Author Archive for Tadias

Update: Friends in Nashville Mourn Ibex Ethiopian Restaurant Owner’s Death

Nashville restaurant owner Gitem Demissie, age 41, was fatally shot about midnight last Saturday as he was preparing to close his business. (Photo: News Channel5)

AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Members of Nashville’s Ethiopian community remain puzzled as to why someone would kill a beloved restaurant owner who was shot to death last weekend.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2nLCR5B ) that friends of Gitem Demissie were still grappling with his violent death. Those who knew him described him as a good man and a hardworking immigrant.

Demissie was the owner of Ibex Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant in south Nashville.

Authorities have said that the 41-year-old was preparing to close his restaurant about midnight Saturday night when he was shot. Police say a masked gunman wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and black jeans approached Demissie and shot him multiple times. Investigators have called it a targeted killing but are still searching for a motive as well as the gunman.


Related:
In Nashville, Ethiopian Restaurant Owner Killed In Targeted Shooting

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Wall Street Journal Editorial on Trump’s Dishonest Presidency

"If he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President," say editors of Wall Street Journal arguing that Trump’s lies are eroding public trust at home and abroad. (Getty)

The Hill

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board on Tuesday harshly criticized President Trump for damaging his own credibility and undermining his presidency with “his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”

The conservative editorial board said Trump’s repeated accusations that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower will make people second-guess whether he is speaking the truth if something serious happens during his administration.

“If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him?” the editorial stated.

“We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”
The attack from the Journal’s editorial board is notable at a time when Trump is struggling to win over voters for legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare. While it is far from unusual for the conservative page to criticize a Republican, the attack on Trump was notable for its language.

“Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President,” it said.

It criticized Trump for refusing to apologize for the accusation about Obama, which lawmakers in both parties and the director of the FBI have said is baseless.

The publication also knocked Trump for repeating an unsubstantiated assertion by a Fox News commentator that a British intelligence agency had helped Obama with wiretaps, while expressing wonder that he would stick to his position.

“Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims,” the editors write. “[White House press secretary] Sean Spicer — who doesn’t deserve this treatment — was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.”


Related:
FBI Debunks Trump’s Fake Claims Against Obama, Confirms Russia-Trump Probe

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Between Yosef Salamsa & Martin Luther King: The Ethiopian Jewish Struggle in Comparative Perspective

Talk and Q&A at American Jewish Historical Society: The Ethiopian Jewish Struggle in Comparative Perspective featuring Ethiopian-Israeli writer, scholar, editor and activist Efrat Yerday. (Photo by Gideon Agaza)

American Jewish Historical Society

Press release

Talk and Q&A with Efrat Yerday in partnership with Jewish Voice for Peace

New York — Join us for a talk by Efrat Yerday on the contemporary parallel struggles of Ethiopian Jews in Israel/Palestine and Black Lives Matter in the US and on the struggles of black people against racism from a transnational perspective. In recent years, Ethiopian Jewish activists have begun to gradually perceive their struggle in universal terms, adopting global anti-racist strategies on the one hand, but often without giving up their precarious privilege as Jews. More specifically, they have drawn from the Black Lives Matter movement, invoking practices and language that transcend the local so as to garner universal legitimation. African American leaders such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King are quoted frequently in demonstrations and on social media by Ethiopian activists; the clashes in Baltimore, Fergusson and Missouri are linked to the clashes in Rabin square in Tel Aviv. Efrat Yerday is a writer, scholar, editor, and activist. In 2010–2011 she served as the spokesperson for the Israeli Association for Ethiopian Jews and published opinion pieces on racism in general and institutionalized racism in particular. Over the years she has also published reviews of nonfiction dealing with Ethiopian history and the absorption of Ethiopians in Israel. In 2010 she established the Young Ethiopian Students blog, inviting critical thinking and challenging the establishment and academic narrative of the immigration and absorption of Ethiopian Jews. Yerday teaches at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev and writes regularly for Hamakom hakhi kham begehinom (The Hottest Place in Hell) and for other media outlets.


If You Go:
Mar 27 2017 7:00PM
Center for Jewish History Chapel
15 West 16th Street
New York , New York 10011
Between 5th & 6th Aves.
Click here to buy Tickets

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As Trash Avalanche Toll Rises in Ethiopia, Survivors Ask Why

A funeral service last week for victims of a garbage landslide in Addis Ababa. At least 113 people were killed in the March 11 collapse, according to the government. (Photo: Associated Press)

The New York Times

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — At the moment when she lost her home and family, Hanna Tsegaye was spending her Saturday night with a neighborhood friend.

Around 8 p.m. on March 11, Ms. Hanna, 16, heard a strange sound, like rushing wind, and felt the ground shake beneath her feet. She rushed outside and saw that an enormous pile of garbage at a nearby landfill had collapsed.

Her home, which had been a couple of hundred yards from the trash heap, was buried. So were her parents and two siblings.

At least 113 people, according to the latest government estimate, were killed when part of the Repi landfill, in the southwest of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, collapsed. In the days since, grieving survivors have been tormented by a pressing question: Could this tragedy have been prevented?

“We don’t know how such a thing could happen,” a weeping Ms. Hanna said. “Hopefully, someone can tell us and find a solution for the future. I hope this can be a lesson for the government, and that they remember us.”

Read more »


Related:
Desperate Choice of Ethiopia Landslide Survivor: Run or Die
What’s Wrong in Ethiopia? It’s Land, Stupid
In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

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Tale of Ethiopia Landslide Survivor

A garbage dump landslide on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa killed hundreds of people last week. (Photo: AFP)

AFP

Desperate Choice of Ethiopia Landslide Survivor: Run or Die

Addis Ababa – One minute, Zemed Derib stood negotiating with her precocious siblings who had locked themselves inside their uncle’s home as a prank.

The next, the playful scene gave way to horror as the hillside of the rubbish dump above them collapsed.

With terrified screams of neighbours filling the air, Zemed abandoned her doomed sisters and took to her heels, outrunning the torrent of fetid dirt that swallowed homes and killed at least 113 people in Africa’s second most-populous country, Ethiopia.

“I ran away, but finally, when I turn my face, nothing was there. Everything changed into black,” Zemed said as she sat clutching a portrait of her mother Yeshi Beyene, one of the victims of the disaster at Koshe, the country’s largest rubbish dump situated on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa.

On Saturday, a week after the tragedy, men in face masks and rubber aprons waited for excavators to move aside the waste to carry out their search for the dead.

Zemed, wearing all black, is mourning the loss of seven relatives, including her three younger sisters and a baby girl born days earlier who had not yet been named.

Zemed’s family lived among a community of hundreds who had built homes on the side of Koshe’s main slope and spent their days scavenging for valuable rubbish trucked in from neighbourhoods around this city of about four million people.

- Accident waiting to happen? -

The settlement is now buried under a wall of black muck and the landslide left a jagged, crescent-shaped cut in the side of the landfill’s rise.

Read more »


Related:
What’s Wrong in Ethiopia? It’s Land, Stupid
In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

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FBI Debunks Trump’s Fake Claims Against Obama, Confirms Russia-Trump Probe

The Director of the FBI James B. Comey told the U.S. Congress on Monday that his agency is investigating possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in the 2016 US election. (Photo: Reuters)

The Associated Press

Comey Says FBI probing Trump-Russia links, wiretap claims bogus

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating whether Donald Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats.

In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.

Read more »

WATCH: FBI says no evidence to backup Trump’s wiretapping tweets


(Photo: Reuters)

The Washington Post

FBI Director confirms probe of Russian meddling in election, possible links to Trump associates

FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged on Monday the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and said that probe extends to the nature of any links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government.

Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey said the investigation is also exploring whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Kremlin, and “whether any crimes were committed.”

The acknowledgment was an unusual move, given that the FBI’s practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. “But in unusual circumstances, where it is in the public interest,” Comey said, “it may be appropriate to do so.”

Comey said he had been authorized by the Justice Department to confirm the wide-ranging probe’s existence.

He spoke at the first intelligence committee public hearing on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with National Security Agency head Michael S. Rogers.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:
FBI Sees No Evidence of Trump Wiretap, Director Confirms Inquiry Into Russian Election Meddling (NY Times)
FBI Says Trump campaign, Russia ties investigated, no wiretap evidence found (CNN)

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Antu Yacob’s Play “In the Gray” Featured at 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival

Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Antu Yacob has been selected to perform her one-person Ethiopian-American play entitled In the Gray next Fall at the 2017 United Solo, which is the world’s largest solo theatre festival annually held in New York City.

“It’s hard to put Antu into words. It’s even harder to put her in a box,” states the announcement. “Quirky, awkward, sometimes hot, sometimes lukewarm, this Ethiopian American woman, actor, daughter and mother explores her experience of being an outsider from deep within.”

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University in New Jersey, grew up in San Francisco and Minnesota. Her acting career includes roles in NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and the soon to be released Netflix series Gypsy. She played the lead roles in films Eminent Domain (DeepFreeze Media) and Walking In Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) and supporting roles in Conjure (TerraLuke Media) and Fine Art (Shannon Ousley/Zoe Munlyn). Her play entitled Mourning Sun, set in Ethiopia and New York, was performed at the West End Theatre in Manhattan in 2015 and at the 2016 Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda this past Winter.

“I knew that I wanted to write about my experience not only as an actor, but also as an Ethio-American professional in the entertainment industry,” Antu told Tadias in an interview last Summer. “It’s a point of view that I don’t see reflected in mainstream media, but it is something that I live with.”

Antu’s parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia when she was about five years old. “I constantly have this experience of being between two cultures,” Antu shared. “That’s why I call it In The Gray, because a lot of things are not black and white for me. I wrote it so that people who watch it and relate to it can feel they are not alone.”

As a playwright Antu says “she tries to experiment with social and political activism in an entertaining way” noting that “America is made up of so many different cultures, and there is room to honor that diversity without sacrificing the beauty of who we are as a people. As Ethiopian Americans we make up a part of the larger American experience.” She adds: “The best thing about In the Gray is that you don’t necessarily have to be Ethiopian to appreciate the play because it’s an American story. It’s for everyone.”

Antu’s show is directed by Celestine Rae with lighting & set design by Matthew Fick, show image by Anthony Artis and executive produced by Tadias Magazine.


If You Go
IN THE GRAY BUY TICKETS

Performed by Antu Yacob, ETHIOPIA
Sun 9/17 2:00pm
drama, comedy, storytelling, movement, performance art, 75 min.

All shows are staged at Theatre Row: 410 West 42nd Street, New York City. TICKETS, with a price of $35 (plus a $2.25 Theatre Restoration Charge) are available at the Theatre Row Box Office and online through Telecharge at www.telecharge.com. You may also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200. When placing your reservation, please provide: the FESTIVAL name (United Solo Theatre Festival), the name of THEATRE (Theatre Row – The Studio Theatre), and the specific DAY and TIME of SHOW you would like to see.

Click here to buy tickets

Related:
In the Gray: A One Person Ethio-American Show by Playwright Antu Yacob

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In Nashville, Ethiopian Restaurant Owner Killed In Targeted Shooting

Nashville restaurant owner Gitem Demissie, age 41, was fatally shot this past weekend as he was preparing to close his business. (Photo: News Channel5)

News Channel5

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Family and friends gathered to mourn the loss of their loved one after he was killed in a targeted shooting inside a business he owned.

South Nashville restaurant owner Gitem Demissie, age 41, was fatally shot overnight as he was preparing to close his business.

Metro Police responded to Ibex Ethiopian Restaurant in the 2500 block of Murfreesboro Pike after midnight, early Sunday morning, where they discovered Demissie who had been shot multiple times.

First responders transported him to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

“We were really broken,” said Father Mesfin Tesemma, who leads the Ethiopian church where Demissie was an active member. “We didn’t expect this to happen to him. He doesn’t deserve to die like this. He is a very nice person.”

Tesemma said Demissie was a hard-working businessman who was well-known in the area. Tesemma said he sometimes put in 16 or 17 hours a day at his businesses.

Demissie had lived in Nashville for more than ten years. He first opened Ibex Mart on Bell Road, selling Ethiopian groceries, including spices, fresh meat, and vegetables.

According to Tesemma, Ibex Mart was the only Ethiopian grocery store in Nashville, meaning a lot of people knew Demissie and relied on his business.

In January 2015, Demissie opened a second business, the restaurant and bar, where he was shot and killed early Sunday morning.

Friends said Demissie had been working hard to sell his bar in hopes of taking time to travel home to Ethiopia to see his parents. His death has left many in the Ethiopian community fearing for their safety.

“What happened to him means a lot for everybody. So are we safe here?” Tesemma said. “Those are the kinds of questions it raises in the minds of a lot of Ethiopians.”

Detectives remained on scene until sunrise collecting interviews and evidence.

The shooter was described as a masked gunman wearing a black long sleeve shirt and black jeans. A witness said the suspect went up to Demissie, shot him multiple times, and fled from the building. The witness added the man had light skin and a thin build, and he stood around 5’7’’ tall.

Anyone with information on this fatal shooting has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.

Read more and watch video at News Channel5 »


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Ethiopia: Time to End Mass Detentions

President Mulatu Teshome addresses Parliament about the declaration of the state of emergency, in Addis Ababa, October 10, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

HRW

Ethiopia Lifts Some State of Emergency Restrictions: Time to End Mass Arbitrary Detentions

Ethiopia announced this week that some of the restrictions around its five-month-old state of emergency have been lifted. The government announced that the command post, charged with enforcing the country’s state of emergency in the wake of unprecedented mass protests against government policies, would no longer be able to arbitrarily arrest people or conduct property searches without warrants. Further, curfews and some restrictions on media reporting will end.

The government says that it has detained more than 20,000 people in “rehabilitation camps” – one of its long-standing approaches to obstructing protests and expressions of dissent – during the state of emergency. Detaining tens of thousands of people without charge in horrible conditions in order to indoctrinate them on government polices is not only unlawful, but unlikely to deter future protests. Human Rights Watch has interviewed many people who were detained in these camps, and they all say the experience only served to increase their anger and frustration with the government.

The announcement that arbitrary detentions – long a significant and underreported problem in rural Ethiopia – are no longer permissible under the state of emergency is welcome news. The government hasn’t permitted the United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to investigate allegations despite requests from the UN body in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015.

Human Rights Watch and other groups have documented the Ethiopian government’s use of arbitrary detention, especially outside of Addis Ababa, over many years – in police stations, prisons, military camps, and unknown places of detention. There is a lack of due process, mistreatment and torture are common, and most detainees never face trial. A Human Rights Watch report last year detailing the brutal crackdown against protesters in Oromia region highlighted the problem of mass arbitrary detention. Just two of the 46 people we interviewed who had been detained outside of Addis Ababa had been brought to court.

As part of Ethiopia’s “deep reform” process, it should send a clear message to its security forces that they cannot arrest people for lawfully protesting government policies, for being members of legal opposition parties, or for other peaceful forms of dissent. Now is the time for Ethiopia to give the UN Working Group access, and stop hiding its rights record from scrutiny.


