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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.”

If You Attend:

Click here to learn more and register for the Virtual Town Hall .

Related:

Ethiopian Americans: Election is Approaching, Let’s Make Sure our Voices are Heard

Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

Interview: Helen Amelga, Founder of Ethiopian Democratic Club of LA

Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Watch: Black 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

Black America Votes: 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

Related

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 »

Related:

‘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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Noel Tedla Mesfin Joins WME As Agent In Production (Deadline Hollywood)

A first-generation Ethiopian-American, Mesfin is originally from the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated from Duke University and holds a J.D. from Yeshiva University’s School of Law. He has also spent time working in Democratic politics, organizing during Tim Kaine’s Virginia gubernatorial run. (Deadline)

Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: WME has announced that Noel Tedla Mesfin has joined the agency as an Agent in Production. He will be based out of the New York office.

Prior to his new position at WME, Mesfin worked on the Sundance 2019 selection As Told To G/D Thyself which is directed by the Ummah Chroma, an international artist’s collective that includes Terence Nance, Jenn Nkiru, Marc Thomas, Kamasi Washington and Bradford Young.

He continued his working relationship with Nance and Young on the forthcoming Space Jam, New Legacy at Warner Bros. starring LeBron James. The pic is produced by James’ SpringHill Entertainment as well as Ryan Coogler. He also worked on Sam de Jong’s Slick Woods-vehicle Goldie and the MACRO-produced Really Love from up-and-coming director Angel Williams. The film was chosen as a Special Jury Selection at SXSW 2020.

Previously, Mesfin worked in Creative Affairs at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles. He also managed Jeffrey E. Stern, journalist and co-author of “The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes” which was later adapted into the 2018 film directed by Clint Eastwood.

Mesfin’s career in entertainment began in the office of Scott Rudin at Scott Rudin Productions in New York. A first-generation Ethiopian-American, Mesfin is originally from the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated from Duke University and holds a J.D. from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. He has also spent time working in Democratic politics, organizing during Tim Kaine’s Virginia gubernatorial run.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

UPDATE: Ethiopia-Egypt War Over GERD Has Already Started. It’s in Cyberspace

Workers move iron girders from a crane at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (Getty Images)

Foreign Policy

The conflict between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has already started. It’s just happening in cyberspace.

It took only a few weeks to plan the cyberattack—and a few more to abandon the world of ethical hacking for the less noble sort. But they would do anything for the Nile, the four young Egyptians agreed.

With that, the group calling themselves the Cyber_Horus Group in late June hacked more than a dozen Ethiopian government sites, replacing each page with their own creation: an image of a skeleton pharaoh, clutching a scythe in one hand and a scimitar in the other. “If the river’s level drops, let all the Pharaoh’s soldiers hurry,” warned a message underneath. “Prepare the Ethiopian people for the wrath of the Pharaohs.”

“There is more power than weapons,” one of the hackers, who asked not to be identified by name, told Foreign Policy. Also, it was a pretty easy job, the hacker added.

A few weeks later and thousands of miles away, a 21-year-old Ethiopian named Liz applied red lipstick and donned a black T-shirt and jeans. She positioned her phone on her desk and started her own kind of online influence campaign: a TikTok video. She danced to a popular Egyptian song underneath the message, “Distracting the Egyptians while we fill the dam.”

“There’s no other country that can stop us,” said Liz, who has more than 70,000 followers on the app and whose taunting video was met with praise and threats. “It’s our right.”

Rarely have young people been so passionate about an infrastructure project. But the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be Africa’s largest, is more than just a piece of infrastructure. It has become a nationalistic rallying cry for both Ethiopia and Egypt—two countries scrambling to define their nationhood after years of domestic upheaval. Many Ethiopians and Egyptians are getting involved in the only way they can—online—and fomenting the first African cyberconflict of its kind, one with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.

Read more »

Related:

Trump Administration Confirms Cutting Aid to Ethiopia Over GERD (UPDATE)


(Getty Images)

The Associated Press

Updated: September 2nd, 2020

It was an unusual example of Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly.

On the guidance of President Trump, the State Department said Wednesday that the United States was suspending some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the country’s talks with Egypt and Sudan over a disputed dam project it is completing on the Nile River.

It was an unusual example of Mr. Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly. The dam dispute centers on two of Africa’s most populous and powerful nations, Ethiopia and Egypt, and some have feared it could lead to military conflict.

A State Department spokesperson told The Associated Press the decision to “temporarily pause” some aid to a key regional security ally “reflects our concern about Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.”

It is not clear how many millions of dollars in aid are being affected, or for how long. The decision was taken by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “based on guidance from the president,” the spokesperson said.

There was no immediate comment from Ethiopia’s government. Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, this week tweeted that his country was determined to complete the dam, saying that “we will pull Ethiopia out of darkness.”

Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam has caused severe tensions with Egypt, which has called it an existential threat and worries that it will reduce the country’s share of Nile waters. Ethiopia says the $4.6 billion dam will be an engine of development that will pull millions of people out of poverty. Sudan, in the middle, worries about the effects on its own dams though it stands to benefit from access to cheap electricity.

Years of talks among the countries have failed to come to an agreement. Key remaining issues include how to handle releases of water from the dam during multiyear droughts and how to resolve future disputes.

The United States earlier this year tried to mediate the discussions, but Ethiopia walked away amid accusations that Washington was siding with Egypt. Now the three countries are reporting any progress to the African Union, which is leading negotiations.

Ethiopia had said it would fill the dam with or without a deal with Egypt and Sudan. The dam’s 74 billion-cubic-meter reservoir saw its first filling in July, which Ethiopia’s government celebrated and attributed to heavy rains, while a startled Egypt and Sudan hurriedly sought clarification and expressed skepticism.

A former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn, had warned against an aid cut, writing that “playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain Washington’s desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the United States rallies against Trump.”

Related:

Cutting Aid to Ethiopia Haunts Trump in Election


David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said. (Image: Tulsa World)

AA

Addis Getachew | ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Updated: September 2nd, 2020

Ethiopian-Americans against US cutting $130M aid to Ethiopia to enforce Egypt friendly agreement on sharing Nile waters

The US has now formally stepped in, to support Egypt and punish Ethiopia over the river water sharing dispute between the two African countries.

Last week, the Trump administration announced blocking a $130 million aid that had been earmarked to support Ethiopia’s defense and anti-terrorism efforts.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the cut in aid, ostensibly to build pressure on Ethiopia, a rugged landlocked country in the Horn of Africa.

While it is not clear to what extent the US decision will affect Ethiopia, but it has united everyone in the country and the diaspora.

“We have officially requested the US administration that they give us an explanation,” said Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Washington Fitsum Arega, while taking to Twitter.

David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said.

Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had earlier rejected an agreement brokered by the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in February related to the filling and operation of the $5billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia said the US proposal was heavily tilted towards Egypt.

Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa have strained over recent times, over the filling and operation of the dam that has come upon the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the River Nile.

Since June, the African Union has been mediating now to evolve a win-win formula between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

The AU has entrusted its Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government including South Africa, Kenya, Mali, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to prevent any escalation between these countries. The European Union, the World Bank, and the US continue as observers in the group.

Read more »

Related:

Mike Pompeo is the Worst U.S. Secretary of State in History


Mike Pompeo’s handing of the Trump administration’s foreign policy “has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies,” writes The Washington Post’s Deputy editorial page editor and columnist Jackson Diehl. (Photo: The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Updated: August 30, 2020

As secretary of state, Mike Pompeo has presided over the collapse of negotiations with North Korea, the failure of a pressure campaign against Iran and an abortive attempt to oust Venezuela’s authoritarian regime. On his watch, China has carried out genocide in its Xinjiang region and the suppression of Hong Kong’s freedoms without resistance from Washington until it was too late.

Pompeo has failed to fill dozens of senior positions at the State Department, and hundreds of career diplomats have left or been driven out in political purges. Morale is at a historic low: In staff surveys, there has been a 34 percent increase between 2016 and 2019 in those who say the State Department’s senior leaders “did not maintain high levels of honesty and integrity.” Maybe that’s because Pompeo himself has defied legal mandates from Congress, skirted a law restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, tasked staffers with carrying out errands for himself and his wife, and fired the inspector general who was investigating his violations.

Last week, Pompeo crossed yet another ethical line by speaking before the Republican National Convention, thereby disregarding the State Department’s explicit legal guidance against such appearances. The speech he delivered was weak and littered with false or simply ludicrous claims, such as that the recent diplomatic accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is “a deal that our grandchildren will read about in their history books.” Maybe if they major in Middle Eastern affairs.

With his ambitions likely fixed on a presidential candidacy in 2024, Pompeo is undoubtedly hoping most of the diplomatic disasters will ultimately be blamed on President Trump, especially if Trump loses the November election. But the former Kansas congressman should not get off so easy. Yes, it’s Trump’s foreign policy. But Pompeo’s steering of it has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies.

Read more »

Related:

Pompeo approves plans to halt aid to Ethiopia over Nile dam dispute


Getty Images

The Hill

08/28/20

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved plans to halt some U.S. aid to Ethiopia, Foreign Policy reported on Friday.

The halt in aid comes as the U.S. mediates a dispute over a dam on the Nile River that’s pitted Ethiopia against Egypt and Sudan, according to Foreign Policy. The decision could impact up to $130 million of assistance to programs including security, counter-terrorism and anti-human trafficking.

“There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” a U.S. official told the magazine. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Ethiopia and Egypt are at a standstill in negotiations over how the dam on a tributary of the Nile will be managed.

Egypt and Sudan, which depend on the Nile for much of their fresh water, are opposed to any development they say will impact the flow downstream, including the 6,000-megawatt power plant Ethiopia hopes to develop at the dam.

Is the Trump Administration Using Aid to Bully Ethiopia Over Nile Dam?


It’s too bad that the U.S. has decided to take the wrong side in a local African dispute regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. As the following FP article reports the Trump administration is cutting off “some foreign assistance” to Ethiopia over GERD. The scheme may be intended to tip the scale in Egypt’s favor, but if history is any indication this kind of foreign intimidation does not work in Ethiopia. It’s also worth mentioning that the dam, a $4.5 billion hydroelectric project, is being fully funded by the Ethiopian people. (Getty Images)

Foreign Policy

U.S. Halts Some Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Dam Dispute with Egypt, Sudan, Some U.S. officials fear the move will harm Washington’s relationship with Addis Ababa.

Updated: AUGUST 27, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to halt U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia as the Trump administration attempts to mediate a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the East African country’s construction of a massive dam on the Nile River.

The decision, made this week, could affect up to nearly $130 million in U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and fuel new tensions in the relationship between Washington and Addis Ababa as it carries out plans to fill the dam, according to U.S. officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter. Officials cautioned that the details of the cuts are not yet set in stone and the finalized number could amount to less than $130 million.

Programs that are on the chopping block include security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding, officials and congressional aides said. The cuts would not impact U.S. funding for emergency humanitarian relief, food assistance, or health programs aimed at addressing COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, officials said.

The move is meant to address the standoff between Ethiopia and other countries that rely on the Nile River downstream that have opposed the construction of the massive dam project, called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt sees the dam’s construction as a core security issue given the country’s heavy reliance on the river for fresh water and agriculture, and in the past Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has hinted his country could use military force to halt the dam’s construction.

Some Ethiopian officials have said they believe the Trump administration is taking Egypt’s side in the dispute. President Donald Trump has shown a fondness for Sisi, reportedly calling him his “favorite dictator” during a G-7 summit last year. Officials familiar with negotiations said the Trump administration has not approved parallel cuts in foreign assistance to Egypt.

Administration officials have repeatedly assured all sides that Washington is an impartial mediator in the negotiations, which mark one of the few diplomatic initiatives in Africa that the president has played a personal and active role in. These officials pointed out that Egypt has accused the United States of taking Ethiopia’s side in the dispute as well.

“There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” said one U.S. official. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

But the move is likely to face sharp pushback on Capitol Hill, according to Congressional aides familiar with the matter. State Department officials briefed Congressional staff on the decision on Thursday, the aides said, and during the briefing insisted that the U.S.-Ethiopia relationship would remain strong despite a cutback in aid because the United States can have tough conversations “with friends.”

“This is a really fucking illogical way to show a ‘friend’ you really care,” one Congressional aide told Foreign Policy in response.

Read more »

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Spotlight on Merawi Gerima’s New Film ‘Residue’ – Media Roundup

In a review released last week The New York Times noted that ‘Residue’, the new film by Merawi Gerima — who is the son of Haile Gerima — "reveals a directorial voice as distinctive as that of his father." (Photo: Courtesy Venice Day)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 21st, 2020

New York (TADIAS) — Merawi Gerima’s timely debut film Residue, is shining a critical spotlight on the adverse impact of gentrification on the local population in his hometown of Washington, D.C.

Coming in the middle of the largest post-civil rights movement, the film, which was screened this month at the 2020 Venice Film Festival and is now streaming on Netflix, has been greeted with great reviews.

“Merawi Gerima makes a stunning feature debut with “Residue,” a moving homage to the Northeast Washington neighborhood where he grew up,” declared The Washington Post in a review titled “Washington-born Filmmaker’s ‘Residue’ is a Deeply Personal Look at Black Identity and the Role of Art.”

The Guardian enthused: “A visually striking and timely film from first-time writer-director Merawi Gerima sees a film-maker returning to an unrecognisable DC neighbourhood. Residue is a fleeting and haunting lament for what is lost to gentrification, and other tolls on black life in America. But at the same, it’s exhilarating and monumental, laced with the sensation that we’re discovering a bold and sensitive new voice. Writer and director Merawi Gerima’s debut, released by Ava DuVernay’s independent film collective Array, tells a prodigal son story, about a man returning to his old stomping grounds. And in that story, Gerima experiments with performance and vérité, intimate narrative and poetic abstractions. His artistry is thoughtful. But more than anything, it’s emotional.”

For Merawi, the movie is essentially about home and a loss of the sense of belonging. “Residue is just about this neighborhood which I grew up in, which I remember fondly,” he said in an interview with Variety Magazine. “Trying to make sense of the distance between where I have ended up, and where they are. Because it’s vast. It’s not about gentrification in a specific sense.” He added: “It’s about a very specific perspective on this thing. On this all-encompassing battle that Black people face all over the world.”


“Residue, a fleeting and haunting lament for what is lost to gentrification.” – The Guardian (Photograph: Array)


Merawi Gerima’s new film is “a frank look at Gerima’s hometown, Washington, D.C., and the rate at which gentrification has transformed the city. The meta-tale follows Jay (magnetic newcomer Obinna Nwachukwu), a D.C.–born filmmaker who returns after finishing college in L.A.” – Vanity Fair. (Photo: Obinna Nwachukwu, right, in ‘Residue’/Array Releasing/Netflix)

According to Media Play News Residue was the only American movie to be featured on the sidelines of this year’s Venice Film Festival at Venice Days, “which pulled off the first major in-person film event since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to go online, including Cannes. This followed its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival, where it took home the festival’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.”

In a review released this week The New York Times notes that new film by Merawi, who is the son of Haile Gerima, “reveals a directorial voice as distinctive as that of his father.” NYT adds that the younger Gerima’s “challenging, engrossing filmmaking style is measured, simultaneously realistic and impressionistic. What’s out of the frame is often as important, if not more important, than what’s in the frame. As when Jay, climbing out of his basement in the dead of night, sees an old buddy passing by; through the grate of a fence they have a fraught conversation, made more so by the sight of the blue lights of an unseen police car bouncing off their faces. In another scene, Jay walks through the woods with a friend, Dion (Jamal Graham). They reminisce about old times amid this greenery, but it’s soon clear that he and Dion are actually in the visiting room of a jail, and that the restful environment is in Jay’s imagination.”

As Vanity Fair reminds us “Haile Gerima, the legendary Ethiopian director made two feature films before graduating from UCLA in 1976. Forty years later, his son, Merawi Gerima, found himself in film school at USC, with the same dreams of finishing a feature before exiting into the real world.”

“None of his teachers knew how he did it,” Gerima said of his father. “He shot two films before he had to give the camera back, edited the thesis by day, and then Harvest by night.” For Gerima, whose mother is the award-winning director Shirikiana Aina, completing a film before graduating was an urgent, deeply rooted goal. “It was my own personal kind of challenge,” he said.

Speaking about the rapid gentrification of Washington D.C. Merawi shares in his Vanity Fair interview that: “It was too much for my system to take,” adding “I was going down this dark path of pure anger with no outlet. The powerlessness was overwhelming, so I started writing [Residue] as a way to find something to grab onto that could make me feel like I had a way to affect the fate of my community.”

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

UPDATE: Ethiopia Virus Cases Pass 70,000

The number of coronavirus cases in Ethiopia has reached 70,422 as of September 22nd, 2020. (Photo: Courtesy of UNICEF Ethiopia)

THE LATEST UPDATE:

Updated: September 22nd, 2020

  • U.S. Covid-19 death toll surpasses 200,000
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 70,422
  • 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

    U.S. Covid-19 death toll surpasses 200,000

    The U.S. coronavirus-related death has surpassing 200,000. In this video NBC’s looks back on how we got here and ahead to when a vaccine could be available. 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 »

    Oxford vaccine trial on hold because of potential safety issue


    Blood samples from coronavirus vaccine trials are handled at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England, on June 25. (Photo: John Cairns / Oxford via AP)

    By NBC News

    Clinical trials for the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine have been put on hold, drug maker AstraZeneca said Tuesday. “Our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee,” the company said in a statement. “This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.” The statement continued: “In large trials illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.” AstraZeneca, which is working with the University of Oxford on a coronavirus vaccine, began its phase 3 clinical trials in the U.S. last week. NBC News has confirmed that the pause has affected trial sites in the U.S. Putting a trial on hold while researchers determine whether a serious adverse event was caused by a vaccine is “uncommon, but not unheard of,” Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said. Read more »

    Global coronavirus cases top 20M as Russia approves vaccine

    By The Associated Press

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 20 million, more than half of them from the United States, India and Brazil, as Russia on Tuesday became the first country to approve a vaccine against the virus. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that one of his two adult daughters had already been inoculated with the cleared vaccine, which he described as effective. “She’s feeling well and has a high number of antibodies,” Putin said. Russia has reported more than 890,000 cases, the fourth-highest total in the world, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally that also showed total confirmed cases globally surpassing 20 million. It took six months or so to get to 10 million cases after the virus first appeared in central China late last year. It took just over six weeks for that number to double. An AP analysis of data through Aug. 9 showed the U.S., India and Brazil together accounted for nearly two-thirds of all reported infections since the world hit 15 million coronavirus cases on July 22. 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 »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 70,422

    By Ministry of Health

    In Ethiopia, as of September 22nd, 2020, there have been 70,422 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Read more »

    Coronavirus Deaths on the Rise in Almost Every Region of the U.S.

    By The Washington Post

    New U.S. coronavirus cases reached record levels over the weekend, with deaths trending up sharply in a majority of states, including many beyond the hard-hit Sun Belt. Although testing has remained flat, 20 states and Puerto Rico reported a record-high average of new infections over the past week. Five states — Arizona, California, Florida, Mississippi and Texas — also broke records for average daily fatalities in that period. At least 3,290,000 cases and more than 132,000 deaths have been reported in the United States. 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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  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Legal Pioneer, Dies at 87

    Born in Depression-era Brooklyn, Justice Ginsburg excelled academically and went to the top of her law school class. She earned a reputation as the legal embodiment of the women’s liberation movement and as a widely admired role model for generations of female lawyers. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the high court and a legal pioneer for gender equality whose fierce opinions as a justice made her a hero to the left, died Sept. 18 at her home in Washington. She was 87.

