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Women’s History Month: Hewan Teshome, Senior VP for Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle

Hewan Teshome, senior vice president and general counsel for Climate Pledge Arena and the Kraken [in Seattle, Washington], is the daughter of parents who came to the U.S. for higher education, planning to return to Ethiopia afterward. A military coup made it unsafe to remain in their home country. (NHL.com)

NHL

‘Committed to Doing It Differently’

March is Gender Equality Month across the globe. Three Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena colleagues provide insights about lessons learned, measuring progress and innovative thinking

A brief gender equality primer from the UN:

“There has been progress over the last decades: More girls going to school, fewer girls forced into early marriage, more women serving in parliament and positions of leadership and laws being reformed to advance gender equality … Challenges remain: discriminatory laws and social norms remain pervasive, women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership and one in five women (ages 15 to 49) report experiencing physical violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period … the COVID-19 outbreak exacerbates existing inequalities for women and girls across every sphere from health to economy to security and social protection.”

Hewan Teshome, senior vice president and general counsel for Climate Pledge Arena and the Kraken, is the daughter of parents who came to the U.S. for higher education, planning to return to Ethiopia afterward. A military coup made it unsafe to remain in their home country.

Like many immigrant parents, they hoped Teshome would become a doctor, lawyer or engineer. But Teshome said when she chose to pursue an undergraduate degree in journalism at New York University, “my parents encouraged me to do what I love.”

It turned out Teshome did earn a law degree from Stanford, then landed a job with a firm in New York working a young lawyer’s marathon days and weeks. Her father returned to Ethiopia on an annual basis during those days as part of a Rotary Club program to provide polio vaccinations. Teshome managed to find the time to join those trips.


Photo of Hewan with her parents at graduation and photo of Hewan and other Kraken and CPA colleagues at CPA. (Courtesy of Hewan Teshome)

“Everything changed so much in a year,” recalls Teshome. “I thought, ‘there’s got to be some way to contribute. I met a lot of people in the [Ethiopian] business community. I started thinking about maybe finding a job in the private sector there.”

Three years into her work at the law firm in Manhattan, the CEO of SouthWest Holdings (hotels, real estate, beverages) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, offered a VP/corporate and legal affairs position Teshome couldn’t turn down. Her parents were less inclined.

“My parents have always been super supportive of my career,” says Teshome, laughing gently. “This was the one time they said, ‘Are you sure?’ … I was going back to a business community not fully developed.”

Per the UN findings, social norms regarding gender in Ethiopia were “not as open and progressive as a city like Seattle” when Teshome accepted the job in 2011.

“Gender was a factor in the professional and legal culture,” she says. “It was assumed women would be paralegals and eventually stay home to raise kids. I was in a senior position and still experienced pushback and dismissiveness.”

Click here to read the full article »

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Spotlight: Girmay Zahilay, King County Councilman From District 2 in Seattle

Girmay Hadish Zahilay is a Sudan-born Ethiopian-American attorney who serves as a member of the King County Council from District 2 in Seattle, Washington. The following is a spotlight on Girmay by The South Seattle Emerald in honor of Black History Month. (Photo: Girmay Zahilay speaks at the opening of a pop-up resource center in the Skyway neighborhood, south of Seattle/by Susan Fried)

South Seattle Emerald

By Marcus Harden

BLACK HISTORY TODAY: GIRMAY ZAHILAY, A DREAM MANIFESTED

“One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”

—Barack Obama

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more and more fascinated by the African Diaspora and the connection to the African American experience. I’ve especially been fascinated with learning more about the countries in Africa such as Ethiopia, as it stands as one of the only countries to not be colonized by European “settlers.” It’s begged the question: What lay in the culture of those people? What portions of that culture permeate from generation to generation and how do they show up today?

The answer is complex, yet if I had to take a personal wager, I’d bet that ancestral depth lives in people like Girmay Zahilay. Girmay is the “American Dream” personified, in that he’s uniquely bridged the gap of culture from continent to continent and has become a possibility for so many on both sides of that bridge.

Born in Sudan and of Ethiopian descent, his parents Ethiopian Refugees who themselves escaped military conflict, he arrived in the United States at the tender age of 3. Girmay’s family settled in the historic Rainier Valley of Seattle, and it was here that he learned about the world and came to understand others, turning his family’s trials into triumphs. Whether moving from the International District to Skyway, getting by temporarily without stable housing, living in shelters in downtown Seattle, or finally settling in the Rainier Vista, his humility and leadership were being crafted at every step.

Girmay graduated from Franklin High School before going on to Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania, where his natural instincts in fighting for justice would be sharpened into the skill of understanding and interpreting the law. Girmay’s journey took him to Washington D.C. and New York City, yet no matter where he surfaced on the map, his spirit of bridging the gap and liberating people would never change.

His return home to Seattle saw more of the same, as he founded a nonprofit that created opportunities for young people to practice their innate leadership skills. The spirit and culture of leadership and liberation never left him, beating steady like a drum, speaking louder and louder as he saw the needs of the community through the eyes of the youth who looked like him. Soon those voices were crying out louder and louder throughout the Rainier Vista and other communities whose fight for public housing deserved to finally be heard.

In 2019, Girmay decided to become that megaphone that resonated change.

It wasn’t an easy path, of course. Girmay chose to pursue a coveted city council seat held by Larry Gossett, a local legend who blazed the trail for Girmay and many others. What was most notable about Girmay’s approach was that it was rooted in the culture of class and respect, never diminishing the accomplishments of Gossett and his place in history, yet as he had times before, wanting to be the bridge to and for the next generation that would stand on the shoulders of those before him.

Before he was a councilman, to me Girmay was just “Lull’s little big cousin.” Lull Mengesha, a close friend of mine, told me I just had to meet his cousin. It happened one day at Empire Espresso in South Seattle, and I talked for hours with Girmay about education and social change. I learned that he wanted to utilize his passion for law to support youth — specifically those disenfranchised and trapped in the System in the Rainier Valley and Skyway. Even over great coffee and greater waffles, Girmay’s purpose shined through.

Girmay’s commitment to public service shows up in the small details, like his social media that ensures people from all walks of life can celebrate, or through continuing to demystify public service for cultures and people who traditionally haven’t gotten an inside look. In constantly honoring those throughout the Diaspora in word and actions, Girmay embodies the spirit of liberation his ancestors passed down. He is a humble servant with the ear to listen to the past and the voice that changes the future. He is the dream manifested. Girmay Zahilay is undoubtedly Black History Today!

Related:

Ethiopian American Girmay Zahilay, a New Councilman in King County, Washington

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Business: Seattle Coffee Importer Expands QMS From Mexico to Ethiopia

Mengistu Itefa (seated) acted as an intern on behalf of Ethiopia’s Asikana producer cooperative to implement the FincaLab system. Here he’s showing photos to members of the PROCAA group in Nayarit, Mexico. (Photo: courtesy of San Cristobal Coffee Importers)

Daily Coffee News

Seattle-area green coffee company San Cristobal Coffee Importers has expanded its producer-centered quality management and traceability system, called FincaLab, from Mexico to Ethiopia.

San Cristobal, which was focused mainly on trading partners and relationships in parts of Nayarit, Mexico, since its founding in 1996, has been honing the system there for more than a decade, attempting to engage coffee producers in quality management processes from seed to cup.

The proprietary quality management system (QMS) is now reflected for the first time outside Nayarit through a transcontinental internship involving members of the Asikana cooperative in Oromia, Ethiopia. The internship and implementation has resulted in the Ethiopian producer group’s first coffee exports.

FincaLab was developed by San Cristobal and a trading and warehousing partner in Nayarit called Costa Oro. The system involves extended ICO marks on each bag of green coffee along with corresponding barcodes that trace coffees to the farm level and detail processing methods, coffee variety and other distinct features.


The first exports of traceable Asikana coffee reached the United States late last year. (Photo: San Cristobal Coffee)

The system is designed for traceability throughout the supply stream, while its also designed to ensure that farmers are receiving adequate compensation though continued access to markets via the centralized platform.

“Our model organization, Grupo Terruño Nayarita (GTNAY), has some 600 producer members spread throughout six coffee-producing communities and eight local societies across the state of Nayarit,” San Cristobal President and FincaLab developer James Kosalos recently told DCN. “Without a quality management system (QMS) and a centralized corporate structure in place, any one producer from one of these locations has no guarantee they will have a buyer for a given harvest, and they have no insurance if their coffee quality is not good.”

Though the system has proven beneficial to buyers and sellers alike, expanding it to producer partners in Ethiopia required more than mere barcodes. It took lengthy in-person commitments, including multiple flights from Ethiopia to Mexico and vice versa over the course of two years.

Said Kosalos, “The intern, Mengistu Itefa, observed all the details of the FincaLab QMS [in Nayarit], from the picking of fruit to the milling of the resulting coffee and the loading of containers with coffee in barcode-labeled bags destined for the U.S., Australia, and Great Britain — each with an internet traceable serial number.”


Mengistu Itefa implementing the FincaLab system in Ethiopia. ((Photo: San Cristobal Coffee)

Though palate calibration and logistical issues and a host of other factors made the prospect of translating the QMS daunting, the first container of FincaLab-generated, traceable coffees from Ethiopia successfully arrived late last year.

San Cristobal said that despite some recent challenges due to civil unrest and supply disruptions in parts of Ethiopia, it plans to continue implementing the FincaLab system to ensure a more equitable supply chain.

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Spotlight: The Media Firestorm Concerning AI Researcher Timnit Gebru & Google

Timnit Gebru, an internationally respected Google researcher, took to Twitter last week to air her mistreatment in the hands of Google officials who sought to silence her concerning her latest research that discovered racial bias in current Artificial Intelligence technology. (Photo via @GoogleWalkout/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: December 8th, 2020

New York (TADIAS) — Last week Ethiopian American Timnit Gebru– whom we have featured several time in Tadias including when she was a graduate student at Stanford University and was named by Forbes magazine among 21 incredible women behind artificial intelligence research that’s fueling new discoveries in the field — took to Twitter to air her mistreatment in the hands of Google officials who sought to silence her concerning her latest research that discovered racial bias in current Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) technology.

Judging by the widely circulated media coverage of the unfortunate episode and the manner in which Google handled the rushed dismissal of one of its top scientists and an internationally renown Ethical A.I. researchers in the world, to say that the corporation made a historical mistake and long-lasting damage to its well cultivated image as a forward-looking technology company is an understatement.

As The New York Times reported, Timnit, “a well-respected Google researcher said she was fired by the company after criticizing its approach to minority hiring and the biases built into today’s artificial intelligence systems. Timnit Gebru, who was a co-leader of Google’s Ethical A.I. team, said in a tweet on Wednesday evening that she was fired because of an email she had sent a day earlier to a group that included company employees. In the email, reviewed by The New York Times, she expressed exasperation over Google’s response to efforts by her and other employees to increase minority hiring and draw attention to bias in artificial intelligence.”


Timnit Gebru, a respected researcher at Google, questioned biases built into artificial intelligence systems. (The New York Times)

Wired magazine added: “Timnit Gebru’s tweets about the incident Wednesday night triggered an outpouring of support from AI researchers at Google and elsewhere, including top universities and companies such as Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia. Many said Google had tarnished its reputation in the crucial field, which CEO Sundar Pichai says underpins the company’s business. Late Thursday, more than 200 Google employees signed an open letter calling on the company to release details of its handling of Gebru’s paper and to commit to “research integrity and academic freedom.”


“We have been pleading for representation but there are barely any Black people in Google Research,” says Timnit Gebru, who says she was fired Wednesday. (GETTY IMAGES)

In a scathing email to her colleagues at Google that was later published in full on the Silicon Valley news website Platformer, Timnit pointed out how top management at the company has not honored its commitment to employ more minority and woman professionals. “Your life starts getting worse when you start advocating for underrepresented people. You start making the other leaders upset,” her email stated. “There is no way more documents or more conversations will achieve anything.” She concluded: “So if you would like to change things, I suggest focusing on leadership accountability and thinking through what types of pressures can also be applied from the outside. For instance, I believe that the Congressional Black Caucus is the entity that started forcing tech companies to report their diversity numbers. Writing more documents and saying things over and over again will tire you out but no one will listen.”


Timnit Gebru, speaking at TechCrunch disrupt in 2018. (Getty Images)

As of today nearly 4,000 people including 1534 Google employees and 2196 academic, industry, and civil society supporters have signed an online petition titled “We stand with Timnit Gebru” and calling “on Google Research to strengthen its commitment to research integrity and to unequivocally commit to supporting research that honors the commitments made in Google’s AI Principles.”

Below are links to the stories from The New York Times, Wired magazine, Timnit’s email as published on the Platformer website as well as the support letter signed by thousands of her professional colleagues from around the world:

Google Researcher Says She Was Fired Over Paper Highlighting Bias in A.I. (NYT)

A Prominent AI Ethics Researcher Says Google Fired Her (Wired)

The withering email that got an ethical AI researcher fired at Google (Platformer)

We stand with Timnit Gebru (Google Walkout For Real Change)

Related:

Timnit Gebru: Among Incredible Women Advancing A.I. Research

Spotlight: Blacks in AI Co-Founders Timnit Gebru & Rediet Abebe

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Election 2020 – The Youth Vote Event In Seattle

Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Bitaniya is one of the young interviewers in a timely upcoming Zoom event on October 14th titled "The Youth Vote: A conversation about leadership, ethics and values and how they factor into choosing a candidate." (KNKX PUBLIC RADIO)

KNKX PUBLIC RADIO

Young people make up a projected 37% of the 2020 electorate, yet historically they vote less than other age groups. Will it be different this time? The pandemic crisis and the call for racial justice and institutional changes are top concerns as we move closer to this high stakes election. Ethics and values also underpin our decisions. This virtual event aims to bring together first-time and new voters with older adults with a track record of civic leadership to discuss a number of issues through the lens of beliefs and values, touching on things like:

What does it mean to be a leader?
In thorny situations, how do you speak for a community?
If there are three important issues facing your community and you only have enough resources to address one, how would you choose?

Because this is leading up to the general election, we want to frame this conversation around the power to change systems for the greater good and how that ties in with being an informed voter.

The six young interviewers will ask the four speakers questions relating to the themes of conflict/failure, challenges, accountability, transparency, priorities and representation, with the speakers drawing on their personal and professional experiences; and offering examples of how they have faced challenging situations and how that speaks to leadership and community building.

Young Interviewers

Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Her writing explores the nuances of womanhood and blackness, as she reflects upon her family’s path of immigration across the world. She hopes to restore and safeguard the past, present, and future histories of her people through traditional storytelling and poetry.

Read more »

Related:

Ethiopian Americans Hold Virtual Town Hall Ahead of November Election


The nationwide town hall event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 plans to emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process. The gathering will feature panel discussions, PSAs, and cultural engagements. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 23rd, 2020

Los Angeles (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Americans are holding a virtual town hall this week ahead of the November 3rd U.S. election.

The nationwide event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, will emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process.

According to organizers the town hall — put together by the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks — will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

“We intend on discussing various subject matters related to civic engagement issues affecting our community at the moment,” the announcement notes, highlighting that by the end of the conference “participants will be able to understand the importance of taking ownership of our local communities, learn more about the voting process and gain a better [appreciation] of why we should all care about voting.”

Speakers include Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles; Dr. Menna Demissie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body; Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term this year; and Girmay Zahilay, Councilman in King County, Washington.


(Courtesy photos)

Additional presenters include: Andom Ghebreghiorgis. former Congressional candidate from New York; Samuel Gebru, former candidate for City Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and current managing director of Black Lion Strategies; as well as Hannah Joy Gebresilassie, journalist and community advocate; and Debbie Almraw, writer and poet.

Entertainment will be provided by Elias Aragaw, the artist behind @TheFunkIsReal, and DJ Sammy Sam.

The announcement notes that “voting is a core principle of being American, but to exercise this basic right we must be registered to vote! That’s why Habesha Networks and Habeshas Vote are proud partners of When We All Vote and supporters of National Voter Registration Day.”

Watch: Students Interview Kamala Harris (U.S. ELECTION UPDATE)


Fana R. Haileselassie, a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, asks Sen. Kamala Harris a question during a virtual Q&A hosted by BET featuring the Democratic nominee for Vice President and students discussing the interests of millennial voters. (Photo: BETNetworks)

BET News Special

HBCU Students Interview Kamala Harris

A virtual Q&A hosted by Terrence J featuring Democratic nominee for Vice President Sen. Kamala Harris and HBCU students discussing the interests of millennial voters.

Watch: Sen. Kamala Harris Answers HBCU Students’ Questions About Voting, Student Loan Debt & More

Related:

Virginia’s Era as a Swing State Appears to be Over


President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave after a campaign event in May 2012 in Richmond. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

Updated: September 18th, 2020

No TV ads, no presidential visits: Virginia’s era as a swing state appears to be over

Barack Obama held the very last rally of his 2008 campaign in Virginia, the longtime Republican stronghold he flipped on his way to the White House.

Four years later, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney made more visits and aired more television ads here than nearly anywhere else. And in 2016, Donald Trump staged rally after rally in the Old Dominion while Hillary Clinton picked a Virginian as her running mate.

But Virginia isn’t getting the swing-state treatment this time around. As in-person early voting got underway Friday, President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden were dark on broadcast television. Super PACs were clogging somebody else’s airwaves. Even as Trump and Biden have resumed limited travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, neither has stumped in the Old Dominion.

There’s really no discussion about the state being in play,” said Amy Walter, national editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “If you’re Ohio or New Hampshire, or Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, you’ve always been in that spotlight. Virginia got it for such a short period of time.”

The last time presidential candidates stayed out of Virginia and off its airwaves was 2004. The state was reliably red then, having backed Republicans for the White House every year since 1968. Now Virginia seems to be getting the cold shoulder because it’s considered solidly blue.

“Virginia was the belle of the ball in 2008, and again in 2012, and still once more in 2016, but in 2020, the commonwealth is a wall flower,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist.

Read more »

Related:

Virginians come out in force to cast ballots on the first day of early voting

Mike Bloomberg to spend at least $100 million in Florida to benefit Joe Biden


Former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million to help elect Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

Updated: September 13th, 2020

Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million in Florida to help elect Democrat Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest in a costly toss-up state central to President Trump’s reelection hopes.

Bloomberg made the decision to focus his final election spending on Florida last week, after news reports that Trump had considered spending as much as $100 million of his own money in the final weeks of the campaign, Bloomberg’s advisers said. Presented with several options on how to make good on an earlier promise to help elect Biden, Bloomberg decided that a narrow focus on Florida was the best use of his money.

The president’s campaign has long treated the state, which Trump now calls home, as a top priority, and his advisers remain confident in his chances given strong turnout in 2016 and 2018 that gave Republicans narrow winning margins in statewide contests.

Watch: Former 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg slammed Trump during his Democratic National Convention speech on Aug. 20.

Bloomberg’s aim is to prompt enough early voting that a pro-Biden result would be evident soon after the polls close.

Read more »

Related:

Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania (ELECTION UPDATE)


In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump. (Reuters photo)

The Washington Post

Updated: September 9, 2020

Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania, Poll Finds

Joe Biden leads President Trump by nine percentage points among likely voters in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state that Trump narrowly won four years ago, according to a new NBC News-Marist poll.

In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump.

In 2016, Trump carried Pennsylvania by less than one percentage point over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The NBC-Marist poll shows Biden getting a boost from suburban voters, who side with him by nearly 20 percentage points, 58 percent to 39 percent. In 2016, Trump won suburban voters in Pennsylvania by about eight points, according to exit polls.


Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stand outside the AFL-CIO headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa., on Monday. (Getty Images)

The poll also finds the candidates are tied at 49 percent among white voters in Pennsylvania, a group that Trump won by double digits in 2016. Biden leads Trump among nonwhite voters, 75 percent to 19 percent.

Pennsylvania has been a frequent destination for both campaigns in recent weeks. Vice President Pence has events scheduled there on Wednesday.

Kamala D. Harris Goes Viral — for Her Shoe Choice


Sporting Chuck Taylor sneakers, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) greets supporters Monday in Milwaukee. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

Updated: September 8, 2020

It took roughly eight seconds of on-the-ground campaigning for the first Black woman to be nominated on a major party’s ticket to go viral.

At first glance, little seemed noteworthy as Sen. Kamala D. Harris deplaned in Milwaukee on Monday. She was wearing a mask. She didn’t trip. Instead, what sent video pinging around the Internet was what was on her feet: her black, low-rise Chuck Taylor All-Stars, the classic Converse shoe that has long been associated more closely with cultural cool than carefully managed high-profile candidacies.

By Tuesday morning, videos by two reporters witnessing her arrival had been viewed nearly 8 million times on Twitter — for comparison’s sake, more than four times the attention the campaign’s biggest planned video event, a conversation between Joe Biden and Barack Obama, had received on both Twitter and YouTube combined.

Harris’s sister, Maya, tweeted Monday that Chuck Taylors are, indeed, her sister’s “go-to.” A few hours later, Harris’s official campaign account tweeted the video with the caption “laced up and ready to win.”

Read more »

81 American Nobel Laureates Endorse Biden for Next U.S. President


The Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry and medicine “wholeheartedly” endorsed the Democratic nominee in an open letter released Wednesday. “At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy,” they said. (Courtesy photo)

Press Release

Nobel Laureates endorse Joe Biden

81 American Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine have signed this letter to express their support for former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election for President of the United States.

At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy. During his long record of public service, Joe Biden has consistently demonstrated his willingness to listen to experts, his understanding of the value of international collaboration in research, and his respect for the contribution that immigrants make to the intellectual life of our country.

As American citizens and as scientists, we wholeheartedly endorse Joe Biden for President.

Name, Category, Prize Year:

Peter Agre Chemistry 2003
Sidney Altman Chemistry 1989
Frances H. Arnold Chemistry 2018
Paul Berg Chemistry 1980
Thomas R. Cech Chemistry 1989
Martin Chalfie Chemistry 2008
Elias James Corey Chemistry 1990
Joachim Frank Chemistry 2017
Walter Gilbert Chemistry 1980
John B. Goodenough Chemistry 2019
Alan Heeger Chemistry 2000
Dudley R. Herschbach Chemistry 1986
Roald Hoffmann Chemistry 1981
Brian K. Kobilka Chemistry 2012
Roger D. Kornberg Chemistry 2006
Robert J. Lefkowitz Chemistry 2012
Roderick MacKinnon Chemistry 2003
Paul L. Modrich Chemistry 2015
William E. Moerner Chemistry 2014
Mario J. Molina Chemistry 1995
Richard R. Schrock Chemistry 2005
K. Barry Sharpless Chemistry 2001
Sir James Fraser Stoddart Chemistry 2016
M. Stanley Whittingham Chemistry 2019
James P. Allison Medicine 2018
Richard Axel Medicine 2004
David Baltimore Medicine 1975
J. Michael Bishop Medicine 1989
Elizabeth H. Blackburn Medicine 2009
Michael S. Brown Medicine 1985
Linda B. Buck Medicine 2004
Mario R. Capecchi Medicine 2007
Edmond H. Fischer Medicine 1992
Joseph L. Goldstein Medicine 1985
Carol W. Greider Medicine 2009
Jeffrey Connor Hall Medicine 2017
Leland H. Hartwell Medicine 2001
H. Robert Horvitz Medicine 2002
Louis J. Ignarro Medicine 1998
William G. Kaelin Jr. Medicine 2019
Eric R. Kandel Medicine 2000
Craig C. Mello Medicine 2006
John O’Keefe Medicine 2014
Michael Rosbash Medicine 2017
James E. Rothman Medicine 2013
Randy W. Schekman Medicine 2013
Gregg L. Semenza Medicine 2019
Hamilton O. Smith Medicine 1978
Thomas C. Sudhof Medicine 2013
Jack W. Szostak Medicine 2009
Susumu Tonegawa Medicine 1987
Harold E. Varmus Medicine 1989
Eric F. Wieschaus Medicine 1995
Torsten N. Wiesel Medicine 1981
Michael W. Young Medicine 2017
Barry Clark Barish Physics 2017
Steven Chu Physics 1997
Jerome I. Friedman Physics 1990
Sheldon Glashow Physics 1979
David J. Gross Physics 2004
John L. Hall Physics 2005
Wolfgang Ketterle Physics 2001
J. Michael Kosterlitz Physics 2016
Herbert Kroemer Physics 2000
Robert B. Laughlin Physics 1998
Anthony J. Leggett Physics 2003
John C. Mather Physics 2006
Shuji Nakamura Physics 2014
Douglas D. Osheroff Physics 1996
James Peebles Physics 2019
Arno Penzias Physics 1978
Saul Perlmutter Physics 2011
H. David Politzer Physics 2004
Brian P. Schmidt Physics 2011
Joseph H. Taylor Jr. Physics 1993
Kip Stephen Thorne Physics 2017
Daniel C. Tsui Physics 1998
Rainer Weiss Physics 2017
Frank Wilczek Physics 2004
Robert Woodrow Wilson Physics 1978
David J. Wineland Physics 2012

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Biden Calls Trump ‘a Toxic Presence’ Who is Encouraging Violence in America


“Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? (Photo: Joe Biden speaks Monday in Pittsburgh/Reuters)

The Washington Post

Joe Biden excoriated President Trump on Monday as a threat to the safety of all Americans, saying he has encouraged violence in the nation’s streets even as he has faltered in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

For his most extensive remarks since violent protests have escalated across the country in recent days, Biden traveled to Pittsburgh and struck a centrist note, condemning both the destruction in the streets and Trump for creating a culture that he said has exacerbated it.

“I want to be very clear about all of this: Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting,” Biden said. “It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted.”

The former vice president also rejected the caricature that Trump and his allies have painted of him as someone who holds extremist views and has helped fuel the anger in urban centers across the country.

“You know me. You know my heart. You know my story, my family’s story,” Biden said. “Ask yourself: Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”

While the speech was delivered amid heightened tensions over race and police conduct, Biden did not outline new policies, instead focusing on making a broader condemnation of Trump.

He called the president a danger to those suffering from the coronavirus, to anyone in search of a job or struggling to pay rent, to voters worried about Russian interference in the upcoming election and to those worried about their own safety amid unrest.

“Donald Trump wants to ask the question: Who will keep you safer as president? Let’s answer that question,” Biden said. “When I was vice president, violent crime fell 15 percent in this country. We did it without chaos and disorder.”

Pointing to a nationwide homicide rate rising 26 percent this year, Biden asked, “Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?”

“If I were president today, the country would be safer,” Biden said. “And we’d be seeing a lot less violence.”

It was a marked shift for Biden from his convention speech less than two weeks ago, in which he never named Trump in his remarks. During his speech Monday, he mentioned Trump’s name 32 times.

“Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? Or will we make it a permanent part of our nation’s character?”

Read more »

Spotlight: The Unravelling of the Social Fabric in Ethiopia and the U.S.


As Ethiopian Americans we are increasingly concerned about the decline of civil discourse and the unravelling of the social fabric not only in Ethiopia, but also here in the United States where in the era of Trump and the COVID-19 pandemic politics has also become more and more violent. Below are excerpts and links to two recent articles from The Intercept and The Guardian focusing on the timely topic. (AP photo)

The Intercept

August, 29th, 2020

The Social Fabric of the U.S. Is Fraying Severely, if Not Unravelling: Why, in the world’s richest country, is every metric of mental health pathology rapidly worsening?

THE YEAR 2020 has been one of the most tumultuous in modern American history. To find events remotely as destabilizing and transformative, one has to go back to the 2008 financial crisis and the 9/11 and anthrax attacks of 2001, though those systemic shocks, profound as they were, were isolated (one a national security crisis, the other a financial crisis) and thus more limited in scope than the multicrisis instability now shaping U.S. politics and culture.

Since the end of World War II, the only close competitor to the current moment is the multipronged unrest of the 1960s and early 1970s: serial assassinations of political leaders, mass civil rights and anti-war protests, sustained riots, fury over a heinous war in Indochina, and the resignation of a corruption-plagued president.

But those events unfolded and built upon one another over the course of a decade. By crucial contrast, the current confluence of crises, each of historic significance in their own right — a global pandemic, an economic and social shutdown, mass unemployment, an enduring protest movement provoking increasing levels of violence and volatility, and a presidential election centrally focused on one of the most divisive political figures the U.S. has known who happens to be the incumbent president — are happening simultaneously, having exploded one on top of the other in a matter of a few months.

Lurking beneath the headlines justifiably devoted to these major stories of 2020 are very troubling data that reflect intensifying pathologies in the U.S. population — not moral or allegorical sicknesses but mental, emotional, psychological and scientifically proven sickness. Many people fortunate enough to have survived this pandemic with their physical health intact know anecdotally — from observing others and themselves — that these political and social crises have spawned emotional difficulties and psychological challenges…

Much attention is devoted to lamenting the toxicity of our discourse, the hate-driven polarization of our politics, and the fragmentation of our culture. But it is difficult to imagine any other outcome in a society that is breeding so much psychological and emotional pathology by denying to its members the things they most need to live fulfilling lives.

Read the full article at theintercept.com »

Ethiopia falls into violence a year after leader’s Nobel peace prize win


Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, centre, arrives at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in July. Photograph: AP

By Jason Burke and Zecharias Zelalem in Addis Ababa

Sat 29 Aug 2020

Abiy Ahmed came to power promising radical reform, but 180 people have died amid ethnic unrest in Oromia state

Ethiopia faces a dangerous cycle of intensifying internal political dissent, ethnic unrest and security crackdowns, observers have warned, after a series of protests in recent weeks highlighted growing discontent with the government of Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel peace prize winner.

Many western powers welcomed the new approach of Abiy, who took power in 2018 and promised a programme of radical reform after decades of repressive one-party rule, hoping for swift changes in an emerging economic power that plays a key strategic role in a region increasingly contested by Middle Eastern powers and China. He won the peace prize in 2019 for ending a conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

The most vocal unrest was in the state of Oromia, where there have been waves of protests since the killing last month of a popular Oromo artist and activist, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, in Addis Ababa, the capital. An estimated 180 people have died in the violence, some murdered by mobs, others shot by security forces. Houses, factories, businesses, hotels, cars and government offices were set alight or damaged and several thousand people, including opposition leaders, were arrested.

Further protests last week prompted a new wave of repression and left at least 11 dead. “Oromia is still reeling from the grim weight of tragic killings this year. These grave patterns of abuse should never be allowed to continue,” said Aaron Maasho, a spokesperson for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

Read more »

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‘How Dare We Not Vote?’ Black Voters Organize After DC March


People rally at Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Friday Aug. 28, 2020, on the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it.” (AP Photos)

The Associated Press

Updated: August 29th, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tears streamed down Brooke Moreland’s face as she watched tens of thousands gather on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to decry systemic racism and demand racial justice in the wake of several police killings of Black Americans.

But for the Indianapolis mother of three, the fiery speeches delivered Friday at the commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also gave way to one central message: Vote and demand change at the ballot box in November.

“As Black people, a lot of the people who look like us died for us to be able to sit in public, to vote, to go to school and to be able to walk around freely and live our lives,” the 31-year-old Moreland said. “Every election is an opportunity, so how dare we not vote after our ancestors fought for us to be here?”

That determination could prove critical in a presidential election where race is emerging as a flashpoint. President Donald Trump, at this past week’s Republican National Convention, emphasized a “law and order” message aimed at his largely white base of supporters. His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has expressed empathy with Black victims of police brutality and is counting on strong turnout from African Americans to win critical states such as North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

“If we do not vote in numbers that we’ve never ever seen before and allow this administration to continue what it is doing, we are headed on a course for serious destruction,” Martin Luther King III, told The Associated Press before his rousing remarks, delivered 57 years after his father’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. “I’m going to do all that I can to encourage, promote, to mobilize and what’s at stake is the future of our nation, our planet. What’s at stake is the future of our children.”

As the campaign enters its latter stages, there’s an intensifying effort among African Americans to transform frustration over police brutality, systemic racism and the disproportionate toll of the coronavirus into political power. Organizers and participants said Friday’s march delivered a much needed rallying cry to mobilize.

As speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it,” the march came on the heels of yet another shooting by a white police officer of a Black man – 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last Sunday — sparking demonstrations and violence that left two dead.

“We need a new conversation … you act like it’s no trouble to shoot us in the back,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said. “Our vote is dipped in blood. We’re going to vote for a nation that stops the George Floyds, that stops the Breonna Taylors.”

Navy veteran Alonzo Jones- Goss, who traveled to Washington from Boston, said he plans to vote for Biden because the nation has seen far too many tragic events that have claimed the lives of Black Americans and other people of color.

“I supported and defended the Constitution and I support the members that continue to do it today, but the injustice and the people that are losing their lives, that needs to end,” Jones-Goss, 28, said. “It’s been 57 years since Dr. King stood over there and delivered his speech. But what is unfortunate is what was happening 57 years ago is still happening today.”

Drawing comparisons to the original 1963 march, where participants then were protesting many of the same issues that have endured, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said it’s clear why this year’s election will be pivotal for Black Americans.

“We are about reminding people and educating people on how important it is to translate the power of protest into the power of politics and public policy change,” said Morial, who spoke Friday. “So we want to be deliberate about making the connection between protesting and voting.”

Nadia Brown, a Purdue University political science professor, agreed there are similarities between the situation in 1963 and the issues that resonate among Black Americans today. She said the political pressure that was applied then led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other powerful pieces of legislation that transformed the lives of African Americans. She’s hopeful this could happen again in November and beyond.

“There’s already a host of organizations that are mobilizing in the face of daunting things,” Brown said. “Bur these same groups that are most marginalized are saying it’s not enough to just vote, it’s not enough for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to ask me for my vote. I’m going to hold these elected officials that are in office now accountable and I’m going to vote in November and hold those same people accountable. And for me, that is the most uplifting and rewarding part — to see those kind of similarities.”

But Brown noted that while Friday’s march resonated with many, it’s unclear whether it will translate into action among younger voters, whose lack of enthusiasm could become a vulnerability for Biden.

“I think there is already a momentum among younger folks who are saying not in my America, that this is not the place where they want to live, but will this turn into electoral gains? That I’m less clear on because a lot of the polling numbers show that pretty overwhelmingly, younger people, millennials and Gen Z’s are more progressive and that they are reluctantly turning to this pragmatic side of politics,” Brown said.

That was clear as the Movement for Black Lives also marked its own historic event Friday — a virtual Black National Convention that featured several speakers discussing pressing issues such as climate change, economic empowerment and the need for electoral justice.

“I don’t necessarily see elections as achieving justice per se because I view the existing system itself as being fundamentally unjust in many ways and it is the existing system that we are trying to fundamentally transform,” said Bree Newsome Bass, an activist and civil rights organizer, during the convention’s panel about electoral justice. “I do think voting and recognizing what an election should be is a way to kind of exercise that muscle.”


Biden, Harris Prepare to Travel More as Campaign Heats Up (Election Update)


Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. (AP Photos)

The Associated Press

August 28th, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — After spending a pandemic spring and summer tethered almost entirely to his Delaware home, Joe Biden plans to take his presidential campaign to battleground states after Labor Day in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump.

No itinerary is set, according to the Democratic nominee’s campaign, but the former vice president and his allies say his plan is to highlight contrasts with Trump, from policy arguments tailored to specific audiences to the strict public health guidelines the Biden campaign says its events will follow amid COVID-19.

That’s a notable difference from a president who on Thursday delivered his nomination acceptance on the White House lawn to more than 1,000 people seated side-by-side, most of them without masks, even as the U.S. death toll surpassed 180,000.

“He will go wherever he needs to go,” said Biden’s campaign co-chairman Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana congressman. “And we will do it in a way the health experts would be happy” with and “not the absolutely irresponsible manner you saw at the White House.”

Richmond said it was “always the plan” for Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris to travel more extensively after Labor Day, the traditional mark of the campaign’s home stretch when more casual voters begin to pay close attention.


Biden supporters hold banners near the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday evening, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington, while Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech from the nearby White House South Lawn.(AP Photo)

Biden has conducted online fundraisers, campaign events and television interviews from his home, but traveled only sparingly for speeches and roundtables with a smattering of media or supporters. His only confirmed plane travel was to Houston, where he met with the family of George Floyd, the Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, sparking nationwide protests. Even some Democrats worried quietly that Biden was ceding too much of the spotlight to Trump. But Biden aides have defended their approach. “We will never make any choices that put our staff or voters in harm’s way,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in May.

Throughout his unusual home-based campaign, Biden blasted Trump as incompetent and irresponsible for downplaying the pandemic and publicly disputing the government’s infectious disease experts. Richmond said that won’t change as Biden ramps up travel.

“We won’t beat this pandemic, which means we can’t restore the economy and get people’s lives back home, unless we exercise some discipline and lead by example,” Richmond said, adding that Trump is “incapable of doing it.”

As exhibited by his acceptance speech Thursday, Trump is insistent on as much normalcy as possible, even as he’s pulled back from his signature indoor rallies after drawing a disappointing crowd in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20. Trump casts Biden as wanting to “shut down” the economy to combat the virus. “Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender,” Trump declared on the White House lawn. Biden, in fact, has not proposed shutting down the economy. He’s said only that he would be willing to make such a move as president if public health experts advise it. The Democrat also has called for a national mask mandate, calling it a necessary move for Americans to protect each other. Harris on Friday talked about the idea in slightly different terms than Biden, acknowledging that a mandate would be difficult to enforce.

“It’s really a standard. I mean, nobody’s gonna be punished. Come on,” the California senator said, laughing off a question about how to enforce such a rule during an interview that aired Friday on “Today.” “Nobody likes to wear a mask. This is a universal feeling. Right? So that’s not the point, ’Hey, let’s enjoy wearing masks.′ No.”


Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (AP Photo)

Harris suggested that, instead, the rule would be about “what we — as responsible people who love our neighbor — we have to just do that right now.”

“God willing, it won’t be forever,” she added.

Biden and Harris have worn protective face masks in public and stayed socially distanced from each other when appearing together at campaign events. Both have said for weeks that a rule requiring all Americans to wear them could save 40,000 lives in just a three-month period. While such an order may be difficult to impose at the federal level, Biden has called on every governor in the country to order mask-wearing in their states, which would likely achieve the same goal.

Trump has urged Americans to wear masks but opposes a national requirement and personally declined to do so for months. He has worn a mask occasionally more recently, but not at any point Thursday at the Republican National Convention’s closing event, which violated the District of Columbia’s guidelines prohibiting large gatherings.

Related:

Joe Biden Claims the Democratic Presidential Nomination


Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden accepted the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday evening during the last day of the historic Democratic National Convention, August 20, 2020. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

Updated: August 21st, 2020

Biden speaks about ‘battle for the soul of this nation,’ decries Trump’s leadership

Joe Biden accepted his party’s presidential nomination, delivering a speech that directly criticized the leadership of Trump on matters of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and racial justice.

“Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” Biden said, calling on Americans to come together to “overcome this season of darkness.”

The night featured tributes to civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis, who died in July, as well as to Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s son who died in 2015.


Kamala Harris Accepts Historic Nomination for Vice President of the United States


Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) accepted her party’s historic nomination to be its vice-presidential candidate in the 2020 U.S. election on Wednesday evening during the third day of the Democratic National Convention. (Reuters photo)

Reuters

Updated: August 20th, 2020

Kamala Harris makes U.S. history, accepts Democrats’ vice presidential nod

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday, imploring the country to elect Joe Biden president and accusing Donald Trump of failed leadership that had cost lives and livelihoods.

The first Black woman and Asian-American on a major U.S. presidential ticket, Harris summarized her life story as emblematic of the American dream on the third day of the Democratic National Convention.

“Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” Harris said.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama told the convention Trump’s failures as his successor had led to 170,000 people dead from the coronavirus, millions of lost jobs and America’s reputation badly diminished in the world.

The evening featured a crush of women headliners, moderators and speakers, with Harris pressing the case against Trump, speaking directly to millions of women, young Americans and voters of color, constituencies Democrats need if Biden is to defeat the Republican Trump.

“The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid, the callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: we can do better and deserve so much more,” she said.

“Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose,” she said, speaking from an austere hotel ballroom in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

Biden leads Trump in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, bolstered by a big lead among women voters. Throughout the convention, Democrats have appealed directly to those women voters, highlighting Biden’s co-sponsorship of the landmark Violence Against Woman Act of 1994 and his proposals to bolster childcare and protect family healthcare provisions.

Obama, whose vice president was Biden from 2009-2017, said he had hoped that Trump would take the job seriously, come to feel the weight of the office, and discover a reverence for American democracy.

Obama on Trump: ‘Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t’

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said in unusually blunt criticism from an ex-president.

“Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before,” Obama said.

The choice of a running mate has added significance for Biden, 77, who would be the oldest person to become president if he is elected. His age has led to speculation he will serve only one term, making Harris a potential top contender for the nomination in 2024.

Biden named Harris, 55, as his running mate last week to face incumbents Trump, 74, and Vice President Mike Pence, 61.

Former first lady and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee who lost to Trump, told the convention she constantly hears from voters who regret backing Trump or not voting at all.

“This can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election.” Clinton said. “No matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”

Clinton, who won the popular vote against Trump but lost in the Electoral College, said Biden needs to win overwhelmingly, warning he could win the popular vote but still lose the White House.

“Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose,” Clinton said. “Take it from me. So we need numbers overwhelming so Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”


U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination during an acceptance speech delivered for 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., August 19, 2020. (Getty Images)

Democrats have been alarmed by Trump’s frequent criticism of mail-in voting, and by cost-cutting changes at the U.S. Postal Service instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump supporter, that could delay mail during the election crunch. DeJoy said recently he would delay those changes until after the election.

Democrats also broadcast videos highlighting Trump’s crackdown on immigration, opposition to gun restrictions and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

‘DISRESPECT’ FOR FACTS, FOR WOMEN

Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, told the convention she had seen firsthand Trump’s “disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular – disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct. But we know what he doesn’t: that when women succeed, America succeeds.”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a leading progressive who ran against Biden in the 2020 primary, spoke to the convention from a childcare center in Massachusetts and cited Biden’s proposal to make childcare more affordable as a vital part of his agenda to help working Americans.

“It’s time to recognize that childcare is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation — it’s infrastructure for families,” she said. “Joe and Kamala will make high-quality childcare affordable for every family, make preschool universal, and raise the wages for every childcare worker.”

In her speech later, Harris will have an opportunity to outline her background as a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica who as a district attorney, state attorney general, U.S. senator from California and now vice-presidential candidate shattered gender and racial barriers.

She gained prominence in the Senate for her exacting interrogations of Trump nominees, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General Bill Barr.

The Republican National Convention, also largely virtual, takes place next week.

Democrats Officially Nominate Joe Biden to Become the Next U.S. President


It’s official: Joe Biden is now formally a candidate to become the next President of the United States. Democrats officially nominated Biden as their 2020 candidate on Tuesday with a roll-call vote of delegates representing all states in the country during the second day of party’s historic virtual convention. (Photo: Courtesy of the Biden campaign)

The Associated Press

Updated: August 19th, 2020

Democrats make it official, nominate Biden to take on Trump

NEW YORK (AP) — Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden as their 2020 presidential nominee Tuesday night, as party officials and activists from across the nation gave the former vice president their overwhelming support during his party’s all-virtual national convention.

The moment marked a political high point for Biden, who had sought the presidency twice before and is now cemented as the embodiment of Democrats’ desperate desire to defeat President Donald Trump this fall.

The roll call of convention delegates formalized what has been clear for months since Biden took the lead in the primary elections’ chase for the nomination. It came as he worked to demonstrate the breadth of his coalition for a second consecutive night, this time blending support from his party’s elders and fresher faces to make the case that he has the experience and energy to repair chaos that Trump has created at home and abroad.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State John Kerry — and former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell — were among the heavy hitters on a schedule that emphasized a simple theme: Leadership matters. Former President Jimmy Carter, now 95 years old, also made an appearance.

“Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple,” Clinton said. “At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos.”


In this image from video, former Georgia House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, center, and others, speak during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

Biden formally captured his party’s presidential nomination Tuesday night after being nominated by three people, including two Delaware lawmakers and 31-year-old African American security guard who became a viral sensation after blurting out “I love you” to Biden in a New York City elevator.

Delegates from across the country then pledged their support for Biden in a video montage that featured Democrats in places like Alabama’s Edmund Pettis Bridge, a beach in Hawaii and the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

In the opening of the convention’s second night, a collection of younger Democrats, including former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were given a few minutes to shine.

“In a democracy, we do not elect saviors. We cast our ballots for those who see our struggles and pledge to serve,” said Abrams, 46, who emerged as a national player during her unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 and was among those considered to be Biden’s running mate.

She added: “Faced with a president of cowardice, Joe Biden is a man of proven courage.”

On a night that Biden was formally receiving his party’s presidential nomination, the convention was also introducing his wife, Jill Biden, to the nation as the prospective first lady.


In this image from video, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, and members of the Biden family, celebrate after the roll call during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

Biden is fighting unprecedented logistical challenges to deliver his message during an all-virtual convention this week as the coronavirus epidemic continues to claim hundreds of American lives each day and wreaks havoc on the economy.

The former vice president was becoming his party’s nominee as a prerecorded roll call vote from delegates in all 50 states airs, and the four-day convention will culminate on Thursday when he accepts that nomination. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman of color to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday.

Until then, Biden is presenting what he sees as the best of his sprawling coalition to the American electorate in a format unlike any other in history.

For a second night, the Democrats featured Republicans.

Powell, who served as secretary of state under George W. Bush and appeared at multiple Republican conventions in years past, was endorsing the Democratic candidate. In a video released ahead of his speech, he said, “Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family. For Joe Biden, that doesn’t need teaching.”

Powell joins the widow of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, Cindy McCain, who was expected to stop short of a formal endorsement but talk about the mutual respect and friendship her husband and Biden shared.

While there have been individual members of the opposing party featured at presidential conventions before, a half dozen Republicans, including the former two-term governor of Ohio, have now spoken for Democrat Biden.

No one on the program Tuesday night has a stronger connection to the Democratic nominee than his wife, Jill Biden, a longtime teacher, was speaking from her former classroom at Brandywine High School near the family home in Wilmington, Delaware.

“You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways. There’s no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors,” she said of the school in excerpts of her speech before turning to the nation’s challenges at home. “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding—and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith.”

The Democrats’ party elders played a prominent role throughout the night.

Clinton, who turns 74 on Tuesday, hasn’t held office in two decades. Kerry, 76, was the Democratic presidential nominee back in 2004 when the youngest voters this fall were still in diapers. And Carter is 95 years old.

Clinton, a fixture of Democratic conventions for nearly three decades, addressed voters for roughly five minutes in a speech recorded at his home in Chappaqua, New York.

In addition to railing against Trump’s leadership, Clinton calls Biden “a go-to-work president.” Biden, Clinton continued, is “a man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide.”…

Kerry said in an excerpt of his remarks, “Joe understands that none of the issues of this world — not nuclear weapons, not the challenge of building back better after COVID, not terrorism and certainly not the climate crisis — none can be resolved without bringing nations together.”

Democrats Kick Off Convention as Poll Show Biden, Harris With Double-Digit Lead


Democrats kicked off their historic virtual convention on Monday with the keynote speaker former first lady Michelle Obama assailing the current president as unfit and warning Americans not to reelect him for a second term. Meanwhile new poll show Biden, Harris with double-digit lead over Trump. (Getty Images)

The Associated Press

Updated: August 18th, 2020

Michelle Obama assails Trump as Democrats open convention

NEW YORK (AP) — Michelle Obama delivered a passionate broadside against President Donald Trump during Monday’s opening night of the Democratic National Convention, assailing the Republican president as unfit for the job and warning that the nation’s mounting crises would only get worse if he’s reelected.

The former first lady issued an emotional call to the coalition that sent her husband to the White House, declaring that strong feelings must be translated into votes.

“Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” she declared. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.”

Obama added: “If you think things possibly can’t get worse, trust me, they can and they will if we don’t make a change in this election.”

The comments came as Joe Biden introduced the breadth of his political coalition to a nation in crisis Monday night at the convention, giving voice to victims of the coronavirus pandemic, the related economic downturn and police violence and featuring both progressive Democrats and Republicans united against Trump’s reelection.


Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. The DNC released excerpts of her speech ahead of the convention start. (Democratic National Convention)

The ideological range of Biden’s many messengers was demonstrated by former presidential contenders from opposing parties: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who championed a multi-trillion-dollar universal health care plan, and Ohio’s former Republican Gov. John Kasich, an anti-abortion conservative who spent decades fighting to cut government spending.

The former vice president won’t deliver his formal remarks until Thursday night, but he made his first appearance just half an hour into Monday’s event as he moderated a panel on racial justice, a theme throughout the night, as was concern about the Postal Service. The Democrats accuse Trump of interfering with the nation’s mail in order to throw blocks in front of mail-in voting.

“My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake,” Sanders declared.

Kasich said his status as a lifelong Republican “holds second place to my responsibility to my country.”

“In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” he said of his participation at the Democrats’ convention. He added: “Many of us can’t imagine four more years going down this path.”

Read more »

Post-ABC poll shows Biden, Harris hold double-digit lead over Trump, Pence

The race for the White House tilts toward the Democrats, with former vice president Joe Biden holding a double-digit lead nationally over President Trump amid continuing disapproval of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Democrats [kicked] off their convention on Monday in a mood of cautious optimism, with Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), leading Trump and Vice President Pence by 53 percent to 41 percent among registered voters. The findings are identical among a larger sample of all voting-age adults.

Biden’s current national margin over Trump among voters is slightly smaller than the 15-point margin in a poll taken last month and slightly larger than a survey in May when he led by 10 points. In late March, as the pandemic was taking hold in the United States, Biden and Trump were separated by just two points, with the former vice president holding a statistically insignificant advantage.

Today, Biden and Harris lead by 54 percent to 43 percent among those who say they are absolutely certain to vote and who also report voting in 2016. A month ago, Biden’s lead of 15 points overall had narrowed to seven points among similarly committed 2016 voters. Biden now also leads by low double-digits among those who say they are following the election most closely.

Read more »

Team Joe Announces Convention Speakers


Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 17th, 2020

New York (TADIAS) — Joe Biden’s campaign has announced its speaker lineup for the Democratic National Convention that’s set to open on Monday, August 17th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Below are the list of speakers that will be featured “across all four nights of the Convention which will air live August 17-20 from 9:00-11:00 PM Eastern each night.”

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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

UPDATE: Police Declare Riots in Seattle

In Seattle, police said protesters set fire to a construction site for a juvenile detention facility. In Portland, protesters broached a federal courthouse. (Protesters use umbrellas to shield themselves from pepper spray from police Saturday in Seattle. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

Protests explode across the country, police declare riots in Seattle, Portland

SEATTLE — Protesters marched across the country Saturday night, energized by the week of clashes between activists and federal agents in Portland, Ore.

In Portland, the authorities declared a riot after protesters breached a fence surrounding the city’s federal courthouse building. The “violent conduct of people downtown” created a “grave rise of public alarm,” the Portland police wrote on Twitter.

Early Saturday morning, federal agents and local police demanded that protesters leave the area and use teargas. But the activists stood their ground, blocking intersections. Several people were arrested.

In Austin, a man was shot and killed at a protest downtown as he marched with a group of protesters. “Someone dying while protesting is horrible,” Mayor Steve Adler of Austin said in a statement. “Our city is shaken and, like so many in our community, I’m heartbroken and stunned.”

Protesters in Omaha marched to bring attention to the killing of James Scurlock, a black man killed by a white bar owner. In Los Angeles, police fired projectiles at activists protesting near a federal courthouse.

The Seattle Police Department declared a riot on Saturday afternoon and used nonlethal weapons in an attempt to disperse a crowd of roughly 2,000 people in the Capitol Hill neighborhood marching in the city’s largest Black Lives Matter protest in more than a month.

The riot declaration came after protesters set fire to a construction site for a juvenile detention facility and as the police department reported that one person had breached the fencing surrounding the East Precinct, the site of nightly clashes in June that led to a nearly month-long protest occupation, and officers saw smoke in the lobby.

Police said protesters were throwing rocks, bottles and fireworks at the officers. As of 7:30 p.m. local time, the department had reported 25 arrests and three police injuries, including an officer hospitalized with a leg injury caused by an explosive. The department posted a photo of unused fireworks found at the scene to its Twitter feed.

Protesters erected barricades and fended off police efforts to disperse them with homemade shields, umbrellas and leaf blowers, tactics borrowed from Portland, Ore., protests, where activists have clashed nightly with police for nearly two months.

Early Saturday, a U.S. District judge issued a temporary restraining order against a Seattle City Council ordinance banning crowd control devices such as pepper spray, rubber bullets, flashbangs and blast balls.

Read more »

Related:

Leaf-blower wars: How Portland protesters are fighting back against tear gas and forming ‘walls’ of veterans, lawyers, nurses


A protester runs through a cloud of chemical irritant near the federal courthouse on Tuesday in Portland, Ore. At right is one of several members of “PDX Dad Pod” who brought leaf blowers to blow back tear gas fired by police. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

PORTLAND, Ore. — The tear gas started early Friday night, interrupting a line of drums and dancing, chanting protesters, an artist painting in oils underneath a tree in the park and a man with a microphone speaking about the issues of racial justice and policing at the center of these nightly demonstrations.

“Hey guys, don’t panic, don’t panic,” the man said from the steps of the Multnomah County Justice Center, one block over from the federal courthouse in downtown Portland. “All you first-timers out here, it’s just tear gas. Everybody just relax.”

As if on cue, a brigade of orange-shirted men with leaf blowers descended on the cloud, revved their engines and blew the tear gas away. The crowd cheered.

“Thank you leaf-blower dads!” shouted a young woman.

Every night for more than a week, federal agents have been unleashing a barrage of tear gas on crowds of demonstrators, a small number of whom have lobbed fireworks at the federal courthouse, set fires and tried to tear down a tall, reinforced metal fence surrounding the building. The noxious fog burns and stings. Some people who get hit with the dense plumes of chemicals that cloud Portland’s streets each night feel like they can’t breathe, like their eyes are on fire, like they might vomit onto the asphalt.

Though some Portlanders have been able to get respirators, goggles and gas masks to protect themselves from the worst effects of the riot control agent known as CS gas, many others have turned to a familiar landscaping tool to blow the chemicals away: leaf blowers.

The loud, pressurized air machines typically used to clear grass, leaves and other lawn debris are surprisingly effective tools at clearing caustic chemicals from the air. They’re so effective that on Friday night, federal agents frustrated at being caught in up in a redirected cloud of tear gas, showed up to the demonstration with their own handheld blowers.

The leaf-blower wars were on.

Read more »

One man killed and a suspect is arrested after shots fired during protests in Austin (CNN)


Police gather around a man who was shot during a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Austin. (CNN)

(CNN) One man is dead and a suspect is in custody after a shooting during a protest in Texas, police said.

Officers were at the scene monitoring protesters gathered in downtown Austin in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement when shots rang out Saturday night, Austin senior Police Officer Katrina Ratcliff said.

They found a man with a gunshot wound, who was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead, Ratcliff said. No one else was injured.

Initial reports indicated the victim may have been carrying a rifle and approached the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect was in the vehicle and shot at the victim, Ratcliff said.

The suspect was detained and is cooperating and there is no longer a threat to the public.
Ratcliff did not take any questions and said it “was very early in an active investigation.”

Police and protesters clash in violent weekend across the US (AP)


Federal officers launch tear gas at a group of demonstrators during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Updated: July 26th, 2020

Federal officers launch tear gas at a group of demonstrators during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
ATLANTA (AP) — Protests took a violent turn in several U.S. cities over the weekend, with demonstrators squaring off against federal agents outside a courthouse in Portland, Oregon, forcing police in Seattle to retreat into a station house and setting fire to vehicles in California and Virginia.

A protest against police violence in Austin, Texas, turned deadly when a witness says the driver of a car that drove through a crowd of marchers opened fire on an armed demonstrator who approached the vehicle. And someone was shot and wounded in Aurora, Colorado, after a car drove through a protest there, authorities said.

The unrest Saturday and early Sunday stemmed from the weeks of protests over racial injustice and the police treatment of people of color that flared up after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, who was Black and handcuffed, died after a white police officer used his knee to pin down Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes while Floyd begged for air.

In Seattle, police officers retreated into a precinct station early Sunday, hours after large demonstrations in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Some demonstrators lingered after officers filed into the department’s East Precinct around 1 a.m., but most cleared out a short time later, according to video posted online.

At a late-night news conference, Seattle police Chief Carmen Best called for peace. Rocks, bottles, fireworks and mortars were fired at police during the weekend unrest, and police said they arrested at least 45 people for assaults on officers, obstruction and failure to disperse. Twenty-one officers were hurt, with most of their injuries considered minor, police said.

In Portland, thousands of people gathered Saturday evening for another night of protests over George Floyd’s killing and the presence of federal agents recently sent to the city by President Donald Trump. Protesters breached a fence surrounding the city’s federal courthouse building where the agents have been stationed.

Police declared the situation to be a riot and at around 1:20 a.m., they began ordering people to leave the area surrounding the courthouse or risk arrest, saying on Twitter that the violence had created “a grave risk” to the public. About 20 minutes later, federal officers and local police could be seen attempting to clear the area and deploying tear gas, however protesters remained past 2:30 a.m., forming lines across intersections and holding makeshift shields as police patrolled and closed blocks abutting the area. Multiple arrests were made, but it wasn’t immediately clear how many.