Related:
Ethiopia Lifts Some Restrictions Imposed During State of Emergency (Reuters)
Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

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Trump Proposes to End All Arts Funding

(Image: National Endowment for the Arts website)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 16th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — It’s unfortunate that the Trump administration’s budget proposal for 2018, submitted for approval to the U.S. Congress this week, eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from the entire US federal spending. The Washington Post points out, however that “many of Trump’s budget proposals are likely to run into stiff resistance from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, even from Republicans, whose support is crucial because they must vote to authorize government appropriations.”

The Post adds: “Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. The cuts could represent the widest swath of reductions in federal programs since the drawdown after World War II.”

The arts news site, Artnet, likewise notes that Trump’s budget cuts would “have a serious impact on cultural production, and the artists, musicians, writers, and scholars who rely on it.”

Trump’s budget proposal, which was presented to Capitol Hill on Thursday (March 16th), is part of the White House expenditure goals for next year that seeks large cutback in spending for science, culture, diplomacy, and much more. Budget cuts can also affect the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds national public radio stations.


Related:
Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Annual Human Rights Presentation
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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Addis Calling II: Ethiopia Exhibition Featuring Contemporary Artists

Artwork by Addis Gezahegn, 2017 Floating City I , Acrylic on Cavas. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The second installment of the Addis Calling group exhibition curated by Addis Fine Art Gallery will open in Ethiopia’s capital city on March 25th. The exhibition promotes the works of contemporary Ethiopian artists and will remain on display until May 20th, 2017.

“Representing a new selection of local talent engaged in a diverse range of artistic expression, the exhibition is an exciting mix of painting, glass mono-prints and photography,” the gallery announced in a press release.

Artists featured in Addis Calling II include Addis Gezahegn, Mulugeta Kassa, Abiy Solomon and Bezawit Wondwossen.

Below are bios of each artist courtesy of Addis Fine Art gallery:

Addis Gezahegn

Addis Gezahegn (b.1978), a long-time artistic presence in Addis Ababa, is known for portraying the multifaceted characteristics of the city’s residents by detailing the external facades of their homes,” His signature piece in the exhibition, from his series Floating City, features a vast, dramatic night sky—a black expanse that towers above a shimmering horizon of urban homes that mostly appear rootless, blurred, and ephemeral. Over the years, he has taken an increasingly reductive approach to his work, rendering entire cityscapes as a flat patchwork of colorful doors and gates. Gezahegn is a 2011 graduate of Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Art and Design.

Mulugeta Kassa


Paintings by Mulugeta Kassa, UNTITLED III, 2012, Glass Mono Print, 40 × 30 cm and UNTITLED I, 2012
Glass Mono Print 40 × 30 cm. (Courtesy photos)

Mulugeta Kassa (b.1973), co-founder of the experimental collective Netsa Art Village, considers the singular nature of conception and fertility through his glass mono-prints. Embryo and phallus-like structures float by in a sea of neutral grays, greens, and browns. One of these is tweaked to reveal the outline of a woman carrying a mountain-like bundle of sticks on her back. Kassa graduated from the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts and Design in 2003.

Photographer Abiy Solomon


Photo by Abiy Solomon, LALIBELA IV, 2014, Digital Archival Print, 47 x 70.5cm, Edition of 7 + 1AP.

Abiy Solomon (b.1983), is a photographer and one of the most prominent graphic designers in Addis Ababa. In his photography series, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela, he offers a meditation on spirituality and the profound interiority of faith, as he photographs monks in Lalibela exiting and entering the hushed, dark spaces within the ancient rock-hewn churches. Offset by the bright sunlight that pours in through the open windows and doorways, the images are imbued with a reverent feeling: a contemplation of light and darkness, as well as the inner and outer manifestations of religiosity. Solomon holds a degree in Animation and Visual Effects from Maac University in India (2008). He is the founder and Creative Director at Orangeswitch, a design company, and Partner at Africology Media.

Bezawit Wondwossen


Painting by By Bezawit Wondwosen, Untitled X, 2016. (Courtesy photograph)

Bezawit Wondwossen (b.1987) uses bold, thick strokes of blues, oranges, and browns to create an abstract yet vigorous cityscape, against which splashes of black silhouette. The black forms a meditative core—seemingly haphazard, yet controlled; ornamental, yet integral to the logic of the works. It pulls viewers in to contemplate its various weights, and the sense of angst it evokes—a feeling Bezawit, a 2003 graduate of the Abyssinia School of Fine Arts, ascribes to the travails of womanhood.


If You Go:
Addis Calling II Exhibit
March 25th through May 20th, 2017.
Addis Fine Art gallery
(3rd Floor, Red Building Behind Mafi City Mall)
Bole Medhane Alem
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 913 426553
www.addisfineart.com

Related:
Addis Fine Art Opens New Gallery With Inaugural Exhibition

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What’s Wrong in Ethiopia? Land, Stupid

In Ethiopia land dispute led to protests and many deaths outside Addis Ababa last year. (Getty Images)

ADAM SMITH INSTITUTE – LONDON

FAILING TO SPOT THAT THE PROBLEM WITH ETHIOPIA IS…[LAND]

Things are not going well in Ethiopia, this we know. Riots and protests erupt. This is not a good sign for a society. It’s also very much a pity – not just for the usual reasons that violence is a pity – because Ethiopia is one of those places discovering the joys of the early stages of a lift off into the Industrial Revolution. They’re taking those first baby steps to getting rich, that thing that we’ve all done and which has escaped all too much of the world until very recently.

What’s happening is that those living on a piece of land, working it perhaps, are being thrown off it in favour of those doing something else with it. But why?

The Guardian tells us what is happening but doesn’t quite manage to grasp that cause, even though they mention it:

All land is theoretically owned by the government, merely leased by tenants, and when the government says go, you have to go.

This is the problem that private property solves. OK, sure, you can construct a very rickety indeed case that all land is still owned by the Crown (it isn’t, but) and that compulsory purchase equates to this. But that’s not so – compulsory purchase means that you get paid at the market rate for having to move and then only in favour of a project which contributes to the public, not private, good.

But in a system where the government really does own all the land, and can allocate usage without reference to current occupiers, the end result is what we see in Ethiopia. Who gets to use the land depends upon access to the political system and those excluded riot as a result.

It might even be true that no one made the land so there’s no reason why anyone should own it exclusively. Except that, as with democracy, all other systems are worse.

Read more »


Related:
In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

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Reuters: Ethiopia Lifts Some Restrictions Imposed During State of Emergency

Demonstrators during a march in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, October 2016. (Photo: REUTERS)

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA — The Ethiopian government has lifted some restrictions imposed during a state of emergency declared last year following deadly protests, state-run media quoted the defence minister as saying on Wednesday.

Minister Siraj Fegessa ended powers granted to security services to stop and search suspects and to search homes without court authorisation.

Siraj, who chairs the government’s body overseeing the state of emergency, also revoked a dusk-to-dawn curfew on access to economic installations, some infrastructure and factories for unauthorised people.

“These measures were lifted because it is our belief that the ordinary security arrangements are sufficient enough to maintain calm,” the state-run Ethiopian News Agency quoted Siraj as saying in a news conference for local journalists.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in October following months of deadly protests that killed around 500 people. Anger over a development scheme for the capital sparked broader anti-government demonstrations over politics and human rights abuses.

Read more »


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Father Imprisoned for Genital Cutting Is Deported to Ethiopia

Khalid Adem in 2006. (Photo: GWINNETT DAILY POST via The Associated Press)

The New York Times

A man who in 2006 became the first person in the United States to be convicted of female genital cutting was deported on Monday to his home country, Ethiopia, after serving 10 years in prison, federal authorities said.

The man, Khalid Adem, 41, used scissors to remove the clitoris of his 2-year-old daughter in his family’s Atlanta-area apartment in 2001, prosecutors in Gwinnett County, Ga., said. He was convicted of aggravated battery and cruelty to children.

The case led to a state law prohibiting the practice, which was already prohibited by a federal law and is a common social ritual in parts of the world but is broadly condemned.

“A young girl’s life has been forever scarred by this horrible crime,” Sean W. Gallagher, a field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The elimination of female genital mutilation/cutting has broad implications for the health and human rights of women and girls, as well as societies at large.”

The World Health Organization has estimated that more than 200 million girls and women have been cut in 30 countries, mostly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The procedure, which involves the removal of parts of the genitalia, is typically performed on girls before they turn 15 and leads to a wide range of lifelong health consequences, including chronic infection, childbirth complications, psychological trauma and pain during urination, menstruation and intercourse.

The practice is far from unheard-of in the United States. Though it is illegal under federal law, about half a million women have undergone the procedure or are likely to be subjected to it, according to a 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more »


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Spotlight: Wayna’s Facebook Video in Honor of Women’s History Month

Wayna (full name Woyneab Miraf Wondwossen) is a grammy nominated R&B/soul singer and songwriter who was born in Ethiopia and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — As Wayna prepares a public tribute to Ethiopian music legend Bezunesh Bekele this coming summer, the Grammy nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter has just released a new music video on Facebook in honor of Women’s History Month. The video entitled You’re Not Alone (Live) features images of Ethiopian women by photographer Aida Muluneh as well as photos of women that she encountered at the Women’s March on Washington this past January.

The new song shows solidarity with “women and girls in my native Ethiopia, for reproductive rights, for equal pay, and to put an end to violence against women and girls everywhere” says Wayna via Facebook. “Today, I say to all my sisters, mothers and daughters: You are NOT alone.”

You’re Not Alone (Live) is performed by Wayna and Eli Staples; Written by Nicholas Zork, Mixed by Awthentik, and Directed by E-hab Abasaeed. Photos in Ethiopia were taken by Aida Muluneh and Photos of the Women’s March are by E-hab Abasaeed. Styling done by Alison Carney.

Click here to watch the video on Facebook


Wayna Releases New Music Video ‘Amazing’ Filmed in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia: Journalist Anania Sorri Freed

Journalist Anania Sorri. (Image: Fana TV via Youtube)

CPJ

March 13, 2017

New York — Authorities responsible for overseeing implementation of Ethiopian’s state of emergency today released Ethiopian commentator Anania Sorri.

Anania told CPJ he was released unconditionally today, four months after his November 17, 2016, detention without charge under a state of emergency the government declared the month prior. He told CPJ that he planned to continue writing. Anania posts critical commentary on a public Facebook page followed by some 11,000 people.

“Today’s release of Anania Sorri is welcome news,” CPJ Africa Coordinator Angela Quintal said. “We urge Ethiopian authorities to free all other journalists and bloggers still imprisoned simply for doing their jobs.”

After Seyoum Teshome and Befekadu Hailu, Anania was the third Ethiopian journalist to be released since December 1, 2016, when CPJ last conducted its annual census of journalists jailed around the world.

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Related:
Wife of Ethio Reporter Anania Sorri Says US & UK Could Help Free Her Husband
Audio: NPR on the brave Ethiopian reporter Anania Sorri


NPR’s East Africa correspondent, tells the story of a brave Ethiopian reporter, Anania Sorri,
who asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry one very serious question that was seriously misunderstood.

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Beyond Ethiopia Pundits Propaganda: How US Lobbying On the Hill Really Works

Lobbying is attempting to influence decisions made by a public official and lobbyists are professionals hired by a special interest group to represent their interests to Congress. (Photo of Capitol Hill: THINKSTOCK)

Us Represent.us

Lobbyists get a bad rap — is lobbying bad?

There is nothing inherently wrong with lobbying. Lobbying encourages people to play an active role in their government — it’s protected by the First Amendment as our right “to petition the government.”

The problem is when lobbyists use money to buy influence with our government. Lobbyists today funnel millions of dollars into the hands of Congress.

Because they’ve become dependent on money from lobbyists to fund their political careers, Congress ends up passing laws to keep the lobbyists and their clients happy, instead of laws that benefit the American people.

A lobbyist can’t just walk up to a lawmaker with a briefcase full of cash and say, ‘Hey, Senator, I’ll give you $100,000 if you vote our way on this bill.’ But lobbyists can still give the congressmember $100,000—and much, much more—without breaking any laws.

If it seems like the government isn’t working for the people, part of the problem is they’re effectively being bribed, very often by lobbyists. Here’s how it works:

3 Crazy Facts About Lobbyists:

1. Lobbyists Raise Millions for Congressmembers’ Campaign Funds.

Getting into and staying in Congress takes a ton of money these days: On average, a candidate has to raise more than $14,000 a day, 7 days a week to win a Senate seat. And a candidate needs upwards of $1.6 million to win a seat in the House. That’s a lot of cash to come up with.

Lobbyists come to the rescue! They don’t just donate directly to the candidate’s campaign fund, they also sponsor big fundraisers that raise tens of thousands of dollars for the Congressmember in a single afternoon.

“You can’t take a congressman to lunch for $25 and buy him a steak. But you can take him to a fundraising lunch and not only buy him that steak, but give him $25,000 extra and call it a fundraiser.”
— JACK ABRAMOFF, FORMER LOBBYIST

Let’s say you’re a bank and you want a senator to vote your way. You can’t just give him $100,000 — that would be a bribe. People recognize giving someone large sums of money tends to lead to corruption, so it’s illegal.

Instead, you hire a lobbying firm. Your lobbyist can now throw a fundraiser and collect $100,000 for the senator’s campaign, then hand-deliver a fat check to him. No laws broken!

2. There’s a HUGE “Return On Investment For Lobbying”.

In 2012 alone, private interests spent $3.5 billion on lobbying — and they did it because they get an unbeatable return on their investment.

There’s actually a correlation between how much a company spends on lobbyists and how much they get from the federal government. This has been dubbed the “Return On Investment For Lobbying” (ROIFL) — and the number is mindboggling.

For every dollar top companies spend lobbying, they get an average $220 in federal support and tax savings. So the Return On Investment For Lobbying is 22,000%.

No, that’s not an extra zero (or two, or three) By comparison, a good savings account gets you about a 1% return. You’d be thrilled if your stock broker pulled in 7%. Maybe that’s why a recent headline advised Americans to “Forget Stocks Or Bonds, Invest In A Lobbyist.” That’s irony, of course, since most Americans can’t afford a lobbyist.

3. The Revolving Door

The most powerful trick up a lobbyist’s sleeve may not even be campaign contributions, fundraisers, and lavish resort vacations. They have a way to promise members of Congress unregulated sums deposited directly into their personal bank account. How?

Lobbyists can offer a member of Congress a future multi-million dollar salary working at their lobbying firm.

This phenomenon — members of Congress becoming lobbyists — is known as “the revolving door.” And it’s become the rule rather than the exception.

Today around 50% of senators and 42% of representatives become lobbyists after leaving Congress.

Members of Congress who become lobbyists see their salaries increase on average 1,452%.

“I would say, ‘When you’re done working on the Hill, we’d very much like you to consider coming to work for us.’ The moment I said that, we owned them. Every request from our office, everything that we want, they’re gonna do.”
— JACK ABRAMOFF, FORMER LOBBYIST

Sound corrupt? It is.

Can we ban lobbyists?

No. And we shouldn’t. Lobbying is not only constitutionally protected, it’s fundamental to a working Republic. Lobbying gives people the power to petition their government.

What if we overturn Citizens United?