    The death was announced in a statement by the U.S. Supreme Court. She had recently been treated for pancreatic cancer.

    Born in Depression-era Brooklyn, Justice Ginsburg excelled academically and went to the top of her law school class at a time when women were still called upon to justify taking a man’s place. She earned a reputation as the legal embodiment of the women’s liberation movement and as a widely admired role model for generations of female lawyers.

    Working in the 1970s with the American Civil Liberties Union, Justice Ginsburg successfully argued a series of cases before the high court that strategically chipped away at the legal wall of gender discrimination, eventually causing it to topple. Later, as a member of the court’s liberal bloc, she was a reliable vote to enhance the rights of women, protect affirmative action and minority voting rights and defend a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

    On the court, she became an iconic figure to a new wave of young feminists, and her regal image as the “Notorious RBG” graced T-shirts and coffee mugs. She was delighted by the attention, although she said her law clerks had to explain that the moniker referred to a deceased rapper, the Notorious B.I.G. She also was the subject of a popular film documentary, “RBG” (2018).

    When she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2015, her colleague and improbable close friend, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, wrote about her dual roles as crusader and judge. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had two distinguished legal careers, either one of which would alone entitle her to be one of Time’s 100,” wrote Scalia, who died in 2016.

    After Scalia’s death, the Senate took no action to confirm President Barack Obama’s nominee to the court, U.S. Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland. President Trump, who took office in 2017, has nominated two new justices to the court, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, the latter succeeding Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

    NPR reported that Justice Ginsburg, in a statement dictated to her granddaughter in recent days, said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

    Read more »

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    Q&A: Prof. Zenebe Beyene on Ethiopian Election and Regional Tensions

    Professor Zenebe Beyene, coordinator of international programs at University of Mississippi, speaks about Ethiopia at European Institute of Peace event. His presentation focused on “Ethiopian Election and Regional Tensions: The Need for an Inclusive and Participatory National Dialogue.” (Courtesy photo)

    UM School of Journalism and New Media

    UM professor speaks about Ethiopia at European Institute of Peace event

    On Aug. 31, 2020, professor Zenebe Beyene, assistant professor and coordinator of international programs, participated in an event organized by the European Institute of Peace and was one of the three panelists. His presentation focused on “Ethiopian Election and Regional Tensions: The Need for an Inclusive and Participatory National Dialogue.”

    Q. Can you tell me a little about the EIP program? Why was the program held?

    A. The program was to discuss the Ethiopian election, regional tensions, and the implications for regional peace and stability. Ethiopia has become one of the most polarized countries in the region. The polarization has been compounded by the competing, conflicting, and toxic narratives that some politicians and activists irresponsibly disseminate via various platforms.

    The danger of these narratives to the integrity of Ethiopia as a nation and the most immediate consequences of mutual destruction could not be overstated. But, this danger may not be limited to Ethiopia, as the political spillover effects of a destabilized Ethiopia will have unpredictable destabilization implications for the horn of Africa as well. As you all know, for the longest time, from the eastern-most nation of Somalia to the western-most nation of Senegal, Ethiopia was and is one of the very few countries that have been stable. If Ethiopia loses its stability, the odds are that the region will face the same fate.

    Indeed, maintaining Ethiopia’s stability has important regional implications. Currently, Ethiopian troops participate in peacekeeping missions in Somalia and South Sudan/Sudan. Ethiopia also serves as home for one of the largest refugee camps in the region. Given Ethiopia’s contributions to regional peace and stability, it is in the best interest of the international community to support peace initiatives. It is here the media’s role in promoting peace and reconciliation comes in.

    Q. Can you tell me a little about your presentation for those who were not able to see or hear it? What ideas did you share with others involved in the program?

    A. My presentation focused on the regional tension, its immediate consequences and the way forward. As part of this topic, I emphasized the importance of an inclusive and participatory national dialogue. I believe national dialogue will lay the foundation for lasting peace in Ethiopia. It will also help us change the focus from politics to people. Focusing more on people than on politics will help people build and promote mutual understanding.


    Zenebe Beyene Ph.D. (courtesy photo)

    This approach may also help liberate people from deep-rooted hate. Like many other societies, Ethiopians have suffered injustices in the hands of successive leaders. Addressing those injustices and promoting accountability is long overdue. Promoting national dialogue will liberate people from hate, and finding commonality in humanity will help heal the wounds and pains that many are suffering from. The latter two goals are just as important as addressing historical injustices.

    Healing the fractured political culture in Ethiopia should be the priority, and that can be done through a genuine national dialogue. People should be convinced that it is in their best interest to stand together against extremism and hostility. National dialogue should not be considered a party issue; it is about promoting national unity and the much-needed healing. The sooner we embark on national dialogue, the better the outcome for the region.

    While the discussion focuses on Ethiopia and the horn of Africa, it has important global implications. First, the horn of Africa is a hot-spot, and any instability in the region will create a safe-haven for extremist groups. Second, the issue of promoting peace through an inclusive national dialogue and finding common-ground among various stakeholders is a much-needed intervention in many places around the world including the U.S.

    Related:

    Ethiopia Braces for Election Amid COVID-19

    Abiy Ahmed on the Threats to Ethiopia’s Democratic Transition (The Economist)

    UPDATE: At Least 120 Killed in Ethiopian Ethnic Clashes This Month (Bloomberg)

    Inclusive National Dialogue is a Priority for Ethiopia (INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES)

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    Ethiopia Braces for Election Amid COVID19

    Health minister tells parliament country can hold parliamentary election after necessary precautions. (AA)

    AA

    Addis Getachew Tadesse | ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

    Ethiopia may now be in a position to hold parliamentary election after taking precautionary measures against COVID-19, the health minister said on Friday.

    Lia Kebede told an emergency session of the House of Peoples’ Representatives the country could now hold the parliamentary election provided all the necessary precautions are put in place against the spread of the coronavirus.

    A landlocked country in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia postponed its sixth parliamentary election twice due to internal conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Last week, in clear defiance of the federal authority, the north Ethiopian Tigray regional state conducted a regional election that was categorically rejected both by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) and the House of Federation, the upper house of the parliament.

    The minister said the nation built preventive capacities in mitigating the circumstances that might lead to the spread of the virus, the local broadcaster FANA quoted Lia as saying.

    The country’s testing capacity, she said, increased as the ministry managed to conduct over 11.7 million laboratory tests, detecting 66,224 cases and recording 1,045 deaths.

    Related:

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 70,422

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    First Volume of Barack Obama’s Memoir Coming Nov. 17

    The 768-page book is the most anticipated presidential memoir in memory, as much or more because of the quality of the writing than for any possible revelations. He has been called the most literary president since Abraham Lincoln and has already written two highly praised, million-selling books. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) — The first volume of former President Barack Obama’s memoir is coming out Nov. 17, two weeks after Election Day. It’s called “A Promised Land” and will cover his swift and historic rise to the White House and his first term in office.

    The publication date for the second volume has not yet been determined.

    “I’ve spent the last few years reflecting on my presidency, and in ‘A Promised Land’ I’ve tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it; my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made; and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then — and that as a nation we are grappling with still,” Obama said in a statement Thursday.

    “In the book, I’ve also tried to give readers a sense of the personal journey that Michelle and I went through during those years, with all the incredible highs and lows. And finally, at a time when America is going through such enormous upheaval, the book offers some of my broader thoughts on how we can heal the divisions in our country going forward and make our democracy work for everybody — a task that won’t depend on any single president, but on all of us as engaged citizens.”

    Obama’s book, like his previous ones, will be released by Crown, a division of Penguin Random House.

    The 768-page book is the most anticipated presidential memoir in memory, as much or more because of the quality of the writing than for any possible revelations. He has been called the most literary president since Abraham Lincoln and has already written two highly praised, million-selling books: “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope,” both of which have been cited as aiding his presidential run in 2008 and making him the country’s first Black president.


    AP photo

    Even with a substantial list price of $45, “A Promised Land” is virtually guaranteed to sell millions of copies, and has an announced first printing of 3 million. But it will face challenges far different from most presidential memoirs, and even from former first lady Michelle Obama’s blockbuster book, “Becoming,” which came out two years ago and has sold more than 10 million copies.

    Because of the pandemic, the former president will likely be unable to have the spectacular arena tour that Michelle Obama had, what was then an unprecedented launch for a political book. Barack Obama also may find his book coming out at a time when the Nov. 3 election is still undecided and the country far more preoccupied with who the next president will be than with events of the past.

    Obama has taken longer than most recent presidents to complete his memoir, with the first volume coming nearly four years after the end of his second term. (George W. Bush’s “Decision Points,” a single volume, came within two years). He has been writing during unusual times, even before the pandemic spread earlier this year. His successor in the White House, Donald Trump, has attacked and upended achievements of the Obama administration ranging from the Iran nuclear treaty to “Obamacare.”

    Obama is not the first president to publish more than one volume of memoirs; Dwight Eisenhower also wrote two. But he had been expected to write just one when Penguin Random House first announced, in February 2017, a multimillion joint publication deal with Barack and Michelle Obama. On Thursday, Crown Publisher David Drake cited the scale of Obama’s ambition to write a book that captures the experiences of being president and offers an inspiring story for young people.

    “As his writing progressed and the scope of the memoirs continued to grow, he ultimately decided to write two volumes,” Drake said.

    The November release will be welcomed not only by Obama readers, but by booksellers and fellow publishers who anticipate that the massive demand for “A Promised Land” will raise sales for everyone. Its popularity may also present another complication: The publishing industry has struggled with chronic printing shortages in the U.S. over the past two years, leading to frequent delays. Drake said that Crown had taken several measures to minimize disruption, from printing one-third of the copies in Germany to arranging for a U.S. plant that had been scheduled to close in October to remain open for two additional months.

    “The president’s book should not impact the U.S. print market more significantly than other major bestsellers of late,” Drake said.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopian-American Author Maaza Mengiste on Booker Prize Shortlist

    The prize committee announced this week that the New York-based writer is among the six authors shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize for her acclaimed new novel 'The Shadow King.' (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 18th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American author Maaza Mengiste has been named one of the final candidates for the prestigious Booker Prize.

    The prize committee announced this week that the New York-based writer is among the six authors shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize for her acclaimed new novel The Shadow King.

    The shortlist was chosen out of 162 books by a panel of five judges: Margaret Busby (chair), editor, literary critic and former publisher; Lee Child, author; Sameer Rahim, author and critic; Lemn Sissay, writer and broadcaster; and Emily Wilson, classicist and translator.

    “As judges we read 162 books, many of them conveying important, sometimes uncannily similar and prescient messages,” the announcement said. “The best novels often prepare our societies for valuable conversations, and not just about the inequities and dilemmas of the world − whether in connection with climate change, forgotten communities, old age, racism, or revolution when necessary − but also about how magnificent the interior life of the mind, imagination and spirit is, in spite of circumstance.”

    The press release notes that “Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Fulbright Scholar and professor in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation programme at Queens College, she is the author of The Shadow King and Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, named one of the Guardian’s Ten Best Contemporary African Books. Her work can be found in the New Yorker, Granta, and the New York Times, among other publications. She lives in New York City.”

    This year’s winner will be unveiled on November 17th during a virtual event that will be broadcast live on BBC from London.

    Related:

    Maaza Mengiste on the untold story of Ethiopia’s women warriors during Italian occupation


    Ethopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste, author of the novels Beneath the Lion’s Gaze and The Shadow King, spoke with Eleanor Wachtel in 2020. (Nina Subin)

    CBC

    In her new novel, The Shadow King, Maaza Mengiste draws on surprising discoveries about the role of women during Italy’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia — a conflict that many consider to be the start of the Second World War.

    The story revolves around Hirut, a young Ethiopian woman who takes up arms to join the fight against Mussolini’s brutal occupation. In the course of writing the book, Mengiste discovered that her own great-grandmother had been on the front lines. The novel also features a sensitive portrait of Emperor Haile Selassie, who ruled Ethiopia for more than 40 years.

    Ambitious and epic in sweep, The Shadow King is an unflinching exploration of history and memory, class and gender, and the perspectives of women and girls during war. Marlon James has described it as “beautiful and devastating,” while Salmon Rushdie proclaimed it “a brilliant novel, lyrically lifting history towards myth.”

    Born in Addis Ababa in 1971, Mengiste fled the country with her family during the Ethiopian Revolution, moving to Nigeria and Kenya before being sent alone to the United States at age seven. She now makes her home in New York.

    She spoke to Eleanor Wachtel from the CBC’s London studio.

    These legends carried me through

    “I grew up with the stories of a poorly equipped Ethiopian military confronting one of the most technologically advanced militaries in the world at that time.

    “For a child, this was a story that felt epic. It was mythic. We were not supposed to win — and yet we did. I grew up imagining these heroic figures. I carried those figures with me when I moved from Ethiopia eventually to settle in the United States.

    “They helped me understand what it meant to be Ethiopian, what it meant to have a history.

    “These stories, the myths and the legends: my images of those soldiers, I really think, carried me through some difficult times as an immigrant and as a young girl who was black in a town that didn’t understand her.”

    Women and warfare

    “I had no idea [about my own great-grandmother's experience in the war]. I wrote this book, did my research and searched for women who were fighting in this war — without any sense of my own great-grandmother’s story. When the book was almost done, I visited Ethiopia on a last-minute research trip while I was in the process of editing the book.

    “My mother went with me on this trip, as she has done on several other research excursions I’ve made to Ethiopia. In conversation with her, I told her about a photograph I found of a woman in uniform, and how excited I was about that.

    “It confirmed what I had always thought, which was that these women really existed — and she casually said, ‘Well, what about your great-grandmother?’

    “It was almost as if she had spoken in a foreign language. My brain couldn’t conceive it. I turned to her and said, ‘What did you say?’

    “She told me the story of my great-grandmother, who had enlisted to fight in the war — and who had taken her father before the village elders and demanded the gun that was his and would eventually be passed down to her. But she wanted it right then: she went to war and I had never heard this story before in all the years of working on this book.

    “I heard the stories of men in my grandfather’s generation who fought. I heard the stories of the ways that women took care of the wounded, buried the dead and collected water. I heard the stories of people in very traditional roles of warfare. But I had no sense that women did much more in that war.

    “I had no sense that those stories also were running in my own family.”


    An undated picture of Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, reviewing troops in Addis Ababa. (AFP via Getty Images)

    A point of pride

    “The confrontation with Italy — both the first one in the late 1800s and then the one in 1935 — helped establish a narrative of Ethiopian history. It established Ethiopia as a place, a country that other Africans, other African-Americans could look toward with pride. It helped Ethiopians figure out a way to define themselves.

    “[These were] people who were supposed to be conquered, and yet were not. It established a way to think about the country and the people. I grew up with some of that rhetoric, that legend, the myths. It’s something that went beyond Ethiopia as well.

    “It helped define a way of blackness, a way of being African, which was something that was very different from the stories of colonialism, of being enslaved. These were people who fought against colonizing forces, who fought against Europeans, who fought against the white men and won.

    “That was a source of pride for people across the world — from Harlem all the way into Nigeria and Ghana.”

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    Abiy Ahmed on the Threats to Ethiopia’s Democratic Transition (The Economist)

    Abiy Ahmed is the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his contribution in ending a decades-long conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. (The Economist)

    The Economist

    BY ABIY AHMED

    Updated: September 17th, 2020

    By Invitation

    This guest commentary is the first in a series on democracy in Africa. Ethiopia committed itself to democratic reforms in 2018. But ethnic and separatist violence, as well as state repression, have resumed. The government postponed this year’s general election, citing covid-19. An unauthorised local election was held in the Tigray region in early September. Read more about Ethiopia’s tense politics here. For other commentaries, visit Economist.com/by-invitation

    The government must stop violent ethnic and religious demagogues. But only democracy can hold the country together, says the prime minister.

    A STABLE DEMOCRACY is built on the rule of law; if there is no law there is no freedom. With this core belief, Ethiopia is working tirelessly to realise its constitution’s promise of a democratic and pluralistic political order based on the rule of law, respect for fundamental rights and the basic liberties of our citizens.

    This commitment remains firm despite the numerous obstacles that the country has faced over the past two-and-a-half years. My administration rejects the false choices of the past, between democracy and development; between compassion and strength. We affirm the importance of a free press, a vibrant civil society, an independent judiciary, a professional civil service, an open political space and political contests based on ideas and clear policy options.

    We know this is not an easy task, and managing the complex challenges of transition alongside building democratic institutions takes time and commitment.

    Recently Ethiopia has been in the news for the wrong reasons. Individuals and groups, disaffected by the transformations taking place, are using everything at their disposal to derail them. They are harvesting the seeds of inter-ethnic and inter-religious division and hatred. In a country where more than two-thirds of the population are under 30 and most are unemployed, the desperate youths make easy recruits to fuel the tension.

    This has caused untold miseries and suffering to so many of our citizens who have been at the receiving end of deliberate attacks by demagogues and by those who peddle hatred, using the ethnic and religious diversity of our nation as a tool of division. The government has taken swift measures to enforce the rule of law by bringing perpetrators and their backers to justice. Some media reports have sensationalised these actions to give the impression that the democratic reforms are being reversed.

    Let there be no ambiguity: we remain deeply committed to the vision of building an inclusive, multinational, democratic and prosperous Ethiopia. It is the only way to keep the country together.

    Due to the concerted actions of those who are opposed to the democratic transition and who have tried to assume power through violence, the transition is under threat. For those who are accustomed to undue past privileges, equality feels like oppression. They stoke conflict along ethnic and religious lines, they unleash violent ethnic vigilante groups and they use irresponsible media outlets to fan hatred and ethnic divisions. In so doing, these groups imperil the lives and security of millions.

    Thankfully, Ethiopians reject the politics of division and hatred. We reject the dangerous demagogues who argue that we cannot be our ethnicity—Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Tigrayan, Sidama—and be an Ethiopian at the same time. We reject the notion that we can’t practise our religion—Christian or Muslim,—and be an Ethiopian at the same time. We can love what we are without hating who we are not. Our destiny lies in our togetherness. Our diversity is the source of our beauty and strength rather than of hatred and weakness.

    Our destiny lies in our togetherness. Our diversity is the source of our beauty and strength rather than of hatred and weakness.

    A country that is regarded as the birthplace of humanity with the earliest Homo sapiens, and whose collective identity, history and culture have been shaped by the intermingling of major religions and civilisations, must not let that honourable heritage fall prey to the ideology of ethno-religious conflict and massacre.

    In these circumstances, it is imperative that Ethiopia restore the rule of law and maintain order. Robust measures are needed to protect citizens and ensure an environment that is conducive to democratic politics. Given the institutions we have inherited, we realise that law-enforcement activities entail a risk of human-rights violations and abuse. The mindset and tactics of the past are not so easy to unlearn. Security and judicial reforms take time.

    When individuals and groups of people are targeted in violent attacks by those bent on wreaking havoc in the country, the government has the inherent duty to take the necessary measures to bring both the perpetrators and the instigators to justice. Law-enforcement activities are necessary to alleviate the symptoms of what ails our polity. But we are under no illusion that these measures will solve the many problems we confront.

    We are rolling out a substantial, ten-year national-development plan to strengthen and diversify the drivers of economic growth. We will revitalise the processes of national reconciliation and dialogue to foster national consensus and cohesion. We will also work towards having a free and fair election in 2021, while aggressively responding to covid-19.