In the Texas capital of Austin, a protester was shot and killed Saturday night after witnesses say he approached a car that had driven through a march against police violence. In video streamed live on Facebook, a car can be heard honking before several shots ring out and protesters start screaming and scattering for cover. Police could then be seen tending to someone lying in the street.

Michael Capochiano, who attended the protest, told the Austin American-Statesman that the slain protester had a rifle and that the car’s driver fired several shots at him before speeding away. Police said the driver was detained and was cooperating with investigators.

In the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colorado, meanwhile, a protester shot and wounded someone after a car drove through a crowd marching on an interstate highway, police said. The wounded person was taken to a hospital in stable condition. Police didn’t release many details about the shooting, including whether the person who was shot had been in the car. Police said on Twitter that demonstrators also caused “major damage,” to a courthouse.

Protesters in Oakland, California, set fire to a courthouse, damaged a police station, broke windows, spray-painted graffiti, shot fireworks and pointed lasers at officers after a peaceful demonstration Saturday evening turned to unrest, police said.

In Virginia’s capital, Richmond, a dump truck was torched as several hundred protesters and police faced off late Saturday during a demonstration of support for the protesters in Portland. Police declared it to be an “unlawful assembly” at around 11 p.m. used what appeared to be tear gas to disperse the group.

In downtown Atlanta on Sunday, federal agents examined damage to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement field where windows were shattered late Saturday. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said in an email. No arrests had been announced.

And in Baltimore, people from a group of nearly 100 demonstrators spray-painted anti-police messages on a Fraternal Order of Police building and adjacent sidewalks on Saturday night, The Baltimore Sun reported.


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UPDATE: As Seasonal Rains Fall, Dispute over Nile Dam Rushes Toward a Reckoning

Satellite images released this week showed water building up in the reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (Photo: Maxar Technologies/EPA, via Shutterstock)

The New York Times

Updated July 18th, 2020

After a decade of construction, the hydroelectric dam in Ethiopia, Africa’s largest, is nearly complete. But there’s still no agreement with Egypt.

CAIRO — Every day now, seasonal rain pounds the lush highlands of northern Ethiopia, sending cascades of water into the Blue Nile, the twisting tributary of perhaps Africa’s most fabled river.

Farther downstream, the water inches up the concrete wall of a towering, $4.5 billion hydroelectric dam across the Nile, the largest in Africa, now moving closer to completion. A moment that Ethiopians have anticipated eagerly for a decade — and which Egyptians have come to dread — has finally arrived.

Satellite images released this week showed water pouring into the reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam — which will be nearly twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. Ethiopia hopes the project will double its electricity production, bolster its economy, and help unify its people at a time of often-violent divisions.

#FillTheDam read one popular hashtag on Ethiopian social media this week.

Seleshi Bekele, the Ethiopian water minister, rushed to assuage Egyptian anxieties by insisting that the engorging reservoir was the product of natural, entirely predictable seasonal flooding.

He said the formal start of filling, when engineers close the dam gates, has not yet occurred.

Read more »

Conflicting Reports Issued Over Ethiopia Filling Mega-dam

Bloomberg

By Samuel Gebre

July 15, 2020

AP cites minister denying that dam’s gates have been closed

Ethiopia began filling the reservoir of its giant Nile dam without signing an agreement on water flows, the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Seleshi Bekele — a step Egypt has warned will threaten regional security.

The minister denied the report, the Associated Press said.

The development comes two days after the latest round of African Union-brokered talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam failed to reach a deal on the pace of filling the 74 billion cubic-meter reservoir. Egypt, which relies on the Nile for almost all its fresh water, has previously described any unilateral filling as a breach of international agreements and has said all options are open in response.

Egypt is asking Ethiopia for urgent and official clarification of the media reports, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Sudan’s irrigation ministry said in a statement that flows on the Nile indicated that Ethiopia had closed the dam’s gate.

Ethiopia, where the 6,000-megawatt power project has become a symbol of national pride, has repeatedly rejected the idea that a deal was needed, even as it took part in talks.

“The inflow into the reservoir is due to heavy rainfall and runoff exceeded the outflow and created natural pooling,” Seleshi said later in Twitter posting, without expressly denying that the filling of the dam had begun. Calls to the ministry’s spokesperson for comment weren’t answered.

The filling of the dam would potentially bring to a head a roughly decade-long dispute between the two countries, both of which are key U.S. allies in Africa and home to about 100 million people. Their mutual neighbor, Sudan, has also been involved in the discussions and echoed Egypt’s misgivings over an impact on water flows.


Ethiopia Open to Continue Nile Dam Talks Amid Dispute With Egypt


The Blue Nile river flows to the dam wall at the site of the under-construction Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia. (Photographer: Zacharias Abubeker/Bloomberg)

Bloomberg

Updated: July 15, 2020,

Ethiopia pledged to continue talks with Egypt and Sudan on the operation of its 140-meter deep dam on the Nile River’s main tributary, but said demands from downstream nations were thwarting the chances of an agreement.

The three states submitted reports to African Union Chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa after 11 days of negotiations ended on Monday without an agreement. The AU-brokered talks were held amid rising tensions with Ethiopia planning to start filling the reservoir, and Egypt describing any damming without an agreement on water flows as illegal.

“Unchanged stances and additional and excessive demands of Egypt and Sudan prohibited the conclusion of this round of negotiation by an agreement,” Ethiopia’s water and irrigation ministry said Tuesday in a statement. “Ethiopia is committed to show flexibility” to reach a mutually beneficial outcome, it said.

The Nile River is Egypt’s main source of fresh water and it has opposed any development it says willcause significant impact to the flow downstream. Ethiopia, which plans a 6,000 megawatt power plant at the facility, has asserted its right to use the resource.

The two are yet to conclude an agreement over the pace at which Ethiopia fills the 74 billion cubic-meter reservoir, given the potential impact on the amount of water reaching Egypt through Sudan. Ethiopia’s statement didn’t mention anything conclusive on when it plans to start filling the dam.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry didn’t reply to a request for comment on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told a local TV talk-show on Monday that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s administration seeks to reach an agreement that safeguards the interests of all stakeholders.

Read more »

Photos: Satellite Images of GERD Show Water Rising (UPDATE)


The images emerge as Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan say the latest talks on the contentious project ended Monday with no agreement. Ethiopia has said it would begin filling the reservoir this month even without a deal. But Ethiopian officials did not immediately comment Tuesday on the images. An analyst tells AP that the swelling water is likely due to the rainy season as opposed to official activity. (Photo: Maxar Tech via AP)

The Associated Press

Updated: July 14, 2020,

New satellite imagery shows the reservoir behind Ethiopia’s disputed hydroelectric dam beginning to fill, but an analyst says it’s likely due to seasonal rains instead of government action.

The images emerge as Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan say the latest talks on the contentious project ended Monday with no agreement. Ethiopia has said it would begin filling the reservoir of the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam this month even without a deal, which would further escalate tensions.

But the swelling reservoir, captured in imagery on July 9 by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite, is likely a “natural backing-up of water behind the dam” during this rainy season, International Crisis Group analyst William Davison told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

“So far, to my understanding, there has been no official announcement from Ethiopia that all of the pieces of construction that are needed to be completed to close off all of the outlets and to begin impoundment of water into the reservoir” have occurred, Davison said.

But Ethiopia is on schedule for impoundment to begin in mid-July, he added, when the rainy season floods the Blue Nile.

Ethiopian officials did not immediately comment Tuesday on the images.

The latest setback in the three-country talks shrinks hopes that an agreement will be reached before Ethiopia begins filling the reservoir.

Ethiopia says the colossal dam offers a critical opportunity to pull millions of its nearly 110 million citizens out of poverty and become a major power exporter. Downstream Egypt, which depends on the Nile to supply its farmers and booming population of 100 million with fresh water, asserts that the dam poses an existential threat.

Years of talks with a variety of mediators, including the Trump administration, have failed to produce a solution. Last week’s round, mediated by the African Union and observed by U.S. and European officials, proved no different.

Read more and see the photos at apnews.com »


PM Abiy Says Unrest Will Not Derail Filling of Nile Dam


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Tuesday the recent violence was specifically intended to throw Ethiopia’s plans for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam off course. Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, also criticised politicians who he suggested were trying to profit from Hachalu’s killing to undermine his government. “You can’t become a government by destroying the country, by sowing ethnic and religious chaos,” he said. (AP photo)

AFP

July 7th, 2020

Addis Ababa (AFP) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Tuesday that recent domestic unrest would not derail his plan to start filling a mega-dam on the Blue Nile River this month, despite objections from downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan.

Violence broke out last week in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the surrounding Oromia region following the shooting death of Hachalu Hundessa, a popular singer from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest.

More than 160 people died in inter-ethnic killings and in clashes between protesters and security forces, according to the latest official toll provided over the weekend.

Abiy said last week that Hachalu’s killing and the violence that ensued were part of a plot to sow unrest in Ethiopia, without identifying who he thought was involved.

On Tuesday he went a step further, saying it was specifically intended to throw Ethiopia’s plans for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam off course.

“The desire of the breaking news is to make the Ethiopian government take its eye off the dam,” Abiy said during a question-and-answer session with lawmakers, without giving evidence to support the claim.

Ethiopia sees the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as essential to its electrification and development, while Egypt and Sudan worry it will restrict access to vital Nile waters.

Addis Ababa has long intended to begin filling the dam’s reservoir this month — in the middle of its rainy season — while Cairo and Khartoum are pushing for the three countries to first reach an agreement on how it will be operated.

Talks between the three nations resumed last week.

Ethiopian officials have not publicised the exact day they intend to start filling the dam.

But Abiy on Tuesday reiterated Ethiopia’s position that the filling process is an essential element of the dam’s construction.

“If Ethiopia doesn’t fill the dam, it means Ethiopia has agreed to demolish the dam,” he said.

“On other points we can reach an agreement slowly over time, but for the filling of the dam we can reach and sign an agreement this year.”

-Ethiopia ‘not Syria, Libya’-

Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, also criticised politicians who he suggested were trying to profit from Hachalu’s killing to undermine his government.

“You can’t become a government by destroying a government by destroying the country, by sowing ethnic and religious chaos,” he said.

“If Ethiopia becomes Syria, if Ethiopia becomes Libya, the loss is for everybody.”

A number of high-profile opposition politicians have been arrested in Ethiopia in the wake of Hachalu’s killing.

Some of them, including former media mogul Jawar Mohammed, have accused Abiy, the country’s first Oromo prime minister, of failing to sufficiently champion Oromo interests after years of anti-government protests swept him to power in 2018.

Abiy defended his Oromo credentials on Tuesday. “All my life I’ve struggled for the Oromo people,” he said.

“The Oromo people are free now. What we need now is development.”

‘It’s my dam’: Ethiopians Unite Around Nile River Mega-Project


The Blue Nile flowing through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The project is passionately supported by the Ethiopian public despite the tensions it has stoked with Egypt and Sudan downstream. (AFP)

AFP

Updated: June 29th, 2020

Last week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s press secretary took a break from official statements to post something different to her Twitter feed: a 37-line poem defending her country’s massive dam on the Blue Nile River.

“My mothers seek respite/From years of abject poverty/Their sons a bright future/And the right to pursue prosperity,” Billene Seyoum wrote in her poem, entitled “Ethiopia Speaks”.

As the lines indicate, Ethiopia sees the $4.6 billion (four-billion-euro) Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as crucial for its electrification and development.

But the project, set to become Africa’s largest hydroelectric installation, has sparked an intensifying row with downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan, which worry that it will restrict vital water supplies.

Addis Ababa plans to start filling next month, despite demands from Cairo and Khartoum for a deal on the dam’s operations to avoid depletion of the Nile.

The African Union is assuming a leading role in talks to resolve outstanding legal and technical issues, and the UN Security Council could take up the issue Monday.

With global attention to the dam on the rise, its defenders are finding creative ways to show support — in verse, in Billene’s case, through other art forms and, most commonly, in social media posts demanding the government finish construction.

To some observers, the dam offers a rare point of unity in an ethnically-diverse country undergoing a fraught democratic transition and awaiting elections delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Abebe Yirga, a university lecturer and expert in water management, compared the effort to finish the dam to Ethiopia’s fight against Italian would-be colonisers in the late 19th century.

“During that time, Ethiopians irrespective of religion and different backgrounds came together to fight against the colonial power,” he said.

“Now, in the 21st century, the dam is reuniting Ethiopians who have been politically and ethnically divided.”

-Hashtag activism-

Ethiopia broke ground on the dam in 2011 under then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who pitched it as a catalyst for poverty eradication.

Civil servants contributed one month’s salary towards the project that year, and the government has since issued dam bonds targeting Ethiopians at home and abroad.

Nearly a decade later, the dam remains a source of hope for a country where more than half the population of 110 million lives without electricity.

With Meles dead nearly eight years, perhaps the most prominent face of the project these days is water minister Seleshi Bekele, a former academic whose publications include articles with titles like “Estimation of flow in ungauged catchments by coupling a hydrological model and neural networks: Case study”.

As a government minister, though, Seleshi has demonstrated an ear for the catchy soundbite.

At a January press conference in Addis Ababa, he fielded a question from a journalist wondering whether countries besides Ethiopia might play a role in operating the dam.

With an amused expression on his face, Seleshi looked the journalist dead in the eye and responded simply, “It’s my dam.”

In those five seconds, a hashtag was born.

Coverage of the exchange went viral, and today a Twitter search for #ItsMyDam turns up seemingly endless posts hailing the project.

At recent events officials have even distributed T-shirts bearing the slogan to Ethiopian journalists, who proudly wear them around town.

-Banana boosterism-

Some non-Ethiopians have also gotten in on #ItsMyDam fever.

Anna Chojnicka spent four years living in Ethiopia working for an organisation supporting social entrepreneurs, though she recently moved to London.

In March, holed up with suspected COVID-19, she began using a comb and thread-cutter to imprint designs on bananas.

Her #BananaOfTheDay series has included bruises portraying the London skyline, iconic scenes from Disney movies and the late singer Amy Winehouse.

But by far the most popular are her bananas related to the dam, the first of which she posted last week showing water rushing through the concrete colossus.

On Thursday she posted a banana featuring a woman carrying firewood, noting that once the dam starts operating “fewer women will need to collect firewood for fuel”.

The image was quickly picked up by an Ethiopian television station.


Ethiopia, Egypt & Sudan Agree to Restart Talks Over Disputed Dam


Early Saturday, Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s water and energy minister, confirmed that the countries had decided during an African Union summit to restart stalled negotiations and finalize an agreement over the contentious mega-project within two to three weeks, with support from the AU. (Satellite image via AP)

The Associated Press

Updated: June 27th, 2020

The leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed late Friday to return to talks aimed at reaching an accord over the filling of Ethiopia’s new hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, according to statements from the three nations.

Early Saturday, Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s water and energy minister, confirmed that the countries had decided during an African Union summit to restart stalled negotiations and finalize an agreement over the contentious mega-project within two to three weeks, with support from the AU.

The announcement was a modest reprieve from weeks of bellicose rhetoric and escalating tensions over the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia had vowed to start filling at the start of the rainy season in July.

Egypt and Sudan said Ethiopia would refrain from filling the dam next month until the countries reached a deal. Ethiopia did not comment explicitly on the start of the filling period.

Ethiopia has hinged its development ambitions on the colossal dam, describing it as a crucial lifeline to bring millions out of poverty.

Egypt, which relies on the Nile for more than 90% of its water supplies and already faces high water stress, fears a devastating impact on its booming population of 100 million. Sudan, which also depends on the Nile for water, has played a key role in bringing the two sides together after the collapse of U.S.-mediated talks in February.

Just last week, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew warned that his country could begin filling the dam’s reservoir unilaterally, after the latest round of talks with Egypt and Sudan failed to reach an accord governing how the dam will be filled and operated.

After an AU video conference chaired by South Africa late Friday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said that “all parties” had pledged not to take “any unilateral action” by filling the dam without a final agreement, said Bassam Radi, Egypt’s presidency spokesman.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok also indicated the impasse between the Nile basin countries had eased, saying the nations had agreed to restart negotiations through a technical committee with the aim of finalizing a deal in two weeks. Ethiopia won’t fill the dam before inking the much-anticipated deal, Hamdok’s statement added.

African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said the countries “agreed to an AU-led process to resolve outstanding issues,” without elaborating.

Sticking points in the talks have been how much water Ethiopia will release downstream from the dam if a multi-year drought occurs and how Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan will resolve any future disagreements.

Both Egypt and Sudan have appealed to the U.N. Security Council to intervene in the years-long dispute and help the countries avert a crisis. The council is set to hold a public meeting on the issue Monday.

Filling the dam without an agreement could bring the stand-off to a critical juncture. Both Egypt and Ethiopia have hinted at military steps to protect their interests, and experts fear a breakdown in talks could lead to open conflict.

Related:

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to agree Nile dam in weeks

Ethiopia agrees to delay filling Nile mega-dam, say Egypt, Sudan

Clock Ticks On Push to Resolve Egypt-Ethiopia Row Over Nile Dam

The Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia. (REUTERS photo/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

Updated: June 26th, 2020

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt is counting on international pressure to unlock a deal it sees as crucial to protecting its scarce water supplies from the Nile river before the expected start-up of a giant dam upstream in Ethiopia in July.

Tortuous, often acrimonious negotiations spanning close to a decade have left the two nations and their neighbour Sudan short of an agreement to regulate how Ethiopia will operate the dam and fill its reservoir.

Though Egypt is unlikely to face any immediate, critical shortages from the dam even without a deal, failure to reach one before the filling process starts could further poison ties and drag out the dispute for years, analysts say.

“There is the threat of worsening relations between Ethiopia and the two downstream countries, and consequently increased regional instability,” said William Davison, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group.

The latest round of talks left the three countries “closer than ever to reaching an agreement”, according to a report by Sudan’s foreign ministry seen by Reuters.

But it also said the talks, which were suspended last week, had revealed a “widening gap” over the key issue of whether any agreement would be legally binding, as Egypt demands.

The stakes for largely arid Egypt are high, for it draws at least 90% of its fresh water from the Nile.

With Ethiopia insisting it will use seasonal rains to begin filling the dam’s reservoir next month, Cairo has appealed to the U.N. Security Council in a last-ditch diplomatic move.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is being built about 15 km (nine miles) from the border with Sudan on the Blue Nile, the source of most of the Nile’s waters.

Ethiopia says the $4 billion hydropower project, which will have an installed capacity of 6,450 megawatts, is essential to its economic development. Addis Ababa told the U.N. Security Council in a letter this week that it is “designed to help extricate our people from abject poverty”.

The letter repeated accusations that Egypt was trying to maintain historic advantages over the Nile and constrict Ethiopia’s pursuit of future upstream projects. It argued that Ethiopia had accommodated Egyptian demands to allow recent talks to move forward before Egypt unnecessarily escalated by taking the issue to the Security Council.

Ethiopia’s government was not immediately available for comment.

Egypt says it is focused on securing a fair deal limited to the GERD, and that Ethiopia’s talk of righting colonial-era injustice is a ruse meant to distract attention from a bid to impose a fait accompli on its downstream neighbours.

Both accuse each other of trying to sabotage the talks and of blocking independent studies on the impact of the GERD. Egypt requested U.S. mediation last year, leading to talks over four months in Washington that broke down in February.

“PROGRESS”

The resort to outside mediation came because the two sides had been “going round in vicious cycles for years”, said an Egyptian official. The stand-off is a chance for the international community to show leadership on the issue of water, and help broker a deal that “could unlock a lot of cooperation possibilities”, he said.

Talks this month between water ministers led by Sudan, and observed by the United States, South Africa and the European Union, produced a draft deal that Sudan said made “significant progress on major technical issues”.

It listed outstanding technical issues however, including how the dam would operate during “dry years” of reduced rainfall, as well as legal issues on whether the agreement and its mechanism for resolving disputes should be binding.

Sudan, for its part, sees benefits from the dam in regulating its Blue Nile waters, but wants guarantees it will be safely and properly operated.

Like Egypt it is seeking a binding deal before filling starts, but its increasing alignment with Cairo has not proved decisive.

Technical compromises are still available, said Davison, but “there’s no reason to think that Ethiopia is going to bow to increased international pressure”.

“We need to move away from diplomatic escalation and instead the parties need to sit themselves once again around the table and stay there until they reach agreement.”

UN to Hear Ethiopia-Egypt Nile Dam Dispute


The behind-closed-doors meeting [set for Monday in New York] was requested by France, according to diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity. It came after the latest talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan ended without an agreement. (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — The United Nations Security Council will discuss for the first time Monday a growing dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over a giant hydropower dam being built on the Nile River’s main tributary, diplomats said. The behind-closed-doors meeting was requested by France, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity. It came after the latest talks between Egypt, Ethi

The behind-closed-doors meeting was requested by France, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity. It came after the latest talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and mutual neighbor Sudan ended last week with Ethiopia refusing to accept a permanent, minimum volume of water that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam should release downstream in the event of severe drought.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry subsequently asked the UNSC to intervene, calling for a fair and balanced solution. Ethiopia has threatened to start filling the dam’s reservoir when the rainy season begins in July, with or without a deal. That’s a step that Egypt, which relies on the Nile for almost all its fresh water, considers both unacceptable and illegal.

Ethiopia remains resolute that a so-called declaration of principles agreement signed by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in 2015 allows it to proceed with damming the GERD.


Dear Ethiopia & Egypt: Nile Dam Update


Nefartari with Simbel and St. Yared holding a Simbel, which is called Tsenatsil in Amharic and Ge’ez.

The Africa Report

By Meklit Berihun, a civil engineer and aspiring researcher in systems thinking and its application in the water/environment sector.

Dear Egypt

My dear, how are you holding up in these trying times? I hope you are faring well as much as one can given the circumstances. And I pray we will not be burdened with more than we can bear and that this time will soon come to pass for the both of us.

Dearest, I hear of your frustration about the progress—or lack thereof—on the negotiations over my dam. That is a frustration I also share. I look forward to the day we settle things and look to the future together.

Beloved, though your approach has recently metamorphosed in addressing your right to our water—officially stating you never held on to any past agreements—the foundation, that you do not want to settle for anything less than 66 percent of what is shared by 10 of your fellow African states, remains unchanged. I must be honest: I cannot fathom how you still hold on to this.

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Dear Ethiopia,

By Nervana Mahmoud, Doctor and independent political commentator on Middle East issues. BBC’s 100 women 2013.

Thank you for your letter.

The fate of our two countries has been linked since ancient times, as described in Herodotus’s book An Account of Egypt, Egypt is the “gift of the Nile,” “it has soil which is black and easily breaks up, seeing that it is in truth mud and silt brought down from Ethiopia by the river.”

It is sad you question Egypt’s African identity. It may sound surprising to you, but the vast majority of Egyptians are proud Africans. In 1990, my entire family was glued to the television, showing our support for Cameroon against England, in the World Cup. Last year, Egypt hosted the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Many Egyptians supported Senegal and Nigeria, who played Arab teams, in the final rounds because we see ourselves as Africans.

Unfortunately, I do not believe that you — our African brothers — appreciate the potential disastrous impacts of your Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) on our livelihood in Egypt.

Read more »

AP Interview: Egypt Says UN Must Stop Ethiopia on Dam Fill

AP Interview:: Ethiopia To Fill Disputed Dam, Deal or No Deal


This satellite image taken May 28, 2020, shows the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region. In an interview with The Associated Press Friday, June 19, 2020, Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew said that Ethiopia will start filling the $4.6 billion dam next month. (AP)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Updated: June 19th, 2020

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — It’s a clash over water usage that Egypt calls an existential threat and Ethiopia calls a lifeline for millions out of poverty. Just weeks remain before the filling of Africa’s most powerful hydroelectric dam might begin, and tense talks between the countries on its operation have yet to reach a deal.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew on Friday declared that his country will go ahead and start filling the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam next month, even without an agreement. “For us it is not mandatory to reach an agreement before starting filling the dam, hence we will commence the filling process in the coming rainy season,” he said.

“We are working hard to reach a deal, but still we will go ahead with our schedule whatever the outcome is. If we have to wait for others’ blessing, then the dam may remain idle for years, which we won’t allow to happen,” he said. He added that “we want to make it clear that Ethiopia will not beg Egypt and Sudan to use its own water resource for its development,” pointing out that Ethiopia is paying for the dam’s construction itself.

He spoke after the latest round of talks with Egypt and Sudan on the dam, the first since discussions broke down in February, failed to reach agreement.

No date has been set for talks to resume, and the foreign minister said Ethiopia doesn’t believe it’s time to take them to a head of state level.

The years-long dispute pits Ethiopia’s desire to become a major power exporter and development engine against Egypt’s concern that the dam will significantly curtail its water supply if filled too quickly. Sudan has long been caught between the competing interests.

The arrival of the rainy season is bringing more water to the Blue Nile, the main branch of the Nile, and Ethiopia sees an ideal time to begin filling the dam’s reservoir next month.

Both Egypt and Ethiopia have hinted at military steps to protect their interests, and experts fear a breakdown in talks could lead to conflict.

Ethiopia’s foreign minister would not say whether his country would use military action to defend the dam and its operations.

“This dam should have been a reason for cooperation and regional integration, not a cause for controversies and warmongering,” he said. “Egyptians are exaggerating their propaganda on the dam issue and playing a political gamble. Some of them seem as if they are longing for a war to break out.”

Gedu added: “Our reading is that the Egyptian side wants to dictate and control even future developments on our river. We won’t ask for permission to carry out development projects on our own water resources. This is both legally and morally unacceptable.”

He said Ethiopia has offered to fill the dam in four to seven years, taking possible low rainfall into account.

Sticking points in the talks have been how much water Ethiopia will release downstream from the dam during a multi-year drought and how Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan will resolve any future disputes.

The United States earlier this year tried to broker a deal, but Ethiopia did not attend the signing meeting and accused the Trump administration of siding with Egypt. This week some Ethiopians felt vindicated when the U.S. National Security Council tweeted that “257 million people in east Africa are relying on Ethiopia to show strong leadership, which means striking a fair deal.”

In reply to that, Ethiopia’s foreign minister said: “Statements issued from governments and other institutions on the dam should be crafted carefully not to take sides and impair the fragile talks, especially at this delicate time. They should issue fair statements or just issue no statements at all.”

He also rejected the idea that the issue should be taken to the United Nations Security Council, as Egypt wants. Egypt’s foreign ministry issued a statement Friday saying Egypt has urged the Security Council to intervene in the dispute to help the parties reach a “fair and balanced solution” and prevent Ethiopia from “taking any unilateral actions.”

The latest talks saw officials from the U.S., European Union and South Africa, the current chairman of the African Union, attending as observers.

Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas told reporters after talks ended Wednesday that the three counties’ irrigation leaders have agreed on “90% or 95%” of the technical issues but the dispute over the “legal points” in the deal remains dissolved.

The Sudanese minister said his country and Egypt rejected Ethiopia’s attempts to include articles on water sharing and old Nile treaties in the dam deal. Egypt has received the lion’s share of the Nile’s waters under decades-old agreements dating back to the British colonial era. Eighty-five percent of the Nile’s waters originate in Ethiopia from the Blue Nile.

“The Egyptians want us to offer a lot, but they are not ready to offer us anything,” Gedu said Friday. “They want to control everything. We are not discussing a water-sharing agreement.”

The countries should not get stuck in a debate about historic water rights, William Davison, senior analyst on Ethiopia with the International Crisis Group, told reporters this week. “During a period of filling, yes, there’s reduced water downstream. But that’s a temporary period,” he said.

Initial power generation from the dam could be seen late this year or in early 2021, he said.

Ethiopia’ foreign minister expressed disappointment in Egypt’s efforts to find backing for its side.

“Our African brotherly countries should have supported us, but instead they are tainting our country’s name around the world, and especially in the Arab world,” he said. “Egypt’s monopolistic approach to the dam issue will not be acceptable for us forever.”


Tussle for Nile Control Escalates as Dam Talks Falter


The Blue Nile river passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam near Guba, Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

Bloomberg

Updated: June 18th, 2020

A last ditch attempt to resolve a decade-long dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over a huge new hydropower dam on the Nile has failed, raising the stakes in what – for all the public focus on technical issues – is a tussle for control over the region’s most important water source.

The talks appear to have faltered over a recurring issue: Ethiopia’s refusal to accept a permanent, minimum volume of water that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, or GERD, should release downstream in the event of severe drought.

What happens next remains uncertain. Both Ethiopia and Sudan – a mutual neighbor that took part in the talks – said that progress had been made and left the door open to further negotiation. Yet the stakes in a region acutely vulnerable to the impact of climate change are disconcertingly clear.

Ethiopia has threatened to start filling the dam’s reservoir when the rainy season begins in July, with or without a deal, a step Egypt considers both unacceptable and illegal. In a statement late Wednesday, Egypt’s irrigation ministry accused Ethiopia of refusing to accept any effective drought provision or legally binding commitments, or even to refer the talks to the three prime ministers in an effort to break the deadlock. Ethiopia was demanding “an absolute right” to build further dams behind the GERD, the ministry said.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry threatened on Monday to call for United Nations Security Council intervention to protect “international peace and security” if no agreement was reached. A day later his Ethiopian opposite, Gedu Andargachew, accused Egypt of “acting as if it is the sole owner of the Nile waters.”

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris even warned of a water war. “We will never allow any country to starve us, if Ethiopia doesn’t come to reason, we the Egyptian people will be the first to call for war,” he said in a tweet earlier this week.

Although both sides have played down the prospect of military conflict, they have occasionally rattled sabers and concern at the potential for escalation helped draw the U.S. and World Bank into the negotiating process last year. When that attempt floundered in February, the European Union and South Africa, as chair of the African Union, joined in.

“This is all about control,” said Asfaw Beyene, a professor of mechanical engineering at San Diego State University, California, whose work Egypt cited in support of a May 1 report to the UN. The so-called aide memoire argued that the GERD and its 74 billion cubic meter reservoir are so vastly oversized relative to the power they will produce that it “raises questions about the true purpose of the dam.”

National Survival

Egypt’s concern is that once the dam’s sluices can control the Nile’s flow, Ethiopia could in times of drought say “I am not releasing water, I need it,” or dictate how the water released is used, says Asfaw. Yet he backs Ethiopia’s claims that once filled, the dam won’t significantly affect downstream supplies. He also agrees with their argument that climate change could render unsustainable any water guarantees given to Egypt.

Both sides describe the future of the hydropower dam that will generate as much as 15.7 gigawatts of electricity per year as a matter of national survival. Egypt relies on the Nile for as much as 97% of an already strained water supply. Ethiopia says the dam is vital for development, because it would increase the nation’s power generation by about 150% at a time when more than half the population have no access to electricity.

Read more »


UPDATE: Ethiopian Army Official Says Country Will Defend Itself Over Dam (AP)


A general view of the Blue Nile river as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Updated: June 12th, 2020

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s deputy army chief on Friday said his country will strongly defend itself and will not negotiate its sovereignty over the disputed $4.6 billion Nile dam that has caused tensions with Egypt.

“Egyptians and the rest of the world know too well how we conduct war whenever it comes,” Gen. Birhanu Jula said in an interview with the state-owned Addis Zemen newspaper, adding that Egyptian leaders’ “distorted narrative” on Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam is attracting enemies.

He accused Egypt of using its weapons to “threaten and tell other countries not to touch the shared water” and said “the way forward should be cooperation in a fair manner.”

He spoke amid renewed talks among Ethiopian, Sudanese and Egyptian water and irrigation ministers after months of deadlock. Ethiopia wants to begin filling the dam’s reservoir in the coming weeks, but Egypt worries a rapid filling will take too much of the water it says its people need to survive. Sudan, caught between the competing interests, pushed the two sides to resume discussions.

The general’s comments were a stark contrast to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s remarks to lawmakers earlier this week that diplomacy should take center stage to resolve outstanding issues.

“We don’t want to hurt anyone else, and at the same time it will be difficult for us to accept the notion that we don’t deserve to have electricity,” the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said. “We are tired of begging others while 70% of our population is young. This has to change.”

Talks on the dam have struggled. Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry on Wednesday called for Ethiopia to “clearly declare that it had no intention of unilaterally filling the reservoir” and that a deal prepared by the U.S. and the World Bank in February serves as the starting point of the resumed negotiations.

Ethiopia refused to sign that deal and accused the U.S. of siding with Egypt.

Egypt said that in Tuesday’s talks, Ethiopia showed it wanted to re-discuss “all issues” including “all timetables and figures” negotiated in the U.S.-brokered talks.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi discussed the latest negotiations in a phone call with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, el-Sissi’s office said, without elaborating.

Egypt’s National Security Council, the highest body that makes decisions in high-profile security matters in the country, has accused Ethiopia of “buying time” and seeking to begin filling the dam’s reservoir in July without reaching a deal with Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia Seeks to Limit Outsiders’ Role in Nile Dam Talks (AFP)


Ethiopia sees the dam as essential for its electrification and development, while Sudan and Egypt see it as a threat to essential water supplies (AFP Photo)

AFP

Updated: June 11th, 2020

Addis Ababa (AFP) – Ethiopia said Thursday it wants to limit the role of outside parties in revived talks over its Nile River mega-dam, a sign of lingering frustration over a failed attempt by the US to broker a deal earlier this year.

The Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on it nearly a decade ago.

Ethiopia sees the dam as essential for its electrification and development, while Sudan and Egypt see it as a threat to essential water supplies.

The US Treasury Department stepped in last year after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi put in a request to his ally US President Donald Trump.

But the process ran aground after the Treasury Department urged Ethiopia to sign a deal that Egypt backed as “fair and balanced”.

Ethiopia denied a deal had been reached and accused Washington of being “undiplomatic” and playing favourites.

On Tuesday Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan resumed talks via videoconference with representatives of the United States, the European Union and South Africa taking part.

The talks resumed Wednesday and were expected to pick up again Thursday.

In a statement aired Thursday by state-affiliated media, Ethiopia’s water ministry said the role of the outside parties should not “exceed that of observing the negotiation and sharing good practices when jointly requested by the three countries.”

The statement also criticised Egypt for detailing its grievances over the dam in a May letter to the UN Security Council — a move it described as a bad faith attempt to “exert external diplomatic pressure”.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reiterated Monday that his country plans to begin filling the dam’s reservoir in the coming weeks, giving the latest talks heightened urgency.

The short window makes it “more necessary than ever that concessions are made so a deal can be struck that will ease potentially dangerous tensions,” said William Davison of the International Crisis Group, a conflict prevention organisation.

One solution could involve Ethiopia “proposing a detailed cooperative annual drought-management scheme that takes Egypt and Sudan’s concerns into account, but does not unacceptably constrain the dam’s potential,” he said.

The EU sees the resumption of talks as “an important opportunity to restore confidence among the parties, build on the good progress achieved and agree on a mutually beneficial solution,” said spokeswoman Virginie Battu-Henriksson.

“Especially in this time of global crisis, it is important to appease tensions and find pragmatic solutions,” she said.

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Biden Running Mate Search Zeroes in on Four Black Women (U.S. Election Update)

Senator Kamala Harris, former U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Rep. Val Demings and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance are all under serious consideration to become the next U.S. Vice Presidential Nominee. The candidates reflect the growing prominence of African American women amid a national uproar over police violence and racism that has sparked protests around the country. - TWP (AP photos)

The Washington Post

Biden running mate search zeroes in on group that includes at least four black women

Joe Biden’s search for a running mate has advanced to the next phase as his campaign conducts more extensive reviews of some prospects, including at least several African American women, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Among the candidates who have progressed to the point of more comprehensive vetting or have the potential to do so are Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), former national security adviser Susan E. Rice and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, all of whom are black. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is white, is also in that group, as is New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is Latina.

The pool of prospects remains fluid, and some close Biden allies suggested other contenders could also face the more intensive vetting process. The people describing the situation spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive private conversations and an evolving search process.

The Biden campaign declined to comment. Biden has vowed to choose a woman, and Biden has repeatedly stressed that he wants a running mate who is “simpatico” with him.

The candidates who continue to be under consideration by the campaign reflect in part the growing prominence of African American women amid a national uproar over police violence and racism that has sparked protests around the country. These developments have added pressure on Biden to select a black woman as his ticket mate.

“I think that a ticket that is not reflective of the diversity of this country is a ticket that is doomed to fail,” said Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), who said she has long felt Biden should pick a black woman and feels “even more so now.”

Biden’s search is attracting even more attention than that of most candidates because at 77, he would be the oldest person ever elected to the presidency. Beyond potential health issues, some Democrats believe that if elected, Biden might not seek a second term, giving his vice president an early advantage in the race to become the next chief executive.

Read more »


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Coronavirus Sparks an Epidemic of People Helping People in Seattle

Ethiopian American Yadesa Bojia is a Seattle artist who was concerned about the lack of information about the coronavirus reaching the Ethiopian community, so he did a Facebook live video in Amharic over the weekend to get accurate information out to the community. (The Seattle Times)

The Seattle Times

By Naomi Ishisaka

In my last column I wrote that the novel coronavirus outbreak showed us the gaps in our social safety net and the systems that we urgently need to fix.

But what this crisis has also exposed in the past week is the way in which people, guided by their hearts, are stepping up to support each other in extraordinary ways.

People like Yadesa Bojia, who is a Seattle-based artist and University of Washington graphic designer. Bojia recently became alarmed after talking with other Ethiopian American community members in his first language, Amharic, and realizing there was a lack of solid, scientifically grounded information about the coronavirus getting out to the community. Some people he talked to thought the disease was airborne, others thought it could be cured or prevented with traditional herbal medicine or stopped with vitamin C. Bojia knew that Public Health – Seattle & King County created coronavirus fact sheets in multiple languages, but didn’t think people in his immigrant community would know where to find them.

So on March 7, Bojia decided to do something about it. Armed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health guidance, he started a Facebook live video to read recommendations for the community in Amharic. To his surprise, the video has been viewed 2,000 times and counting. Getting this information out, Bojia said, is “a matter of life and death,” for not just the nearly 25% of King County that are immigrants but the entire community.

Bojia is just one of many across the region who have lent their resources to help others during this unprecedented time. This pandemic has upended every part of our daily lives and sent social, economic and political shock waves throughout our society. Fear might bring out some of our worst instincts, but crises bring out the best in humanity as well.

In the days since the Seattle area became the epicenter of the outbreak, the outpouring of support has been moving and inspiring. On an individual level, people have offered free babysitting, cooking and food delivery for harried parents and medically vulnerable older adults.

After racist coronavirus fears drove down business in Seattle’s Chinatown International District, Bill Tashima, a board member for the local Japanese American Citizens League, created a Facebook group on Sunday to share ways to support small restaurants. Within days, the group had nearly 5,000 members, sharing ideas for restaurant takeout to boost business in the struggling district and creating a virtual “tip jar” that one member was using to collect donations for restaurant workers.

The artistic community, which already experiences economic insecurity in good times due to unpredictable contract-based work, saw all public events canceled like dominoes in the past week. Seattle-area author Ijeoma Oluo quickly set up a GoFundMe on Monday to raise and distribute funds for artists. Within days, the fund raised $80,000 and distributed $10,000 and was in the process of distributing another $30,000 to artists directly impacted by loss of income due to the coronavirus. Another group of people started a live-performance streaming site on Facebook called “The Quarantine Sessions,” where artists can perform and the audience can tip the band before their performance starts.

Read more »


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2020 is Election Season Across Africa

Several African countries, including Ethiopia, are holding consequential elections in the coming few months. But so far here in the Diaspora the discussion has been limited to the usual rancor and empty rhetoric on social media and other platforms. Below is a more informative recent article by the United Nations Africa Renewal magazine highlighting the upcoming election season across the continent. (AP photo)

Africa Renewal – UN.org

Voters across the continent will be heading to the ballot box this year to choose their leaders in presidential, parliamentary and local elections starting with the Comoros in January and ending with Ghana in December.

Comorians will be electing a new 33-member national assembly following presidential elections in 2019 while Ghanaians will select their parliamentarians and president on 7 December.

In Chad and Mauritius, electoral commissions have yet to decide on exact dates, but absent unexpected delays, the polls should go ahead as legally mandated. In Seychelles, the electoral body will decide in August when the presidential election will be held later in the year.

Overall, the polls are expected to be peaceful and free. Yet, for different reasons, some countries like Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali and Somalia are ones to watch.

In Ethiopia, elections of members of the House of People’s Representatives and of regional State Councils will be held in a new political environment ushered in by the youthful Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reforms. Having won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for ending a two-decade conflict with neighbouring Eritrea, observers will be eager to learn to what extent Mr Abiy’s changes are taking hold and how much domestic support he has earned since the award was announced.

Polls in Somalia will be the first in 50 years. Voters will elect the president and their representatives through direct ballots – the last universal suffrage polls having been held in 1969. Previous presidential elections held in 2009, 2012 and 2017 involved a system of thousands of clan delegates voting for parliamentary representatives, who in turn elected the president. Election preparations are currently underway, including the drafting of electoral laws, though security remains a concern throughout the country.

Togolese will go to the polls in April to cast their ballots for president with the possibility of a run-off should no candidate garner more than 50% of the votes. The polls will be the first to be held since presidential term limits were restored in 2019.

Since Ghana’s transition to multi-party democracy in 1992 elections have generally been peaceful, and their results generally considered fair. This trend is expected to continue, amid the government’s recent claims to have nipped in the bud attempts at a coup by a group of civilians, and former and current military personnel.

In Burkina Faso, Burundi and Tanzania, voters will be called to choose their presidents first, then their national assemblymen and women later in the year. Burundians will elect a new president, as the incumbent is retiring.

In Burkina Faso and Mali, recurring violence in some areas, some of it deadly, is likely to affect the polls. Over the last few months, terrorist activity has increasingly targeted civilians and security forces, including peacekeepers in Mali. Given the circumstances organising nationwide elections will be a challenge.

In Côte d’Ivoire things are not straightforward either. The country has remained stable since the hotly contested 2010 presidential poll that helped mark the end of a decade of armed conflict. Now Ivoirians look towards October polls, but the political coalition has progressively frayed, and old political fault lines have resurfaced.

Guineans are scheduled to choose a new assembly and president come October too. Parliamentary elections were postponed earlier this year given political tensions over plans to call a referendum on lifting constitutional term limits. Large demonstrations against the plan have been witnessed across the country, including in the capital Conakry. The heightening tension is likely to affect the upcoming polls.


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Prominent Abiy Critic Says to Stand in Ethiopia Election (AFP)

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LA’s Little Armenia Kicks Off Season 2 of ‘No Passport Required’ with Marcus Samuelson January 20 on PBS

“I discovered how extremely diverse the community is, whether it’s Persian Armenian or Turkish Armenian,” the New York-based Samuelsson tells L.A. Weekly. “It has so many geographically different entry points and says a lot about the strength of the community and their commitment to holding on to these traditions. (Photo: Marcus Samuelson and Chef Ara Zada prepare an Armenian feast/ Wonho Frank Lee)

LA Weekly

L.A.’S LITTLE ARMENIA KICKS OFF SEASON 2 OF NO PASSPORT REQUIRED WITH MARCUS SAMUELSSON JANUARY 20 ON PBS

No Passport Required with Marcus Samuelsson, which explores the food and communities of America’s immigrant neighborhoods, kicks off season 2 on PBS January 20 with the premiere episode featuring L.A.’s Armenian community and cuisine.

The Ethiopian-born chef raised in Sweden journeys from East Hollywood to Glendale, visiting Phoenicia Restaurant, Mideast Tacos, Papillon International Bakery, Sahag’s Basturma among others meeting Armenians from Russia, Lebanon, Syria, Ethiopia and Egypt. From lule kabob to ghapama (pumpkin stuffed with apricots, rice and Aleppo peppers,) Samuelsson explores the rich Armenian history passed down from generations in L.A.’s foothills in the series co-produced with Eater.

“I discovered how extremely diverse the community is, whether it’s Persian Armenian or Turkish Armenian,” the New York-based Samuelsson tells L.A. Weekly. “It has so many geographically different entry points – which also means bringing a lot of different traditions together and says a lot about the strength of the community and their commitment to holding on to these traditions. I had some of the most delicious food and best conversations and saw how deeply proud these people are to be both Angelenos and Armenian.”

The premiere highlights the combination of younger chefs born in Los Angeles, blending new ingredients and techniques with traditional Armenian rituals passed down to them by their grandparents.

Read more at laweekly.com »


Related:

Marcus Samuelsson’s PBS Show ‘No Passport Required’ Returns for 2nd Season

Season 2 of NO PASSPORT REQUIRED with Marcus Samuelsson to Air Jan. 20 (Broadway World)

Watch a preview of the DC Ethiopian community episode of ‘No Passport Required’ Season 1:

PBS and VOX Media Announce New Series Hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson

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Marcus Samuelsson’s PBS Show ‘No Passport Required’ Returns for 2nd Season

Marcus Samuelsson's popular PBS TV show 'No Passport Required' is set to return for a new season in January 2020. (Photo courtesy: Eater.com)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: November 15th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Marcus Samuelsson’s popular TV show, No Passport Required, is scheduled to return for a second season in January 2020 highlighting diverse American cities such as Los Angeles, California — home to Little Ethiopia, which is the only neignhrhood in the United States officially named after an African country.

In the upcoming episodes Marcus will travel to six major cities exploring international flavors, sounds and tastes. The featured cities include “Houston, home to one of the highest numbers of West African expatriates of any U.S. city; the Filipino American community in Seattle, who are part of the city’s longstanding Asian Pacific American heritage; Los Angeles, where the world’s second-largest Armenian community resides; and Boston, where Marcus explores Portuguese-speaking cultures and cuisines from three different locales: Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal. Other episodes focus on the Chinese American community in Las Vegas, which has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, and Philadelphia, where Italian Americans have thrived for generations. In each city, he’ll visit local restaurants, markets and family homes, learning about each community’s cuisine and heritage.”

PBS added: “An immigrant himself — born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, now a celebrated chef, restaurateur, author and resident of Harlem — Marcus Samuelsson is passionate about sharing and celebrating the food of America’s vibrant communities. Each episode shows how important food can be in bringing Americans — old and new — together around the table.”

For Marcus, a new season of No Passport Required means that “we have only begun to scratch the surface of the amazing range of immigrant cultures and cuisines found in the U.S.” He adds: “It’s exciting to go on this journey once again and bring attention to these diverse communities that contribute so much to our nation.”

The finale segment of the previous season was brodcast this past August 14th and featured Ethiopian food and culture in Washington D.C. The episode highlighted the inspiring stories of Ethiopian entrepreneurs, eskista dancing, as well as how to make traditional dishes such as kitfo and ful.

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), one of the largest television program distributors in the United States, premiered No Passport Required, which was produced in collaboration with Vox Media, on July 10th, 2018.

“NO PASSPORT REQUIRED was one of our freshest and most popular new shows last year,” says Pamela A. Aguilar, Senior Director, PBS Programming. “It included new perspectives and provided a unique lens that brought younger audiences to PBS, who connected with Marcus and the culture and cuisine of these diverse communities. We’re delighted to present a new season of this inclusive series that is part of the PBS commitment to provide programming that is reflective of all Americans.”

“We are thrilled to be working with PBS and Marcus to continue capturing these authentic stories focusing on the communities that make this nation so rich and dynamic,” said Marty Moe, President, Vox Media. “Serving both the PBS and Eater audiences with premium nonfiction television inspired by great journalism, next generation talent and a collective deep curiosity about the world is a priority for Vox Entertainment.”


Related:

Season 2 of NO PASSPORT REQUIRED with Marcus Samuelsson to Air Jan. 20 (Broadway World)

Watch a preview of the DC Ethiopian community episode of ‘No Passport Required’:

PBS and VOX Media Announce New Series Hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson

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In Ethiopia, PM Abiy Hosts $173,000-a-seat Dinner to Beautify Capital

The event, 'Dine for Sheger,' was held at the Menelik palace in Addis Ababa on Sunday May 19, 2019. (@PMEthiopia/Twitter)

AFP

Scores of wealthy Ethiopians paid an eye-watering $173,000 (150,000 euros) to attend a dinner thrown by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to raise funds to beautify the capital Addis Ababa, state media reported Monday.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate published pictures of diners, some wearing tuxedos, seated at a long rose-covered banquet table.

“A seat at the event is valued at 5 million birr,” the report said.

The dinner was held to raise funds for a three-year project by Abiy to “lift the image” of the capital, a bustling, fast-changing city where modern buildings have shot up, construction is ever-present and greenery scarce.

“The rapid growth and expansion of the city over the past few years has not adequately utilised the natural resources and beautiful topography that the city is endowed with,” according to a video of the project posted on Abiy’s website.

The video said that currently green cover is only 0.3 square metres per capita in Addis Ababa, and the project hopes to raise this to seven square metres per capita — in line with average green coverage in Africa.

The project along an area of 56 square kilometres (21 square miles) envisions parks, bicycle paths and walkways along the rivers of the capital, the planting of trees and the development of urban farms.

The project is estimated to cost $1 billion, according to Fana.

It was not known how many people attended the dinner, or who they were.

Abiy’s website said that those present would have a plaque with their name on it placed along the project route, and would have a private photo-op with the prime minister. The pictures would be compiled into “an album of individuals who changed the face of Addis Ababa.”

Abiy has won praise for his reformist agenda since taking office in April last year.

Ethiopia is home to over 100 million people, the second most populous country on the continent after Nigeria, and its economy is the fastest growing in the region.

However, it is also one of the poorest, and the World Bank estimates average earnings of $783 per year.


Related:


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Jawar Mohammed’s Red-carpet Return Signals Ethiopia’s Political Sea Change

Two years ago, the state branded him a terrorist. Now, after years in exile, activist Jawar Mohammed is back – and determined to see democracy in his country. (Photo: Jawar Mohammed addresses a news conference upon arriving in Addis Ababa in August/ By Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

The Guardian

Jawar Mohammed never travels alone. When the US-based Ethiopian activist returned to his home country on 5 August, he was treated like royalty. A posse of sharply suited young men hovered by him at all times. Jeeps carrying security guards patrolled his hotel in central Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Supporters from the provinces arrived in droves to pay their respects. Over the course of a two-week visit he held about 25 to 30 meetings a day, according to an exhausted aide.

After meeting with the Guardian in his hotel suite he rushed off to give a lecture at the capital’s main university, entourage in tow.

Nothing demonstrated the breathtaking transformation in Ethiopian politics over the past four months quite like the red-carpeted return of a figure who was once the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) most wanted man.

From a studio in Minneapolis, where he founded the controversial Oromia Media Network, Jawar has spent the past decade agitating over social media for political change back home in Ethiopia, which he left as a scholarship student in 2003. This was his first time in Ethiopia since 2008.

So effective was he as an activist that by late 2016, as anti-government protests billowed across the country compelling the EPRDF to impose a state of emergency, the Oromia Media Network was banned and Mohammed declared a terrorist.

By early 2018 the revolutionary fervour had grown so loud that Hailemariam Desalegn was forced to resign as prime minister, paving the way for his enormously popular successor Abiy Ahmed, a young reformist from Oromia, Jawar’s home and the country’s largest and most populous region.

The Oromia Media Network, along with some smaller outlets and activists, has used social media to devastating effect over the past few years, coordinating boycotts and demonstrations and bringing Ethiopia’s large and often brutal security apparatus close to its knees.

“We used social media and formal media so effectively that the state was completely overwhelmed,” Jawar says. “The only option they had was to face reform or accept full revolution.”…

Few doubt the importance of Jawar in recent Ethiopian history. Perhaps more than any other single individual, he took the once-marginal politics of Oromo nationalism and made it mainstream. Today, Oromos – the country’s largest ethnic group – dominate the highest offices of state, and Jawar enjoys significant personal influence over the country’s new leaders, including Abiy himself.

In a recent interview with local media he claimed – to the dismay of many Ethiopians – that the country now effectively has two governments: one led by Abiy, the other by the Qeerroo. This puts him in a position of extraordinary responsibility, since he is “one of the Qeerroo” and “a significant portion of the country listens to me”, he admits.

Read more »


Related:
US-based Activist Jawar Mohammad Returns to Ethiopia After 13 Years in Exile

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CREW Announces 2018 MSF Research Grant on Topics Affecting Ethiopian Women

The academic fellowship is dedicated to Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw (right), the former President of Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women. (Photo by Matt Andrea: Dr. Maigenet Shifferaw speaking at a Tadias roundtable event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on December 14, 2013)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

February 19th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Maigenet Shifferraw Fellowship (MSF) announced that it’s now accepting research proposals from around the world on topics affecting Ethiopia women internationally.

The annual academic fellowship, which is managed by the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), “provides short-term financial compensation for those conducting research on girls or women [as well as] community organizations striving to empower or improve the situation of Ethiopian girls and women in Ethiopia,” the announcement said.”

The fellowship was established two years ago to honor the late Ethiopian researcher and activist Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, who was the founding President of CREW. Describing its guiding principles, MSF’s media statement reads: “First, the experience of Ethiopian women and girls, like in other parts of the world, needs to be researched and documented so that we all can gain some knowledge and serve humanity better. Second, those who strive to protect women and girls’ rights and improve their situation need to be recognized and encouraged.”

CREW states that it encourages applicants to submit their proposal by March 10, 2018.


Learn more about the fellowship at centerforethiopianwomen.org.

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Gebisa Ejeta Receives $5M Grant for Grain Research

Gebisa Ejeta is an Ethiopian American plant breeder, geneticist and Professor at Purdue University. In 2009, he won the World Food Prize for his major contributions in the production of sorghum. (Photo: Purdue)

AP

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Purdue University professor has received a $5 million grant to help develop hybrid grain seeds that will resist parasite weeds.

Gebisa Ejeta received the four-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Journal and Courier reported. It is the second foundation that has donated to the cause.

“It’s very helpful a grant such as this for the kind of programs that they support in developing countries because it allows us to engage beyond the normal boundaries we operate,” Ejeta said.

Ejeta and his researchers are hoping to expand the knowledge between the parasite weed gene that attacks sorghum. He also hopes young entrepreneurs in developing countries will be mass producing the seeds at the end of the four years.

Ejeta grew up in a one-room thatched hut in Ethiopia and eventually became a professor at Purdue. He developed a hybrid sorghum seed that’s drought-tolerant and resistant to striga, which strips food sources from its nutrients.

Ejeta is credited with helping feed hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa with his work developments.

He also received the 2009 World Food Prize for his work after spending 15 years designing the hybrid seed. The prize is considered the top global honor for scientists and others who have improved the quality and availability of food.


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Friends Partner to Open 95-Seat Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant in Virginia

Longtime friends Philipos Mengistu and Daniel Solomon opened Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant on Van Dorn Street near the Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia on Monday. (Photo: Alexandria Times)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Philipos Mengistu, owner of the popular NYC restaurant Queen of Sheba, has partnered with his childhood friend Daniel Solomon of Virginia to open Makeda — a new 95-seat Ethiopian restaurant and bar located in Alexandria.

Makeda, which is located at 516 S. Van Dorn St., “features traditional and authentic Ethiopian fare,” notes The Alexandria Times newspaper. “Chef Senait “Mimi” Tedla is running Makeda’s kitchen.” The new menu includes traditional fare alongside Makeda Tibs, Quanta Firfir, Assa Dullet, and Assa Goulash. Extra food options at Makeda include rice and pita bread as well as a kids meal section. “In addition, Makeda will offer gluten-free injera and is working to make sure its menu caters to health-conscious eaters,” says Philipos.

The food news site DC Eater adds: “The plan is to create a vibrant bar scene. The restaurant features a full lineup of beer, wine, and liquors, and plans to offer live music in the evenings.”

Philipos and Daniel have known each other for more than four decades going back to their growing up days in Ethiopia. Solomon has been a resident of Alexandria since the early 90s and looked forward to opening an Ethiopian restaurant with Philipos.

“We opened [Queen of Sheba] to introduce Ethiopian food to New Yorkers and to serve the international community. We’ve loved sharing with family and friends and now we’ve brought that experience to Alexandria,” Philipos tells The Alexandria Times as Makeda opened its doors last week.


Related:
Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant opens on Van Dorn Street (The Alexandria Times)
Manhattan Restaurateur Exports Latest Ethiopian Restaurant to Alexandria (DC Eater)

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Timnit Gebru: Among Incredible Women Advancing A.I. Research

Timnit Gebru, a Computer Science PhD Candidate at Stanford University emphasizes inclusion and diversity in the artificial intelligence field. (Photo: Stanford)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: May 22nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Last week Forbes Magazine featured Ethiopian-born Timnit Gebru among 21 incredible women behind artificial intelligence research that’s fueling new discoveries in the field. “You already know that artificial intelligence is transforming virtually every industry and function,” the business publication wrote. “But you might not have met the brilliant AI researchers and technologists driving the edge of innovation.”

Timnit Gebru, who came to the United States when she was 16 years old and is currently a PhD candidate at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, states “my main research interest lies in data mining large scale publicly available images to gain sociological insight, and working on computer vision problems that arise as a result,” adding that her “research is supported by the NSF foundation GRFP fellowship and currently the Stanford DARE fellowship.”

Forbes highlights that Timnit also “actively works to boost diversity and inclusion in the field of AI.” After noticing that she was the only black woman at a major AI conference, she co-founded the social community Black In AI to drive connection and participation in AI research. In addition Timnit returned to Ethiopia to co-teach AddisCoder, a programming bootcamp, to a diverse range of young students and to help them gain admissions into top U.S. colleges.