Even if Citizens United were overturned tomorrow, it wouldn’t fix America’s lobbying problem. The Citizens United court ruling in 2010 allowed for the creation of independent political organizations (now called “super PACs”) that are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money to promote a candidate, as long as they don’t coordinate with the candidate’s official campaign.

Citizens United concerns important aspects of conflict of interest in campaign finance law, but it has nothing to do with lobbyists.

Overturning Citizens United — reinstating the same limits and disclosure laws that apply to official campaign funds — wouldn’t stop lobbyists’ power over Congress.

Lobbyists could still donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to congressmembers’ election funds, throw them massive fundraisers, and offer them salaries to make a pro-football player blush.

Why would Congress fix the problem — they’re making so much money!

Congress won’t fix the problem. Members in Congress today are dependent on the rules of the game that brought them into power.

But that doesn’t mean the American people are powerless to change the laws.

Is there a solution to America’s lobbying problem?

In cities and states across the country, citizens are using a piece of model legislation called the American Anti-Corruption Act to root out conflicts of interest and corruption where they live. Time and again history has seen laws passed at the city and state level make it all the way to Washington and turn into federal law.

Local Anti-Corruption Acts and Resolutions build momentum towards national reform, since politicians running an anti-corruption platform seed Congress with representatives, not pre-purchased by special interests.

The American Anti-Corruption Act enacts a broad base of reforms to put the kibosh on conflicts of interest, including provisions that:

-Limit lobbyist donations and stop lobbyist-sponsored fundraising.

-Close “The Revolving Door.”

-Prevent politicians from taking money from special interests they regulate.


Related:
Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017
Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Human Rights Presentation
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

Police officers secured the perimeter around a garbage dump landslide on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday as excavators helped the rescue efforts. (Photo: Elias Meseret/AP)

Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

46 killed, dozens missing in Ethiopia garbage dump landslide

ADDIS ABABA — A mountain of trash gave way in a massive garbage dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, killing at least 46 people and leaving several dozen missing, residents said, as officials vowed to relocate those who called the landfill home.

Addis Ababa city spokeswoman Dagmawit Moges said most of the 46 dead were women and children, and more bodies were expected to be found in the coming hours.

It was not immediately clear what caused Saturday night’s collapse at the Koshe Garbage Landfill, which buried several makeshift homes and concrete buildings. The landfill has been a dumping ground for the capital’s garbage for more than 50 years.

About 150 people were there when the landslide occurred, resident Assefa Teklemahimanot told The Associated Press. Addis Ababa Mayor Diriba Kuma said 37 people had been rescued and were receiving medical treatment. Dagmawit said two had serious injuries.

Many people at the landfill had been scavenging items to make a living, but others live there because renting homes, largely built of mud and sticks, is relatively inexpensive.

An AP reporter saw four bodies taken away by ambulances after being pulled from the debris. Elderly women cried, and others stood anxiously waiting for news of loved ones. Six excavators dug through the ruins.

“My house was right inside there,” said a shaken Tebeju Asres, pointing to where one of the excavators was digging in deep, black mud. “My mother and three of my sisters were there when the landslide happened. Now I don’t know the fate of all of them.”

The resumption of garbage dumping at the site in recent months likely caused the landslide, Assefa said. The dumping had stopped in recent years, but it resumed after farmers in a nearby restive region where a new garbage landfill complex was being built blocked dumping in their area.

Smaller collapses have occurred at Koshe — or “dirty” in the local Amharic language — in the past two years but only two or three people were killed, Assefa said.

“In the long run, we will conduct a resettling program to relocate people who live in and around the landfill,” the Addis Ababa mayor said.

Around 500 waste-pickers are believed to work at the landfill every day, sorting through the debris from the capital’s estimated 4 million residents. City officials say close to 300,000 tons of waste are collected each year from the capital, most of it dumped at the landfill.

Since 2010, city officials have warned that the landfill was running out of room and was being closed in by nearby housing and schools.

City officials in recent years have been trying to turn the garbage into a source of clean energy with a $120 million investment. The Koshe waste-to-energy facility, which has been under construction since 2013, is expected to generate 50 megawatts of electricity upon completion.

Ethiopia, which has one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, is under a state of emergency imposed in October after several months of sometimes deadly protests demanding wider political freedoms.


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Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

On Thursday March 9, 2017, in front of a large crowd of Ethiopians, US congressman Chris Smith convened a hearing on the current situation in Ethiopia entitled 'Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia.' (AP file photo)

US House Foreign Affairs Committee

Excerpts from Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04)

Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations

March 9, 2017

As we begin today’s hearing to examine the troubling conditions for democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, let us stipulate that this East Africa government is a prime U.S. ally on the continent. Ethiopia is the primary troop contributor to peacekeeping operations such as UNISFA along the Sudan-South Sudan border, UNMISS in South Sudan and AMISOM in Somalia. Ethiopia joined the UN Security Council in January and is one of three African members on the Council, along with Senegal and Egypt.

During a series of private negotiations in the last months of the previous Administration, Ethiopian officials acknowledged that the tense situation in their country is at least partly their government’s fault. There have been discussions with opposition parties and consideration of changing the electoral system to use proportional representation, which could increase the chances of opposition parties winning Parliamentary and local races. Late last year, the government released an estimated 10,000 prisoners despite maintaining a state of emergency.

However, there are at least 10,000 more people held in jail who are considered political prisoners, and the government continues to arrest and imprison critics of its actions. In January, two journalists from the faith-based station Radio Bilal, Khalid Mohamed and Darsema Sori, were sentenced to 5 and 4 year prison terms respectively for inciting extremist ideology and planning to overthrow the government through their coverage of Muslim protests about government interference in religious affairs. The journalists were arrested in February 2015 and convicted in December under the 2009 anti-terrorism law alongside 18 other defendants.

In late February, Ethiopian prosecutors charged Dr. Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (a registered opposition party) with rendering support to terrorism and attempting to “disrupt constitutional order.” Merera had been arrested upon his return to Ethiopia after testifying in November at a European parliament hearing about the crisis in his country, Dr. Merera had testified alongside exiled opposition leader Prof. Berhanu Nega (sentenced to death on terrorism charges in 2009) and Olympic medal winner Feyisa Lilesa. Other senior OFC leaders, including OFC deputy chairman Bekele Gerba, have been imprisoned on terrorism charges for more than a year. Both are viewed by many as moderate voices among Ethiopia’s opposition.

According to the State Department’s newly released Human Rights Report on Ethiopia, security forces killed “hundreds” in the context of using excessive force against protestors in 2016. “At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained,” according to the report. Many have not been provided due process. The government has denied the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights access to the Oromia and Amhara regions.

The lack of due process in Ethiopian courts also affects foreigners. Israeli businessman Menasche Levy has been in jail for nearly a year and a half on financial crimes charges. The government officials accused of being involved with Levy in illegal activities have had their charges dropped and have been released from jail. Yet Levy’s next court proceeding won’t be for several more months. We cannot determine his guilt or innocence of the charges, but it is clear that he has been denied a trial in a reasonable time frame and has been beaten in jail by other prisoners and denied proper medical care. These circumstances unfortunately apply to all-too-many people who come in contact with the Ethiopian court system.

My staff and I have discussed with the Government of Ethiopia the possibility of working cooperatively to find ways to end the repression without creating a chaotic transition. Officials in Addis and Ambassador to the U.S. Girma Birru have been very positive in their response. The previous Administration found the Ethiopian government similarly willing to be cooperative.

Unfortunately, there is a significant variance in how that government sees its actions and how the rest of the world sees them. That is why I and several of my colleagues have introduced House Resolution 128 – to present as true a picture of the situation in Ethiopia as possible. It is also why we have convened today’s hearing.

In our first panel, we have witnesses who will provide an overview of the current state of democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. They will present the facts as the rest of the world sees them. Our second panel consists of four Ethiopians representing various ethnic groups and organizations created to help the Ethiopian people. We have no opposition parties appearing before us today, despite the tendency of the government and its supporters to see anyone who disagrees with them and their actions as supporting terrorists seeking to overthrow the government.

It is my belief that, until the Government of Ethiopia can squarely face the consequences of its actions, there will not be the genuine reform it has promised. Forexample, government officials say we are mistaken to state that the ruling coalition holds 100 percent of the legislative seats. We have said the coalition holds all the seats, whether in the name of the coalition itself or as affiliate parties. If the government cannot be honest with us or itself in such an obvious matter, it is unlikely that the conditions for reform can exist.

The government does appear to realize its precarious position. We have discussed the frustrations it creates by not fully allowing its citizens to exercise their rights of speech, assembly and association. In a June 20, 2013, hearing of this subcommittee, Berhanu Nega said the government has created a situation in which there is no legitimate means of redress of grievances. Although the government jailed him after he won the 2005 race to become Mayor of Addis Ababa, he was not known to have begun his campaign of armed resistance until after that time.

The recent increased protests in Oromo and Amhara regions have alarmed the government, but if it can’t find a way to relent in its refusal to allow genuine competition for political power and to respond to the cries of its people for the services they deserve, there will be more Berhanu Negas.

But this is preventable. Rather than spend hundreds of thousands on consultants to try to mislead Members of Congress on the facts and inciting e-mail form letter campaigns by supporters, the Government of Ethiopia can acknowledge their challenges and work with the U.S. government and others in the international community to seek reasonable solutions. We are prepared to help once they are ready to face the ugly truth of what has happened and what continues to happen in Ethiopia today.

Chairman Smith on the hearing: “Ethiopia has long been an important ally, providing effective peacekeepers and collaborating in the War on Terror. However, increasingly repressive policies have diminished political space and threaten to radicalize not only the political opposition but also civil society by frustrating their ability to exercise their rights under law. This hearing will examine the current situation in Ethiopia with an eye toward developing policies to help this nation to reverse an increasingly tense situation in the troubled Horn of Africa.”

Witnesses
Panel I
Terrence Lyons, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
George Mason University
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Felix Horne
Senior Researcher
Horn of Africa
Human Rights Watch
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Panel II
Ms. Seenaa Jimjimo
President
Coalition of Oromo Advocates for Human Rights and Democracy
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Tewodrose Tirfe
Co-Founder
Amhara Association of America
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Guya Abaguya Deki
Representative
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Yoseph Tafari
Co-Founder
Ethiopian Drought Relief Aid of Colorado
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]


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Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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The Story of American Immigrants from An Ethiopian Perspective

Ethiopian American heart surgeon and entrepreneur Dr. Lishan Aklog, with his wife (R) as well as his mother, son and sister (L) rings the opening bell for his company's Nasdaq IPO, April 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 9th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Who knew that when Dr. Lishan Aklog, CEO and co-founder of the publicly traded company PAVmed Inc., fled a brutal communist regime at age 13 and immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia nearly four decades ago along with his teenage sister he would one day become the youngest heart surgeon ever to join the faculty at Harvard University (his alma mater), or ring the opening bell in honor of his company’s Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO).

Like many of their peers in our community Lishan and his sister sought refuge as they ran away from a government sponsored deadly campaign called “red terror” in Ethiopia. Their father Dr. Aklog Habte-Michael was the first Ethiopian cardiologist serving in Ethiopia, while their mother Professor Almaz Eshete, who also attended Harvard, was Ethiopia’s first woman to receive a graduate degree.

Reflecting on his mother’s journey as a foreign graduate student in 1956 Lishan tells the women’s health website EmpowHER.com that “you can imagine what some of the issues in this country were to have this petite little African woman from the small, poor country in Boston and at Harvard to get a graduate eduction.” He adds: “I think about that and I am just absolutely amazed at what she has accomplished over the years, going back home and being again, the first woman to have her graduate education and to be one of the first professors at the university. She really became an international figure in child development..It’s an amazing inspiration for us.”

Regarding his father Dr. Lishan said: He “came from a very humble background. Earned his way through western school..just sheer work and brains and ended up getting a medical degree..and then he did his residency in the U.S. and then went back [to Ethiopia] and became one of the leading physicians for, you know, 40 years.”

In an article published this week in the Wall Street Journal, Lishan reflected on his immigrant experience in the United States amid the current backlash against refugees and immigrants in the Trump era. “Among the torrent of images in January after President Trump signed his first executive order on immigration, one photo resonated with me. It was a joyful scene: volunteers from a synagogue in Glencoe, Ill., cheerily welcoming a family of Syrian refugees — one of the last to be accepted — at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport,” Lishan wrote. “Thirty-eight years ago, a nearly identical scene played out at the same airport, perhaps in the same terminal. Pastor Gerald Nelson and congregants of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill., welcomed two teenagers fleeing violence: my sister and me.”

Lishan added: “Two days earlier in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, dozens of members of a proud extended family had gathered at the airport as our parents, Prof. Almaz Eshete and Dr. Aklog Habte-Michael, tearfully told us farewell. Our family had suffered greatly under the Red Terror of the Soviet-backed tyrant, Mengistu Haile-Mariam. Fathers were imprisoned, sons were ‘disappeared’ or summarily executed, and children were roused from their bed by soldiers. Our parents had found a way to send us to a life of freedom in America… we arrived to a joyful welcome at O’Hare. Soon we were enjoying apple pie at Poppin’ Fresh Pies on the way to our new families. That’s how my American journey began — with a slice of apple pie.”

“After a rewarding career as an academic heart surgeon, I caught the entrepreneurial bug,” Lishan explained. “Two friends (descendants of Irish, East European and Filipino immigrants) and I founded five medical-device companies. Last April, that immigrant boy who peered out of the jet rang the Nasdaq opening bell with his immigrant family and colleagues at his side. Minutes later, we stood in Times Square, filled with awe and humility as images of our new company streamed on the sides of skyscrapers. I had just one thought: “This is our America.”


Dr. Lishan Aklog is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PAVmed Inc. (Nasdaq: PAVMU), a multi-product medical device company bringing innovative medical technologies from concept to commercialization with unprecedented speed and capital efficiency. (Courtesy photo)


Dr. Lishan poses for a photo with his family and colleagues in Times Square, NYC, after he rang the opening bell in honor of his company’s Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO) on April 28, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

In addition to Dr. Lishan, PAVmed was founded and is led by two other successful medical device entrepreneurs: Dr. Brian deGuzman, a prominent Harvard-trained cardiothoracic surgeon and a leader in medical device innovation, and Michael Glennon a medical device industry veteran and former senior executive in outsourced medical device manufacturing.

Per Bloomberg: “Dr. Aklog has received numerous awards and is a perennial honoree in Castle Connolly’s, America’s Top Doctors. Dr. Aklog has taken a keen interest in health care policy and medical device innovation. As a member of President Obama’s National Finance Committee and Speaker Pelosi’s Speaker’s Cabinet, he has the opportunity to advise members of Congress on health care policy, focusing on cost effective, quality delivery of high-cost, high-technology therapies.”

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Yohannes Abraham Named Senior Adviser to the Obama Foundation

Former President Barack Obama has named Yohannes Abraham as a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation. (Photo via Medium)

Politico

Obama adds former White House staffer Yohannes Abraham as foundation adviser

Barack Obama is continuing to staff his post-presidency with top aides from his presidency, adding Yohannes Abraham as a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation.

He’s coming on for what’s expected to be an at least six-month stint as the top deputy to foundation chief executive officer David Simas, Obama’s former White House political director.