    Progress is never linear nor is it guaranteed. But as long as we remain committed as a nation, with the support of the international community, we are still on course to build an Ethiopia that is a beacon of African prosperity. Our national resolve is unshakeable: no provocation will knock us off the course of democracy and the principles of equality that are the will of the people.

    ___________________

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    UPDATE: At Least 120 Killed in Ethiopian Ethnic Clashes This Month (Bloomberg)

    Ethiopia has been rocked by deadly clashes as a push by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for reforms fueled political tensions. The looming changes have partly stocked regional factionalism and awakened previously suppressed rivalries among ethnic communities. (Getty Images)

    Bloomberg

    By Simon Marks and Samuel Gebre

    Updated: September 17, 2020

    Opposition National Movement of Amhara reports killings

    Prime Minister Abiy starts ‘operation’ against perpetrators

    Intercommunal fighting in Ethiopia left at least 120 people dead this month and forced hundreds more to flee their homes, according to the opposition National Movement of Amhara.

    The killings in Ethiopia’s western region of Benishangul-Gumuz started on Sept. 6 and followed similar attacks by militiamen over the past months, Dessalegn Chanie, a spokesman of the NaMA party, said by phone on Thursday. Some victims were forcefully taken to a school and shot, while others were attacked with spears, Dessalegn said, citing a hospitalized survivor.

    The Ethiopia Human Rights Commission said in a statement it was “deeply concerned” by the security situation in the region. The regional authorities should open investigations into the killings, it said.

    Ethiopia has been rocked by deadly clashes as a push by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for reforms fueled political tensions. The looming changes have partly stocked regional factionalism and awakened previously suppressed rivalries among ethnic communities.

    The “sporadic security incidents” are “perpetrated by groups aimed at overturning the reforms journey,” Abiy said Thursday on his Twitter account. “A special operation will be activated to hold accountable all perpetrators with the oversight of the Attorney General.”

    The violence comes after deadly protests in June, following the killing of prominent singer Hachalu Hundessa in June. About 200 people were killed and the government has since arrested 9,000 people, according to the nation’s rights commission.

    Related:

    Abiy Ahmed on the Threats to Ethiopia’s Democratic Transition (The Economist)

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    LATEST UPDATE: Coronavirus Pandemic

    The number of coronavirus cases in Ethiopia has reached 68,820 as of September 20th, 2020. (Photo: Minister of Health Dr. Lia Tadesse at a World Patient Safety Day event in Addis Ababa, Sep. 17th via Twitter)

    THE LATEST UPDATE:

    Updated: September 20th, 2020

  • U.S. Covid-19 death toll surpasses 200,000
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 68,820
  • 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

    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 »

    Oxford vaccine trial on hold because of potential safety issue


    Blood samples from coronavirus vaccine trials are handled at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England, on June 25. (Photo: John Cairns / Oxford via AP)

    By NBC News

    Clinical trials for the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine have been put on hold, drug maker AstraZeneca said Tuesday. “Our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee,” the company said in a statement. “This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.” The statement continued: “In large trials illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.” AstraZeneca, which is working with the University of Oxford on a coronavirus vaccine, began its phase 3 clinical trials in the U.S. last week. NBC News has confirmed that the pause has affected trial sites in the U.S. Putting a trial on hold while researchers determine whether a serious adverse event was caused by a vaccine is “uncommon, but not unheard of,” Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said. Read more »

    Global coronavirus cases top 20M as Russia approves vaccine

    By The Associated Press

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 20 million, more than half of them from the United States, India and Brazil, as Russia on Tuesday became the first country to approve a vaccine against the virus. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that one of his two adult daughters had already been inoculated with the cleared vaccine, which he described as effective. “She’s feeling well and has a high number of antibodies,” Putin said. Russia has reported more than 890,000 cases, the fourth-highest total in the world, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally that also showed total confirmed cases globally surpassing 20 million. It took six months or so to get to 10 million cases after the virus first appeared in central China late last year. It took just over six weeks for that number to double. An AP analysis of data through Aug. 9 showed the U.S., India and Brazil together accounted for nearly two-thirds of all reported infections since the world hit 15 million coronavirus cases on July 22. 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 »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 68,820

    By Ministry of Health

    In Ethiopia, as of September 20th, 2020, there have been 68,820 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Read more »

    Coronavirus Deaths on the Rise in Almost Every Region of the U.S.

    By The Washington Post

    New U.S. coronavirus cases reached record levels over the weekend, with deaths trending up sharply in a majority of states, including many beyond the hard-hit Sun Belt. Although testing has remained flat, 20 states and Puerto Rico reported a record-high average of new infections over the past week. Five states — Arizona, California, Florida, Mississippi and Texas — also broke records for average daily fatalities in that period. At least 3,290,000 cases and more than 132,000 deaths have been reported in the United States. 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.

  • Poll: U.S. Image Plummets Internationally

    Part of the decline over the past year is linked to how the U.S. had handled the coronavirus pandemic. Attitudes toward Trump have consistently been much more negative than those toward his predecessor, Barack Obama, especially in Western Europe. (Getty Images)

    Pew Research Center

    U.S. Image Plummets Internationally as Most Say Country Has Handled Coronavirus Badly: Ratings for Trump remain poor

    Since Donald Trump took office as president, the image of the United States has suffered across many regions of the globe. As a new 13-nation Pew Research Center survey illustrates, America’s reputation has declined further over the past year among many key allies and partners. In several countries, the share of the public with a favorable view of the U.S. is as low as it has been at any point since the Center began polling on this topic nearly two decades ago.

    In some countries, ratings for U.S. are at record low

    For instance, just 41% in the United Kingdom express a favorable opinion of the U.S., the lowest percentage registered in any Pew Research Center survey there. In France, only 31% see the U.S. positively, matching the grim ratings from March 2003, at the height of U.S.-France tensions over the Iraq War. Germans give the U.S. particularly low marks on the survey: 26% rate the U.S. favorably, similar to the 25% in the same March 2003 poll.

    Part of the decline over the past year is linked to how the U.S. had handled the coronavirus pandemic. Across the 13 nations surveyed, a median of just 15% say the U.S. has done a good job of dealing with the outbreak. In contrast, most say the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union have done a good job, and in nearly all nations people give their own country positive marks for dealing with the crisis (the U.S. and UK are notable exceptions). Relatively few think China has handled the pandemic well, although it still receives considerably better reviews than the U.S. response.

    All publics surveyed rank the U.S. coronavirus response lowest

    Ratings for U.S. President Donald Trump have been low in these nations throughout his presidency, and that trend continues this year. Trump’s most negative assessment is in Belgium, where only 9% say they have confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing in world affairs. His highest rating is in Japan; still, just one-quarter of Japanese express confidence in Trump.

    Attitudes toward Trump have consistently been much more negative than those toward his predecessor, Barack Obama, especially in Western Europe. In the UK, Spain, France and Germany, ratings for Trump are similar to those received by George W. Bush near the end of his presidency.

    Low confidence in Trump in Western Europe: Trump less trusted than leaders of Germany, France, UK, Russia and China

    The publics surveyed also see Trump more negatively than other world leaders. Among the six leaders included on the survey, Angela Merkel receives the highest marks: A median of 76% across the nations polled have confidence in the German chancellor. French President Emmanuel Macron also gets largely favorable reviews. Ratings for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are roughly split. Ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are overwhelmingly negative, although not as negative as those for Trump.

    More confidence in Trump among European right-wing populist party supporters
    Views of Trump are more positive among Europeans who have favorable views of right-wing populist parties, though confidence is still relatively low among all groups. For instance, supporters of Spain’s Vox party are particularly likely to view Trump in a positive light: 45% are confident in his ability to handle international affairs, compared with only 7% among Spaniards who do not support Vox.

    Ratings of America’s response to the coronavirus outbreak are also related to support for right-wing populist parties and political ideology within several countries. While ratings are low among both groups, those on the political right are more likely than those on the left to think the U.S. has done a good job handling the outbreak.

    Thus far, the pandemic and resulting global recession have not had a major impact on perceptions about the global economic balance of power among the nations surveyed. Majorities or pluralities in these countries have named China as the world’s leading economic power in recent years, and that remains true in 2020. The exceptions are South Korea and Japan, where people see the U.S. as the world’s top economy.

    These are among the major findings from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 13,273 respondents in 13 countries – not including the U.S. – from June 10 to Aug. 3, 2020.

    Read more »

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Addisu Demissie Named University of Chicago Institute of Politics Fellow

    Addisu Demissie recently served as Senior Advisor to U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden and was responsible for organizing the 2020 Democratic Convention last month. He has been named a University of Chicago Institute of Politics Pritzker Fellow. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: August 14th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Addisu Demissie — who recently served as Senior Advisor for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and was responsible for organizing the 2020 Democratic Convention — is headed to University of Chicago this month as the Institute of Politics (IOP) Fall 2020 Resident Pritzker Fellow. As part of this fellowship, Addisu will “interact with students and faculty, participate in speaker series events, and, along with guests, lead off-the-record students-only seminars on current political and public policy topics at the IOP.”

    According to the University of Chicago, each academic quarter the IOP Fellows program brings a diverse group of professionals from the political world including public officials, policymakers, diplomats, activists and journalists to lead seminars as well as pursue their own individual projects.

    As a Fall 2020 Resident Fellow Addisu joins four other individuals including James Bennet, former Editorial Page Editor for The New York Times; Jelani Cobb, Staff Writer at the New Yorker Magazine; Scott Jennings, CNN Political Contributor, Republican Strategist, and Founding Partner of RunSwitch Public Relations; and Samantha Vinograd, CNN National Security Analyst.


    (Courtesy photos)

    “Each Fellows class brings a variety of perspectives and experiences to our students, ranging across different ideologies, professional sectors, and geographic areas,” the University stated on its website. “The IOP Pritzker Fellows Program presents a unique opportunity for political professionals to learn and grow.”

    In addition to managing the historic 2020 Democratic Convention Addisu is also a Principal & Co-Founder of 50+1 Strategies, a California-based consulting firm, where he managed several prominent campaigns including Cory Booker’s 2013 Senate campaign as well as his 2020 presidential campaign, Gavin Newsom’s 2018 campaign for California governor, and working as National Director of Voter Outreach for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Addisu’s first got involved in politics working with John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign while he was a Yale Law School student.

    Below is Addisu’s bio courtesy of the University of Chicago:

    Addisu Demissie

    Fall 2020 Resident Fellow

    Democratic Strategist And Founding Principal Of 50+1 Strategies

    Addisu Demissie is a Founding Principal of 50+1 Strategies with nearly 20 years of professional experience in political advocacy and campaign strategy. He has led campaigns at the national, state, and local level for electoral, nonprofit, and corporate clients. Addisu currently serves as Senior Advisor to the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee and to More Than A Vote, a non-profit organization dedicated to Black political empowerment co-founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.

    Addisu is an experienced campaign manager, having run successful campaigns for U.S. Senator Cory Booker in 2013 and California Governor Gavin Newsom in 2018 and, most recently, serving as the campaign manager for Booker’s run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. His first love is developing and implementing sophisticated community organizing programs, which he has done in three presidential campaigns for John Kerry in 2004, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008, and Clinton again in 2016.

    Following President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, Addisu was selected as the first National Political Director for the President’s political organization Organizing for America. Later that year, the Washington Post named him one of the “Ten Young Black Aides To Watch” in the Obama Administration. At OFA, he played a key role in mobilizing and coordinating grassroots support for the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, federal student loan reform, and the Affordable Care Act. Addisu also served as Senior Advisor to California Assembly member David Chiu’s 2011 mayoral campaign and as the general consultant for several California municipal, initiative, and independent expenditure campaigns during the 2012 and 2014 campaign cycles.

    Addisu is a 2001 graduate of Yale University, 2008 graduate of Yale Law School, and a member of the state Bar of California. In his spare time, he likes to run in the California sun and watch sports of any and every kind, especially his hometown Atlanta Braves and adopted hometown Golden State Warriors. He lives in Oakland, CA with his wife Jill.

    Related:

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team

    Interview: Helen Amelga, California Senate Field Rep & Founder of Ethiopian Democratic Club of LA

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    In DC, CBP Officers Seize Unreported Currency From Ethiopia-Bound Traveler

    Customs and Border Protection officers seize $98,762 in unreported currency from an Ethiopian-bound traveler at Washington Dulles International Airport on September 9, 2020. (Photos provided by CBP)

    Press Release

    STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized nearly $99,000 from a man traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday for violating federal currency reporting laws.

    Customs and Border Protection officers seize $98,762 in unreported currency from an Ethiopian-bound traveler at Washington Dulles International Airport on September 9, 2020.

    While conducting an outbound inspection on the Ethiopia-bound flight, CBP officers interviewed a U.S. lawful permanent resident who is an Ethiopian citizen. The man verbally and in writing reported that he possessed $14,000 and a subsequent examination of his carryon bag revealed $19,112.

    Officers escorted the man to CBP’s inspection station and conducted a comprehensive examination of his baggage. Officers discovered an additional $79,650 concealed inside shoes and jeans pockets inside his checked baggage. Officers seized a total of $98,762 of unreported currency.

    CBP is not releasing the man’s name since he was not criminally charged. An investigation continues.

    “This is a significant currency seizure for Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Bulk currency being smuggled from the United States may be illicit proceeds from narcotics smuggling, counterfeiting, and other nefarious activities. CBP will remain steadfast in our commitment to intercepting these smuggling attempts and financially hurting transnational criminal organizations where we can.”

    Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

    During inspections, CBP officers ensure that travelers fully understand federal currency reporting requirements and offer travelers multiple opportunities to accurately report all currency and monetary instruments they possess before examining a traveler’s carryon or checked baggage.

    Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges. On average, CBP seized about $207,000 every day in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2019.

    An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia Changes Currency Notes (Update)

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who unveiled new currency notes, claimed the step will combat hoarding, counterfeiting, corruption, and other ills afflicting the economy. The banks have been asked to start immediately issuing new notes. (Photo: FBC)

    AA

    Addis Getachew Tadesse | ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

    Ethiopia demonetizes banknotes to salvage economy

    Ethiopia on Monday demonetized its currency but gave three months window to people to exchange old currency notes from the banks.

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who unveiled new currency notes, claimed the step will combat hoarding, counterfeiting, corruption, and other ills afflicting the economy. The banks have been asked to start immediately issuing new notes.

    “Introducing the changes in our currency notes was deemed necessary to salvage the country’s fractured economy,” the prime minister told a gathering that included ministers, bank governors, and heads of the security agencies.

    During the three-month window, both the new and old notes will remain in circulation.

    The notes of 100, 50, and 10 denominations will stand canceled after three months, as they have been replaced with new notes. Abiy said the new currency with its better design, security features, and quality of paper will have more longevity and end the menace of counterfeiting.

    A new currency note of 200 denomination has also been introduced.


    Image via Twitter

    The prime minister said the country has spent 3.7 billion birrs ($101.2 million) to print new currency.

    In his presentation, Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, Yinager Dessie said the newly introduced banknotes will help the country to end hoarding, counterfeiting, corruption, and other ills.

    Ethiopia earlier passed directions that any company or an individual can keep cash only up to 1.5 million birrs ($41,000). The cash withdrawal from banks should also not exceed 100,000 birrs ($2,737).

    Prime Minister Abiy said his government took numerous measures since coming to power in April 2018 to salvage the fractured economy.

    “We inherited a situation where the country had not enough money to make payments for the civil servants,” he said, adding the country had a significant budget deficit and more than the sustainable level of debt.

    He further said that over past two years, his government has brought down sovereign debt from 35% to 25% of country’s GDP.

    Ethiopia Introduces New Currency Notes (FBC)

    On Sep 14, 2020

    Addis Ababa, September 14, 2020 (FBC) – The government of Ethiopia today introduced new currency notes, with enhanced security features and other distinctive elements.

    The new currency notes replace the birr 10, 50 and 100 notes while an additional birr 200 note has also been unveiled.

    The birr 5 note remains unchanged and will be turned into coin format soon, according to office of the Prime Minister.

    The currency change is aimed at gathering currency circulating informally and outside of financial institutions, curbing corruption and contraband and support financial institutions confront currency shortage.

    Most of the print work is currently in country within the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) vault, the office added.

    Distribution mechanism and planning having been developed and will go in effect through concerned bodies, it noted.

    As security plays a key component in the currency change process, a federal command post will be set up to oversee this process with the expectation that Regional Command Posts will also be set up, the office indicated.

    The command post will be composed of members from the National Defense Forces, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and Federal Police.

    While Ethiopia has never had a symbol to represent its currency, a new symbol has been designed and will be soon unveiled to symbolize the birr, the office stated.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    U.S. Effort to Block Ethiopian Dam Recalls Legacy of British Colonialism (IDN)

    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo meets with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde in Addis Ababa on February 18, 2020. (State Department Photo)

    IDN

    Updated: September 14th, 2020

    NEW YORK (IDN) – Based on guidance from President Trump, the State Department is suspending $130 million in security-related aid to Ethiopia over a nearly-completed dam that would lift Ethiopia from poverty and end the shadow of British colonialism that favoured Egypt.

    Programs on the chopping block include security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding, congressional aides said. The cuts would not impact U.S. funding for emergency humanitarian relief, food assistance, or health programs aimed at addressing COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, they said.

    When fully completed, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – Africa’s largest hydroelectric project – would be a game-changer for Ethiopia where some 65 million Ethiopians, comprising 40-45% of the population, have no access to electricity. Plus, it would contribute to transforming neighbouring South Sudan, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia and Tanzania with desperately needed electrical power.

    The U.S. move has sparked outrage over its apparent interference in Ethiopia’s development strategy. “This action … is more than an outrageous encroachment of Ethiopia’s sovereignty,” wrote economic analyst Lawrence Freeman. “It is an assault on the right of emerging nations to take actions to improve the living conditions of their people.”

    Egypt insists that a 1959 Anglo-Egyptian agreement – when both Egypt and Sudan were British colonies – is the legal framework for control of the Nile. That treaty granted Egypt sole veto power over construction projects on the Nile or any of its tributaries which might interfere with Nile waters.

    By 2013, Egyptians at a secret meeting were caught on a hot mike proposing to simply destroy the dam altogether.

    Officials in Addis Ababa deny that the Renaissance Dam will choke off water to Egypt, saying the dam will benefit countries in the region, including as a source of affordable electric power.

    Even the Rev. Jesse Jackson weighed in on the matter. He cited hydro-politics dominated by Egyptian hegemony to control and own the Nile rather than regulate or cooperate.

    “The dam was built without help from the World Bank,” he wrote, “but with the pennies and dinars of shoe shiners and poor farmers. They saw the hydroelectric generating juggernaut as a source of Ethiopian independence and pride. Above all, they saw it as the centrepiece of their bid in their fight against poverty.”

    Jackson concluded: “All people of conscience and justice around the world need to condemn the neo-colonial treaty that the US government and the World Bank are imposing on Ethiopia, a peaceful nation whose only desire is to harness its natural resources to elevate its people out of poverty.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 14 September 2020]

    U.S. – ETHIOPIA Relations Take A Wrong Turn: By Ambassador Johnnie Carson


    Johnnie Carson, who served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa from 2009 to 2012 during the first Obama administration, is a senior adviser at the United States Institute of Peace. A career diplomat, he served as U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya. (Photo: AllAfrica)

    AllAfrica

    By Ambassador Johnnie Carson

    Updated: September 10th, 2020

    The Trump administration’s decision to suspend and delay development assistance to Ethiopia over the filling of the new Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) is misguided and shortsighted. The move will undermine Washington’s relations and influence in one of Africa’s most significant states.