“This is the most diverse/inclusive classroom I have ever been in,” says Timnit regarding her Ethiopia experience. “All regions of Ethiopia were represented with many religions and at least 10 languages (there were 85 students). There were different income levels ranging from students working as shoe shiners to put themselves through school to kids who went to private middle schools. Some kids had never touched a computer before while others have programmed in Java. But all of them currently understand the basics of recursion, dynamic programming, graphs etc. And they only took this class for one month. I hope to one day see a computer science classroom in the U.S. that is this diverse.”

Forbes notes that “since AI affects all aspects of society, even being used to manipulate elections and identify criminals, Gebru cautions that “AI researchers should not be silent regarding the repercussions of their work. Only when technology creators tend to inclusion will the exponential benefits of artificial intelligence positively impact all.”


Related:

The Economist appluads Timnit Gebru’s recent work: A machine-learning census of America’s cities

Spotlight: TADIAS Interview With Solomon Kassa, Host of TechTalk on EBS

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Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

Rep. Mike Coffman speaks at St. Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) festival to celebrate Meskel/Demera on October 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo: Flickr/Mike Coffman)

The Washington Post

Colorado’s Mike Coffman keeps his House seat in GOP column

Rep. Mike Coffman kept up the apparent Republican winning streak by beating Democratic challenger Morgan Carroll in Colorado’s 7th District on Tuesday night.

With little public polling to speak of, the race between the Coffman and Carroll was widely viewed as a toss-up going into Election Day.

Coffman, who was first elected in 2008, has fought to hold on to the district through his four terms in office. Adaptation seemed to be part of his strategy. After the once-reliably Republican district was redrawn in 2012 to favor Democrats, Coffman took up more moderate causes, supporting the Voting Rights Amendment Act and legislation to curb anti-LGBTQ discrimination. That trend continued into campaign season. He was an early critic of Donald Trump, calling for him to step aside over his vulgar comments about women. And in August, Coffman ran an ad in which a diverse group of supporters said he was “not like other Republicans.”

Carroll contended that Coffman’s evolution was disingenuous and that his previous positions helped pave the way for Trump. She and Democratic supporters accused him of taking a harsh stance against immigration reform and criticized him for questioning President Obama’s citizenship (Coffman later apologized for raising doubts about Obama’s birthplace). Carroll, a lawyer and former Colorado Senate leader, campaigned as a progressive, touting her record of winning bipartisan support for legislation in a divided statehouse.

The race drew attention from high-profile figures in both parties and saw a flood of campaign contributions from outside groups. The Colorado Independent reported that it was the only contest in the country
where Americans for Prosperity, political advocacy group backed by the conservative Koch brothers, was focused on defeating a candidate rather than educating voters.


Related:

In Colorado, GOP Congressman Mike Coffman Enjoys Ethiopian Support


U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman (center) with Olympic hero Feyisa Lilesa (right) in D.C., Sept. 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) – Last month Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado was one of a few U.S. lawmakers in DC who publicly backed the introduction of a bipartisan resolution “supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive government in Ethiopia.” And this past weekend his Ethiopian constituents of the 6th Congressional District in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, along with Eritrean and Oromo community associations, held a fundraising dinner at the Aurora Hills Golf Club in support of the GOP Congressman’s re-election efforts.

Ethiopian American businessman Mel Tewahade, who is one of the organizers and a registered Republican, says Congressman Coffman has been a “loyal friend to the Ethiopian community” and the event, which was held on Saturday, October 22nd, was “intended to show our appreciation for his dedication and hardwork.”

Below are photos shared with Tadias Magazine:


Fundraiser for Congressman Mike Coffman at the Aurora Hills Golf Club on Saturday, October 22nd 2016. (Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)


Congressman Mike Coffman speaking during the fundraising dinner at the Aurora Hills Golf Club on Saturday, October 22nd 2016. (Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)


Related:

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado

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UC Davis Researcher Killed in Ethiopia Remembered Fondly

Sharon Gray, a UC Davis postdoctoral researcher was killed Tuesday in Ethiopia when the vehicle she was riding in was stoned by protesters, university official said. (Photo: The Sacramento Bee)

The Sacramento Bee

The UC Davis postdoctoral researcher who was killed in Ethiopia on Tuesday was described by as a “bright light” who was a hard worker with an appetite for travel, according to a woman identifying herself on Facebook as the victim’s sister.

UC Davis officials said Wednesday that Sharon Gray, 30, died while riding in a vehicle that was stoned by protesters in the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Gray, who worked in the university’s plant biology department, was in the East African nation to attend a meeting related to her research, according to the university.

“My sister was the most exceptional human being anyone of us has ever known. She touched every life she encountered in a positive and beautiful way,” wrote Ruth Gray Wilke in a Facebook post. She added that Gray enjoyed camping and traveling. “My sister took in as much of this world as she could,” she wrote in the Facebook post.

Watch: UC Davis researcher killed in Ethiopia remembered fondly


American Killed in Ethiopia Identified as UC Davis Researcher Sharon Gray

The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis officials said Wednesday that a postdoctoral researcher in the university’s plant biology department was killed Tuesday in Ethiopia when the vehicle she was riding in was stoned by protesters.

Sharon Gray was in the East African nation to attend a meeting related to her research, according to the university.

A UC Davis news release said the circumstances of Gray’s death were unclear. But Andy Fell, a university spokesman, confirmed that Gray was the American woman who was reported killed when stones were hurled at her vehicle on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Tuesday.

According to news reports, crowds have attacked other vehicles since a stampede at a weekend protest killed at least 55 people. The protests have centered on land and political rights in Ethiopia.

Another member of the plant biology department who was traveling with Gray was not injured and is headed home, officials said.

University officials said Gray, 31, was attending a meeting to discuss the next steps in a project she was involved in with the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and other charitable organizations.

She had been at UC Davis since 2013, Fell said. He said Gray’s husband is also a university employee.

The U.S. State Department is assisting in returning Gray’s body to her family.

Read more »


Related:
Amid Civil Unrest, Ethiopian Immigration to Israel Resume After 3-year Freeze
U.S. citizen killed, foreign factories attacked in Ethiopia
US Says Female American Citizen Killed in Ethiopia Amid Protest
After Ethiopia Irrecha Tragedy, Renewed Calls on U.S to Take Stronger Measure
Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

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In Seattle, African Athletics Org Renames 5k Race ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run’

African Sports Federation (ASF) has renamed its annual 5k Race the 'Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run. (Photo: ASF Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 28th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A Seattle-based African community athletics association has renamed its annual 5k Race the ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run.’

The African Sports Federation (ASF) announced via social media on Saturday that the organization is dedicating its yearly competition to honor “the act of bravery by Feyisa Lilesa which took place in the Rio Olympics 2016.”

In a Facebook post ASF added: “As he was crossing the finish line of the Men’s Marathon, winning his silver medal he raised his arms over his head, wrists crossed in gesture of solidarity with protestors against the killings of the Oromo people in his home country of Ethiopia. Beyond that he explained he was protesting for people everywhere who have no freedom. That defining moment at the finish line will forever live on as a gesture that defended human dignity on one of the biggest stages in the world.”


Feyisa Lilesa held his arms over his head, wrists crossed, as he finished second at the Olympic marathon on Aug. 21st, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in a gesture of support for protesters in Ethiopia. (Photo: Reuters)

“ASF second annual 5k race will be named after Feyisa Lilesa, the Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run,” the Sports Federation said. “Not only do we want to display our gratitude to Lilesa but we also want to encourage other athletes to stand up for what they believe in…The Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Race will take place during the championship game of the 2016 Seattle African Cup presented by African Sports Federation,” the announcement said.

—-
Related:
In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
Over $100000 Raised For Ethiopian Olympian Runner
Medallist Feyisa Lilesa fails to return to Ethiopia after Olympics protest
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games
Ethiopia Says Protesting Marathoner to Be Welcomed as Hero, But Does He Want to Go?
Ethiopia ‘hero’ runner gets asylum donations after Oromo protest sign
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games »
Ethiopia Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Protests Government With Marathon Medal
Ethiopian Marathoner’s Protest Puts Him at Odds With His Government
Ethiopian runner makes protest sign as he crosses line in Rio
Rio 2016 Olympics: Genzebe Dibaba Takes Silver Medal in the Women’s 1,500 Meters
Rio 2016 Olympics: Etenesh Diro Advances to 3,000-Meter Steeplechase With 1 Shoe
Ethiopia’s First Gold at Rio Olympics: Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record
Ethiopia’s Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros: Body Shaming & Questions of Nepotism

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700 Deaths at Sea as Migrant Crisis Flares

A woman was helped aboard an Italian Navy vessel on Sunday at a harbor in southern Italy. So far roughly 41,000 migrants had been rescued at sea this year after leaving Libya. (Photo: Reuters)

The New York Times

Three Days, 700 Deaths on Mediterranean as Migrant Crisis Flares

ROME — The migrant ships kept sinking. First came a battered, blue-decked vessel that flipped over on Wednesday as terrified migrants plunged into the Mediterranean Sea. The next day, a flimsy craft capsized with hundreds of people aboard. And on Friday, still another boat sank into the deceptively placid waters of the Mediterranean.

Three days and three sunken ships are again confronting Europe with the horrors of its refugee crisis, as desperate people trying to reach the Continent keep dying at sea. At least 700 people from the three boats are believed to have drowned, the United Nations refugee agency announced on Sunday, in one of the deadliest weeks in the Mediterranean in recent memory.

The latest drownings — which would push the death toll for the year to more than 2,000 people — are a reminder of the cruel paradox of the Mediterranean calendar: As summer approaches with blue skies, warm weather and tranquil waters prized by tourists, human trafficking along the North African coastline traditionally kicks into a higher gear.

Taking advantage of calm conditions, smugglers in Libya send out more and more migrants toward Italy, often on unseaworthy vessels. Drowning deaths are inevitable, even as Italian Coast Guard and Navy ships race to answer distress calls. Last year, more than 3,700 migrants died in the Mediterranean, a figure that could be surpassed this year.

In a statement on Sunday, the United Nations Children’s Fund said many of the migrants who drowned in the past week were believed to be unaccompanied adolescents.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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Ethiopia’s Women’s Soccer Team (Lucy) and the Seattle Reign to Forge Partnership

Members of the Ethiopian Women’s National Football Team (Lucy) and visiting Seattle Reign officials holding a ceremonial jersey exchange at Elilly Hotel in Addis Ababa, Feb 19,2016. (Photo: U.S. Embassy -- Ethiopia)

Press Release

U.S. Embassy

Addis Ababa – The Ethiopian Football Federation and representatives of one of America’s leading professional women’s soccer teams, the Seattle Reign, met today in Addis Ababa and took the first steps in forging a strategic partnership aimed at forging international linkages and strengthening Ethiopian women’s soccer.

Visiting Seattle Reign co-owner Teresa Predmore, and visiting American women players met with Ethiopian Football Federation officials at the Elili hotel to discuss plans for forging a strategic partnership which would link the Ethiopian National team known as the Lucy’s and the U.S. based Seattle Reign. Representatives of the two teams performed a ceremonial jersey exchange to cement their partnership.

During the jersey exchange ceremony, Juneidi Basha, President of the Ethiopia Football Federation, said, “We are happy to work with the U.S. in the area of women’s soccer in order to grow the sport here at home. Ethiopia has a lot to learn from the U.S., which has unrivalled experience in soccer.”

The Seattle Reign FC is an American professional women’s soccer team based in Seattle, Washington. The team plays in the professional National Women’s Soccer League. The Reign finished the 2015 season in first place clinching the NWSL Shield for the second consecutive time. Seattle Reign coach, Laura Harvey was named Coach of the Year for a second consecutive year.

The collaboration is supported by the US Embassy’s public diplomacy sports outreach program which has forged links and implemented programs for thousands of young Ethiopian boys and girls in collaboration with the Ethiopian Football Federation and the Ethiopian Basketball Federation. These programs include the semi-annual Community Outreach Youth (COYS) soccer tournament in Dire Dawa for boys and girls based in Oromia, Dire Dawa and Somali and Harari regions and two basketball clinics in Addis organized in conjunction with visiting stars from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

“This is great opportunity to expand our sports diplomacy program and engage with young people in Ethiopia,” said David Kennedy, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy. “This strategic partnership is a great example of the possibilities linking Ethiopian and the American institutions and programs.”


Juneidi Basha, President of the Ethiopia Football Federation and Teresa Predmore, owner of the Seattle Reign observing the jersey swap between Emebet Addisu and Lauren Lauren Barnes. (Photo: US Embassy)


Left to Right: Emebet Addisu, Lauren Barnes, Elli Reed and Tsion Seyera (photo: US Embassy – Ethiopia)


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Seattle Ethios on Obama’s Ethiopia Visit

Elias Godifay, an Ethiopian immigrant who teaches accounting at North Seattle College, says he hopes that Obama’s upcoming visit to Ethiopia will help people see the country as a trade partner. (Photo by G. Wibneh)

The Seattle Globalist

By Goorish Wibneh

President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Ethiopia in July—the first visit for a sitting U.S. President— is an exciting moment for Ethiopian Americans in Seattle, and gives hope the attention will help erase the negative and outdated stereotypes of the African nation.

“It highlights how Ethiopia has taken the leading role to become a safe place to invest,” said Ezra Teshome, a successful Ethopian American businessman in Seattle.

While the U.S. was one of the most generous countries to Ethiopia in its dismal past, Ethiopians now in the U.S. hope Obama’s historic visit will start a new era of partnership in investment and trading between the two nations.

“It’s exciting to see a sitting president set foot in Ethiopia,” said Teshome, who came to the United States in 1971. “To me, seeing the first African American president visiting Ethiopia is very exciting.”

The White House announced last Friday that POTUS will be visiting Ethiopia in late July. The president plans to visit Ethiopia and the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, according to the announcement. The trip to Ethiopia will follow the president’s visit to Kenya.

Read more at The Seattle Globalist »

—-
Related:
Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy (Washington Post‎)
In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role
Breaking News: President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria
A Memoir of First US Diplomat’s Meetings With Emperor Menelik

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Court Health Ruling Seals Obama Legacy

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 25, 2015, in Washington, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his health care law. (AP photo)

VOA News

By Luis Ramirez

WHITE HOUSE — For President Barack Obama, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to uphold his signature health care law represents a victory for him and his legacy.

Signing a national health care law that would guarantee coverage for all Americans was a cornerstone of Obama’s bid for the presidency seven years ago. Now the Supreme Court’s ruling means that law has survived yet another challenge.

How the president reacted when he heard the news


President Barack Obama celebrates the Supreme Court ruling on Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in the Outer Oval Office. June 25, 2015. (Photo by Pete Souza)

“This was a good day for America,” the president remarked, celebrating the court’s upholding of the law – known unofficially as “Obamacare” – in a statement in the White House Rose Garden shortly after the ruling was announced.

“Today, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law, after a presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law, after multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” he said.

With many Americans who were previously excluded from health plans because of pre-existing conditions now covered, the president said he believes there can be no doubt the law is working, and described it as part of the fabric of America that can not be undone.

The president sought to counter any remaining opposition from those who see the law as a government overreach and warn of future skyrocketing health care costs, saying the law does not represent a government takeover of health care in the country.

Obama on Thursday offered to work with Republicans to further improve health care, as House Speaker John Boehner warned he would continue efforts to do everything possible to – “put the American people back in charge of their own health care, “and not the federal government.”


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Online Hate Speech & Elections in Ethiopia: Oxford Researchers Call for Experts

How does internet hate speech in the Ethiopian cyberspace affect discourse among Ethiopians worldwide? Researchers at Oxford University are conducting a study to find the answer. (Image: Nerve.com)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Press release – Oxford University Consulting

Oxford University Consulting is seeking 4 Researcher Consultants and 2 Senior Researcher Consultants for the Project “Online Hate Speech and Elections in Ethiopia.” The study will develop an empirically grounded understanding of the nature of online debates before and after elections, with a specific focus on how different actors engage or fail to engage online in a polarized political environment. The researchers will be responsible for supporting the study and analyzing media content.

The positions will be on a self-employed basis for approximately 15-20 hours per week and initially for 6 months, which may be renewable for a further 6 months. Additional hours may be available depending on experience and the needs of the project.

Junior Researchers will be paid at a rate of £9/hour, Senior Researchers will be paid at a rate of £14/hour.

The candidates should have:

  • Perfect command of Amharic and English and preferably of another language spoken in Ethiopia (Oromiffa, Tigrigna, Somali);
  • Familiarity with social science research, with a particular emphasis on content analysis and interview techniques;
  • Familiarity with the social and political history of Ethiopia;
  • Proven ability to work independently;
  • Strong research ethics;
  • Ability to achieve results timely and under pressure;
  • A BA degree with a graduate degree strongly preferred;

    Senior Researchers are also expected to:

  • Hold a graduate degree in a social science subject;
  • Have experience with software for quantitative research;
  • Prove their ability to supervise a team of researchers and ensure results are provided in a timely matter.

    Applications should be sent to Dr. Matti Pohjonen (mp41@soas.ac.uk) and should include:

  • A curriculum vitae;
  • A cover letter, indicating the reasons for applying, and whether and to which extent the candidate fulfills the requirements for the position;
  • The name and the contact details of 2 references (for the position of Researcher) or 3 references (for the position of Senior Researcher);
  • A writing sample (Up to 2000 words for junior researchers and up to 5000 words for senior researchers. Writing samples can include university papers, sections of master thesis, academic papers, newspapers articles, blog posts).

    Applications will be collected on a rolling basis until 24 November 2014 (5 pm GMT), and we strongly encourage applicants to apply before the deadline. Interviews will take place on 27 and 28 November either via Skype or phone or in person in London or Oxford.

    Informal queries can be sent to Matti Pohjonen (mp41@soas.ac.uk). Please include either “Researcher” or “Senior Researcher” in the subject line of the email with both the informal queries and the job application.

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  • Climate-Driven Migration Increasing Disease Burden in Ethiopia

    (Photo: trust.org)

    By Kagondu Njagi

    Gondar — When increasingly erratic weather ruined his crops of maize, wheat and barley in highland Maksegni, the middle-aged farmer migrated to Metemma, in northwest Ethiopia, to look for work in the lowland area’s commercial sesame and cotton plantations.

    There he picked up more than work. Today the 39-year-old is infected with visceral leismaniasis – a disease commonly called kalaazar – and with HIV.

    The father of two, who is being treated at the University of Gondar, is among an estimated 300,000 Ethiopians who migrate to the plantations near the Sudan border every year, looking for new sources of income as their farms struggle.

    But as they flee from hunger, they enter into sandfly territory, and bites by the insects spread kalaazar, a parasitic disease that is usually fatal if untreated. The loneliness of being away from family also leaves them vulnerable to HIV, researchers say.

    “It is a kalaazar endemic area,” explained Ermias Diro, a researcher at the university’s clinic. “A lot of people travel there to look for work and in the process they get bitten by the sandfly.”

    “After working throughout the day in the farmland they rest under a tree where there is shade,” he added. “It is a very hot place and they may not be dressed fully, so they get bitten.”

    FAILING CROPS, RISING MIGRATION

    Experts have linked more irregular rainfall and crop failures to a rise in migrant workers in Ethiopia. Meteorologists said Maksegnit, in the highlands, should record as much as 1,059 millimeters of rainfall during the peak season, but in the last few years rainfall has been as low as 317 millimeters.

    That has led to a decline in staple crop farming, while cash crop farming in the lowlands pulls the struggling poor from the highlands, and toward new health threats.

    Read more »

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    Texas Police Searching for Missing Mother of Two Almaz Gebremedhin

    Almaz Gebremedhin, 42, hasn't been seen since she left her home in Wylie, Texas on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014. (Family photo: WFAA)

    WFAA

    Jobin Panicker, WFAA

    WYLIE — Almaz Gebremedhin has been missing now for five days. The 42-year-old mother of two of Ethiopian descent was last seen leaving for work last Thursday.

    Sisay Zelelew is hoping for any news that points to where his wife is.

    “Every minute, every second, every hour… it’s just like being in the dark,” Zelelew said.

    Gebremedhin left for work Thursday morning, but her employer told Zelelew that she didn’t show up there. She also didn’t pick up her two kids from school later that day.

    “I don’t how I’m going to handle it without her. I don’t know…I don’t know,” the forlorn father said, standing next to his two young children.

    Gebremedhin is a nurse’s assistant, and she works three miles from her home. Zelelew and the Ethiopian community have looked everywhere along that route.

    “We don’t get reports like this often,” said Wylie Police Department spokesperson Nuria Arroyo. The department was notified about the disappearance on Thursday afternoon.

    “We’ve been looking for her or her vehicle everywhere we can think of, and we have not located either,” Arroyo said. Police are hoping for more tips from the public.

    Read more »



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    Seattle’s Drowning Victims ID’d as College Students Abenezer Getachew & Euel Desta

    Abenezer Getachew and Euel Desta. (Photos: Komo 4 News Seattle)

    Komo 4 News

    By Lindsay Cohen

    SEATTLE — Authorities have identified the two men who drowned in Seattle’s Green Lake as 23-year old Abenezer Getachew of Snohomish County and 21-year old Euel Desta of Shoreline. Both men were students at Shoreline Community College, according to a spokesman there.

    Desta was studying engineering and loved sports, friends said Monday. He moved from Ethiopia to the United States as a child to live with his grandmother, who “wanted to give him a better life.”

    “It was just devastating. It was just heartbreaking to hear her (react to the news),” said Amina Shah, who has known Desta for about eight years. “”Even though I couldn’t understand her, I knew that there was pain her voice. It just broke my heart.”

    Desta and Getachew were playing soccer with friends at Green Lake Thursday night when they decided to go for a swim, police said. The men were last seen chasing after a ball on the east side of the lake before struggling to stay afloat and disappearing under the surface.

    Read more »

    Video: Seattle Green Lake drowning victims ID’d as local college students


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    Ethiopia Becomes China’s China in Search for Cheap Labor

    Ethiopian employees work inside the Huajian Shoes' factory outside Addis Ababa. (Photographer: Ilya Gridneff/Bloomberg)

    Bloomberg News

    By Kevin Hamlin, Ilya Gridneff and William Davison

    July 22, 2014

    Ethiopian workers strolling through the parking lot of Huajian Shoes’ factory outside Addis Ababa last month chose the wrong day to leave their shirts untucked.

    Company President Zhang Huarong, just arrived on a visit from China, spotted them through the window, sprang up and ran outside. The former People’s Liberation Army soldier harangued them loudly in Chinese, tugging at one man’s aqua polo shirt and forcing another’s shirt into his pants. Nonplussed, the workers stood silently until the eruption subsided.

    Shaping up a handful of employees is one small part of Zhang’s quest to profit from Huajian’s factory wages of about $40 a month -– less than 10 percent the level in China.

    Read more at Businessweek.com »

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    EAC to Endorse Tom Hucker for Montgomery County Council Seat

    Tom Hucker. (courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    Tadias Staff

    Updated: Friday, May 16th, 2014

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — In a recent response to an online Q&A with Ethiopian American Council (EAC) – after applying for the organization’s endorsement – Tom Hucker, a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 5 seat, said he strongly supports the establishment of a center that is dedicated to the Ethiopian community in Maryland.

    “Preserving each culture’s history and heritage is a continual challenge in our diverse area and our rapidly changing society,” Hucker said. “I would support the use of County capital funds for such a museum and cultural center, and I would be happy to organize state lawmakers to support state bond funding as well.” He added: “I think the State of Maryland would be likely to support this project in our capital budget.”

    The candidate also pointed out that he was an “original co-sponsor” and vocal advocate of the Maryland DREAM Act to allow all Maryland students to attend state colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates regardless of their status.

    Mr. Hucker, 47, is currently a second-term member of Maryland’s House of Delegates from District 20 (representing, among other areas, Takoma Park and Silver Spring). Tadias Magazine has learned that EAC has decided to back Mr. Hucker in the upcoming Democratic primary after receiving “satisfactory answers” on various issues of interest to Ethiopian Americans.

    “Our federal immigration system is a disaster,” Hucker noted, emphasizing the need for a national solution “It causes tremendous hardships for families and is a drag on the U.S. economy. I fully support efforts to move undocumented immigrants to citizenship as quickly as possible, to make their families whole, to allow them to access critical services, and to encourage them to contribute towards income taxes, social security, and other parts of our social safety net.”

    He was asked to share his ideas on how to increase voter participation among Ethiopian residents of the state. “I would like to solicit the input of community leaders regarding what they think would be effective strategies to increase voter participation,” he answered. “But personally, I think we should identify issues of particular interest to community members, develop positions on those issues, print materials and lawn signs in Amharic as well as English, distribute them in restaurants, groceries, coffee shops, and other community businesses, work with other community media such as newspapers to encourage voting, and organize a social event to attract community members at a restaurant a few blocks from the early voting poll at the Silver Spring Civic Building, hold it on one of the evenings during the early voting period June 12-19, and escort voters from the party to the polling place to vote.”

    Hucker is the third candidate that EAC has supported this election season, including Sam Liccardo, who is running for Mayor of San Jose, California, and Isiah “Ike” Leggett, the incumbent Executive of Montgomery County who is seeking re-election.

    Mr. Hucker has also received endorsements from Montgomery County’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, the Hispanic Democratic Club, the Green Democrats, the AFL-CIO, and former NAACP CEO and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Kweisi Mfume.

    You can learn more about the candidate at tomhucker.com.

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    New Book Highlights Seattle: Little Ethiopia of the Pacific Northwest

    'Little Ethiopia of the Pacific Northwest' by Joseph W. Scott and Solomon A. Getahun. (Photos: Transaction Publishers)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, April 10th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Authors Joseph W. Scott, a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Washington, and Solomon A. Getahun, professor of history at Central Michigan University, feature the Ethiopian community in Seattle in their book entitled Little Ethiopia of the Pacific Northwest, which was published last year.

    The book’s description by the publisher (Transaction Publishers) highlights that the Ethiopian “community began with approximately two dozen college students who came to the city during the Ethiopian revolution of 1974. These sojourning students earned college and university degrees, but were unable to return home to use them to modernize the developing nation. These stranded students became pioneers who built a micro-community in inner-city Seattle. Providing background with an analysis of Seattle’s geographic, demographic, social, and economic challenges, this volume studies the students who became asylum seekers; their falls in position, power, prestige; and the income of these elite and non-elite settlers. The authors analyze examples of those who became entrepreneurs and the ingenuity and determination they employed to start successful businesses. The authors examine the challenges imposed on them by a school system that assigned their children to grade levels according to age rather than knowledge. They explore how the American welfare system worked in practice and explain how and why Ethiopians die young in Seattle. This fascinating study will be of interest to sociologists, ethnographers, and regional analysts.”

    Professor Getahun is the author of two additional books entitled The History of the City of Gondar and The History of Ethiopian Immigrants and Refugees in America. Professor Scott is the author of The Black Revolts.

    Read more.

    Related:
    Being Ethiopian in Seattle (The Seattle Times)

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    Dr. Segenet Kelemu’s Research Aims to Ensure Food Security

    Dr. Segenet Kelemu, head of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya, is winner of the 2014 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. (Women's Daily Wear/UNESCO)

    Discov-Her

    Ethiopian scientist Segenet Kelemu is working to improve the resistance and productivity of forage grasses, which are used to feed the animals (and so to produce milk and meat). Born in a rural village and defying strong cultural norms, she managed to have an international career and return to Africa where she shared her much needed knowledge.

    The main food source for much of the world’s livestock, forage grasses are vitally important to meeting the increasing demand for meat and milk. Dr. Segenet Kelemu has been recognized for her research on how microbes living in symbiosis with these grasses influence their health, their capacity to adapt to environmental stress and their ability to resist disease.

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    Yared Tekabe’s Research Shows Promising Results in Treatment of Diabetes

    Dr. Yared Tekabe in his office at Columbia University's William Black building in New York. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Yared Tekabe, a research scientist at Columbia University, has been working on groundbreaking non-invasive detection of heart diseases such as atherosclerosis — the building up of plaque in your arteries — which can lead to heart attack or stroke. After developing a tracer that could show the presence of a receptor called RAGE in areas where tissues were inflamed, Tekabe and his colleagues have now moved from detection and diagnostics to applying anti-RAGE antibodies for therapeutic purposes.

    “Until now we were focusing on early diagnosis of heart diseases using our anti-RAGE antibody to detect diseases such as atherosclerosis and cardiomyopathy — a condition where muscle tissue of the heart becomes enlarged or rigid leading to irregular heartbeat or heart failure,” says Tekabe in a recent interview with Tadias. “At the time we didn’t realize the therapeutic potential for the antibody.”

    Now anti-RAGE antibodies have become a game-changer as RAGE has been implicated in up to 12 diseases including diabetes, cancer, metabolic disorders and chronic inflammation.

    Tekabe initially sent anti-RAGE antibody to his former advisor at Northeastern University who conducts research on human cancer cells and asked him to study the effect of the antibody on human tissue culture. His advisor had used three cell lines including those for human prostate cancer, sensitive ovarian cancer, and multi-drug resistant ovarian cancer.

    “One of the problems in cancer treatment is that there is drug resistance, and we wanted to use the antibody on these cells. We found that 70% of the multi-drug resistant ovarian cancer cells died!” Yared exclaims. “So the antibody has brought really good results. If you ask what is the next step, I would say that we would like to study its therapeutic possibility on animal models.”

    Another primary study conducted by Tekabe using anti-RAGE antibody focuses on complications of late stage diabetes such as ischemia. “In individuals that have diabetes they often undergo hand and leg amputations due to poor blood circulation,” Tekabe explains. “So what I did was to make mice have high blood glucose and induce diabetes and ligated or bound their femoral artery to restrict circulation.” The mice were then treated with anti-RAGE antibody and compared to a control group that didn’t receive the antibody treatment. Tekabe and his colleagues were surprised to find that the treated mice showed new blood vessels were forming in their hindlimb. In effect the ischemia caused by late stage diabetes was being reversed.

    “We looked to see if this antibody treatment also reversed the high blood glucose level or affected body weight of the diabetic mice, but we didn’t find any significant changes in these two factors,” Tekabe adds. However, the formation of new blood vessels is a significant finding that points to the possible therapeutic use of the antibody for human diabetic patients, a promising therapy for those who may otherwise have to undergo amputations.

    Tekabe’s research was recently published in the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. “Moving forward we hope to continue the research and advance to human diabetic treatment, after humanizing the antibody first” he says. “We are also looking at possible therapeutic uses of the antibody for other conditions including kidney failure and heart failure, which are also often diagnosed in late stage diabetic patients.”

    Tekabe and his colleagues are currently securing additional funds to get a second patent for this research and focus on using the antibody for theranostics — both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

    Related:
    Yared Tekabe Uses Molecular Imaging for Early Detection of Heart Disease
    Yared Tekabe’s Groundbreaking Research in Heart Disease

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    In Search of Family Ties’ By Laura Kebede

    Laura Kebede met many members of her family for the first time when she traveled to her father's homeland in Ethiopia in January. (RTD)

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

    BY LAURA KEBEDE

    I once convinced a Tunisian guard I was Tunisian to avoid a foreigner’s fee at a museum. All it took was sunglasses to hide my hazel eyes and a Tunisian friend to, eh, explain that I was deaf.

    In Cambodia, I put my brown arm up to a dark-skinned girl’s arm when she obsessed over my friends’ lighter skin because she believed white American skin was ideal. When she noticed our similar skin tones, it put her more at ease — that is until she discovered my unusual poufy hair.

    So going to Ethiopia, my father’s home, should be easy, I told myself in January before I embarked on a three-week father-daughter trip. I’m quick to find common ground no matter where I am, and these people are half my heritage.

    Accordingly, half of everyone I interacted with assumed I spoke Amharic, the official language, or Tigrinya, my father’s language. The other half could tell a mile away that I was American. It must have been my marvel-glazed eyes.

    All I had imagined about Ethiopia was coming to life, and I’d been imagining for a long time: the mountains, the food, the ancient rock-hewn churches and, of course, the coffee — Ethiopia’s gift to the world.

    I also often wondered about my father’s only sister and her nine children. I had only overheard her and my father talk in the familiar tones of Tigrinya some nights when she happened to travel from their rural birthplace of Adeba to somewhere with a phone.

    Read more.

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    Play About Adoption: Let’s Say They Did Their Research

    From left, the playwright Tanya Barfield, the actress Kerry Butler and the Primary Stages artistic director, Andrew Leynse. (NYT)

    The New York Times

    By FELICIA R. LEE

    They didn’t see eye to eye on everything, but on one pivotal moment the playwright, Tanya Barfield, and her lead actress, Kerry Butler, agreed: When Ms. Butler’s character finally receives the photo of the child she hopes to adopt, the scene needed to be extended for a beat, or two, or three.

    “It’s weird how you can even fall in love with a photograph and start showing it around or just start looking at it dozens of times in a day,” Ms. Butler said. Both women were intimately familiar with the issues — race and parenthood — raised by Ms. Barfield’s new drama, “The Call,” which depicts a white couple mulling whether to adopt a child from Africa. Ms. Barfield’s son and daughter were adopted from Ethiopia, as were Ms. Butler’s two daughters, the youngest of whom arrived last summer.

    Read more at NYT.

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    Interview with Professor Lemma Senbet: New Head of African Economic Research Consortium

    Lemma W. Senbet, the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park has been appointed Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Monday, August 13, 2012

    New York (TADIAS) – Professor Lemma W. Senbet, an internationally recognized leader in finance studies, has been appointed as the new head of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) – a Kenya-based non-profit organization that conducts independent research concerning the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Lemma currently teaches at the University of Maryland, College Park where he also chaired the Finance Department at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

    Dr. Lemma was selected for the AERC position after a worldwide search. Speaking to Tadias about the agency Dr. Lemma stated, “This is an organization which has already achieved immense success in building capacity for research and training to inform economic policies in Africa,” noting that his appointment as the Executive Director of AERC comes at a time when a number of countries in the region are enjoying strong economic growth.

    “My goal is to lead it to move to the next level of excellence, and I will be embarking on strategies for full global integration of the AERC and its visibility beyond Africa as an organization that is at the cutting edge of best policy research practices,” Professor Lemma said. “It is also my purpose to aggressively work on enhancing diversity of global partnership beyond the current generous partners, including the UK development agency, World Bank, Rockefeller Foundation, Gates Foundation, Nordic countries, etc.” He added: “It is important that we scale up the partnership of African institutions as well as the private sector engaged at the interface of private and public policy issues, such as governance, risk management, and financial regulation.”

    Professor Lemma noted that he hopes to emphasize research and finding ways of delivering measurable and credible results for those managing the content’s financial system. “In the ultimate, the purpose is to build capacity to do rigorous research and provide training to impact economic policies which help sustain, and even accelerate, the current economic growth momentum in Africa,” he said.

    On a personal level Dr. Lemma said he feels honored that after an extensive international search, the AERC board has chosen him to serve as Executive Director. “I feel privileged that I am invited to head this premier policy research organization with global reach at this important juncture in the continent,” he said. “I cannot ask for better timing.”

    Professor Lemma will take a leave from his academic position and relocate to Nairobi in Summer 2013.

    In a profile highlight that appeared in this magazine in 2004, the Ethiopian native had shared with us then that as a young man he gave up his aspirations of becoming an engineer after hearing news of the opening of a new business school at Addis Ababa University. He enrolled at the business school and graduated with top honors. He went on to acquire a Masters in Business Administration from University of California, Los Angeles, and a PhD in International Finance from State University of New York in Buffalo.

    Prior to joining the University of Maryland, he taught at University of Wisconsin, Madison, and was a visiting professor at Northwestern University, University of California, Berkeley, and New York University.

    Since then, Professor Lemma has advised the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and several other agencies in areas relating to corporate finance, capital market development, financial sector reforms and banking regulation. He has also served as Director of the American Finance Association as well as President of the Western Finance Association. Over the years, Dr. Lemma has sat on the editorial boards of prestigious peer-reviewed publications, including the Journal of Finance, Financial Management, and the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

    More recently, he was recognized by the Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED) as a distinguished scholar, teacher and role-model. And he is also a recipient of an honorary doctor of letters from Addis Ababa University, his alma mater.

    Regarding his new job, Professor Lemma said he feels positive returning to Africa at this time in history. “Yes, Sub-Saharan African countries have been in what amounts to growth renaissance over the last five to six years,” he said. “The growth momentum has been in the same proportion of the Asian Tigers in the 1990s. Just today (August 9), The New York Times reported that seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are now domiciled in Africa.” He continued: “This just reinforces other recent stories, including the highly acclaimed cover story “The Hopeful Continent: Africa Rising” in the Economist (December 2011).”

    “Is it sustainable?” we asked.

    “That is the big question, “Professor Lemma answered. “On the optimistic side, it should be recognized that the recent dramatic gains are not accidental. They are payoffs to two decades of genuine economic and financial sector reforms, including large scale privatization programs and empowerment of private initiative, as well as improved economic governance.” He added: “Moreover, advances in technology and Africa’s increased integration into the global economy have fueled the development. Of course, at the center of that is human capital development which is an outcome of capacity building. Thus, on the positive, there are powerful forces that help sustain, and even accelerate the recent gains, and I am pleased that AERC will play a central role in the capacity building front. However, there are threats, particularly the ongoing Euro crisis, given that Europe remains a major trading partner to Africa. The Euro crisis could also affect Africa indirectly through the adverse impact on other trading partners, particularly China which is now the key player in Africa.”

    Speaking of the “the Euro crisis”, what are Professor Lemma’s thoughts on the overall global financial crisis and how it may continue to affect African countries?

    “Africa surprisingly weathered global crisis better than most regions of the globe in part because most countries have not been fully integrated into the global financial economy,” he said. “Those which were experienced immediate declines in stock market performance as well as trade flows, South Africa being among them.”

    Professor Lemma, however, cautioned that things have stabilized and African economies are back in a growth trajectory. “It should be recognized that Africa is not monolithic but a continent of 55 countries with substantial variation in policies, governance, and reform pace, etc., and the global effects are not uniform,” he said. “The resilience to the global crisis is now overshadowed by the current crisis in Europe, and it is in the best interest of Africa (also the world at large) that the crisis be resolved soon.”
    —-
    Related:
    Senbet to Head Top African Economic Development Research Organization

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    New Research Finds Evidence that Supports Queen of Sheba Legend

    Ethiopians long-ago genetic mixing with populations from Israel and Egypt is a legacy of the Queen of Sheba and her companions, say researchers. (Photo: Painting of the Queen of Sheba - The National Museum, Addis Ababa)

    By Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience

    The Queen of Sheba’s genetic legacy may live on in Ethiopia, according to new research that finds evidence of long-ago genetic mixing between Ethiopian populations and Syrian and Israeli people.

    The Queen of Sheba, known in Ethiopia as Makeda, is mentioned in both the Bible and the Quran. The Bible discusses diplomatic relations between this monarch and King Solomon of Israel, but Ethiopian tradition holds that their relationship went deeper: Makeda’s son, Menelik I, the first emperor of Ethiopia, is said to be Solomon’s offspring.

    Read more.

    The Madonna of the Sea by Maaza Mengiste

    The story tells one young Ethiopian's odyssey through Libya while trying to get to Lampedusa, a small island off the coast of Italy. Lampedusa is the entry point for thousands of migrants from East Africa and other parts of the Middle East and Africa. Dagmawi Yimer's story serves as an example of what is continuing to happen and getting progressively worse. (Photo courtesy of Maaza Mengiste)

    ESSAYS & MEMOIR | Granta

    BY MAAZA MENGISTE

    There is a Madonna at the bottom of the crystalline waters off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, standing guard near a gap where two rocks curve in an unfinished embrace. Dead leaves and fish float above her like drifting feathers, shimmering in the swatch of sunlight that drapes across the mossy cement foundation where she rests. She is alone except for the child she holds, a hand protectively across his chest. She is called Madonna di Porto Salvo and she is the protector of the island, the saint that watches over all those who cross her turquoise waters and comforts those who do not make it to land.

    The island of Lampedusa was once known as a quiet holiday getaway, the place to go for tranquil rest on a lovely beach. Geographically, Lampedusa is closer to Tunisia (113 kilometres) than it is to Sicily (205 kilometres) and it is 295 kilometres from Tripoli. Since the early 1980s, migrants from Africa and the Middle East have used the island as an entry point to Europe, paying hundreds ofShe is called Madonna di Porto Salvo [. . . ] the saint that watches over all those who cross her turquoise waters and comforts those who do not make it to land. dollars to make the dangerous journey on fragile, overcrowded boats. The numbers have steadily increased over the last decades, and the onset of the Arab Spring has brought an overwhelming spike in those figures. The day I arrived on Lampedusa to learn more about its history with migration, there was a ceremony to commemorate migrants who had drowned trying to reach the island. Italian Coast Guard divers secured a wooden cross and a bouquet of flowers at the feet of the Madonna di Porto Salvo, their breaths bubbling through the Mediterranean Sea like shards of glass. Soon after the ceremony was finished, I learned that by chance, there was a boat arriving that day from Libya; their slow, perilous approach detected by the Coast Guard.

    A few hours later, I stood at the edge of the coastline, watching as the boat full of men, women and children arrived. Around me were journalists and photographers, members of the Italian Red Cross and other humanitarian aid organizations. There were also residents of the island grimly observing this latest spectacle. They stared, resentment tinged with disinterest, at these dark-skinned foreigners stepping gingerly, shakily, on to Italian soil. It was hard for me to watch with the same detachment. I looked for Ethiopian and Eritrean faces instead, waving at all those who waved at me, trying to smile as some form of encouragement before they were whisked away to begin the tortuous task of establishing their right to be in the place they risked everything – including their lives – to reach. It was difficult to imagine what they would face, but nearly impossible to comprehend the many roads they had taken to arrive at this point. I thought of my friend in Rome, Dagmawi Yimer, who tells his story freely, but cannot seem to speak it without a subdued voice, as if the terror has left a permanent scar.

    Read more.

    Below is a YouTube version of his documentary, part in Italian, part in Amharic.

    Watch:

    Related:
    Q & A With Maaza Mengiste (TADIAS)

    Yared Tekabe Uses Molecular Imaging for Early Detection of Heart Disease

    Dr. Yared Tekabe runs studies in cardiovascular disease detection and prevention at Columbia University. (Photo: Tekabe at his office at William Black building in upper Manhattan - Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tseday Alehegn

    Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    New York (TADIAS) – In Spring 2009, we featured Dr. Yared Tekabe’s groundbreaking work on non-invasive atherosclerosis detection and molecular imaging, which was published in the American Heart Association´s journal, Circulation. As in most chronic heart disease conditions, the plaque that accumulates in blood vessels is usually not detected until it leads to serious, and often fatal, blockages of blood supply such as during an episode of heart attack or stroke. Having received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Health Tekabe’s research focused on the use of novel molecular imaging techniques to identify sites of inflammation that can help us with early detection of atherosclerosis.

    In 2010, his work was highlighted in Osborn & Jaffer’s review entitled “The Year in Molecular Imaging,” noting that Tekabe and colleagues had developed a tracer that imaged RAGE — a receptor for advanced glycation end products, which is implicated in a host of inflammation-related diseases including artherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and alzheimer’s. Tekabe’s group, along with his colleague Dr. Ann Marie Schmidt, holds a patent for this RAGE-directed imaging technology.

    Tekabe’s lab also used similar imaging technology to detect RAGE in mouse models who had artifically-induced ischemia (restriction of blood supply) in their left anterior descending coronary artery, which is the main supplier of blood to the left ventricle. When blood supply is restored (reperfusion), the sudden change may also cause further inflammation and tissue damage from impact. By being able to trace RAGE and pathways of inflammation using molecular imaging techniques, Tekabe has demonstrated that the highest RAGE expressing cells were the injured heart muscle cells undergoing programmed cell death.

    Tekabe’s research in myocardial ischemic/reperfusion injury showed that RAGE could be traced in areas of inflammation in a non-invasive manner in live mouse subjects. The findings were presented at the 2011 World Molecular Imaging Congress scientific session, and was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in January 2012. An editorial entitled ‘Visualizing the RAGE: Molecular Imaging After MI Provides Insight Into a Complex Receptor” accompanied Tekabe’s article, and emphasized that Tekabe’s research “continues to provide a solid foundation and proof of concept” that non-invasive imaging of RAGE following induced myocardial ischemia “is feasible” in live subjects.

    Tekabe’s findings also have important implications for future antibody therapy formulations that can be used to treat RAGE-related chronic conditions. Tekabe hopes to translate his studies on mouse models to larger mammals and eventually to humans. Molecular imaging studies such as the one Tekabe has undertaken are critical in prevention of chronic cardiac conditions and could potentially decrease the number of sudden deaths from heart attack as it may allow physicians to make early and life-saving diagnoses.

    When asked if there was anything else that he’d like to share with our readers, Dr. Tekabe replied, “Oh yes, since childhood, apart from my research, I’ve always wanted to involve myself in an Ethiopian movie, acting as the main character. Like in a love story. I hope to do this someday.”

    Related:
    Yared Tekabe’s Groundbreaking Research in Heart Disease (TADIAS – March 17th, 2009)

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    Search On for Driver Who Rammed Into Seattle Church

    "No one was injured, but the crash displaced several church elders who live above the church. The Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents while investigators determine whether the building sustained any structural damage." (KOMO News)

    By KOMO Staff

    SEATTLE — The search is on for the driver who crashed into a church, then fled the scene.

    The crash, which occurred just before 2 a.m., [Tuesday, October 25th] destroyed the stage inside Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church, and left a large gaping hole on the side of the building.

    Firefighters said the driver abandoned his car and ran from the scene in the 2100 block of 14th Ave. S. before police arrived.

    A description of the sought driver was not available.

    Watch:

    Miss Africa USA Making Progress in Its Search for Miss Ethiopia

    Leila Lopes of Angola was crowned Miss Universe 2011 at the Pageant's 60th anniversary ceremony in Sao Paolo, Brazil, on Monday, September 12th. (fashiontrendsstore.com)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    New York (TADIAS) – In a recent interview with Tadias Magazine Lady Kate Njeuma, CEO and Founder of Miss Africa USA, said her organization is making progress in its search for Miss Ethiopia to particpate in the upcoming annual competition.

    The Miss Africa USA Pageant had reached out to Tadias last month saying that Ethiopian-Americans remained unrepresented as the group prepares to crown the 2011 Queen in November.

    Ms. Njeuma said that has now changed: “We have been overwhelmed with responses from the community,” she said. “We are now at the point of finalizing our search to endorse one candidate to represent Ethiopia this year. We hope that after the interviews and selection process, our choice will be a good representative for Ethiopia.”

    Regarding her reflections on the 25-year-old Leila Lopes of Angola, winner of the coveted Miss Universe prize, Ms. Njeuma said: It is very encouraging indeed for an African woman to win the Miss Universe Pageant. The first African woman to win was Miss Botswana in 1999, so Leila is the second in the pageant’s 60 year history. I think Africa has got to the point where people are not only seeing the negative things but they are realizing that Africa is very gifted.”

    Leila Lopes, was among contestants hailing from 89 nations at the 60th anniversary of the beauty contest held in São Paulo, Brazil on September 12, 2011. Lopes dazzled the judges with her sharp replies to their questions. Asked what she would change to improve her appearance, Leila replied, “Nothing, I’m satisfied with what God has given me,” adding that “I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty. I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family, and I intend to follow these for the rest of my life.”

    “Leila is such a beauty and she has the heart of an angel,” Ms. Njeuma said. “she has been involved in humanitarian work even before she won Miss Universe and has promised that with her crown she will do even more. She has made Africa proud and we are very proud of her too.”

    Below is Lady Kate Njeuma’s recent interview with Voice of America on the same subject:

    Watch: Voice of America’s Ndimyake Mwakalyelye spoke with Lady Kate Njeuma

    Watch: Leila Lopes is crowned Miss Universe 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil – September 12th

    Miss Africa USA Searching for Miss Ethiopia

    Fifi Soumah of the Republic of Guinea was the winner of last year's Miss Africa USA crown. (H Greaves Photography)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    New York (TADIAS) – Organizers of the Miss Africa USA pageant say that Ethiopia remains unrepresented as they prepare to crown the 2011 Queen at their annual event in Silver Spring, Maryland in November.

    “Right now we are still searching for a candidate to represent Ethiopia,” Constance Nkwantah, Communications Director of the pageant, told Tadias Magazine.

    According to Ms. Nkwantah the scholarship pageant is open to delegates from all 54 countries. Past winners have gone on to join forces with Habitat for Humanity, Concern USA, as well as Russell Simmons’s Diamond Empowerment Fund, to help raise money for various causes benefiting communities in Africa and the United States.

    Below is our recent interview with Constance Nkwantah:

    Tadias: Please tell us a bit about the Miss Africa USA Pageant. When was it launched and what is the objective?

    Constance Nkwantah: Miss Africa USA Pageant is a Scholarship and Beauty Pageant and our mission is to empower young girls as Goodwill Ambassadors promoting positive causes in their home countries and the world. It showcases African cultures and diversity, bringing together all African nations in a grand celebration.

    Tadias: How many African countries are represented at the upcoming contest?

    CN: Our closing date is Sept 30th and the competition is open to all 54 countries. We are looking at up to 25 countries for the 2011 Pageant.

    Tadias: Is Ethiopia one of them?

    CN: Right now we are still searching for a candidate to represent Ethiopia. Ethiopia has very beautiful and intelligent women and it will be great to have a representation. Last year Ethiopia was well represented and we hope this year will not be different. We encourage all ambitious and dynamic young women aged between 18 and 30 to participate. We are still accepting applicants up until Sept 30th.

    Tadias: How do you select the girls? What is the criteria to participate?

    CN: Our selection is done via an application process, then we audition the girls and carry out interviews for each country in order to make a final selection.

    Tadias: How do you answer critics who say that beauty pageants are demeaning to women?

    CN: Miss Africa USA Pageant has never received such a criticism because we focus on the substance of a woman rather than the physical appearance of a woman or her sexuality. The Miss Africa USA Pageant preserves the African culture and therefore we do not have bathing suits as a segment of the competition which is what draws criticism. Rather, we focus on leadership skills and talent. Our Queen has huge responsibilities.


    Finalists at the 2010 Miss Africa USA Pageant. (Photo credit: H Greaves Photography)


    Some of the contestants at the 2010 Miss Africa USA Pageant. (By H Greaves Photography)


    Sofia Bushen (L) was a finalist representing Ethiopia at the 2010 Miss Africa USA contest, held July 24, 2010 in Silver Spring, MD. (Photo: H Greaves Photography)

    Tadias: What are the challenges you face as a pageant organization?

    CN: Over the last couple of years, it has been difficult to get new sponsorships so a lot of the financial commitments are met by personal sacrifice. We appeal each year for sponsors to keep the pageant going and will continue to do so. We are grateful to Western Union and our presenting sponsors who have been there over the years. We hope to win back MoneyGram this year and other corporate sponsors. The pageant is very costly to produce and we need the support of the community.

    Tadias: Could you share with us some success stories of pass winners of Miss Africa USA Pageant or other participants?

    CN: Our focus is on promoting goodwill. The current Queen Fifi Soumah from the Republic of Guinea is right now in Guinea to launch her Foundation called TEARS AWAY. She is focused on promoting education of young girls. The United Nations statistics show that 81% of girls in Guinea cannot read and write. Miss Africa USA Fifi Soumah has established a scholarship program to help these young girls go back to school and get an education. She herself is a student at Montgomery College in Maryland. And In 2008 Miss Mfonobong Essiet of Nigeria completed her medical project where she donated a 40ft container of medical equipment and supplies to five different hospitals in her country. It was a very successful project. She is currently a medical student studying to be a Cardiac Surgeon.

    Tadias: What should people expect at 2011 MISS Africa USA Pageant?

    CN: The 2011 pageant is full of excitement. On the 12th of November we are having the African Banquet at the Hilton Hotel in Silver Spring Maryland. We have invited members of the African Diplomatic Core, community leaders and our sponsors and VIPs to be our guests at the official opening of the pageant. Finalists will be presenting their platform projects. The following day at the same loaction, we will host the final competition and a coronation ceremony. It’s a red carpet affair showcasing the culture, beauty and diversity of Africa. The entire family can attend.

    Tadias: Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?

    CN: We are asking the community to come out and support the 2011 finalists who are representing Africa. We thank Tadias for the opportunity to reach out to the Ethiopian American community.

    Tadias: One more thing, we understand that you’ve partnered with Nollywood Critics to present The 2011 NAFCA: “The African Oscar.” Can you tell us more about it?

    CN: The awards is open to African Film Makers and the executive producer Dr. Victor Adeyemi is very open to collaborate with film makers from all over the continent. I would encouarage all film makers and actors who are interested in participating to contact us for more information.

    Tadias: Thank you.

    If You Go:
    The 2011 Pageant is slated for Sunday November 13th from 5pm – 11pm. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. Tickets start selling on Friday, September 9th via the website www.missafricaunitedstates.com. The African Banquet takes place on Sat Nov 12 and tickets are $100 each. Both events will take place at the Hilton Hotel 8272 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD. Free parking is available.

    Watch: Miss Africa USA 2010 Introduction Dance (Video courtesy of Miss Africa USA)

    Seattle Community Center Tries to Bring Together Ethiopians Split by Politics

    Seattle, the largest city in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, is also home to a growing and vibrant Ethiopian American population that is often divided by ethnic politics. But the city's community association is seeking to find common-ground to bring people together. (Photos from ECMA gallery)

    Voice of America
    Ethnic Politics Split US Ethiopians
    Community Center tries to bring them together

    By Anna Boiko-Weyrauch | Seattle, Washington

    August 09, 2011

    America’s Ethiopian community has grown quickly since the 1980s and one of its hubs is the northwestern state of Washington. Yet, even though they live a half world away from Ethiopia, these immigrants are still influenced by politics back home.

    Differences

    In the middle of Seattle, a group of Ethiopian immigrants plays dominos at a community center for the city’s Tigray immigrants – one of the many ethnic groups from Ethiopia.
    Many people come to hang out at the lively place which has a bar inside. Similar community centers for other East African ethnic groups are practically within walking distance of each other.

    Washington State’s Ethiopian community is vibrant and growing, with anywhere from 10,000-40,000 people. No one knows exactly how many, since many don’t participate in census counts or don’t report their ancestry.

    But the population is diverse, mirroring the variety of ethnicities, languages, religions and divisions in their homeland.

    “Those social divisions sometimes also translate to political divisions because if you belong to a certain ethnic group you are automatically perceived or in reality you support a certain political ideology or grouping,” says Shakespear Feyissa, who came to America as teenager and is now a lawyer in Seattle.

    According to Feyissa, at its worst, ethnic and political differences turn into economic discrimination against fellow Ethiopians.

    “You could see people lobbying each other, saying, ‘Don’t go to this certain business because he belongs to certain political group or political party,’ or they say, ‘Don’t go to this business because he either opposes or supports the government.’”

    Feyissa opposes the government of Meles Zenawi, who led a rebel takeover of the country 20 years ago, and says he’s lost Ethiopian clients because of it.

    “It is difficult for me personally, sometimes. Because I would hear certain ethnicity or certain groups saying, ‘Oh don’t go to him, he doesn’t like certain groups’, just because of my strong political conviction, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

    The divisions are hard for people who support the Ethiopian government, too. Mekonnen Kassa works for Microsoft in a Seattle suburb while also heading a pro-government group in his spare time.

    “I travel to Ethiopia and meet with the political party leaders,” says Kassa. “And my group also invites government officials to come to the U.S. and meet with Ethiopians here.”

    His political involvement has had personal consequences. One time, a stranger who saw him in a restaurant called him selfish – accusing Kassa of supporting the Ethiopian government for personal gain – and told him to leave.

    “And at that point I got upset, and we got into a very heated argument, almost very close to a fist fight,” says Kassa. “And those couple of guys who knew me that were at the restaurant had to drag me out of the restaurant.”

    Since then, Kassa keeps to himself.

    Coming together

    Many people recognize that division is a problem within Washington state’s Ethiopian community, and at least one group is trying to move beyond it.

    At a summer camp, young Ethiopian-Americans learn Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. The program is run by the Ethiopian Community Center in Seattle. Even though there are community centers for different ethnic groups, the leaders here want to put ethnicity aside, and bring all Ethiopians together as Ethiopians.

    “That is the first thing, and when people come here, we want them to feel that this is their home. This is their place equally,” says Mulumebet Retta, who heads the center. “What we are trying to do here is whether you are an Amhara, an Oromo, Tigrey, Guragi, Gambella, whatever ethnic group you are, you are an Ethiopian.”

    Retta’s group supports Ethiopian immigrants by connecting them with social services. The center staff works to solve problems which affect everyone in the community, whether it’s taking care of their elders or educating their children.

    Seattle lawyer Feyissa believes it’s up to the next generation of Ethiopian-Americans to look beyond ethnic politics.

    “The most important things for them, is not belonging to a certain ethnicity, but being Ethiopian, being immigrant,” he says. “So I see hope in that regard.”

    Click here to listen to Boiko-Weyrauch’s Audio Report

    Sean John on Spur Tree And His Affinity for Ethiopia

    Above: Sean John, owner of the New York restaurant and lounge Spur Tree, talks with us about his love for Ethiopia.