According to a foundation official, Abraham will help run day-to-day operations, focusing on building the structure and then recruiting and managing the staff. He’ll also work closely with foundation executive director Robbin Cohen, who previously worked for former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s private real estate interests.

Abraham was chief of staff to top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett running the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. He also served as a senior adviser to the National Economic Council.

“We always asked Yohannes to take on our toughest, most important projects, and he always always exceeded our expectations,” said Jarrett. “That’s why it’s no surprise that President Obama asked him to help lay the groundwork for his foundation. I have no doubt Yohannes will tackle this with his characteristic intellect, work ethic, sound judgment, and commitment to excellence.”

Abraham’s time with Obama goes back to the 2008 campaign.

Read more »


Related:
Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham
Overview of White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing
White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing and Civic Engagement

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Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Annual Human Rights Presentation

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson skips annual U.S. human rights presentation, while possible budget cuts to foreign aid faces bipartisan opposition in Congress. (Photo: © Greg Nash/The Hill)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson failed to attend the State Department’s yearly release of its human rights report on Friday drawing condemnation from lawmakers and activists alike.

Regarding Ethiopia the U.S. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” highlights that “security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year, killing hundreds and injuring many more. The protests were mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions. At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained. This included persons detained under the government-declared state of emergency, effective October 8. Many were never brought before a court, provided access to legal counsel, or formally charged with a crime.” The report adds: “The most significant human rights problems were security forces’ use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest in response to the protests, politically motivated prosecutions, and continued restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs…Impunity was a problem. The government generally did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed abuses other than corruption.”

For his absence the top U.S. Diplomat “drew fire from some members of Congress and advocates who said his decision not to personally unveil the report suggested the Trump administration places a low priority on advancing human rights,” The Washington Post reported. Human Rights Watch Washington Director, Sarah Margon, adds that Tillerson’s non-involvement “makes it much easier for other governments to ignore its findings.”

Meanwhile, in a related story, U.S. lawmakers from both parties say any proposal to cut funding for the State Department and foreign aid will not see the day of light in Congress. “It’s dead on arrival,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said in an interview with NBC. “It’s not gonna happen. It would be a disaster.”

“If you take soft power off the table then you’re never going to win the war,” Graham continued in the NBC interview. “What’s most disturbing about the cut in the State Department’s budget is it shows a lack of understanding of what it takes to win the war.”

New York Senator and Minority Leader Charles Schumer added: “Democrats and Republicans are both going to run away,” from the Trump budget proposal. “His proposals are falling apart everywhere,” Schumer said.


Related:
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
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Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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Here We Go Again: Ethiopia & Eritrea Blame Each Other Over Alleged Attack

Construction workers are seen in a section of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Newsweek

ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA TRADE ACCUSATIONS OVER GRAND DAM ‘ATTACK’

Eritrea has denied any involvement in an alleged plan to attack an under-construction Ethiopian dam, which is set to become the biggest hydropower dam in Africa.

Ethiopia’s deputy government spokesman, Zadig Abrha, told the state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporation that 20 members of an Eritrean rebel movement—known as the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement—had been apprehended while attempting to attack the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Abrha said that Ethiopian security forces killed 13 of the rebels, while seven fled into neighboring Sudan. But the Ethiopian government spokesman said that Sudan had handed the rebels over and they were now in Ethiopian custody.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel told Bloomberg News that the accusation that his country sponsored the group “is preposterous and peddled for some sinister reason.” Gebremeskel added that he had “never heard of this group.”

Ethiopia and Eritrea have a history of tense relations. Eritrea only seceded from Ethiopia in 1991 after a 30-year independence war, and the two countries have regularly clashed on the boundaries of their borders. Tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides were killed in a border war focused on the town of Badme between 1998 and 2000.

Ethiopia has also accused Eritrea of sponsoring anti-government protests, led by the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, which have been occurring regularly since November 2015. Eritrea has denied the allegation.

Read more at Newsweek.com »


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Will Oprah Run Against Trump in 2020?

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, American media mogul Oprah Winfrey discussed the possibility of her running for US President, which at this point is not totally out of the question. (Photo: Bloomberg News video)

Bloomberg

Oprah 2020? Winfrey Hints at Presidential Run Against Trump

Oprah Winfrey discusses whether she would run for president and reveals her surprise at the election of President Donald Trump with David Rubenstein in the season two premiere of “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations”

Watch: Oprah Realizes You Don’t Need Experience to Be US President:


Related:
Oprah 2020? Winfrey Hints at Presidential Run Against Trump (NBC)
The Serious Case for Oprah 2020 (Politico)
WATCH: President Trump’s worst nightmare? Oprah plots 2020 presidential run (Salon)
Oprah Winfrey considers 2020 Presidential run in wake of Donald Trump’s win (Independent UK)

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In Pictures: DC Awards Dinner Celebrates Ethiopia’s Adwa Victory

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie hosts the 2017 Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner in Washington, DC. (Photo: Tsehai)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This year marks the 121st anniversary of Ethiopia’s victory at the Battle of Adwa, which took place on March 1st 1896. This past weekend in Washington, D.C., Ethiopian guests and friends of Ethiopia from across the U.S. came together for the 6th Annual Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner — a black tie affair hosted by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie. The program was held both in celebration of Adwa as well as to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves through their dedicated contribution to Ethiopian society at large.

Below are photos from the event:

.;

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Related:
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
119 Years Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at the Battle of Adwa on March 1st, 1896
Reflection on 118th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at Adwa
The Significance of the 1896 Battle of Adwa
Call for the Registry of Adwa as UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Ethiopia: Free Dr. Merera Gudina

Dr. Merera Gudina briefing the European parliament about the crisis in Ethiopia on November 9, 2016. (Photo: Facebook)

HRW

Politically Motivated Charges Against Ethiopian Opposition Leader

Three months after Ethiopian security forces arrested opposition leader Dr. Merera Gudina upon his return to Ethiopia, following his participation in a hearing at the European parliament about the crisis in his home country, prosecutors on Thursday charged the prominent 60-year-old politician with rendering support to terrorism and attempting to “disrupt constitutional order.” Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lelisa and the head of the banned opposition group Ginbot 7, Dr. Berhanu Nega, had also participated in the hearing that had been hosted by Member of the European Parliament Ana Gomes, and which was to inform delegates about the protests that have swept through Ethiopia since November 2015. Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands detained since these protests began. Merera is now at Maekelawi, a prison where mistreatment and torture are commonplace.

Merera is the chair of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a legally registered political opposition party. He joins many other senior OFC leaders facing terrorism charges over the last 18 months. Among those presently standing trial is OFC deputy chairman Bekele Gerba. Prosecutors included as evidence of his crimes a video of Bekele at an August 2016 conference in Washington, DC, where he spoke of the importance of nonviolence and commitment to the electoral process. Like Merera, he has been a moderate voice of dissent in a highly polarized political landscape.

Merera and Bekele join a long list of opposition politicians, journalists, and protesters charged under the 2009 anti-terrorism law, regularly used to stifle critical views of governance in Ethiopia. Acquittals are rare, credible evidence is often not presented, and trials are marred by numerous due process concerns.

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Wife of Ethio Reporter Anania Sorri Says US & UK Could Help Free Her Husband

Bezawit Hailegiorgis, wife of the detained blogger and journalist Anania Sorri. (Photo: The Guardian)

The Guardian

Ethiopian journalist’s wife urges UK and US to call for his release

The wife of a blogger and journalist detained in Ethiopia has called on the international community to pressure local authorities to release her husband, who is among tens of thousands held since a state of emergency was declared in the emerging east African power last year.

Anania Sorri, a 34-year-old writer and intellectual, was arrested in November on his way to a meeting at the US embassy in Addis Ababa. He is being held in a high security prison in the Ethiopian capital and has not yet been formally charged with any offence.

Bezawit Hailegiorgis, 29, his wife, said his sole crime had been “to express his thoughts honestly”.

“His crime is his determination to speak out. He is a brilliant political journalist. He was critical but always constructive … but being imprisoned is part of the job description of being a journalist here. It’s a zero-sum game, where someone has to lose, and at the moment they are not losing,” she told the Guardian.

Read more »


Related:
Audio: NPR on the brave Ethiopian reporter Anania Sorri


NPR’s East Africa correspondent, tells the story of a brave Ethiopian reporter, Anania Sorri,
who asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry one very serious question that was seriously misunderstood.

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UCLA Archaeologists Enlist Community to Preserve Cultural Heritage in Ethiopia

UCLA professor Willeke Wendrich talks to school children in northern Ethiopia. (Photo: UCLA)

UCLA Newsroom

Near the small village of Mai Adrasha in Ethiopia, UCLA archaeologists found themselves digging into more than dirt. They were also diving into another role, serving as ambassadors of history to help the local community understand that there is wealth not only in the natural gold-rich soil that encloses long-buried ancient ruins, but also in preservation of cultural heritage.

“We decided it was really worthwhile to keep this site so we spent a lot of time this season talking to people who live around Mai Adrasha,” said Willeke Wendrich, director of the Cotsen Institute and professor of Egyptian archaeology and digital humanities, who has led digs in the area for the last two years.

The results of their efforts were heartening — for archaeology as a whole and for the UCLA team in particular.

Wendrich, her co-director and graduate student Rachel Moy and their team recently returned from their second excavation near Mai Adrasha, in the region of northern Ethiopia called Shire. With several active trenches, they are looking for evidence from the pre-Aksumite era (before 300 B.C.), a period that remains something of an archaeological mystery, partially because the remains of it are disappearing as a result of humans hunting for gold.

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AT the Oscars Ruth Negga Shows Support to American Civil Liberties Union

Ruth Negga wearing a blue American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) ribbon during the Academy Awards ceremony in L.A. on Sunday, February 26th, 2017. (Photo: NYT)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, February 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS)– Ruth Negga the first Ethiopian-born actress to be nominated for an Oscar made her presence felt during the 89th Academy Awards ceremony held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on Sunday evening, arriving with a stylish red Valentino dress decorated with an ACLU ribbon.

The 35-years-old Ethiopian-Irish actress earned the Oscar nomination for her highly acclaimed performance in the American civil rights movie Loving, which depicts the 1967 historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.”

According to The New York Times “The A.C.L.U. took up the case and brought it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which struck down miscegenation laws — those that enforced segregation in intimate relationships — in 1967.”


Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga. (Getty Images)

Ruth was born in Addis Ababa in 1982 to an Ethiopian father (a medical doctor) and an Irish mother (a nurse) and lived in Ethiopia until the age of four when she moved to Ireland with her parents. Ruth’s father died three years later in a car accident when she was only seven years old. Ruth grew up in Limerick, Ireland and has resided in London for the past ten years.


Related:
Ruth Negga: One of the Best Film Stars of Our Time
Ethiopian-born Actress Ruth Negga Gets Thumbs-up for Lead Role in ‘Loving’

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Spotlight: Ethiopia Habtemariam Honored for Black History Month

Ethiopia Habtemariam is President of Motown Records, President of Universal Music Group’s urban music division, and co-head of creative at Universal Music Publishing Group. (Photograph: Universal Music Group)

Radio Facts

The #New28 Honors Ethiopia Habtemariam, Chance the Rapper, and More

The #New28, a power dinner and ceremony, presented and sponsored by Walgreens and African Pride, recognized 28 influencers during Black History Month who are bold, brave, and brilliant in their approach at changing the world through their art.

Read more »


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Ethiopia Habtemariam: Women In Music 2014
Motown Founder Salutes Ethiopia Habtemariam at Heroes & Legends Awards
Ethiopia Habtemariam to be Honored at the 2014 Heroes & Legends Awards
Ethiopia Habtemariam Named President of Motown
Barry Weiss Steps Down as Island Def Jam Motown Reorganizes (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid

Let’s begin by getting the facts straight: US foreign assistance represents less than 1 percent of the federal budget -- tiny category of discretionary spending, experts say. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

‘America first’ shouldn’t mean cutting foreign aid

We have entered the era of “America first” with only a vague understanding of its meaning. President Trump’s inaugural address signaled an ambitious nationalist reimagining of the post-World War II international order. Trump’s foreign policy team, in contrast, seems to spring from that order. The resulting uncertainty is global and dangerous. Vacuums of leadership are not generally filled by the good guys.

The administration’s policy shift is most evident so far in the areas of trade and refugees — Trump prefers less of both. Given a narrowed conception of national interest and the president’s discomfort with the idea of “nation building,” foreign assistance would seem a natural next target. Persistent rumors that the administration is mulling major cuts at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have heightened this speculation.

Although Trump hasn’t spoken much on this topic, some of his comments have reflected an inclination to pull back…Yet Trump has also added notes of ambiguity. In August, he told the Miami Herald that Congress should increase funding to fight the Zika virus abroad. In September, he underlined the importance of ensuring clean water for everyone in the world. In October, he stated that “we’re going to lead the way” on AIDS relief.

In this case, Trump’s better angels would do more to serve the country than his budget-cutters. Putting foreign assistance on the chopping block would be a serious mistake, by any definition of the national interest.

***

Let’s begin by getting the facts straight. Surveys have shown that many Americans assume the country spends upwards of 20 percent of the federal budget on foreign aid. In reality, nonmilitary foreign assistance — including all of America’s work on international development and global health — represents less than 1 percent of the federal budget. Slashing this tiny category of discretionary spending for the sake of budget control would be a form of deception — a sideshow to avoid truly important (and unpopular) budgetary choices.

For less than 1 percent of the federal budget, the United States led a global coalition to fight HIV/AIDS when the disease threatened to devastate and destabilize much of the African continent . Battling another of the world’s most lethal killers, malaria, U.S.-led global programs have saved more than 6 million lives, mainly children under 5 years old. America also led a global effort to support agriculture when the food, fuel and financial crisis of 2008 pushed nearly 100 million people back into a state of chronic hunger and extreme poverty. As of 2015, that effort had directly benefited nearly 19 million rural households and reached more than 12 million children with nutrition programs. And America led a global partnership to bring power to half a billion people in Africa who have too often lived, worked, studied and given birth in the dark.

Read more »


Related:
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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Pen America Town Hall with Dinaw Mengestu: Role of the Writer in Trump Era

Award-winning Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu. (Photo: The MacArthur Foundation)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week in New York City Ethiopian-American novelist and writer Dinaw Mengestu will be one of the featured speakers at a Pen America town hall meeting entitled “The Role of the Writer in Trump’s America.”

“The role of the writer is being tested in an era of new and intensified attacks on the First Amendment, the discrediting of the press and journalists and efforts to obscure and distort the truth,” Pen America stated in a press release. “Writers have been at the vanguard of chronicling, interpreting and helping shape responses to fast-breaking developments that have the potential to remake essential aspects of our politics and society.”

In addition to Dinaw Mengestu scheduled speakers include Daniel Alarcón, Masha Gessen, Salman Rushdie, and Andrew Solomon.

Pen America added: “The last few months have seen so-called fake news and “alternative facts” challenge the authority of legitimate news sources, expertise and scientific knowledge discredited, and the value of arts and culture questioned. At the same time, millions of Americans are finding new ways to express their views in protest. These developments pose important questions for the role of the writer: Do writers have any unique obligations that derived from the political challenges of the day? Should the roles of writer, artist, citizen, and activist converge? How can the breadth and diversity of the literary community be reflected without detracting from unified efforts? What obligations exist within and amongst the literary community and its sub-cultures? Does the literary community need to evolve to meet the challenges of this moment, and how?”