    The decision taken in late August was intended to push Ethiopia into accepting a negotiated solution favored by Egypt. At issue is a timetable for filling the new dam and an agreement on how water from the dam will be allocated to Egypt and Sudan.

    Although the announcement to suspend Ethiopia’s assistance was confirmed to reporters by officials at the State Department, the impetus behind this decision came from the Treasury Department, which has managed this issue for the administration, mostly to the total exclusion of the State Department and its Africa Bureau, which is led by a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia is one of the most widely respected countries in Africa. Headquarters of the African Union, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous state, a strong U.S. counterterrorism partner in the Horn of Africa and – in recent years – the fastest growing economy in Africa.

    The government unlikely to bow to U.S. pressure over the dam, which enjoys broad support.

    Construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam has been a central pillar in the Ethiopian government’s continuing effort to accelerate the country’s economic growth. When completed, the dam is expected to increase Ethiopia’s electrical generation, expand agricultural production and lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty.

    Amid internal regional, religious and political differences, construction of the GERD is one of the few things that all Ethiopians support. For domestic political reasons, the Ethiopian government is likely not to bow quickly or at all to American political pressure on the dam.

    The aid suspension is also coming at a very critical moment in Ethiopia’s domestic politics. For the past eighteen months, Ethiopia has been engaged in a sensitive and complicated political transition that could have boosted the country’s potential democratic trajectory. However, national elections that were scheduled for August 2020 were postponed because of the threat of Covid 19, and the evolution of the transition has now been thrown seriously off track by civil unrest, political assassinations and a systematic closing of political space.

    As political unrest has increased, Prime Minister Abiy Amed’s popularity has declined and his political control has been challenged. Leaders in Ethiopia’s nine regional states are seriously divided on the shape that Ethiopia’s new democratic transition should take, and Abiy – who won a Nobel Peace prize for ending a long running dispute with Eritrea – is struggling to mend relations between different leaders and ethnic groups in his own country.

    The prime minister – once admired country wide – has lost the support of many in his own Oromo community, largely because of the arrest and detention of some the region’s most popular opposition political figures.

    Suspension of aid seriously reduces U.S. influence at a time when Ethiopian democracy is threatened

    Ethiopia’s political transition and long-term stability are under threat, and the United States should be focused on Ethiopia’s cascading domestic and economic problems, not on leveraging assistance to push Ethiopia into supporting Egypt’s position on the GERD.

    The potential for serious unrest and civil war could increase in coming days. Elections are taking place in Tigray province this week, in spite of a central government ban. Tigray, the home of Ethiopia’s once-dominant leadership class, has been operating independently and in open defiance of Prime Minister Abiy for the past two years.


    The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd), under construction since 2011, began holding back water after the the Blue Nile swelled during heavy rains in July. (Photo: ENA)

    U.S. efforts should be focused on keeping Ethiopia from descending into a long period of authoritarian rule, intrastate conflict and instability.

    More broadly, the Trump administration’s actions threaten to generate problems across the region. The suspension of aid and a downturn in relations could open the door wider for China and others to expand their influence in Addis and increase the government’s current authoritarian tendencies.

    Washington’s actions could also embolden domestic opposition groups to take a more belligerent stand against the Abiy government, resulting in an upsurge in fighting in Ethiopia and a large outflow of refugees into neighboring states.

    If Ethiopia becomes distracted by internal conflict, al Shabaab terrorists in neighboring Somalia could expand their activities in Ethiopia’s large Somali region. And Eritrea, which has a history of regional conflict and covert interventionism, could take advantage of the situation to destabilize Ethiopia and increase its regional influence.

    Ethiopia’s democratic transition is now stalled, and what happens over the coming months could determine whether it falters and fails. Having suspended development assistance and angered the Ethiopian leadership, the ability of the U.S. to engage on Ethiopia’s democratic, human rights and domestic security issues has been diminished.

    Thoughtful action is required now. The United States needs to act fast to salvage its relationship with Ethiopia and find a way to stop the downward spiral in Ethiopia’s increasingly fissiparous and fractious domestic politics.

    It needs to turn over responsibility for handling Ethiopian issues to the State Department, where experienced Africanists and regional experts can provide more informed policy guidance on how to move forward and manage Ethiopia ties. It needs to prioritize support for Ethiopia’s political transition – hopefully towards greater democracy – above resolution of the GERD issue.

    Regional concerns about equitable use of the Nile waters, while important, will be of minor relevance if Ethiopia becomes engulfed in civil strife and begins to fracture like Yugoslavia did in the 1970s.

    Build back relations by boosting diplomatic outreach and increasing assistance

    Among the steps that should be taken is to keep the current ambassador in his post for another year. Michael Raynor is a skilled diplomat who knows Ethiopia and its current leadership. This is not the time to change leadership in the Addis embassy.

    Also, the administration should dispatch Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Tibor Nagy to discuss U.S.-Ethiopia relations and the GERD issue and seek a face-saving way to pull back the suspension of development assistance. To help put bilateral relations back on track, there needs to be an increase in U.S. assistance to support democratic political change and for development programs and for boosting commercial interactions.

    Finally, Washington should work with its European and African partners to build a “Friends of Ethiopia” coalition to strengthen diplomatic dialogue and coordinate greater assistance to one of Africa’s most important states.

    The Ethiopians may not say it bluntly or loudly, but the suspension of assistance has tarnished relations with Washington. By acting wisely and skillfully, the U.S. can probably still prevent the damage from being deeper and more enduring.

    Related:

    Jesse Jackson Calls on Congress to ‘Restore Funding for Ethiopia’ and to ‘Investigate’ the Trump Administration


    Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson is urging U.S. Congress: “to fully restore the funding for Ethiopia; and to investigate and demand information regarding the justification for halting aid to Ethiopia from both the State Department and Treasury Department.” (Photo: Rev. Jesse Jackson/Facebook page)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Taias Staff

    Updated: September 4th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling for Congress to reinstate the recently suspended U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and to investigate the Trump administration for linking the surprising decision to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

    Jackson made the appeal Thursday in a press release shared by his organization Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

    Jackson said he urges the “US Congress to fully restore the funding for Ethiopia; and to investigate and demand information regarding the justification for halting aid to Ethiopia from both the State Department and Treasury Department.”

    The Trump administration confirmed this week that it has cut aid to Ethiopia over GERD. According to the Associated Press “it was an unusual example of Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly.”

    AP added: “On the guidance of President Trump, the State Department said Wednesday that the United States was suspending some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the country’s talks with Egypt and Sudan over a disputed dam project it is completing on the Nile River…A State Department spokesperson told The Associated Press the decision to “temporarily pause” some aid to a key regional security ally “reflects our concern about Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.”

    In his press release Jackson said: “This is unfortunate and unjust, and the U.S. Congress must intervene, investigate and fully restore aid to Ethiopia.”

    Below is the full press release courtesy of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition:

    REV. JESSE L. JACKSON, SR. CONDEMNED THE APPROVED PLAN TO STOP US FOREIGN AID TO ETHIOPIA AND CALLED ON CONGRESS TO INTERVENE.

    September 3rd, 2020 | Release

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Thursday, September 3, 2020

    Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. condemned the approved plan to stop US Foreign Aid to Ethiopia and called on Congress to Intervene.

    News reports that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to stop $100 million in U.S. foreign aid to Ethiopia, because of the country’s ongoing dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD), finally confirmed what we all knew from the beginning, that the U.S. has never been an impartial mediator in this conflict and instead fully supportive of Egypt.

    With this action, the Trump administration, under the leadership of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (not the State Department), has fulfilled the request made last year by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, in essence, urging President Trump to assist them. This is unfortunate and unjust, and the U.S. Congress must intervene, investigate and fully restore aid to Ethiopia.

    Cross boundary water-sharing agreements are thorny issues that are not easily sorted out. It takes good faith and cooperation from all sides to eek out a win-win solution. The conflict between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan has been exacerbated by external interventions, especially the U.S. government.

    This is a conflict mainly between two founding members of the African Union (AU), Ethiopia and Egypt. The AU has a Peace and Security Council that serves as “the standing decision-making organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts and is the key pillar of the African Peace and Security Architecture that is the framework for promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.” This U.S. action is aimed at undermining the ongoing negotiations under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and the current AU Chairperson.

    To top it off, in a tweet a few months ago, the World Bank President David R. Malpass let it be known that he has spoken “with Ethiopian PM @AbiyAhmedAli on recent @WorldBank financing approvals important to unifying Ethiopia and its neighbor’s ability to sustain constructive dialogue + cooperation on water sharing.” To my knowledge, no statement was issued to tie the World Bank’s financial support to Egypt with its cooperation (or lack thereof) on water sharing with Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia is a reliable and very stable democratic ally of the U.S. on many vital fronts and should be treated with respect and dignity.

    History will judge the U.S. government and the World Bank’s unjust intervention to deny 110 million Ethiopians an “equitable and reasonable” share of the Nile River for their development needs. This is nothing short of condemning a black African nation and her population to abject and perpetual poverty. No one should condemn Egypt to suffer unduly, considering that 97 percent of its population depends on the Nile River. Justice requires treating both nations and their over 200 million people fairly with justice the result on both sides.

    Looking at the World Bank data on electric power consumption (kilowatt per capita) shows how much Ethiopia needs the GERD. In 2014, the most recent year for which World Bank data is available, the average for the world per capita electric power consumption is 3133 kilowatts. The figure for Egypt is 1683. For Ethiopia it is a mere 69 (sixty-nine). A former World Bank Deputy Global Manager, Yonas Biru, wondered how Ethiopia could survive with next to nothing-electric power, in a recent article in Addis Fortune.

    His answer was as revealing as it is saddening. “The nation rides on the shoulders and backs of women. From cradle to grave, women carry Ethiopia on their back, literally. Girls are condemned to fetching water from miles away rather than going to school. Their mothers travel just as far and spend just as much time collecting firewood.”

    The GERD, Biru said, signifies “the emancipation of Ethiopian women. The interventions by Egypt, the Arab League, the World Bank and the U.S. to delay and scale back the GERD is a setback for women. It is a revocation of the emancipation of Ethiopian girls and women.”

    Ethiopia, one of the poorest black African nations, is standing alone against the mighty forces of the U.S. and the World Bank. Befitting of its history, Ethiopia remains unflinching with its indomitable sovereignty and unwavering spirit with its trust in what its people call “Ethiopia’s God.”

    The World Bank’s professed dream is “A World Free of Poverty.” It behooves me to ask if Ethiopia, too, is in the Bank’s dream. The World Bank board of directors need to explain to over 50 million girls and women in Ethiopia why the World Bank stands against their economic emancipation.

    As to the US government, I call upon the US Congress: (1) to fully restore the funding for Ethiopia; and (2) to investigate and demand information regarding the justification for halting aid to Ethiopia from both the State Department and Treasury Department.

    Related:

    Cutting Aid to Ethiopia Haunts Trump in Election


    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said. (Image: Tulsa World)

    AA

    Addis Getachew | ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

    Updated: September 2nd, 2020

    Ethiopian-Americans against US cutting $130M aid to Ethiopia to enforce Egypt friendly agreement on sharing Nile waters

    The US has now formally stepped in, to support Egypt and punish Ethiopia over the river water sharing dispute between the two African countries.

    Last week, the Trump administration announced blocking a $130 million aid that had been earmarked to support Ethiopia’s defense and anti-terrorism efforts.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the cut in aid, ostensibly to build pressure on Ethiopia, a rugged landlocked country in the Horn of Africa.

    While it is not clear to what extent the US decision will affect Ethiopia, but it has united everyone in the country and the diaspora.

    “We have officially requested the US administration that they give us an explanation,” said Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Washington Fitsum Arega, while taking to Twitter.

    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said.

    Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had earlier rejected an agreement brokered by the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in February related to the filling and operation of the $5billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia said the US proposal was heavily tilted towards Egypt.

    Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa have strained over recent times, over the filling and operation of the dam that has come upon the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the River Nile.

    Since June, the African Union has been mediating now to evolve a win-win formula between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

    The AU has entrusted its Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government including South Africa, Kenya, Mali, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to prevent any escalation between these countries. The European Union, the World Bank, and the US continue as observers in the group.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Mike Pompeo is the Worst U.S. Secretary of State in History


    Mike Pompeo’s handing of the Trump administration’s foreign policy “has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies,” writes The Washington Post’s Deputy editorial page editor and columnist Jackson Diehl. (Photo: The Washington Post)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: August 30, 2020

    As secretary of state, Mike Pompeo has presided over the collapse of negotiations with North Korea, the failure of a pressure campaign against Iran and an abortive attempt to oust Venezuela’s authoritarian regime. On his watch, China has carried out genocide in its Xinjiang region and the suppression of Hong Kong’s freedoms without resistance from Washington until it was too late.

    Pompeo has failed to fill dozens of senior positions at the State Department, and hundreds of career diplomats have left or been driven out in political purges. Morale is at a historic low: In staff surveys, there has been a 34 percent increase between 2016 and 2019 in those who say the State Department’s senior leaders “did not maintain high levels of honesty and integrity.” Maybe that’s because Pompeo himself has defied legal mandates from Congress, skirted a law restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, tasked staffers with carrying out errands for himself and his wife, and fired the inspector general who was investigating his violations.

    Last week, Pompeo crossed yet another ethical line by speaking before the Republican National Convention, thereby disregarding the State Department’s explicit legal guidance against such appearances. The speech he delivered was weak and littered with false or simply ludicrous claims, such as that the recent diplomatic accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is “a deal that our grandchildren will read about in their history books.” Maybe if they major in Middle Eastern affairs.

    With his ambitions likely fixed on a presidential candidacy in 2024, Pompeo is undoubtedly hoping most of the diplomatic disasters will ultimately be blamed on President Trump, especially if Trump loses the November election. But the former Kansas congressman should not get off so easy. Yes, it’s Trump’s foreign policy. But Pompeo’s steering of it has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Pompeo approves plans to halt aid to Ethiopia over Nile dam dispute


    Getty Images

    The Hill

    08/28/20

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved plans to halt some U.S. aid to Ethiopia, Foreign Policy reported on Friday.

    The halt in aid comes as the U.S. mediates a dispute over a dam on the Nile River that’s pitted Ethiopia against Egypt and Sudan, according to Foreign Policy. The decision could impact up to $130 million of assistance to programs including security, counter-terrorism and anti-human trafficking.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” a U.S. official told the magazine. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

    Ethiopia and Egypt are at a standstill in negotiations over how the dam on a tributary of the Nile will be managed.

    Egypt and Sudan, which depend on the Nile for much of their fresh water, are opposed to any development they say will impact the flow downstream, including the 6,000-megawatt power plant Ethiopia hopes to develop at the dam.

    Is the Trump Administration Using Aid to Bully Ethiopia Over Nile Dam?


    It’s too bad that the U.S. has decided to take the wrong side in a local African dispute regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. As the following FP article reports the Trump administration is cutting off “some foreign assistance” to Ethiopia over GERD. The scheme may be intended to tip the scale in Egypt’s favor, but if history is any indication this kind of foreign intimidation does not work in Ethiopia. It’s also worth mentioning that the dam, a $4.5 billion hydroelectric project, is being fully funded by the Ethiopian people. (Getty Images)

    Foreign Policy

    U.S. Halts Some Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Dam Dispute with Egypt, Sudan, Some U.S. officials fear the move will harm Washington’s relationship with Addis Ababa.

    Updated: AUGUST 27, 2020

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to halt U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia as the Trump administration attempts to mediate a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the East African country’s construction of a massive dam on the Nile River.

    The decision, made this week, could affect up to nearly $130 million in U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and fuel new tensions in the relationship between Washington and Addis Ababa as it carries out plans to fill the dam, according to U.S. officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter. Officials cautioned that the details of the cuts are not yet set in stone and the finalized number could amount to less than $130 million.

    Programs that are on the chopping block include security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding, officials and congressional aides said. The cuts would not impact U.S. funding for emergency humanitarian relief, food assistance, or health programs aimed at addressing COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, officials said.

    The move is meant to address the standoff between Ethiopia and other countries that rely on the Nile River downstream that have opposed the construction of the massive dam project, called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt sees the dam’s construction as a core security issue given the country’s heavy reliance on the river for fresh water and agriculture, and in the past Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has hinted his country could use military force to halt the dam’s construction.

    Some Ethiopian officials have said they believe the Trump administration is taking Egypt’s side in the dispute. President Donald Trump has shown a fondness for Sisi, reportedly calling him his “favorite dictator” during a G-7 summit last year. Officials familiar with negotiations said the Trump administration has not approved parallel cuts in foreign assistance to Egypt.

    Administration officials have repeatedly assured all sides that Washington is an impartial mediator in the negotiations, which mark one of the few diplomatic initiatives in Africa that the president has played a personal and active role in. These officials pointed out that Egypt has accused the United States of taking Ethiopia’s side in the dispute as well.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” said one U.S. official. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    But the move is likely to face sharp pushback on Capitol Hill, according to Congressional aides familiar with the matter. State Department officials briefed Congressional staff on the decision on Thursday, the aides said, and during the briefing insisted that the U.S.-Ethiopia relationship would remain strong despite a cutback in aid because the United States can have tough conversations “with friends.”

    “This is a really fucking illogical way to show a ‘friend’ you really care,” one Congressional aide told Foreign Policy in response.

    Read more »

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    Mike Bloomberg to spend $100 Million to Help Biden Win (U.S. ELECTION UPDATE)

    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

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

    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

    Related

    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 »

    Related:

    ‘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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    The Women Blowing Up Ethiopia’s Film Industry

    Filmmaker, expert on the Ethiopian motion picture industry, and professor Eyerusalem Kassahun. (ZPS)

    ZÓCALO PUBLIC SQUARE

    Successful Female Writers, Directors, and Producers Set the Nation Apart From Hollywood, Bollywood, and the Rest of World Cinema

    Among the many stories about Ethiopia’s long, multifaceted past and politically complicated present, an extraordinary transformation that has received less media attention is the dramatic leap forward in its movie industry. Before 2004, Ethiopia was producing only a few movies from time to time. But, by 2015, almost 100 locally produced new features were hitting the theaters in its capital city, Addis Ababa, each year. Local television has also grown and diversified.

    Behind the rise of Ethiopian cinema is an even more remarkable tale of the women who—as writers, directors, producers, and scholars—were leaders in this transformation.

    The prominent role of women in the industry may set Ethiopia apart from most other countries. Across the globe, from Hollywood to Bollywood, film and TV industries have been dominated by men. In the United States, the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University and the website Women and Hollywood have shown that only 12 percent of directors, 20 percent of writers, and 26 percent of producers are women, even though 51 percent of audiences are.

    In Africa, the 1960s-era founding manifestoes of cinema institutions, such as the famous FESPACO festival in Burkina Faso, are committed to decolonization, racial equality and women’s empowerment; so, in principle, they are more progressive than the United States. Nevertheless, the history of African cinema is generally recounted as a succession of male directors, like kings inheriting the FESPACO throne: Ousmane Sembene. Souleymane Cissé. Idrissa Ouédraogo. Abderrahmane Sissako. The pattern has stuck despite proactive efforts, beginning in the 1990s, by festival organizers and institutions such as the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema to empower African women to make movies.

    So, what is different in Ethiopia?

