when is Eritrea’s peaceful transition actually going to take place? Is Eritrea really independent in the true sense of it? Are the Eritrean peoples caught-up in limbo by way of proxy political, economic and military control mechanisms that pushes them into oblivion? by way of engaging it with its neighboring feuds? Is the Eritrean neighboring countries the running dogs of Western powers who conduct surveillance against Eritrea’s mere independence and survival? Is Eritrea really becoming a self-styled regime opting to become the other Cuba of Horn Africa where the economic and diplomatic isolation and likely embargo imposed upon her continue to crash its embryonic economy out of shape? How long can the fate of the Eritrean public solely depend on the daily unpredictable mood of Wedi Afom and his cohorts? These are some critical quarries that the Eritrean public keeps on grumbling in private. Also, these quarries are beyond my ability to provide the due accounts for each.
But I can try to make my remarks on a couple of critical viewpoints: (1) The hitherto existing EPLF and PFDJ-regime’s experience and exposure in Eritrea fully confirms that the 1990 separation of Eritrea from the Ethiopian regime’s rule only gave way to Eritrean radical elitist political groups to maintain their age-old feud against competing liberal democratic elites and continue to stop, reject, eliminate or exclude from holding power. And as the totalitarian control of the state is necessary to suppress contending liberal political groups, Wedi Afom’s PFDJ regime and its hard-lined political system does not easily lend itself to likely democratization. (2) For now, Eritrea’s image outwards remains severely smashed due mainly to Wedi Afom’s outrageous interference in the affairs of other nation; and as a result of poorly handled diplomatic affairs by PFDJ-agencies Eritrea remains rejected by most donor communities abroad.
Fear for fresh war between two arch-foes
On January 25, 2007 the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon publicly warned that another war could easily break out between feuding neighbors Ethiopia and Eritrea; if progress is not urgently made on a stalled peace process. In his words: ``the potential for this situation to deteriorate further or even to lead to renewed hostilities is real, especially if it is allowed to continue indefinitely."
As regards the process of settling the disputed Ethiopia-Eritrea border matters, a released recently report entitled: “Ethiopia and Eritrea: Allergic to Persuasion”  has put the blame for the lingering border dispute straight on Eritrea. The authors, Healy and Plaut, contend that: “the ongoing confrontation between Ethiopia and Eritrea, six years after they signed a peace agreement” is on the record calling for both parties to reconsider matters for settlement.
In this regard, firstly, Healy and Plaut point out that the border Decision shouldn’t be implemented as it is, because the Algiers Agreement was a mistake… “The risks of signing up in advance to a final and binding adjudication did not seem to be fully appreciated by both parties at the time.”
Secondly, Healy and Plaut argue that Ethiopia had already won the war at the 2000 battle fields in which case… “With hindsight, the Algiers Agreement may have been mistaken in placing quite so much emphasis on border delimitation…..” Hence, in Healy and Plaut’s view, “It is also worth asking whether the ‘colonial borders’ methodology was the right one to employ in circumstances where one side had apparently already won the war.” Healy and Plaut stress the point that: “Africa is the exception in having its boundaries decided by third party treaties: most state borders represent the realities of power.”
To Healy and Plaut, the problem over the Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute is with the principle of deciding borders based on colonial treaties ... and on the realities of power during the 1998-2000 war held between the two nations. For both nations it means reconsidering on how to come to terms with the redefinition of borders along ethnic, religious, or linguistic fault lines. If this action is not taken with due caution, respect to one another and willingness to arrive at consensus between the two feuding regimes, then the lingering dispute will have more devastating repercussions compared to the 1998-2000 war.
A year earlier, on February 1, 2006 the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Fraser, was expressing similar opinion regarding the heavily disputed Algiers Agreement issue .
The afore mentioned contentions and views on how to revisit the border issue and arrive at agreeable decisions based on realities of power at the 1998-2000 battle field victories may further provide Ethiopia with a green signal to opt for another war against Wedi Afom's regime.
In this respect, it is likely that Wedi Zenawi may claim that Wedi Afom’s regime manifests an anti-peace policy towards its neighboring states by triggering and waging war intermittently; and by harboring home-grown terrorists qualified at its terrorist training camps within Eritrea. Wedi Zenawi may even embolden its army to invade Eritrea’s hinter-land as it did in the 1998-2000 border war, topple Wedi Afom's regime, replace it with a more friendly and ambient Eritrean regime and return to its base in Ethiopia.
To Healy and Plaut, the realities of power at the 1998-2000 battle fields must be given serious importance; in support of this line of contention, the authors depict ample evidence that help substantiate this core point among which the main ones include the following six reasons:
(i) It was evident that Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, Seyoum Mesfin, only declared victory the morning of the verdict because he was mislead by an OAU’s erroneous message.
(ii) Mesfin “… was confused because the Commission didn’t put Badme on its delimitation map.
(iii) It is Ethiopia’s "unequal match of diplomatic skills … vastly superior skill in diplomacy. … Traditions of diplomacy put to excellent use”, that enabled it to “brilliantly disguise what was in legal terms an essentially weak hand.”
(iv) The Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute remains unresolved because of “Ethiopia’s greater weight in the world.” And “This arises from its far larger size and population, its status as the only African country never to have been colonized, its position as host to the African Union and its standing with the US in the Global War on Terror.”
(v) Ethiopia “is helped by the fact that it is a more open and amenable society than Eritrea: it has elections, even if these are flawed; it has an independent press, even if this is curtailed and journalists are locked up; and it has a greater ethnic diversity.”