TOWN HALL MEETING: The Role of the Writer in Trump’s America Opening remarks from Daniel Alarcón , Masha Gessen, Dinaw Mengestu, Salman Rushdie, Andrew Solomon, and more to be announced. (Pen America)

Following remarks from the featured writers an open mike discussion will be held among members of PEN America.


If You Go:
Wed, March 8, 2017
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST
Frederick P. Rose Auditorium
41 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10008
Click here to register

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Photos: Feyisa Lilesa’s New Life in Arizona

Feyisa Lilesa, who has not been back to Ethiopia since his protest at the marathon finish in the Rio Olympics last August, on a training run in Sedona, Ariz., not far from his new home in Flagstaff. (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Feyisa Lilesa, Marathoner in Exile, Finds Refuge in Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The young boy was getting reacquainted with his father after an absence of six months and climbed on him as if he were a tree. The boy kissed his father and hugged him and clambered onto his shoulders. Then, when a protest video streamed on television, the boy grabbed a stick, and the lid of a pot to serve as a shield, and began to mimic a dance of dissent in the living room.

There is much joy and relief, but also continued political complication, in the modest apartment of Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian marathon runner who won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and gained international attention when he crossed his arms above his head at the finish line in a defiant gesture against the East African nation’s repressive government.

Afraid to return home, fearing he would be jailed, killed or no longer allowed to travel, Lilesa, 27, remained in Brazil after the Summer Games, then came to the United States in early September. He has received a green card as a permanent resident in a category for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and sports.

On Valentine’s Day, his wife, Iftu Mulisa, 26; daughter, Soko, 5; and son, Sora, 3, were reunited with him, first in Miami and then in Flagstaff, where Lilesa is training at altitude for the London Marathon in April. Their immigrant visas are valid until July, but they also hope to receive green cards.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Arrives in the U.S.
In Seattle, African Athletics Org Renames 5k Race ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run’
Over $100000 Raised For Ethiopian Olympian Runner
Medallist Feyisa Lilesa fails to return to Ethiopia after Olympics protest
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games
Ethiopia Says Protesting Marathoner to Be Welcomed as Hero, But Does He Want to Go?
Ethiopia ‘hero’ runner gets asylum donations after Oromo protest sign
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games »
Ethiopia Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Protests Government With Marathon Medal
Ethiopian Marathoner’s Protest Puts Him at Odds With His Government
Ethiopian runner makes protest sign as he crosses line in Rio
Rio 2016 Olympics: Genzebe Dibaba Takes Silver Medal in the Women’s 1,500 Meters
Rio 2016 Olympics: Etenesh Diro Advances to 3,000-Meter Steeplechase With 1 Shoe
Ethiopia’s First Gold at Rio Olympics: Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record
Ethiopia’s Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros: Body Shaming & Questions of Nepotism
All Eyes on Brazil as 2016 Olympics Starts

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Is Fashion Made in Africa Sustainable? Look at Liya’s Ethiopia Brand Lemlem

Brands like Lemlem have proven that scaling in some corners of the continent is possible. But is it sustainable? (Photo: Lemlem)

Business of Fashion

Can You Build a Fashion Business With a Manufacturing Base in Africa?

NEW YORK, United States — Liya Kebede made her first Lemlem garment in 2007 as a way to give back to Ethiopia, where the successful model was born and raised; a crucial stop before starring in Tom Ford campaigns and walking Miuccia Prada’s runway. She found a group in Addis Ababa, her hometown and the sub-Saharan African country’s largest city, to produce garments handwoven in the traditional technique, with the gauzy white cotton she wore growing up but had since been replaced by more Western-style (and often second-hand Western) garments.

“When I created Lemlem it was about trying to create a solution to a problem,” Kebede says, smiling from behind her desk in a sunny office located in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighbourhood. “The market of the weaving had gone down a lot and there were all these artisans that were looking for jobs and not finding any. What can I do to help move the needle a little bit along?”

Kebede modernised the silhouettes and instructed the artisans to weave in stripes of fluo-coloured yarn, which soon became Lemlem’s signature. In that first year, she manufactured 200 units and secured three points of sale. Collaborations with the likes of J.Crew — including a successful kid’s line — followed.

In 2017, production will exceed 25,000 units, with 300 points of distribution across six continents. She now employs 250 weavers and craftspeople in Ethiopia, with salaries increasing five-fold in the past decade. In recent years, Kebede has expanded parts of her production to Kenya — where she produces trend-driven fashion items — and sources materials in Rwanda, Madagascar and Mali.

The success of the line has compelled Kebede to change her namesake non-profit to Lemlem Foundation, which has expanded its mission of promoting maternal health in Africa to supporting the economic empowerment of African women. (The for-profit business donates 5 percent of all of its direct sales and proceeds from one-off collaborations to the foundation.)

While Kebede declined to disclose annual revenue figures, her 2017 goal for Lemlem — other than to expand the label’s fashion offerings, with plans to host its first-ever live presentation during the Resort 2018 season this spring — is to raise capital in order to scale further. And she plans to do so in Africa, where she has managed to achieve success.

And yet — expansive production, especially at the higher end of the market — still seems extraordinarily difficult to accomplish on the continent — if not impossible — with commonly known challenges such as unstable infrastructure, the bog of bureaucracy and a lack of information on how exactly to do it.

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How Trump is Emboldening Autocrats, Damaging Press Freedom in U.S. & Abroad

(Image: New York Daily News Twitter@NYDailyNews)

The New York Times

Updated: FEB. 25, 2017

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday, President Trump took his anti-media rhetoric to a new level, doubling down on his description of journalists as “the enemy of the people” and calling for an end to the use of anonymous sources. This on a day when his press secretary Sean Spicer barred reporters from The New York Times, BBC, BuzzFeed News, CNN, Politico, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post from his daily White House press briefing.

The unrelenting attacks on the news media damage American democracy. They appear to be part of a deliberate strategy to undermine public confidence and trust by sowing confusion and uncertainty about what is true. But they do even greater damage outside the United States, where America’s standing as a global beacon of press freedom is being drastically eroded.

This is not just a matter of United States prestige. At a time when journalists around the world are being killed and imprisoned in record numbers, Mr. Trump’s relentless tirades against “fake news” are emboldening autocrats and depriving threatened and endangered journalists of one of their strongest supporters — the United States government.

Of course the United States’ record on press freedom is far from perfect. During the Obama administration, aggressive leak investigations — including a record number of prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act — regularly ensnared the press. But the United States has had tremendous moral influence when it spoke out about press freedom violations, and not just because of the commitment to the First Amendment. The fact that United States political leaders regularly withstood relentless criticism in the press gave them legitimacy when they called for the protection of critical voices in repressive societies.

For example, the Obama administration, through public statements and behind-the-scenes diplomacy, helped win the release of imprisoned journalists in Ethiopia and Vietnam. President George W. Bush regularly spoke out about press freedom violations, in places like Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Earlier this month, the Venezuelan government suspended CNN’s Spanish language network following accusations by President Nicolás Maduro that the network manipulates the news. President Trump was silent. Really, what could he say?

Read more »


Related:
Trump Era America: US Journos Barred From White House Briefing


Reporters gather after being denied access to an informal White House press secretary briefing. (AFP)

CPJ

February 24, 2017

New York –The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the decision today to bar nine news outlets from an informal briefing known as “a gaggle” by President Donald Trump’s White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Separately, at the Conservative Party Action Conference in Maryland today, Trump said that journalists should not be allowed to use anonymous sources, and accused the press of producing “fake news,” according to reports.

“President Trump’s calls for an end to anonymous sources was alarming. It is not the job of political leaders to determine how journalists should conduct their work, and sets a terrible example for the rest of the world, where sources often must remain anonymous to preserve their own lives,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We are concerned by the decision to bar reporters from a press secretary briefing. The U.S. should be promoting press freedom and access to information.”

Aides to the press secretary denied access to reporters from CNN, The New York Times, Politico, The Hill, the BBC, the Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, the Los Angeles Times, and New York Daily News, saying that only those previously confirmed could attend the briefing, The New York Times reported. An administration spokesperson said in a statement that a press pool was in place for the informal briefing, which was taking in a smaller office that the regular briefings. Reporters from The Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the briefing in solidarity with their colleagues.

Read more »

Here’s the audio from the White House briefing that blocked CNN, New York Times


Related:
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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Why Ethiopia’s Lalibela is Among Africa’s Great Civilizations

The Church of Saint George hewn into the rocky hills of Lalibela. (Photo by Chester Higgins, Jr.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Long before the invention of photography and other media tools international visitors to Ethiopia had difficulty describing to the outside world the spectacular beauty of the ancient Lalibela church architectures in the event that their words might be interpreted as an exaggeration. “I weary of writing more about these buildings, because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more,” declared a member of the Portuguese Ambassador’s delegation to Ethiopia, Francisco Álvares, in the 1520s.

Nearly 500 hundred years later African-American scholar and Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr traveled to Lalibela with a documentary film crew at hand for a close look at the amazing 12 churches carved into and out of the historic town’s rocky highlands. The program will air on February 27th at 9/8c on PBS as Professor Gates takes “a voyage through 200,000 years of human civilization.”

Watch: Lalibela | Africa’s Great Civilizations (PBS Trailer)

Lalibela was built almost 1000 years ago and is said to symbolize a new Jerusalem. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Lalibela a World Heritage Site in 1978 stating “Lalibela is a high place of Ethiopian Christianity, still today a place of devotion.”

UNESCO adds: King Lalibela “set out to build a symbol of the holy land, when pilgrimages to it were rendered impossible by the historical situation. In the Church of Bete Golgotha, are replicas of the tomb of Christ, and of Adam, and the crib of the Nativity. The holy city of Lalibela became a substitute for the holy places of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and as such has had considerable influence on Ethiopian Christianity. The Jerusalem theme is important. The rock churches, although connected to one another by maze-like tunnels, are physically separated by a small river which the Ethiopians named the Jordan. Churches on one side of the Jordan represent the earthly Jerusalem; whereas those on the other side represent the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of jewels and golden sidewalks alluded to in the Bible.”

Watch: Africa’s Great Civilizations | Official Trailer

According to PBS: “In his six-hour series, Africa’s Great Civilizations, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes a look at the history of Africa, from the birth of humankind to the dawn of the 20th century. This is a breathtaking and personal journey through two hundred thousand years of history, from the origins, on the African continent, of art, writing and civilization itself, through the millennia in which Africa and Africans shaped not only their own rich civilizations, but also the wider world.”


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2017 Africa Policy Breakfast Kickoff: U.S. Contracting Opportunities

A topic routinely requested as a topic for Africa Policy Breakfasts is a discussion on contracting opportunities with the U.S. Government, says U.S. representative Karen Bass. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass who is the Ranking Member of the House Africa Subcommittee will host the 2017 Africa policy breakfast kickoff event next week in Washington, D.C. focusing on how to win contracting opportunities with the U.S. Government.

“Getting the correct information and details on this process is often thought of as complex and difficult,” said the email announcement from Rep. Bass who represents California’s 37th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. “This event will feature experienced contracting experts with years of experience in the U.S. public and/or private sector to help us kick off the 2017 series of Africa Policy Breakfasts.”

The panel will be moderated by the Honorable Lauri J. Fitz-Pegado, a Partner at The Livingston Group. “Appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Fitz-Pegado served in the Department of Commerce, under the late Secretary Ronald H. Brown and Secretaries Mickey Kantor and William Daley, as the Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.”

Guest speaker includes Dr. Sharon T. Freeman, President of All American Small Business Exporters Association, as well as expert panelists Eugene Cornelius, Deputy Assistant Administrator for International Trade, Small Business Administration; Mahmoud Bah, Acting Vice President of Administration and Financing and Chief Financial Officer, Millennium Challenge Corporation and Kimberly Ball, Deputy Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged business Utilization, U.S. Agency for International Development.


If You Go:
2017 Africa Policy Breakfast Kickoff:
Contracting Opportunities with the U.S. Government
Monday, February 27, 2017
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
2044 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Click here to RSVP

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Spotlight: SoleRebels Founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu’s New Coffee Brand

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu's new Garden of Coffee roastery and café in Addis Ababa. (Courtesy photo)

Daily Coffee News

Garden of Coffee Cultivating Ethiopian Coffee Experience for Global Growth

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu — the pioneering and enterprising creator of the SoleRebels footwear brand — believes the future of a truly sustainable specialty coffee market can be found in coffee’s birthplace, her native Ethiopia.

After more than a decade of building SoleRebels into a global footwear and leather goods brand that combines traditional Ethiopian craftsmanship and materials with fresh new designs while also paying top dollar throughout the supply chain, Alemu late last year launched an equally ambitious coffee venture called Garden of Coffee.

The company has just opened its first branded roastery café in the Bole area of Addis Ababa, occupying approximately 10,000 square feet that serve as something of an immersive shrine to Ethiopian coffee culture and craft. Alemu described the facility as far more than merely a new retail storefront; her company’s goal is to completely redefine the seed-to-cup coffee journey by promoting what she calls “Origin Trade.”


Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. (Courtesy photo)

“It goes way beyond commodity pricing , Fair Trade or direct trade. It’s a total realignment of the value chain,” Alemu told Daily Coffee News. “If ever there was a category ripe for a radical realignment and, yes, disruption, the coffee market is it. Does it make sense for Ethiopia, the producer and in fact the originator of the finest, most legendary Arabicas on the planet, to ship our magical raw green beans thousands of miles for roasting when we can produce the absolute finest roasts right here using our own talented roasting artisans? We think everyone would agree it does not.”

Read more »


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In DC, Diaspora Ethiopians Receive Royal Medals at Adwa Celebration

(Photo: Courtesy of Negarit)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, February 20th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This coming weekend at the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., Ethiopian guests will gather for a black tie event hosted by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie and head of The Crown Council of Ethiopia. The event is both a celebration of Ethiopia’s historic victory at Adwa as well as to give out honorary medals to selected individuals who have distinguished themselves through their dedicated contribution to Ethiopian society at large.

This year the most prestigious award the “Grand Officer of the Imperial Order of Emperor Menelik II,” which was founded in 1924 during the reign of Empress Zauditu, will be bestowed on Elias Wondimu, the Editorial Director & Founder of Tsehai Publishers in Los Angeles, California. In a statement Prince Ermias shared that Elias is being honored for preserving “the national identity of Ethiopians and Africans, and contributing to a greater understanding of Ethiopia and Africa by people outside the continent.”

In addition Denver, Colorado-based businessman Mel Tewahade, among others, will be given the “Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Honor” (GOSE) during the private ceremony to be held on February 25,2017 at the Annual Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner, according to Gregory Copley, a Strategic Advisor to the Crown Council of Ethiopia.

The newspaper Negarit — The Journal of The International Society for the Imperial Ethiopian Orders — notes that the annual event, now in its sixth year, commemorates the victory of Emperor Menelik II over invading Italian forces at the Battle of Adwa on March 1, 1896.