    On frequent visits in recent years, I’ve met with some of Ethiopia’s prominent filmmakers as well as professors of film and theater history at Addis Ababa University. They’re well aware of what the movie industries are like in other parts of the world and point out that Ethiopia, too, is no paradise for women. Sexism and gender disparities in financing and lending to entrepreneurs remain pervasive, despite the nation’s constitution prohibiting discrimination. And while no agency in Ethiopia has analyzed the issue of gender in the media industry, my own informal survey of the lists of films licensed by the Addis Ababa Bureau of Culture and Tourism indicates that the gender ratios are similar to the United States.

    What’s different in Ethiopia is women’s influence and success in the movie business. In a highly competitive industry where many people never make more than one movie, women have consistently enjoyed more enduring success as writers, directors, and producers. Films made by women have tended to do better at the box office and have won many trophies at the nation’s annual Gumma film awards.

    Quite a few of the “firsts” in Ethiopia’s cinema history were accomplished by innovative women. After the nation transitioned away from the Derg regime, under which film and television were financed and controlled by the government, the first person to risk privately financing an independent movie was Rukiya Ahmed, with Tsetzet (directed by Tesfaye Senke on U-matic in 1993) about a detective solving a murder case.

    The Women Blowing Up Ethiopia’s Film Industry | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
    Arsema Worku. Courtesy of Steven W. Thomas.

    Later, one of the first movies to make the switch from celluloid to video was Yeberedo Zemen (translated as Ice Age) by Helen Tadesse. She originally intended the movie as a situation comedy for Ethiopian TV, but, after a contract dispute, she decided to re-edit the episodes into a single movie. In 2002, it was the first Ethiopian movie shot on VHS to be exhibited in a theater, and it sparked a revolution in the nation’s movie industry.

    With the switch from celluloid to VHS, and subsequently to digital filmmaking, local cinema culture blew up, with films growing in number and diversity. Many women seized on the new opportunities to follow Tadesse’s lead, and a number quickly became industry leaders.

    Read more »

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia Opens Facility to Make Coronavirus Test Kits (Associated Press)

    “The factory will also provide commercial laboratory services for a total of 3 million transit passengers at Bole International Airport and in Addis Ababa city,” the prime minister stated, adding this will boost the testing capacity of Ethiopia and other African countries. (Photo: @AbiyAhmedAli/Twitter)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: September 13th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — With increasing cases of COVID-19, Ethiopia has opened a facility to produce kits to test for the coronavirus and says its researchers are working to develop and test a vaccine.

    The company producing the testing kits is a joint venture with a Chinese company, called BGI Health Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen to nearly 64,000 causing almost 1,000 deaths, according to government figures. On Sunday, Ethiopia also opened a field hospital to hold up to 200 severely affected Covid-19 patients, which will start admitting patients immediately.

    Ethiopia has conducted more than 1.1 million tests, making it the African country that has carried out the third-highest number of tests, according to Ethiopian health officials. The country is struggling with a shortage of testing kits, ventilators, and intensive care beds, they said.

    Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said during the factory’s opening Sunday that the lab will produce 10 million testing kits per year, which will be used in the country and exported, with priority given to other African countries.

    “The factory will also provide commercial laboratory services for a total of 3 million transit passengers at Bole International Airport and in Addis Ababa city,” the prime minister stated, adding this will boost the testing capacity of Ethiopia and other African countries.

    “After the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the manufacturing center will switch to the production of other types of nucleic acid detection reagents, such as AIDS testing kits, tuberculosis nucleic acid test kits, and other locally needed RT PCR test kit products,” Abiy said.

    Abiy also announced that Ethiopian researchers have been working to develop a vaccine, which is now entering a laboratory trial stage.

    The local production of the testing kits will have a “huge impact” in boosting Ethiopia’s ability to combat the disease, Yared Agidew, head of Ethiopia’s main COVID-19 treatment center in the capital, Addis Ababa, told The Associated Press.

    “By conducting more tests, we will be able to identify positive cases in the community and take appropriate measures to control the spread,” he said.

    Ethiopia’s Health Minister Lia Tadesse said community transmissions are the main cause of the increasing cases.

    “It is mostly related to how communities are behaving and the existence of other risk facts like living in congested settings,” she said. Ethiopian migrants returning from Middle Eastern countries are not seen as a cause of the rising numbers of cases, she said, explaining that all returnees must go through a quarantine period.

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    IN PICTURES: On the Frontline Against Covid-19 in Ethiopia – A Photo Essay


    Frontline workers at the Eka Kotebe hospital. (Photo by Yonas Tadesse)

    The Guardian

    By Yonas Tadesse

    Yonas Tadesse is an Ethiopian photographer based in Addis Ababa who has been documenting doctors and emergency workers fighting coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak. This series focuses on the taskforce at the Eka Kotebe hospital in Addis Ababa.

    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.


    Dr Kalkidan

    My name is Dr Kalkidan, I was the first person to admit the first Covid-19 positive patient from Japan.

    It was sudden. We weren’t really expecting patients. We were told to prepare the facility. I didn’t bring a change of clothes. I came to do the routine drills. I was terrified. I used to say I wasn’t scared, but I thought to myself about how I must love my life.

    We had to take his blood ourselves, which meant we had to touch him. I was uncomfortable leaving because the man kept coughing constantly and saying he was suffocating. I wanted to auscultate, but that was not an option. I was just scared.

    I talked to friends I’d left on bad notes. I couldn’t talk to my mum. I only talked to my sister. All the regrets and mistakes in life come rushing at you in times like this. I have pre-existing issues with depression and anxiety and it took a lot for me to be back here. I was very upset.

    I’m not saying we have to be reckless, but I think we need to have some faith. I don’t think we needed to be that daunted. I think we exaggerated too much going in at first. I mean, God works here too, right? I don’t think we needed to be that stressed. I think we’ve compromised a lot out of fear.”


    Paulos Seid

    My name is Paulos Seid. I was born and raised in a town called Elebabor, Gore. I am married and a father of a son and twin daughters. I’d worked at Kotebe hospital as a security guard for five months when the coronavirus pandemic was reported in our country.

    During the preparations to battle the virus, there was a big shortage of manpower, so I was asked to carry the responsibility of ‘sprayer’. I did not hesitate. Every time I do the job, I feel that I’m eradicating the virus, so I feel proud.

    But this job has cost me some things. Friends who would normally join me for lunch have come to hate me. They beg me in God’s name not to go near them. It breaks my heart, but the work I do gives me a sense of purpose. I can’t wait for all this to end so I can see my children.”


    Makeda

    My name is Makeda. The worst day so far was when we lost our first patient.

    Mothers are leaving their children behind, families are scattering because of this – you can’t bury your dead.

    We’re losing our joy. From day one, when I think of coronavirus, I think of my family, of people I love. It makes me think I have no guarantee that my mother will not be in this hospital bed next. Or my friends. It’s very painful.

    This might be the first time in my life I thought about my country. But I will continue to serve until my last minute alive because I am here for a reason.”


    Dr Rediet

    My name is Dr Rediet. One time, I was doing rounds with the doctors and transferring patients. After we were done, we heard the patients asking for help. I was doffing. I’d almost gotten my apron off. We ran to the patients and realised Ato Tesfaye did not have a pulse, no cardiac beat, no radial pulse. I fixed the bed for him and we started doing CPR. As this was an emergency, we were required to do CPR on a salvageable patient. I was the one still wearing full protective gear so it was OK for me to give CPR. We did two cycles of chest compression and we were able to bring him back. We were lucky because we heard the call for help.”

    Read more and see the rest of the photos at theguardian.com »

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    LATEST UPDATE: Coronavirus Pandemic

    The number of coronavirus cases in Ethiopia has reached 66,224 as of September 16th, 2020. (Photo by Walelign Birku via Twitter @walebirku)

    THE LATEST UPDATE:

    Updated: September 16th, 2020

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  • 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

    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 »

    Oxford vaccine trial on hold because of potential safety issue


    Blood samples from coronavirus vaccine trials are handled at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England, on June 25. (Photo: John Cairns / Oxford via AP)

    By NBC News

    Clinical trials for the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine have been put on hold, drug maker AstraZeneca said Tuesday. “Our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee,” the company said in a statement. “This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.” The statement continued: “In large trials illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.” AstraZeneca, which is working with the University of Oxford on a coronavirus vaccine, began its phase 3 clinical trials in the U.S. last week. NBC News has confirmed that the pause has affected trial sites in the U.S. Putting a trial on hold while researchers determine whether a serious adverse event was caused by a vaccine is “uncommon, but not unheard of,” Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said. Read more »

    Global coronavirus cases top 20M as Russia approves vaccine

    By The Associated Press

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 20 million, more than half of them from the United States, India and Brazil, as Russia on Tuesday became the first country to approve a vaccine against the virus. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that one of his two adult daughters had already been inoculated with the cleared vaccine, which he described as effective. “She’s feeling well and has a high number of antibodies,” Putin said. Russia has reported more than 890,000 cases, the fourth-highest total in the world, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally that also showed total confirmed cases globally surpassing 20 million. It took six months or so to get to 10 million cases after the virus first appeared in central China late last year. It took just over six weeks for that number to double. An AP analysis of data through Aug. 9 showed the U.S., India and Brazil together accounted for nearly two-thirds of all reported infections since the world hit 15 million coronavirus cases on July 22. 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 »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 66,224

    By Ministry of Health

    In Ethiopia, as of September 16th, 2020, there have been 66,224 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Read more »

    Coronavirus Deaths on the Rise in Almost Every Region of the U.S.

    By The Washington Post

    New U.S. coronavirus cases reached record levels over the weekend, with deaths trending up sharply in a majority of states, including many beyond the hard-hit Sun Belt. Although testing has remained flat, 20 states and Puerto Rico reported a record-high average of new infections over the past week. Five states — Arizona, California, Florida, Mississippi and Texas — also broke records for average daily fatalities in that period. At least 3,290,000 cases and more than 132,000 deaths have been reported in the United States. 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

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • UPDATE: The Ethiopians Detained in Saudi

    Images published recently by Human Rights Watch showed shirtless and scrawny men huddled together in windowless cells. (AFP)

    Telegraph

    By Zecharias Zelalem and Will Brown

    Updated: September 15th, 2020

    About 16,000 migrants being held in just one Saudi centre, Ethiopian official reveals: Numbers being held in appalling conditions may be far greater than first thought

    Details are beginning to emerge showing that the sheer scale of Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on African migrants is far greater than anyone imagined.

    Last month a Sunday Telegraph investigation found that hundreds if not thousands of mainly Ethiopian migrants are being kept in appalling conditions in centres across the Gulf Kingdom as part of a drive to stop the spread of coronavirus.

    Using smuggled phones detainees detailed horrific accounts of disease, beatings and suicide.

    But recent statements from Abdo Yassin, Ethiopia’s Consul General in Jeddah suggest that the centres highlighted by the Telegraph are just the tip of the iceberg.

    Last week, Mr Yassin said that dozens of prisons are housing Ethiopians and that about 16,000 Ethiopian migrants are being held at just one detention centre at Al Shumasi, near the holy city of Mecca.

    “Jeddah has over 53 prisons. Ethiopians are held in every one of them,” Mr Yassin told the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. “If you take the one at Al Shumaisi…located around 60km from Jeddah, there are about 16,000 Ethiopians kept in the prison and the holding cells.”

    Last month, the Telegraph was able to communicate with migrants at the centres at both Al Shumasi and Jazan, a port city on the border in Yemen. It is unclear how many people are being held at the detention centre at Jazan.

    However, satellite images of the Jazan centre show more than a dozen buildings there. There are believed to be several other centres across the Kingdom. Earlier this month, under international pressure from human rights groups, Western politicians and the United Nations, Saudi Arabia said it would investigate all of its detention centres.

    However, migrants told the Telegraph that since news of their plight went around the world, they have been beaten brutally by prison guards who scoured the rooms for smuggled phones. They say they were stripped naked and that some of them were put in handcuffs during the searches.

    The Ethiopian government in Addis Ababa has come under mounting pressure at home to repatriate the migrants stuck in the centres after the Telegraph revealed that officials tried to stop the migrants communicating with the outside world, most probably to avoid a diplomatic fall out with oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

    Last week, nearly 150 women and children were repatriated to Ethiopia from Saudi Arabia. This was initially greeted as good news.

    However, an Ethiopian government document from August shows that their repatriation was part of an arrangement between Saudi and Ethiopian authorities, which required migrants to purchase their own one-way tickets home from Ethiopian Airlines: something that the vast majority of impoverished migrants cannot do.

    To make matters worse, Ethiopia’s embassy in Riyadh announced on Monday that Saudi immigration authorities had voided the agreement, leaving Ethiopian migrants with no remaining avenues to escape the Kingdom.

    “It is shocking to hear that up to 16,000 Ethiopian migrants might be languishing in detention in the Al Shumaisi facility. Human Rights Watch and the Telegraph documented horrific conditions in two other centres in Jazan Saudi Arabia where thousands more Ethiopian migrants may also reside,” said Nadia Hardman, a researcher at the NGO Human Rights Watch.

    “We repeat our call on Saudi Arabia to immediately release the most vulnerable and improve the miserable conditions for the thousands that remain.”

    ‘Living hell’: Ethiopians detained in Saudi call for help

    AFP

    September 11, 2020

    Using a smuggled-in mobile phone, a detained Ethiopian migrant pleaded for help as he described harrowing conditions in a Saudi detention centre — overcrowded and disease-ridden cells, food scarcity and rising suicides.

    Campaigners have called on Saudi Arabia to investigate allegations of the abusive and unsanitary conditions confronting migrants after some began talking to activists and international media using contraband cell phones.

    “It’s a living hell,” a 23-year-old Ethiopian migrant told AFP from a detention centre in southern Jizan province along the Yemen border.

    Images published recently by Human Rights Watch showed shirtless and scrawny men huddled together in windowless cells.

    Although the exact numbers of detainees is unknown, the pictures triggered global shock, shining a rare spotlight on tightly guarded Saudi detention centres that have long remained out of public view.

    Last week, Saudi officials launched a crackdown to seize the cellphones in a bid to prevent further leaks. And visiting Ethiopian diplomats warned detainees to stop speaking out, three migrants locked up in two facilities in the kingdom told AFP.

    Held for more than five months, the impoverished migrants who originally escaped Ethiopia for a better life in Saudi Arabia are scraping by with barely enough food and water, the three said.

    Clogged toilets are overflowing, and many migrants have developed skin infections and other diseases.

    “There’s no medical care in prison and they don’t go out,” Ethiopian activist Lema Zelalem Birhane told AFP, speaking from Addis Ababa.

    “People have been staying in that prison for more than five months, they didn’t see any sunlight for five months.”

    He is in contact with the detainees and corroborated claims by the migrants to AFP that many people have taken their own lives.

    Saudi Arabia’s media ministry, the country’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) as well as the Ethiopian embassy in Riyadh have not responded to AFP’s requests for comment.

    - ‘Dire conditions’ -

    The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) identified three main detention facilities frequently cited by migrants — two in Jizan and another close to the western city of Jeddah.

    The International Organization of Migration (IOM) voiced concern over the facilities’ “dire conditions”.

    “IOM has been following up closely on the extremely difficult conditions facing Ethiopian migrants in centres in Saudi Arabia,” the UN agency told AFP, adding it was in contact with the Saudi HRC, which is conducting an “internal inquiry on the conditions”.

    Using people smugglers and rickety boats, hundreds of thousands of poor Ethiopians have undertaken perilous journeys over the past decade from the Horn of Africa to the oil-rich kingdom in search of jobs as domestic helpers, construction workers and animal herders.

    Their journey takes them through war-torn Yemen, where Huthi rebels in April forcibly expelled thousands of Ethiopians, accusing them of being “coronavirus carriers”, according to migrants and HRW.

    The rebels “killed dozens” as the migrants were pushed towards the Saudi border, HRW said. “Saudi border guards then fired on the fleeing migrants, killing dozens more,” it added.

    As many headed to a mountainous border region, hundreds were eventually allowed to enter the kingdom and placed in detention.

    - ‘Silence the migrants’ -

    Separately, the IOM says Saudi Arabia has deported roughly 10,000 Ethiopians per month since 2017 as it cracked down on undocumented migrants.

    The pace slowed earlier this year when Addis Ababa requested a moratorium amid concern the migrants were returning with coronavirus.

    “Hundreds if not thousands of Ethiopian migrants are now languishing in squalid detention centres in Saudi Arabia,” said Human Rights Watch researcher Nadia Hardman, calling their incarceration “arbitrary and abusive”.

    Earlier this month, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry acknowledged it was “not doing enough” to assist the migrants, while praising Riyadh’s “outstanding support” to its citizens.

    Addis Ababa appears careful not to antagonise Saudi Arabia, a key investor and source of foreign remittances in Ethiopia.

    “We migrated from our country to change our lives,” said the 23-year-old migrant, who survived the carnage at the border in April.

    “We asked the Saudi prison guards to send us back to our country, but they say ‘your government does not want you’.”

    His 21-year-old-wife is locked up in another detention facility near Jeddah along with their one-year-old infant son.

    Contacted by AFP, she said pregnant Ethiopian migrants had given birth in unsanitary conditions at her facility as she voiced fears of being cut off from her husband if her phone is impounded.

    Activist Birhane confirmed phones were being confiscated, saying the move was “to silence the migrants.”


    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Pictures: Ethiopians Mark the Start of a New Year After ‘God’s Wrath’ (AP)

    A girl wears a face mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus as she attends a prayer ceremony to mark the holiday of "Enkutatash", the first day of the new year in the Ethiopian calendar, at Bole Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sept. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopians on Friday welcomed what many people around the world might like to see: the beginning of a new year.

    Following a calendar seven years behind the Gregorian one used by much of the world, Ethiopians marked the beginning of 2013.

    “The 2012 Ethiopian calendar is a year where we went through a lot. There was a big punishment as a result of (God’s) wrath,” said Emkulu Yiheyis, an Ethiopian Orthodox priest. “But it was not as big as we thought it would be, because of God’s will it was easier, and we are here now.

    “We were largely protected from going through the horror we saw elsewhere.”

    Coronavirus cases only in recent weeks have begun to rise rapidly in Africa’s second most populous country. Ethiopia had more than 62,000 confirmed cases as of Friday, including nearly 1,000 deaths. The government let a state of emergency expire over the weekend, opening the way for more public gatherings.


    A young boy wearing a face mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus runs at a prayer ceremony to mark the holiday of “Enkutatash”, the first day of the new year in the Ethiopian calendar, at Bole Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sept. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


    Traders carry baskets of vegetables through muddy pathways in Atkilt Tera, the largest open-air vegetable market in Addis Ababa, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


    Ethiopian Orthodox faithful attend a prayer ceremony to mark the holiday of “Enkutatash”, the first day of the new year in the Ethiopian calendar at Bole Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sept. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


    A prayer ceremony to mark the holiday of “Enkutatash”, the first day of the new year in the Ethiopian calendar at Bole Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sept. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    On Friday, people prayed and sang at Bole Medhane Alem Church in the capital, Addis Ababa.

    “The coronavirus is a huge challenge not only to our less developed nation but also to all around the world,” said one churchgoer, Girma Megenta. “In order to protect ourselves, all of us need to work together. So that our country is out of this bad situation, we need to teach others to raise awareness and take care of ourselves.”

    Church services were more subdued than usual, but in the busy open-air markets of the capital, many people were going about their lives as before. Some went without face masks.

    “What we are seeing here is very puzzling,” said one shopper, Yohannes Adane. “I say this because the virus is spreading and its victims are piling up. … But around this area, protections against the disease are low. I advise for people to be very careful and to keep their distance. But as you can see, people are acting as if there is no coronavirus.”