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Saturday, April 2, 2011

    New York (Tadias) – Jamaican-born entrepreneur Sean John is the owner of Spur Tree Lounge, located in Lower East Side Manhattan. The hip and popular eatery, which was recently selected by MACY’s Culinary Council as one of NYC’s hottest restaurants, is frequented by tourists and New Yorkers alike, including Ethiopians whose country inspired the establishment’s logo. The menu combines Jamaican and Asian cuisine. But, the moment you walk into the restaurant, there is no mistaking Spur Tree’s subtle connection to Ethiopia.

    In the following video Sean John discusses the success of his business, the story behind his logo, his affinity for Ethiopia and his extensive travels throughout the African nation.

    WATCH:

    Meet Arkan Haile: A Candidate for DC City Council Seat

    Above: Arkan Haile, a candidate for the vacant at-large D.C.
    City Council seat. The special election is set for Tue., Apr 26.

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    New York (Tadias) – We were recently contacted by the campaign of Arkan Haile, a candidate for the vacant at-large D.C. City Council seat, which will be decided through a special election on April 26. He is among at least 17 candidates running for the seat, which became vacant Jan. 2 when Council member Kwame Brown (D-At-Large) was sworn in as the new City Council Chair. The Eritrean-born attorney is seeking the support of the Ethiopian-American community, one of the largest African immigrant populations in Washington D.C.

    “I know my personal story is not ordinary for a local politician. Frankly, I hope nothing about me is ordinary where politics is concerned,” he says. “We can’t afford the usual politics – not in our schools, not in our neighborhoods and not in our elected officials. That’s why I’m running as an independent, beholden to no one but the people, ready to find creative solutions and prepared to make hard choices.”

    Arkan is a successful lawyer and father of two children. He immigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1981 when he was 10 years old, and became the Co-Founder of Gray Haile LLP, a corporate law firm which specializes in mergers, acquisitions, and securities with offices in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.

    He was born in Eritrea in 1971. In 1975, his parents came to the US on his father’s graduate school scholarship to study Economics at Colorado State University. But they left behind their three young children, including Haile (the oldest at four) as insurance against defection. In 1978 his mother returned to Ethiopia and three years later, in December 1981, after a difficult journey that included a trek through Sudan on foot and mostly at night, the family was reunited in Ft. Collins, Colorado — the state where Haile grew up and attained his education. He says: “I was born in Asmara and spent three years in Addis before our family settled in Colorado in the early 1980s when I was ten years old.”

    Haile currently lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Nazrawit (Naz) Medhanie, and their son and daughter, ages four and one. His wife is a performance monitoring specialist with an international development firm. She graduated from Duke University, where she was a shooting guard on the basketball team and member of the school’s first women’s Final Four team in 1999.

    “As a parent of a public school child, Co-Founder of a district-based law firm and a home owner, I’m fully committed to our city,” he says. “As a lawyer and former financial analyst, I have the skills and work experiences ideally suited for the job of a City Council member.”

    On his campaign web site, the candidate also acknowledges the uphill battle he faces in the upcoming poll: “My background is not typical of a city council candidate. I’m not backed by a particular party, power broker or interest group. I’m running as an independent because that is how I make decisions. I know that makes me an underdog in this race, but that’s ok. I’ve been an underdog my whole life and it hasn’t stopped me yet.”


    Young Arkan Haile with his siblings. (Photo courtesy of arkanfordccouncil.com)


    The candidate with his family. (Photo by IWANPHOTO.COM)

    But he also notes that his professional experience in finance and law, coupled with his experiences as an immigrant, will help him bring a fresh perspective to solving the District’s budget woes, as well as ability to focus on matters confronting the city’s struggling communities.

    “There are several issues but on top of the list are education and fiscal responsibility; education because it is so central and fundamentally important to our existence as a city, and fiscal responsibility because it is the biggest and most immediate challenge facing the city and the City Council,” Haile said in a recent Q & A with Tadias Magazine. “As a parent of a public school child I’ve got a little more “skin in the game” than most…we’ve made great strides in education over the past several years and I want to ensure to my best abilities as a member of the Council that we don’t lose momentum.”

    And how is his professional skills suited to solving D.C.’s economic problems? “Fiscally, my skills and professional experiences are especially well suited to tacking it in the most efficient and responsible manner. I’ve either worked in or studied law and finance over the course of my entire 20-year, adult life. Before law school, I earned an MBA and worked as a financial analyst for a large corporation.”

    “What separates you from the other candidates?” we asked. “Why should people vote for you?” “I see the two questions as being virtually the same,” he said. “In other words people should vote for me, at least in large part, for the reasons that separate me from the field.” He adds: “First, I will bring 20 years of technical financial and legal expertise that I can apply from day one. It is all the more important now given our city’s financial mess. Second, I’m fully invested in our city. As a home owner, parent of a public school child (with another set to enroll next year), owner of a District-based law firm and DC Bar licensed attorney, there is little that goes on in the city that doesn’t directly affect me. Third, as an immigrant and somebody with a relatively unique personal history, I’ll add diversity to the City Council and serve as a sympathetic ear to immigrants in our city.”

    If you have additional questions or want to get involved in Arkan Haile’s campaign, please contact the candidate via his website at www.arkanfordccouncil.com

    Related:
    Click here to watch Arkan Haile’s interview with Washington Post’s American Mosaic

    Seattle: Ethiopians seek help to open a community center

    Above: Mulu Retta, boardmember of the Ethiopian Community
    Mutual Association. The organization is raising funds to build a
    community center in South Seattle. (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

    Seattle Post Intelligencer
    By Scott Gutierrez

    Despite its wet and mild climate, the greater Seattle area is home to many East African immigrants, with estimates ranging from 25,000 to 40,000.

    “It’s probably more than that,” said Mulu Retta, a member of the Ethiopian Community Mutual Association.

    That’s one reason why Retta and her association are trying to start a new Ethiopian community center in South Seattle. They envision a central gathering place that provides youth activities and cultural events, services for seniors and a spot for celebrating holidays, weddings and graduations.

    They’ve offered to buy the Faith Temple Community Church building at 8323 Rainier Ave. S. in Rainier Beach for $1.6 million. The church’s congregation moved to a new location and put the building up for sale.

    But they’re only halfway to raising $200,000 they need for a down payment. Despite the slow economy, they raised $100,000 in a few months. They’re hoping others in their community will rise to help before an Aug. 31 deadline, said Retta, chairwoman of the association’s building fund committee. Read more.

    Thousands Pay Respect to Victims of Fatal Fire in Seattle

    Above: Mourners at Friday’s public memorial service react at
    an emotional visual tribute to the Seattle fire victims Friday.
    (PHOTO CREDIT: STEVE RINGMAN / SEATTLE TIMES)

    Updated: Saturday, June 19, 2010
    By Marc Ramirez
    Seattle Times staff reporter

    One by one, the lives lost to last weekend’s fire in Fremont were celebrated on screen, a series of snapshots taken in happier times. The boy who dreamed of playing point guard for the Boston Celtics. The siblings who adored their older brother. The girl who liked to jump rope. And the young woman who could win any argument she set her mind to.

    The emotional slide show capped Friday’s public memorial to those five family members at Seattle Center’s KeyArena. The multicultural crowd, estimated at 3,500, largely reflected an East African population united in grief over the loss of so many young lives. “Your sorrow is our sorrow,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “Your grief is Seattle’s grief. We walk with you in your grief because we are — and will be — one community.” Killed last Saturday morning in the swift-moving fire at Helen Gebregiorgis’ Fremont apartment were three of her children — Joseph Gebregiorgis, 13, Nisreen Shamam, 6, and Yaseen Shamam, 5; her sister, Eyerusalem Gebregiorgis, 22; and a niece, 7-year-old Nyella Smith, daughter of a third sister, Yordanos Gebregiorgis.

    Watch Video: Memorial service for Seattle fire victims


    Nisreen Shamam (left), Yaseen Shamam (C) and Joseph Gebregiorgis.


    PHOTO BY JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

    How You Can Help?
    Donations to help family members affected by last Saturday’s blaze can be sent to the Seattle Children’s Fire Fund at any Bank of America branch. Donations also are being accepted at the Red Door tavern in Fremont. There will be a booth at this weekend’s Fremont Fair at North 35th Street and Evanston Avenue North to accept cash donations or gift cards from grocery or department stores. There also will be paper and envelopes available to write condolence notes to the family.

    Watch Video: Ethiopian community mourns 5 dead in Seattle fire

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Seattle (Tadias) – As investigators continue to look into the cause of this pasts weekend’s apartment fire in Seattle that killed an Ethiopian family, including four children, the city’s fire chief described the frantic seconds after the blaze erupted Saturday morning in Helen Gebregiorgis’ two-story home in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.

    Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean told the media Sunday that the city’s deadliest fire in decades started in the living quarters of Helen Gebregiorgis’ three-bedroom, two-story apartment and spread to the second floor. He said the mother had gone upstairs to tell the others about the fire, grabbed her 5-year-old niece, Samarah Smith, and left the building, thinking the others were behind her. “She believed that the rest were following her and when she got outside they were not,” Dean said during a news conference at Fire Department headquarters in Pioneer Square. “We did find the four children and the aunt in the second floor bathroom, huddled together.”

    Gebregiorgis, 31, lost her sons, 13-year-old Joseph Gebregiorgis and 5-year-old Yaseen Shamam, and her 6-year-old daughter, Nisreen Shamam, in the fire in the city’s Fremont neighborhood, the children’s grieving uncle, Daniel Gebregiorgis, told The Seattle Times. Also killed were Helen’s 22-year-old sister, Eyerusalem Gebregiorgis, and 7-year-old niece, Nyella Smith.

    Video: Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean reacts to an apartment fire that killed an Ethiopian family

    The fire was reported just after 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

    According to Seattle’s King5 News, the first emergency vehicle to arrive at the burning apartment building had a problem with a pump that prevented it from spraying water on the fire, but a second unit arrived two minutes later and was able to fight the fire.

    “They needed to be able to control what was in front of them before they could go up the stairs,” the Chief said. “There was definitely a delay in firefighters being able to get there. I think in looking at the pictures and what we saw and listening to comments, there was a tremendous amount of fire and smoke prior to the fire department’s arrival, which, again, makes it pretty hard to sustain life in that type of heated environment,” he said.

    Dean said the truck with the mechanical problem arrived at 10:09 a.m., and a second truck about two minutes later, and a third at 10:12 a.m.

    According to the fire chief, the department prepares for problems because they happen on a regular basis and this weekend’s particular problem would be investigated.

    “We do what we call redundancy back-up to make sure that if something happens, we’re prepared for that type of thing,” he said. “In this case something did happen. The second unit came in, they did what they were supposed to do and we continued to fight the fire.”

    “Our firefighters are beating themselves up, you know ‘could I have done more,’” the chief said. “Our hearts go out to the ones that lost their loved ones and we recognize there’s an impact on the community, recognize there’s an impact on our firefighters. We will be doing a follow-up with the community.”

    Click here to leave a comment.

    New:
    Fatal fire may have started in mattress (Seattle Times)

    Video: Thousands pay respects to victims of last Saturday’s fatal fire in Seattle

    Above: Mourners at Friday’s public memorial service react
    during an emotional visual tribute to the Seattle fire victims.
    (STEVE RINGMAN / SEATTLE TIMES)

    Updated: Saturday, June 19, 2010
    By Marc Ramirez
    Seattle Times staff reporter

    One by one, the lives lost to last weekend’s fire in Fremont were celebrated on screen, a series of snapshots taken in happier times.

    The boy who dreamed of playing point guard for the Boston Celtics. The siblings who adored their older brother. The girl who liked to jump rope. And the young woman who could win any argument she set her mind to.

    The emotional slide show capped Friday’s public memorial to those five family members at Seattle Center’s KeyArena. The multicultural crowd, estimated at 3,500, largely reflected an East African population united in grief over the loss of so many young lives.

    “Your sorrow is our sorrow,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “Your grief is Seattle’s grief. We walk with you in your grief because we are — and will be — one community.”

    Killed last Saturday morning in the swift-moving fire at Helen Gebregiorgis’ Fremont apartment were three of her children — Joseph Gebregiorgis, 13, Nisreen Shamam, 6, and Yaseen Shamam, 5; her sister, Eyerusalem Gebregiorgis, 22; and a niece, 7-year-old Nyella Smith, daughter of a third sister, Yordanos Gebregiorgis.

    Watch Video: Memorial service for Fremont fire victims


    Nisreen Shamam (left), Yaseen Shamam (C) and Joseph Gebregiorgis.
    They were killed in last weekend’s apartment fire in Seattle.


    PHOTO BY JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

    Click Here to Donate to Seattle’s Fremont Apartment Fire Victims Fund – Donate Online Now
    Donations to help family members affected by last Saturday’s blaze can be sent to the Seattle Children’s Fire Fund at any Bank of America branch. Donations also are being accepted at the Red Door tavern in Fremont. There will be a booth at this weekend’s Fremont Fair at North 35th Street and Evanston Avenue North to accept cash donations or gift cards from grocery or department stores. There also will be paper and envelopes available to write condolence notes to the family. Neighbor Allecia Clemons, a Fremont folk singer, is trying to organize a benefit concert for later in the summer. She can be reached at allecialightlove@hotmail.com.

    Watch Video: Ethiopian community mourns 5 dead in Seattle fire

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Seattle (Tadias) – As investigators continue to look into the cause of this pasts weekend’s apartment fire in Seattle that killed an Ethiopian family, including four children, the city’s fire chief described the frantic seconds after the blaze erupted Saturday morning in Helen Gebregiorgis’ two-story home in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.

    Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean told the media Sunday that the city’s deadliest fire in decades started in the living quarters of Helen Gebregiorgis’ three-bedroom, two-story apartment and spread to the second floor. He said the mother had gone upstairs to tell the others about the fire, grabbed her 5-year-old niece, Samarah Smith, and left the building, thinking the others were behind her. “She believed that the rest were following her and when she got outside they were not,” Dean said during a news conference at Fire Department headquarters in Pioneer Square. “We did find the four children and the aunt in the second floor bathroom, huddled together.”

    Gebregiorgis, 31, lost her sons, 13-year-old Joseph Gebregiorgis and 5-year-old Yaseen Shamam, and her 6-year-old daughter, Nisreen Shamam, in the fire in the city’s Fremont neighborhood, the children’s grieving uncle, Daniel Gebregiorgis, told The Seattle Times. Also killed were Helen’s 22-year-old sister, Eyerusalem Gebregiorgis, and 7-year-old niece, Nyella Smith.

    Video: Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean reacts to an apartment fire that killed an Ethiopian family

    The fire was reported just after 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

    According to Seattle’s King5 News, the first emergency vehicle to arrive at the burning apartment building had a problem with a pump that prevented it from spraying water on the fire, but a second unit arrived two minutes later and was able to fight the fire.

    “They needed to be able to control what was in front of them before they could go up the stairs,” the Chief said. “There was definitely a delay in firefighters being able to get there. I think in looking at the pictures and what we saw and listening to comments, there was a tremendous amount of fire and smoke prior to the fire department’s arrival, which, again, makes it pretty hard to sustain life in that type of heated environment,” he said.

    Dean said the truck with the mechanical problem arrived at 10:09 a.m., and a second truck about two minutes later, and a third at 10:12 a.m.

    According to the fire chief, the department prepares for problems because they happen on a regular basis and this weekend’s particular problem would be investigated.

    “We do what we call redundancy back-up to make sure that if something happens, we’re prepared for that type of thing,” he said. “In this case something did happen. The second unit came in, they did what they were supposed to do and we continued to fight the fire.”

    “Our firefighters are beating themselves up, you know ‘could I have done more,’” the chief said. “Our hearts go out to the ones that lost their loved ones and we recognize there’s an impact on the community, recognize there’s an impact on our firefighters. We will be doing a follow-up with the community.”

    New:
    Fatal fire may have started in mattress (Seattle Times)

    $12 Cup Joe in New York? Same Coffee Goes for $2.69 in Seattle

    Above: Fonte Coffee Roaster in Seattle sells the drink made
    from Ethiopian Nekisse beans for $2.69 a cup. The same cup
    drink goes for $12 a cup at the Chelsea spot of Cafe Grumpy.

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Sunday, June 6, 2010

    New York (Tadias) – You may remember the recent amusing news story about $12 cup of Ethiopian coffee at Café Grumpy, a local coffee shop chain here in New York.

    In her recent article, Melissa Allison, who “tracks Seattle’s — and the world’s — caffeine addiction” for The Seattle Times, writes the same cup of joe costs much less in America’s coffee capital.

    “Trabant Coffee & Chai will soon carry one of the hottest tickets in coffee, a Nekisse micro-lot selection from Ethiopia, which recently sold for $12 a cup in New York and has appeared for considerably less — $2.69 a cup — at Seattle’s Fonte Coffee Roaster,” Allison points out. “Trabant’s roaster, 49th Parallel Coffee in Vancouver, is giving all the proceeds from its Nekisse sales to a non-profit called imagine1day to build classrooms in Ethiopia, said 49th Parallel owner Vince Piccolo.”

    But New Yorkers have mixed opinions about Café Grumpy’s price. “There are flavors you would expect in a really nice glass of wine — it’s a cacophony of nuances,” Steve Holt, vice president of Ninety Plus Coffee, the company distributing the beans, told The NY Post. “You detect flavors of apricot, pineapple, bergamot, kiwi and lime. The deeper tones are levels of chocolate, and the finish is super clean.”

    And why is it so pricey?

    “It is a higher-end coffee, and you have to take a lot of time developing and processing it,” said Holt. “Once the coffee is harvested, it is dried on a raised African drying bed — the actual coffee cherries never sit on the ground.”

    “People have had bad reactions to the prices,” Colleen Duhamel, a coffee buyer and barista at the cafe, told The New York Post. “They will think, ‘This place isn’t for me,’ and storm out.” “I’ve spent $12 on a cocktail, but I’d be reticent to pay that much for a cup of coffee,” said Whitney Reuling, 25, after tasting samples provided by the newspaper. “It’s good — but I can’t taste the difference. My palate is not at an advanced level for coffee — a $2.50 cup is fine.”

    WATCH

    NPR: Soul Searching Led To Meklit Hadero’s Debut Album

    Above: Singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero at Tsehai Poetry Jam,
    May 31, 2009 @ Messob Restaurant in L.A.’s Little Ethiopia.

    NPR
    Ethiopian Singer: Soul Searching Led To Debut Album
    March 24, 2010
    Once you hear her smooth and silky voice it will be hard to forget it. Yet, years passed before she realized she wanted to become a singer. Ethiopian native Meklit Hadero went to college to major in political science, but after moving to San Francisco she found her true love: music. Now, only five years after her first public performance, she is out with the new album “On A Day Like This.” Guest host Allison Keyes talks with singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero about her life and finding herself through music.

    Listen to the Story Here:

    You can read the transcript of this interview at NPR.ORG.

    Meklit Hadero “Leaving Soon” music video from Salvatore Fullmore on Vimeo.

    Related from Tadias: Meklit Hadero at Tsehai Poetry Jam in L.A.

    Research Discovery By Ethiopian Scientist At IBM

    Above: Solomon Assefa (r) is among the IBM scientists who unveiled a significant step towards replacing electrical signals that communicate via copper wires between computer chips.

    Source: IBM

    Yorktown Heights, NY IBM (NYSE: IBM) scientists today unveiled a significant step towards replacing electrical signals that communicate via copper wires between computer chips with tiny silicon circuits that communicate using pulses of light. As reported in the recent issue of the scientific journal Nature, this is an important advancement in changing the way computer chips talk to each other.

    The device, called a nanophotonic avalanche photodetector, is the fastest of its kind and could enable breakthroughs in energy-efficient computing that can have significant implications for the future of electronics.

    The IBM device explores the “avalanche effect” in Germanium, a material currently used in production of microprocessor chips. Analogous to a snow avalanche on a steep mountain slope, an incoming light pulse initially frees just a few charge carriers which in turn free others until the original signal is amplified many times. Conventional avalanche photodetectors are not able to detect fast optical signals because the avalanche builds slowly.

    “This invention brings the vision of on-chip optical interconnections much closer to reality,” said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president, Science and Technology, IBM Research. “With optical communications embedded into the processor chips, the prospect of building power-efficient computer systems with performance at the Exaflop level might not be a very distant future.”

    Video: View Animation

    The avalanche photodetector demonstrated by IBM is the world’s fastest device of its kind. It can receive optical information signals at 40Gbps (billion bits per second) and simultaneously multiply them tenfold. Moreover, the device operates with just a 1.5V voltage supply, 20 times smaller than previous demonstrations. Thus many of these tiny communication devices could potentially be powered by just a small AA-size battery, while traditional avalanche photodetectors require 20-30V power supplies.

    “This dramatic improvement in performance is the result of manipulating the optical and electrical properties at the scale of just a few tens of atoms to achieve performance well beyond accepted boundaries,” said Dr. Assefa, the lead author on the paper. “These tiny devices are capable of detecting very weak pulses of light and amplifying them with unprecedented bandwidth and minimal addition of unwanted noise.”

    In IBM’s device, the avalanche multiplication takes place within just a few tens of nanometers (one-thousandths of a millimeter) and that happens very fast. The tiny size also means that multiplication noise is suppressed by 50% – 70% with respect to conventional avalanche photodetectors. The IBM device is made of Silicon and Germanium, the materials already widely used in production of microprocessor chips. Moreover it is made with standard processes used in chip manufacturing. Thus, thousands of these devices can be built side-by-side with silicon transistors for high-bandwidth on-chip optical communications.

    The Avalanche Photodetector achievement, which is the last in a series of prior reports from IBM Research, is the last piece of the puzzle that completes the development of the “nanophotonics toolbox” of devices necessary to build the on-chip interconnects.
    In December 2006, IBM scientists demonstrated silicon nanophotonic delay line that was used to buffer over a byte of information encoded in optical pulses – a requirement for building optical buffers for on-chip optical communications.

    In December 2007, IBM scientists announced the development of an ultra-compact silicon electro-optic modulator, which converts electrical signals into the light pulses, a prerequisite for enabling on-chip optical communications.

    In March 2008, IBM scientists announced the world’s tiniest nanophotonic switch for “directing traffic” in on-chip optical communications, ensuring that optical messages can be efficiently routed.

    The report of this work, entitled “Reinventing Germanium Avalanche Photodetector for Nanophotonic On-chip Optical Interconnects,” by Solomon Assefa, Fengnian Xia, and Yurii Vlasov of IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. is published in the March 2010 issue of the scientific journal Nature.

    IBM has a long history of pioneering advanced silicon technologies to help enhance performance, while reducing size and power consumption. Such advances include the development of the world’s first copper-based microprocessor; silicon-on-insulator (SOI), a technology that reduces power consumption and increases performance by helping insulate the millions of transistors on a chip; and strained silicon, a technology that “stretches” material inside the silicon decreasing the resistance and speeding the flow of electrons through transistors.

    Further information can be found at the following link: http://www.research.ibm.com/photonics

    Seattle: Man on Trial in Killing of Ethiopian Immigrant

    Above: Rey Davis-Bell is charged with the murder of Degene
    Barecha, an immigrant from Ethiopia, at Philadelphia Cheese
    Steak. Davis-Bell’s trial started on Tuesday. (Seattle Times)

    The Seattle Times
    By Jennifer Sullivan
    Neither prosecutors nor witnesses could say why Rey Davis-Bell’s alleged violent tirade two years ago wound up inside Degene “Safie” Dashasa’s cheese-steak restaurant, resulting in Dashasa’s death by gunshot at point-blank range.

    Dashasa emigrated from Ethiopia about a decade ago, enrolled in online business courses and spent hours perfecting his cheese steak, his family told The Seattle Times after his slaying. Dashasa took over the restaurant after his best friend and business partner was fatally shot in his car in 2003. After Troy Hackett’s death, Dashasa changed the name of Philly’s Best Steaks and Hoagies. Hackett’s slaying has not been solved. Several months before his death, Dashasa traveled to Ethiopia and married a woman he had met through relatives. He recently had bought a house and was preparing it for his new bride, his family said.

    Search for survivors amid despair

    Latest: A woman cares for an injured toddler at a destroyed
    orphanage in Fontamara. A stream of food, water and U.S.
    troops flowed toward Haiti on Saturday as donors squabbled
    over how to reach hungry, haggard earthquake survivors.

    Video: ‘Little miracle’ amid desperation in Haiti

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    How You Can Help In Haiti
    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Saturday, January 16, 2009

    New York – Although help is beginning to arrive in Haiti, the devastating earthquake has so far claimed 45,000-50,000 people, according to the Red Cross. Disaster relief organizations still need your assistance. Funds are needed to provide food, water, shelter, clothing and medical supplies.

    Below are few ways you can help:

    To assist with relief efforts, text “HAITI” to “90999″ and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill. Or visit InterAction to contribute. (State Department)

    To find information about friends and family in Haiti:
    For missing U.S. citizen family members, call 1-888-407-4747. To help with relief efforts, text “HAITI” to “90999″ and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill. Or visit InterAction to contribute.

    The American Red Cross
    “As with most earthquakes, we expect to see immediate needs for food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support,” said Tracy Reines, director of international disaster response for the American Red Cross, in a report posted on its Web site. The American Red Cross offers several ways to donate to various funds, including international relief to Haiti. (ABC)

    Yele.org
    Text Yele. Wyclef Jean is urging donors to text ‘Yele’ to 501501 and make a $5 contribution to the relief effort over cell phone. Click here to get more information via Wyclef’s Twitter page. (NY Daily News)

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Bush, Clinton to lead Haiti fundraising effort

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    William J. Clinton Foundation
    Former president Bill Clinton is the United Nations special envoy to Haiti. “My UN office and the rest of the UN system are monitoring the situation,” Clinton said in a statement today. “While we don’t yet know the full impact of this 7.0-magnitude earthquake, we do know that the survivors need immediate help.” (ABC)

    UNICEF
    Shortly following the quake’s eruption, the U.S. division of UNICEF issued a statement on its blog calling attention to some of the smallest victims of the emergency. “Children are always the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster, and UNICEF is there for them,” the statement said. (ABC)

    Save the Children
    Donate at savethechildren.org or make checks out to “Save the Children” and mail to: Save the Children Income Processing Department, 54 Wilton Road, Westport, Conn. 06880

    Mercy Corp
    Go online to mercycorps.org or mail checks to Haiti Earthquake Fund, Dept. NR, PO Box 2669, Portland, Ore. 97208 or call (888) 256-1900

    Direct Relief International

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Obama orders relief effort of historic proportions

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Quake Victims Plucked From Rubble

    UNTV: raw footage of rescue efforts in Haiti:

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Ethiopian-American Researcher Studies Solar Cell Efficiency

    Above: Ethiopian-American Researcher Mesfin Tsige, Ph.D.,
    an assitant professor in the College of Science at Southern
    Illinois University has earned a prestigious grant from the
    federal government to study solar cell efficiency. (Read More).

    Police Search for Suspects in Killing of Ethiopian Businessman

    Above: Ethiopian store owner Hagos Admasu Gebreagziabher
    was killed in front of his wife in Jacksonville, Florida.

    JACKSONVILLE, FL –Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officers are looking
    for two men they believe shot a man to death. The victim was
    found late Monday night in front of a neighborhood store on
    W. 13th Street near Canal. He’s been identified as 41-year-old
    Hagos Admasu Gebreagziabher. Read more.

    Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony on Display at Seattle’s Burke Museum

    Above: Zelalem Yilma, right, pours coffee during Sunday’s
    Ethiopian coffee ceremony at The Burke Museum. Yilma and
    others hosting the event described the Ethiopian coffee ritual
    as a way for their people to socialize, gossip, discuss news
    and politics and share culture. Erika Schultz / Seattle Times

    Source: Seattle Times
    By Melissa Allison

    The opposite of instant coffee is not a nice, slow French press. It is a centuries-old coffee ritual from Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Stepping inside on Seattle’s most gorgeous day so far this year, a few dozen visitors to the Burke Museum participated in the ceremony Sunday. They chatted and sipped Ethiopian coffee roasted before their eyes by three native Ethiopians who enjoy sharing the ritual with fellow Seattleites. Read More.

    Related from TadiasEthiopian Coffee via Kansas (Interview)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Saturday, March 21, 2009

    New York (Tadias) – While Starbucks lags behind on their promise to open a support center for its coffee farmers in Ethiopia, Kansas-based Revocup Coffee Roasters is giving back 10 cents for every cup of coffee and 1 dollar for every pound of coffee sold. After revisiting their birth place, the founders of Revocup wanted to change what they saw as the “deteriorating life” of Ethiopian coffee farmers (well-described in the documentary Black Gold). Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of coffee, and the coffee ceremony is an integral part of the nation’s heritage, which is yet another reason Revocup is keen on promoting fair trade for Ethiopian coffee.

    Tadias recently interviewed Habte Mesfin about Revocup:

    Tadias: Please tell us about Revocup?

    Habte Mesfin: Revocup is a coffee roasting company and a coffee shop based in Overland Park, Kansas. Revocup Coffee Corp. was established to offer consumers a wide range authentic single origin coffee from Ethiopia in the freshest form possible.

    Tadias: What inspired you to get into the coffee business?

    HM: Coffee cafes are a familiar feature of American life. Every day millions of Americans stop at cafes for an espresso-based drink. People who would not have dreamed of spending more than 50 cents for cup of coffee a few years ago now gladly pay $3 to $5 for their cappuccino, mocha, or vanilla ice-blended drink. The public shows tremendous interest embracing and adopting the new coffee culture. However the quality of coffee offered in the shops has deteriorated. As an Ethiopian who grew up with a superior coffee culture and tradition we felt that it’s time to get into the business as well as share our heritage.

    Tadias: Revocup brand is based on promoting freshly roasted coffee beans, similar to how we consume coffee in Ethiopia. Who is your target market in the U.S.?

    HM: Our target market is not directed to a certain group or population. We are offering our product for people who seeks quality coffee. Revocup coffee strongly believes that freshness is very important, there is no short cut or substitute. Coffee should not be an industrial product. It is a farm product, which does not have a long shelf life. Coffee needs to be consumed while it is fresh. Based on this principle we are roasting our coffee per order and according to the amount of coffee that we sell in our store.

    Tadias: On your website you mention that most professional
    roasters in the industry agree that 95% of the coffee consumed in this
    country is stale. Can you elaborate?

    HM: This is very true. In order to give a good answer for this question we need to look into how the coffee supply chain works. Large coffee companies roast thousands of pounds of coffee at a time at remote locations and then send that coffee to be bagged to anther part of the country. Then it will go to a distribution center. From there it make its way to grocery stores. Once it makes it to the shelf you do not know how long it is going to sit on the shelf. By the time it gets into your hands as a consumer the coffee is old and stale. You don’t know when this coffee was harvested or roasted when you pay to buy it. The coffee that you take home has essentially lost its character, wonderful aroma and unique natural flavor. That is why almost all craft roasters agree on the above mentioned fact. The sad part is that there is no rule or regulations to enforce coffee companies to put a roast date on their coffee labels. Amazingly, they get away with selling stale products. We ensure the authenticity of our coffee at Revocup by disclosing the origin of coffee, and mentioning the country of origin and farm name. We also post the country’s flag as an identification mark on our label. In order to guarantee freshness we also include the roast date on each bag of coffee sold.

    Tadias: Isn’t the coffee preparation from “crop to cup” time consuming for the fast-paced lifestyle in America?

    HM: In order to enjoy a great cup of coffee it requires meticulous preparation from the farm all the way to your cup. Along the way so many things can go wrong to affect the bean quality. What we are doing is preventing potential causes of negative impact. The very first thing you do even if it is expensive, is to purchase authentic high quality single origin coffee and make yourself familiar with the beans, and develop a roast profile that can show the coffee character. Then roast the coffee per order prior to shipping and bag the coffee into a one-way degassing valve bag to prevent air intrusion. Finally, disclose to consumers when the coffee was roasted and advise them on appropriate ways of coffee brewing that enhances taste and flavor. I can understand that people may not have the time to roast coffee every morning like we do traditionally in Ethiopia. However, they can selectively purchase freshly roasted coffee from a local roaster such as Revocup and enjoy their cup of coffee while the full flavor is intact. I do not see a reason why people pay for dark roasted (burnt) pre-ground coffee that tastes like charcoal. In my opinion it is a great injustice to the farmers and the people who work hard to produce the coffee.

    Tadias: Are all your coffee beans are from Ethiopia?

    HM: We purchase coffee from all coffee producing countries. That includes Brazil, Guatemala, Kenya, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia Etc. But over 60% of our coffee comes from Ethiopia. We carry almost all Ethiopian coffees including Harrar, Sidamo, Yergacheffee, Limu, as well as special reserve micro lot selections like Beloy, Aricha, Aleta and Wondo.

    Tadias: Do you have any less well known, unique brands at Revocup?

    HM: We carry all sorts of coffee and each coffee has its own character and flavor profile. Our website, Revocup.com, lists over 42 different type of coffee. Consumers can also order our coffee online.

    Tadias: Why Kansas?

    HM: We initially moved to Kansas to get closer to family and relatives. Arriving here we realized that being located at the nation’s center was very convenient for transportation of our products.

    Tadias: Thank you Habte, we’re glad to see an Ethiopian-owned company involved in fair trade coffee distribution and we commend your efforts!

    Yared Tekabe’s Groundbreaking Research in Heart Disease

    Dr. Yared Tekabe runs studies in cardiovascular disease detection and prevention at Columbia University. (Photo by Kidane Mariam for Tadias Magazine)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tseday Alehegn

    Published: Tuesday, March 17, 2009.

    New York (TADIAS) – Dr. Yared Tekabe enjoys doing most of his reflections while sitting anonymously with his laptop at cafés in Harlem. When he’s not there, Tekabe is busy running studies in cardiovascular disease detection and prevention at his lab in Columbia University’s William Black building in upper Manhattan. Last November, Tekabe’s groundbreaking work on non-invasive atherosclerosis detection and molecular imaging was published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, along with an editorial citing its clinical implications.

    Dr Tekabe’s success has helped his laboratory, headed by Dr Lynne Johnson, to receive another $1.6 million four-year grant from the National Institute of Health to continue his research, and Tekabe hopes that in a few years time his work can help heart disease prevention efforts and early detection of atherosclerosis in humans.

    “What is atherosclerosis in layman terms?” I ask him, trying hard to correctly pronounce this tongue twister. He breaks it down to its linguistic roots. “Atherosclerosis comes from the Greek roots athere which means gruel, and skleros which means hardness or hardening,” he explains. Further research in Wiki reveals that atherosclerosis is a condition affecting our arterial blood vessels, which transport blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Atherosclerosis is the chronic condition in which inflammation of the walls of our blood vessels lead to hardening of the arteries.

    “Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD),” Tekabe says. “The result is progressive closing of the blood vessels by fat and plaque deposits, which block and further restrict blood flow. In more serious cases it may also lead to clots in the aorta (main artery coming out of the heart) or carotids (arteries supplying blood to the brain) that may dislodge and travel to other parts of the body such as the brain, causing stroke. If the clot is in the leg, for example, it can lead to gangrene. Deposits of fat and inflammatory cells that build up in the walls of the coronary arteries (supplying blood to the heart muscle) can rupture leading to blood clots. Such clots in an artery that supplies blood to the heart muscle will suddenly close the artery and deprive the heart muscle of oxygen causing a heart attack. In the case of very sudden closure of an artery a clot can cause sudden cardiac death.”

    “It’s the Tim Russert story,” Tekabe says, providing a recent example of what undetected levels of plaque formation in our bodies can lead to. EverydayHealth.com, an online consumer health portal, had described the famed former MSNBC ‘Meet the Press’ host’s sudden heart attack as being caused by a plaque rupture in a coronary artery. Russert had previously been diagnosed with heart disease, but his atherosclerosis was asymptomatic. He had not experienced the common signs of chest pain and other heart attack symptoms to warn him or his doctors of his true condition. The undetected inflammation in his vessels and the subsequent rupture of plaque led to his sudden heart attack and untimely death. This is not uncommon, however. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease “is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, and women account for 51% of the total heart disease deaths.” There is even more grim news: United States data for 2004 has revealed that the first physical symptom of heart disease was heart attack and sudden death for about 65% of men and 47% of women with CVD.

    The risk factors for atherosclerosis are well known and Tekabe runs through the list with me: “diabetes, obesity, stress, smoking, high blood pressure, family history of CVD, and diet” he says. “But of all the factors that I have mentioned, I would say diet is the most important one to change,” he adds. Food items such as red meat, butter, whole milk, cheese, ice cream, egg yolk, and those containing trans fat all put us at higher risk for plaque formation. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish such as salmon, herring and trout instead of red meat, as well as eating food that is steamed, boiled or baked instead of fried. It is better to use corn, canola, or olive oil instead of butter, and to eat more fiber (fruit, vegetables, and whole grain). Notwithstanding that March is deemed National Nutrition Month by the American Heart Association, changing our diet is largely emphasized in CVD prevention. We should also be exercising at least 30 minutes each day.

    “Early non-invasive detection of the presence of inflammation and plaque could save lives,” Tekabe points out. “But the problem is two-fold: those who suffer from atherosclerosis do not display warning signs until it’s too late, and for doctors, a non-invasive method of detecting atherosclerosis is by and large not a possibility.” Research by Tekabe and others may soon change the way doctors can detect atherosclerosis.

    Using molecular imaging techniques that were previously popular in cancer biology research, Tekabe and his colleagues have discovered non-invasive methods of detecting RAGE, a receptor first discovered in 1992 and thought to have causative implications in a host of chronic diseases ranging from diabetes to arthritis. Tekabe, collaborating with Dr Ann Marie Schmidt who has shown that RAGE receptors play a key role in atherosclerotic inflammatory response, notes that these receptors can be detected non-invasively in mice that have been fed a high-fat, high cholesterol diet.

    “In the past, although we knew about the RAGE receptor, especially in the study of diabetes, we were not able to detect it without performing an autopsy of the lab mice. Clearly, in the case of humans it would be pointless if we said that we detected atherosclerosis in the patient after the patient had died,” Tekabe explains. “Therefore, it was imperative that our research showed a more non-invasive method, detecting RAGE receptors and locations of inflammation while the subject was still alive. The first step would be to test it on mice, which we have, and then perhaps on larger animals such as pigs, so that this research could be successfully translated to help non-invasively detect atherosclerosis in its early stages in human beings.”

    Left Image: Atherosclerotic aorta: The image is from a mouse fed a Western type of fat diet (high-fat, high cholesterol diet) for 34 weeks. It shows complete blockage of the aorta and the branches that supply the brain. The plaque is made up of fat and inflammatory cells.
    Right Image: Relatively normal aorta: This is from 6 weeks old mouse fed a normal diet.

    Tekabe’s recently published research showing detection of RAGE receptors responsible for arterial inflammation was funded by a grant from the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology as well as from an American Heart Association Heritage Foundation award.

    The November Circulation editorial entitled “Feeling the RAGE in the Atherosclerotic Vessel Wall” highlights the significance of Tekabe et al’s findings and the necessity for early detection of atherosclerosis. “This is an exciting development that adds an important marker of atherosclerotic disease that can now be assessed non-invasively,” write Drs. Zahi Fayad and Esad Vucic. “Tekabe et al demonstrate, for the first time, the noninvasive specific detection of RAGE in the vessel wall.” They concur with Tekabe that “noninvasive detection of RAGE in the vessel wall could help define its role in plaque rupture, which has potentially important clinical implications.”

    Tekabe came to Boston in 1990 and subsequently completed his Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and his Masters and PhD in Biomedical Sciences with a focus on CVD and drug development. His academic choices have inevitably led him to his career as a scientist, but he has personal reasons for choosing this path as well.

    “I was born in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. I have 1 brother and 8 sisters, and my parents had no formal education. But my father always encouraged me to seek higher education. While I was completing my studies I witnessed my beloved father suffer from Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and he underwent triple bypass surgery. He passed away in 2004, and I promised myself that I would step up to the challenge of finding a way to prevent heart disease” Tekabe says in a somber and determined tone. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world, and I am motivated by that challenge, but this research is also deeply personal.”

    Tekabe hopes that his research will be applicable to other areas where RAGE receptors have been hypothesized to play a central role. Circulation editors who follow Tekabe’s work have noted that “in addition to its role in atherosclerosis and the development of vascular complications in diabetes, RAGE possesses wider implications in a variety of diseases, such as arthritis, cancer, liver disease, neurodegenerative disease, and sepsis, which underscores the importance of the ability of its noninvasive detection.” Tekabe, as part of Dr Ann Marie Schmidt’s team, has already filed U.S. and international patents and has plans to jump-start a drug development arm of the pharmaceutical industry in Ethiopia. “I’m looking for interested sponsors in Ethiopia who can see the potential of this research and its global implications,” he states.

    Now that Forbes has apprised us of the billionaire status of an Ethiopian-born businessman, we hope this news may peak his interest in helping to start scientific research initiatives in Ethiopia.
    —-
    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    They Didn’t Love Lucy in Seattle

    Above: Visitors looking at displays about the famous female
    hominid at the “Lucy’s Legacy” exhibit at Seattle’s Pacific
    Science Center, which failed to draw crowds.

    NYT
    By WILLIAM YARDLEY
    Published: March 13, 2009

    IT was not the expansive new mural depicting evolutionary history that brought Sandy McKean down to the Pacific Science Center on a rainy winter weekday. Nor had he come to linger over the elegant displays about Ethiopian culture. The reason Mr. McKean paid the $20.75 admission fee for “Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia” was because he wanted to see the bones. They are 3.2 million years old but, for him, electric with urgency. This was the first American exhibition tour of the famous Lucy fossils, 47 skeletal fragments of a female hominid whose discovery one day in 1974 altered the study of human history. Read more.

    Related: Lucy’s fossil secretly scanned in Texas
    UPI, Science News

    AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 6 (UPI) — Archaeologists at the University of Texas at Austin were given a top secret look at Lucy, one of the world’s most famous fossils. The 3.2 million-year-old hominid skeleton, found in Ethiopia in 1974, made a 10-day stop at UTA’s High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility in September after an eight-month exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. With guards standing close watch, UT scientists were allowed to make 35,000 computed tomography images of the ancient fossil. While U.S. researchers conducted a scan on the fossil in the 1970s, the new scans provide the first high-resolution data on the early human ancestor, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman newspaper said Friday. Read more.

    Leo Hansberry, Founder of Ethiopian Research Council

    Historian and anthropologist William Leo Hansberry's research was posthumously edited by Joseph E. Harris and printed in two volumes by Howard University Press: "Pillars in Ethiopian History" (1974), and "Africa and Africans as Seen by Classical Writers" (1977).

    Tadias Magazine

    By Ayele Bekerie

    Published: Monday, February 23, 2009

    New York (TADIAS) – William Leo Hansberry (1894-1965) was the first academician to introduce a course on African history in a university setting in the United States in 1922. He taught a History of Africa, both ancient and contemporary, for 42 years at Howard University. He gave lectures on African history both in the classrooms and in public squares here at home and in Africa. Thousands of students and ordinary people took his history lessons and some followed his footsteps to study and write extensively about historical issues. Among the seminal contribution of Hansberry is the academic reconstruction and teaching of Ancient African History. His proposal to develop an Africana Studies as an interdisciplinary field not only visualized the centrality of African History, but also laid down the groundwork for eventual establishment of Africana Studies institutions in the United States and Africa.

    Hansberry, who studied at Harvard, Oxford and University of Chicago, was an exemplary scholar-activist. He firmly and persistently engaged in disseminating historical knowledge on Africa beyond the classroom. Even though he was not able to complete his PhD dissertation, he evidently demonstrated a remarkable research and writing skills. It is time for Howard University to recognize the immense contributions of Hansberry by organizing a major conference and by naming the Department of African Studies, William Leo Hansberry Department of African Studies. He served as a research associate to the great African American scholar, W.E.B. DuBois. Among his former students were Chancellor Williams (The Destruction of Black Civilization (1987) , and John Henrik Clarke (the author of several books, author of the blueprint for Africana Studies at Cornell University, the distinguished professor of African History at Hunter College, a leading theorist and the founder of the African Heritage Studies Association).

    This great man of antiquity, founder of the Ethiopian Research Council, the forerunner of Ethiopian Studies, and genuine friends of African students, died without getting his due recognition from Howard or elsewhere. In fact, it was close to his time of death that he got a few recognitions in his country. His great accomplishments were duly recognized in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia and Nigeria. To this date, no building or sections of building has been named after him at Howard. This is in contrast to former prominent professors of Howard, such as Alain Locke.

    Conceptualizing, writing and teaching what Leo Hansberry calls pre-European History of Africa and Africana Studies at a time of open denial and advancement of notion of African inferiority will always remain as his great legacy. In fact, I like to argue that William Leo Hansberry might have been the person who coined the word Africana. One of the most comprehensive outlines he prepared is entitled “Africana and Africa’s Past” and published by John Doe and Company of New York in 1960.

    (Photo of William Leo Hansberry)

    The term eventually became a useful conceptual word for interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies in the field of Africana Studies, that is, the study of the peoples and experiences of Africa, African America, the Caribbean as well as the Black Atlantic by gathering and interpreting data obtained from a range of disciplines, such as History, Political Science, Archaeology, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Literature and Biology. My department is named Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University with interdisciplinary focus on Africa, African America and the Caribbean. Until very recently, Africana Center was the only center that has used the term Africana. Now institutions like Harvard and others have adopted the conceptual word. The purpose of this paper is to revisit the approaches and writings of William Leo Hansberry on History of Africa as well as Africana Studies in light of the findings of the last forty years.

    Claims made by Leo Hansberry, such as the African origin of human beings, the migrations of human beings out of Africa to populate the world, the link between the peoples and civilizations of Egypt, Nubia and Alpine Ethiopia, the civilizations of Western Sudan in medieval times, are no longer in dispute. Several archaeological and archival findings have confirmed his claims. Lucy or Dinqnesh, the 3.1 million years old human-like species, currently touring the major cities of the United States, is major evidence affirming Africa’s place as a cradle of human beings.

    The intervention of enslavement and massive economic activities associated with it suppressed, distorted or destroyed much of the facts and histories of Africa. Hansberry and his associates argued tirelessly and fearlessly, in spite of academic ostracism and harassment, to research, construct and teach African history. The publication of UNESCO History of Africa in 8 volumes and the establishment of Departments of History and Africana Studies in the United States, Europe and Africa, particularly in the 1960s, are clear evidence of the correctness and rightness of Hansberry’s approach to history. Hansberry’s diligent and determined search for Africana Antiqua is rooted in his now famous proposition: “It was, in the main, the ruin which followed in the wake of Arab and Berber slave trade in the late Middle Ages and the havoc was wrought by the European slave trade in more recent times that brought about the decline and fall of civilization in most of these early African states.”

    He then framed his argument for persuasion in the following manner: “On the strength of the now available information about ancient and medieval Africa, together with the published reports relating to the continent in Stone Age times, it is now certain that Africa has been, throughout the ages, the seat of a great succession of cultures and civilizations which were comparable in most respects and superior in some aspects to the cultures and civilizations in other parts of the world during the same period.” In fact, it is time for Oxford, Harvard and University of Chicago to posthumously award him an honorary doctorate degree.

    Leo Hansberry did graduate work at Oxford, Harvard and Chicago Universities and yet none of them were prepared to award him with a PhD degree. His intellectual strategy to dismantle the lingering impact of enslavement by researching and teaching about ancient African civilizations was challenged aggressively, both from within and from without throughout his academic career at Howard University. He taught for over forty years at Howard University in the history department. Thousands of students took his African history courses, and yet his title did not go beyond an instructor.

    In the absence of promotion and grants, he persisted in teaching and researching Africa in antiquity. He was denied a grant from the Rosenwald Fund and his Rockefeller grant was terminated while he was studying at Oxford University. He did manage to get a Fulbright scholarship that allowed him to visit sites of antiquities in Africa. Throughout his ordeals, his source of great strength was his wife, Myrtle Kalso Hansberry, who not only supported him, but she also collaborated in his research by serving as “his research assistant, translator, grammarian, and counselor.” In addition, she taught for many years in the Public School System of the District of Columbia. At present, his two daughters are the custodians of his writings and manuscripts. It is my hope that they will be able to find an appropriate institution to house his works.

    Leo Hansberry was born in 1894 in Mississippi. His father taught history at Alcorn College, a historically Black Institution of Higher Learning. No information is provided on his mother. His early years (1894-1916) coincided with era of Jim Crow, Negrophobia, and constitutional disenfranchisement of the vast majority of African Americans. He was also exposed at the same time to a tradition of resistance and Black Nationalism. Leo Hansberry, however, came from a family with rich intellectual tradition, including his niece, Loraine Hansberry, the great playwright and author of a Broadway play A Raising in the Sun. His parents, both educators, nurtured him with self-pride and self-worth so as to instill in him a desire to pursue a pioneering academic field with a persistent focus on Africana Studies and history of Africa, particularly ancient Africa.

    (Photo of Playwright and author Loraine Hansberry, Leo Hansberry’s niece)

    Leo Hansberry inherited his father’s library, for his father died while he was young. Home schooling (long before it became a common practice in the United States) might have been the reason behind his confidence and determination to pursue “Africana Antiqua” in his own terms. His father’s library served him as a source what John Henrik Clarke, his former student, calls ‘more and more information’ on Africa. According to Kwame Wes Alford, a major breakthrough in his search for Africa took place after he read W.E.B.DuBois’s book The Negro (1915). The book provided him with ‘more information’ on African long history, cultures and civilizations. The book freed him from a state of psychological bondage. Later in his academic career, he became an important source of information on African history to W.E.B. Dubois.

    Leo Hansberry studied at Harvard University from 1916 to 1920. It was during this period that he read all the books suggested by DuBois’s reading list. He got his masters at Harvard, but left Harvard before earning a PhD degree.

    By 1920, Hansberry recognized the conceptual importance of interdisciplinarity, the cross-discipline approach to a field of study, and, in fact, became the first African American scholar to establish African Studies in the United States. In 1922, he actually became the first scholar to develop and teach courses in African history at Howard University. African history was not offered in any of the American universities at that time.

    Hansberry had meaningful relationships with WEB DuBois, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the founder of the United Negro Improvement Association, James Weldon Johnson, the author of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ Carter G. Woodson, the author of The Miseducation of the Negro and Frank Snowden, the author of Blacks in Antiquity.

    “Hansberry led the African American and Diaspora contingent in support of Ethiopia as president of the Ethiopian Research Council (ERC) during the Italo-Ethiopian War.” ERC is a forerunner of Ethiopian Studies. His vision of broader conception of the field, however, was not pursued when the field is established in Ethiopia. The field is defined by focusing on not only alpine Ethiopia, but also on the history and cultures of northern Ethiopia. Southern Ethiopia and the histories and cultures of the vast majority of the people of Ethiopia did not get immediate attention. Furthermore, the idea of Ethiopia is a global idea informed by histories and mythologies of ancient Africa. In other words, the idea and practice of Ethiopia should be broadened in order to integrate the multiple dimensions of Ethiopia in time and place.

    Leo Hansberry writes with such simplicity and clarity, it is indeed a treat to read his treatises. The renowned Egyptologist W.F. Albright of Johns Hopkins University noted the considerable writing skill of Hansberry. He acknowledged the “vivid style and clearness and cogency” of Hansberry’s writing.

    Leo Hansberry counseled and assisted African students for 13 years at Howard University. Among the students who took his class was Nnamide Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria. He was also a good friend of Kwame Nkrumah, the first prime minister of Ghana. Hansberry was instrumental “in founding the All African Students Union of the Americas in the mid-1950s.” “With William Steen and the late Henrietta Van Noy, he co-founded in 1953 the Institute of African-American Relations, now the African-American Institute” with its headquarter in New York City. According to Smyke, Hansberry was also the “prime mover in the establishment of an Africa House for students in Washington.”

    (Photo: Nnamide Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria, was one of Leo Hansberry’s African students)

    In 1960 his former student Dr. Azikiwe, the first elected president of Nigeria, conferred on him the University of Nigeria’s second honorary degree, and at the same time inaugurated the Hansberry School of Africana Studies at the University. In 1964 Hansberry was selected by the Emperor Haile Selassie Trust to receive their first prize for original work in African History, Archaeology, and Anthropology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    In 1963, Hansberry gave a series of lectures in the University of Nigeria at Hansberry College of African Studies, Nsukka Campus. His main topic was “Ancient Kush and Old Ethiopia.” He described it as “a synoptic and pictorial survey of some notable peoples, cultures, kingdom and empires which flourished in the tropical areas of Nilotic Africa in historical antiquity.”

    With regard to his sources, he used the English translations of Egyptian, Assyrian, Nubian and Ethiopian manuscript documents and inscriptions. He cited Breasted’s Records of Ancient Egypt; Luckenbill’s Assyrian Records; Budge’s Annals of Nubian Kings; and Budge’s History of Nubia, Ethiopia and Abyssinia. The Classical references are to be found in various modern editions of the authors mentioned. Access to archaeological reports may be found in the great national and larger university libraries. For the introduction to the history of ancient Nubia, A.J. Arkell’s History of the Ancient Sudan may be read with considerable profit.

    His subtopics were Cultural and Political Entities (The peoples and cultures of Lower Nubia, 3000 -1600 BCE ; Kerma Kushites of Middle Nubia, 2500 – 1500 BCE; Kushite kingdoms of Napata and Meroe in Lower Middle and Upper Nubia, 1400 BCE – 350 CE; Peoples and cultures of the Land of Punt (Eritrea and the Somalilands), 3000 BCE – 350 CE; The Ethiopian (‘Abyssinian’) kingdom of Sheba (according to the Kebra Nagast), 1400 to 100 BCE; and the Ethiopian Empire of Aksum, 100 BCE to 600 CE. These geographical and historical designations have been conformed by a series of archeological studies in the last fifty years. It is also clear from this important chronology that Ethiopia is a term used by both Nubia and present-day Ethiopia.

    In his sub-topic II, he outlined, in greater detail, some notable primary sources of information.

    1. Egyptian traditions concerning Punt or Ethiopia as the original homeland of Egypt’s most ancient peoples and their culture.

    2. Kushite traditions (as recorded by Diodorus Siculus) to the effect that Egypt was ‘at the beginning of the world’ nothing but a vast swamp and remained such until it was transformed into dry land by alluvium brought down from the land of Kush by the River Nile.

    3. Kushite traditions (as recorded by Diodorus Siculus) to the effect that earliest ‘civilized’ inhabitants of Egypt and the basic elements of their civilization were derived from a common ancestral stock.

    4. Genesaical traditions (Genesis X) to the effect that the Ancient Kushites and the Ancient Egyptians were derived from a common ancestral stock.

    5. Egyptian historical records detailing numerous peaceful commercial missions from Egypt to Kushite countries and the Land of Punt for the purpose of procuring many valuable and useful products which were lacking in Egypt but abundant in ‘the good lands of the south.’

    6. Egyptian inscriptions on stone and other types of written records commemorating defensive and offensive efforts of various pharaohs to the safeguard Egypt from military attacks and invasions by Kushites pushing up from the South.

    7. Biblical and Rabbinical traditions, and the testimony of Flavius Josephus concerning the relationships of Moses, the great Hebrew lawgiver, with the Ancient Kushites.

    8. The surviving annals of Nubian kings on the Kushite conquest of and relationships with, Egypt in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE; notably: -

    a. Piankhy’s Conquest Stele
    b. The inscriptions of king Taharka
    c. The Memphite stele of King Shabaka
    d. Tanutamen’s reconquest stele

    9. Biblical, Assyrian and Classical (Greek and Roman) historical references and traditions concerning the national and international activities of Kushites kings of the 8th and 7th centuries BCE.

    10. Surviving Nubian Annals on the careers of Kushite kings who flourished between the 7th century BCE and the 6th century CE, notably: -

    a. Inscriptions of Aspalta – 6th century BCE
    b. Stele of Harsiotef – 4th century BCE
    c. Stele of Nastasen – 4th century BCE
    d. Inscriptions of Netekaman and Amantere – 1st century BCE
    e. Stele of Amenrenas – 1st century BCE
    f. Stele of Teqerizemani – 2nd century CE
    g. Stele of Silko – 6th century CE

    11. Myths, legends, traditions and historical reference relating to peoples and cultures of Ancient Kush and Old Ethiopia which are preserved in the surviving writings of Classical (Greek and Roman) poets, geographers and historians; notably: -

    a. Homeric and Hesiodic traditions concerning the ‘blameless Ethiopians.’
    b. Arctinus of Miletus and Quintus of Smyrna on the exploits of ‘Memnon Prince of Ethiopia’ in the Trojan War.
    c. Classical traditions (as preserved in Ovid’s Metamorphoses) concerning the unusual misfortunes of Cephus, the king, and Cassiopeia, the queen, of Old Ethiopia, and the extraordinary experiences of their daughter, the princes Andromeda.
    d. Herodotus, ‘the father of history’, on the ill-fated attempt of Cambyses, king of Persia, to invade the homeland of the Ancient Kushites.
    e. Stories of Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus concerning the mutiny of the mercenaries in the Egyptian army and their enrollment in the military service of the King of Kush.
    f. Heliodorous’s Aethiopica on the disastrous attempt of a Persian governor of Egypt to seize emerald mines belonging to the Kushite domain.
    g. The alleged visit of Alexander of Macedon to ‘Candace, Queen of Kush’ according to the remarkable (but no doubt apocryphal) story preserved in the Romance of Alexander the Great, which is attributed, perhaps without foundation, to Callisthenes of Olynthus.
    h. Diodorus Siculus’ account of the attempted religious and political reforms of Ergamenes, king of Kush in circa 225 BCE.
    i. Plutarch and Dion Cassius on the friendly relationships between Cleopatra and the Queen of Kush.
    j. Strabo, Pliny the Elder, etc., on a. the invasion and defeat of the Romans in Upper Egypt by the queen of Kush; and b. the subsequent defeat of the Kushite queen and the invasion of her country by a Roman Army.
    k. Numerous Greek and Latin references to the unstable political and military relationships between the Kushites and the Roman and Byzantine overlords of Egypt during the period between the 1st and 6th century CE.
    l. John of Ephesus on the circumstances under which Christianity became the State religion of Nubia towards the middle of the 6th century CE.