—-
Related:
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
Interview With Prince Ermias S. Selassie
In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica (TADIAS)

Haile Selassie’s visit was a momentous occasion (Jamaica Observer)
Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest To Armed Uprising – OpEd

People protest against an earlier security force attack on a student rally in central and southern Ethiopia during a demonstration organized by the opposition in Addis Ababa, May 2014. (Reuters)

EURASIA REVIEW

What began as a regional protest movement in November 2015, is in danger of becoming a fully-fledged armed uprising in Ethiopia.

Angered and exasperated by the government’s intransigence and duplicity, small guerrilla groups made up of local armed people have formed in Amhara and elsewhere, and are conducting hit and run attacks on security forces. Fighting at the beginning of January in the North West region of Benishangul Gumuz saw 51 regime soldiers killed, ESAT News reported, and in the Amhara region a spate of incidents has occurred, notably a grenade attack on a hotel in Gondar and an explosion in Bahir-Dar.

In what appears to be an escalation in violence, in Belesa, an area north of Gondar, a firefight between ‘freedom fighters’, as they are calling themselves, and the military resulted in deaths on both sides. There have also been incidents in Afar, where people are suffering the effects of drought; two people were recently killed by security personnel, others arrested. The Afar Human Rights Organization told ESAT that the government has stationed up to 6000 troops in the region, which has heightened tensions and fuelled resentment.

Given the government’s obduracy, the troubling turn of events was perhaps to be expected. However, such developments do not bode well for stability in the country or the wider region, and enable the ruling regime to slander opposition groups as ‘terrorists’, and implement more extreme measures to clamp down on public assembly in the name of ‘national security’.

Until recently those calling for change had done so in a peaceful manner; security in the country – the security of the people – is threatened not by opposition groups demanding human rights be observed and the constitution be upheld, but by acts of State Terrorism, the real and pervasive menace in Ethiopia.

Oppressive State of Emergency

The regime’s response has been consistently violent and has fuelled more protests, motivated more people to take part, and brought supressed anger towards the ruling EPRDF to the surface…Unwilling to enter into dialogue with opposition groups, and unable to contain the movement that swept through the country, in October 2016 the government imposed a six-month ‘State of Emergency’…The directive places stifling restrictions of basic human rights, and as Human Rights Watch (HRW) states, goes “far beyond what is permissible under international law and signals an increased militarized response to the situation.”

Read more »


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Breaking the Anti-Immigrant Fever in US

The Times Sunday Review | EDITORIAL. (Image: By João Fazenda)

The New York Times

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Americans have been watching the Trump administration unfold for almost a month now, in all its malevolent incompetence. From morning tweets to daytime news to late-night comedy, many watch and fret and mock, and then sleep, sometimes fitfully.

Others, a large minority, lie awake, thinking about losing their families, jobs and homes. They have been vilified by the president as criminals, though they are not. They have tried to build honest lives here and suddenly are as fearful as fugitives. They await the fists pounding on the door, the agents in black, the cuffs, the van ride, the cell. They are terrified that the United States government will find them, or their parents or their children, demand their papers, and take them away.

About 11 million people are living in this country outside the law. Suddenly, by presidential decree, all are deportation priorities, all are supposed criminals, all are threatened with broken lives, along with members of their families. The end could come for them any time.

This is not an abstract or fanciful depiction. It is not fake news. It’s the United States of today, this month, this morning…

This vision is the one Donald Trump began outlining at the start of his campaign, when he slandered an entire country, Mexico, as an exporter of rapists and drug criminals, and an entire faith, Islam, as a global nest of murderers. This is the currency of the Trump aides Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, who have brought the world of the alt-right, with its white nationalist strain, into the White House.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:
US Federal Appeals Court Rules 3 to 0 Against Trump on Travel Ban
Former Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia One of US Judges Reviewing Trump’s Ban
In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: In Memory of Historian Richard Pankhurst

Richard Pankhurst, pictured above at his home in Addis Ababa, has died at age 89. The British Embassy in Ethiopia said Pankhurst had died on Thursday, February 16th, 2017. (Photo by Kristin Fellows)

Reuters

Historian Richard Pankhurst dies, Ethiopia mourns

Richard Pankhurst, the son of the British women’s rights campaigner Sylvia Pankhurst who became one of the world’s leading experts on Ethiopian history and culture, has died aged 89.

He first came into contact with Ethiopia through his mother, a ‘suffragette’ who also campaigned against the invasion of the Horn of Africa nation by Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italian troops in 1935.

He moved to Addis Ababa with her after World War Two and started teaching at Addis Ababa University, going on to write more than 20 books and thousands of articles.

He also inherited an activist streak from his mother and his grandmother, Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the suffragette movement, which helped secure the right for British women to vote.

Richard campaigned with his wife Rita for the return of piles of plunder taken from Ethiopia by invading British troops in 1868, and of a giant obelisk taken from the ancient city of Axum by Mussolini’s forces. Both were there in Axum to watch as Italy returned the obelisk in 2005.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry called him a “doyen of historians and scholars of Ethiopia”.

“Pankhurst was one of Ethiopia’s greatest friends during his long and productive life, and his scholarship and understanding for Ethiopia will be sorely missed,” it said in a statement.

Author and photographer Maaza Mengiste told BBC Africa: “I’ve discovered things about my country, just sometimes stumbling upon something that he’s written … a whole other window opens for me on how I understand my own history.”

One Ethiopian, Wondwosen Gelan, tweeted simply: “He was our history archive. We miss him so much.”

Related:
Tea with Richard and Rita Pankhurst


Richard Pankhurst (in the pink shirt) attending an event at ASNI in Addis Ababa. (Photo by Kristin Fellows)

The Red Moon Letters

I have my doubts as to whether or not I could ever make it as a journalist.

I love to interview people, listen to their stories, and ask them the questions that open them up their lives to me like unfolding origami or blooming flowers. I am genuinely interested in what they have to say, but I am often shy about intruding on people’s time for information or interviews.

One person I greatly admired and had wanted to meet with while in Addis was Richard Pankhurst, the eminent Ethiopian historian, the founding director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, a former professor at the University of Addis Ababa, and the son of Sylvia Pankhurst.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopians call for state funeral as Richard Pankhurst, champion of Ethiopian culture, dies aged 89

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Feyisa Lilesa Reunites with Family

Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa, of Ethiopia, hugs his wife Iftu Mulia, his daughter Soko, 5, and son Sora, 3, while picking up his family at Miami International Airport on Tuesday. (AP)

Associated Press

February 14, 2017

The Ethiopian marathoner crouched down low in the hallway at the Miami airport as he carried a bouquet of red roses.

Feyisa Lilesa’s daughter spotted him first and ran in for a hug. Then, his young son and lastly his wife.

On Valentine’s Day, the Olympic silver medalist who became an international figure when he crossed his wrists in protest at the finish line in Rio de Janeiro finally reunited with his family. He was a little late (traffic), but what’s a few extra minutes when he’s already waited six long months to see them.

As he made his way out of the airport, his daughter rode on the luggage and his son perched on his shoulders, carrying the flowers he brought as a gift.


2016 Rio Olympics – Athletics – Final – Men’s Marathon – Sambodromo – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 21/08/2016. Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) of Ethiopia celebrates as he wins silver. (Photo: REUTERS)

Read more »


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In Seattle, African Athletics Org Renames 5k Race ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run’
Over $100000 Raised For Ethiopian Olympian Runner
Medallist Feyisa Lilesa fails to return to Ethiopia after Olympics protest
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games
Ethiopia Says Protesting Marathoner to Be Welcomed as Hero, But Does He Want to Go?
Ethiopia ‘hero’ runner gets asylum donations after Oromo protest sign
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games »
Ethiopia Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Protests Government With Marathon Medal
Ethiopian Marathoner’s Protest Puts Him at Odds With His Government
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Rio 2016 Olympics: Genzebe Dibaba Takes Silver Medal in the Women’s 1,500 Meters
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Ethiopia’s First Gold at Rio Olympics: Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record
Ethiopia’s Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros: Body Shaming & Questions of Nepotism
All Eyes on Brazil as 2016 Olympics Starts

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How Should the US React to Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia?

The US capitol building. (Photo: Shutterstock)

CNA

One member of Congress is hoping for a “serious policy review” by the Trump administration of the United States’ relationship with Ethiopia, citing human rights abuses by the government there.

“To truly stop violence abroad, Ethiopia must stop violence at home,” Rep. Chris Smith, chair of the House subcommittee on Africa and global human rights, stated at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

“Since 2005, untold thousands of students have been jailed, have been shot during demonstrations or have simply disappeared in the last 11 years,” Smith stated Feb. 15. “Ethiopia’s next generation is being taught that the rights that democracy normally bestows on a country’s citizens don’t apply in their country.”

Smith and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) introduced a House resolution (H. Res. 128) Wednesday “highlighting the crisis in Ethiopia due to government violations of the human rights of its citizens,” Smith stated.

“With this resolution, we are showing that the United States remains committed to universal respect for human rights, and that we will not tolerate continued abuse of those human rights by Ethiopian security forces,” Coffman said.

There has been a “steady erosion” of democracy in Ethiopia since 2005, the congressmen maintained.

Government dissidents have been jailed, citizens have been tortured and killed by the government’s security forces, and freedom of the press has been infringed upon. Ethnic groups have been the victims of violence perpetrated by the government.

Peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions of the country were met with hundreds of killings and tens of thousands of arrests by security forces in 2016, Human Rights Watch said in its recent report on the country. Citizens released from jail claimed they were tortured while in custody.

“Instead of addressing the numerous calls for reform in 2016, the Ethiopian government used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to suppress largely peaceful protests,” Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, stated in the report released in January.

One protest in the Oromia region resulted in the police using tear gas, rubber bullets, and rounds fired into the air to break it up, claiming that the crowd was getting out of hand. An ensuing stampede killed 50. The Inter-religious Council of Ethiopia, on which Catholic leaders sit, called for prayer and peace amid the protests and asked government leaders to listen to the people.

The recent protests in the Amhara region of the country have showed a sense of “identity” on the part of embattled citizens, and their “need to survive,” Tewodrose Tirfe of the Amhara Association of America, a refugee who came to the U.S. in 1982, noted.

“The U.S. and the West cannot sympathize with a government that kills people,” Seenaa Jimjimo, a human rights advocate who was born and grew up in Ethiopia, insisted in her statement at Wednesday’s press conference.

Amidst protests, a state of emergency was declared by the state in October and is “being used as a method to crack down even further on basic human freedoms,” Coffman said.

Thus, the resolution is the “first step by our representatives to let the Ethiopian government know that the U.S. policy is changing, that their continued human rights violations on innocent civilians will not be tolerated,” Tirfe stated.

“We invoke the Global Magnitsky Act,” Gregory Simpkins, staff director of the House subcommittee on Africa, said on Wednesday of the law which enables sanctions against specific “entities and persons who violate the human rights of people.”

Ethiopia has acted as a key ally in fighting international terrorism, Smith noted, but if it fails to protect human rights at home then extremism could fester within its own borders.

“What Congressman Smith and I are asking is for the Congress of the United States to join together and pass this resolution condemning the Ethopian government for its human rights abuses,” Coffman stated.

“And I think it’s important for all Americans to care about human rights to encourage their member of Congress to co-sponsor this resolution so that we can pass it in the Congress.”

—-
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In Spain Genzebe Dibaba Breaks the World 2000m Record

Genzebe Dibaba celebrates her victory (Getty Images)

IAAF

World 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba added to her growing list of record-breaking achievements by breaking the world 2000m record* at the Miting Internacional de Catalunya in the Spanish city of Sabadell on Tuesday (7).

The three-time world indoor champion overtook the pacemaker just before the half-way mark, which was reached in 2:42.65, and continued to extend her lead over her younger sister Anna and Morocco’s Siham Hilali.

She went on to stop the clock at 5:23.75, taking almost seven seconds off the world indoor best set by Gabriela Szabo in 1998. Although the 2000m isn’t an official world record event indoors, Dibaba’s performance – pending ratification – can be classed as an outright world record as it is faster than Sonia O’Sullivan’s outdoor mark of 5:25.36.

As well as the outdoor 1500m world record, Dibaba now owns the fastest ever recorded times indoors for the 1500m, mile, 2000m, 3000m, two miles and 5000m.

Elsewhere in Sabadell, European champion Adam Kszczot won the 800m in 1:46.31 with Spanish record-holder Kevin Lopez taking second place in 1:46.58.

European 5000m silver medallist Adel Mechaal was a convincing winner of the 3000m, clocking 7:48.39 to finish more than two seconds ahead of Italy’s Marouan Razine.


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US Federal Appeals Court Rules 3 to 0 Against Trump on Travel Ban

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling suspending President Trump’s controversial immigration order barring refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. on Feb. 9.

The Washington Post

A federal appeals panel has maintained the freeze on President Trump’s controversial immigration order, meaning previously barred refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries can continue entering the United States.

In a unanimous 29-page opinion, three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit flatly rejected the government’s argument that suspension of the order should be lifted immediately for national security reasons, and they forcefully asserted their ability to serve as a check on the president’s power.

The judges wrote that any suggestion that they could not “runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”

The judges did not declare outright that the ban was meant to disfavor Muslims — essentially saying it was too early for them to render a judgment on that question. But their ruling is undeniably a blow to the government and means the travel ban will remain off for the foreseeable future.

Read more »


Related:
Former Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia One of US Judges Reviewing Trump’s Ban
In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Former Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia One of US Judges Reviewing Trump’s Ban

Judge William Canby Jr., who is one of the three US federal appeals court judges reviewing President Donald Trump’s travel ban, was an Associate Director of the Peace Corps for Ethiopia from 1962 to 1963. (ASU)

Heavy

William Canby Jr. is one of three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who on Tuesday [heard] oral arguments in the challenge to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Here’s what you need to know about William Canby Jr.

According to the Arizona State University College of Law, William Canby in 1962 helped establish the Peace Corps in Africa with his wife, Jane.

Canby joined the Peace Corps that year after spending some time working in private practice. He would go on to serve as associate director of the Peace Corps for Ethiopia, and then deputy director for the Peace Corps for Ethiopia. After that, he became the director of the Peace Corps for Uganda for two years.

He returned to the United States in the late ’60s to teach law at Arizona State University, but he returned to Ethiopia in 1999 to help achieve peace in the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Here’s an early look at how questioning went in the appeals court review of Trump’s immigration ban


From left: Judge Richard R. Clifton, shown in 2002; Judge William Canby, shown in 2015; and Judge Michelle T. Friedland, shown in 2014. (Associated Press)

LA Times

A federal appeals court panel reviewing President Trump’s controversial limits on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries appeared skeptical Tuesday of the administration’s arguments seeking to reinstate his order.

In a hearing that lasted more than an hour, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals appeared to dismiss the administration’s arguments that neither the states nor the courts have the authority to challenge the executive order, which seeks to bar travelers from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa to protect the United States from terrorists.

The fight over the travel moratorium is being viewed as a test of whether the new and unconventional president, who has never before held public office, will be reined in by the courts as he tries to implement his controversial campaign promises.