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    Spotlight: Ethiopian Sports Journalist Fekrou Kidane Reflects on 60th Anniversary of Abebe Bikila’s Rome Victory

    Abebe Bikila celebrating after his historic victory at the Summer Olympics in Rome on September 10th, 1960. (Photo: Wikimedia)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 10th, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — This week marks the 60th anniversary of Abebe Bikila’s legendary victory at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome where the Ethiopian athletics icon became the first African Olympic gold medalist.

    “The day was Saturday, September 10th, the eve of Enqutatash (Ethiopian New Year),” recalls veteran journalist Fekrou Kidane — the first Ethiopian sports reporter who started his career in 1957 and who now lives in Paris. “The Ethiopian marathon team included Abebe Bikila and Abebe Wakgira who finished seventh.”

    Fekrou vividly remembers the sentiment from spectators and the international media who, as far as they were concerned, had perceived the African athletes as an afterthought. “Nobody noticed their presence until about 20 kilometers into the competition when Abebe Bikila and the Moroccan long-distance runner Rhadi Ben Abdesselam, who finished second, emerged as frontrunners.”

    “To make things even more interesting Abebe was running barefoot, further astounding the audience,” Fekrou shares in a recent letter he wrote to Tadias, reflecting on the 60th anniversary of Abebe Bikila’s Rome victory.

    “When the runners reached Piazza di Porta Capena and Abebe noticed the Axum Obelisk, that was looted from Ethiopia by Mussolini’s troops less than two decades earlier during world War II, something hit him and he just bolted leaving everyone behind.” The rest is history.

    According to the World Athletics Federation Abebe’s milestone victory “remains, arguably, one of the most significant landmark moments in [sports]. When Abebe Bikila – running barefoot – became the first black African to win an Olympic marathon gold medal on the streets of Rome it was without doubt one of the most iconic moments of the 1960 Games.”


    Ethiopian journalist Fekrou Kidane, who is affectionately known as Gashe Fekrou, is pictured at his home in Paris, France. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ethiopian Sports Journalists Association (ESJA) in 2018. (Photo by Arefe via AIPS media)

    As Fekrou recalls, the following day was Enqutatash and Abebe’s historic victory gave Ethiopia a double celebration — a new year and a hero’s welcome home that culminated with a parade and the Order of the Star of Ethiopia awarded to Abebe by Emperor Haile Selassie among other gifts.

    Abebe Bikila passed away on October 25th, 1973 at the young age of 41 following deteriorating health from a car accident a few years prior, but his place in history as the first African Olympian gold medalist continues to inspire generations of runners from his native country and beyond.

    Watch: Abebe Bikila’s victory at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome on September 10th, 1960 (IOC)

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    U.S. – ETHIOPIA Relations Take A Wrong Turn: By Ambassador Johnnie Carson

    Johnnie Carson, who served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa from 2009 to 2012 during the first Obama administration, is a senior adviser at the United States Institute of Peace. A career diplomat, he served as U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya. (Photo: AllAfrica)

    AllAfrica

    By Ambassador Johnnie Carson

    Updated: September 10th, 2020

    The Trump administration’s decision to suspend and delay development assistance to Ethiopia over the filling of the new Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) is misguided and shortsighted. The move will undermine Washington’s relations and influence in one of Africa’s most significant states.

    The decision taken in late August was intended to push Ethiopia into accepting a negotiated solution favored by Egypt. At issue is a timetable for filling the new dam and an agreement on how water from the dam will be allocated to Egypt and Sudan.

    Although the announcement to suspend Ethiopia’s assistance was confirmed to reporters by officials at the State Department, the impetus behind this decision came from the Treasury Department, which has managed this issue for the administration, mostly to the total exclusion of the State Department and its Africa Bureau, which is led by a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia is one of the most widely respected countries in Africa. Headquarters of the African Union, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous state, a strong U.S. counterterrorism partner in the Horn of Africa and – in recent years – the fastest growing economy in Africa.

    The government unlikely to bow to U.S. pressure over the dam, which enjoys broad support.

    Construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam has been a central pillar in the Ethiopian government’s continuing effort to accelerate the country’s economic growth. When completed, the dam is expected to increase Ethiopia’s electrical generation, expand agricultural production and lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty.

    Amid internal regional, religious and political differences, construction of the GERD is one of the few things that all Ethiopians support. For domestic political reasons, the Ethiopian government is likely not to bow quickly or at all to American political pressure on the dam.

    The aid suspension is also coming at a very critical moment in Ethiopia’s domestic politics. For the past eighteen months, Ethiopia has been engaged in a sensitive and complicated political transition that could have boosted the country’s potential democratic trajectory. However, national elections that were scheduled for August 2020 were postponed because of the threat of Covid 19, and the evolution of the transition has now been thrown seriously off track by civil unrest, political assassinations and a systematic closing of political space.

    As political unrest has increased, Prime Minister Abiy Amed’s popularity has declined and his political control has been challenged. Leaders in Ethiopia’s nine regional states are seriously divided on the shape that Ethiopia’s new democratic transition should take, and Abiy – who won a Nobel Peace prize for ending a long running dispute with Eritrea – is struggling to mend relations between different leaders and ethnic groups in his own country.

    The prime minister – once admired country wide – has lost the support of many in his own Oromo community, largely because of the arrest and detention of some the region’s most popular opposition political figures.

    Suspension of aid seriously reduces U.S. influence at a time when Ethiopian democracy is threatened

    Ethiopia’s political transition and long-term stability are under threat, and the United States should be focused on Ethiopia’s cascading domestic and economic problems, not on leveraging assistance to push Ethiopia into supporting Egypt’s position on the GERD.

    The potential for serious unrest and civil war could increase in coming days. Elections are taking place in Tigray province this week, in spite of a central government ban. Tigray, the home of Ethiopia’s once-dominant leadership class, has been operating independently and in open defiance of Prime Minister Abiy for the past two years.


    The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd), under construction since 2011, began holding back water after the the Blue Nile swelled during heavy rains in July. (Photo: ENA)

    U.S. efforts should be focused on keeping Ethiopia from descending into a long period of authoritarian rule, intrastate conflict and instability.

    More broadly, the Trump administration’s actions threaten to generate problems across the region. The suspension of aid and a downturn in relations could open the door wider for China and others to expand their influence in Addis and increase the government’s current authoritarian tendencies.

    Washington’s actions could also embolden domestic opposition groups to take a more belligerent stand against the Abiy government, resulting in an upsurge in fighting in Ethiopia and a large outflow of refugees into neighboring states.

    If Ethiopia becomes distracted by internal conflict, al Shabaab terrorists in neighboring Somalia could expand their activities in Ethiopia’s large Somali region. And Eritrea, which has a history of regional conflict and covert interventionism, could take advantage of the situation to destabilize Ethiopia and increase its regional influence.

    Ethiopia’s democratic transition is now stalled, and what happens over the coming months could determine whether it falters and fails. Having suspended development assistance and angered the Ethiopian leadership, the ability of the U.S. to engage on Ethiopia’s democratic, human rights and domestic security issues has been diminished.

    Thoughtful action is required now. The United States needs to act fast to salvage its relationship with Ethiopia and find a way to stop the downward spiral in Ethiopia’s increasingly fissiparous and fractious domestic politics.

    It needs to turn over responsibility for handling Ethiopian issues to the State Department, where experienced Africanists and regional experts can provide more informed policy guidance on how to move forward and manage Ethiopia ties. It needs to prioritize support for Ethiopia’s political transition – hopefully towards greater democracy – above resolution of the GERD issue.

    Regional concerns about equitable use of the Nile waters, while important, will be of minor relevance if Ethiopia becomes engulfed in civil strife and begins to fracture like Yugoslavia did in the 1970s.

    Build back relations by boosting diplomatic outreach and increasing assistance

    Among the steps that should be taken is to keep the current ambassador in his post for another year. Michael Raynor is a skilled diplomat who knows Ethiopia and its current leadership. This is not the time to change leadership in the Addis embassy.

    Also, the administration should dispatch Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Tibor Nagy to discuss U.S.-Ethiopia relations and the GERD issue and seek a face-saving way to pull back the suspension of development assistance. To help put bilateral relations back on track, there needs to be an increase in U.S. assistance to support democratic political change and for development programs and for boosting commercial interactions.

    Finally, Washington should work with its European and African partners to build a “Friends of Ethiopia” coalition to strengthen diplomatic dialogue and coordinate greater assistance to one of Africa’s most important states.

    The Ethiopians may not say it bluntly or loudly, but the suspension of assistance has tarnished relations with Washington. By acting wisely and skillfully, the U.S. can probably still prevent the damage from being deeper and more enduring.

    Related:

    Jesse Jackson Calls on Congress to ‘Restore Funding for Ethiopia’ and to ‘Investigate’ the Trump Administration


    Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson is urging U.S. Congress: “to fully restore the funding for Ethiopia; and to investigate and demand information regarding the justification for halting aid to Ethiopia from both the State Department and Treasury Department.” (Photo: Rev. Jesse Jackson/Facebook page)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Taias Staff

    Updated: September 4th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling for Congress to reinstate the recently suspended U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and to investigate the Trump administration for linking the surprising decision to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

    Jackson made the appeal Thursday in a press release shared by his organization Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

    Jackson said he urges the “US Congress to fully restore the funding for Ethiopia; and to investigate and demand information regarding the justification for halting aid to Ethiopia from both the State Department and Treasury Department.”

    The Trump administration confirmed this week that it has cut aid to Ethiopia over GERD. According to the Associated Press “it was an unusual example of Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly.”

    AP added: “On the guidance of President Trump, the State Department said Wednesday that the United States was suspending some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the country’s talks with Egypt and Sudan over a disputed dam project it is completing on the Nile River…A State Department spokesperson told The Associated Press the decision to “temporarily pause” some aid to a key regional security ally “reflects our concern about Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.”

    In his press release Jackson said: “This is unfortunate and unjust, and the U.S. Congress must intervene, investigate and fully restore aid to Ethiopia.”

    Below is the full press release courtesy of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition:

    REV. JESSE L. JACKSON, SR. CONDEMNED THE APPROVED PLAN TO STOP US FOREIGN AID TO ETHIOPIA AND CALLED ON CONGRESS TO INTERVENE.

    September 3rd, 2020 | Release

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Thursday, September 3, 2020

    Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. condemned the approved plan to stop US Foreign Aid to Ethiopia and called on Congress to Intervene.

    News reports that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to stop $100 million in U.S. foreign aid to Ethiopia, because of the country’s ongoing dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD), finally confirmed what we all knew from the beginning, that the U.S. has never been an impartial mediator in this conflict and instead fully supportive of Egypt.

    With this action, the Trump administration, under the leadership of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (not the State Department), has fulfilled the request made last year by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, in essence, urging President Trump to assist them. This is unfortunate and unjust, and the U.S. Congress must intervene, investigate and fully restore aid to Ethiopia.

    Cross boundary water-sharing agreements are thorny issues that are not easily sorted out. It takes good faith and cooperation from all sides to eek out a win-win solution. The conflict between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan has been exacerbated by external interventions, especially the U.S. government.

    This is a conflict mainly between two founding members of the African Union (AU), Ethiopia and Egypt. The AU has a Peace and Security Council that serves as “the standing decision-making organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts and is the key pillar of the African Peace and Security Architecture that is the framework for promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.” This U.S. action is aimed at undermining the ongoing negotiations under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and the current AU Chairperson.

    To top it off, in a tweet a few months ago, the World Bank President David R. Malpass let it be known that he has spoken “with Ethiopian PM @AbiyAhmedAli on recent @WorldBank financing approvals important to unifying Ethiopia and its neighbor’s ability to sustain constructive dialogue + cooperation on water sharing.” To my knowledge, no statement was issued to tie the World Bank’s financial support to Egypt with its cooperation (or lack thereof) on water sharing with Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia is a reliable and very stable democratic ally of the U.S. on many vital fronts and should be treated with respect and dignity.

    History will judge the U.S. government and the World Bank’s unjust intervention to deny 110 million Ethiopians an “equitable and reasonable” share of the Nile River for their development needs. This is nothing short of condemning a black African nation and her population to abject and perpetual poverty. No one should condemn Egypt to suffer unduly, considering that 97 percent of its population depends on the Nile River. Justice requires treating both nations and their over 200 million people fairly with justice the result on both sides.

    Looking at the World Bank data on electric power consumption (kilowatt per capita) shows how much Ethiopia needs the GERD. In 2014, the most recent year for which World Bank data is available, the average for the world per capita electric power consumption is 3133 kilowatts. The figure for Egypt is 1683. For Ethiopia it is a mere 69 (sixty-nine). A former World Bank Deputy Global Manager, Yonas Biru, wondered how Ethiopia could survive with next to nothing-electric power, in a recent article in Addis Fortune.

    His answer was as revealing as it is saddening. “The nation rides on the shoulders and backs of women. From cradle to grave, women carry Ethiopia on their back, literally. Girls are condemned to fetching water from miles away rather than going to school. Their mothers travel just as far and spend just as much time collecting firewood.”

    The GERD, Biru said, signifies “the emancipation of Ethiopian women. The interventions by Egypt, the Arab League, the World Bank and the U.S. to delay and scale back the GERD is a setback for women. It is a revocation of the emancipation of Ethiopian girls and women.”

    Ethiopia, one of the poorest black African nations, is standing alone against the mighty forces of the U.S. and the World Bank. Befitting of its history, Ethiopia remains unflinching with its indomitable sovereignty and unwavering spirit with its trust in what its people call “Ethiopia’s God.”

    The World Bank’s professed dream is “A World Free of Poverty.” It behooves me to ask if Ethiopia, too, is in the Bank’s dream. The World Bank board of directors need to explain to over 50 million girls and women in Ethiopia why the World Bank stands against their economic emancipation.

    As to the US government, I call upon the US Congress: (1) to fully restore the funding for Ethiopia; and (2) to investigate and demand information regarding the justification for halting aid to Ethiopia from both the State Department and Treasury Department.

    Related:

    Cutting Aid to Ethiopia Haunts Trump in Election


    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said. (Image: Tulsa World)

    AA

    Addis Getachew | ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

    Updated: September 2nd, 2020

    Ethiopian-Americans against US cutting $130M aid to Ethiopia to enforce Egypt friendly agreement on sharing Nile waters

    The US has now formally stepped in, to support Egypt and punish Ethiopia over the river water sharing dispute between the two African countries.

    Last week, the Trump administration announced blocking a $130 million aid that had been earmarked to support Ethiopia’s defense and anti-terrorism efforts.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the cut in aid, ostensibly to build pressure on Ethiopia, a rugged landlocked country in the Horn of Africa.

    While it is not clear to what extent the US decision will affect Ethiopia, but it has united everyone in the country and the diaspora.

    “We have officially requested the US administration that they give us an explanation,” said Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Washington Fitsum Arega, while taking to Twitter.

    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said.

    Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had earlier rejected an agreement brokered by the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in February related to the filling and operation of the $5billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia said the US proposal was heavily tilted towards Egypt.

    Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa have strained over recent times, over the filling and operation of the dam that has come upon the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the River Nile.

    Since June, the African Union has been mediating now to evolve a win-win formula between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

    The AU has entrusted its Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government including South Africa, Kenya, Mali, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to prevent any escalation between these countries. The European Union, the World Bank, and the US continue as observers in the group.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Mike Pompeo is the Worst U.S. Secretary of State in History


    Mike Pompeo’s handing of the Trump administration’s foreign policy “has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies,” writes The Washington Post’s Deputy editorial page editor and columnist Jackson Diehl. (Photo: The Washington Post)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: August 30, 2020

    As secretary of state, Mike Pompeo has presided over the collapse of negotiations with North Korea, the failure of a pressure campaign against Iran and an abortive attempt to oust Venezuela’s authoritarian regime. On his watch, China has carried out genocide in its Xinjiang region and the suppression of Hong Kong’s freedoms without resistance from Washington until it was too late.

    Pompeo has failed to fill dozens of senior positions at the State Department, and hundreds of career diplomats have left or been driven out in political purges. Morale is at a historic low: In staff surveys, there has been a 34 percent increase between 2016 and 2019 in those who say the State Department’s senior leaders “did not maintain high levels of honesty and integrity.” Maybe that’s because Pompeo himself has defied legal mandates from Congress, skirted a law restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, tasked staffers with carrying out errands for himself and his wife, and fired the inspector general who was investigating his violations.

    Last week, Pompeo crossed yet another ethical line by speaking before the Republican National Convention, thereby disregarding the State Department’s explicit legal guidance against such appearances. The speech he delivered was weak and littered with false or simply ludicrous claims, such as that the recent diplomatic accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is “a deal that our grandchildren will read about in their history books.” Maybe if they major in Middle Eastern affairs.

    With his ambitions likely fixed on a presidential candidacy in 2024, Pompeo is undoubtedly hoping most of the diplomatic disasters will ultimately be blamed on President Trump, especially if Trump loses the November election. But the former Kansas congressman should not get off so easy. Yes, it’s Trump’s foreign policy. But Pompeo’s steering of it has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Pompeo approves plans to halt aid to Ethiopia over Nile dam dispute


    Getty Images

    The Hill

    08/28/20

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved plans to halt some U.S. aid to Ethiopia, Foreign Policy reported on Friday.

    The halt in aid comes as the U.S. mediates a dispute over a dam on the Nile River that’s pitted Ethiopia against Egypt and Sudan, according to Foreign Policy. The decision could impact up to $130 million of assistance to programs including security, counter-terrorism and anti-human trafficking.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” a U.S. official told the magazine. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

    Ethiopia and Egypt are at a standstill in negotiations over how the dam on a tributary of the Nile will be managed.

    Egypt and Sudan, which depend on the Nile for much of their fresh water, are opposed to any development they say will impact the flow downstream, including the 6,000-megawatt power plant Ethiopia hopes to develop at the dam.

    Is the Trump Administration Using Aid to Bully Ethiopia Over Nile Dam?


    It’s too bad that the U.S. has decided to take the wrong side in a local African dispute regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. As the following FP article reports the Trump administration is cutting off “some foreign assistance” to Ethiopia over GERD. The scheme may be intended to tip the scale in Egypt’s favor, but if history is any indication this kind of foreign intimidation does not work in Ethiopia. It’s also worth mentioning that the dam, a $4.5 billion hydroelectric project, is being fully funded by the Ethiopian people. (Getty Images)

    Foreign Policy

    U.S. Halts Some Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Dam Dispute with Egypt, Sudan, Some U.S. officials fear the move will harm Washington’s relationship with Addis Ababa.

    Updated: AUGUST 27, 2020

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to halt U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia as the Trump administration attempts to mediate a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the East African country’s construction of a massive dam on the Nile River.

    The decision, made this week, could affect up to nearly $130 million in U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and fuel new tensions in the relationship between Washington and Addis Ababa as it carries out plans to fill the dam, according to U.S. officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter. Officials cautioned that the details of the cuts are not yet set in stone and the finalized number could amount to less than $130 million.

    Programs that are on the chopping block include security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding, officials and congressional aides said. The cuts would not impact U.S. funding for emergency humanitarian relief, food assistance, or health programs aimed at addressing COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, officials said.

    The move is meant to address the standoff between Ethiopia and other countries that rely on the Nile River downstream that have opposed the construction of the massive dam project, called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt sees the dam’s construction as a core security issue given the country’s heavy reliance on the river for fresh water and agriculture, and in the past Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has hinted his country could use military force to halt the dam’s construction.