    12. The Kebra Nagast and the Book of Aksum on the traditional history of Ethiopia from the 14th century BCE until the 4th century CE.

    13. Ethiopian traditions concerning Queen Makeda (c. 1005 – c.955 BCE) who is generally believed by the Ethiopians, and by many others, to have been ‘the Queen of Sheba’ of Biblical renown.

    14. The text of a long historical inscription – commemorating the military exploits of a powerful, but unnamed Ethiopian warrior king – which was anciently inscribed on a great stele set up in the Ethiopian seaport –city of Adulis where it was seen and copied by Cosmas Indicopleustes in c. 530 CE but which has since disappeared, and is now known to us only through Cosmas’ copy.

    15. Four long inscriptions on stone set up by the Aksumite king Ezana (c. 319 – c. 345 CE); the texts of three of these commemorate Ezana’s achievements while he was still a devotee of the ancestral religion, while the text of the fourth and last is an account of events which occurred after his acceptance of Christianity as the State religion of his empire.

    Here are some excerpts taken from Hansberry’s article on a history of Aksumite Ethiopia:

    “The ancient kingdom of Aksum, according to its own annals and other reliable testimony, transformed itself into a Christian state about the year A.D. 333, which was, it will be remembered, only about a decade after Christianity had been made the state religion of the Roman Empire.” (p. 3-4)

    “The present kingdom of Ethiopia is history’s second oldest Christian state. For several centuries after it became a Christian nation, the kingdom of Axum shared with the Byzantine Empire universal renown as one of the two most powerful Christian states of the age; and, of the Christian sovereigns of that period, none deserved and enjoyed more than certain Axumite kings, a wider reputation as Defenders of the Faith.” (p. 4)

    Although relationships between the Byzantine Empire and the Christian kingdoms of Ethiopian lands were rather close during the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries, the continued decline of European Civilization, as an aftermath of the barbarian invasions and the rise and expansion of Islam, put an end to such relationships for several hundred years.” (p. 4)

    “In the time of the Crusades, relationships between the Ethiopian Christians and the European brothers of the same faith were, however, revived, and considering the great distance which separated them – remained exceptionally close until well down into early modern times.” (p. 4)

    “During these centuries, the old kingdom of Aksum was more commonly known in European lands as the Empire of Prester John; and mutual intercourse between those widely separated parts of Christendom exercised a profoundly significant influence upon the course of world affairs that period. For it was out of European efforts, first, to re-establish, and then, to maintain, relationships with the Empire of Prester John, that arose those international developments which ultimately resulted in the discovery of America and the establishment of the ocean-route to Indies.” (p.4-5)

    “Toward the end of the 18th Century, Edward Gibbon declared that Ethiopia in the Middle Ages was ‘a hermit empire’ which ‘slept for a thousand years, forgetful of the world by which it was forgot.’ As the proceeding review indicates, it is now known that this point of view is widely at variance with the historical facts; but is it quite true that, despite the significant part that Ethiopia long has played in mankind’s stirring and storied past, the world at large, at least in our own times, is singularly unfamiliar with the history of that ancient land.” (p. 5)

    William Leo Hansberry’s life is a reflection of the struggle of African Americans to recover and reclaim their past. It is also an integral part of the rich intellectual tradition of the African Diaspora. It is a persistent attempt, in spite of the enormous difficulties, to construct and own one’s own historical memory. It is after all history that guides the present and the future. Hansberry charted a great tradition of intellectual discourse and community activism, which are still important attributes for the 21st century.

    —–
    Publisher’s Note: This article is well-referenced and those who seek the references should contact Professor Ayele Bekerie directly at: ab67@cornell.edu

    About the Author:
    Ayele Bekerie is an Associate Professor at the Department of History and Cultural Studies at Mekelle University. He was an Assistant Professor at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. Bekerie is a contributing author in the highly acclaimed book, “One House: The Battle of Adwa 1896 -100 Years.” He is also the author of the award-winning book “Ethiopic, An African Writing System: Its History and Principles” — among many other published works.

    Three Acts Win Big at the Grammys: Two Ethiopian-Americans seated among the stars

    Above: Wayna (pictured above) and Kenna are the two
    Ethiopian Americans who earned their seats as
    Nominees at the 51st annual Grammy Awards ceremony
    at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

    NYT
    By BEN SISARIO
    Published: February 8, 2009

    LOS ANGELES — At the 51st annual Grammy Awards ceremony, at Staples Center here on Sunday night, three disparate acts were in a close race, with hard-core rap, rock and an album of lush Americana vying for the top award.

    But it was Robert Plant and Alison Krauss who won album of the year — for a total of five awards — for “Raising Sand” (Rounder), their album of luxuriant renditions of old rockabilly and country songs as well as original material. Lil Wayne, the bawdy and gifted New Orleans rapper, had a total of three, including one for a four-way collaboration. The British rock band Coldplay also had three awards. Read More.

    Neo-soul singer from Bowie traded the West Wing for Grammys glory
    Wayna’s “Lovin You (Music)” is nominated for a Grammy for best urban/alternative performance.
    baltimoresun.com

    Wayna: A Soulful Diva in the Making
    By Tseday Alehegn
    Tadias Staff Writer

    New York (Tadias) – Friends and family may know Woyneab Miraf Wondwossen (Wayna) as the young University of Maryland alumna who double majored in English and Speech Communications, and went on to serve as one of the first Ethiopian American researchers at the White House under Former President Bill Clinton.

    Recently, however, Wayna has waded into new waters and is beginning to make a name for herself among America’s favorite musicians. She’s nominated for a Grammy.

    Wayna’s sophomore album Higher Ground, which propelled her to the prestigious nomination, was released in 2008. The new album, just like her debut CD Moments of Clarity, is an infectious blend of original songs that fuses soul, world, and hip hop sounds accompanied by lyrics on love, loss, faith and courage.

    “I’ve poured some of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn into these songs,” Wayna divulges. Music has always been one of Wayna’s deep-seated passions, and her most recent tunes echo her personal struggles, hopes and victories through her own unique and passionate voice. Asked how she views herself and her work, she replies, “I would define myself as an artist who is constantly growing and searching for new ways to express myself vocally, lyrically, and musically. I search for the feeling of losing myself in a song, to create timeless music that speaks to people’s hearts and conveys important messages.”

    Born in Ethiopia, Wayna immigrated with her family to the United States when she was just a toddler. As a young girl, she chased after her love of music by starring in popular musical theater productions like Annie, The Boyfriend, and Damn Yankees, as well as by touring with the children’s musical revue company Songs, Inc. Her college years continued to be a time of musical experimentation as she taught herself to play piano on the old Steinway in her dormitory. After being crowned Miss Black Unity of the University of Maryland and earning a one-year tuition scholarship, she went on to start a gospel quartet. The successful and talented quartet performed at the world renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, where they placed as finalist in the Amateur Night competition.

    Wayna soon received several opportunities to travel as a soloist with the gospel choir all the while unearthing her talent in singing. But it was after being invited to perform at her university’s annual tradition, A Tribute to African Women, that Wayna ended up writing the ballad that became her first original piece performed for an audience.

    “On that day,” she recalls, “music became more than a form of entertainment or a source of comfort to me. I began to see it as a tool to heal and inspire people, including myself.”

    Asked to identify her role models in the music world, Wayna chooses the colorful sounds of Chaka Khan, Donnie Hathaway, Billy Holiday, Stevie Wonder and the ’70s soul singer Minnie Riperton. She also enjoys listening to contemporary artists ranging from the soulful voices of D’Angelo and Jill Scott to emerging spoken word performer W. Ellington Felton.

    For her personal role models, Wayna selects her mom Tidenkialesh Emagnu and her late aunt Yeshi Immebet Imagnu.

    “It wasn’t always easy growing up as an Ethiopian-American, especially at the time I was coming of age,” she confesses. “Because there were far fewer of us here — far different from the experience Ethiopian teenagers have today.”

    Remembering the strength and encouragement her family gave her, Wayna recounts lessons she learned at a young age:

    “My aunt Yeshie Imagnu made it a point to teach me elements of our history and culture that weren’t obvious just by living in an Ethiopian home. And my mom, though she has resided in the U.S. for 25 years, is one of the truest representations of our culture that I’ve ever encountered,” she says with pride.

    Now that she is older, she says she wears her Ethiopian-ness like a badge of honor.

    “In fact, I’ve promised myself I will not go on stage unless I’m wearing at least one article of Ethiopian clothing or jewelry,” she adds. “It’s a symbol of who I am.”

    In the end, what Wayna teaches us all is far deeper than her lifelong love of song; she teaches us to excel in every aspect of our lives.

    “I would encourage Tadias readers to explore all their interests and talents — not just the ones that are validated by our community,” she says.

    “What do you wake up thinking about in the middle of the night? What did you love doing for hours on end as a child? Those things are our passions, and we owe it to ourselves and our creator to develop and share them with the world.”

    In short, she says, “There’s absolutely nothing we can’t do.”

    Tadias Magazine congratulates Wayna on her nomination.

    VIDEO: Watch Wayna’s debut video, “My Love”:

    You can purchase her new CD at Amazon.com

    Somali Militia Seizes Seat of Parliament as Ethiopia Withdraws

    Above: Gabre Yohannes Abate, the Ethiopian troop
    commander in Somalia watches during a farewell ceremony
    which took place in the presidential palace Tuesday Jan. 13,
    2009 .The commander of Ethiopian troops has formally handed
    over security of Somalia to joint force of Somali government
    security and militiamen from a faction of the country’s Islamists.
    (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)

    Bloomberg
    By Hamsa Omar
    Jan. 27

    An Islamist militia seized control of the Somali town of Baidoa, seat of the nation’s parliament, after Ethiopian forces withdrew from the country, a police official said.

    The al-Shabaab militia occupied the town, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of the capital, Mogadishu, yesterday morning, Colonel Amiin Mohamed, a police official, said by phone from Baidoa late yesterday. Al-Shabaab is a faction of the Islamic Courts Union.

    “The Islamists entered the town without much resistance and at the moment they control the town,” Mohamed said.

    Ethiopia’s Defense Ministry said yesterday it completed its withdrawal from Somalia, two years after invading its eastern neighbor to oust an Islamic Courts Union government that briefly controlled the country’s south. Read More.

    Ethiopia braces for wedding season

    Source: Xinhua

    Many newlyweds have their wedding ceremonies held in
    January or February known as the wedding season for its
    pleasant climate.


    People sing and dance at a park during a wedding ceremony in central Addis
    Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 24, 2009.


    Staff members of a wedding company dressed in religious costumes sing a
    song while beating the drum during a wedding ceremony at a park in central
    Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 24, 2009.


    Newlyweds (C, Upper) and a master of ceremonies join in chorus during a
    wedding ceremony at a park in central Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on
    Jan. 24, 2009.


    Newlyweds pose for photographs after their wedding ceremony at a park in
    central Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 24, 2009.


    A wedding ceremony is seen at a park in central Addis Ababa, capital of
    Ethiopia, on Jan. 24, 2009.


    Flower girls walk in front of a couple of newlyweds
    during a wedding ceremony at a park in central Addis
    Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 24, 2009.


    A musician plays the saxophone during a wedding ceremony at a park in
    central Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 24, 2009.


    A flower girl and a ring bearer walk in front of a
    couple of newlyweds during a wedding ceremony at
    a park in central Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia,
    on Jan. 24, 2009.

    Seattle woman’s tenacity builds clinic in Ethiopia

    Above: Selamawit Kifle, right, founded the Blue Nile Children’s
    Organization. At left is David Hornett, a board member.

    The Seattle Times

    By Jack Broom
    Seattle Times staff reporter

    A lot of people would have given up by now.

    Many would have surrendered to the hassles of coordinating a project 11 time zones from home, or been choked by the red tape of dealing with a foreign government.

    Still others would have succumbed to the difficulty of raising money for something most donors will never see.

    But Selamawit Kifle, a South Seattle woman who grew up in Ethiopia, does not give up.

    And because she does not, a clinic is rising from the red clay soil of her native land. Later this year, some of the poorest residents in one of the world’s poorest countries may be receiving treatment for malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, complications of HIV/AIDS and other ailments.

    “When I started, I had no idea what it would take,” said Kifle. “I just knew I had to help.”


    DAVID HORNETT / DAVID HORNETT

    Already, 63 Ethiopian orphans are receiving the basic necessities of life, along with school supplies and a chance at a better future, thanks to donors — nearly all in the Seattle area — who give $30 a month to sponsor a child through the Blue Nile Children’s Organization, which Kifle created in 2001.

    “She is a very quiet, unassuming woman, but she is just a lion in terms of what she can accomplish. It’s amazing,” said Deacon Mary Shehane of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, which made Blue Nile one of its “Church in the World Ministries.” Next month, St. Mark’s will host a dinner and auction for the group; a similar event last year raised $20,000 toward the clinic construction.

    The desperately poor Ethiopia which Kifle, 48, sees on her twice-yearly trips these days is not the country she remembers from childhood, when her upper-middle-class family had homes and property under Emperor Haile Selassie.

    But a Marxist military regime that toppled Selassie in 1974 confiscated privately held property, including her family’s. In subsequent years, thousands of people were killed or simply disappeared, including a teenage brother and sister of Kifle’s. “The government took them away and we never saw them again.”

    Kifle left Ethiopia in 1982 at age 22, following an older sister first to Germany and then to the United States.

    Thirteen years later, Kifle, who then operated an import-export company, made her first trip back to Ethiopia, and was heartbroken by the plight of the country’s children.

    “When you walk down the street, they follow you, begging for bread. If you go out early in the morning to church, you see them sleeping outside, piling up with each other to be warm,” she said. “I know I can’t help all of them, but if I can help even 100 kids, I’ll know I’ve done something.”

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 1 million children in Ethiopia alone have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic sweeping through sub-Saharan Africa, and that total is expected to rise.

    Setback alters goal: Read more at The Seattle Times.

    U.S. marshals still searching for Beruk Ayalneh in bank robbery plot

    Above: Yosef Tadale (left) and Yohannes Surafel (right) were
    arrested and charged with kidnapping, assault, and conspiracy
    to commit armed robbery after police say they held a family
    hostage.

    DC Examiner
    By Scott McCabe
    Examiner Staff Writer
    1/7/09

    U.S. marshals continue to hunt for a college student accused of abducting a Prince George’s County family in a failed bank robbery scheme last month.

    Authorities are asking for the public’s help in capturing Beruk Ayalneh, 24. Ayalneh was one of three men who allegedly broke into the home of an assistant bank manager last month and held the woman, her husband and two boys at gunpoint overnight. The other two suspects, Yosef Tadele, 23, of Silver Spring and Yohannes T. Surafel, 24, of the District remain behind bars on kidnapping, armed robbery and assault charges.

    Beruk Ayalneh

    Police say the trio’s plan was to keep the children, ages 8 and 11, as hostages and force the woman to take money from the SunTrust branch where she worked in Silver Spring. The father convinced the robbers to allow them to bring the children with them to the bank.

    But on the way, the father, James Spruill, foiled the plot after he saw a Maryland state trooper. Spruill began driving erratically until the trooper flashed on his cruiser’s emergency lights. Only one of the kidnappers, Surafel, was in the vehicle, but his gun was trained on the 11-year-old boy.

    When the trooper asked Spruill for his license, the father jumped at the gunman and pinned him down.

    U.S. marshals hope Ayalneh, who is a student at Howard University and has no criminal history, will surrender. Surafel has already tried to kill himself in a holding cell in the College Park barracks, police said.

    “[Ayalneh] is not a sophisticated criminal mastermind who’s well-schooled in running and hiding,” said Matthew Burke, supervisory inspector with the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. “We hope his inexperience will help us.”

    Ayalneh, who is a U.S. citizen of Ethiopian descent, is from the Northern Virginia area and has ties to D.C. and the Maryland suburbs. He is 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds.

    Anyone with information on Ayalneh’s whereabouts can call the U.S. Marshals Service at 301-489-1717 or 800-336-0102. Law enforcement authorities are offering a reward for information leading to Lee’s arrest.

    The Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, run by the U.S. Marshals Service, is composed of 28 federal, state and local agencies from Baltimore to Norfolk. The unit has captured 19,000 wanted fugitives since its creation in 2004.

    CNN VIDEO
    A bank robbery scheme was cut short by a quick-thinking family man. WJLA reports.


    Ethiopian American Researcher hopes to put fuel cells on the fast track

    Above: Left: Fuel cell pioneer Sossina Haile. Right: A stack
    of fuel cells created in Haile’s lab. (Photo courtesy
    Superprotonic, Inc.)

    NASA

    Written by Joshua Rodriguez/Global Climate Change

    The slow evolution of clean-energy solutions is about to kick into high gear, if Sossina M. Haile has anything to say about it. As a fuel cell researcher at the California Institute of Technology and a founding member of the company Superprotonic Inc., she hopes to make this “technology of the future” practical for today’s applications.

    Current fuel cell technology is hamstrung by impracticality. The most efficient and powerful fuel cells need large amounts of heat and space, whereas those suitable for smaller scale operation require lots of precious, expensive platinum. “If we converted every car in the U.S. to fuel cells, we’d need more platinum than there is in the proven reserves,” Haile says.

    Haile’s research, which initially began several years ago with fuel cell researchers at JPL, has led to breakthroughs in more “consumer-ready” fuel cell technology. She’s developed fuel cell systems that strike a balance between power and manageability –- perfect, she says, for standalone residential generators. Her team has worked hard to reduce the amount of platinum needed for each system.

    Haile’s team has also taken on one of the biggest roadblocks to widespread fuel cell use — their reliance on hydrogen as a primary fuel. Hydrogen requires lots of energy to extract and it’s difficult to store and distribute.


    Size comparison of a dime and a single fuel cell – the device pictured at
    the top of the page is a stack of these individual cells.

    In fact, Haile thinks that the verdict is still out on whether hydrogen “makes sense” as the fuel of the future. “When most people hear ‘fuel cells,’ they think hydrogen,” says Haile. “That’s a common misperception — fuel cells aren’t necessarily restricted to hydrogen.”

    Haile’s team has focused on developing fuel cells that can run on more traditional fuels, like ethanol or biomass, while also solving many of the problems of conventional hydrogen fuel cells.


    Zongping Shao, who is now a professor at
    Nanjing College of Chemistry in China,
    listens to an MP3 player being powered
    by two fuel cells.

    Fuel cells that use carbon-based fuels still produce carbon emissions, but at a much lower rate than their internal-combustion counterparts. Because fuel cells extract energy from electrochemical reactions instead of burning their fuel, they are much more efficient and environmentally friendly. “It’s a unique middle ground,” explains Haile — one she believes will speed the integration of these new technologies into the current energy infrastructure.

    For Haile, the incentive to design practical, unconventional fuel cells is simple: “Science should be in the service of society.” She thinks that fuel cells that can use renewable energy resources like biomass will help end what she calls she calls “drawing from the bank” — using fossil fuels as a source of energy.

    “There’s scientific proof that CO2 concentrations have been rising for decades to levels not felt on the Earth in millenia,” Haile says. “We need to have a diverse approach to solving the problem before it’s too late.”

    Americans are Adopting Fewer Orphans Overseas Except From Ethiopia

    New America Media
    Photo: carolinahopeadoption.org

    Shane Bauer

    Aug 26, 2008

    Editor’s note: Americans are adopting fewer orphans overseas except in one country: Ethiopia. But social workers are saying adoption is not the best solution to Ethiopia’s problems, reports NAM contributing writer, Shane Bauer. Bauer is a freelance journalist and photographer based in the Middle East and Africa.

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – On the outskirts of Addis Ababa a newly built orphanage called Rohobet is hidden among tin-roofed shacks on top of a eucalyptus and pine-covered hill. All around it, dirt roads are turned into muddy rivulets in the midday drizzle.

    The inside of the largely empty house has features that are distinctly un-Ethiopian. A large kitchen table and chairs — the eight children are to eat at a table rather than on the floor. Babies are fed by bottles and sleep in cribs, rather than the large pieces of cloths shaped into tiny hammocks that are the norm in most Ethiopian homes. When they travel, the smallest children sit in car seats. After leaving their home state of Oromo and coming to the orphanage, the children are being prepared for life in the United States.

    In the four months that the Rohobet orphanage has existed, it has had five children adopted through the Minnesota-based agency, Better Future Adoption. The director of Rohobet is a man I’ll call Tewodros since he asked not to be named for fear of reprisal from the government or the American adoption agency that funds his orphanage.

    He had the personality of a non-profit entrepreneur, with a big heart and a mind for expanding his business. His mission was clear: raise more money and have more children adopted. “We have enough orphans, just not enough money,” he said. Read More.

    Obama Beginning Search for VP Mate

    Above Photo: Senator Barack Obama with his wife, Michelle,
    on Tuesday at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. See story below.
    (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

    Obama beginning search for VP mate (MSNBC)

    WASHINGTON – Democratic officials say Barack Obama has begun a top-secret search for a running mate.

    Democratic officials said Thursday the party’s likely nominee has asked former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson to begin vetting potential vice presidential picks. Johnson did the same job for Democratic nominees John Kerry in 2004 and Walter Mondale in 1984. Read More.

    ——
    Obama Says Nomination ‘Within Reach’ (NYT)

    By ADAM NAGOURNEY and JEFF ZELENY

    Published: May 21, 2008

    DES MOINES — Senator Barack Obama took a big step toward becoming the Democratic presidential nominee on Tuesday, amassing enough additional delegates to claim an all but insurmountable advantage in his race against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    While Mrs. Clinton’s campaign continued to make a case that she could prevail, Mr. Obama used the results from Democratic contests in Kentucky and Oregon to move into a new phase of the campaign in which he will face different challenges. Those include bringing Mrs. Clinton’s supporters into his camp; winning over elements of the Democratic coalition like working-class whites, Hispanics and Jews; and fending off attacks from Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, especially on national security. Read More.

    HOT SHOTS FROM SEATTLE

    Above: Ethiopian-born Yaddi Bojia, member of the Crucialites reggae band, performing at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle, Washington.

    Band Members: Scott Mosher on lead vocals/hammond organ/electric piano/melodica, Yaddi Bojia (Also featured on the Art Talk section of Tadias Magazine) on vocals, Dan Meyers on guitar, Jordan Brant on bass, Dub Issachar on drums, Ricky Doxie on trombone, Tracy on Sax, Matt on Trumpet.

    Venue: Mural Ampitheater (305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109)

    Date: May 28th 2007

    Northwest Folklife Festal is dedicated to sharing the ethnic, traditional and folk arts of the cultures of the Pacific Northwest region.

    Learn more about the festival at nwfolklife.org

    folk7_new.jpg

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    Learn more about the band at myspace.com/thecrucialites

    Send your hot shots to hotshots@tadias.com

    From Addis to Seattle: Paintings of Yadessa Boja

    Born in Ethiopia, Yadesa, also known as Yaddi, immigrated to the United States in 1995. Yaddi showed an interest in art since his early childhood. Even though he does not remember when he started painting, as a sixth grader his school commissioned him to paint a mural.

    dreamer.jpg
    Above: Dreamer

    Yaddi’s first exposure and memories of art was as a child gazing at murals often found in Ethiopian Orthodox churches. These murals used line drawings filled with bold, vibrant colors.

    worshippers.jpg
    Above: Worshippers

    In Seattle, Yaddi studied art at Seattle Pacific University where he earned his Bachelors degree in Visual Communication. He also attended Seattle Central Community College and received an Associates of Art degree in Graphic Design.

    yaddi_layout.jpg

    Yaddi’s exposure to African Art and western art gives him a unique opportunity to understand their relationship as well as their differences. While studying art history Yaddi examined how every art genre and classification derived or inherited from each other, and the existence of one was based on the existence of the other. He also examined the influence of African art on western art and vice versa.

    madonna.jpg
    Above: Madonna

    Yaddi believes his work is a byproduct of the cultural diversity he enjoyed while living in Addis Ababa and Seattle. In his work he tries to capture the life of those who are ‘invisible’ to the mainstream, and he hopes that his work will become a tool for social change.

    prisoners_of_heaven.jpg
    Above: Prisoners of Haven

    —-
    To contact the artist please write to: YADESA BOJIA, 13745 34th Ave. S. Tukwila, WA 98168 Tel: 206-501-9958

    COVID-19: Africa’s Case-fatality Ratio 2.7%

    Ethiopia, Tunisia, Kenya, South Africa and Libya are the countries that reported the highest number of new cases, says Africa CDC. (Photo: In Ethiopia religious leaders receiving COVID-19 vaccine on April 9th, 2021/shared via Twitter MoH ETHIOPIA @FMoHealth)

    Anadolu Agency

    By Addis Getachew

    114,000 deaths recorded out of 4.3M confirmed cases, says Africa CDC

    ADDIS ABABA – Africa’s COVID-19 case-fatality ratio is 2.7%, more than the global average of 2.2%, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Thursday.

    In a weekly press briefing held virtually, Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong said 114,000 COVID-19 patients have died, while more than 4.3 million cases have been registered across the continent – 3.3% of the total cases globally.

    The number of recoveries stands at 3.8 million – 90% of the overall infections, he said, adding that more than 41 million tests have been conducted to date.

    Sharing the trends, Nkengasong said Africa in the past week saw 80,000 new cases, a 4% increase compared to the previous week.

    Ethiopia, Tunisia, Kenya, South Africa and Libya are the countries that reported the highest number of new cases, he said.

    He said 19 countries are reporting the presence of the B.1.1.7, commonly known as the UK or Kent COVID-19 variant, while 18 states have confirmed the B.1.351, or the South African strain of coronavirus.

    Regarding vaccination, he said a total of 33.8 million vaccine doses have been acquired by member states, with approximately 12.9 million doses administered. “As of today, 31 members have received their consignment of COVID vaccines from the [WHO-led] COVAX facility – over 16 million doses.”

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    ART TALK: Julie Mehretu – A Decade of Printmaking at Gemini G.E.L. in NYC

    Julie Mehretu’s engagement with the Gemini workshop began with a small drypoint etching created in 2008 to raise funds for Senator Obama’s presidential campaign. Aptly titled Amulets – a good luck charm for the Senator - that print, along with another small-scale print benefitting the Guggenheim Museum published 2010, were Mehretu and Gemini’s equivalence of a “courtship.” (Photograph by Case Hudson)

    Press Release

    Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl is pleased to present Julie Mehretu: A Decade of Printmaking at Gemini G.E.L. on view March 25th through July 30th, 2021. This survey presents every edition that Mehretu has created in collaboration with Gemini G.E.L., the renowned artists’ workshop and creator of fine-art limited edition prints. The exhibition coincides with Mehretu’s mid-career retrospective on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which was previously shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and The High Museum in Atlanta.

    Mehretu’s engagement with the Gemini workshop began with a small drypoint etching created in 2008 to raise funds for Senator Obama’s presidential campaign. Aptly titled Amulets – a good luck charm for the Senator – that print, along with another small-scale print benefitting the Guggenheim Museum published 2010, were Mehretu and Gemini’s equivalence of a “courtship.” Ever since, the artist has challenged the technical and visual limits of the workshop, with three monumental bodies of work. This exhibition provides a comprehensive look at Mehretu’s evolution as a dedicated and skilled printmaker, featuring Auguries and Myriads, Only By Dark, where the deconstruction of architectural imagery, maps, and diagrams are layered with abstract signs and symbols, and concluding with her latest series, Six Bardos, which utilizes layers of calligraphic marks, political graffiti, and colorful abstract forms.

    Scholars have noted Mehretu’s longstanding engagement with printmaking, most recently by Leslie Jones, Curator of Prints and Drawings at LACMA, in the catalogue accompanying Mehretu’s retrospective. Jones contends that since Mehretu’s early years in graduate school at RISD, intaglio printmaking has informed the line quality present in her paintings. Oftentimes prints by artists are treated as somehow separate from the rest of the artist’s unique output; this is not the case with Julie Mehretu. Printmaking informs her paintings and the paintings inform her printmaking in a reciprocal and intertwined manner – explicitly in the use of screenprinting in her paintings, and implicitly in the way that printmaking forces a slowed-down deliberation and dissection of the personal mark-making for which Mehretu is celebrated. Mehretu states, “[it’s] in the printmaking that new things are invented, which I then want to bring into the painting and drawing,” and her insistence that her prints are included her many gallery and museum exhibitions is proof of this seamlessness. The technical parallels between constructing an image in layers, as is necessary with printmaking, and the way that Mehretu builds her paintings through a stratum of imagery that is blurred and transformed, underscores the symbiotic relationship between the two mediums.

    Mehretu’s paintings are usually large scale, but all her prints up until Auguries in 2010 were modestly sized. In working with Gemini, she knew she wanted to make a massive etching. The solution to the technical difficulty of producing such a scale was worked out with Case Hudson, Gemini’s Masterprinter, and Auguries measures 7 x 15 feet in twelve panels, hung in a grid. The title alludes to the ancient Roman practice of interpreting omens from the study of avian flight patterns, and that reference is supported by the imagery – the dashes and daubs of spit-bite aquatint marks layered upon sweeping multi colored lines. Auguries, in its scale and visual complexity, cemented printmaking as an essential medium in Mehetu’s oeuvre. As Leslie Jones notes, “while references to architecture rarely appear in her prints, it is notable that diagrams – graphic renderings – form the basis of her paintings, while gestural marks – the language of painting – predominate in her prints. Mehretu’s printerly paintings and painterly prints suggest the intermediary nature of her practice overall.”

    Mehretu’s second large-scale project with Gemini, Myriads, Only By Dark (2014), is comprised of four 81×45-inch panels, each with three sections of embossments determined by the size of the copper plates. Originally conceived when press-bed limitations necessitated the abutting of separate sheets to achieve the desired large scale (as was the case with Auguries), the workshop acquired a larger press which would eliminate any divisions. Nevertheless, Mehretu elected to maintain the aesthetic of the division, even emphasizing it with thin white embossments to evoke the kinds of folds found in an oversized map. All of the imagery – except for the portion that was spit-bite directly onto the copper plates – was created on tall sheets of Mylar. The color lines, created using Adobe Illustrator, came first, and guided the artist as she painted imagery on subsequent Mylars. The inking of the lines is “à la poupée,” in which multiple ink colors are hand-applied and blended on one plate to create a multicolor appearance within a single etched line, and the other imagery is printed in a range of silver, gray and black inks. Mehretu employed a variety of drawing techniques, including airbrush and transfers from the patterning of paper toweling which suggest a newsprint imagepixilation. The handprints and even some of the graphic “swipes” that are apparent on several of the panels are the result of Mehretu dipping her hands and forearm in India ink.

    The mark-making is loose, dynamic, and dense with layers obscuring each other, evoking “primordial expression.” Jones argues that the verticality of Myriads is reminiscent of portraiture, which is further suggested by the title, (unfolding body map), of the left-most panel. Reading Myriads as progressing from left to right, an expansion and contraction culminates in the central white voided shape in (origin). Mehretu has continuously explored her own identity, migration, and ancestral/political connections to geography as an Ethiopian American through repetitive mark-making and profound use of erasure.

    Following a small etching, Haka, donated to President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, in 2014 and 2015 Mehretu and Gemini were asked once again to contribute editions, and examples of these are include in the exhibition. One, titled vertiginous fold, was given to FAPE for distribution to US Embassies worldwide, and one, titled Achille (epoch) benefitted Studio in a School, a visual arts organization partnering with public schools in the New York area. Complex and rich in their appearance, both measure 33×47 inches – a scale manageable for these two beneficiaries.

    In 2017, continuing her desire to challenge herself and the Gemini workshop, Mehretu embarked on her most recent series of large-scale prints, Six Bardos. Influenced by a trip to the Mogao Caves in the Gobi desert, the title comes from the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy of the transition of consciousness from life to death. The titles of the six individual works, which follow the sequence of the Bardos, further the theme of migration and transformation present throughout Mehretu’s work. The prints are multi-colored aquatints, sometimes with as many as 31 different colors. Ink was applied “a la poupée”, requiring Gemini’s printers to reference a Mylar key that dictated the location of different colors on a single copper plate. Instead of printing by color separation, the colors are lightly dabbed onto the plate, resulting in a gradient of colors that blend the lines in a manner seemingly impossible in an aquatint. This extraordinarily complex technique, again overseen by Case Hudson, took three years to develop and complete. While four works from this series are comparatively modest in their scale (50×73 inches), two prints, Luminous Appearance and Transmigration are once again monumental, this time consisting of two abutting panels for a final dimension of over 8×6-feet. The profusion of colors and the mark-making has noticeably shifted in appearance from her prior projects, this time without the strict lines present in Myriads and Auguries to anchor the gestural strokes. The lines scribble and scrawl, forming recognizable shapes that dissolve, evoking stenciled graffiti on urban walls, sections of which appear to be partially wiped away, with marks that stubbornly refuse to be fully erased. Their immense visual complexity, as with all of Mehretu’s work, requires time to fully contemplate and comprehend. This process of looking, where the forms and ideas emerge slowly over time, creates a new kind of space for thinking about the possibilities of printmaking.

    More info at WWW.JONIWEYL.COM.

    Related:

    ART TALK: Julie Mehretu Makes Art Big Enough to Get Lost In

    Julie Mehretu’s Mid-Career Survey at LA County Museum of Art

    Julie Mehretu’s Mid-Career Survey To Open at LACMA

    Julie Mehretu at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), November 3, 2019 – March 22, 2020 (Level 1) and May 17, 2020 (Level 3)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Vogue: Liya Kebede & Her Daughter Bring A Touch Of Ethiopia’s Artisanship To H&M

    Liya Kebede says working with her daughter was wonderfully emotional and a proud moment in her career. (Vogue)

    Vogue

    Liya Kebede & Her Daughter Bring A Touch Of Ethiopia’s Artisanship To H&M

    Liya Kebede has been quietly working to preserve the art of weaving in her native Ethiopia since she founded her artisanal brand Lemlem, which means “to bloom” and “flourish” in Amharic, in 2007. By employing traditional weavers and breaking their cycle of poverty – the once thriving industry creating custom habesha kemis garments suffered as young Africans turned to modern imported fashion – Kebede has reinvigorated a community, and kept an important element of the culture of Addis Ababa, where she was born.


    Kebede is working with H&M on ways the high-street giant can benefit the Lemlem Foundation. Community is at the core of Lemlem and it was crucial that this was reflected in the H&M collaboration. (Vogue

    The UN ambassador and maternal health advocate’s craft-focused business model can be seen as a lesson in sustainability – one that is spoken about less frequently than eco-friendly textile innovations and circularity initiatives. “Lemlem is about the human element of sustainability,” explains Kebede over Zoom, still as radiant as when she started modelling at the age of 18. “In philanthropy, there’s always this issue of making something sustainable. For me, enabling and educating people, giving them jobs and making them independent is a sustainable way of doing aid.”

    The work of the Lemlem Foundation, which runs in tandem with the clothing brand and connects female artisans in Africa to healthcare, education and jobs, struck a chord with H&M, a pioneer in the high-street sustainable fashion movement. When the Swedish fast-fashion giant invited Kebede to design a capsule collection, she didn’t balk at the prospect, but saw it as an opportunity to spread the word about Lemlem’s mission. “The idea of H&M collaborating with a brand like ours, which is very much based on sustainability, brings that kind of awareness to their customers,” Kebede explains of H&M’s mammoth outreach. “I think that’s really important and great to be a part of.”


    Effortless-yet-elegant is the style takeaway from the edit. Jewellery is to be worn stacked and passed down through generations. (Vogue)

    After deciding that the shipping of fabrics back and forth between Ethiopia and Europe would pose major carbon footprint issues and that the quantity of stock would overwhelm Lemlem’s weavers, Kebede agreed to create a line of effortless daywear in the spirit of Lemlem’s archive, but made in Europe. Sustainably sourced organic cotton and linen and recycled polyester were selected to give the same texture as Lemlem’s artisanal pieces, while the joyful mood of the striped beachwear and breezy separates emulates the brand’s signature colourful aesthetic. “I love the whole energy of layering and everything sort of going with each other, even though it’s not the same,” says Kebede, who has been living in the samples.

    Jewellery, a new category for Lemlem and one Kebede is thrilled to experiment with, comes in the form of stacking trinkets made from recycled zinc, among other materials. It’s designed, like the rest of the sunny edit, to be passed down from generation to generation, and Kebede chose her daughter Raee to star in the lookbook with her – an experience she describes as emotional. “These classic pieces are wonderful items that you can always wear forever,” she says of the seasonless Lemlem ethos she extended to H&M.

    Raee, who loves the sustainable Lemlem X H&M crop tops and swimwear, and her friends, who mostly shop vintage, are indicative of the shift in consciousness around fashion’s negative impact on the environment. Kebede, who says there were no conversations around sustainability when she began modelling, is buoyed by this. “When people first started talking about it, everybody said, ‘If I make [clothing] sustainable, I’m going to be limited, so I won’t be able to make it as gorgeous as I want.’ Now that has completely changed,” she asserts. The healthy food movement, she believes, is helpful at illustrating this: organic food was once conceived as good for you, but lacking in flavour. Now, it is widely-accepted. With change-makers like Kebede spreading the message about quality, beautiful and ethical fashion, sustainability is firmly on the menu.

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    Liya Kebede, who oversaw every finish, has been living in the samples since developing the collection. (Vogue)

    Shop Lemlem x H&M, which is priced from £7.99 to £39.99, from 22 April. As part of the collaboration H&M has made a donation to the Lemlem Foundation to bolster its important work.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Science: Meet the Newly Discovered Chameleon in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains

    The newly discovered Ethiopian chameleon "lives in bushes and small trees, often at the edges of the forest in the Bale Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot that’s also home to the endemic Ethiopian wolf as well as lions, leopards and warthogs," according to the U.S.-based non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform Mongabay. (Photo from Koppetsch et al 2021)

    Mongabay

    Spiny new chameleon species described from Bale Mountains of Ethiopia

    Researchers have described a new chameleon species from the Bale Mountains of south-central Ethiopia and say it’s likely that more will emerge.

    Wolfgang Böhme’s Ethiopian chameleon is around 15 centimeters (6 inches) long and has a distinct crest of large spiny scales along its back and tail.

    It lives in bushes and small trees, often at the edges of the forest in the Bale Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot that’s also home to the endemic Ethiopian wolf as well as lions, leopards and warthogs.

    The conservation status of the new chameleon is unknown, but due to its small distribution range and human-caused habitat disturbance and agriculture in the area, it is likely that it will be classified as threatened.

    Named Wolfgang Böhme’s Ethiopian chameleon (Trioceros wolfgangboehmei), in honor of the senior herpetologist at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZMFK) in Bonn, Germany, the chameleon is around 15 centimeters (6 inches) long and has a distinctive crest of large spiny scales along its back and tail. The species has been described in the journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.

    Researchers uncovered the new reptile while examining variations in Ethiopian chameleons (Trioceros affinis). After careful study of the internal and external features of both preserved and wild chameleons, researchers decided there were enough differences to warrant a new species.

    The researchers suggest that the Ethiopian chameleon be considered a species complex, a group with an unknown number of species, rather than a single species. They expect more species to be described from the group.

    “Given the variation in colour patterns and morphology between different populations of these chameleons in Ethiopia, it is likely that these groups still bear a higher hidden diversity than expected, which might be revealed by further ongoing investigations,” said Thore Koppetsch, a zoologist from the ZMFK who was part of the team that described the species.


    The new Ethiopian chameleon, Trioceros wolfgangboehmei, in muted tone. Chameleons can change the arrangement of specialized skin cell to blend in with their surroundings. (Photo from Koppetsch et al. CC-BY 4.0)

    Wolfgang Böhme’s Ethiopian chameleons live in bushes and small trees, often at the edges of the forest in the Bale Mountains, 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level. Many of Ethiopia’s endemic animals are found in the Bale Mountains, including the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). The area is also home to lions, leopards, warthogs, and many other endemic reptiles.

    “Although the region from which the new chameleon is known from, the Bale Mountains, can be considered as a hotspot of species diversity and a center of endemism,” Koppetsch said, “it is quite astonishing to find an unknown chameleon in this region since two chameleon species endemic to this area are already known.”

    The conservation status of the new chameleon is unknown, Koppetsch says, but due to its small distribution range and human-caused habitat disturbance and agriculture in the area, it is likely that it will be classified as threatened with extinction.


    Head details of Trioceros wolfgangboehmei. (Photo from Koppetsch et al 2021. CC-BY 4.0)

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    Fashion Spotlight: AMSALE Unveils Archive Collection Spring 2022

    Founded by Amsale Aberra and Neil Brown, The Amsale Group is one of the world’s leading luxury bridal houses, and widely credited as the inventor of the modern wedding dress. (Photo: Courtesy of Amsale)

    Press Release

    AMSALE RELEASES AMSALE ARCHIVE, A REVIVAL COLLECTION THAT PAYS HOMAGE TO ITS DESIGN DNA, DURING BRIDAL FASHION WEEK

    NEW YORK — Luxury bridal fashion house AMSALE today unveiled the AMSALE Archive collection, a revival of five iconic gowns from the past three decades that embody the unique brand DNA established by its late founder, Amsale Aberra, the first Black female member of the Council of Fashion Designers, widely credited as the inventor of the modern wedding dress. The collection is one of storytelling and showcasing the history of AMSALE, but it’s also about writing the future—a future that prioritizes equality in the fashion industry. A portion of proceeds from each archival gown will go toward the Amsale Aspire Initiative at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Launching this spring, Amsale Aspire is a transformative program dedicated to eradicating racism in the fashion industry by providing scholarships and opportunities for Black students to develop entrepreneurial skills and build successful fashion careers.

    “The gowns selected for the Archive collection showcase Amsale’s true design philosophy and the power of her simplicity,” said Chief Creative Officer Sarah Swann. “Each tells a beautiful story of her craftsmanship and attention to a sole focal point.”

    The inaugural collection contains five gowns:

    A101

    As the singular dress with which Amsale launched her first collection three decades ago—and inspired by her own wedding gown—A101 is the icon of AMSALE. Tailored in the house’s signature Duchess satin fabric, the gown has a classic column silhouette and sheer illusion back, and a row of hand-rolled silk rosettes at the low back tops a dramatic pleated train.

    BLUE SASH

    A signature piece from Amsale’s Spring 2002 collection, this piece represents the ideal something blue. A clean, structured ballgown in lustrous Duchess satin with a drop waist bodice, the statement style has an oversized blue silk taffeta sash that trails down the voluminous skirt.

    HARBOR

    An icon from the Spring 2013 collection, Harbor features a wide diagonal band across the neckline that creates a one-shoulder cap sleeve, cutting a cool silhouette in silk radzimir. A signature structured bow above a sweeping train and an impeccably tailored fit-to-flare silhouette are nods to Amsale’s design ethos.

    LENOX

    Embellished by hand and made in AMSALE’s New York atelier, the Lenox gown, revived from the Spring 2014 collection, showcases the dedication to craft instilled by the label’s founder.
    Intricately hand beaded straps are the focal point, coming together to form a keyhole opening at the back. The silhouette is statuesque and structured in a soft silk magnolia.

    DEMI

    An effortless fit-to-flare from the Fall 2015 collection, Demi features a pretty peplum above a figure-flattering crepe skirt that drapes into a sleek train. The sheer illusion back—with a column of covered buttons down the middle—is made with a stretch tulle that molds beautifully to the body, a fabric development inspired by the original A101 style.

    “Each of these gowns is still mentioned today by our retail partners as iconic Amsale,” Swann said. AMSALE Archive is more than a seasonal collection; going forward, AMSALE will periodically re-introduce gowns from previous seasons in reaction to demand. With the launch of Amsale Aspire in partnership with the Social Justice Collaborative at FIT, this collection serves a broader purpose: The sale of each AMSALE Archive gown—whether purchased through a partner retailer, online or at the Madison Avenue salon—will be a step toward equality in the fashion industry.

    The collection was unveiled during Bridal Fashion Week through an impactful video celebrating the craftsmanship of the design house. Interweaving dramatic imagery of the iconic gowns inside the Manhattan atelier, where each piece is handmade, with archival footage of the late founder discussing her design philosophy, the film pays tribute to the past and looks toward the future of fashion.

    AMSALE Archive will be available in AMSALE’s Madison Avenue salon in late April. Chief Creative Officer Sarah Swann and CEO Neil Brown are available for virtual press appointments during Bridal Fashion Week beginning April 5; to set up an appointment, email fallon@amsale.com.

    About AMSALE

    Founded by Amsale Aberra and Neil Brown, The Amsale Group is one of the world’s leading luxury bridal houses, and widely credited as the inventor of the modern wedding dress. A Black-owned business headquartered in New Your City, with a salon on Madison Avenue, the collections including Amsale, Nouvelle Amsale, Amsale Bridesmaids, Little White Dress and Evening are carried in some of the finest bridal salons and specialty stores worldwide.

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    Spotlight: Scientist Sossina Haile Focuses on Social Good on a Global Scale

    Fuel cell pioneer Sossina Haile focuses on social good on a global scale. Born in Ethiopia, [Sossina’s] family fled the country in the ’70s after a military coup. They settled in Minnesota, and Haile went on to earn academic degrees in materials science and engineering on both coasts, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley.(Northwestern Magazine)

    Northwestern Magazine

    Basic Science Leads to Sustainable Solutions

    Materials scientist and engineer Sossina Haile couldn’t have predicted that the cost of solar and wind energy would plummet in recent years, or that places like California would start paying customers to take electricity because their supply outstripped demand. But once those things happened, she had a solution.

    Haile’s team developed a way to convert electricity into hydrogen, store it and convert it back to electricity when more is needed. This breakthrough offers a way to rebalance, and even stabilize, the U.S. energy grid.

    “That’s the benefit of doing work on fundamental materials,” says Haile, a professor in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. “You can switch gears because you understand the properties of your materials and their potential applications.”

    Equipped with this technology, a storage company could take excess electricity from ComEd or PG&E, for example, and store it as hydrogen, Haile says. And when ComEd needs more electricity to power its customers’ air conditioners in the middle of summer, it would pay that storage company to convert hydrogen back to electricity. “That firm will make a killing,” Haile says.

    “I had to learn that quiet persistence only got you so far.”

    BACK TO BASICS

    In 2001 Haile created the first solid acid fuel cell, which converts hydrogen, or a fuel like natural gas, into electricity. In recognition of this breakthrough, Newsweek magazine named Haile one of 12 people to watch. She was also featured, along with 11 other women in science and technology, on the ceiling of Grand Central Station in New York City.

    Haile made a subsequent world-first discovery in 2010, when she converted solar energy into hydrogen more efficiently than photosynthesis, the process by which living plants build their organic matter. This work, which she described in a 2012 TEDx talk and for which she was awarded the 2012 International Prize in Ceramics, opened the door to larger-scale efforts to use sunlight to directly make renewable fuels.

    And then the cost of solar and wind energy plummeted, and Haile’s basic science background proved invaluable, enabling her to switch her research focus back and forth between electricity and hydrogen.

    Now, Haile’s lab is reconfiguring their solid acid fuel cells so the devices can convert ammonia into high-purity hydrogen. “This would make it possible to use ammonia as a hydrogen carrier,” Haile says, “avoiding the cost of building a new delivery infrastructure to supply hydrogen to fuel cell vehicles.”


    Sossina Haile works with a student in her lab before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Northwestern Magazine)

    ENERGY INNOVATOR

    Born in Ethiopia, Haile’s family fled the country in the ’70s after a military coup. They settled in Minnesota, and Haile went on to earn academic degrees in materials science and engineering on both coasts, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley.

    Haile’s work in sustainable energy was recognized early on, with a National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a Fulbright Fellowship, among other honors. But just a few years into teaching, she found herself “in a very big ocean with lots of very big fish.”

    “I had to learn that quiet persistence only got you so far,” Haile says. “Success required focusing on the most important problems in my field, finding the right questions to ask and convincing the world, with just a bit of fanfare, that I could solve those problems.”

    Read more at magazine.northwestern.edu »

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    ART TALK: Tadesse Mesfin, Tsedaye Makonnen, Addis Gezehagn & Tizta Berhanu at Dubai 2021

    Tadesse Mesfin, Pillars of Life: My Sisters Keeper II, 2021, Oil on canvas, 165 x 170 cm; Tizta Berhanu, Rest in the arms of trust, 2020, Oil on canvas, 120 x 120 cm; Addis Gezehagn, Floating City XXII, 2021, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 122 x 122 cm; Tsedaye Makonnen, Astral Sea II, 2019, Acrylic mirror and fabric, 457.2 x 91.44 cm. (Photos courtesy of Addis Fine Art)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: April 9th, 2021

    New York (TADIAS) — This month the 14th edition of Art Dubai took place at Dubai International Financial Centre featuring several artists from Ethiopia and the Diaspora including Tadesse Mesfin, Addis Gezehagn, Tsedaye Makonnen and Tizta Berhanu.

    The Ethiopian artists were represented by Addis Fine Art — marking the fourth year in a row that the Addis Ababa and London-based gallery had participated in the global art fair, which was also the first major in-person group exhibition of its kind since the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Below are bios of the Ethiopian artists courtesy of Addis Fine Art:

    TADESSE MESFIN B. 1953

    Tadesse Mesfin (1953) is a giant of the Ethiopian art scene. He holds a unique position as both a figurehead of the Ethiopian modernist movement, and as a long-time educator through his role as a professor at the influential Alle School of Fine Art and Design in Addis Ababa. Among the generations of painters he has taught are Addis Gezehagn, Ermias Kifleyesus, Merikokeb Berhanu and Tesfaye Urgessa.

    Mesfin’s latest work is a continuation of his ongoing series celebrating the women who work as small-holder vendors in markets scattered across Ethiopian cities, who can typically be found standing or crouched down with their agricultural produce scattered in front of them, hoping to entice the eye of potential customers. As a visual paean to them, Tadesse places their occupations and personae front and centre, and the viewer is encouraged to appreciate their importance to the communities they serve.

    The paintings, at times, resist the limitations of perspective, with the distant figures appearing to float in space between those in the foreground, their forms often abstracted through loosely defined brush strokes. Only their regal, statuesque poses and facial expressions are clearly discernible. Mesfin has stated that his previous fascination with the West-African tradition of mask-making prompted him to create his own “Ethiopian masks” from the expressions found in the faces of the women occupying his canvases. Their pointed chins and captivating stares are a nod to West-African masks; however, the distinctly Ethiopian features give them their own unique appearance. Each figure is carefully weighted in these paintings with a methodical precision born of decades of practise. There is often a central protagonist who is the focal point, slightly off-centre in accordance with the golden section rules of proportion, counter-balancing the figures in the background.

    Tadesse Mesfin’s artistic career spans more than five decades. His painterly style has been greatly influenced by his early education under Gebre Kiristos Desta, the pioneer of Ethiopian Modernism and from his seven-year stint in the USSR during the 1980s, where he studied architecture and sculpture in St. Petersburg.

    TSEDAYE MAKONNEN ETHIOPIAN-AMERICAN, B. 1984


    Tsedaye Makonnen. (Photo: The Artist and Addis Fine Art)

    Tsedaye Makonnen is a multidisciplinary artist whose studio, curatorial, and research-based practice threads together her identity as a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, a Black American woman, doula and a mother. Makonnen invests in the transhistorical forced migration of Black communities across the globe and Feminism. Her work is both an intimate memorialization and protective sanctuary for Black lives. She is the recent recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, DC Public Library Maker Residency and Art on the Vine’s Savage-Lewis Artist Residency (Martha’s Vineyard).

    She has performed at the Venice Biennale, Art Basel Miami, Chale Wote (Ghana), El Museo del Barrio, Fendika (Ethiopia), FIAP (Martinique), Queens Museum, the Smithsonian’s and more. Her light monuments memorializing Black womxn exhibited at the August Wilson Center and National Gallery of Art. In 2019 she was on the front cover of the Washington City Paper’s People Issue. She recently curated a group show with Washington Project for the Arts in DC titled Black Women as/and the Living Archive and is publishing an exhibition book. This August she is exhibiting for Park Avenue Armory’s ’100 Years | 100 Women’ with NYU Tisch & Deb Willis, which was recently featured in Vogue Magazine.

    ADDIS GEZEHAGN B. 1978

    Addis Gezehagn (b.1978), a long-time artistic presence in Addis Ababa, is known for portraying the multifaceted characteristics of the city’s residents by detailing the external facades of their homes. In his “Floating Cities/ Floating Towers” series, Gezehagn depicts dreamlike deconstructed and layered renderings of the urban landscapes rising above the ground. These compositions made by layering magazine cut outs with acrylic paint, blend the boundaries of fantasy and reality of urban life, blurring the lines between the past, present and future.

    Flattened and reductive, Gezehagn’s works imagine cityscapes as towers, or patchworks of colourful doors and gates, the architectural structures seeming to signify a natural, organic network of living spaces. The rootless and ephemeral nature of the layered towers call into question the lives of the inhabitants. Examining the personal and public spaces, the works archive walls and towers destined to crumble, tracing a pattern of classism and social injustice. Gezehagn’s works urge us to think beyond homes as functional entities and offer commentary on the socio-economic context of urban life.

    Gezehagn currently lives and works in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He graduated from the Addis Ababa University School of Fine Arts and Design with a Diploma and BFA in 2011. His first international exhibtion was in 2017 at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London which was received with great acclaim. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength, garnering more international interest after having his first sold out solo show at Addis Fine Art’s main gallery in Addis Ababa in 2018 followed by 1-54 Contemporary Art Fair London (2018) and Art Dubai (2019).

    TIZTA BERHANU ETHIOPIAN, B. 1991


    Tizta Berhanu, Different Life in a Setting, 2019. (Addis Fine Art)

    Tizta Berhanu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1991 where she has lived and worked her entire life. She graduated in 2013 from the Addis Ababa University, Alle School of Fine Arts and Design where she studied under the influential modernist painter Tadesse Mesfin.

    Trained as a figurative painter, Tizta uses the medium to introspectively delve into human emotions. The figures in her work often express an array of sentiments, some comfort and embrace one another, whilst others are found isolated and searching in the backdrop of the enigmatic canvases. Her paintings are awash with lucid colours which flow across the canvases through the use of heavy undefined brush strokes. By portraying her subjects expressing love, hate, sadness, and loneliness, the observer is invited into moments of vulnerability and intimacy.

    Learn more at addisfineart.com.

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    GERD UPDATE: Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan Resume Talks on Big Dam Amid Tensions

    Foreign and irrigation ministers of the three nations were attending the talks [this weekend], along with experts from the African Union, according to Ethiopia’s Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele. (Photo: Satellite image of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River in Ethiopia/Handout photo)

    The Associated Press

    A new round of talks between three African nations began Saturday, officials said, aimed at resolving a yearslong dispute over a giant dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile River’s main tributary.

    The three-day talks are taking place in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the current chair of the African Union. The AU is mediating the negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

    Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Cairo wants the negotiations to eventually lead to a legally binding agreement over the operation and filling of the dam’s massive reservoir.

    Foreign and irrigation ministers of the three nations were attending the talks, along with experts from the African Union, according to Ethiopia’s Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele.

    A Sudanese diplomat said experts from the three countries and the African Union met Saturday, ahead of ministers who would meet Sunday and Monday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to brief media.

    Sudan said it would take part in the Kinshasa round with an aim of agreeing on a “negotiating approach” to ensure the talks would be constructive. That would include an Egyptian-backed Sudanese proposal to include the U.S., European Union and United Nations as mediators along with the AU, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Ethiopia has rejected the proposal, saying it “believes in resolving African problems by Africans.”

    The dispute centers on the speed at which a planned reservoir is filled behind the dam, the method of its annual replenishment, and how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs. Another point of difference is how the three countries would settle any future disputes.

    Egypt and Sudan want a legally binding agreement on the dam’s filling and operation, while Ethiopia insists on guidelines.

    The talks in Kinshasa come a few days after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said his country’s share of Nile River waters were “untouchable” — a stark warning apparently to Ethiopia, which is preparing for another stage of the dam’s filling later this year.

    El-Sissi warned Tuesday of “instability that no one can imagine” in the region if the dam’s is filled and operated without a legally binding agreement.

    Bekele, the Ethiopian minister, said his country “as always is determined for principled, equitable and reasonable utilization without causing significant harm,” according to Ethiopia’s official news agency.