Read more »

Audio: State of Washington v. Donald J. Trump


Related:
In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Kenturah-Davis. (Courtesy of The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — As part of the month-long nationwide celebration of Black History Month, Ethiopian American Alitash Kebede, owner of Alitash Kebede Arts, is the exhibition consultant for a show entitled “Enduring in Vision and Linked in Tradition: Selected Works by Four Generations of African American Women Artists,” which is being displayed at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) at California State University, San Bernardino. The exhibition will run from Feb. 11th – April 8th, 2017 with an opening reception on Thursday, Feb. 9th, 7-9 p.m.

The show is “an intimate yet captivating exhibition featuring works by thirteen highly accomplished artists representing four generations of African-American women in the art world from the first half of the twentieth century to the present,” the museum said in a press release. “The exhibition features two renowned Los Angeles artists, the city’s native Betye Saar and New Orleans-born, Samella Lewis. Highly regarded, celebrated and influential, both artists still live and work in Los Angeles today; during the second half of the previous century both were major force in the city’s vibrant art scene.”


If You Go:
CSUSB Art Museum
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407-2397
Phone: (909) 537-7373
E-mail: raffma@csusb.edu
http://raffma.csusb.edu.
The museum is open Monday – Wednesday and Saturday, 10am-5pm, Thursday 11am-7pm and is closed
Friday and Sunday.

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In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics

Clockwise from top left: Richard Nixon, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass are among the historic figures who have been deployed by pro- and anti-Trump partisans. (Photos: WaPo)

The Washington Post

America’s past has become a weapon for Trump’s fans and critics

On social networks and talk radio, in classrooms and at kitchen tables, the country’s past is suddenly inescapable. Many, many people — as President Trump would put it — are sharing stories about key moments and figures in American history to support or oppose one controversial White House executive order after another.

Andrew Jackson and Huey Long are alive in Facebook feeds. Twitter is afire with 140-character bursts of historical moments — the St. Louis steaming toward Miami in 1939 with Jewish refugees fleeing Germany’s Third Reich, or the “Saturday Night Massacre,” President Richard Nixon’s firing of a special prosecutor in 1973 during the Watergate scandal.

Trump may or may not make America great again, but he has certainly revived interest in U.S. history. It has been a long time since Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln and Susan B. Anthony were in the news, not to mention import taxes, the Revolutionary War, Japanese internment camps and the Immigration Act of 1917.

“I’ve never seen so many people desperate to refer to historical examples,” said David Bell, a Princeton University history professor who last month moderated a panel on Trump at the American Historical Association’s annual conference. “Everyone seems to have an example.”

While Barack Obama’s election renewed discussion of the nation’s tortured racial history and Hillary Clinton’s would have spawned a look back at women’s rights, historians say the speed and breadth of Trump’s policy pronouncements have prompted the electorate to deploy history as an offensive or defensive rhetorical weapon.

Read more at The Washington Post »


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US Foreign-policy: Why Trump Has Already Blown It
Judge Stops Trump’s Travel Ban Nationwide
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

The Guardian on How Diaspora is Helping to Build Modern Ethiopia

Entrepreneurs educated overseas are returning home. (Photo: A family at a restaurant in Addis Ababa/Alamy)

The Guardian

From chefs to musicians, talented ‘re-pats’ come back to build a modern Ethiopia

His dream is to show the world the glories of Ethiopian cuisine, to preserve its rich traditions and to make even his poorest fellow citizens eat better. That Yohanis Gebreyesus Hailemariam’s ambition recalls the aims of a slightly better known chef is no coincidence.

“I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver. Many years back, my mum and I used to watch his shows,” he says. The 30-year-old is one of thousands of talented young Ethiopians who have chosen to return to their homeland after being educated or growing up overseas…Hailemariam grew up in Addis Ababa but spent years training with Paul Bocuse, an internationally renowned French chef, in Lyon before working at top restaurants in California. One of the highest profile Ethiopian re-pats, he has successfully tapped into a growing interest in cooking and gastronomy among an emerging urban middle class. His primetime TV show has an audience of millions, producers say. A key feature of every episode is a recipe specific to each region of the nation of 94 million.

One motive, he says, was to preserve traditions that are being lost as Ethiopia, the second most populous nation in Africa, develops. “I was working in California when I saw my chef using an Ethiopian spice. It struck me that as an Ethiopian I should know and use this product. I should know this … kind of craft, this art, that is being lost in an increasingly rapid and industrialised world,” he says.

“I wanted to come back to Ethiopia. I knew it would be a challenge to come from the diaspora and be seen as an Ethiopian chef. So I travelled all over the country looking to use knowledge that has a global appeal. And I noticed that Ethiopia has so much to offer. Because of globalisation, we are forgetting to look inside our own country.”


Yohanis Gebreyesus Hailemariam.

Read more at The Guardian »


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Judge Stops Trump’s Ban Nationwide

A passenger is greeted by friends in Boston on Friday after he cleared U.S. customs. (Photo: Reuters)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Saturday, February 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — A U.S. federal judge in Seattle, Washington has ruled to put a nationwide temporary hold on President Donald Trump’s immigration order and allowing stranded passengers at several airports across the country entry into the United States.

A State Department official confirmed on Saturday that individuals with valid visas are once again being welcomed into the US. “We have reversed the provisional revocation of visas under Executive Order 13769. Those individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid,” the official told VOA. “We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and our legal teams.”

In announcing his decision on Friday U.S. District Judge James L. Robart declared that the judicial branch “must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government.” And Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson added that the ruling “the first of its kind..shuts down the executive order immediately.”

The Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, Omar Jadwat, said: “This ruling is another stinging rejection of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban. We will keep fighting to permanently dismantle this un-American executive order.”

Watch: U.S. borders reopen to valid visa holders; Trump files appeal


On Friday, Judge James Robart of Federal District Court in Seattle stopped the ban.

Meanwhile, prior to the new court decision, Reuters reports that nine Yemeni nationals were sent to Ethiopia and eventually to Djibouti. Ethiopian government spokesman Negeri Lencho told the news agency that “The only reason they came to Addis Ababa was because Ethiopian Airlines has flights from Addis Ababa to Washington.”


Related:
State Dept. reverses visa revocations, allows banned travelers to enter U.S.
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
A Jarring New Level of Confrontation Hits Washington
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Boston Concert Honors Ethiopia-Armenia Connection

Nerses Nalbandian was an Ethiopian musician and educator of Armenian descent. He gained Ethiopian nationality in 1959. (Photo: MoA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, February 3rd , 2017

New York (TADIAS) – One of the oldest immigrant communities in Ethiopia, Armenians, were welcomed to Ethiopia in the early 1900s after they escaped genocide carried out by the Ottoman empire. In addition to thriving as goldsmiths, carpenters, teachers and carpet makers, Armenian-Ethiopians have also greatly contributed to the emergence of modern music in Ethiopia. Kevork Nalbandian was an Armenian who composed the first national anthem for Ethiopia as well as served as the musical director of Arba Lijoch. His nephew Nerses Nalbandian was involved in the founding of the historic Yared Music School in Addis Ababa as well as led the Municipality Orchestra.

Nerses Nalbandian will be honored this month with a tribute concert entitled The Emperor, the Nalbandians and the Dawn of Western Music in Ethiopia, on Sunday, February 19, 2017 in Watertown, Massachusetts. The concert, which is organized by The Friends of Armenian Culture Society (FACS), features Boston’s world renowned and the Grammy-nominated Ethio jazz band the Either/Orchestra and multilingual cast of guest vocalists including Debo band’s Bruck Tesfaye.

“Born in 1915 in Aintab, Ottoman Empire, Nerses Nalbandian settled in Aleppo, Syria after his family escaped the genocide,” FACS said in a press release. “He worked as a music teacher and choir master at the Armenian Orthodox Church in Syria, before moving to Ethiopia in 1938 at the invitation of his uncle Kevork Nalbandian.”

The press release adds: “The program will include music Nalbandian composed and arranged during his tenure as Music Director of the Haile Selassie National Theater (1956-74). The event also celebrates the release of the E/O’s CD Ethiopiques 32: Nalbandian the Ethiopian, for which the E/O has reconstructed and interpreted Nalbandian’s music in live and studio recordings made in Ethiopia, the US and Canada. The E/O’s previous Ethiopiques release, Live in Addis (2005), was called “astonishing…monumental…the best live album of the year in any genre” by Paul Olsen, AllAboutJazz.com. Armenian scholar Dr. Boris Adjemian, the director of the AGBU Nubar Library in Paris, will deliver a short pre-concert talk.”


If You Go:
FACS presents:
A Tribute to Ethiopian Music Legend Nerses Nalbandian
Featuring Either/Orchestra; Russ Gershon, Music Director, & Bruck Tesfaye, vocalist.
Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 7:00 PM
The Mosesian Center for the Arts [map]
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
Click here for tickets

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YEP Presents Dr. Menna Demissie of CBC

Menna Demissie, VP of Policy and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in DC. (Photo: YEP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Feb. 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Menna Demissie, who is Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, is the featured presenter at this week’s YEP guest speakers series in DC hosted by Young Ethiopian Professionals.

Menna who also teaches at the University of California, Washington Center specializes in public policy issues relevant to African Americans. Before joining the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Menna was an assistant to Congresswoman Barbara Lee and worked on unemployment legislation, poverty, and foreign policy. Menna “holds a joint doctorate in Public Policy and Political Science as well as a Master of Arts in Political Science and Certificate in African American, African and Black Transnational Studies from the University of Michigan” notes the CBC Foundation website. “She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Law and Society from Oberlin College. She has been interviewed on NPR and other media outlets and currently serves on the Alumni board for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, on the advisory board of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), and has served as National Youth Coordinator for the Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED) since 2000.”

At the upcoming YEP program Menna “will share her journey from leading the CBC foundation’s policy initiatives in the areas of education, economic opportunity, and healthcare as it affects the global black community to serving as an adjunct professor at the University of California Washington Center where she teaches courses on U.S.- Africa Foreign Policy, Race and Ethnic Politics, and American Government.”

If You Go:
YEP Presents Dr. Menna Demissie
“Career Opportunities in Government and Public Policy”
Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST)
Washington Marriott Marquis
George Washington University Room
901 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Click here to RSVP

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To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America

Statue of Liberty. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Our stories are depicted in novels, movies, memoirs, articles and plays retelling the brave and diverse lives of millions of immigrant Americans, including many in our community, that had crossed oceans against all odds fleeing imminent danger elsewhere only to find ourselves anew and make it again here in America.

That was what made the U.S. exceptional and unique for people around the globe until last week’s disastrous roll out of a White House travel ban directive, which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights simply described as being “mean-spirited” and without strong legal merit.

The reaction from the American public has been swift and very loud from coast to coast. And several U.S. federal judges have quickly moved to block parts of the new immigration rule that was ordered by President Donald Trump last Friday, while at least 16 state attorney general have said they will mount a lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive order as unconstitutional and in violation of The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which outlawed such discrimination on national origin.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright — who herself came to the U.S. as a refugee when she was a little girl fleeing communist Czechoslovakia– is among the voices leading the resistance against the new order. “I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and seeing the Statue of Liberty when I came here as a child,” Albright recalled in an email sent today to members of Organizing for Action email distribution list. “It proclaims ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty, and today she is weeping.”

In another astutely upfront article warning patriotic Republican lawmakers to distance themselves from Trump’s mounting historical errors, conservative columnist David Brooks points out that this U.S. presidency is an anomaly in every sense of the word. “In the first place, the Trump administration is not a Republican administration; it is an ethnic nationalist administration,” Brooks states. “The Bannonites are utterly crushing the Republican regulars when it comes to actual policy-making.”

Even in the age of ‘alternative facts’ (whatever that means), as Albright says “The truth is that America can simultaneously protect the security of our borders and our citizens and maintain our country’s long tradition of welcoming those who have nowhere else to turn. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are the obligation of a country built by immigrants.”


Related:
A Jarring New Level of Confrontation Hits Washington
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

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How British Tabloids Helped Kill a Women’s Aid Program in Ethiopia

Members of the Yegna band greet fans in the capital Addis Ababa. (Photo: Noni Rossini/Girl Effect)

The Washington Post

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The headline in Britain’s Daily Mail couldn’t have been more triumphant: “Aid: Now they’re listening,” it shouted in huge letters.

The conservative paper was celebrating the withdrawal of British funding for an aid project in Ethiopia it has dubbed “the Ethiopian Spice Girls.” These “girls” are a five-member all-female band known as Yegna, or “Ours.” It was founded three years ago and produces a radio drama and music videos aimed at helping girls through the perils of adolescence in Ethiopia.

The Daily Mail attacked the project for years with a string of vitriolic articles, calling Yegna “the most wasteful, ludicrous and patronizing” aid project in Africa. That coverage apparently convinced Britain’s Department for International Development to withdraw its funding on Jan. 6.

Yet the aid agency had previously given the program high marks, presenting it as an innovative way to empower Ethiopia’s young women. And while Ethiopia is the second largest recipient of British aid, getting $470 million a year, Yegna received only $6.4 million in total from the British government from 2015 to 2018.

Aid workers and activists say the rush to scapegoat Britain’s aid policy not only hurt a program that is helping adolescent girls but unfairly attacks the idea of using media for social change, a method development workers say is getting good results around the world.

Read more at The Washington Post »


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Meet Lina Getachew Ayenew, Author of First Chinese-Amharic Language Guide

Lina Getachew Ayenew's inspiration for her guide, "Dalu: Introduction to Chinese for Amharic Speakers," came while teaching medical English in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province in south-east China. (FT)

The Financial Times

The Ethiopian woman helping to bring Chinese to her homeland

Beijing’s skyline wowed Lina Getachew Ayenew when she arrived in the Chinese capital five years ago, but she was surprised to find the pedestrian bridges looked just like those in her native Addis Ababa.

It turns out the building materials used in Ethiopia’s capital were imported from China — one of many signs of the country’s impact on Africa’s developing economies. Ayenew has been building bridges herself, by creating the first Amharic-Mandarin language guide.

“I had this stereotype [of China] growing up, so this level of development is a part of China I discovered after I came here,” says 29-year old Ayenew, who was raised in Ethiopia, gained undergraduate and masters degrees at Yale University in the US, and moved to China in 2011 to teach medical English. “I don’t know how many Americans know the scale at which China has developed.”

Her fellow Ethiopians do, though. Hundreds of them now live in China, either on government scholarships or because their families pay for Chinese studies. A Chinese education is more attainable than going to the US and, for many, more useful.

Chinese investment in Africa has soared, reaching $26bn as of 2013, with another $60bn pledged in late 2015. Ethiopia’s educated workforce and leather industry have attracted Chinese manufacturing and textile investment.

At a welcoming party for 70 Ethiopian students in Beijing last year, Ayenew “noticed this collective thinking we need to bring knowledge back to our country. China has so much to teach us. There was a collective admiration of China that bounced from speaker to speaker.”

Read more »


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Trump’s Immigration Ban is Illegal

Protesters near the White House on Wednesday. (Photo: The New York Times)

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages

President Trump signed an executive order on Friday that purports to bar for at least 90 days almost all permanent immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Syria and Iraq, and asserts the power to extend the ban indefinitely.

But the order is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin.