(vi) “A further advantage for Ethiopia over Eritrea is the very positive relationship it has built with international donors. The amount of money at its disposal does have an impact on the country’s ability and readiness to wage war. Ethiopia is an attractive target for aid donors because of the scale of its poverty, its strong economic performance in recent years and the ‘pro-poor’ focus of its policies.”
Is Meles Zenawi a friend or a foe?
The Eritrea-Ethiopia controversy further worsens when it comes to observing views points expressed by majority of the Ethiopian elites who count Meles as having initially advocated for and provided strong assistance to Wedi Afom in the latter’s strive for secession and build up of an independent Eritrea prior to the onslaught that opened the wounds of the border dispute.
According to the Ethiopian elite groups: “The national security and economic well being of Ethiopia was compromised by EPRDF leaders … should have researched precedent cases, consulted experts, and waited until they had the mandate from the people, by way of election, to enter into lasting international agreements involving Ethiopia. But as the result of their inexperience, EPRDF leaders took Isayas’s words at its face value and signed for the secession of Eritrea without a written and binding agreement that secured access to sea for Ethiopia. One cannot fathom how Meles Zenawi who in 1991 told David Mercer that he “wanted to make Ethiopia a big player in the Middle East; ranking alongside Egypt” failed to appreciate the importance of secured access to the Red Sea to achieve his vision… The Ethiopian government has a second chance to secure access to sea for Ethiopia through negotiation when the border demarcation talks with Eritrea resumes. Unless Ethiopia gains her own access to sea, there will never be a lasting peace in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan or Djibouti. Let us not mistake the “absence of war for peace.” Ethiopians will have to continue to go to war for their rightful access to sea because their continued existence depends on it.” [For details, kindly see: (3)].
There are others who also indicate similar concern stating that: “Ethiopia is caught up with an urge for an outlet after debarring itself in 1990 and remain land-locked due to Meles Zenawi’s offer of the Assab port as a gesture of good-will to Wedi-Afom’s regime. Hence, it is suggested that Eritrea has to show its willingness to provide an outlet within its abundant sea coastal lines. Due to its vested economic, security and political interests, Ethiopia should be provided a corridor to maintain its access to the sea. Likewise, Eritrea should be compensated to share what Ethiopia has at its comparative advantage. And if the two nations can mutually agree and continue to satisfy their urge for quenching their respective economic necessities, then lasting peace is going to be evident [For details please read (4) and (5)].
 Sally Healy and Martin Plaut, Ethiopia and Eritrea: Allergic to Persuasion, Chatham House, January 2007.
 Secretary Fraser had told Voice of America “In order to demarcate you have to have dialogue between the two parties because the Algiers Agreement basically says that the demarcation has to be done according to what is just and reasonable.”-- Straight Talk Africa, February 1, 2006.
 Source: Ethiopia – It is all about access to the sea – 01/24/07 - Mekonnen Kassa –
Source: Ethiopia - Issaias Afeworki’s Presidency over Matters of a Region in Crisis - Alex Birhanu. - www.ethiolion.com/arti...Crisis.htm, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article19918
Source: Time to regain the hitherto lost political chances – Agere Aleme – Dec. 27, 2006. http://www.ethioforum.org/Forums/viewtopic/t=681.html
Mortar attacks in Somali capital
Eight people have been killed and several others seriously injured in attacks in Somalia's capital.
A mortar has landed on a Koranic school, killing a female student, following a series of overnight attacks on camps housing Ethiopian soldiers.
A BBC correspondent in Mogadishu says the violence seems to be worsening. It is not clear who is responsible.
Meanwhile, Islamist leader Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed has told the BBC he wants talks with the interim government.
He said he would take part in negotiations in Somalia if the political climate was right.
Dibaba Captures Millrose 3,000 Meters
By ROB GLOSTER 02.02.07, 8:19 PM ET
Tirunesh Dibaba completed an impressive week, running away from the field on the final lap to win the women's 3,000 meters at the 100th Millrose Games on Friday night.
Photo: Tirunseh Dibaba break 5k indoor record earlier this week
The Ethiopian, who set a world record in the 5,000 six days earlier in Boston, pulled away from American Sarah Hall in the last 200 meters to win in 8 minutes, 46.58 seconds. Hall held on for second place in 9:01.22, nearly collapsing after crossing the finish line.
Dibaba's victory was one of the early highlights of the meet, which marked the 100th consecutive running of the games - a feat few sporting events have been able to match.
Dibaba, a bronze medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, stayed in second place for the first half of the 20-lap race, remaining on the heels of Hall. Dibaba took the lead with 10 laps to go, though Hall kept with her until the final lap.
Tirunesh Dibaba breaks world indoor record
The sound system at Madison Square Garden blared a chorus from "Carmina Burana" as she tried to get closer to world-record pace. Then it switched to "Mission Impossible" with two laps to go, but she did not get close to the record of 8:27.86.
In the high school girls' mile, Danielle Tauro of Southern Regional High School in New Jersey successfully defended her Millrose Games title, winning in 4:52.81.
The meet also featured 40-year-old Gail Devers in the hurdles and the North American debut of Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, the reigning Olympic and world champion who has set 19 world records.
The Wanamaker Mile, traditionally the meet's highlight event, was to feature four-time winner Bernard Lagat, 2005 world championships 5,000 bronze medalist Craig Mottram and Alan Webb, who broke U.S. high school records in the mile five years ago and is trying to make his mark among the world's top milers.
Tirunesh Dibaba wins the 3000-Meter Run of the 100th Millrose Games in 8:46.58, Friday, Feb. 2, 2007, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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