    Egypt is a mostly desert country that depends on the Nile for almost all of its water needs. It fears that a quick fill would drastically reduce the Nile’s flow, with potentially severe effects on its agriculture and other sectors.

    Ethiopia says the $5 billion dam is essential, arguing that the vast majority of its population lacks electricity. The dam will generate over 6,400 megawatts of electricity, a massive boost to the country’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.

    Sudan wants Ethiopia to coordinate and share data on the dam’s operation to avoid flooding and protect its own power-generating dams on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile River. The Blue Nile meets with the White Nile in central Sudan. From there the Nile winds northward through Egypt and flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

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    Spotlight: Rediet Abebe Tackles Social Problems With Computer Science

    Rediet Abebe uses the tools of theoretical computer science to understand pressing social problems — and try to fix them. Rediet, who holds a doctorate in computer science from Cornell University, is a co-founder of the organizations Black in AI. (Photo: Quanta Magazine)

    Quanta Magazine

    A Computer Scientist Who Tackles Inequality Through Algorithms

    When Rediet Abebe arrived at Harvard University as an undergraduate in 2009, she planned to study mathematics. But her experiences with the Cambridge public schools soon changed her plans.

    Abebe, 29, is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city. When residents there didn’t have the resources they needed, she attributed it to community-level scarcity. But she found that argument unconvincing when she learned about educational inequality in Cambridge’s public schools, which she observed struggling in an environment of abundance.

    To learn more, Abebe started attending Cambridge school board meetings. The more she discovered about the schools, the more eager she became to help. But she wasn’t sure how that desire aligned with her goal of becoming a research mathematician.

    “I thought of these interests as different,” said Abebe, a junior fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows and an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “At some point, I actually thought I had to choose, and I was like, ‘OK, I guess I’ll choose math and the other stuff will be my hobby.’”

    After college Abebe was accepted into a doctoral program in mathematics, but she ended up deferring to attend an intensive one-year math program at the University of Cambridge. While there, she decided to switch her focus to computer science, which allowed her to combine her talent for mathematical thinking with her strong desire to address social problems related to discrimination, inequity and access to opportunity. She ended up getting a

    Today, Abebe uses the tools of theoretical computer science to help design algorithms and artificial intelligence systems that address real-world problems. She has modeled the role played by income shocks, like losing a job or government benefits, in leading people into poverty, and she’s looked at ways of optimizing the allocation of government financial assistance. She’s also working with the Ethiopian government to better account for the needs of a diverse population by improving the algorithm the country uses to match high school students with colleges.

    Abebe is a co-founder of the organizations Black in AI — a community of Black researchers working in artificial intelligence — and Mechanism Design for Social Good, which brings together researchers from different disciplines to address social problems.

    Quanta Magazine spoke with Abebe recently about her childhood fear that she’d be forced to become a medical doctor, the social costs of bad algorithmic design, and how her background in math sharpens her work. This interview is based on multiple phone interviews and has been condensed and edited for clarity.

    You’re currently involved in a project to reform the Ethiopian national educational system. The work was born in part from your own negative experiences with it. What happened?

    In the Ethiopian national system, when you finished 12th grade, you’d take this big national exam and submit your preferences for the 40-plus public universities across the country. There was a centralized assignment process that determined what university you were going to and what major you would have. I was so panicked about this.

    Why?

    I realized I was a high-scoring student when I was in middle school. And the highest-scoring students tended to be assigned to medicine. I was like 12 and super panicked that I might have to be a medical doctor instead of studying math, which is what I really wanted to do.

    What did you end up doing?

    I thought, “I may have to go abroad.” I learned that in the U.S., you can get full financial aid if you do really well and get into the top schools.

    So you went to Harvard as an undergraduate and planned to become a research mathematician. But then you had an experience that changed your plans. What happened?

    I was excited to study math at Harvard. At the same time, I was interested in what was going on in the city of Cambridge. There was a massive achievement gap in elementary schools in Cambridge. A lot of students who were Black, Latinx, low-income or students with disabilities, or immigrant students, were performing two to four grades below their peers in the same classroom. I was really interested in why this was happening.

    Read the full Q & A at quantamagazine.org »

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    Profile: Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

    “Yohannes Haile-Selassie is one of the leading paleoanthropologists today,” says Donald Johanson of Arizona State University (ASU), who was working for the Cleveland museum in 1974 while finding the famous Lucy in Ethiopia. “He and his team have made some very important discoveries.” (Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

    Fresh Water Cleveland

    The bone hunter: Anthropologist searches the globe to understand the human family tree

    Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History has become perhaps the world’s top hunter of ancient hominins today, boosting Northeast Ohio’s long-time prominence in that field.

    Not bad for a guy who started out in history instead of prehistory. In his native Ethiopia, Haile-Selassie became a historian at the national museum, which had many fossils. “It’s opportunity, mostly,” he says of his success. “Seeing the fossils and going to the field and finding them triggered my interest in human origins.”

    Haile-Selassie (no relation to his homeland’s long-time emperor) has helped discover three new species of ancient hominins, the tribe that includes our own species, Homo sapiens. He has also found important fossils from our species and from Homo erectus. What’s more, he has shaken beliefs about our evolution.

    John Gurche developed this possible face to fit the cranium discovered for a human ancestor called MRD.

    “Yohannes is one of the leading paleoanthropologists today,” says Donald Johanson of Arizona State University (ASU), who was working for the Cleveland museum in 1974 while finding the famous Lucy in Ethiopia. “He and his team have made some very important discoveries.”


    Yohannes Haile-Selassie in Ethiopia. (Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

    “Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie is one of the world’s foremost experts in paleoanthropology,” according to a Wikipedia entry. “His continued contributions to this scientific discipline are helping to reshape understanding of humanity’s ancient family tree and change conventional thinking about human evolution.”

    The prestigious journal Nature named Haile-Selassie one of the world’s “ten people who mattered in science in 2019.” That’s when he and his team announced finding one of the most complete hominin craniums ever.

    When asked to evaluate himself, Haile-Selassie is confident, but not smug. “I could be considered one of the leading anthropologists in our field,” he says. “I made a lot of contributions with our finds, particularly in making some paradigm shifts. How people judge me, it’s up to them.”

    Besides Haile-Selassie and ASU’s Johanson, leading hominin explorers based in Northeast Ohio have included former museum head Bruce Latimer and Kent State University professor C. Owen Lovejoy.

    Haile-Selassie studied history at Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University and began in 1990 to dig up fossils. Two years later, he began working toward master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of California, Berkeley.

    Starting in 1997 as a graduate student, he found fossils from a previously unknown species, now called Ardipithecus kadabba. That species lived an estimated 5.8 million to 5.5 million years ago—dating nearly back to when humans and chimps apparently diverged.

    Yohannes Haile-Selassie examines a hominin fossil in his office at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
    In 2002, Haile-Selassie joined the Cleveland museum as curator and head of physical anthropology. Three years later, he began leading a team that scoured some 500 square miles of exclusive territory each year in Ethiopia’s Woranso-Mille area.

    By 2019, the team had found about 230 hominin fossils as well as more than 12,600 fossils from about 85 other species of mammals, including monkeys, pigs, and antelopes.

    That year, the team announced perhaps its greatest find so far—nearly all the pieces of a male hominin cranium from the species Australopithecus anamensis.
    They called the creature MRD-VP-1/1, or MRD for short. The name isn’t nearly as catchy as Lucy’s, inspired by the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with? Diamonds.” It stands for Miro Dora, the part of Haile-Selassie’s territory where the cranium was found.

    After the discovery, team member Beverly Saylor, professor of stratigraphy and sedimentology at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), led the analysis of plant and volcanic material found with the cranium. Others designed a face for that cranium—considered the likeliest hominin face yet proposed.

    Scientists used to think that hominins descended from anamensis through Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, to Homo sapiens. without much overlap. But MRD appears to be about 3.8 million years old—some 100,000 years younger than the oldest known members of afarensis. So Haile-Selassie says anamensis might turn out to be our more direct ancestor…

    “That’s how science goes, a lot of hypothesizing and testing. The more sample size you have, the better.”

    Read the full article at freshwatercleveland.com »

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    COVID-19: Ethiopia Rates Spiking

    Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse announcing that Ethiopia this week received a donation of 300,000 doses of COVID19 sinopharm vaccine from China. According to a "Health Alert" by the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa: "Community transmission of the coronavirus in Ethiopia is widespread and accelerating rapidly. Public and private hospitals in Addis Ababa are reporting that their COVID bedspace is full." (Photo: Image via Twitter)

    THE LATEST UPDATE:

    Updated: March 30th, 2021

  • Health Alert: COVID-19 Rates Spiking; Hospital Beds for COVID Patients Full
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 204, 521
  • Ethiopia reports 1,724 new COVID-19 cases
  • Ethiopia begins COVID-19 vaccine rollout
  • Ethiopian Airlines Delivers First Batches Of Vaccine In Ethiopia
  • COVID-19 limits activities of “Timket” celebration in Ethiopia
  • COVID-19: New Study on Preventive Practice Among Pregnant Women in Northwest Ethiopia
  • Aid Groups Warn of COVID-19 Outbreak at Ethiopian Refugee Camp in Sudan
  • Ethiopia to launch 6-month COVID-19 prevention campaign
  • Survey identifies troubling effect of pandemic on where women give birth in Ethiopia
  • US shifts to speed vaccinations; won’t hold back 2nd doses
  • MAP: Covid-19 vaccination tracker across the U.S.
  • ‘Relieved’: US health workers start getting COVID-19 vaccine
  • FDA authorizes the first coronavirus vaccine, a rare moment of hope in pandemic
  • US panel endorses widespread use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
  • In U.S. every state has its own COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. Find the one for yours here.
  • Only half in US want shots as vaccine nears
  • US regulators post positive review of Pfizer vaccine data
  • Britain launches the West’s first mass coronavirus vaccination
  • Cases and deaths in the U.S. | Cases and deaths worldwide
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 117,242
  • Ethiopia’s month-long conflict hampers efforts in fighting COVID-19 outbreaks
  • How Ethiopia prepared its health workforce for the COVID-19 response
  • Assessing Ethiopian women’s vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Pfizer CEO confident of getting U.S. advisory panel nod for COVID-19 vaccine
  • Demand for COVID-19 tests to outstrip supply for months, says Roche CEO
  • A year into COVID-19, U.N. declares a day of ‘epidemic preparedness’
  • WHO sees limited COVID-19 vaccine doses in early 2021
  • 2nd virus vaccine shows overwhelming success in U.S. tests
  • Pfizer’s Covid Vaccine: 11 Things You Need to Know
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 100,327
  • Virus cases surpass 90K as schools reopen in Ethiopia
  • Refusing to wear a mask in Ethiopia could cost you two years in jail
  • Ethiopia: Schools to Start Regular Face to Face Classes With Covid-19 Precautions
  • 5 Ethiopian footballers contract coronavirus
  • WHO: 10% of world’s people may have been infected with virus
  • Global coronavirus death toll tops 1 million as U.N. chief warns that ‘misinformation kills’
  • ‘I feel sorry for Americans’: Baffled world watches USA
  • U.S. Covid-19 death toll surpasses 200,000
  • China’s BGI wins 1.5 million coronavirus test kit order from Ethiopia
  • Ethiopia Braces for Election Amid COVID19
  • The pandemic appears to have spared Africa so far. Scientists are struggling to explain why
  • Ethiopia opens facility to make coronavirus test kits
  • Ethiopia to make and export COVID-19 test kits
  • IN PICTURES: On the Frontline Against Covid-19 in Ethiopia – A Photo Essay
  • Oxford vaccine trial on hold because of potential safety issue
  • In Canada, EthioCare Volunteers Help Calgary Church Members After COVID-19 Outbreak
  • How Ethiopian Airlines’ Agility Saw It Through COVID With No Bailout
  • COVID-19: US Retailer Cancels Millions of Dollars of Garment Orders from Ethiopia
  • COVID-19 reveals risky life on the buses for Ethiopia’s child conductors
  • Ethiopians fight pandemic by early morning exercises
  • One of Ethiopia’s main coronavirus centres ‘nearly full’
  • A vision for post-pandemic mobility in African cities
  • COVID-19 Spreads Inside Ethiopian Detention Centers
  • Turkish factory in Ethiopia plans output amid COVID-19
  • Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia resist camp closure amid COVID-19 fears
  • COVID-19 is crushing Ethiopian entertainers, just when we need them the most
  • Chinese first lady donates medical supplies to Ethiopia
  • Over 25500 migrant Ethiopians return home in four months amid COVID-19 pandemic: IOM
  • In Jamaica Ethiopian Consulate Donates 1,000 Care Packages
  • Global coronavirus cases top 20M as Russia approves vaccine
  • In Ethiopia extreme Poverty Rises due to the coronavirus
  • U.S. infections surpass 5 million
  • Africa’s cases of COVID-19 top 1 million
  • Ethiopians struggle to cope with COVID-19 fears
  • 15,000 Ethiopian returnees receive emergency Covid-19 assistance at quarantine sites
  • The United States Provides Ventilators to Ethiopia to Respond to COVID-19
  • In Ethiopia, Health Ministry To Conduct 17 Million COVID-19 Tests Via Month-Long Campaign
  • Ethiopia Starts Covid Test Campaign; Cases Spike After Protests
  • As COVID starts to surge, Ethiopia battles complacency
  • Coronavirus – Ethiopia: COVID-19 Response Overview
  • Ethiopian Workers Are Forced to Return Home, Some With Coronavirus
  • Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases exceed 750,000
  • Coronavirus Deaths on the Rise in Almost Every Region of the U.S.
  • Ethiopian farmers slaughter thousands of chicks as COVID hits demand
  • Ethiopia’s COVID-19 Update Affected By Internet Cut
  • Amid Pandemic Ethiopia Launches Policy to Encourage Walking and Cycling
  • African Development Fund approves $165 m grant for Ethiopia’s national COVID-19 emergency response
  • Sponsor network gives lifeline to Ethiopians struggling under pandemic
  • Ethiopia among Forbes’ post-Covid ‘Rising Stars in Travel’
  • COVID19 Contact Tracing is a race. But few U.S. states say how fast they’re running
  • WHO warns of ‘new and dangerous phase’ as coronavirus accelerates; Americas now hardest hit
  • World Bank Provides Additional Support to Help Ethiopia Mitigate Economic Impacts of COVID-19
  • Africa outperforms world economies in coronavirus mayhem
  • As coronavirus cases rise in U.S., public health experts urge caution
  • COVID-19 Cases Pass 10 Million Worldwide
  • U.S. tops 3.2 million reported cases
  • US Deaths From Coronavirus Surpass 134,000 and Growing
  • Once the coronavirus epicenter in the U.S., New York City begins to reopen
  • Winter is coming south of the equator, along with predictions of the coronavirus’s spread
  • NYT honors coronavirus victims with powerful front page
  • Spotlight: Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System Tebita Adds Services Addressing COVID19
  • WHO reports most coronavirus cases in a day as cases approach five million
  • World Health Organization warns against hydroxychloroquine use for covid-19
  • Experts: Trump’s threats to WHO could undercut global health
  • Why Cape Town has 10 percent of Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases
  • WHO head says vaccines, medicines must be fairly shared to beat COVID-19
  • U.S. coronavirus death toll tops 80,000
  • U.S. Jobless Rate Spikes to 14.7%, Highest Since Great Depression
  • Doctors face new urgency to solve children and coronavirus puzzle
  • In Ethiopia, Abiy Warns of Opposition Power Grab Amid Pandemic
  • Q&A: How Ethiopia’s Health Minister is Preparing for Coronavirus
  • Young Inventor Helps Ethiopia’s COVID-19 Crisis
  • Hospitalizations continue to decline in New York, Cuomo says
  • Researchers double U.S. COVID-19 death forecast, citing eased restrictions
  • Ethiopia: PM Abiy Writes COVID-19 Related Op-Ed on World Economic Forum Blog
  • Virus deaths in D.C., Virginia and Maryland surpass 2,000
  • IMF Approves $411M in Coronavirus Aid for Ethiopia
  • COVID-19 and Its Impact on African Economies: Q&A with Prof. Lemma Senbet
  • Los Angeles becomes first major U.S. city to offer free coronavirus testing for all residents
  • Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 200,000, as world leaders commit to finding vaccine
  • City demolitions expose Ethiopian families to coronavirus
  • In Maryland, Wogene Debele Gave Birth Before Dying of Covid-19. She Never Got to See Her Newborn.
  • Germany to start first coronavirus vaccine trial
  • U.S. coronavirus deaths top 51,000, with fatalities expected to climb
  • Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes
  • Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health Holds Webinar With Diaspora on COVID-19 Response
  • Webinar on COVID-19 and Mental Health: Interview with Dr. Seble Frehywot
  • CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating
  • Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time info. about coronavirus to Trump admin.
  • In Ethiopia, Dire Dawa Emerges as Newest Coronavirus Hot Spot
  • COVID-19: Interview with Dr. Tsion Firew, an Ethiopian Doctor on the Frontline in NYC
  • UN COVID-19 Major airlift operation reaches ‘most vulnerable’ African nations
  • Ethiopia Cases of Coronavirus Surpass 100
  • In U.S., New York’s Cuomo attacks Trump’s pandemic response
  • Doctor who sounded the alarm about covid-19 is now a children’s book hero
  • Ethiopia Opens Aid Transport Hub to Fight Covid-19
  • Ethiopia to buy life insurance for health workers
  • IMF says COVID-19 pandemic is causing worst global economic downturn since Great Depression
  • U.N. says Saudi deportations of Ethiopian migrants risks spreading coronavirus
  • Ethiopia’s capital launches door-to-door Covid-19 screening
  • Worldwide deaths from the coronavirus hit 100,000
  • Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team: Interview with Mike Endale
  • Ethiopia eyes replicating China’s successes in applying traditional medicine to contain COVID-19
  • WHO Director Slams ‘Racist’ Comments About COVID-19 Vaccine Testing
  • Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency, Recruits Health Workers to Fight Virus
  • The virus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate, a Post analysis shows
  • In China, Wuhan’s lockdown officially ends after 11 weeks
  • U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 10,000
  • U.S. Government urged to release race, ethnicity data on covid-19 cases
  • Ethio-American Tech Company PhantomALERT Offers Free App to Track & Map COVID-19 Outbreak
  • 2nd COVID-19 death confirmed in Ethiopia
  • The Next Coronavirus Test Will Tell You If You Are Now Immune. And It’s Fast.
  • New York City mayor calls for national enlistment of health-care workers
  • ‘Your Safety is Our Priority’: How Ethiopian Airlines is Navigating the Global Virus Crisis
  • Ethiopia races to bolster ventilator stockpile for coronavirus fight
  • Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Promise
  • Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed
  • U.N. Chief Calls Pandemic Biggest Global Challenge Since World War II
  • US death toll eclipses China’s as reinforcements head to NYC
  • Getting Through COVID 19: ECMAA Shares Timely Resources With Ethiopian Community
  • 2020 Ethiopia Election Canceled Due to COVID-19
  • DC Metro Area Goes on Lockdown
  • U.S. Approves Malaria Drug to Treat Coronavirus Patients
  • U.S. Deaths Could Reach 200,000
  • The Curious Case of Ethiopian Traditional Medicine Covid-19 Treatment & Need for Caution
  • Ethiopia: PM Abiy spoke with Dr. Tedros regarding the Coronavirus response in Africa
  • COVID-19: Fire brigades disinfect Ethiopian capital
  • The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming
  • In Tunisia Factory Workers Making 50k Masks a Day While in Voluntary Lockdown
  • Virus infections top 600,000 globally with long fight ahead
  • Maryland Issues COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for Ethiopian Community
  • Gouged prices, middlemen and medical supply chaos: Why governors are so upset with Trump
  • Worshippers in Ethiopia Defy Ban on Large Gatherings Despite Coronavirus
  • A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy
  • Ethiopia: Parents fear for missing students as universities close over Covid-19
  • Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread

    Ethiopia begins COVID-19 vaccine rollout


    A healthcare personnel receives the first dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at the EKA Kottebe hospital as vaccination process begins in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 13, 2021. (Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu – Anadolu Agency)

    By Addis Getachew | Anadolu Agency

    ADDIS ABABA — Hoping to curb a recent spike in infections, Ethiopia kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday. Jabs were administered in several major cities, including the capital Addis Ababa, where top government officials and UN representatives attended a ceremony at the Eka General Hospital. Doctors, nurses, and support staff at the hospital, one of Ethiopia’s main COVID-19 treatment centers, were given shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Ethiopia received its first batch of 2.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week under the COVAX initiative, a project co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. Speaking at the ceremony, Education Minister Getahun Mekuria said Ethiopia has been experiencing an alarming increase in infections over recent days. “Negligence is costing the nation dearly,” he warned.

    Read more »

    Survey identifies troubling effect of pandemic on where women give birth in Ethiopia

    In urban areas, delivery rates in lower-level health facilities increased and hospital deliveries decreased after social distancing restrictions were put in place

    By Johns Hopkins Magazine

    A new study from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and researchers at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia has found that as of June, the proportion of women in urban areas—where COVID-19 rates were highest—who delivered in lower-level health facilities significantly increased while deliveries in hospitals declined. A pregnant woman’s place of delivery is a key maternal health service component that has a direct impact on pregnancy and newborn outcomes, and researchers have been monitoring how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting women’s delivery patterns. The analysis was conducted using data from the Performance Monitoring for Action Ethiopia survey, led by Linnea Zimmerman, assistant professor in the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School, and Solomon Shiferaw and Assefa Seme at Addis Ababa University. The project is managed by Johns Hopkins global health affiliate Jhpiego and the Gates Institute. Results from the analysis also showed that at the national level, there was no difference in the proportion of women who delivered in a hospital and home delivery rates remained unchanged. Looking within urban areas, women who delivered during May and June, after COVID-19 restrictions started, were significantly less likely to deliver in a hospital relative to women who delivered prior to the pandemic.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 204, 521

    By Ministry of Health

    In Ethiopia, as of March 30th, 2021, there have been 204, 521 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Read more »

    Assessing Ethiopian women’s vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic

    By World Bank

    The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has devastating health and economic impacts globally and has disproportionately affected vulnerable groups. As highlighted in a blog published at the onset of the pandemic, the coronavirus is not gender-blind and pre-existing gender gaps may intensify during and after the pandemic due to worsening human capital, economic, and women’s agency outcomes.

    What can high-frequency phone survey data tell us about the gendered effects of the pandemic in Ethiopia?

    The short answer: A lot!

    Read more »

    How Ethiopia prepared its health workforce for the COVID-19 response


    Photo via the World Health Organization

    By The World Health Organization

    In a busy intensive care unit in Eka Kotebe General Hospital, Addis Ababa, Dr Samuel Getnet, 28, a newly-recruited young and energetic physician anxiously monitors the mechanical ventilators, an indispensable form of life support for COVID-19 patients with respiratory distress.

    “I never thought my professional journey would bring me to the place where I’m today—at the center of COVID-19 pandemic management team—treating and caring for the most severely ill patients who critically need my support and care. Despite the challenges and risks, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my people at this critical time,” he said.

    Dr Getnet is a general practitioner who came on board as part of the surge capacity planning for human resources announced by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health in February 2020. Before starting his duty in the intensive care unit, he received in-person training from the World Health Organization (WHO), with practical sessions taking place in the hospital. The topics he covered include case management, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), infection prevention and control (IPC), and the application and use of mechanical ventilation. He also benefited from online WHO resources such as Open WHO.org.

    Read more »

    ‘Relieved’: US health workers start getting COVID-19 vaccine


    Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo)

    By The Associated Press

    The biggest vaccination campaign in U.S. history kicked off Monday as health workers rolled up their sleeves for shots to protect them from COVID-19 and start beating back the pandemic — a day of optimism even as the nation’s death toll closed in on 300,000.

    “I feel hopeful today. Relieved,” critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay said after getting a shot in the arm at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York.

    With a countdown of “3-2-1,” workers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center gave the first injections to applause.

    And in New Orleans, Steven Lee, an intensive care unit pharmacist at Ochsner Medical Center, summed up the moment as he got his own vaccination: “We can finally prevent the disease as opposed to treating it.”

    Other hospitals around the country, from Rhode Island to Texas, unloaded precious frozen vials of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech, with staggered deliveries set throughout the day and Tuesday. A few other countries have authorized the vaccine, including Britain, which started vaccinating people last week, and Canada, which began doing so on Monday.

    For health care workers, who along with nursing home residents will be first in line for vaccination, hope is tempered by grief and the sheer exhaustion of months spent battling a coronavirus that still is surging in the U.S. and around the world.

    Read more »

    IN PICTURES: On the Frontline Against Covid-19 in Ethiopia – A Photo Essay


    Frontline workers at the Eka Kotebe hospital. (Photo by Yonas Tadesse)

    By Yonas Tadesse

    The first case of Covid-19 in Ethiopia was reported on 13 March, when a team of first responders took in a 48-year-old Japanese man. Having never seen anything like his condition, they did not know what to prepare for, and thus started their new normal of battling the coronavirus in Ethiopia.

    Doctors, nurses, janitors, security guards and drivers donned hats they had never dreamed of wearing as they worked to develop systems and techniques to minimise the damage from the virus – often at the cost of their health, their home lives, their reputations, and sometimes their lives.

    Read more and see the photos at theguardian.com »

    FACTBOX- Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 67.72 million, death toll at 1,548,575

    By Reuters

    More than 67.72 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,548,575​ have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

    Read more »

    Africa’s cases of COVID-19 top 1 million

    By Reuters

    Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 1 million, a Reuters tally showed on Thursday, as the disease began to spread rapidly through a continent whose relative isolation has so far spared it the worst of the pandemic. The continent recorded 1,003,056 cases, of which 21,983 have died and 676,395 recovered. South Africa – which is the world’s fifth worst-hit nation and makes up more than half of sub-Saharan Africa’s case load – has recorded 538,184 cases since its first case on March 5, the health ministry said on Thursday. Low levels of testing in several countries, apart from South Africa, mean Africa’s infection rates are likely to be higher than reported, experts say. Read more »

    COVID19 Contact Tracing is a race. But few U.S. states say how fast they’re running

    Someone — let’s call her Person A — catches the coronavirus. It’s a Monday. She goes about life, unaware her body is incubating a killer. By perhaps Thursday, she’s contagious. Only that weekend does she come down with a fever and get tested. What happens next is critical. Public health workers have a small window of time to track down everyone Person A had close contact with over the past few days. Because by the coming Monday or Tuesday, some of those people — though they don’t yet have symptoms — could also be spreading the virus. Welcome to the sprint known as contact tracing, the process of reaching potentially exposed people as fast as possible and persuading them to quarantine. The race is key to controlling the pandemic ahead of a vaccine, experts say. But most places across the United States aren’t making public how fast or well they’re running it, leaving Americans in the dark about how their governments are mitigating the risk. An exception is the District of Columbia, which recently added metrics on contact tracing to its online dashboard. A few weeks ago, the District was still too overwhelmed to try to ask all of those who tested positive about their contacts. Now, after building a staff of several hundred contact tracers, D.C. officials say they’re making that attempt within 24 hours of a positive test report in about 98 percent of cases. For months, every U.S. state has posted daily numbers on coronavirus testing — along with charts of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths. So far, only one state, Oregon, posts similar data about contact tracing. Officials in New York say they plan to begin publishing such metrics in the coming weeks.

    Read more »

    Coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpass 2.5 million

    By The Washington Post

    June 28th, 2020

    Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 2.5 million on Sunday morning as a devastating new wave of infections continued to bear down throughout the country’s South and West. Florida, Texas and Arizona are fast emerging as the country’s latest epicenters after reporting record numbers of new infections for weeks in a row. Positivity rates and hospitalizations have also spiked. Global cases of covid-19 exceeded 10 million, according to a count maintained by Johns Hopkins University, a measure of the power and spread of a pandemic that has caused vast human suffering, devastated the world’s economy and still threatens vulnerable populations in rich and poor nations alike.
    Read more »

    WHO warns of ‘new and dangerous phase’ as coronavirus accelerates; Americas now hardest hit

    By The Washington Post

    The World Health Organization warned Friday that “the world is in a new and dangerous phase” as the global pandemic accelerates. The world recorded about 150,000 new cases on Thursday, the largest rise yet in a single day, according to the WHO. Nearly half of these infections were in the Americas, as new cases continue to surge in the United States, Brazil and across Latin America. More than 8.5 million coronavirus cases and at least 454,000 deaths have been reported worldwide. As confirmed cases and hospitalizations climb in the U.S., new mask requirements are prompting faceoffs between officials who seek to require face coverings and those, particularly conservatives, who oppose such measures. Several studies this month support wearing masks to curb coronavirus transmission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend their use as a protective measure. Read more »

    World Bank Provides Additional Support to Help Ethiopia Mitigate Economic Impacts of COVID-19

    JUNE 18, 2020

    The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $250 million ($125 million grant and $125 million credit) in supplemental financing for the ongoing Second Ethiopia Growth and Competitiveness Programmatic Development Policy Financing. This funding is geared towards helping Ethiopia to revitalize the economy by broadening the role of the private sector and attaining a more sustainable development path.

    “The COVID 19 pandemic is expected to severely impact Ethiopia’s economy. The austerity of the required containment measures, along with disruptions to air travel and the collapse in international demand for goods exported by Ethiopia are already taking a toll on the economy,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea. “Additionally, an estimated 1.8 million jobs are at risk, and the incomes and livelihoods of several million informal workers, self-employed individuals and farmers are expected to be affected.”

    The supplemental financing will help to mitigate the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on the Government’s reform agenda. Specifically, the program is intended to help address some of the unanticipated financing needs the Government of Ethiopia is facing due to the COVID-19 crisis. Additional financing needs are estimated to be approximately $1.5 billion, as revenue collection is expected to weaken, and additional expenditure is needed to mitigate the public health and economic impacts of the crisis.

    Read more »

    Once the coronavirus epicenter in the U.S., New York City begins to reopen


    After three months of a coronavirus crisis followed by protests and unrest, New York City is trying to turn a page when a limited range of industries reopen Monday, June 8, 2020. (AP Photo)

    100 days after the first coronavirus case was confirmed there, the city that was once the epicenter of America’s coronavirus pandemic began to reopen. The number of cases in New York has plunged, but health officials fear that a week of protests on the streets could bring a new wave.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) estimated that between 200,000 to 400,000 workers returned to work throughout the city’s five boroughs.

    “All New Yorkers should be proud you got us to this day,” de Blasio said at a news conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a manufacturing hub.

    Read more »

    US Deaths From Coronavirus Surpass 100,000 Milestone

    By The Associated Press

    The U.S. surpassed a jarring milestone Wednesday in the coronavirus pandemic: 100,000 deaths. That number is the best estimate and most assuredly an undercount. But it represents the stark reality that more Americans have died from the virus than from the Vietnam and Korea wars combined. “It’s a striking reminder of how dangerous this virus can be,” said Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington. The true death toll from the virus, which emerged in China late last year and was first reported in the U.S. in January, is widely believed to be significantly higher, with experts saying many victims died of COVID-19 without ever being tested for it. Read more »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 5,846

    By Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health

    Report #111 የኢትዮጵያ የኮሮና ቫይረስ ሁኔታ መግለጫ. Status update on #COVID19Ethiopia. Total confirmed cases [as of June 29th, 2020]: 5,846 Read more »

    New York Times Memorializes Coronavirus Victims as U.S. Death Toll Nears 100,000

    America is fast approaching a grim milestone in the coronavirus outbreak — each figure here represents one of the nearly 100,000 lives lost so far. Read more »

    Spotlight: Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System Tebita Adds Services Addressing COVID19

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Twelve year ago when Kibret Abebe quit his job as a nurse anesthetist at Black Lion Hospital and sold his house to launch Tebita Ambulance — Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System — his friends and family were understandably concerned about his decisions. But today Tebita operates over 20 advanced life support ambulances with approval from the Ministry of Health and stands as the country’s premier Emergency Medical Service (EMS). Tebita has since partnered with East Africa Emergency Services, an Ethiopian and American joint venture that Kibret also owns, with the aim “to establish the first trauma center and air ambulance system in Ethiopia.” This past month Tebita announced their launch of new services in Addis Abeba to address the COVID-19 pandemic and are encouraging Ethiopians residing in the U.S. to utilize Tebita for regular home check-ins on elderly family members as well as vulnerable individuals with pre-existing conditions. The following is an audio of the interview with Kibret Abebe and Laura Davis of Tebita Ambulance and East Africa Emergency Services: Read more »

    WHO reports most coronavirus cases in a day as cases approach five million

    By Reuters

    GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations have begun emerging from lockdown. The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began. “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. “We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries.” Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases.” Read more »

    WHO head says vaccines, medicines must be fairly shared to beat COVID-19

    By Reuters

    Scientists and researchers are working at “breakneck” speed to find solutions for COVID-19 but the pandemic can only be beaten with equitable distribution of medicines and vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday. “Traditional market models will not deliver at the scale needed to cover the entire globe,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva.

    Read more »

    Doctors face new urgency to solve children and coronavirus puzzle

    By Axios

    Solving the mystery of how the coronavirus impacts children has gained sudden steam, as doctors try to determine if there’s a link between COVID-19 and kids with a severe inflammatory illness, and researchers try to pin down their contagiousness before schools reopen. New York hospitals have reported 73 suspected cases with two possible deaths from the inflammatory illness as of Friday evening. Read more »

    COVID-19 and Its Impact on African Economies: Q&A with Prof. Lemma Senbet


    Prof. Lemma Senbet. (Photo: @AERCAFRICA/Twitter)

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Last week Professor Lemma Senbet, an Ethiopian-American financial economist and the William E. Mayer Chair Professor at University of Maryland, moderated a timely webinar titled ‘COVID-19 and African Economies: Global Implications and Actions.’ The well-attended online conference — hosted by the Center for Financial Policy at University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business on Friday, April 24th — featured guest speakers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the World Bank who addressed “the global implications of the COVID-19 economic impact on developing and low-income countries, with Africa as an anchor.” In the following Q&A with Tadias Prof. Lemma, who is also the immediate former Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium based in Nairobi, Kenya, explains the worldwide economic fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the African continent, including Ethiopia. Read more »

    US unemployment surges to a Depression-era level of 14.7%

    By The Associated Press

    The coronavirus crisis has sent U.S. unemployment surging to 14.7%, a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Depression and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was assuring Americans that the only thing to fear was fear itself…The breathtaking collapse is certain to intensify the push-pull across the U.S. over how and when to ease stay-at-home restrictions. And it robs President Donald Trump of the ability to point to a strong economy as he runs for reelection. “The jobs report from hell is here,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, “one never seen before and unlikely to be seen again barring another pandemic or meteor hitting the Earth.” Read more »

    Hospitalizations continue to decline in New York, Cuomo says

    By CBS News

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the number of people newly diagnosed and hospitalized with COVID-19 has continued to decrease. “Overall the numbers are coming down,” he said. But he said 335 people died from the virus yesterday. “That’s 335 families,” Cuomo said. “You see this number is basically reducing, but not at a tremendous rate. The only thing that’s tremendous is the number of New Yorkers who’ve still passed away.” Read more »

    Los Angeles offers free testing to all county residents

    By The Washington Post

    All residents of Los Angeles County can access free coronavirus testing at city-run sites, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said on Wednesday. Previously, the city had only offered testing to residents with symptoms as well as essential workers and people who lived or worked in nursing homes and other kinds of institutional facilities. In an announcement on Twitter, Garcetti said that priority would still be given to front-line workers and anyone experiencing symptoms, including cough, fever or shortness of breath. But the move, which makes Los Angeles the first major city in the country to offer such widespread testing, allows individuals without symptoms to be tested. Health experts have repeatedly said that mass testing is necessary to determine how many people have contracted the virus — and in particular, those who may not have experienced symptoms — and then begin to reopen the economy. Testing is by appointment only and can be arranged at one of the city’s 35 sites. Read more »

    Researchers Double U.S. COVID-19 Death Forecast

    By Reuters

    A newly revised coronavirus mortality model predicts nearly 135,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by early August, almost double previous projections, as social-distancing measures for quelling the pandemic are increasingly relaxed, researchers said on Monday. The ominous new forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reflect “rising mobility in most U.S. states” with an easing of business closures and stay-at-home orders expected in 31 states by May 11, the institute said. Read more »

    Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 200,000, as world leaders commit to finding vaccine

    By NBC News

    The global coronavirus death toll surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, according to John Hopkins University data. The grim total was reached a day after presidents and prime ministers agreed to work together to develop new vaccines, tests and treatments at a virtual meeting with both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We will only halt COVID-19 through solidarity,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Countries, health partners, manufacturers, and the private sector must act together and ensure that the fruits of science and research can benefit everybody. As the U.S. coronavirus death tollpassed 51,000 people, according to an NBC News tally, President Donald Trump took no questions at his White House briefing on Friday, after widespread mockery for floating the idea that light, heat and disinfectants could be used to treat coronavirus patients.”

    Read more »

    Germany to start first coronavirus vaccine trial

    By DW

    German Health Minister Jens Spahn has announced the first clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), the regulatory authority which helps develop and authorizes vaccines in Germany, has given the go-ahead for the first clinical trial of BNT162b1, a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It was developed by cancer researcher and immunologist Ugur Sahin and his team at pharmaceutical company BioNTech, and is based on their prior research into cancer immunology. Sahin previously taught at the University of Mainz before becoming the CEO of BioNTech. In a joint conference call on Wednesday with researchers from the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Sahin said BNT162b1 constitutes a so-called RNA vaccine. He explained that innocuous genetic information of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transferred into human cells with the help of lipid nanoparticles, a non-viral gene delivery system. The cells then transform this genetic information into a protein, which should stimulate the body’s immune reaction to the novel coronavrius.

    Read more »

    Webinar on COVID-19 and Mental Health: Interview with Dr. Seble Frehywot

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Dr. Seble Frehywot, an Associate Professor of Global Health & Health Policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and her colleague Dr. Yianna Vovides from Georgetown University will host an online forum next week on April 30th focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on mental health. Dr. Seble — who is also the Director of Global Health Equity On-Line Learning at George Washington University – told Tadias that the virtual conference titled “People’s Webinar: Addressing COVID-19 By Addressing Mental Health” is open to the public and available for viewing worldwide. Read more »

    Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes

    By The Washington Post

    Doctors sound alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead. Some didn’t even know they were infected. Read more »

    CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating

    By The Washington Post

    Even as states move ahead with plans to reopen their economies, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season. “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean…We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,” he said. Having two simultaneous respiratory outbreaks would put unimaginable strain on the health-care system, he said. The first wave of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has already killed more than 42,000 people across the country. It has overwhelmed hospitals and revealed gaping shortages in test kits, ventilators and protective equipment for health-care workers.

    Read more »

    Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time information about coronavirus to Trump administration

    By The Washington Post

    More than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians and public health experts, many of them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were working full time at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration, according to U.S. and international officials. A number of CDC staff members are regularly detailed to work at the WHO in Geneva as part of a rotation that has operated for years. Senior Trump-appointed health officials also consulted regularly at the highest levels with the WHO as the crisis unfolded, the officials said. The presence of so many U.S. officials undercuts President Trump’s assertion that the WHO’s failure to communicate the extent of the threat, born of a desire to protect China, is largely responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States. Read more »

    In Ethiopia, Dire Dawa Emerges as Newest Coronavirus Hot Spot

    By Africa News

    The case count as of April 20 had reached 111 according to health minister Lia Tadesse’s update for today. Ethiopia crossed the 100 mark over the weekend. All three cases recorded over the last 24-hours were recorded in the chartered city of Dire Dawa with patients between the ages of 11 – 18. Two of them had travel history from Djibouti. Till date, Ethiopia has 90 patients in treatment centers. The death toll is still at three with 16 recoveries. A patient is in intensive care. Read more »

    COVID-19: Interview with Dr. Tsion Firew, an Ethiopian Doctor on the Frontline in NYC


    Dr. Tsion Firew is Doctor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Professor at Columbia University. She is also Special Advisor to the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

    By Liben Eabisa

    In New York City, which has now become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, working as a medical professional means literally going to a “war zone,” says physician Tsion Firew, a Doctor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Professor at Columbia University, who has just recovered from COVID-19 and returned to work a few days ago. Indeed the statistics coming out of New York are simply shocking with the state recording a sharp increase in death toll this months surpassing 10,000 and growing. According to The New York Times: “The numbers brought into clearer focus the staggering toll the virus has already taken on the largest city in the United States, where deserted streets are haunted by the near-constant howl of ambulance sirens. Far more people have died in New York City, on a per-capita basis, than in Italy — the hardest-hit country in Europe.” At the heart of the solution both in the U.S. and around the world is more testing and adhering to social distancing rules until such time as a proper treatment and vaccine is discovered, says Dr. Tsion, who is also a Special Advisor to the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. Dr. Tsion adds that at this moment “we all as humanity have one enemy: the virus. And what’s going to win the fight is solidarity.” Listen to the interview »

    Ethiopia Opens Aid Transport Hub to Fight Covid-19

    By AFP

    Ethiopia and the United Nations on Tuesday opened a humanitarian transport hub at Addis Ababa airport to move supplies and aid workers across Africa to fight coronavirus. The arrangement, which relies on cargo services provided by Ethiopian Airlines, could also partially offset heavy losses Africa’s largest carrier is sustaining because of the pandemic. An initial shipment of 3 000 cubic metres of supplies – most of it personal protective equipment for health workers – will be distributed within the next week, said Steven Were Omamo, Ethiopia country director for the World Food Programme (WFP). “This is a really important platform in the response to Covid-19, because what it does is it allows us to move with speed and efficiency to respond to the needs as they are unfolding,” Omamo said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus. The Addis gateway is one of eight global humanitarian hubs set up to facilitate movement of aid to fight Covid-19, according to WFP.

    Read more »

    Covid-19: Ethiopia to buy life insurance for health workers

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    The Ethiopian government is due to buy life insurance for health professionals in direct contact with Covid-19 patients. Health minister Lia Tadesse said on Tuesday that the government last week reached an agreement with the Ethiopian Insurance Corporation but did not disclose the value of the cover. The two sides are expected to sign an agreement this week to effect the insurance grant. According to the ministry, the life insurance grant is aimed at encouraging health experts who are the most vulnerable to the deadly coronavirus. Members of the Rapid Response Team will also benefit.

    Read more »

    U.N. says Saudi deportations of Ethiopian migrants risks spreading coronavirus

    By Reuters

    The United Nations said on Monday that deportations of illegal migrant workers by Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia risked spreading the coronavirus and it urged Riyadh to suspend the practice for the time being.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia’s capital launches door-to-door Covid-19 screening


    Getty Images

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is due to begin a door-to-door mass Covid-19 screening across the city, Addis Ababa city administration has announced. City deputy Mayor, Takele Uma, on Saturday told local journalists that the mass screening and testing programme will be started Monday (April 13) first in districts which are identified as potentially most vulnerable to the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus. The aggressive city-wide screening measure intends to identify Covid-19 infected patients and thereby to arrest a potential virus spread within communities. He said, the mass screening will eventually be carried out in all 117 districts, locally known as woredas, of the city, which is home to an estimated 7 million inhabitants. According to the Mayor, the door-to-door mass Covid-19 screening will be conducted by more than 1,200 retired health professionals, who responded to government’s call on the retired to join the national fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

    Read more »

    Worldwide deaths from the coronavirus hit 100,000

    By The Associated Press

    The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has hit 100,000, according to the running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The sad milestone comes as Christians around the globe mark a Good Friday unlike any other — in front of computer screens instead of in church pews. Meanwhile, some countries are tiptoeing toward reopening segments of their battered economies. Public health officials are warning people against violating the social distancing rules over Easter and allowing the virus to flare up again. Authorities are using roadblocks and other means to discourage travel.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team: Interview with Mike Endale

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    A network of technology professionals from the Ethiopian Diaspora — known as the Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team – has been assisting the Ethiopian Ministry of Health since the nation’s first Coronavirus case was confirmed on March 13th. The COVID-19 Response Team has since grown into an army of more than a thousand volunteers. Mike Endale, a software developer based in Washington, D.C., is the main person behind the launch of this project. Read more »

    Ethiopia eyes replicating China’s successes in applying traditional medicine to contain COVID-19

    By CGTN Africa

    The Ethiopian government on Thursday expressed its keen interest to replicate China’s positive experience in terms of effectively applying traditional Chinese medicine to successfully contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the East African country.

    This came after high-level officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MoIT) as well as the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) held a video conference with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners and researchers on ways of applying the TCM therapy towards controlling the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country, the MoIT disclosed in a statement issued on Thursday.

    “China, in particular, has agreed to provide to Ethiopia the two types of Chinese traditional medicines that the country applied to successfully treat the first two stages of the novel coronavirus,” a statement from the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology read.

    Read more »

    WHO Director Slams ‘Racist’ Comments About COVID-19 Vaccine Testing


    The Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has angrily condemned recent comments made by scientists suggesting that a vaccine for COVID-19 should be tested in Africa as “racist” and a hangover from the “colonial mentality”. (Photo: WHO)

    By BBC

    The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned as “racist” the comments by two French doctors who suggested a vaccine for the coronavirus could be tested in Africa.

    “Africa can’t and won’t be a testing ground for any vaccine,” said Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    The doctors’ remarks during a TV debate sparked outrage, and they were accused of treating Africans like “human guinea pigs”.

    One of them later issued an apology.

    When asked about the doctors’ suggestion during the WHO’s coronavirus briefing, Dr Tedros became visibly angry, calling it a hangover from the “colonial mentality”.

    “It was a disgrace, appalling, to hear during the 21st Century, to hear from scientists, that kind of remark. We condemn this in the strongest terms possible, and we assure you that this will not happen,” he said.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia declares state of emergency to curb spread of COVID-19

    By Reuters

    Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, his office said on Twitter. “Considering the gravity of the #COVID19, the government of Ethiopia has enacted a State of Emergency,” Abiy’s office said.

    Ethiopia virus cases hit 52, 9-month-old baby infected

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    Ethiopia on Tuesday reported eight new Covid-19 cases, the highest number recorded so far in one day since the country confirmed its first virus case on March 12. Among the new patients that tested positive for the virus were a 9-month-old infant and his mother who had travelled to Dubai recently. “During the past 24 hours, we have done laboratory tests for a total of 264 people and eight out of them have been diagnosed with coronavirus, raising the total confirmed number of Covid-19 patients in Ethiopia to 52,” said Health Minister Dr Lia Tadese. According to the Minister, seven of the newly confirmed patients had travel histories to various countries. They have been under forced-quarantine in different designated hotels in the capital, Addis Ababa. “Five of the new patients including the 9-month-old baby and the mother came from Dubai while the two others came from Thailand and the United Kingdom,” she said

    Read more »

    The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate

    By The Washington Post

    As the novel coronavirus sweeps across the United States, it appears to be infecting and killing black Americans at a disproportionately high rate, according to a Washington Post analysis of early data from jurisdictions across the country. The emerging stark racial disparity led the surgeon general Tuesday to acknowledge in personal terms the increased risk for African Americans amid growing demands that public-health officials release more data on the race of those who are sick, hospitalized and dying of a contagion that has killed more than 12,000 people in the United States. A Post analysis of what data is available and census demographics shows that counties that are majority-black have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are in the majority.

    Read more »

    In China, Wuhan’s lockdown officially ends after 11 weeks

    After 11 weeks — or 76 days — Wuhan’s lockdown is officially over. On Wednesday, Chinese authorities allowed residents to travel in and out of the besieged city where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December. Many remnants of the months-long lockdown, however, remain. Wuhan’s 11 million residents will be able to leave only after receiving official authorization that they are healthy and haven’t recently been in contact with a coronavirus patient. To do so, the Chinese government is making use of its mandatory smartphone application that, along with other government surveillance, tracks the movement and health status of every person.

    Read more »

    U.S. hospitals facing ‘severe shortages’ of equipment and staff, watchdog says

    By The Washington Post

    As the official U.S. death toll approached 10,000, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams warned that this will be “the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.”

    Read more »

    Ethio-American Tech Company PhantomALERT Offers Free App to Track & Map COVID-19 Outbreak

    By Tadias Staff

    PhantomALERT, a Washington D.C.-based technology company announced, that it’s offering a free application service to track, report and map COVID-19 outbreak hotspots in real time. In a recent letter to the DC government as well as the Ethiopian Embassy in the U.S. the Ethiopian-American owned business, which was launched in 2007, explained that over the past few days, they have redesigned their application to be “a dedicated coronavirus mapping, reporting and tracking application.” The letter to the Ethiopian Embassy, shared with Tadias, noted that PhantomALERT’s technology “will enable the Ethiopian government (and all other countries across the world) to locate symptomatic patients, provide medical assistance and alert communities of hotspots for the purpose of slowing down the spread of the Coronavirus.”

    Read more »

    2nd COVID-19 death confirmed in Ethiopia

    By Dr. Lia Tadesse (Minister, Ministry of Health, Ethiopia)

    It is with great sadness that I announce the second death of a patient from #COVID19 in Ethiopia. The patient was admitted on April 2nd and was under strict medical follow up in the Intensive Care Unit. My sincere condolences to the family and loved ones.

    Read more »

    The Next Coronavirus Test Will Tell You If You Are Now Immune. And It’s Fast.


    People line up in their cars at the COVID-19 testing area at Roseland Community Hospital on April 3, 2020, in Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

    By Chicago Tribune

    A new, different type of coronavirus test is coming that will help significantly in the fight to quell the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors and scientists say. The first so-called serology test, which detects antibodies to the virus rather than the virus itself, was given emergency approval Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And several more are nearly ready, said Dr. Elizabeth McNally, director of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Center for Genetic Medicine.

    Read more »

    ‘Your Safety is Our Priority’: How Ethiopian Airlines is Navigating the Global Virus Crisis

    By Tadias Staff

    Lately Ethiopian Airlines has been busy delivering much-needed medical supplies across Africa and emerging at the forefront of the continent’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic even as it has suspended most of its international passenger flights.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia races to bolster ventilator stockpile for coronavirus fight

    By AFP

    Ethiopia’s government — like others in Africa — is confronting a stark ventilator shortage that could hobble its COVID-19 response. In a country of more than 100 million people, just 54 ventilators — out of around 450 total — had been set aside for COVID-19 patients as of this week, said Yakob Seman, director general of medical services at the health ministry.

    Read more »

    New York City mayor calls for national enlistment of health-care workers


    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP photo)

    By The Washington Post

    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday called for a national enlistment of health-care workers organized by the U.S. military.

    Speaking on CNN’s New Day, he lamented that there has been no effort to mobilize doctors and nurses across the country and bring them to “the front” — first New York City and then other areas that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

    “If there’s not action by the president and the military literally in a matter of days to put in motion this vast mobilization,” de Blasio said, “then you’re going to see first hundreds and later thousands of Americans die who did not need to die.”

    He said he expects his city to be stretched for medical personnel starting Sunday, which he called “D-Day.” Many workers are out sick with the disease, he added, while others are “just stretched to the limit.”

    The mayor said he has told national leaders that they need to get on “wartime footing.”

    “The nation is in a peacetime stance while were actually in the middle of a war,” de Blasio said. “And if they don’t do something different in the next few days, they’re going to lose the window.”

    Read more »

    Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed

    By The Washington Post

    More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — a new record — as political and public health leaders put the economy in a deep freeze, keeping people at home and trying to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The past two weeks have seen more people file for unemployed claims than during the first six months of the Great Recession, a sign of how rapid, deep and painful the economic shutdown has been on many American families who are struggling to pay rent and health insurance costs in the midst of a pandemic. Job losses have skyrocketed as restaurants, hotel, gyms, and travel have shut down across the nation, but layoffs are also rising in manufacturing, warehousing and transportation, a sign of how widespread the pain of the coronavirus recession is. In March alone, 10.4 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for government aid, according to the latest Labor Department data, which includes claims filed through March 28. Many economists say the real number of people out work is likely even higher, since a lot of newly unemployed Americans haven’t been able to fill out a claim yet.

    Read more »

    U.N. Chief Calls Pandemic Biggest Global Challenge Since World War II

    By The Washington Post

    The coronavirus outbreak sickening hundreds of thousands around the world and devastating the global economy is creating a challenge for the world not seen since World War II, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said late Tuesday. Speaking in a virtual news conference, Guterres said the world needs to show more solidarity and cooperation in fighting not only the medical aspects of the crisis but the economic fallout. The International Monetary Fund is predicting an economic recession worse than in 2008.

    Read more »

    US death toll eclipses China’s as reinforcements head to NYC

    By The Associated Press

    The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 3,800 Tuesday, eclipsing China’s official count, as hard-hit New York City rushed to bring in more medical professionals and ambulances and parked refrigerated morgue trucks on the streets to collect the dead.

    Read more »

    Getting Through COVID 19: ECMAA Shares Timely Resources With Ethiopian Community

    By Tadias Staff

    The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) in the New York tri-state area has shared timely resources including COVID-19 safety information as well as national sources of financial support for families and small business owners.

    Read more »

    2020 Ethiopia Election Canceled Due to COVID-19

    By Tadias Staff

    The highly anticipated 2020 national election in Ethiopia has been canceled for now due to the coronavirus outbreak. The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that it has shelved its plans to hold the upcoming nationwide parliamentary polls on August 29th after an internal evaluation of the possible negative effect of the virus pandemic on its official activities.

    Read more »

    Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia on lockdown as coronavirus cases grow

    By The Washington Post

    Maryland, Virginia and the District issued “stay-at-home” orders on Monday, joining a growing list of states and cities mandating broad, enforceable restrictions on where residents can go in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    Read more »

    U.S. Approves Malaria Drug to Treat Coronavirus Patients

    By The Washington Post

    The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval to a Trump administration plan to distribute millions of doses of anti-malarial drugs to hospitals across the country, saying it is worth the risk of trying unproven treatments to slow the progression of the disease in seriously ill coronavirus patients.

    Read more »

    U.S. Deaths Could Reach 200,000

    By Bloomberg News

    A top U.S. infectious disease scientist said U.S. deaths could reach 200,000, but called it a moving target. New York’s fatalities neared 1,000, more than a third of the U.S. total.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia: PM, WHO Director Discuss Coronavirus Response


    @fanatelevision/twitter

    By Tadias Staff

    Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed spoke with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, over the weekend regarding the Coronavirus response in Ethiopia and Africa in general.

    Read more »

    Virus infections top 600,000 globally with long fight ahead

    By The Associated Press

    The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide topped 600,000 on Saturday as new cases stacked up quickly in Europe and the United States and officials dug in for a long fight against the pandemic. The latest landmark came only two days after the world passed half a million infections, according to a tally by John Hopkins University, showing that much work remains to be done to slow the spread of the virus. It showed more than 607,000 cases and over 28,000 deaths. While the U.S. now leads the world in reported infections — with more than 104,000 cases — five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.

    Read more »

    Maryland Issues COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for Ethiopian Community

    By Tadias Staff

    The state of Maryland Department of Health has issued a COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for its large Ethiopian community.

    Read more »

    Gouged prices, middlemen and medical supply chaos: Why governors are so upset with Trump

    By The Washington Post

    Masks that used to cost pennies now cost several dollars. Companies outside the traditional supply chain offer wildly varying levels of price and quality. Health authorities say they have few other choices to meet their needs in a ‘dog-eat-dog’ battle.

    Read more »

    Worshippers in Ethiopia Defy Ban on Large Gatherings Despite Coronavirus

    By VOA

    ADDIS ABABA – Health experts in Ethiopia are raising concern, as some religious leaders continue to host large gatherings despite government orders not to do so in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week, Ethiopia’s government ordered security forces to enforce a ban on large gatherings aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Ethiopia has seen only 12 cases and no deaths from the virus, and authorities would like to keep it that way. But enforcing the orders has proven difficult as religious groups continue to meet and, according to religious leaders, fail to treat the risks seriously.

    Read more »

    U.S. deaths from coronavirus top 1,000

    By The Washington Post

    It began as a mysterious disease with frightening potential. Now, just two months after America’s first confirmed case, the country is grappling with a lethal reality: The novel coronavirus has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States, a toll that is increasing at an alarming rate.

    Read more »

    A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy

    By The Washington Post

    A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as restaurants, hotels, barber shops, gyms and more shut down in a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

    Last week saw the biggest jump in new jobless claims in history, surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982. Many economists say this is the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment that could result in over 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April.

    Laid off workers say they waited hours on the phone to apply for help. Websites in several states, including New York and Oregon, crashed because so many people were trying to apply at once.

    “The most terrifying part about this is this is likely just the beginning of the layoffs,” said Martha Gimbel, a labor economist at Schmidt Futures. The nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February, a half-century low, but that has likely risen already to 5.5 percent, according to calculations by Gimbel. The nation hasn’t seen that level of unemployment since 2015.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia: Parents fear for missing students as universities close over Covid-19


    Photo via amnesty.org

    As universities across Ethiopia close to avert spread of the COVID-19 virus, Amnesty International is calling on the Ethiopian authorities to disclose measures they have taken to rescue 17 Amhara students from Dembi Dolo University in Western Oromia, who were abducted by unidentified people in November 2019 and have been missing since.

    The anguish of the students’ families is exacerbated by a phone and internet shutdown implemented in January across the western Oromia region further hampering their efforts to get information about their missing loved ones.