    Some Ethiopian officials have said they believe the Trump administration is taking Egypt’s side in the dispute. President Donald Trump has shown a fondness for Sisi, reportedly calling him his “favorite dictator” during a G-7 summit last year. Officials familiar with negotiations said the Trump administration has not approved parallel cuts in foreign assistance to Egypt.

    Administration officials have repeatedly assured all sides that Washington is an impartial mediator in the negotiations, which mark one of the few diplomatic initiatives in Africa that the president has played a personal and active role in. These officials pointed out that Egypt has accused the United States of taking Ethiopia’s side in the dispute as well.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” said one U.S. official. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    But the move is likely to face sharp pushback on Capitol Hill, according to Congressional aides familiar with the matter. State Department officials briefed Congressional staff on the decision on Thursday, the aides said, and during the briefing insisted that the U.S.-Ethiopia relationship would remain strong despite a cutback in aid because the United States can have tough conversations “with friends.”

    “This is a really fucking illogical way to show a ‘friend’ you really care,” one Congressional aide told Foreign Policy in response.

    Read more »

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    Spotlight: ሲመት – New Film Streaming on Habeshaview for Ethiopian New Year

    Simet is an Ethiopian movie about betrayal, courage and sacrifice. The movie is set in the Era of the Princess, mid-18th to 19th century. The country was divided and ruled by local warlords, and Gondar was the capital city of Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 10th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) – This week as Ethiopians usher in a new year a timely new movie is set to stream on the online platform habeshaview to mark the holiday.

    The movie called SIMET (ሲመት) is “an epic Ethiopian drama about betrayal, courage and sacrifice,” the press release states. “The movie is set in the Era of the Princess, mid-18th to 19th century. The country was divided and ruled by local warlords, and Gondar was the capital city of Ethiopia.”


    (Courtesy photo)

    The press release adds: “The movie Simet is about an elderly king who is fragile and on the verge of dying. He lost his heir in an unfortunate and deceptive situation. Seeking revenge of the killer, he orders his two younger sons to find the man who killed the heir. Whichever son succeeds, will take the throne. ”

    Watch the trailer here:

    Habeshaview presents this movie to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year.

    You can learn more and watch the film at www.habeshaview.com. The movie can be streamed through the habeshaview-app and be enjoyed on mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and smart tv’s.

    Related:

    Spotlight on ‘Enkopa’: New Ethiopian Movie Based on True Story of a Young Migrant

    WATCH: Q&A with Cast and Crew of “Enchained (ቁራኛዬ) Live From Ethiopia

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    LATEST UPDATE Coronavirus Pandemic

    The number of coronavirus cases in Ethiopia has reached 64,301 as of September 13th, 2020. (Photo via Twitter)

    THE LATEST UPDATE:

    Updated: September 13th, 2020

  • Ethiopia opens facility to make coronavirus test kits
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 64,301
  • 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

    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 »

    Oxford vaccine trial on hold because of potential safety issue


    Blood samples from coronavirus vaccine trials are handled at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England, on June 25. (Photo: John Cairns / Oxford via AP)

    By NBC News

    Clinical trials for the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine have been put on hold, drug maker AstraZeneca said Tuesday. “Our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee,” the company said in a statement. “This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.” The statement continued: “In large trials illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.” AstraZeneca, which is working with the University of Oxford on a coronavirus vaccine, began its phase 3 clinical trials in the U.S. last week. NBC News has confirmed that the pause has affected trial sites in the U.S. Putting a trial on hold while researchers determine whether a serious adverse event was caused by a vaccine is “uncommon, but not unheard of,” Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said. Read more »

    Global coronavirus cases top 20M as Russia approves vaccine

    By The Associated Press

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 20 million, more than half of them from the United States, India and Brazil, as Russia on Tuesday became the first country to approve a vaccine against the virus. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that one of his two adult daughters had already been inoculated with the cleared vaccine, which he described as effective. “She’s feeling well and has a high number of antibodies,” Putin said. Russia has reported more than 890,000 cases, the fourth-highest total in the world, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally that also showed total confirmed cases globally surpassing 20 million. It took six months or so to get to 10 million cases after the virus first appeared in central China late last year. It took just over six weeks for that number to double. An AP analysis of data through Aug. 9 showed the U.S., India and Brazil together accounted for nearly two-thirds of all reported infections since the world hit 15 million coronavirus cases on July 22. 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 »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 64,301

    By Ministry of Health

    In Ethiopia, as of September 13th, 2020, there have been 64,301 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Read more »

    Coronavirus Deaths on the Rise in Almost Every Region of the U.S.

    By The Washington Post

    New U.S. coronavirus cases reached record levels over the weekend, with deaths trending up sharply in a majority of states, including many beyond the hard-hit Sun Belt. Although testing has remained flat, 20 states and Puerto Rico reported a record-high average of new infections over the past week. Five states — Arizona, California, Florida, Mississippi and Texas — also broke records for average daily fatalities in that period. At least 3,290,000 cases and more than 132,000 deaths have been reported in the United States. 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

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    Diaspora-based Tech Professionals Launch Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Task Force

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    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • UPDATE: Ethiopia Expects to Hold General Elections in Next 12 Months

    Ethiopia expects to hold general elections within the next year after a vote scheduled for August was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, PM says. (Photo: A woman prepares her ballot in a voting booth near Mekele on September 9, 2020. in an election that parliament has deemed illegal/Getty Images)

    Bloomberg

    By Samuel Gebre and Simon Marks

    Updated on September 10, 2020

    Ethiopia Expects to Hold Delayed Elections Within Next Year

    Ethiopia expects to hold general elections within the next year after a vote scheduled for August was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    “I personally believe there will be elections in the year 2013,” Abiy said on state television on Wednesday. Ethiopia, with its own 13-month calendar that is about seven years behind the Gregorian calendar, celebrates the start of 2013 on Friday.

    The ballot will be a test of reforms unleashed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has been opening up the country’s once tightly regulated political space since coming to power in April 2018. His unbanning of opposition and rebel groups has stoked political fragmentation and long-suppressed rivalries among ethnic communities.

    The 44-year-old premier has also pledged to open up state-owned industries, from telecommunications to energy, to increased foreign investment in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

    Abiy announced the new timeline for the election on the day that the nation’s Tigray region held its own parliamentary vote, defying a ban by the federal government.

    Ethiopia became one of the first African nations to postpone elections because of the coronavirus pandemic when it delayed the ballot in March. Lawmakers voted to extend the government’s mandate until elections are held, from the previous Oct 10 deadline.

    Authorities have had time to learn about the virus, and a vaccine will probably be available to protect people during the election, Abiy said, adding relevant institutions will make a final decision on a schedule.

    Ethiopian Region Proceeds With Vote Banned by Federal Government


    Voters gathered in Mekele on Wednesday for an election that has been declared unconstitutional by parliament, which had postponed the national poll due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Twitter/@rcoreyb)

    Bloomberg

    Updated: September 9th, 2020

    Ethiopia’s Tigray region began holding an election outlawed by the federal government.

    Polls opened at 6:00 a.m. in the northern Ethiopian region, said Abdel Guesh, a spokesman for the Tigray electoral commission. Voting will continue until 6:00 p.m., he said.

    The ballot is a direct challenge to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration, which postponed general elections earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s the latest in a series of challenges Abiy has faced since he began implementing political reforms two years ago in response to intensifying anti-government protests.

    Tensions between the Tigrayan and federal authorities may spawn unrest that could jeopardize Abiy’s plans to open up the economy to foreign investment, according to the International Crisis Group. Some federal officials have said they’ll stop the vote, while the nation’s upper house of parliament on Saturday said the results won’t be recognized, state-controlled Ethiopian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

    Depending on how far the dispute goes, it may push the ethnic Tigray group to consider “constitutional secession procedures, further raising the stakes and intensifying conflict risks,” the ICG said last month.

    Lost Influence

    Tigray’s ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front was formerly the pre-eminent party in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, after it helped oust the nation’s Marxist Derg regime in 1991. The party has set itself in opposition to Abiy, an ethnic Oromo, since he came to power in April 2018. In December, it refused to join the Prosperity Party he formed to replace the coalition.

    Abiy played down the prospect of the election stoking instability.

    “This merry-go-round should not be a headache for us,” he said on state television on Tuesday. “We are not going to lift our hands every time someone shouts asking to affirm their existence.” Security officials on Monday stopped journalists and observers from boarding a flight to Mekele, Tigray’s capital, without providing a reason. The authorities confiscated phones and laptops.

    About 3 million people are expected to vote for representatives to Tigray’s 190-member parliament. The results are expected by Sept. 13.

    Read more »

    Ethiopian Region Votes, Defying Federal Government and PM

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    September 9th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — People began voting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region on Wednesday in a local election defying the federal government and increasing political tensions in Africa’s second most populous country.

    Tigray officials have warned that an intervention by the federal government would amount to a “declaration of war.” They have objected to the postponement of the national election, once set for August, because of the coronavirus pandemic and the extension of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s time in office.

    Over the weekend, Ethiopia’s upper house of parliament called Wednesday’s election unconstitutional. Ethiopia’s leader has ruled out a military intervention, but there are fears any punitive measures by the federal government could further escalate tensions.

    The standoff with the northern region is the latest challenge to the administration of Abiy, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year in part for introducing political reforms. He took office in early 2018. The Tigray region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, was the dominant one in Ethiopia’s previous government.

    “This election is illegal because only the National Election Board can conduct elections in Ethiopia,” Abiy said in an interview with the state broadcaster, EBC, on Tuesday evening. “TPLF’s rule over the region is extended until the upcoming election. If the party doesn’t take part in the general election, it won’t be acceptable.

    “These types of small gatherings won’t be a headache for us,” Abiy added.

    Some 2.7 million people in the Tigray region were expected to cast their votes at more than 2,600 polling stations, regional election officials said.

    A regional broadcaster, Tigray TV, showed voters lining up in the early hours Wednesday. Two residents of the regional capital, Mekelle, told The Associated Press there was tight security in the city and surrounding areas. Bikes and auto rickshaws were banned from the city as of Tuesday evening.

    On Monday, Ethiopian security officials removed reporters from a plane heading to the region, confiscating their I.D.s, cameras and other equipment. Separately, a non-governmental organization told the AP they were barred from observing the election “for no sufficient reason.”

    The group, Seb Hidri, said the Tigray People’s Liberation Front was behind the ban.

    Ethiopian Lawmakers Call Region’s Vote Unconstitutional (AP)


    Regional officials in Tigray have opposed the year-long postponement of Ethiopia’s general election, once planned for August, and the continuation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s mandate beyond term limits. They have organized their own election for Sept. 9. The federal government has said the postponement relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and should be respected. (Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    September 5, 2020

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Ethiopia’s upper house of parliament on Saturday called elections planned next week in the northern Tigray region unconstitutional, amid a confrontation between the federal government and regional officials who have warned that any intervention amounts to a “declaration of war.”

    “The decision by the House of Federation treats the act of the Tigray regional state as void from the very beginning,” legal expert Kiya Tsegaye told The Associated Press. “This makes the election unconstitutional and illegitimate. I think this decision will be the base for the next legal action by the federal government.”

    Regional officials in Tigray have opposed the year-long postponement of Ethiopia’s general election, once planned for August, and the continuation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s mandate beyond term limits. They have organized their own election for Sept. 9. The federal government has said the postponement relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and should be respected.

    Members of the upper house of parliament from the Tigray region boycotted its meeting Saturday.

    The Sept. 9 vote will elect members of the regional parliament, which in turn will elect the region’s cabinet and administrators.

    Ethiopia’s prime minister has ruled out a military intervention to deal with the confrontation, but there are fears that any punitive measures by the federal government could escalate tensions further.

    The standoff with Ethiopia’s northern region is just the latest challenge to the administration of Abiy, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year in part for the sweeping political reforms since he took office in early 2018.

    The loosening of the former government’s repressive measures, however, have opened the way for certain long-held grievances and requests by some regions for more autonomy. The former government was largely led by people from the Tigray region, exacerbating the tensions.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Report of COVID-19 Cover-Up Rocks U.S.

    Report of Coronavirus cover-up rocks the United States amid revelations that Trump purposely played down the pandemic that has so far killed more than 190,000 Americans. (Reuters photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 10th, 2020

    Woodward book: Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly’ and worse than the flu while intentionally misleading Americans

    President Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the coronavirus outbreak in China.

    “This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”

    Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

    Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.

    “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

    “This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

    At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

    Trump admitted to Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

    When asked what made him pivot on the gravity of the virus, Trump says, “To be honest with you, I wanted to always play it down.”

    Aside from exploring Trump’s handling of the pandemic, Woodward’s new book, “Rage,” covers race relations, diplomacy with North Korea and a variety of other issues that have arisen during the past two years.

    The book also includes brutal assessments of Trump’s conduct from former defense secretary Jim Mattis, former director of national intelligence Daniel Coats and others.

    The book is based in part on 18 on-the-record interviews Woodward conducted with the president between December and July. Woodward writes that other quotes in the book were acquired through “deep background” conversations with people in which information is divulged and exchanges recounted without the people being named.

    “Trump never did seem willing to fully mobilize the federal government and continually seemed to push problems off on the states,” Woodward writes. “There was no real management theory of the case or how to organize a massive enterprise to deal with one of the most complex emergencies the United States had ever faced.”

    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

    Related

    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 »

    Related:

    ‘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.”

    Related:

    ‘ሴቷ ኦባማ?’: Kamala Harris Faces Culture of Sexism & Misogyny in Ethiopian Media

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Spotlight: Alitash Kebede, Among The Top Five Black Women In The Art World

    Alitash Kebede was the long-time proprietor of a gallery in Los Angeles, Currently, her consultancy business manages collections and appraisal services for corporate and private clients, and organizes exhibitions that travel to museums across the United States and throughout the world. - Forbes (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 23rd, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Last week, Forbes magazine featured Alitash Kebede among “the top five Black women you should know in the art world.”

    The short list was selected by Alaina Simone who is a prominent African-American art curator and consultant “known for championing the work of Al Loving, Ed Clark, Emilio Cruz, Herbert Gentry, Richard Mayhew and Nanette Carter, among other artists.”

    Forbes notes that “Alitash Kebede was the long-time proprietor of a gallery in Los Angeles, Currently, her consultancy business manages collections and appraisal services for corporate and private clients, and organizes exhibitions that travel to museums across the United States and throughout the world.”

    From Simone: “Alitash Kebede had one of the first auctions at Christie’s that was centered around her collection of artists of the African diaspora in 2008. She opened my eyes to the movement of art on the market. Since 2008, prices for black artists have soared at auction houses. Alitash was one of the first dealers to represent Kehinde Wiley, among many other art stars.”


    Alitash Kebede with Ethiopian American artist Tariku Shiferaw. (Courtesy photo)

    Alitash, who was born and raised in Ethiopia, is a groundbreaker in the African-American as well as the African Diaspora art communities and one of only a handful of women in her industry. Alitash points out that she also works with artists outside this genre. According to her bio: “Alitash Kebede opened her first gallery in 1994 after working as a private dealer for 10 years. The gallery earned a reputation for being a source for first time and seasoned collectors, as well as for being a supporter of artists working in a variety of media. At the gallery. Kebede presented the first solo exhibitions in Los Angeles of numerous New York artists including: Al Loving, Ed Clark, Emilio Cruz, Herbert Gentry, Richard Mayhew and Nanette Carter, among others. Author Terry McMillan had her first book signing for her debut novel Mama at the gallery in 1987, and later the gallery provided art for the movie based on McMillan’s novel, How Stella Got Her Groove Back.”

    As Alitash told Tadias previously the American artist, author, and songwriter “Romare Bearden along with the pioneer Ethiopian artist Skunder Boghossian was an inspiration for my venture into the art world…I feel so fortunate to be associated with [two] of the most innovative artists of the 20th century.”

    Related:

    Under The Radar: The Top Five Black Women You Should Know In The Art World (Forbes)

    Alitash Kebede on Romare Bearden’s 100th Birthday Exhibition at Macy’s

    Four Generations of Black Women Artists in California: Exhibition by Alitash Kebede

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia Telecom Auction Set for 2021

    “We have a February, January timeline for both processes,” Eyob Tekalign, the state minister of finance, said after presenting an update on the process to government officials in Addis Ababa this week. “The reform is fully on track.” (Photo: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

    Bloomberg

    Updated: September 10, 2020

    Ethiopia Telecom Auction Set for 2021 With Orange in Contention

    Ethiopia has set a new deadline of February 2021 to complete the partial privatization of the country’s telecommunications industry, with carriers such as Orange SA keen to expand into a market of more than 100 million people.

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration is looking to auction two new mobile-network licenses and sell a minority stake in the state-owned monopoly Ethio Telecom. The plan was set for earlier this year but was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, regulatory complexities and a thwarted attempt to hold national elections.

    “We have a February, January timeline for both processes,” Eyob Tekalign, the state minister of finance, said after presenting an update on the process to government officials in Addis Ababa this week. “The reform is fully on track.”

    Liberalization of the telecom industry is at the forefront of what Abiy said in mid-2018 would be the wide-ranging privatization of several industries, including sugar, rail and industrial parks. The plan was intended to bring in much needed foreign exchange and boost the economy, while improving connectivity across the Horn of Africa nation.

    Orange is a strong candidate to win one of the two new licenses, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the process is ongoing. A spokesman for the Paris-based company reiterated the carrier’s interest in entering the country and said the firm is working on the right proposal.

    Johannesburg-based MTN and a consortium led by the U.K.’s Vodafone Group Plc are also in the running, two of the people said. Both were on a list of companies that submitted expressions of interest released by the government in June.

    The Ethiopian authorities have said that 12 directives will be issued that will enable us to put together a business case and an investment case,” a spokeswoman for MTN said in an emailed response to questions. “This is still work in progress and we have not yet made any decision on the opportunity.”

    Vodafone declined to comment.

    State Carrier

    The sale of a stake in Ethio Telecom is proving tougher to organize, the two people said. That’s in part due to the the size of the 40% stake, one of them said. Deloitte LLP is advising the government on the deal.

    Ethio Telecom didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Deloitte declined to comment. MTN confirmed it is one of the carriers to have expressed an interest in the stake.

    Telecom companies have long coveted Ethiopia as one of the last major untapped markets in the world.

    Read More: Ethiopia Offers Hope for Phone Providers With African Dreams

    “We have finalized the valuation of the spectrum,” Eyob said. “There is very, very strong interest across the world — companies from Asia, Europe, Africa.”

    Ethiopia to Sell 5% Stake of State-run Telecom Co to Citizens – Media

    Reuters

    Updated: September 7th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia plans to sell a 5% stake in its state-run telecom firm to its citizens as part of measures to break up the monopoly, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting said on Monday, quoting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

    The sale of the stakes is part of Ethiopia’s plans to open up one of the world’s last closed telecoms markets in the nation of around 110 million people.

    Fana said the government will retain a 55% stake in Ethio Telecom, with the remainder going to international companies.

    In June, the telecoms regulator said it had received 12 bids for the two telecom licences the government plans to award to multinational companies.

    The regulator has not given a deadline for when it will award the licences.

    Related:

    Ethiopia: The case for partial privatization of Ethio Telecom

    The Africa Report

    By Fentaw Abitew

    Updated: September 1st, 2020

    Ethio telecom is not a ‘cash cow’ as has often been claimed. It is an indebted malfunctioning liability holding back Ethiopia’s economy.