    “The sense of fear and uncertainty spreading across Ethiopia because of COVID-19 is exacerbating the anguish of these students’ families, who are desperate for information on the whereabouts of their loved ones four months after they were abducted,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa.

    “The Ethiopian authorities’ move to close universities in order to protect the lives of university students is commendable, but they must also take similarly concrete actions to locate and rescue the 17 missing students so that they too are reunited with their families.”

    Read more »

    UPDATE: New York City is now reporting 26,697 COVID-19 cases and 450 deaths.

    BY ABC7 NY

    Temporary hospital space in New York City will begin opening on Monday and more supplies are on the way as an already overwhelmed medical community anticipates even more coronavirus patients in the coming days. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted 20 trucks were on the road delivering protective equipment to hospitals, including surgical masks, N95 masks, and hundreds more ventilators.

    Governor Cuomo added the temporary hospital in the Javits Center will open on Monday the same day that the USNS Comfort will arrive in New York City.

    Read more »

    Related: New York sees some signs of progress against coronavirus as New Orleans hit hard (REUTERS)

    L.A. mayor says residents may have to shelter at home for two months or more

    By Business Insider

    Los Angeles residents will be confined to their homes until May at the earliest, Mayor Eric Garcetti told Insider on Wednesday.

    “I think this is at least two months,” he said. “And be prepared for longer.”

    In an interview with Insider, Garcetti pushed back against “premature optimism” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying leaders who suggest we are on the verge of business as usual are putting lives at risk.

    “I can’t say that strongly enough,” the mayor said. Optimism, he said, has to be grounded in data. And right now the data is not good.

    “Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people,” Garcetti said, adding it would change their actions by instilling a sense of normality at the most abnormal time in a generation.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread

    By CNN

    Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde has granted pardon to more than 4,000 prisoners in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Sahle-Work Zewde announced the order in a tweet on Wednesday and said it would help prevent overcrowding in prisons.

    The directive only covers those given a maximum sentence of three years for minor crimes and those who were about to be released from jail, she said.

    There are 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ethiopia, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
    Authorities in the nation have put in place a raft of measures, including the closure of all borders except to those bringing in essential goods to contain the virus. The government has directed security officials to monitor and enforce a ban on large gatherings and overcrowded public transport to ensure social distancing.

    Read more »


    U.S. House passes $2 trillion coronavirus emergency spending bill


    Watch: Senator Chuck Schumer of New York breaks down massive coronavirus aid package (MSNBC Video)

    By The Washington Post

    The House of Representatives voted Friday [March 27th] to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill that policy makers hope will blunt the economic destruction of the coronavirus pandemic, sending the legislation to President Trump for enactment. The legislation passed in dramatic fashion, approved on an overwhelming voice vote by lawmakers who’d been forced to return to Washington by a GOP colleague who had insisted on a quorum being present. Some lawmakers came from New York and other places where residents are supposed to be sheltering at home.

    Read more »

    In Ethiopia, Abiy seeks $150b for African virus response

    By AFP

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday urged G20 leaders to help Africa cope with the coronavirus crisis by facilitating debt relief and providing $150 billion in emergency funding.
    The pandemic “poses an existential threat to the economies of African countries,” Abiy’s office said in a statement, adding that Ethiopia was “working closely with other African countries” in preparing the aid request.

    The heavy debt burdens of many African countries leave them ill-equipped to respond to pandemic-related economic shocks, as the cost of servicing debt exceeds many countries’ health budgets, the statement said.

    Read more »

    Worried Ethiopians Want Partial Internet Shutdown Ended (AP)


    Ethiopians have their temperature checked for symptoms of the new coronavirus, at the Zewditu Memorial Hospital in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough and the vast majority recover in 2-6 weeks but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health issues, the virus that causes COVID-19 can result in more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    By Elias Meseret | AP

    March 24, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Rights groups and citizens are calling on Ethiopia’s government to lift the internet shutdown in parts of the country that is leaving millions of people without important updates on the coronavirus.

    The months-long shutdown of internet and phone lines in Western Oromia and parts of the Benishangul Gumuz region is occurring during military operations against rebel forces.

    “Residents of these areas are getting very limited information about the coronavirus,” Jawar Mohammed, an activist-turned-politician, told The Associated Press.

    Ethiopia reported its first coronavirus case on March 13 and now has a dozen. Officials have been releasing updates mostly online. Land borders have closed and national carrier Ethiopian Airlines has stopped flying to some 30 destinations around the world.

    Read more »

    In Global Fight vs. Virus, Over 1.5 Billion Told: Stay Home


    A flier urging customers to remain home hangs at a turnstile as an MTA employee sanitizes surfaces at a subway station with bleach solutions due to COVID-19 concerns, Friday, March 20, 2020, in New York. (AP)

    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) — With masks, ventilators and political goodwill in desperately short supply, more than one-fifth of the world’s population was ordered or urged to stay in their homes Monday at the start of what could be a pivotal week in the battle to contain the coronavirus in the U.S. and Europe.

    Partisan divisions stalled efforts to pass a colossal aid package in Congress, and stocks fell again on Wall Street even after the Federal Reserve said it will lend to small and large businesses and local governments to help them through the crisis.

    Warning that the outbreak is accelerating, the head of the World Health Organization called on countries to take strong, coordinated action.

    “We are not helpless bystanders,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, noting that it took 67 days to reach 100,000 cases worldwide but just four days to go from 200,000 to 300,000. “We can change the trajectory of this pandemic.”

    Read more »

    China’s Coronavirus Donation to Africa Arrives in Ethiopia (Reuters)


    An Ethiopian Airlines worker transports a consignment of medical donation from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundation to Africa for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, upon arrival at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, March 22, 2020. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

    The first batch of protective and medical equipment donated by Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma was flown into the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, as coronavirus cases in Africa rose above 1,100.

    The virus has spread more slowly in Africa than in Asia or Europe but has a foothold in 41 African nations and two territories. So far it has claimed 37 lives across the continent of 1.3 billion people.

    The shipment is a much-needed boost to African healthcare systems that were already stretched before the coronavirus crisis, but nations will still need to ration supplies at a time of global scarcity.

    Only patients showing symptoms will be tested, the regional Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

    “The flight carried 5.4 million face masks, kits for 1.08 million detection tests, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 sets of protective face shields,” Ma’s foundation said in a statement.

    “The faster we move, the earlier we can help.”

    The shipment had a sign attached with the slogan, “when people are determined they can overcome anything”.

    Read more »


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    City Sleeps: A Look At The Empty NYC Streets Amid The Virus – In Pictures

    Ethiopia enforces 14-day quarantine for all travelers

    Diaspora-based Tech Professionals Launch Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Task Force

    Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Hopeful & Inspiring Stories Shared by Obama

    Pleas to Diaspora to Assist Coronavirus First Responders in Ethiopia

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  • UPDATE: U.S. & Ethiopia Launch $2.2 Billion Productive Safety Net Program

    The United States has supported the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) initiative since its inception and remains Ethiopia’s largest bilateral assistance partner, investing over $4 billion in the last five years alone. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia)

    Press Release

    U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia

    U.S. and Ethiopia Launch New $2.2 Billion Phase of the Productive Safety Net Program

    Addis Ababa, March 29, 2021 – Today, the United States joined the Government of Ethiopia and development partners to launch the next five-year phase of the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP). The PSNP is the Government of Ethiopia’s multi-billion dollar food security, public works, and social safety net program for millions in need across Ethiopia.The PSNP was first established with U.S. support in 2005. As the largest donor, USAID’s contribution accounts for over $550 million.

    Today’s launch represents a total additional $2.2 billion investment by the government and Ethiopia’s international partners in PSNP. Over the next five years, the PSNP will reach up to nine million people each year as it provides food assistance and services that will lift vulnerable families out of poverty. Minister of Finance Ato Ahmed Shide and Minister of Agriculture Ato Oumer Hussein launched the new, fifth phase of PSNP with heads of agencies from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Bank, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, World Food Programme, UNICEF, Irish Aid, and the Netherlands at a ceremony in Addis Ababa.

    USAID Mission Director Sean Jones said, “The American people’s commitment to this Ethiopian-led program is long-standing. We are pleased to continue our work together to build upon the success of the PSNP in improving food security and nutrition, and resilience in poor and vulnerable communities. We applaud the Ethiopian government’s commitment, leadership, and increased ownership under this initiative. The American people greatly appreciate the opportunity to be a partner of the Ethiopian people in the coming years.”

    The United States has supported the PSNP initiative since its inception and remains Ethiopia’s largest bilateral assistance partner, investing over $4 billion in the last five years alone.

    Related:

    UPDATE: U.S. Creates Special Envoy For Horn of Africa

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    COVID-19 New Cases Rising in Ethiopia

    According to the Ministry of Health the number of coronavirus cases in Ethiopia has reached 188,902 as of March 22nd, 2021. (Photo: Image via Twitter @lia_tadesse)

    THE LATEST UPDATE:

    Updated: March 22nd, 2021

  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 188, 902
  • Ethiopia reports 1,724 new COVID-19 cases
  • Ethiopia begins COVID-19 vaccine rollout
  • Ethiopian Airlines Delivers First Batches Of Vaccine In Ethiopia
  • COVID-19 limits activities of “Timket” celebration in Ethiopia
  • COVID-19: New Study on Preventive Practice Among Pregnant Women in Northwest Ethiopia
  • Aid Groups Warn of COVID-19 Outbreak at Ethiopian Refugee Camp in Sudan
  • Ethiopia to launch 6-month COVID-19 prevention campaign
  • Survey identifies troubling effect of pandemic on where women give birth in Ethiopia
  • US shifts to speed vaccinations; won’t hold back 2nd doses
  • MAP: Covid-19 vaccination tracker across the U.S.
  • ‘Relieved’: US health workers start getting COVID-19 vaccine
  • FDA authorizes the first coronavirus vaccine, a rare moment of hope in pandemic
  • US panel endorses widespread use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
  • In U.S. every state has its own COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. Find the one for yours here.
  • Only half in US want shots as vaccine nears
  • US regulators post positive review of Pfizer vaccine data
  • Britain launches the West’s first mass coronavirus vaccination
  • Cases and deaths in the U.S. | Cases and deaths worldwide
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 117,242
  • Ethiopia’s month-long conflict hampers efforts in fighting COVID-19 outbreaks
  • How Ethiopia prepared its health workforce for the COVID-19 response
  • Assessing Ethiopian women’s vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Pfizer CEO confident of getting U.S. advisory panel nod for COVID-19 vaccine
  • Demand for COVID-19 tests to outstrip supply for months, says Roche CEO
  • A year into COVID-19, U.N. declares a day of ‘epidemic preparedness’
  • WHO sees limited COVID-19 vaccine doses in early 2021
  • 2nd virus vaccine shows overwhelming success in U.S. tests
  • Pfizer’s Covid Vaccine: 11 Things You Need to Know
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 100,327
  • Virus cases surpass 90K as schools reopen in Ethiopia
  • Refusing to wear a mask in Ethiopia could cost you two years in jail
  • Ethiopia: Schools to Start Regular Face to Face Classes With Covid-19 Precautions
  • 5 Ethiopian footballers contract coronavirus
  • WHO: 10% of world’s people may have been infected with virus
  • Global coronavirus death toll tops 1 million as U.N. chief warns that ‘misinformation kills’
  • ‘I feel sorry for Americans’: Baffled world watches USA
  • U.S. Covid-19 death toll surpasses 200,000
  • China’s BGI wins 1.5 million coronavirus test kit order from Ethiopia
  • Ethiopia Braces for Election Amid COVID19
  • The pandemic appears to have spared Africa so far. Scientists are struggling to explain why
  • Ethiopia opens facility to make coronavirus test kits
  • Ethiopia to make and export COVID-19 test kits
  • IN PICTURES: On the Frontline Against Covid-19 in Ethiopia – A Photo Essay
  • Oxford vaccine trial on hold because of potential safety issue
  • In Canada, EthioCare Volunteers Help Calgary Church Members After COVID-19 Outbreak
  • How Ethiopian Airlines’ Agility Saw It Through COVID With No Bailout
  • COVID-19: US Retailer Cancels Millions of Dollars of Garment Orders from Ethiopia
  • COVID-19 reveals risky life on the buses for Ethiopia’s child conductors
  • Ethiopians fight pandemic by early morning exercises
  • One of Ethiopia’s main coronavirus centres ‘nearly full’
  • A vision for post-pandemic mobility in African cities
  • COVID-19 Spreads Inside Ethiopian Detention Centers
  • Turkish factory in Ethiopia plans output amid COVID-19
  • Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia resist camp closure amid COVID-19 fears
  • COVID-19 is crushing Ethiopian entertainers, just when we need them the most
  • Chinese first lady donates medical supplies to Ethiopia
  • Over 25500 migrant Ethiopians return home in four months amid COVID-19 pandemic: IOM
  • In Jamaica Ethiopian Consulate Donates 1,000 Care Packages
  • Global coronavirus cases top 20M as Russia approves vaccine
  • In Ethiopia extreme Poverty Rises due to the coronavirus
  • U.S. infections surpass 5 million
  • Africa’s cases of COVID-19 top 1 million
  • Ethiopians struggle to cope with COVID-19 fears
  • 15,000 Ethiopian returnees receive emergency Covid-19 assistance at quarantine sites
  • The United States Provides Ventilators to Ethiopia to Respond to COVID-19
  • In Ethiopia, Health Ministry To Conduct 17 Million COVID-19 Tests Via Month-Long Campaign
  • Ethiopia Starts Covid Test Campaign; Cases Spike After Protests
  • As COVID starts to surge, Ethiopia battles complacency
  • Coronavirus – Ethiopia: COVID-19 Response Overview
  • Ethiopian Workers Are Forced to Return Home, Some With Coronavirus
  • Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases exceed 750,000
  • Coronavirus Deaths on the Rise in Almost Every Region of the U.S.
  • Ethiopian farmers slaughter thousands of chicks as COVID hits demand
  • Ethiopia’s COVID-19 Update Affected By Internet Cut
  • Amid Pandemic Ethiopia Launches Policy to Encourage Walking and Cycling
  • African Development Fund approves $165 m grant for Ethiopia’s national COVID-19 emergency response
  • Sponsor network gives lifeline to Ethiopians struggling under pandemic
  • Ethiopia among Forbes’ post-Covid ‘Rising Stars in Travel’
  • COVID19 Contact Tracing is a race. But few U.S. states say how fast they’re running
  • WHO warns of ‘new and dangerous phase’ as coronavirus accelerates; Americas now hardest hit
  • World Bank Provides Additional Support to Help Ethiopia Mitigate Economic Impacts of COVID-19
  • Africa outperforms world economies in coronavirus mayhem
  • As coronavirus cases rise in U.S., public health experts urge caution
  • COVID-19 Cases Pass 10 Million Worldwide
  • U.S. tops 3.2 million reported cases
  • US Deaths From Coronavirus Surpass 134,000 and Growing
  • Once the coronavirus epicenter in the U.S., New York City begins to reopen
  • Winter is coming south of the equator, along with predictions of the coronavirus’s spread
  • NYT honors coronavirus victims with powerful front page
  • Spotlight: Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System Tebita Adds Services Addressing COVID19
  • WHO reports most coronavirus cases in a day as cases approach five million
  • World Health Organization warns against hydroxychloroquine use for covid-19
  • Experts: Trump’s threats to WHO could undercut global health
  • Why Cape Town has 10 percent of Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases
  • WHO head says vaccines, medicines must be fairly shared to beat COVID-19
  • U.S. coronavirus death toll tops 80,000
  • U.S. Jobless Rate Spikes to 14.7%, Highest Since Great Depression
  • Doctors face new urgency to solve children and coronavirus puzzle
  • In Ethiopia, Abiy Warns of Opposition Power Grab Amid Pandemic
  • Q&A: How Ethiopia’s Health Minister is Preparing for Coronavirus
  • Young Inventor Helps Ethiopia’s COVID-19 Crisis
  • Hospitalizations continue to decline in New York, Cuomo says
  • Researchers double U.S. COVID-19 death forecast, citing eased restrictions
  • Ethiopia: PM Abiy Writes COVID-19 Related Op-Ed on World Economic Forum Blog
  • Virus deaths in D.C., Virginia and Maryland surpass 2,000
  • IMF Approves $411M in Coronavirus Aid for Ethiopia
  • COVID-19 and Its Impact on African Economies: Q&A with Prof. Lemma Senbet
  • Los Angeles becomes first major U.S. city to offer free coronavirus testing for all residents
  • Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 200,000, as world leaders commit to finding vaccine
  • City demolitions expose Ethiopian families to coronavirus
  • In Maryland, Wogene Debele Gave Birth Before Dying of Covid-19. She Never Got to See Her Newborn.
  • Germany to start first coronavirus vaccine trial
  • U.S. coronavirus deaths top 51,000, with fatalities expected to climb
  • Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes
  • Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health Holds Webinar With Diaspora on COVID-19 Response
  • Webinar on COVID-19 and Mental Health: Interview with Dr. Seble Frehywot
  • CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating
  • Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time info. about coronavirus to Trump admin.
  • In Ethiopia, Dire Dawa Emerges as Newest Coronavirus Hot Spot
  • COVID-19: Interview with Dr. Tsion Firew, an Ethiopian Doctor on the Frontline in NYC
  • UN COVID-19 Major airlift operation reaches ‘most vulnerable’ African nations
  • Ethiopia Cases of Coronavirus Surpass 100
  • In U.S., New York’s Cuomo attacks Trump’s pandemic response
  • Doctor who sounded the alarm about covid-19 is now a children’s book hero
  • Ethiopia Opens Aid Transport Hub to Fight Covid-19
  • Ethiopia to buy life insurance for health workers
  • IMF says COVID-19 pandemic is causing worst global economic downturn since Great Depression
  • U.N. says Saudi deportations of Ethiopian migrants risks spreading coronavirus
  • Ethiopia’s capital launches door-to-door Covid-19 screening
  • Worldwide deaths from the coronavirus hit 100,000
  • Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team: Interview with Mike Endale
  • Ethiopia eyes replicating China’s successes in applying traditional medicine to contain COVID-19
  • WHO Director Slams ‘Racist’ Comments About COVID-19 Vaccine Testing
  • Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency, Recruits Health Workers to Fight Virus
  • The virus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate, a Post analysis shows
  • In China, Wuhan’s lockdown officially ends after 11 weeks
  • U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 10,000
  • U.S. Government urged to release race, ethnicity data on covid-19 cases
  • Ethio-American Tech Company PhantomALERT Offers Free App to Track & Map COVID-19 Outbreak
  • 2nd COVID-19 death confirmed in Ethiopia
  • The Next Coronavirus Test Will Tell You If You Are Now Immune. And It’s Fast.
  • New York City mayor calls for national enlistment of health-care workers
  • ‘Your Safety is Our Priority’: How Ethiopian Airlines is Navigating the Global Virus Crisis
  • Ethiopia races to bolster ventilator stockpile for coronavirus fight
  • Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Promise
  • Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed
  • U.N. Chief Calls Pandemic Biggest Global Challenge Since World War II
  • US death toll eclipses China’s as reinforcements head to NYC
  • Getting Through COVID 19: ECMAA Shares Timely Resources With Ethiopian Community
  • 2020 Ethiopia Election Canceled Due to COVID-19
  • DC Metro Area Goes on Lockdown
  • U.S. Approves Malaria Drug to Treat Coronavirus Patients
  • U.S. Deaths Could Reach 200,000
  • The Curious Case of Ethiopian Traditional Medicine Covid-19 Treatment & Need for Caution
  • Ethiopia: PM Abiy spoke with Dr. Tedros regarding the Coronavirus response in Africa
  • COVID-19: Fire brigades disinfect Ethiopian capital
  • The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming
  • In Tunisia Factory Workers Making 50k Masks a Day While in Voluntary Lockdown
  • Virus infections top 600,000 globally with long fight ahead
  • Maryland Issues COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for Ethiopian Community
  • Gouged prices, middlemen and medical supply chaos: Why governors are so upset with Trump
  • Worshippers in Ethiopia Defy Ban on Large Gatherings Despite Coronavirus
  • A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy
  • Ethiopia: Parents fear for missing students as universities close over Covid-19
  • Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread

    Ethiopia begins COVID-19 vaccine rollout


    A healthcare personnel receives the first dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at the EKA Kottebe hospital as vaccination process begins in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 13, 2021. (Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu – Anadolu Agency)

    By Addis Getachew | Anadolu Agency

    ADDIS ABABA — Hoping to curb a recent spike in infections, Ethiopia kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday. Jabs were administered in several major cities, including the capital Addis Ababa, where top government officials and UN representatives attended a ceremony at the Eka General Hospital. Doctors, nurses, and support staff at the hospital, one of Ethiopia’s main COVID-19 treatment centers, were given shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Ethiopia received its first batch of 2.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week under the COVAX initiative, a project co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. Speaking at the ceremony, Education Minister Getahun Mekuria said Ethiopia has been experiencing an alarming increase in infections over recent days. “Negligence is costing the nation dearly,” he warned.

    Read more »

    Survey identifies troubling effect of pandemic on where women give birth in Ethiopia

    In urban areas, delivery rates in lower-level health facilities increased and hospital deliveries decreased after social distancing restrictions were put in place

    By Johns Hopkins Magazine

    A new study from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and researchers at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia has found that as of June, the proportion of women in urban areas—where COVID-19 rates were highest—who delivered in lower-level health facilities significantly increased while deliveries in hospitals declined. A pregnant woman’s place of delivery is a key maternal health service component that has a direct impact on pregnancy and newborn outcomes, and researchers have been monitoring how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting women’s delivery patterns. The analysis was conducted using data from the Performance Monitoring for Action Ethiopia survey, led by Linnea Zimmerman, assistant professor in the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School, and Solomon Shiferaw and Assefa Seme at Addis Ababa University. The project is managed by Johns Hopkins global health affiliate Jhpiego and the Gates Institute. Results from the analysis also showed that at the national level, there was no difference in the proportion of women who delivered in a hospital and home delivery rates remained unchanged. Looking within urban areas, women who delivered during May and June, after COVID-19 restrictions started, were significantly less likely to deliver in a hospital relative to women who delivered prior to the pandemic.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 188,902

    By Ministry of Health

    In Ethiopia, as of March 22nd, 2021, there have been 188,902 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Read more »

    Assessing Ethiopian women’s vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic

    By World Bank

    The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has devastating health and economic impacts globally and has disproportionately affected vulnerable groups. As highlighted in a blog published at the onset of the pandemic, the coronavirus is not gender-blind and pre-existing gender gaps may intensify during and after the pandemic due to worsening human capital, economic, and women’s agency outcomes.

    What can high-frequency phone survey data tell us about the gendered effects of the pandemic in Ethiopia?

    The short answer: A lot!

    Read more »

    How Ethiopia prepared its health workforce for the COVID-19 response


    Photo via the World Health Organization

    By The World Health Organization

    In a busy intensive care unit in Eka Kotebe General Hospital, Addis Ababa, Dr Samuel Getnet, 28, a newly-recruited young and energetic physician anxiously monitors the mechanical ventilators, an indispensable form of life support for COVID-19 patients with respiratory distress.

    “I never thought my professional journey would bring me to the place where I’m today—at the center of COVID-19 pandemic management team—treating and caring for the most severely ill patients who critically need my support and care. Despite the challenges and risks, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my people at this critical time,” he said.

    Dr Getnet is a general practitioner who came on board as part of the surge capacity planning for human resources announced by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health in February 2020. Before starting his duty in the intensive care unit, he received in-person training from the World Health Organization (WHO), with practical sessions taking place in the hospital. The topics he covered include case management, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), infection prevention and control (IPC), and the application and use of mechanical ventilation. He also benefited from online WHO resources such as Open WHO.org.

    Read more »

    ‘Relieved’: US health workers start getting COVID-19 vaccine


    Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo)

    By The Associated Press

    The biggest vaccination campaign in U.S. history kicked off Monday as health workers rolled up their sleeves for shots to protect them from COVID-19 and start beating back the pandemic — a day of optimism even as the nation’s death toll closed in on 300,000.

    “I feel hopeful today. Relieved,” critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay said after getting a shot in the arm at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York.

    With a countdown of “3-2-1,” workers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center gave the first injections to applause.

    And in New Orleans, Steven Lee, an intensive care unit pharmacist at Ochsner Medical Center, summed up the moment as he got his own vaccination: “We can finally prevent the disease as opposed to treating it.”

    Other hospitals around the country, from Rhode Island to Texas, unloaded precious frozen vials of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech, with staggered deliveries set throughout the day and Tuesday. A few other countries have authorized the vaccine, including Britain, which started vaccinating people last week, and Canada, which began doing so on Monday.

    For health care workers, who along with nursing home residents will be first in line for vaccination, hope is tempered by grief and the sheer exhaustion of months spent battling a coronavirus that still is surging in the U.S. and around the world.

    Read more »

    IN PICTURES: On the Frontline Against Covid-19 in Ethiopia – A Photo Essay


    Frontline workers at the Eka Kotebe hospital. (Photo by Yonas Tadesse)

    By Yonas Tadesse

    The first case of Covid-19 in Ethiopia was reported on 13 March, when a team of first responders took in a 48-year-old Japanese man. Having never seen anything like his condition, they did not know what to prepare for, and thus started their new normal of battling the coronavirus in Ethiopia.

    Doctors, nurses, janitors, security guards and drivers donned hats they had never dreamed of wearing as they worked to develop systems and techniques to minimise the damage from the virus – often at the cost of their health, their home lives, their reputations, and sometimes their lives.

    Read more and see the photos at theguardian.com »

    FACTBOX- Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 67.72 million, death toll at 1,548,575

    By Reuters

    More than 67.72 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,548,575​ have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

    Read more »

    Africa’s cases of COVID-19 top 1 million

    By Reuters

    Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 1 million, a Reuters tally showed on Thursday, as the disease began to spread rapidly through a continent whose relative isolation has so far spared it the worst of the pandemic. The continent recorded 1,003,056 cases, of which 21,983 have died and 676,395 recovered. South Africa – which is the world’s fifth worst-hit nation and makes up more than half of sub-Saharan Africa’s case load – has recorded 538,184 cases since its first case on March 5, the health ministry said on Thursday. Low levels of testing in several countries, apart from South Africa, mean Africa’s infection rates are likely to be higher than reported, experts say. Read more »

    COVID19 Contact Tracing is a race. But few U.S. states say how fast they’re running

    Someone — let’s call her Person A — catches the coronavirus. It’s a Monday. She goes about life, unaware her body is incubating a killer. By perhaps Thursday, she’s contagious. Only that weekend does she come down with a fever and get tested. What happens next is critical. Public health workers have a small window of time to track down everyone Person A had close contact with over the past few days. Because by the coming Monday or Tuesday, some of those people — though they don’t yet have symptoms — could also be spreading the virus. Welcome to the sprint known as contact tracing, the process of reaching potentially exposed people as fast as possible and persuading them to quarantine. The race is key to controlling the pandemic ahead of a vaccine, experts say. But most places across the United States aren’t making public how fast or well they’re running it, leaving Americans in the dark about how their governments are mitigating the risk. An exception is the District of Columbia, which recently added metrics on contact tracing to its online dashboard. A few weeks ago, the District was still too overwhelmed to try to ask all of those who tested positive about their contacts. Now, after building a staff of several hundred contact tracers, D.C. officials say they’re making that attempt within 24 hours of a positive test report in about 98 percent of cases. For months, every U.S. state has posted daily numbers on coronavirus testing — along with charts of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths. So far, only one state, Oregon, posts similar data about contact tracing. Officials in New York say they plan to begin publishing such metrics in the coming weeks.

    Read more »

    Coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpass 2.5 million

    By The Washington Post

    June 28th, 2020

    Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 2.5 million on Sunday morning as a devastating new wave of infections continued to bear down throughout the country’s South and West. Florida, Texas and Arizona are fast emerging as the country’s latest epicenters after reporting record numbers of new infections for weeks in a row. Positivity rates and hospitalizations have also spiked. Global cases of covid-19 exceeded 10 million, according to a count maintained by Johns Hopkins University, a measure of the power and spread of a pandemic that has caused vast human suffering, devastated the world’s economy and still threatens vulnerable populations in rich and poor nations alike.
    Read more »

    WHO warns of ‘new and dangerous phase’ as coronavirus accelerates; Americas now hardest hit

    By The Washington Post

    The World Health Organization warned Friday that “the world is in a new and dangerous phase” as the global pandemic accelerates. The world recorded about 150,000 new cases on Thursday, the largest rise yet in a single day, according to the WHO. Nearly half of these infections were in the Americas, as new cases continue to surge in the United States, Brazil and across Latin America. More than 8.5 million coronavirus cases and at least 454,000 deaths have been reported worldwide. As confirmed cases and hospitalizations climb in the U.S., new mask requirements are prompting faceoffs between officials who seek to require face coverings and those, particularly conservatives, who oppose such measures. Several studies this month support wearing masks to curb coronavirus transmission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend their use as a protective measure. Read more »

    World Bank Provides Additional Support to Help Ethiopia Mitigate Economic Impacts of COVID-19

    JUNE 18, 2020

    The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $250 million ($125 million grant and $125 million credit) in supplemental financing for the ongoing Second Ethiopia Growth and Competitiveness Programmatic Development Policy Financing. This funding is geared towards helping Ethiopia to revitalize the economy by broadening the role of the private sector and attaining a more sustainable development path.

    “The COVID 19 pandemic is expected to severely impact Ethiopia’s economy. The austerity of the required containment measures, along with disruptions to air travel and the collapse in international demand for goods exported by Ethiopia are already taking a toll on the economy,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea. “Additionally, an estimated 1.8 million jobs are at risk, and the incomes and livelihoods of several million informal workers, self-employed individuals and farmers are expected to be affected.”

    The supplemental financing will help to mitigate the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on the Government’s reform agenda. Specifically, the program is intended to help address some of the unanticipated financing needs the Government of Ethiopia is facing due to the COVID-19 crisis. Additional financing needs are estimated to be approximately $1.5 billion, as revenue collection is expected to weaken, and additional expenditure is needed to mitigate the public health and economic impacts of the crisis.

    Read more »

    Once the coronavirus epicenter in the U.S., New York City begins to reopen


    After three months of a coronavirus crisis followed by protests and unrest, New York City is trying to turn a page when a limited range of industries reopen Monday, June 8, 2020. (AP Photo)

    100 days after the first coronavirus case was confirmed there, the city that was once the epicenter of America’s coronavirus pandemic began to reopen. The number of cases in New York has plunged, but health officials fear that a week of protests on the streets could bring a new wave.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) estimated that between 200,000 to 400,000 workers returned to work throughout the city’s five boroughs.

    “All New Yorkers should be proud you got us to this day,” de Blasio said at a news conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a manufacturing hub.

    Read more »

    US Deaths From Coronavirus Surpass 100,000 Milestone

    By The Associated Press

    The U.S. surpassed a jarring milestone Wednesday in the coronavirus pandemic: 100,000 deaths. That number is the best estimate and most assuredly an undercount. But it represents the stark reality that more Americans have died from the virus than from the Vietnam and Korea wars combined. “It’s a striking reminder of how dangerous this virus can be,” said Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington. The true death toll from the virus, which emerged in China late last year and was first reported in the U.S. in January, is widely believed to be significantly higher, with experts saying many victims died of COVID-19 without ever being tested for it. Read more »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 5,846

    By Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health

    Report #111 የኢትዮጵያ የኮሮና ቫይረስ ሁኔታ መግለጫ. Status update on #COVID19Ethiopia. Total confirmed cases [as of June 29th, 2020]: 5,846 Read more »

    New York Times Memorializes Coronavirus Victims as U.S. Death Toll Nears 100,000

    America is fast approaching a grim milestone in the coronavirus outbreak — each figure here represents one of the nearly 100,000 lives lost so far. Read more »

    Spotlight: Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System Tebita Adds Services Addressing COVID19

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Twelve year ago when Kibret Abebe quit his job as a nurse anesthetist at Black Lion Hospital and sold his house to launch Tebita Ambulance — Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System — his friends and family were understandably concerned about his decisions. But today Tebita operates over 20 advanced life support ambulances with approval from the Ministry of Health and stands as the country’s premier Emergency Medical Service (EMS). Tebita has since partnered with East Africa Emergency Services, an Ethiopian and American joint venture that Kibret also owns, with the aim “to establish the first trauma center and air ambulance system in Ethiopia.” This past month Tebita announced their launch of new services in Addis Abeba to address the COVID-19 pandemic and are encouraging Ethiopians residing in the U.S. to utilize Tebita for regular home check-ins on elderly family members as well as vulnerable individuals with pre-existing conditions. The following is an audio of the interview with Kibret Abebe and Laura Davis of Tebita Ambulance and East Africa Emergency Services: Read more »

    WHO reports most coronavirus cases in a day as cases approach five million

    By Reuters

    GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations have begun emerging from lockdown. The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began. “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. “We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries.” Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases.” Read more »

    WHO head says vaccines, medicines must be fairly shared to beat COVID-19

    By Reuters

    Scientists and researchers are working at “breakneck” speed to find solutions for COVID-19 but the pandemic can only be beaten with equitable distribution of medicines and vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday. “Traditional market models will not deliver at the scale needed to cover the entire globe,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva.

    Read more »

    Doctors face new urgency to solve children and coronavirus puzzle

    By Axios

    Solving the mystery of how the coronavirus impacts children has gained sudden steam, as doctors try to determine if there’s a link between COVID-19 and kids with a severe inflammatory illness, and researchers try to pin down their contagiousness before schools reopen. New York hospitals have reported 73 suspected cases with two possible deaths from the inflammatory illness as of Friday evening. Read more »

    COVID-19 and Its Impact on African Economies: Q&A with Prof. Lemma Senbet


    Prof. Lemma Senbet. (Photo: @AERCAFRICA/Twitter)

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Last week Professor Lemma Senbet, an Ethiopian-American financial economist and the William E. Mayer Chair Professor at University of Maryland, moderated a timely webinar titled ‘COVID-19 and African Economies: Global Implications and Actions.’ The well-attended online conference — hosted by the Center for Financial Policy at University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business on Friday, April 24th — featured guest speakers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the World Bank who addressed “the global implications of the COVID-19 economic impact on developing and low-income countries, with Africa as an anchor.” In the following Q&A with Tadias Prof. Lemma, who is also the immediate former Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium based in Nairobi, Kenya, explains the worldwide economic fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the African continent, including Ethiopia. Read more »

    US unemployment surges to a Depression-era level of 14.7%

    By The Associated Press

    The coronavirus crisis has sent U.S. unemployment surging to 14.7%, a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Depression and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was assuring Americans that the only thing to fear was fear itself…The breathtaking collapse is certain to intensify the push-pull across the U.S. over how and when to ease stay-at-home restrictions. And it robs President Donald Trump of the ability to point to a strong economy as he runs for reelection. “The jobs report from hell is here,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, “one never seen before and unlikely to be seen again barring another pandemic or meteor hitting the Earth.” Read more »

    Hospitalizations continue to decline in New York, Cuomo says

    By CBS News

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the number of people newly diagnosed and hospitalized with COVID-19 has continued to decrease. “Overall the numbers are coming down,” he said. But he said 335 people died from the virus yesterday. “That’s 335 families,” Cuomo said. “You see this number is basically reducing, but not at a tremendous rate. The only thing that’s tremendous is the number of New Yorkers who’ve still passed away.” Read more »

    Los Angeles offers free testing to all county residents

    By The Washington Post

    All residents of Los Angeles County can access free coronavirus testing at city-run sites, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said on Wednesday. Previously, the city had only offered testing to residents with symptoms as well as essential workers and people who lived or worked in nursing homes and other kinds of institutional facilities. In an announcement on Twitter, Garcetti said that priority would still be given to front-line workers and anyone experiencing symptoms, including cough, fever or shortness of breath. But the move, which makes Los Angeles the first major city in the country to offer such widespread testing, allows individuals without symptoms to be tested. Health experts have repeatedly said that mass testing is necessary to determine how many people have contracted the virus — and in particular, those who may not have experienced symptoms — and then begin to reopen the economy. Testing is by appointment only and can be arranged at one of the city’s 35 sites. Read more »

    Researchers Double U.S. COVID-19 Death Forecast

    By Reuters

    A newly revised coronavirus mortality model predicts nearly 135,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by early August, almost double previous projections, as social-distancing measures for quelling the pandemic are increasingly relaxed, researchers said on Monday. The ominous new forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reflect “rising mobility in most U.S. states” with an easing of business closures and stay-at-home orders expected in 31 states by May 11, the institute said. Read more »

    Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 200,000, as world leaders commit to finding vaccine

    By NBC News

    The global coronavirus death toll surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, according to John Hopkins University data. The grim total was reached a day after presidents and prime ministers agreed to work together to develop new vaccines, tests and treatments at a virtual meeting with both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We will only halt COVID-19 through solidarity,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Countries, health partners, manufacturers, and the private sector must act together and ensure that the fruits of science and research can benefit everybody. As the U.S. coronavirus death tollpassed 51,000 people, according to an NBC News tally, President Donald Trump took no questions at his White House briefing on Friday, after widespread mockery for floating the idea that light, heat and disinfectants could be used to treat coronavirus patients.”

    Read more »

    Germany to start first coronavirus vaccine trial

    By DW

    German Health Minister Jens Spahn has announced the first clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), the regulatory authority which helps develop and authorizes vaccines in Germany, has given the go-ahead for the first clinical trial of BNT162b1, a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It was developed by cancer researcher and immunologist Ugur Sahin and his team at pharmaceutical company BioNTech, and is based on their prior research into cancer immunology. Sahin previously taught at the University of Mainz before becoming the CEO of BioNTech. In a joint conference call on Wednesday with researchers from the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Sahin said BNT162b1 constitutes a so-called RNA vaccine. He explained that innocuous genetic information of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transferred into human cells with the help of lipid nanoparticles, a non-viral gene delivery system. The cells then transform this genetic information into a protein, which should stimulate the body’s immune reaction to the novel coronavrius.

    Read more »

    Webinar on COVID-19 and Mental Health: Interview with Dr. Seble Frehywot

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Dr. Seble Frehywot, an Associate Professor of Global Health & Health Policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and her colleague Dr. Yianna Vovides from Georgetown University will host an online forum next week on April 30th focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on mental health. Dr. Seble — who is also the Director of Global Health Equity On-Line Learning at George Washington University – told Tadias that the virtual conference titled “People’s Webinar: Addressing COVID-19 By Addressing Mental Health” is open to the public and available for viewing worldwide. Read more »

    Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes

    By The Washington Post

    Doctors sound alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead. Some didn’t even know they were infected. Read more »

    CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating

    By The Washington Post

    Even as states move ahead with plans to reopen their economies, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season. “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean…We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,” he said. Having two simultaneous respiratory outbreaks would put unimaginable strain on the health-care system, he said. The first wave of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has already killed more than 42,000 people across the country. It has overwhelmed hospitals and revealed gaping shortages in test kits, ventilators and protective equipment for health-care workers.

    Read more »

    Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time information about coronavirus to Trump administration

    By The Washington Post

    More than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians and public health experts, many of them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were working full time at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration, according to U.S. and international officials. A number of CDC staff members are regularly detailed to work at the WHO in Geneva as part of a rotation that has operated for years. Senior Trump-appointed health officials also consulted regularly at the highest levels with the WHO as the crisis unfolded, the officials said. The presence of so many U.S. officials undercuts President Trump’s assertion that the WHO’s failure to communicate the extent of the threat, born of a desire to protect China, is largely responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States. Read more »

    In Ethiopia, Dire Dawa Emerges as Newest Coronavirus Hot Spot

    By Africa News

    The case count as of April 20 had reached 111 according to health minister Lia Tadesse’s update for today. Ethiopia crossed the 100 mark over the weekend. All three cases recorded over the last 24-hours were recorded in the chartered city of Dire Dawa with patients between the ages of 11 – 18. Two of them had travel history from Djibouti. Till date, Ethiopia has 90 patients in treatment centers. The death toll is still at three with 16 recoveries. A patient is in intensive care. Read more »

    COVID-19: Interview with Dr. Tsion Firew, an Ethiopian Doctor on the Frontline in NYC


    Dr. Tsion Firew is Doctor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Professor at Columbia University. She is also Special Advisor to the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

    By Liben Eabisa

    In New York City, which has now become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, working as a medical professional means literally going to a “war zone,” says physician Tsion Firew, a Doctor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Professor at Columbia University, who has just recovered from COVID-19 and returned to work a few days ago. Indeed the statistics coming out of New York are simply shocking with the state recording a sharp increase in death toll this months surpassing 10,000 and growing. According to The New York Times: “The numbers brought into clearer focus the staggering toll the virus has already taken on the largest city in the United States, where deserted streets are haunted by the near-constant howl of ambulance sirens. Far more people have died in New York City, on a per-capita basis, than in Italy — the hardest-hit country in Europe.” At the heart of the solution both in the U.S. and around the world is more testing and adhering to social distancing rules until such time as a proper treatment and vaccine is discovered, says Dr. Tsion, who is also a Special Advisor to the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. Dr. Tsion adds that at this moment “we all as humanity have one enemy: the virus. And what’s going to win the fight is solidarity.” Listen to the interview »

    Ethiopia Opens Aid Transport Hub to Fight Covid-19

    By AFP

    Ethiopia and the United Nations on Tuesday opened a humanitarian transport hub at Addis Ababa airport to move supplies and aid workers across Africa to fight coronavirus. The arrangement, which relies on cargo services provided by Ethiopian Airlines, could also partially offset heavy losses Africa’s largest carrier is sustaining because of the pandemic. An initial shipment of 3 000 cubic metres of supplies – most of it personal protective equipment for health workers – will be distributed within the next week, said Steven Were Omamo, Ethiopia country director for the World Food Programme (WFP). “This is a really important platform in the response to Covid-19, because what it does is it allows us to move with speed and efficiency to respond to the needs as they are unfolding,” Omamo said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus. The Addis gateway is one of eight global humanitarian hubs set up to facilitate movement of aid to fight Covid-19, according to WFP.

    Read more »

    Covid-19: Ethiopia to buy life insurance for health workers

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    The Ethiopian government is due to buy life insurance for health professionals in direct contact with Covid-19 patients. Health minister Lia Tadesse said on Tuesday that the government last week reached an agreement with the Ethiopian Insurance Corporation but did not disclose the value of the cover. The two sides are expected to sign an agreement this week to effect the insurance grant. According to the ministry, the life insurance grant is aimed at encouraging health experts who are the most vulnerable to the deadly coronavirus. Members of the Rapid Response Team will also benefit.

    Read more »

    U.N. says Saudi deportations of Ethiopian migrants risks spreading coronavirus

    By Reuters

    The United Nations said on Monday that deportations of illegal migrant workers by Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia risked spreading the coronavirus and it urged Riyadh to suspend the practice for the time being.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia’s capital launches door-to-door Covid-19 screening


    Getty Images

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is due to begin a door-to-door mass Covid-19 screening across the city, Addis Ababa city administration has announced. City deputy Mayor, Takele Uma, on Saturday told local journalists that the mass screening and testing programme will be started Monday (April 13) first in districts which are identified as potentially most vulnerable to the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus. The aggressive city-wide screening measure intends to identify Covid-19 infected patients and thereby to arrest a potential virus spread within communities. He said, the mass screening will eventually be carried out in all 117 districts, locally known as woredas, of the city, which is home to an estimated 7 million inhabitants. According to the Mayor, the door-to-door mass Covid-19 screening will be conducted by more than 1,200 retired health professionals, who responded to government’s call on the retired to join the national fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

    Read more »

    Worldwide deaths from the coronavirus hit 100,000

    By The Associated Press

    The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has hit 100,000, according to the running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The sad milestone comes as Christians around the globe mark a Good Friday unlike any other — in front of computer screens instead of in church pews. Meanwhile, some countries are tiptoeing toward reopening segments of their battered economies. Public health officials are warning people against violating the social distancing rules over Easter and allowing the virus to flare up again. Authorities are using roadblocks and other means to discourage travel.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team: Interview with Mike Endale

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    A network of technology professionals from the Ethiopian Diaspora — known as the Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team – has been assisting the Ethiopian Ministry of Health since the nation’s first Coronavirus case was confirmed on March 13th. The COVID-19 Response Team has since grown into an army of more than a thousand volunteers. Mike Endale, a software developer based in Washington, D.C., is the main person behind the launch of this project. Read more »

    Ethiopia eyes replicating China’s successes in applying traditional medicine to contain COVID-19

    By CGTN Africa

    The Ethiopian government on Thursday expressed its keen interest to replicate China’s positive experience in terms of effectively applying traditional Chinese medicine to successfully contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the East African country.

    This came after high-level officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MoIT) as well as the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) held a video conference with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners and researchers on ways of applying the TCM therapy towards controlling the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country, the MoIT disclosed in a statement issued on Thursday.

    “China, in particular, has agreed to provide to Ethiopia the two types of Chinese traditional medicines that the country applied to successfully treat the first two stages of the novel coronavirus,” a statement from the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology read.

    Read more »

    WHO Director Slams ‘Racist’ Comments About COVID-19 Vaccine Testing


    The Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has angrily condemned recent comments made by scientists suggesting that a vaccine for COVID-19 should be tested in Africa as “racist” and a hangover from the “colonial mentality”. (Photo: WHO)

    By BBC

    The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned as “racist” the comments by two French doctors who suggested a vaccine for the coronavirus could be tested in Africa.

    “Africa can’t and won’t be a testing ground for any vaccine,” said Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    The doctors’ remarks during a TV debate sparked outrage, and they were accused of treating Africans like “human guinea pigs”.

    One of them later issued an apology.

    When asked about the doctors’ suggestion during the WHO’s coronavirus briefing, Dr Tedros became visibly angry, calling it a hangover from the “colonial mentality”.

    “It was a disgrace, appalling, to hear during the 21st Century, to hear from scientists, that kind of remark. We condemn this in the strongest terms possible, and we assure you that this will not happen,” he said.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia declares state of emergency to curb spread of COVID-19

    By Reuters

    Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, his office said on Twitter. “Considering the gravity of the #COVID19, the government of Ethiopia has enacted a State of Emergency,” Abiy’s office said.

    Ethiopia virus cases hit 52, 9-month-old baby infected

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    Ethiopia on Tuesday reported eight new Covid-19 cases, the highest number recorded so far in one day since the country confirmed its first virus case on March 12. Among the new patients that tested positive for the virus were a 9-month-old infant and his mother who had travelled to Dubai recently. “During the past 24 hours, we have done laboratory tests for a total of 264 people and eight out of them have been diagnosed with coronavirus, raising the total confirmed number of Covid-19 patients in Ethiopia to 52,” said Health Minister Dr Lia Tadese. According to the Minister, seven of the newly confirmed patients had travel histories to various countries. They have been under forced-quarantine in different designated hotels in the capital, Addis Ababa. “Five of the new patients including the 9-month-old baby and the mother came from Dubai while the two others came from Thailand and the United Kingdom,” she said

    Read more »

    The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate

    By The Washington Post

    As the novel coronavirus sweeps across the United States, it appears to be infecting and killing black Americans at a disproportionately high rate, according to a Washington Post analysis of early data from jurisdictions across the country. The emerging stark racial disparity led the surgeon general Tuesday to acknowledge in personal terms the increased risk for African Americans amid growing demands that public-health officials release more data on the race of those who are sick, hospitalized and dying of a contagion that has killed more than 12,000 people in the United States. A Post analysis of what data is available and census demographics shows that counties that are majority-black have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are in the majority.

    Read more »

    In China, Wuhan’s lockdown officially ends after 11 weeks

    After 11 weeks — or 76 days — Wuhan’s lockdown is officially over. On Wednesday, Chinese authorities allowed residents to travel in and out of the besieged city where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December. Many remnants of the months-long lockdown, however, remain. Wuhan’s 11 million residents will be able to leave only after receiving official authorization that they are healthy and haven’t recently been in contact with a coronavirus patient. To do so, the Chinese government is making use of its mandatory smartphone application that, along with other government surveillance, tracks the movement and health status of every person.

    Read more »

    U.S. hospitals facing ‘severe shortages’ of equipment and staff, watchdog says

    By The Washington Post

    As the official U.S. death toll approached 10,000, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams warned that this will be “the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.”

    Read more »

    Ethio-American Tech Company PhantomALERT Offers Free App to Track & Map COVID-19 Outbreak

    By Tadias Staff

    PhantomALERT, a Washington D.C.-based technology company announced, that it’s offering a free application service to track, report and map COVID-19 outbreak hotspots in real time. In a recent letter to the DC government as well as the Ethiopian Embassy in the U.S. the Ethiopian-American owned business, which was launched in 2007, explained that over the past few days, they have redesigned their application to be “a dedicated coronavirus mapping, reporting and tracking application.” The letter to the Ethiopian Embassy, shared with Tadias, noted that PhantomALERT’s technology “will enable the Ethiopian government (and all other countries across the world) to locate symptomatic patients, provide medical assistance and alert communities of hotspots for the purpose of slowing down the spread of the Coronavirus.”

    Read more »

    2nd COVID-19 death confirmed in Ethiopia

    By Dr. Lia Tadesse (Minister, Ministry of Health, Ethiopia)

    It is with great sadness that I announce the second death of a patient from #COVID19 in Ethiopia. The patient was admitted on April 2nd and was under strict medical follow up in the Intensive Care Unit. My sincere condolences to the family and loved ones.

    Read more »

    The Next Coronavirus Test Will Tell You If You Are Now Immune. And It’s Fast.


    People line up in their cars at the COVID-19 testing area at Roseland Community Hospital on April 3, 2020, in Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

    By Chicago Tribune

    A new, different type of coronavirus test is coming that will help significantly in the fight to quell the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors and scientists say. The first so-called serology test, which detects antibodies to the virus rather than the virus itself, was given emergency approval Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And several more are nearly ready, said Dr. Elizabeth McNally, director of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Center for Genetic Medicine.

    Read more »

    ‘Your Safety is Our Priority’: How Ethiopian Airlines is Navigating the Global Virus Crisis

    By Tadias Staff

    Lately Ethiopian Airlines has been busy delivering much-needed medical supplies across Africa and emerging at the forefront of the continent’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic even as it has suspended most of its international passenger flights.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia races to bolster ventilator stockpile for coronavirus fight

    By AFP

    Ethiopia’s government — like others in Africa — is confronting a stark ventilator shortage that could hobble its COVID-19 response. In a country of more than 100 million people, just 54 ventilators — out of around 450 total — had been set aside for COVID-19 patients as of this week, said Yakob Seman, director general of medical services at the health ministry.

    Read more »

    New York City mayor calls for national enlistment of health-care workers


    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP photo)

    By The Washington Post

    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday called for a national enlistment of health-care workers organized by the U.S. military.

    Speaking on CNN’s New Day, he lamented that there has been no effort to mobilize doctors and nurses across the country and bring them to “the front” — first New York City and then other areas that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

    “If there’s not action by the president and the military literally in a matter of days to put in motion this vast mobilization,” de Blasio said, “then you’re going to see first hundreds and later thousands of Americans die who did not need to die.”

    He said he expects his city to be stretched for medical personnel starting Sunday, which he called “D-Day.” Many workers are out sick with the disease, he added, while others are “just stretched to the limit.”

    The mayor said he has told national leaders that they need to get on “wartime footing.”

    “The nation is in a peacetime stance while were actually in the middle of a war,” de Blasio said. “And if they don’t do something different in the next few days, they’re going to lose the window.”

    Read more »

    Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed

    By The Washington Post

    More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — a new record — as political and public health leaders put the economy in a deep freeze, keeping people at home and trying to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The past two weeks have seen more people file for unemployed claims than during the first six months of the Great Recession, a sign of how rapid, deep and painful the economic shutdown has been on many American families who are struggling to pay rent and health insurance costs in the midst of a pandemic. Job losses have skyrocketed as restaurants, hotel, gyms, and travel have shut down across the nation, but layoffs are also rising in manufacturing, warehousing and transportation, a sign of how widespread the pain of the coronavirus recession is. In March alone, 10.4 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for government aid, according to the latest Labor Department data, which includes claims filed through March 28. Many economists say the real number of people out work is likely even higher, since a lot of newly unemployed Americans haven’t been able to fill out a claim yet.

    Read more »

    U.N. Chief Calls Pandemic Biggest Global Challenge Since World War II

    By The Washington Post

    The coronavirus outbreak sickening hundreds of thousands around the world and devastating the global economy is creating a challenge for the world not seen since World War II, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said late Tuesday. Speaking in a virtual news conference, Guterres said the world needs to show more solidarity and cooperation in fighting not only the medical aspects of the crisis but the economic fallout. The International Monetary Fund is predicting an economic recession worse than in 2008.

    Read more »

    US death toll eclipses China’s as reinforcements head to NYC

    By The Associated Press

    The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 3,800 Tuesday, eclipsing China’s official count, as hard-hit New York City rushed to bring in more medical professionals and ambulances and parked refrigerated morgue trucks on the streets to collect the dead.

    Read more »

    Getting Through COVID 19: ECMAA Shares Timely Resources With Ethiopian Community

    By Tadias Staff

    The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) in the New York tri-state area has shared timely resources including COVID-19 safety information as well as national sources of financial support for families and small business owners.

    Read more »

    2020 Ethiopia Election Canceled Due to COVID-19

    By Tadias Staff

    The highly anticipated 2020 national election in Ethiopia has been canceled for now due to the coronavirus outbreak. The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that it has shelved its plans to hold the upcoming nationwide parliamentary polls on August 29th after an internal evaluation of the possible negative effect of the virus pandemic on its official activities.

    Read more »

    Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia on lockdown as coronavirus cases grow

    By The Washington Post

    Maryland, Virginia and the District issued “stay-at-home” orders on Monday, joining a growing list of states and cities mandating broad, enforceable restrictions on where residents can go in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    Read more »

    U.S. Approves Malaria Drug to Treat Coronavirus Patients

    By The Washington Post

    The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval to a Trump administration plan to distribute millions of doses of anti-malarial drugs to hospitals across the country, saying it is worth the risk of trying unproven treatments to slow the progression of the disease in seriously ill coronavirus patients.

    Read more »

    U.S. Deaths Could Reach 200,000

    By Bloomberg News

    A top U.S. infectious disease scientist said U.S. deaths could reach 200,000, but called it a moving target. New York’s fatalities neared 1,000, more than a third of the U.S. total.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia: PM, WHO Director Discuss Coronavirus Response


    @fanatelevision/twitter

    By Tadias Staff

    Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed spoke with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, over the weekend regarding the Coronavirus response in Ethiopia and Africa in general.

    Read more »

    Virus infections top 600,000 globally with long fight ahead

    By The Associated Press

    The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide topped 600,000 on Saturday as new cases stacked up quickly in Europe and the United States and officials dug in for a long fight against the pandemic. The latest landmark came only two days after the world passed half a million infections, according to a tally by John Hopkins University, showing that much work remains to be done to slow the spread of the virus. It showed more than 607,000 cases and over 28,000 deaths. While the U.S. now leads the world in reported infections — with more than 104,000 cases — five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.

    Read more »

    Maryland Issues COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for Ethiopian Community

    By Tadias Staff

    The state of Maryland Department of Health has issued a COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for its large Ethiopian community.

    Read more »

    Gouged prices, middlemen and medical supply chaos: Why governors are so upset with Trump

    By The Washington Post

    Masks that used to cost pennies now cost several dollars. Companies outside the traditional supply chain offer wildly varying levels of price and quality. Health authorities say they have few other choices to meet their needs in a ‘dog-eat-dog’ battle.

    Read more »

    Worshippers in Ethiopia Defy Ban on Large Gatherings Despite Coronavirus

    By VOA

    ADDIS ABABA – Health experts in Ethiopia are raising concern, as some religious leaders continue to host large gatherings despite government orders not to do so in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week, Ethiopia’s government ordered security forces to enforce a ban on large gatherings aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Ethiopia has seen only 12 cases and no deaths from the virus, and authorities would like to keep it that way. But enforcing the orders has proven difficult as religious groups continue to meet and, according to religious leaders, fail to treat the risks seriously.

    Read more »

    U.S. deaths from coronavirus top 1,000

    By The Washington Post

    It began as a mysterious disease with frightening potential. Now, just two months after America’s first confirmed case, the country is grappling with a lethal reality: The novel coronavirus has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States, a toll that is increasing at an alarming rate.

    Read more »

    A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy

    By The Washington Post

    A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as restaurants, hotels, barber shops, gyms and more shut down in a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

    Last week saw the biggest jump in new jobless claims in history, surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982. Many economists say this is the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment that could result in over 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April.

    Laid off workers say they waited hours on the phone to apply for help. Websites in several states, including New York and Oregon, crashed because so many people were trying to apply at once.

    “The most terrifying part about this is this is likely just the beginning of the layoffs,” said Martha Gimbel, a labor economist at Schmidt Futures. The nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February, a half-century low, but that has likely risen already to 5.5 percent, according to calculations by Gimbel. The nation hasn’t seen that level of unemployment since 2015.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia: Parents fear for missing students as universities close over Covid-19


    Photo via amnesty.org

    As universities across Ethiopia close to avert spread of the COVID-19 virus, Amnesty International is calling on the Ethiopian authorities to disclose measures they have taken to rescue 17 Amhara students from Dembi Dolo University in Western Oromia, who were abducted by unidentified people in November 2019 and have been missing since.