    This article is republished as part of our partnership with Ethiopia Insight

    Last December, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a “homegrown” economic reform blueprint to further the ambitious initiative of making Ethiopia a middle-income country by 2025 and an “African Icon of Prosperity” by 2030.

    The initiative, under the guidance of his hybrid Medemer philosophy, aims to overcome the structural and institutional hurdles facing Ethiopia through macroeconomic, structural, and sectoral reforms. The “homegrown” design of the program is a shrewd move by the administration to disentangle itself from ideological attachments.

    As with recent previous government economic blueprints, the Homegrown Economic Reform program was developed to accommodate both the opportunities of the free market and the role of the state to address the country’s economic challenges—although with a tilt towards the non-state sector.

    It envisages boosting the private sector’s contribution to the overall economy by opening up major public enterprises (Ethiopian Airlines, Ethio telecom, Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, and Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprises) to private and foreign investment.

    Ethio telecom is the first major enterprise to be put on the table and the process is now in its final stages.

    The Communication Service Proclamation No. 1148/2019 has been passed into law, and the Ethiopian Communication Agency (ECA) established with the aim of achieving “the government policy of restructuring the telecommunications market and introducing competition.”

    The law, which introduces an entirely new regulatory framework allowing the ECA to lead the partial privatization process, starting with an initial Stakeholder Consultation, is a milestone in terms of the institutional arrangements needed to manage the privatization process and ensure transparency and consistency.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of telecommunication services as a backbone for the global economy as well as a lifeline for many in healthcare delivery. More than ever, Ethiopia needs high-functioning and high-quality telecommunication services to fuel its rapid economic growth and support its broader political, social, and economic reform agendas.

    There is no doubt a competitive telecommunication industry can offer comprehensive benefits, and a recent Ministry of Finance press release summarized reasons for the partial privatization of Ethio telecom:

    “Partial privatization of Ethio telecom [will] contribute to attracting foreign investment, support the country’s effort to improve ease of doing business and its wider economic reform agenda. Furthermore, it will generate revenues through license fees, taxes, and dividends that will contribute to overall economic restructuring.”

    Concerns have, however, been raised, some more grounded than others.

    Telecommunication services are not a one-sector issue; they are central to the whole economy and society and must be a national priority. Ethiopia is one of the last countries to have a monopoly national telecommunications operator. Most other nations, including neighboring African countries such as Kenya, Egypt, Sudan, have privatized the sector long ago, and enjoy excellent services that make substantial contributions to their GDPs.

    Meanwhile, Ethiopia is falling behind. According to the UN International Telecommunication Union’s 2017 ICT Development Index (IDI), Ethiopia’s service is ranked 170 in the world out of 176 countries.

    With over 45 million mobile subscribers Ethiopia’s telecommunication services penetration (mobile (65 percent), internet (15 percent), and fixed broadband (0.6 percent) compares badly with countries with relative population sizes like Egypt (106 percent, 48 percent, and 5.2 percent) and Nigeria (84 percent, 51 percent, 0.01 percent) respectively.

    Ethio telecom recently cut prices but they are still above an affordable threshold (Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development). The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) 2019 Africa report placed Ethiopia at 60 out of 61 countries. Ethiopia may have upgraded the telecom sector over the last two decades, but it remains ineffective and substandard.

    Cash cow, sacred cow

    There is a myth—and it is a myth—that Ethio telecom is a cash cow providing positive annual revenue.

    In fact, earnings should be set against servicing of the $3.1 billion strategic credit loan from the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China and China Development Bank to upgrade Ethio Telecom’s operations, even though services have remained terrible.

    The loan was provided in two phases (1.5 billion in 2006 and the remainder in 2013). While the full terms of the loan have not been disclosed, research shows that the first $1.5 billion come with interest rate of LIBOR-plus 150 basis points and the repayment period is 13 years. That implies repayment costs of more than $4 billion.

    Furthermore, the loan creates total dependence on Chinese equipment suppliers, expertise, and resources, with no transfer of technology and knowledge. Details of repayments have never been disclosed, but in addition to annual interest and principal commitments, there are also fees, depreciation for outdated equipment, amortization for software, and international license costs.

    Overall, Ethio telecom’s annual Free Cash Flow (FCF), the relevant accounting figure for profit, is probably low and is likely to be a source of national indebtedness with no significant contribution to the national economy. That is the opposite of a ‘cash cow’.

    Another supposed issue is the national sovereignty risk, but this is a false alarm and indeed the reverse of reality.

    Ethio telecom’s critical infrastructures are currently the preserve of Chinese companies, ZTE and Huawei, but the protection of Ethio telecom as a strategic asset cannot be provided solely by maintaining a state monopoly on telecom services. Instead needs a national strategy for the physical protection of critical infrastructures and critical software components along with guiding principles to underpin efforts to secure the elements vital to Ethiopia’s public health and safety, national security, governance, economy, and public confidence.

    In fact, the ECA proclamation has set some rules (e.g. Art. 21 subs (3)) to govern the actions of foreign and public investors under its jurisdiction. Partial privatization of the telecom services, allowing private investors and the public to participate in a competitive market, will now help safeguard national security.

    Debt threat

    As it happens, the single greatest threat to Ethiopian national security, in fact, is debt.

    As of May 2020 Ethiopia’s external debt stock total was around $28 billion. The extent of the government’s dependence on foreign debt allows creditors, including international institutions, to influence and exercise control over not only policy but also economic performance. For instance, to get an International Monetary Fund loan, countries must submit a “Letter of Intent” in which they are required, arguably contrary to national sovereignty, to mention their national economic priorities, reserves, and public expenditure, including defense budgets.

    Surprisingly enough, the Abiy administration does not seem particularly bothered about it. In a piece of recent news published on Politico, the Prime Minister is quoted saying: “There are some that say we are adding more debt to the country’s already high debt. But borrowing from the IMF and the World Bank is like borrowing from one’s mother.”

    This tendency towards loan dependency is misguided. It is naïve to think that international creditors are generous or altruistic.

    The global order works on the principle of quid pro quo; nobody provides loans out of benevolence. Ethiopia has become increasingly dependent on Chinese investment, extending from the telecommunication sector to manufacturing, owing more than $12 billion, including the $3.1 billion supplier-loan to Ethio telecom. The size of this raises concerns over the dangers of what some scholars refer to as ‘debt-trap diplomacy.’

    In 2018, for example, when Sri Lanka was unable to repay a loan for a Chinese-built port, the Chinese shipping company took a 99-year lease on the facility. In Myanmar, China has proposed to turn the disbursed investment on the suspended Myitsone dam, which the Burmese government cannot afford to repay, into equities on the dam.

    Given Ethiopia’s indebtedness to China, there may well be a risk to long-term national sovereignty.

    Matters of real concern

    The establishment of ECA and promulgation of the proclamation may be necessary preconditions for privatization—but they are not sufficient.

    There is a genuine concern among Ethiopians about the transparency and accountability of the privatization process. It is essential to engage the public (academics, political parties, development partners and other concerned stakeholders) concerning valuations, bidding processes, and selection and procurement criteria.

    Selection of transaction advisors and asset valuators, and indeed the whole process has, hitherto, remains opaque. The World Bank is the primary financier of the privatization process, and at the same time, the International Finance Corporation, the private lending organ of the World Bank, is a transaction advisor. This raises a question of imbalance.

    The recent ECA call for submission for stakeholder consultation on directives and regulations related to the transaction is a step in the right direction, but public trust and understanding are essential to the success of the process and its future prospects.

    Timing is another concern.

    Some commentators have raised fears that the valuation of Ethio telecom may be affected by the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact. This is a genuine danger, but, as the telecommunication sector is the lifeblood of the COVID-19 world, it is likely that investors will see it as an area with minimal risk and continued potential. From the government’s point of view, it is crucial to get funding through privatization, which offers lower risks than loans.

    The ECA call for Expression of Interest, which lasted for a month closed on 22 June.

    According to a press release, ECA received 12 submissions, of which 9 telecom operators ([consortium of Vodafone, Vodacom, and Safaricom], Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company, Telkom SA, Liquid Telecom, Snail Mobile); 2 non-telecom operators ( Kandu Global Telecommunications and Electromecha International Projects); and one incomplete submission.

    The expressions of interest of prospective bidders at short notice shows the unwavering interest, and at least minimizes timing concerns.

    Partial privatization of Ethio telecom will bring substantial opportunities for Ethiopia if supported by appropriate processes and public trust. As documented in 177 countries, a competitive telecoms market has multidimensional benefits: it brings local entrepreneurs into the economy, allows technology and knowledge to be transferred quickly, improves efficiency, slows, and even halts government dependence on foreign loans, promotes access to capital, and expands the government tax base.

    The government decision to proceed with the partial privatization of Ethio telecom is therefore correct and timely.

    A competitive telecommunications industry will serve as a significant catalyst in reducing the state’s role in the economy by bringing in public and private owners to support ongoing economic reforms; raising investment capital for telecom services; increasing the efficiency of Ethio telecom by exposing it to greater competition and market discipline; raising revenue for the government; reducing government subsidies; and attracting foreign investment.

    It should also help protect national security interests by reducing debt exposure and reliance on Chinese infrastructure.

    It is, indeed, the sole justifiable way forward.

    Related:

    Ethiopia Prepares for Partial Privatization of Ethio Telecom (The Africa Report)

    Ethiopia Unlocks One of the World’s Last Closed Telecoms Markets (AFP)

    Ethiopia Delays New Telecoms Licences (Reuters)

    Ethiopia Red Tape Is Barrier for Business as Country Opens Up (Bloomberg)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    IN PICTURES: On the Frontline Against Covid-19 in Ethiopia – A Photo Essay

    Frontline workers at the Eka Kotebe hospital. (Photo by Yonas Tadesse)

    The Guardian

    By Yonas Tadesse

    Yonas Tadesse is an Ethiopian photographer based in Addis Ababa who has been documenting doctors and emergency workers fighting coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak. This series focuses on the taskforce at the Eka Kotebe hospital in Addis Ababa.

    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.


    Dr Kalkidan

    My name is Dr Kalkidan, I was the first person to admit the first Covid-19 positive patient from Japan.

    It was sudden. We weren’t really expecting patients. We were told to prepare the facility. I didn’t bring a change of clothes. I came to do the routine drills. I was terrified. I used to say I wasn’t scared, but I thought to myself about how I must love my life.

    We had to take his blood ourselves, which meant we had to touch him. I was uncomfortable leaving because the man kept coughing constantly and saying he was suffocating. I wanted to auscultate, but that was not an option. I was just scared.

    I talked to friends I’d left on bad notes. I couldn’t talk to my mum. I only talked to my sister. All the regrets and mistakes in life come rushing at you in times like this. I have pre-existing issues with depression and anxiety and it took a lot for me to be back here. I was very upset.

    I’m not saying we have to be reckless, but I think we need to have some faith. I don’t think we needed to be that daunted. I think we exaggerated too much going in at first. I mean, God works here too, right? I don’t think we needed to be that stressed. I think we’ve compromised a lot out of fear.”


    Paulos Seid

    My name is Paulos Seid. I was born and raised in a town called Elebabor, Gore. I am married and a father of a son and twin daughters. I’d worked at Kotebe hospital as a security guard for five months when the coronavirus pandemic was reported in our country.

    During the preparations to battle the virus, there was a big shortage of manpower, so I was asked to carry the responsibility of ‘sprayer’. I did not hesitate. Every time I do the job, I feel that I’m eradicating the virus, so I feel proud.

    But this job has cost me some things. Friends who would normally join me for lunch have come to hate me. They beg me in God’s name not to go near them. It breaks my heart, but the work I do gives me a sense of purpose. I can’t wait for all this to end so I can see my children.”


    Makeda

    My name is Makeda. The worst day so far was when we lost our first patient.

    Mothers are leaving their children behind, families are scattering because of this – you can’t bury your dead.

    We’re losing our joy. From day one, when I think of coronavirus, I think of my family, of people I love. It makes me think I have no guarantee that my mother will not be in this hospital bed next. Or my friends. It’s very painful.

    This might be the first time in my life I thought about my country. But I will continue to serve until my last minute alive because I am here for a reason.”


    Dr Rediet

    My name is Dr Rediet. One time, I was doing rounds with the doctors and transferring patients. After we were done, we heard the patients asking for help. I was doffing. I’d almost gotten my apron off. We ran to the patients and realised Ato Tesfaye did not have a pulse, no cardiac beat, no radial pulse. I fixed the bed for him and we started doing CPR. As this was an emergency, we were required to do CPR on a salvageable patient. I was the one still wearing full protective gear so it was OK for me to give CPR. We did two cycles of chest compression and we were able to bring him back. We were lucky because we heard the call for help.”

    Read more and see the rest of the photos at theguardian.com »

    Related:

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 60,784 (LATEST UPDATE)

    ‘Covid Has Made Me Wonder: Am I Really an Entrepreneur?’ – Kibret Abebe

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    VOA Journalists Revolt Against New Boss

    The Voice of America building in Washington, where some staffers are in open revolt over new chief Michael Pack’s firings and reorganizations. [Last week] 14 senior journalists at VOA sent a letter to acting director Elez Biberaj protesting Pack’s actions, which they said harmed the agency’s mission and endangered its reporters. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    New Voice of America overseer called foreign journalists a security risk. Now the staff is revolting.

    Since becoming the overseer of Voice of America in June, Michael Pack has fired subordinates, disbanded advisory boards and declined to renew the visas of foreign journalists who work under him.

    Political appointees frequently make personnel changes when they take on a new role. But Pack, who heads the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), has offered a unique justification for his actions: He is rooting out potential spies.

    In a memo to staff last month, Pack suggested that his purges are part of an effort to shore up lax personnel standards that have left VOA vulnerable to foreign espionage. His predecessors “ignored common national security protocols and essential government human resources practices,” he wrote. He put it more bluntly last week in an interview with the Federalist, a conservative commentary site: “It’s a great place to put a foreign spy.”

    Yet Pack has presented no evidence that anyone at VOA is a foreign intelligence agent. Nor has he explained why VOA and sister agencies such as Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia — media organizations that don’t control sensitive government information — would be an appealing target for penetration by a hostile power.

    Now, a segment of staffers who had seethed quietly over Pack’s attempts to reshape the agencies are in open revolt over his unsupported accusations about “spies.” The goals behind the transformations he has pushed for remain murky — although he has said he wants to ensure that VOA “presents the policies of the United States clearly and effectively,” some staffers say this means a realignment with Trump White House messaging. Pack declined interview requests through his spokesman, who also declined to respond to this story on the record.

    [Last] Monday, 14 senior journalists at VOA sent a letter to acting director Elez Biberaj protesting Pack’s actions, which they said harmed the agency’s mission and endangered its reporters.

    “Mr. Pack has made a thin excuse that his actions are meant to protect national security, but just as was the case with the McCarthy ‘Red Scare,’ which targeted VOA and other government organizations in the mid-1950s, there has not been a single demonstrable case of any individual working for VOA — as the USAGM CEO puts it — ‘posing as a spy,’ ” they wrote.

    They argued that the claims throw a blanket of suspicion over their organization, which since World War II has sought to deliver objective news and information to countries where press freedom is limited or nonexistent. They also say it could endanger VOA journalists working abroad: Terrorists and rogue regimes have used bogus accusations of spying as a pretext for the arrest or murder of journalists for decades.

    After the letter was first published by NPR, 27 more VOA journalists added their names to it, according to two VOA journalists. The letter seemed to trigger an explosion of tension that had been building inside the Washington-based organization since Pack began making sweeping changes.

    How Trump’s obsessions with media and loyalty coalesced in a battle for Voice of America

    “So much of this story has evolved around anonymous sources and innuendo,” Joe Bruns, a former acting director of Voice of America in the 1990s, said in an interview. “I admire their courage for putting their names and careers on the line.”

    Read more »

    Trump, Behind Biden in Polls, Struggles for A Message that Resonates (UPDATE)


    Trump has tried many things over the past months in an effort to avoid becoming a one-term president. So far, nothing has proved to be the magic potion he seems to believe is out there. (Photo: A Joe Biden flag decorates a pole in Kenosha, Wis., on Thursday as the Democratic presidential nominee held a community meeting in the city in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake/The Washington Post)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 6, 2020

    In a time of disruption and unrest, the presidential race has changed little

    The presidential election is now eight weeks away, and the structure of the contest is little changed from where it has been for some time. President Trump is struggling and at times floundering. The question is whether he has the skills to turn around his candidacy in hopes of replicating his 2016 surprise victory.

    At the traditional Labor Day kickoff to the fall campaign, the race remains former vice president Joe Biden’s to lose…Trump has tried many things over the past months in an effort to avoid becoming a one-term president. So far, nothing has proved to be the magic potion the president seems to believe is out there.

    He is now preaching law and order, seizing on months of nightly protests in Portland, Ore., which often have turned violent, along with the protests and violence that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. He claims the nation’s cities are ablaze and that a Biden presidency would destroy the suburbs. The rhetoric aimed at suburban voters is grounded in racism.

    It is premature to say the law and order message isn’t working, though there’s been minimal movement in the polls since the conventions ended. What is left in the Trump tool kit if this message fails to do what Trump hopes it will do?

    Read more »

    In New Book, Ex-Lawyer Says Trump Disparaged Mandela After His Death


    According to the Washington Post Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, wrote that following Mandela’s death in 2013, Trump said: “Mandela f—-ed the whole country up. Now it’s a s—-hole. F—- Mandela. He was no leader.” (Photo: Courtesy of The Nelson Mandela Foundation)

    Reuters

    SEPTEMBER 5, 2020

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, is alleging in a new book that Trump made disparaging remarks about Black world leaders including former South African President Nelson Mandela, as well as about U.S. minorities in general, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

    Cohen worked closely with Trump for years before turning against him, most publicly in testimony to Congress last year prior to Trump’s impeachment.

    Now Cohen is serving a three-year sentence for, among other things, making false statements to Congress. In a book due to be published next week, Cohen alleges that Trump described Mandela as a poor leader, according to the Washington Post which reported it obtained a copy of the book.

    According to the newspaper, Cohen wrote that following Mandela’s death in 2013, Trump said: “Mandela f—-ed the whole country up. Now it’s a s—-hole. F—- Mandela. He was no leader.”

    Cohen also alleged that Trump said: “Tell me one country run by a black person that isn’t a s—-hole. They are all complete f—-ing toilets.”

    White House Spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany responded by attacking Cohen’s credibility.

    “Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress. He has lost all credibility, and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies,” McEnany said in a statement.

    Trump has called Cohen “a rat,” and a liar, and Cohen has said he faced repeated death threats from Trump supporters.

    Trump, a Republican, is seeking re-election and will face Democrat Joe Biden at the polls on Nov. 3. At the Republican convention in August where Trump was formally nominated to appear on the ballot, speakers defended Trump against past accusations of racism.

    Cohen alleged that Trump was dismissive of minorities, and that Trump said during his 2016 presidential campaign that he would not win the Hispanic vote, the Washington Post reported. According to Cohen, Trump said: “Like the blacks, they’re too stupid to vote for Trump.”

    Cohen is serving time for tax evasion, false statements and campaign finance violations, the last related to payments to silence women who alleged affairs with Trump before the 2016 presidential election.

    He was released to home confinement in May given the risks of catching COVID-19 in prison, but then was briefly imprisoned again in July. A federal judge then ruled Cohen had been subjected to retaliation for planning to publish his book, and ordered him released again.

    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

    Related

    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 »

    Related:

    ‘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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    LATEST UPDATE: Coronavirus Pandemic

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    THE LATEST UPDATE:

    Updated: September 9th, 2020

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