    The anguish of the students’ families is exacerbated by a phone and internet shutdown implemented in January across the western Oromia region further hampering their efforts to get information about their missing loved ones.

    “The sense of fear and uncertainty spreading across Ethiopia because of COVID-19 is exacerbating the anguish of these students’ families, who are desperate for information on the whereabouts of their loved ones four months after they were abducted,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa.

    “The Ethiopian authorities’ move to close universities in order to protect the lives of university students is commendable, but they must also take similarly concrete actions to locate and rescue the 17 missing students so that they too are reunited with their families.”

    Read more »

    UPDATE: New York City is now reporting 26,697 COVID-19 cases and 450 deaths.

    BY ABC7 NY

    Temporary hospital space in New York City will begin opening on Monday and more supplies are on the way as an already overwhelmed medical community anticipates even more coronavirus patients in the coming days. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted 20 trucks were on the road delivering protective equipment to hospitals, including surgical masks, N95 masks, and hundreds more ventilators.

    Governor Cuomo added the temporary hospital in the Javits Center will open on Monday the same day that the USNS Comfort will arrive in New York City.

    Read more »

    Related: New York sees some signs of progress against coronavirus as New Orleans hit hard (REUTERS)

    L.A. mayor says residents may have to shelter at home for two months or more

    By Business Insider

    Los Angeles residents will be confined to their homes until May at the earliest, Mayor Eric Garcetti told Insider on Wednesday.

    “I think this is at least two months,” he said. “And be prepared for longer.”

    In an interview with Insider, Garcetti pushed back against “premature optimism” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying leaders who suggest we are on the verge of business as usual are putting lives at risk.

    “I can’t say that strongly enough,” the mayor said. Optimism, he said, has to be grounded in data. And right now the data is not good.

    “Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people,” Garcetti said, adding it would change their actions by instilling a sense of normality at the most abnormal time in a generation.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread

    By CNN

    Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde has granted pardon to more than 4,000 prisoners in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Sahle-Work Zewde announced the order in a tweet on Wednesday and said it would help prevent overcrowding in prisons.

    The directive only covers those given a maximum sentence of three years for minor crimes and those who were about to be released from jail, she said.

    There are 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ethiopia, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
    Authorities in the nation have put in place a raft of measures, including the closure of all borders except to those bringing in essential goods to contain the virus. The government has directed security officials to monitor and enforce a ban on large gatherings and overcrowded public transport to ensure social distancing.

    Read more »


    U.S. House passes $2 trillion coronavirus emergency spending bill


    Watch: Senator Chuck Schumer of New York breaks down massive coronavirus aid package (MSNBC Video)

    By The Washington Post

    The House of Representatives voted Friday [March 27th] to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill that policy makers hope will blunt the economic destruction of the coronavirus pandemic, sending the legislation to President Trump for enactment. The legislation passed in dramatic fashion, approved on an overwhelming voice vote by lawmakers who’d been forced to return to Washington by a GOP colleague who had insisted on a quorum being present. Some lawmakers came from New York and other places where residents are supposed to be sheltering at home.

    Read more »

    In Ethiopia, Abiy seeks $150b for African virus response

    By AFP

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday urged G20 leaders to help Africa cope with the coronavirus crisis by facilitating debt relief and providing $150 billion in emergency funding.
    The pandemic “poses an existential threat to the economies of African countries,” Abiy’s office said in a statement, adding that Ethiopia was “working closely with other African countries” in preparing the aid request.

    The heavy debt burdens of many African countries leave them ill-equipped to respond to pandemic-related economic shocks, as the cost of servicing debt exceeds many countries’ health budgets, the statement said.

    Read more »

    Worried Ethiopians Want Partial Internet Shutdown Ended (AP)


    Ethiopians have their temperature checked for symptoms of the new coronavirus, at the Zewditu Memorial Hospital in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough and the vast majority recover in 2-6 weeks but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health issues, the virus that causes COVID-19 can result in more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    By Elias Meseret | AP

    March 24, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Rights groups and citizens are calling on Ethiopia’s government to lift the internet shutdown in parts of the country that is leaving millions of people without important updates on the coronavirus.

    The months-long shutdown of internet and phone lines in Western Oromia and parts of the Benishangul Gumuz region is occurring during military operations against rebel forces.

    “Residents of these areas are getting very limited information about the coronavirus,” Jawar Mohammed, an activist-turned-politician, told The Associated Press.

    Ethiopia reported its first coronavirus case on March 13 and now has a dozen. Officials have been releasing updates mostly online. Land borders have closed and national carrier Ethiopian Airlines has stopped flying to some 30 destinations around the world.

    Read more »

    In Global Fight vs. Virus, Over 1.5 Billion Told: Stay Home


    A flier urging customers to remain home hangs at a turnstile as an MTA employee sanitizes surfaces at a subway station with bleach solutions due to COVID-19 concerns, Friday, March 20, 2020, in New York. (AP)

    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) — With masks, ventilators and political goodwill in desperately short supply, more than one-fifth of the world’s population was ordered or urged to stay in their homes Monday at the start of what could be a pivotal week in the battle to contain the coronavirus in the U.S. and Europe.

    Partisan divisions stalled efforts to pass a colossal aid package in Congress, and stocks fell again on Wall Street even after the Federal Reserve said it will lend to small and large businesses and local governments to help them through the crisis.

    Warning that the outbreak is accelerating, the head of the World Health Organization called on countries to take strong, coordinated action.

    “We are not helpless bystanders,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, noting that it took 67 days to reach 100,000 cases worldwide but just four days to go from 200,000 to 300,000. “We can change the trajectory of this pandemic.”

    Read more »

    China’s Coronavirus Donation to Africa Arrives in Ethiopia (Reuters)


    An Ethiopian Airlines worker transports a consignment of medical donation from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundation to Africa for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, upon arrival at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, March 22, 2020. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

    The first batch of protective and medical equipment donated by Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma was flown into the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, as coronavirus cases in Africa rose above 1,100.

    The virus has spread more slowly in Africa than in Asia or Europe but has a foothold in 41 African nations and two territories. So far it has claimed 37 lives across the continent of 1.3 billion people.

    The shipment is a much-needed boost to African healthcare systems that were already stretched before the coronavirus crisis, but nations will still need to ration supplies at a time of global scarcity.

    Only patients showing symptoms will be tested, the regional Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

    “The flight carried 5.4 million face masks, kits for 1.08 million detection tests, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 sets of protective face shields,” Ma’s foundation said in a statement.

    “The faster we move, the earlier we can help.”

    The shipment had a sign attached with the slogan, “when people are determined they can overcome anything”.

    Read more »


    Related:

    We Need Seismic Change, Right Now: by Marcus Samuelsson

    City Sleeps: A Look At The Empty NYC Streets Amid The Virus – In Pictures

    Ethiopia enforces 14-day quarantine for all travelers

    Diaspora-based Tech Professionals Launch Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Task Force

    Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Hopeful & Inspiring Stories Shared by Obama

    Pleas to Diaspora to Assist Coronavirus First Responders in Ethiopia

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Spotlight: College Friends Ephrem Abebe & Steve Chu, Co-founders of Ekiben in Baltimore

    College friends Ephrem Abebe & Steve Chu are Co-founders of Ekiben, an up-and-coming Asian fusion restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland. Their business "has become known, not only for its legendary steamed buns, but also for uniting the community." (Baltimore Magazine)

    Baltimore Magazine

    How Ekiben Went From a Modest Start-Up to the Toast of the Town

    As the pounding beat from a hip-hop heavy playlist fills the room, the Ekiben team gets to work: Chicken gets dropped in the deep fryer, broccoli is battered, and the kitchen staff hustles at the line, piling pork shoulder and mango-papaya slaw into cardboard containers scrawled with a handdrawn heart and the words, “Thank you! Ekiben Fam.” The pulsing music sets the tone, and the air is electric with energy, as the mostly young staff steadily works to fill orders for steamed bun sandwiches and rice bowls brimming with Thai chicken meatballs or tofu in spicy peanut sauce.

    By nightfall, beneath the black-and-white awning at the Hampden eatery’s entrance, the line continues to grow, and not just because COVID-19 has forced the spot to allow only one customer inside at a time. Beginning at 11 a.m., when the lunch shift starts, the joint is jumping. And by night’s end, some hundreds of Neighborhood Bird sandwiches—that is, Ekiben’s legendary Taiwanese curried chicken on a steamed bun—will fly past the vestibule plastered with manga and out the double glass doors. Of course, an equivalent scene is also unfolding at the Ekiben in Fells Point, the first brick-and-mortar location of this Asian-fusion street food spot that opened on Eastern Avenue in 2016.

    This second location of Ekiben opened in February 2020, on a scrappy, off-the-beaten-path alley in Hampden just weeks before the pandemic hit, though that hasn’t stopped patrons from finding it. And while the past year has led to a major loss of revenue from their sizeable events business—some 172 catering gigs were canceled in 2020 alone—the nightly takeout grind at both locations has largely stayed steady, in part because Ekiben was already geared toward grab-and-go.

    “It took eight months to build in Hampden what took us five years to build in Fells Point,” says Steve Chu, who co-owns Ekiben with his college friend Ephrem Abebe. “It’s kind of crazy.”

    Since the opening of the original space, the restaurant has earned praise from Travel & Leisure, Vogue, and Eater, in addition to landing a spot on Yelp’s coveted list of top 100 restaurants in the United States and being named a Rising Star by StarChefs D.C.-Chesapeake. And while Chu says the national recognition is great, it’s the locals who keep the place going. “I’ve come here once a week since it opened,” says Hampden resident Jeff Crumb. “Every time we get it, the food is consistently great.”

    “This all comes from the support of the city and the people who live here,” says Abebe, 31, who oversees operations, while Chu serves as chef/CFO/marketing maven—“basically, everything else,” says Chu. “Baltimore is a true blue-collar city and likes seeing the success of small-time businesses and people growing and grinding it out. We get tourists coming in, but it’s the people two doors down who are sustaining us. The community has allowed us to get to this point.”

    Case in point: Baltimore resident Tony Trapp was a customer long before he started working at the Ekiben in Fells Point three years ago. “I loved the food,” says Trapp, who is now a manager at the Hampden location. “But I also love working here—everyone here is like family.”

    In fact, the culturally diverse staff, hailing from all over the world—the Philippines, Mexico, Honduras, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, China, Korea, Taiwan—refers to Chu and Abebe as “mom” and “dad,” respectively. “I guess I’m dad because my jokes are like dad jokes,” says Abebe, who is a dad to a toddler boy. “And Steve is super nurturing and helpful. He’s always there for you and gives good advice.”

    Chu’s own dad, who immigrated from Taiwan in the ’70s and opened Pikesville’s Jumbo Seafood in 1993, practically raised his only son in the Chinese food restaurant, though, Chu, whose parents were divorced by the time he was 2, hated hanging out there.

    “When you’re an immigrant running a restaurant, you definitely can’t afford childcare,” says Chu, whose uncle also owns a restaurant, Sonny Lee’s in Reisterstown. “I hated going to the restaurant because I didn’t have anything to do. I would roll glasses off the table until a busser told me to stop or my dad would stick me in his office, which is smaller than Harry Potter’s closet. During dinner service, my dad would tell me to lay down and go to sleep and I’d have a tablecloth as blankets, which were starched and very cold. And, once in a while, he’d open the door and all of this light would come rushing in and he’d drop this big plate of food that no 4-year-old could ever finish, and I’d eat in the dark because I couldn’t reach the light switch.”

    But reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential at the ripe old age of 13 gave him a new perspective. “I was like, ‘I think I can do this, minus the hard drugs,’” cracks the 30-year-old Chu. “That book convinced me that it was going to be a fun ride.”

    In the meantime, Chu’s dad put his growing son to work at Jumbo Seafood, running paper ticket orders to the kitchen, working the register, and answering the phones throughout his teen years. “At 14, I was awkward and chubby, and shy,” says Chu. “I didn’t want to be talking to people. I hated it, because I wasn’t learning anything. I was like, ‘I don’t f**king want to be here.’ It was awful.”

    When Chu reminisces about his past, it’s clear that those years spent at Jumbo were formative. And though he tells it with a sense of humor, and peppers his stories with expletives, the pain is still palpable, as he recounts facing an age-old issue—the tug between putting family first versus the desire to chase one’s own dreams.

    By the time he attended University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2008, he was majoring in economics and contemplating a career in law or teaching economics. Instead, he had an epiphany. “I realized that I loved restaurants,” he says. “I love going to them. That’s kind of like my theater. Running a restaurant is like putting on a show for your clientele. This business is so labor-intensive, I figured I’d do it while I still had the energy.”

    It was also at UMBC where he met Abebe and Nick Yesupriya, a third Ekiben founder who has since left the business, while working for Habitat for Humanity. The trio shared a dream about opening a restaurant together, though it was Chu who really put himself on the path to pursue a career in hospitality.

    “It pissed my family off so much,” says Chu, who landed a job as a line cook at Chipotle Mexican Grill his junior year. “The whole idea behind going to college is you are learning skills to take you to a higher-paying job. In our family, if you’re studying economics, you’d better go into banking or doing something white collar, not graduating with college debt and making nine dollars an hour at Chipotle, which is what I did—they were so mad.”

    While still at UMBC, he became obsessed with not only working at Chipotle, but reflecting on why it was such a success story. “It was just all the flavor profiles. The rice was delicious, the smokiness of the chicken, how the sour cream balances out all the heaviness but still adds fat to it, having that romaine lettuce in there instead of iceberg—all the things they did there was pretty life-changing,” says Chu. “What Chipotle showed me was that Americans are ready for this food culture revolution. I don’t have to go get prime rib if I want a good meal.”

    By his senior year, Chu had landed a job at ShopHouse, a Southeast Asian spinoff concept by Chipotle founder Steve Ells. At ShopHouse, he worked alongside luminary chefs such as the Michelin-starred Kyle Connaughton and James Beard Award-winning Nate Appleman. “I was head toilet-scrubber and mop lord,” he says with a laugh. “Eventually, they brought me up to management.” But the killer commute from his dad’s home in Reisterstown to D.C. led him to quit after a year.

    In 2013, Chu was working as a server at Petit Louis, which he says was one of the most formative restaurant experiences he’s ever had. From the maître d’ Patrick Del Valle, he learned “intense attention to detail and taking care of every guest who walks in the door,” he says. “Patrick and [then] sommelier John Kelley also taught me how to taste.”


    Photography by Matt Roth

    At Louis, Chu also learned that not every chef communicated by screaming. “Every chef I ever worked for prior to going to Louis was fire and brimstone,” he says. “My dad was fiery—if the delivery guys were late, he’d shout obscene things. But Ben Lefenfeld [the chef at the time, who is now the owner of La Cuchara] was the calmest chef I’ve ever met. I never saw him yell at anyone, and if he got really mad, he’d get really quiet and you could see it on his face. I had a lot of respect for that.”

    After only a few months, Chu reluctantly quit when his father’s manager fell ill and he was needed back at Jumbo. Once the crisis was resolved, he applied for restaurant jobs in New York and got a coveted gig as a line cook at Kin Shop, a Greenwich Village restaurant owned by Harold Dieterle, a Top Chef winner from season one. It was his dream job, but once again, family duty beckoned when his grandparents both got sick and he came back to Maryland to help his father with the business. When things settled down, he had the itch to pursue his own dreams.

    “I wanted to have a creative outlet, but Jumbo wasn’t the right place for that.” He reached out to Abebe and Yesupriya to see if they were still interested in opening a restaurant. “I was like, ‘I know that we talk about this all the time. Are you guys in?’ And they were like, ‘Let’s do it.’”

    Abebe, an Ethiopian immigrant who had studied IT at UMBC, was eager to join forces with his friend whose early lessons of watching his father work at Jumbo served him well. “Steve is a hard worker,” says Abebe. “He will outwork anyone, and I appreciate that in people. Going into business with him was a no-brainer for me.”

    Initially, they set out to get a food truck. “But a food truck is like $80,000,” says Chu. “I did some research and found a hot-dog cart. That was $3,000 and we didn’t have the money. Still, we had to work and save up for it and asked our friends for micro loans. We’d be like, ‘Can we borrow 50 bucks?’ and they’re like, ‘What the f**k? Just take it.’”

    The concept for steamed buns came about organically because Chu says he’s always loved steamed bun sandwiches. “The buns themselves are a staple of my childhood,” he says. “My grandparents ate them every morning. I just felt like they were underutilized in America. You have a lot of really bad steamed bun sandwiches here. I thought that it was a disservice to our culture. I was like, ‘I’m going to make this a lot better.’”

    In the early days at the Fells Point Farmers Market, using the kitchen at Jumbo Seafood to test recipes during off hours and a hot-dog cart they ended up building themselves, business got off to a slow start.

    “Day one was awful,” recalls Chu, who continued to work at Jumbo six days a week while running the cart on the weekends. “On paper, we had the best spot right by the Inner Harbor water taxis where 16,000 tourists a day would walk by. And we were like, ‘Hey, would you like some of our Asian steamed bun sandwiches filled with chicken meatballs, mango-papaya slaw, and roasted garlic aromatics?’ And they’d be like, ‘Do you have crabcakes?’”

    But over time, thanks to exposure at local events like Artscape and the Emporiyum, word traveled locally that their buns were a must-try.

    By March 2016, close to a year after the Baltimore Uprising, they opened Ekiben in Fells Point, a speck of a spot with a counter, a closet-sized kitchen, and a bunch of barstools on the site of a former Mexican restaurant.

    “We realized that the city was super divided at that time,” says Chu. “But when you travel a lot, you realize that people are just people. We all want the same thing. We all want to be happy. We all want to be taken care of and be heard. In America, you can have a very divided culture, and if you just sat down and talked to someone for five minutes, you’d realize we are not very different. We built this space around the idea that everyone listens to the same music and everyone eats the same food.”

    One look at the community board in Hampden plastered with photos, picture everything from catering gigs for the Ravens to photos of Ekiben staff members feeding the health care heroes at area hospitals, and it’s clear that the eatery has, in fact, been a unifier.

    “It’s been amazing to see the growth,” says Ekiben Hampden’s general manager, Mary Ann Delano, who is also a friend from the UMBC days. “I remember when this was just an idea. I was an environmental science major in college, and I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with this, but they’ve put so much trust in me and we’re like family here in our own little world.”

    “Steve is just one of the most genuine people I’ve ever worked with,” says Lefenfeld. “He’s always trying to bring the people up around him, which is really important in this industry and at this time. He’s a great representation of the cooking scene in Baltimore.”

    Though he’s finally broken out on his own, for Chu, who still works the dinner shift at Jumbo Seafood on Christmas—the restaurant’s busiest day of the year—all roads lead back to family.

    “As a kid, riding around in the backseat of my dad’s car, one of the first lessons he ever taught me was ‘whatever you do, you have to be the best,’” recounts Chu. “At the time, I was like, ‘Okay, whatever, I’m like 3 years old.’”

    Decades later, the throngs outside the restaurant’s doors are living proof that he’s done just that.

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    Science: Gigantic Stone Stripes Etched Across Ethiopia Pose an Ancient Mystery

    What created the gigantic stone stripes across the central Sanetti Plateau in the Bale Mountains? As part of the research, scientists looked at moraine boulder samples in the Bale and Arsi Mountains, rocks that would once have been carried along by glaciers. (Image: Groos et al., Earth Surface Dynamics, 2021)

    Science Alert

    ENVIRONMENT

    Gigantic Stone ‘Tiger Stripes’ Etched Across Ethiopia Pose an Ancient Mystery

    If we want to predict our planet’s future under climate change, we must better understand what has happened on Earth before, even hundreds of thousands of years in the past.

    New research into the Ethiopian Highlands during the Last Glacial Period helps do just that. As well as answering some geological questions, it has also raised up a new one: What created the gigantic stone stripes across the central Sanetti Plateau in the Bale Mountains?

    As part of the research, scientists looked at moraine boulder samples in the Bale and Arsi Mountains, rocks that would once have been carried along by glaciers.

    By studying their physical arrangement and measuring the extent of decay in an isotope of chlorine, they determined that past glaciations would not have been in sync with other similar stretches of mountains.


    (Groos et al., Earth Surface Dynamics, 2021)

    “Our results show that glaciers in the southern Ethiopian Highlands reached their maximum extent between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago, several thousand years earlier than in other mountainous regions in Eastern Africa and worldwide,” says glaciologist Alexander Groos from the University of Bern in Switzerland.

    While these highlands aren’t packed with ice today, between 42,000 and 28,000 years ago – thousands of years before the most recent period in which ice sheets stretched far from the poles – they would have been topped by glaciers that covered as much as 350 square kilometres (about 135 square miles). The relatively early cooling and glacier onset is likely caused by variations in rainfall and mountain features, the researchers say.

    In other words, temperature wasn’t the only driver of glacier movement across Eastern Africa during this time. Such insights can help us understand what might happen next, and what the impact on biodiversity and ecosystems is likely to be.

    As for the massive stone stripes formed by boulders and basalt columns, they were discovered during the course of the research, just outside the area of the former ice cap. The stripes measure up to 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) long, 15 meters (49 feet) wide, and 2 meters (6.5 feet) deep, and haven’t been seen before in the tropics.


    (Groos et al., Earth Surface Dynamics, 2021)

    “The existence of these stone stripes on a tropical plateau surprised us, as so-called periglacial landforms of this magnitude were previously only known from the temperate zone and polar regions and are associated with ground temperatures around freezing point,” says Groos.

    Another way in which the Ethiopian Highlands are different to their immediate neighbors then, in terms of what went down during the last ice age. The scientists think these stripes are the natural result of periodic freezing and thawing of the ground near the ice cap, which would have drawn similar rocks together.


    (Alexander R. Groos/Digital Globe Foundation)

    That would have required substantial drops in the ground and air temperature, however – and what’s less clear is whether this is typical of the way tropical high mountains cooled at the time, or whether it was a regional phenomenon.

    We’ll need to wait for future studies of other regions to find out, but the research gives plenty for scientists to go on. Understanding climate shifts in the tropics is crucial – it’s where much of the circulation of the world’s atmosphere and oceans is driven from – and it would seem these mountainous regions might have experienced the Last Glacial Period in a variety of different ways.

    “Our findings highlight the importance of understanding the local climatic setting when attempting to draw wider climatic interpretations from glacial chronologies,” conclude the researchers in one of their newly published papers.

    The research has been published in Science Advances and Earth Surface Dynamics.

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    Chef Shumu Adem’s Journey From Ethiopia to America’s Heartland

    Shimelis "Shumu" Adem is the executive chef at Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center. CENTERPLATE

    Forbes

    Chef Shumu Adem’s Journey From Ethiopia To The Final Four

    Ethiopia was in chaos. In 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown and the Ethiopian monarchy was abolished. Military leaders responsible for the coup not only sought to consolidate power, but also to eliminate any and all opposition.

    From 1976-78, the Red Terror reigned throughout the African nation, particularly in major cities including the capital of Addis Ababa, targeting members and supporters of the Ethopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP). Homes were searched and people, many of whom were students, were detained, tortured and executed without trial or cause.

    One of the most systematic uses of mass murder by the state ever witnessed in Africa resulted in at least 10,000 deaths, though the total death toll is still unknown to this day.

    “When I saw my friends starting to get arrested, I decided to flee Ethiopia to try to forge a future for myself,” said Shimelis “Shumu” Adem, executive chef at Lucas Oil Stadium and Indiana Convention Center.

    In 1977, at the height of the Red Terror, Adem sought refuge at a convent in neighboring Djibouti. For the next three years Adem, who was equally as intrigued with taste and texture as he was bucking the cultural trend that only Ethiopian women were permitted in the kitchen, honed his culinary craft by cooking for a dozen nuns as well as other workers and residents of the convent, including fellow Ethiopian refugees.

    Despite not speaking French, Adem communicated with two British nuns and one from Ethiopia during this time there, where he was taught French and Italian cuisine.

    “The experience was great,” Adem said. “It made me decide to continue my future career in the culinary arts. I look back at this time fondly, and value it as a foundational pillar to making me the chef I am today.

    “At its core, I am still doing the same thing now as I was then—helping make the time people spend together more memorable.”

    Adem came to the United States in 1980 to create his own American Dream. Over the next 25 years, he worked in a variety of roles up and down the East Coast including in Baltimore and Philadelphia, serving as executive sous chef at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. He received his Pro Chef Certification Level III from the Culinary Institute of America in February 2004, and three years later moved to Indianapolis for a new opportunity.

    Today, Adem is the executive chef at Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Indianapolis Colts, and the Indiana Convention Center. Through the venues’ food and beverage provider Centerplate, Adem has developed, led and executed the culinary programs for major sporting events including Super Bowl XLVI, Big Ten Championship Game, NCAA Final Four (2010, 2015) and NFL Combine.


    Chef Shumu CENTERPLATE

    His two venues will serve as focal points for the upcoming NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, with the First Four to be played March 17. Lucas Oil Stadium will host the Elite Eight (March 29-30), Final Four (April 3) and Championship Game (April 5), while the one-million-square-foot Indiana Convention Center will be used as a practice facility with 12 courts set up inside the venue.

    “No matter the event, the approach stays the same—paying attention to detail, tapping into our local suppliers and delivering creative menus that delight the guests who come to eat with us,” Adem said. “To borrow a basketball term, that’s the game plan for success.”

    Adem said he and his team have utilized the learnings over the past year during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to safely provide food and beverage offerings for players, staff and fans; the NCAA in February confirmed venues will operate at 25% capacity and all attendees are required to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

    For the NCAA Tournament, all points of sale will be cashless to reduce contact, while condiment stands in the concourse and vendors walking up and down aisles are eliminated. Pre-packaged items will be available in all-inclusive clubs in lieu of buffets. All food service employees are required to wear gloves and masks, while social distance markings will promote distancing guidelines in common areas.


    The half-pound bracket burger is a double cheeseburger topped with house-made applewood smoked bacon … [+] CENTERPLATE

    Not only will Adem and Co. be whipping up fan favorites including Indiana whiskey sour pork wings and the Heartland beer cheese steak sandwich, the chef is compiling digital recipe cards featuring the house-made whiskey and orange marmalade, mango habanero madness sauce and applewood smoked bacon jam for fans watching at home.

    “From my experience, my advice for young chefs is to set your future goal now,” Adem said. “Connect with chefs that can help you achieve your goal and always have a positive attitude. Understand you are learning not only from the chefs in your field, but also from everyone around you. Do not ever think you’re above learning. Do not be afraid to try new skills or cuisines. Develop and hone your own personal style.”

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: How Timnit Gebru’s Exit Shook Google and the AI Industry

    Timnit Gebru’s exit from Google's ethical AI team kickstarted a months-long crisis for the tech giant's AI division, including employee departures, a leadership shuffle, and widening distrust of the company's historically well-regarded scholarship in the larger AI community. (Getty Images)

    CNN Business

    How one employee’s exit shook Google and the AI industry

    In September, Timnit Gebru, then co-leader of the ethical AI team at Google, sent a private message on Twitter to Emily Bender, a computational linguistics professor at the University of Washington.

    “Hi Emily, I’m wondering if you’ve written something regarding ethical considerations of large language models or something you could recommend from others?” she asked, referring to a buzzy kind of artificial intelligence software trained on text from an enormous number of webpages.

    The question may sound unassuming but it touched on something central to the future of Google’s foundational product: search. This kind of AI has become increasingly capable and popular in the last couple years, driven largely by language models from Google and research lab OpenAI. Such AI can generate text, mimicking everything from news articles and recipes to poetry, and it has quickly become key to Google Search, which the company said responds to trillions of queries each year. In late 2019, the company started relying on such AI to help answer one in 10 English-language queries from US users; nearly a year later, the company said it was handling nearly all English queries and is also being used to answer queries in dozens of other languages.

    “Sorry, I haven’t!” Bender quickly replied to Gebru, according to messages viewed by CNN Business. But Bender, who at the time mostly knew Gebru from her presence on Twitter, was intrigued by the question. Within minutes she fired back several ideas about the ethical implications of such state-of-the-art AI models, including the “Carbon cost of creating the damn things” and “AI hype/people claiming it’s understanding when it isn’t,” and cited some relevant academic papers.

    Gebru, a prominent Black woman in AI — a field that’s largely White and male — is known for her research into bias and inequality in AI. It’s a relatively new area of study that explores how the technology, which is made by humans, soaks up our biases. The research scientist is also cofounder of Black in AI, a group focused on getting more Black people into the field. She responded to Bender that she was trying to get Google to consider the ethical implications of large language models.

    Bender suggested co-authoring an academic paper looking at these AI models and related ethical pitfalls. Within two days, Bender sent Gebru an outline for a paper. A month later, the women had written that paper (helped by other coauthors, including Gebru’s co-team leader at Google, Margaret Mitchell) and submitted it to the ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency, or FAccT. The paper’s title was “On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big?” and it included a tiny parrot emoji after the question mark. (The phrase “stochastic parrots” refers to the idea that these enormous AI models are pulling together words without truly understanding what they mean, similar to how a parrot learns to repeat things it hears.)

    The paper considers the risks of building ever-larger AI language models trained on huge swaths of the internet, such as the environmental costs and the perpetuation of biases, as well as what can be done to diminish those risks. It turned out to be a much bigger deal than Gebru or Bender could have anticipated.
    Timnit Gebru said she was fired by Google after criticizing its approach to minority hiring and the biases built into today's artificial intelligence systems.

    Before they were even notified in December about whether it had been accepted by the conference, Gebru abruptly left Google. On Wednesday, December 2, she tweeted that she had been “immediately fired” for an email she sent to an internal mailing list. In the email she expressed dismay over the ongoing lack of diversity at the company and frustration over an internal process related to the review of that not-yet-public research paper. (Google said it had accepted Gebru’s resignation over a list of demands she had sent via email that needed to be met for her to continue working at the company.)

    Gebru’s exit from Google’s ethical AI team kickstarted a months-long crisis for the tech giant’s AI division, including employee departures, a leadership shuffle, and widening distrust of the company’s historically well-regarded scholarship in the larger AI community. The conflict quickly escalated to the top of Google’s leadership, forcing CEO Sundar Pichai to announce the company would investigate what happened and to apologize for how the circumstances of Gebru’s departure caused some employees to question their place at the company. The company finished its months-long review in February.

    Academics should be able to critique these companies without repercussion.

    —TIMNIT GEBRU, FORMER CO-LEADER OF GOOGLE’S ETHICAL AI TEAM

    But her ousting, and the fallout from it, reignites concerns about an issue with implications beyond Google: how tech companies attempt to police themselves. With very few laws regulating AI in the United States, companies and academic institutions often make their own rules about what is and isn’t okay when developing increasingly powerful software. Ethical AI teams, such as the one Gebru co-led at Google, can help with that accountability. But the crisis at Google shows the tensions that can arise when academic research is conducted within a company whose future depends on the same technology that’s under examination.

    “Academics should be able to critique these companies without repercussion,” Gebru told CNN Business.
    Google declined to make anyone available to interview for this piece. In a statement, Google said it has hundreds of people working on responsible AI, and has produced more than 200 publications related to building responsible AI in the past year. “This research is incredibly important and we’re continuing to expand our work in this area in keeping with our AI Principles,” a company spokesperson said.
    “A constant battle from day one”

    Gebru joined Google in September 2018, at Mitchell’s urging, as the co-leader of the Ethical AI team. According to those who have worked on it, the team was a small, diverse group of about a dozen employees including research and social scientists and software engineers — and it was initially brought together by Mitchell about three years ago. It researches the ethical repercussions of AI and advises the company on AI policies and products.

    Gebru, who earned her doctorate degree in computer vision at Stanford and held a postdoctoral position at Microsoft Research, said she was initially unsure about joining the company.

    Read more »

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    Spotlight: The Media Firestorm Concerning AI Researcher Timnit Gebru & Google

    Timnit Gebru: Among Incredible Women Advancing A.I. Research

    Spotlight: Blacks in AI Co-Founders Timnit Gebru & Rediet Abebe

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Profile: Ethiopia’s Segenet Kelemu Among Breakthrough Scientists You Need to Know

    After watching a near-biblical swarm of locusts destroy the crops in her Ethiopian village, Segenet Kelemu turned to science and changed the world. Segenet, who studied plant pathology and genetics at Montana State, Kansas State and Cornell University in the U.S. now leads the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, which is at the forefront of global efforts to defeat food insecurity. (OZY Media)

    OZY

    BREAKTHROUGH SCIENTISTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

    Because great science is about more than fighting COVID-19.

    Scientists have rarely played such a pivotal and public role in society, and certainly never before in the digital age. But the centrality of science is about much more than the pandemic. Today’s Daily Dose explores scientists who do more than just keep us alive, from the climatologist who could become a president to researchers rectifying racial disparities and discovering the tunes that make sharks shout “That’s my jam!” OK, so sharks don’t really shout; they communicate with body language. We know this because, well, science.

    Segenet Kelemu. You know you’re doing something right when Bill Gates calls you one of his heroes. After watching a near-biblical swarm of locusts destroy the crops in her Ethiopian village, Kelemu turned to science and changed the world. First as the first woman from her region to get a college degree, which she earned from Addis Ababa University, then, while studying plant pathology and genetics at Montana State, Kansas State and Cornell University in the U.S. She returned to Africa in 2007, determined to keep farmers from devastating losses by better understanding the symbiotic relationship between plants and insects. The 63-year-old now leads the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, which is at the forefront of global efforts to defeat food insecurity.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Scientific American: You Should Know: Segenet Kelemu, Plant Pathologist


    Dr. Segenet Kelemu. (Courtesy photo)

    INTRODUCING… DR. SEGENET KELEMU

    Dr. Segenet Kelemu has a very impressive CV that includes many well deserved accolades from colleagues from around the world. In 2014 was named Director General of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi and was also awarded L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science in 2014.

    She studies the microorganisms that live inside of plains plants. This research helps us understand how these plants endure so many challenges – drought, herbivores, pests, and climate change. With this information we can understand how to use biotechnology to aid the region – East Africa to feed its people and perserve its ecosystems.

    I especially love how Dr. Kelemu embraces her entire experience and her affinity for her home region to inspire her research. It is something I write about often — who we are and our relationships with places and events shapes our scientific interests and missions.

    In her own words:

    “I’d observed how the people around me spent their time concerned with how to feed themselves. So I felt a calling to do something to help. I saw how two university students had made a direct difference in a village they had been sent to teach by helping the people improve their farming practices, and I decided to study agriculture.” from an interview with her published in The East African, May 30, 2014, Dr Kelemu’s rise: From climbing trees in rural Ethiopia to excelling in science

    She earned her graduate degrees in the United States and also completed a post doctoral research assignment at Cornell University (I’m convinced that everyone has a Cornell connection). From there, Dr. Kelemu has been on a stellar trajectory. She has served as Vice President for Programs at the Alliance for Green Revolution African, Director of Biosciences at the International Livestock Research Instirture. She was a Senior Scientist, then later named Leader of Cropr and Agroecosystem Health Management the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

    Learn more about the Amazing Dr. Kelemu by visiting her wiki page.

    Director General, International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)


    After twenty-five years of studying and successfully applying cutting-edge science outside of Africa, Dr. Kelemu returned from the diaspora to contribute to Africa’s development. (Photo: Wikimedia)

    Dr. Segenet Kelemu is the Director General of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Nairobi, Kenya. She is the fourth Chief Executive Officer, and the first woman to lead ICIPE.

    Dr. Kelemu (a native of Ethiopia) is a molecular plant pathologist with emphasis on elucidation of molecular determinants of host-pathogen interactions, development of novel plant disease control strategies including biopesticides, pathogen population genetics and dynamics, endophytic microbes and their role in plant development. She has experienced the challenges and successes associated with African agriculture first-hand, from tending the field to directing a world-class laboratories.

    Following her post-doctoral work at Cornell University, USA, Segenet joined the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) as a Senior Scientist in 1992. She was later appointed Leader of Crop and Agroecosystem Health Management at CIAT until her departure in August, 2007, to become Director of BecA. CIAT recognized her numerous contributions to the centre and its mission with the Outstanding Senior Scientist Award.

    After twenty-five years of studying and successfully applying cutting-edge science outside of Africa, Dr. Kelemu returned from the diaspora to contribute to Africa’s development. In 2007, she became the Director of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub at the International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya. Under her leadership, the BecA initiative has transformed from a contentious idea into a driving force that is changing the face of African biosciences. BecA’s research capacity, staff, facilities, funding, partners and training programs have expanded at an ever accelerating pace. She has assembled and inspired a scientific and technical team bound by a common passion for using science to enhance Africa’s biosciences development.

    Prior to becoming the Director General of icipe, she has been the Vice President for Programs at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) for about a year.

    She is one of the five Laureates of the 2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards. She is also one of the 2013 elected Fellows of the African Academy of Sciences. She has also received other awards, including the prestigious Friendship Award granted by the People’s Republic of China. The award is granted to foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social development. The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) is awarding the 2011 TWAS Prize for Agricultural Sciences. She is the first African to win the prize for Agricultural Sciences since its inception. TWAS Prizes are awarded to individual scientists in developing countries in recognition of an outstanding contribution to knowledge in eight fields of science: agricultural sciences, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, engineering sciences, mathematics, medical sciences and physics.

    Segenet has published widely in refereed journals, book chapters, manuals, conference/workshop papers, working documents, and others. Segenet has served on a number of Governing Boards, Technical Advisory Panels and Steering Committees of key organizations and major science and technology initiatives. Segenet is also an innate teacher and has supervised and mentored a number of BSc, MSc, and Ph.D. students.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: U.S. Company Visa Ready To Digitize Payments In Ethiopia

    Marking a one-year anniversary since opening its Addis Ababa office, the U.S. company announced a series of partnerships during its inaugural Ethiopian Visa Payments Forum. The event brought together key stakeholders from the digital payments industry to explore opportunities to further advance Ethiopia’s growing payments ecosystem. (CIO East Africa)

    CIO

    By Staff Writer

    Visa Affirms Commitment To Digitise Payments In Ethiopia During Inaugural Visa Payments Forum

    Digitised payments are coming to Ethiopia soon.

    Visa Inc, the leading global payments technology company, has affirmed its commitment to expanding digital payments in Ethiopia by working closely with the financial ecosystem to bring the benefits of digital commerce and money movement to consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government partners.

    Marking a one-year anniversary since opening its Addis Ababa office, the company announced a series of partnerships during its inaugural Ethiopian Visa Payments Forum. The event brought together key stakeholders from the digital payments industry to explore opportunities to further advance Ethiopia’s growing payments ecosystem.

    Over the past year, Visa has been building and strengthening partnerships and agreements that will accelerate digital payments, including:

    – An agreement with Ethiopian Airlines to launch a co-branded card to ShebaMiles members across the Continent.

    – An agreement and introduction with Bank of Abyssinia and Dashen Bank/Moneta (Amole) Technologies focused on supporting eCommerce growth and enabling wider acceptance of digital payments.

    – A partnership with leading fintech Kifiya Financial Technology, providing local digital payments across mobile and online payments.

    – Partnership with BelCash Technologies that will support the development of cross-border payment solutions for the East-African financial institutions and helping grow eCommerce to unlock the country’s digital potential.

    – Licensing partnership with Cooperative bank & Oromia International Bank.

    In addition to partnerships, Visa outlined two previously announced initiatives to drive financial inclusion and job creation within Ethiopia with STEMPower, and to support the development of innovative fintechs with its Visa Everywhere Initiative.

    “At Visa, we are extremely pleased to have a local presence in one of the most exciting countries in Africa, and to have established strong partnerships to help enable digital commerce. We are excited to support the goals of the Ethiopian economy, where financial inclusion will play an important part in the overall growth journey. We see great tremendous opportunity and are committed to playing our part in bringing more people into the financial system and supporting economic progress,” said Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President & Head of Visa in Sub Saharan Africa.

    As a sign of commitment to the digital transformation agenda, the Ethiopian government outlined Ethiopia’s first Digital Transformation Strategy, in June 2020, followed by a series of regulations for its implementation including the proclamation on Electronic Transactions.

    “Fast-tracking digitization of payments has multiple benefits for Ethiopians. Enhanced digital infrastructure enables support to local people and small businesses to enjoy the fast, seamless and secure payment experiences that we know are so important. Digitizing payments can also play an important part in driving economic inclusion, which underpins sustained economic growth,” added Diarra.

    Related:

    In Ethiopia ArifPay Closes A $3.5 M Private Placement Round From 31 Investors

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Economist Review: Jessica Beshir’s Mesmerising Ethiopia Film “Faya Dayi”

    NYC-based Ethiopian-American filmmaker Jessica Beshir's new movie “Faya Dayi” about life in Ethiopia’s eastern highlands "is less a documentary than a poem," the Economist observes in a review published this week. "The experience is as intoxicating as qat, but beneath the surface is a sombre evocation of the boredom, frustration and anger which afflict a generation of Ethiopian youth." (Photo courtesy Jessica Beshir)

    The Economist

    Qat and conflict: “Faya Dayi” evokes what it means to be young in Ethiopia

    CHILDREN BATHING in a shrinking lake. Incense wafting through an open door. The wet slap of mud against a wall. Two boys lying on the ground, staring wistfully at the sky. Like snatches of memory, the images are displayed one after the other.

    “Faya Dayi”, a hypnotic new film about life in Ethiopia’s eastern highlands, is less a documentary than a poem, its lyrics set against a sequence of monochrome pictures which languidly unfurl across the screen. The experience is as intoxicating as the leaves of qat, a mild stimulant native to this part of Africa, which is a recurring motif. But beneath the luscious surface is a sombre evocation of the boredom, frustration and anger which afflict a generation of Ethiopian youth.

    Read more »

    Related:

    IndieWire Review: ‘Faya Dayi,’ Jessica Beshir’s Ethiopia Docu-Drama About Legend of Khat

    IndieWire

    ‘Faya Dayi’ Review: A Hallucinatory Documentary About Ethiopia’s Most Lucrative Cash Crop

    Updated: Jan 30, 2021

    Ethiopian legend has it that khat, a stimulant leaf, was found by Sufi Imams in search of eternity. Inspired by this myth, Jessica Beshir’s “Faya Dayi” is a spiritual journey into the highlands of the walled city of Harar, a place immersed in the rituals surrounding this plant, Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop today. Through the prism of the khat trade, the film weaves a tapestry of intimate stories of people caught between government repression, khat-induced reverie, and treacherous journeys across the Red Sea, and offers a window into the dreams of the youth who long for better lives elsewhere.

    For centuries in Ethiopia, the Sufi Muslims of Harar have chewed the khat leaf for the purposes of religious meditation. Over the past three decades, khat consumption has broken out of Sufi circles and entered the mainstream to become a daily ritual among people of all ages, religions and ethnicities, for whom chewing khat is a means to achieve Merkhana — a term that describes the high one gets from what is effectively a psychoactive drug not all that different from Cannabis. It has various mental and physical effects, which include euphoria and altered states of mind. For many, Merkhana is provides an escape from everyday realities, and the only place where their hopes, and dreams can actually exist.

    Khat, for most unemployed youth, has become a way to overcome the sense of hopelessness, a way to tune out reality. They are all searching for a seemingly elusive sense of agency, as well as living with the contradictions of loving a land that makes it difficult for them to live in peace.

    In the last decade, the crops that Ethiopia primarily exported — teff, sorghum, and coffee — have been replaced by the leafy green. With social significance, it has sustained so many who have worked in the fields for generations. However familiar the work is, some young people who have grown up in its shadow want more for themselves — life away from the fields; life without khat; life entirely elsewhere. They consider leaving home and all they have ever known for something new, far away, and, while perhaps more economically beneficial, lonelier and more isolating.

    Shot entirely in stunning black and white, “Faya Dayi” opens with a long shot of a somewhat amorphous, barren landscape, nighttime, dark, crickets providing the only soundtrack, and in the distance a lone figure running playfully, starts to come into view. We see that it’s a child, as he or she runs past the camera. Cut to bewitching shots of elders indoors, some faceless, some not, chanting, giving thanks to God, separating khat leaves from their stems, and, in some cases, pounding them, as incense burns in a pot, the smoke it emits, thick and intense.

    And then a lengthy shot of an open doorway, on the other side, an ambiguous view — smoky, cavernous, vast, dark depths — a haunting score providing an exclamation mark. It’s interrupted by a meek female voiceover, almost like that of a child, beginning a story about the Harari legend of a man named Azuekherlaini, who was tasked by God to find the Maoul Hayat (water of eternal life). The fable stretches the length of the film, as the voiceover interrupts intermittently to continue where she previously ended.

    But that’s just the dressing on this striking, if enigmatic, transgenerational journey into the highlands of Harar, immersed in the rituals of khat, weaving a tapestry of hallucinatory stories that offer a window into the dreams of youth.

    Unfolding more like a hybrid scripted narrative and documentary, the central story of “Faya Dayi” doesn’t follow a straight line, as it occasionally checks in on Mohammed, a 14-year-old, and the film’s presumed primary character, who works as an errand boy for the khat users in Harar. He lives with his father who, like so many in town, chews khat daily and often fights with Mohammed due to the mood swings caused by his addiction. Mohammed becomes anxious for a better life, but to have it, he must make a treacherous journey across the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Ethiopia: Director Jessica Beshir’s ‘Hairat’ Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2017

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Video: Professor Lemma Senbet Explains Africa’s New Free Trade Area

    Dr. Lemma W. Senbet is the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park. In this video, which is part of the University's 'Global Pulse' series released this week, Professor Lemma explains the new Africa Continental Free Trade Area. (Photo: Smith Business School)

    Smith Business School

    The Global Pulse is a short, 2-3 minute video series released on Wednesdays featuring Maryland Smith faculty who break down a trending global topic and why it matters to you.

    In the following video Lemma Senbet, William E. Mayer Chair professor of finance, outlines the details of the AfCFTA, or the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, and what it means for both the present and future of the continent.

    Watch: Global Pulse: Africa’s New Free Trade Area

    Related:

    Profile: Professor Lemma Senbet’s Uncharted Journey


    Dr. Lemma W. Senbet is the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park. Beyond his academic career, Professor Lemma has been an influential member of the global finance community. He has advised the World Bank, IMF, the UN and other international institutions on issues of financial sector reform and capital market development. (Photo: UMD)

    University at Buffalo

    As the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance, Lemma Senbet, PhD ’76, has helped transform the finance program at the University of Maryland into one of the best in the world.

    He’s made such an impact that the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland recently named an undergraduate finance program after him—The Lemma Senbet Fund, which gives undergrads hands-on experience in portfolio management and equity analysis.

    But Senbet never planned to earn a PhD. He came to the U.S. from Ethiopia to earn an MBA at UCLA, which he selected because they offered a fast-track program he could complete in a year and keep his expenses down.

    Senbet had planned to go home after completing his MBA, but didn’t want to leave after just one year in the U.S. Determined to find a way to earn an income so he could stay another year, Senbet turned to a trusted professor at UCLA who encouraged him to pursue a PhD.

    “I got accepted to the PhD program at UCLA, but there wasn’t much money for students,” says Senbet. “So, I went back to my professor and he told me that Governor Rockefeller was handing out tuition waivers to foreign students, and encouraged me to apply to a finance program in New York—particularly UB.”

    He got accepted into Columbia University and the University at Buffalo, but decided UB was the better fit. Still, he wasn’t fully committed to spending three or four years in a doctoral program, since he had passion to go back home. But civil unrest in Ethiopia forced him to stay longer in the program.

    “This path turned out to be the correct one,” he says. “I didn’t know it then, but UB had one of the best finance programs—better than the Big Ten schools at the time. But since the program was so small, we got very close mentorship. We were like colleagues with faculty.”

    After earning his doctorate, Senbet joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison as an assistant professor of finance. There, he progressed rapidly along the tenure track, earning the rank of full professor after just seven years, followed by the Charles Albright Chaired Professorship, before joining the University of Maryland.

    Beyond his academic career, Senbet has been an influential member of the global finance community. He has advised the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and other international institutions on issues of financial sector reform and capital market development. He is a past president of the Western Finance Association and a two-time director of the American Finance Association.

    He also took a five-year leave from the University of Maryland to serve as executive director and CEO of the African Economic Research Consortium, the largest and oldest economic research and training network in Africa. He is succeeded by the former governor of the Central Bank of Kenya.

    Senbet has received numerous recognitions for his impact on the profession. In 2000 he was inducted into the Financial Economists Roundtable, was named a Fellow of the Financial Management Association International in 2006 and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Addis Ababa University in 2005. In 2012, he was awarded the Ethiopian Diaspora (SEED) award for exemplary lifetime achievements and community service.

    Throughout his career, Senbet has mentored a generation of doctoral students who have become distinguished professors around the country, including at Carnegie Mellon University and Vanderbilt University.

    “So, UB has PhD ‘grandchildren’ so to speak,” he says.

    When his students come to him seeking advice about what to do in their life, Senbet offers a simple response: Do your best.

    “You don’t know where an opportunity will lead or who is watching you,” he says. “This uncharted journey has defined my life—from my college major to Wisconsin to Maryland to Africa. No matter what path is given to you—whether by luck or by plan—give it your all.”

    Related:

    COVID-19 & Its Impact on Africa: Q&A with Prof. Lemma Senbet

    Brookings Institution Appoints Lemma Senbet to Africa Board

    Professor Lemma Senbet Focuses on Ethiopian Diaspora After Successfully Leading AERC

    Professor Lemma Senbet Leads AERC to Top Global Index Ranking

    Tadias Interview with Professor Lemma Senbet: New Head of African Economic Research Consortium

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: Ethiopian 737 MAX Crash Families Set to Obtain Key Documents

    At a memorial service for the crew of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 at the Ethiopian Pilots Association in Addis Ababa. The Boeing 737 Max crashed near Ethiopia's capital on 10 March 2019 killing all 157 on board. (Photo by Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

    Reuters

    Updated: March 12th, 2021

    Ethiopian 737 MAX crash families set to obtain key Boeing documents

    Families of victims of the deadly 2019 Ethiopian Airlines jet crash may obtain as soon as Thursday Boeing’s reports to U.S. regulators that helped keep its 737 MAX flying after a prior disaster with the same jet in Indonesia five months earlier.

    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent U.S. government investigative agency, told Boeing Co in a letter on Monday it should turn over nearly 2,000 documents to lawyers representing families who want to determine what the company knew about its flight systems after the Indonesian crash on Lion Air.

    The agency said international rules mandate the release of the documents after two years from the crash date, even though Ethiopia has yet to produce a final crash report which the agency cited in blocking the documents until now, according to the letter reviewed by Reuters.

    Boeing said it plans to produce the investigation-related information to the plaintiffs beginning today following the NTSB guidance that, at the second anniversary of the Ethiopian accident, the restrictions would be lifted.

    The plaintiffs lawyers said they expect the papers to show what Boeing executives knew of defects in the flight system of the newly designed aircraft following the Indonesian crash. An automated flight-control system called MCAS has been implicated in both crashes, which together killed 346 people.

    The plane continued to fly until the Ethiopian crash prompted a global grounding.

    “What we want to see are the documents upon which Boeing resisted the grounding of the airplane and based its assertion to its customers that the airplane was safe,” plaintiffs’ attorney Justin Green told Reuters.

    Related:

    UPDATE: Ethiopia to Release Final Boeing Max Report in ‘Near Future’

    Bloomberg

    By Samuel Gebre

    Updated: March 10th, 2021

    (Bloomberg) — The Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau said Wednesday it plans to release a final report on the fatal crash of the Boeing Co. jet in the “near future” after lockdowns to contain the Covid-19 pandemic hampered the investigation.

    The work is in the final stages, the Transport Ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page Wednesday, without giving a publication date. The update coincided with the two-year anniversary of the Ethiopian Airlines jet disaster outside Addis Ababa, which killed all 157 people on board.

    The incident followed another fatal Max crash in Indonesia the previous year and led to regulators grounding the model worldwide, plunging Boeing into crisis. The U.S. planemaker has since made revisions to the model and addressed safety concerns, and the jet was cleared to return to the skies in its home market late last year.

    While regulators in the European Union, U.K., U.A.E. and others have since followed suit, others are more circumspect. China, a major market for Boeing, still has safety concerns and said this month it’s awaiting conclusions from the Ethiopia probe.

    Ethiopia’s final report will build on interim findings released a year ago. Investigators had then planned to say Boeing’s design and inadequate pilot training led to the crash, but those conclusions were dropped after push back from the U.S. and France, Bloomberg reported at the time.

    The interim conclusions did highlight the role of a malfunctioning safety feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, to which Boeing has since made several changes.

    Meanwhile, families of the crash victims are planning a series of events to commemorate the second anniversary. Representatives are planning to meet with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in Washington, protest outside a Boeing office in nearby Virginia and hold an hour-long vigil outside the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration offices.

    Related:

    UPDATE: In Court Filing Ethiopia 737 MAX Crash Lawyers ask Boeing CEO to Testify


    Families have called for testimony from Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, his predecessor [Dennis Muilenburg, pictured above] and other current and former employees as part of their legal case in Chicago, court documents show. (Reuters)

    Reuters

    Updated: February 27th, 2021

    Relatives of victims of a Boeing Co 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia that occurred five months after an Indonesian Lion Air disaster are stepping up pressure on the American planemaker and the federal government, according to a court filing and a letter to U.S. lawmakers.

    Families have called for testimony from Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, his predecessor and other current and former employees as part of their legal case in Chicago, court documents show.

    Separately, the families urged lawmakers in letter to demand that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration turn over internal emails and documents spanning the Lion Air crash and one month after the Ethiopian crash. Together, 346 people died.

    The letter was sent to members of the House and Senate transportation committees on Friday, including committee head Representative Peter DeFazio and aviation subcommittee chair Representative Rick Larsen.

    A Congressional official said: “I can confirm that this week Chairs DeFazio and Larsen re-upped their request to DOT (Department of Transportation) for FAA records that have gone unfulfilled to date.”

    A Senate report in December detailed lapses in aviation safety oversight and failed leadership in the FAA. It found that FAA leaders obstructed that report as well as a DOT watchdog review of the regulator’s oversight, the results of which were released on Wednesday.

    “There is serious unfinished business,” the families said in the letter, reviewed by Reuters.

    Boeing has mostly settled civil litigation stemming from the Lion Air crash, but still faces over 100 lawsuits in Chicago federal court related to the second crash.

    The plaintiffs’ lawyers are focusing on what Boeing knew about the causes of the first crash and why the plane continued to fly. They want to schedule depositions of Calhoun and Muilenburg between May 3 and June 18.

    Those victims’ families also want to know what FAA management, which in November lifted a 20-month safety ban of the MAX, understood about the first crash.

    Boeing’s board faces a separate investor lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court, where a complaint unsealed this month alleged breach of fiduciary duties and gross negligence by failing “to monitor the safety of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplanes.”

    Last month, Boeing reached a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department over the 737 MAX crashes, including a $243.6 million fine.

    Related:

    Boeing Reaches $2.5 Billion Settlement in 737 MAX Crashes in Ethiopia & Indonesia


    Ethiopian officials deliver the Black Box for Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, France on March 14, 2019. As NPR reports the families of the passengers who died in the crash will be compensated from a fund of $500 million. (Reuters photo)

    NPR

    Updated: January 7th, 2021

    Boeing To Pay $2.5 Billion Over 737 Max Fraud, Faces No Other Charges

    Boeing will pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it repeatedly concealed and lied about the 737 Max’s engineering problems that led to two catastrophic crashes claiming hundreds of lives.

    The company admitted to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of the deferred prosecution agreement announced on Thursday and will face no further charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

    “Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception,” Acting Assistant Attorney General David Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, wrote in a statement.

    Boeing, which is the country’s second-biggest defense contractor behind Lockheed Martin, will pay the DOJ a criminal penalty of $243.6 million.

    The families and legal beneficiaries of the 346 passenger victims who died in the Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Ethiopia five months later will be paid from a fund of $500 million. If split equally among them, that amounts to a little over $1.4 million for each family.

    The vast majority of the settlement is allocated for airline companies that had purchased the faulty 737 Max aircraft and were subsequently forced to ground the planes following the crashes. Together they will receive $1.77 billion in compensation for their financial losses, according to the DOJ.

    “The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers,” Burns added in the statement.

    In both cases, the crashes were caused by changes to the jet’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System that forced the nose of the 737 Max toward the ground and left pilots unable to control the planes.

    In a note to employees, Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun said, “I firmly believe that entering into this resolution is the right thing for us to do—a step that appropriately acknowledges how we fell short of our values and expectations.”

    He added: “This resolution is a serious reminder to all of us of how critical our obligation of transparency to regulators is, and the consequences that our company can face if any one of us falls short of those expectations.”

    Internal Boeing documents revealed during a U.S.House panel’s inquiry showed that engineers notified the company of the MCAS “egregious” problems as early as 2016.

    Related:

    Ethiopian Report Blames Boeing for 737 MAX Plane Crash

    Boeing to Stop 737 Max Production (AP)

    Internal FAA review saw high risk of 737 MAX crashes

    Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report

    Boeing CEO Apologizes to Victims of Ethiopia, Indonesia Crashes

    Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’

    Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

    Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

    Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

    Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: New U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Ms. Geeta Pasi Visits Tigray

    Ambassador Pasi, who replaced the former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor, arrived in Ethiopia last week presenting her credentials to President Sahle-Work Zewde on March 5th