That decision came after a long and shameful history in this country of barring immigrants based on where they came from. Starting in the late 19th century, laws excluded all Chinese, almost all Japanese, then all Asians in the so-called Asiatic Barred Zone. Finally, in 1924, Congress created a comprehensive “national-origins system,” skewing immigration quotas to benefit Western Europeans and to exclude most Eastern Europeans, almost all Asians, and Africans.

Mr. Trump appears to want to reinstate a new type of Asiatic Barred Zone by executive order, but there is just one problem: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin, replacing the old prejudicial system and giving each country an equal shot at the quotas. In signing the new law, President Lyndon B. Johnson said that “the harsh injustice” of the national-origins quota system had been “abolished.”

Mr. Trump may want to revive discrimination based on national origin by asserting a distinction between “the issuance of a visa” and the “entry” of the immigrant. But this is nonsense. Immigrants cannot legally be issued a visa if they are barred from entry. Thus, all orders under the 1952 law apply equally to entry and visa issuance, as his executive order acknowledges.

Read more »

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS


Related:
Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban Is Cowardly and Dangerous
Donald Trump’s Un-American Refugee Policy
Trump’s Order Blocks Immigrants at Airports, Stoking Fear Around Globe

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In DC Gerima & Higgins Talk Visuals to Build Constructive Africa-Diaspora Bridge

(Photo credit: Melketsadek)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, January 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend in Washington, D.C. renown photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. (formerly with the New York Times) and acclaimed filmmaker and professor Haile Gerima will hold a timely public conversation on the need to produce images that positively impact the connection between continental Africans and those residing in the Diaspora. The event is part of an upcoming documentary film on the life and work of Chester Higgens, Jr. by one of Gerima’s former students, director Patrick Yussuf.

Parts of this conversation, which takes place on Saturday, January 28th at Sankofa Book Store & Cafe, will find its way into the film.

“The discussion is on how the use of conscious visuals of Continental Africans are important for building constructive bridges to Western-born African people,” Higgins told Tadias.

“Chester Higgins Jr. has traveled to Africa every year since 1971 as a way to meditate, disconnect and examine his life,” The New York Times wrote in a feature entitled “Chester Higgins’ Homage to Ethiopia,” which highlighted his work from Ethiopia that was on exhibit in 2015 at Skoto Gallery in New York City. “Through the experience of photographing new people and places, his art both shapes and reflects his narrative. And nowhere is that truer for him than in Ethiopia, a place that has long enchanted him.”


If You Go
Photographer Chester Higgins in Conversation with Filmmaker Haile Gerima
Saturday January 28th, 2017
From 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Sankofa Video & Books, 2714 Georgia Ave, NW
Washington D.C. 20001
Located across from Howard University
Contact: 202-234-4755 or sankofa@gmail.com
www.sankofa.com


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Oscars 2017: Ruth Negga Nominated for Best Actress Award

Ethiopian-born actress Ruth Negga has been nominated for Oscars 2017 best actress award. (Irish Times)

Irish Mirror

Ruth Negga has been nominated in the Best Actress category at the 2017 Academy Awards.

The Irish-Ethiopian actress was short-listed for her role in Loving as the Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday afternoon.

Read more »


Related:
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Ruth Negga: One of Best Film Stars of 2016
Ethiopian-born Actress Ruth Negga Gets Thumbs-up for Lead Role in ‘Loving’

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Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy

(Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 23rd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — What does the new “America First” foreign policy mean vis-à-vis Ethiopia-U.S. diplomatic, military and economic ties? No one really knows, but according to Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of A World in Disarray, this kind of approach to international relations comes with a double-edged sword: “A narrow America First posture will prompt other countries to pursue an equally narrow, independent foreign policy, which will diminish U.S. influence and detract from global prosperity.”

Mr. Haass shared his concerns in an interview with the New York Times following President Donald J. Trump’s inaugural speech last Friday in which he “cast America’s new role in the world as one of an aggrieved superpower, not a power intent on changing the globe. There was no condemnation of authoritarianism or fascism, no clarion call to defend human rights around the world — one of the commitments that John F. Kennedy made in his famed address, delivered 56 years ago to the day.”

But there is a silver lining of sorts for opponents of past American policy in a sense that the new U.S. government may not have the political appetite to continue taxpayer sponsored USAID “development projects,” which critics say helps more to prop-up non-transparent and corrupt regimes than bring actual change.

Instead, Trump may favor a more business approach primarily aimed at winning against China. “How does U.S. business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese? asks one of the first questions in a four-page document containing Africa-related questions reportedly sent to the State Department and Pentagon officials last week.

In terms of promotion of civil society, human rights and good governance the Trump administration has indicated that it will not necessarily follow the long U.S. precedent articulated in “Kennedy’s most famous line: that America would ‘bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.’” As NYT points out: “The America that elected Mr. Trump had concluded that it was no longer willing to bear that burden — or even to make the spread of democracy the mission of the nation.”

“Mr. Trump views American democracy as a fine import for those who like it,” states the New York Times.


During his inaugural address, President Donald J. Trump laid out a vision for the
United States that focused on benefiting “American workers and American families.”
(Publish Date January 20, 2017/NYT)

“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone,” Trump said in his inaugural address, “but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”

The recently relaunched White House website further explains that “The Trump Administration is committed to a foreign policy focused on American interests and American national security.” The website adds: “Peace through strength will be at the center of that foreign policy. This principle will make possible a stable, more peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground.”

Regarding Africa, however, there is talk that one of the early collateral damages of the new era could be AGOA. “While its benefits have been uneven, the legislation has served as a key framework for U.S.-African relations,” says Witney Schneidman at the Brookings Institution’s. “It has led to trade and investment being at the forefront of U.S. policy in the region.” Schneidman adds: “AGOA has encouraged African women in trade and led to the creation of the African Trade Hubs (rebranded as Trade and Investment Hubs under Obama) to help African companies access AGOA. More recently, the Obama administration has been working to develop a new trade architecture based on reciprocity that would ultimately replace AGOA’s unilateral preference regime.”

And from the African perspective in an article entitled “It might not be the end of the world if Africa drops off Donald Trump’s map,” Qartz Africa notes the continent might just as well choose to turn off the U.S. and look inwards. “It’s worth remembering uncertainty isn’t all just about downside,” argues Yinka Adegoke, the Africa Editor for Quartz. “Less trade with the U.S. could force African countries to put more effort into developing stronger trade links with each other. And young Africans dissuaded from moving to the U.S. comes with one potential advantage: decades of brain drain can be stalled and Africa’s brightest can focus on problems at home.”


Related:
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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Pictures: Women’s March in DC & Beyond

The biggest US rally was in Washington, DC, which was attended by more than 500,000 people. (Photo: NYT)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, January 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — On Saturday, January 21st, in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, millions of people in major cities around the world from New York to Nairobi staged a protest in support of American women.

Below are some photos and links:

Women’s Marches: Millions of protesters around the country vow to resist Donald Trump

Washington Post highlights that “millions of women gathered in Washington and cities around the country Saturday to mount a roaring rejoinder to the inauguration of Donald Trump one day earlier. The historic protests of a new president packed cities large and small — from Los Angeles to Boston to Park City, Utah, where celebrities from the Sundance Film Festival joined a march on the snowy streets. In Chicago, the demonstration was overwhelmed by its own size, forcing officials to curtail its planned march when the crowd threatened to swamp the planned route.”

Read more »

Pictures From Women’s Marches Around the World (The New York Times)


Protestors walk down 42nd Street near Grand Central Terminal during the Women’s March in New York City. (Photo: The New York Times)

Read more »

Lawmakers Show Solidarity With Women’s March On Washington (The Huffington Post)

Huffington Post notes: “Several lawmakers turned out for the Women’s March on Washington Saturday. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) showed up to support the estimated half a million women in the nation’s capital.”


Huffington Post adds: “Some members of Congress shared the personal reasons why they marched, including Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Co.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who marched with women from their districts. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) marched with his sister, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, the first Mexican-American congresswoman, said she marched for “all women..Others sent messages of solidarity to the marchers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).”

Read more »

Donald Trump protests attract millions across US and world (BBC News)

BBC writes: “Millions of protesters have taken to the streets of cities in the US and around the globe to rally against the new US President Donald Trump..Larger numbers of demonstrators than expected turned out for more than 600 rallies worldwide.The aim was principally to highlight women’s rights, which activists believe to be under threat from the new administration.”

Read more »


Related:
Trump Sworn in as US President
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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Is US Returning to Its Tribalism Past?

President Trump after his speech during the presidential inauguration. (Associated Press photo)

The Washington Post

January 20, 2017

Trump’s dark promise to return to a mythical past

A green lawn, a white picket fence, a shining sun. Small children walk home from school; their mother, clad in an apron, waves to greet them. Father comes home in the evening from his well-paid job, the same one he has had all of his life. He greets the neighbors cheerfully — they are all men and women who look and talk like he does — and sits down to watch the 6 o’clock news while his wife makes dinner. The sun sets. Everyone sleeps well, knowing that the next day will bring no surprises.

In the back of their minds, all Americans know this picture. We’ve seen this halcyon vision in movies, we’ve heard it evoked in speeches and songs. We also know, at some level, what it conceals. There are no black people in the picture — they didn’t live in those kinds of neighborhoods in the 1940s or 1950s — and the Mexican migrants who picked the tomatoes for the family dinner are invisible, too. We don’t see the wife popping Valium in the powder room. We don’t see the postwar devastation in Europe and Asia that made U.S. industry so dominant, and U.S. power so central. We don’t see half the world is dominated by totalitarian regimes. We don’t see the technological changes that are about to arrive and transform the picture.

We also know, at some level, that this vision of a simpler America — before civil rights, feminism, the rise of other nations, the Internet, globalization, free trade — can never be recovered, not least because it never really existed. But even if we know this, that doesn’t mean that the vision has no power.

Over the past few days, multiple polls have shown that Trump is the least popular new president in recent memory. He received 3 million fewer votes than his opponent. He won with the aid of a massive Russian intelligence operation, and by propagating lies about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But don’t let any of this fool you: Do not underestimate the appeal of his nostalgic vision. His call for America to “start winning again,” his denunciation of the “crime and gangs and drugs” of the present, these are so powerful that he has triumphed despite his dishonesty, his vulgarity, his addiction to social media, his lack of religious faith, his many wives, all of the elements of his character and personal history that seemed to disqualify him. Surrounded by the trappings of the White House, its appeal may well increase.

Read more »


Related:
In DC, Pomp and Chaos Collide as Trump Becomes President

Inauguration Protesters and Police Clash on Washington’s Streets

Trump Sworn in as US President
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Trump Sworn in as US President

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama talk, as they pause on the steps of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol as the Obama's depart, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo)

The New York Times

Jan. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, ushering in a new and more unpredictable era in which he vowed to shatter the established order and restore American greatness.

From the West Front of the Capitol, overlooking a crowd of hundreds of thousands as rain began to fall, Mr. Trump presented a dark vision of a nation afflicted by division and dislocation, exploited and forgotten by a group of Washington elites and diminished around the world. His arrival, he promised, would finally turn it around.

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he declared in a forceful 16-minute Inaugural Address.

“The time for empty talk is over,” he added later. “Now arrives the hour for action. Do not allow anyone to tell you it cannot be done.”

He said the inauguration represented not just the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you the people,” he said.

Read more at NYTimes.com »

Promises, pomp and protests as Trump sworn in (AP)

The Associated Press

Jan. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pledging to empower America’s “forgotten men and women,” Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking command of a deeply divided nation and ushering in an unpredictable era in Washington. His victory gives Republicans control of the White House for the first time in eight years.

Looking out over the crowd sprawled across the National Mall, Trump painted a bleak picture of the nation he now leads, lamenting “American carnage,” shuttered factories and depleted U.S. leadership. President Barack Obama, the man he replaced, sat behind him stoically.

Trump’s address lasted just 16 minutes. While his inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.


President Donald Trump waves after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo)

Demonstrations unfolded at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through. After the swearing-in, more protesters registered their rage in the streets of Washington. Police in riot gear deployed pepper spray and made numerous arrests after protesters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, denouncing capitalism and Trump.

The new president’s first words as commander in chief were an unapologetic reprisal of the economic populism and nationalism that fueled his improbable campaign. He vowed to stir “new national pride,” bring jobs back to the United States, and “eradicate completely” Islamic terrorism.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only, ‘America First,’” Trump said.

His address lasted just 16 minutes. While Trump’s inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.

In a remarkable scene, Trump ripped into Washington’s longtime leaders as he stood among them at the U.S. Capitol. For too long, he said, “a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.”

For Republicans eager to be back in the White House, there was little mention of the party’s bedrock principles: small government, social conservativism and robust American leadership around the world. Trump, who is taking office as one of the most unpopular incoming presidents in modern history, made only oblique references to those who may be infuriated and fearful of his presidency.

“To all Americans in every city near and far, small and large from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again,” he said.

The new president was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, reciting the 35-word oath with his hand placed upon two Bibles, one used by his family and another during President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

Trump and wife, Melania, bid Obama and outgoing first lady Michelle Obama farewell as they departed the Capitol grounds in a government helicopter. Trump and Obama’s political paths have been linked in remarkable ways. Before running for the White House, the billionaire businessman led efforts to promote falsehoods about the 44th president’s citizenship and claim on the office.

Obama addressed a staff gathering at Joint Base Andrews before departing for a vacation in California. “You proved the power of hope,” he said.

Read more »


Related
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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A Boom in Qat in Ethiopia and Kenya

(Getty Images)

The Economist

Will this burgeoning green business turn to bust?

“THIS is qat,” explains Teklu Kaimo, gesturing to the wooded field behind him. He started growing it in 1976, and over the years its soft, green leaves have brought him a measure of prosperity. He has a modest plot of land, 11 children and money to pay their way through school.

A short walk down the hill, the central marketplace of this part of southern Ethiopia comes alive with farmers, merchants and salesmen as the sun sets. Young men sprint down streets with bundles of fresh qat leaves on their shoulders, as traders call out prices and haul the bags aboard lorries. They are bound for Addis Ababa, the capital, where the following morning they will be sold to qat-chewers in the city, or packed onto planes bound for neighbouring Djibouti and Somaliland.

Ethiopia’s trade in qat, a mild stimulant native to this part of Africa, is booming. Where once cultivation and consumption were restricted to the Muslim lowlands towards the country’s east, today it is grown and masticated throughout the country. Nearly half a million hectares of land are thought to be devoted to it, some two-and-half times more than was grown 15 years ago. Many of those cultivating it have switched from coffee, Ethiopia’s biggest export, to one that offers juicier and more stable returns. Qat is now the country’s second-largest source of foreign currency, and, with prices rising, a handy source of government revenue.

The industry’s growth is partly due to increased consumption. Qat kiosks are dotted around all main towns; young men chewing on street corners or in university libraries have become a ubiquitous feature of Ethiopian life. For many, its spread is a symbol of national decline. “It is getting worse by the day,” says Fitsum Zeab, a businessmen in Addis Ababa.

Read more at Economist.com »


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Ethiopia in Crisis: A Public Forum at Stanford Spotlights Problems & Solutions

Ethiopia In Crisis: A forum at Stanford University featuring scholars, human rights advocates, politicians, and media representatives is scheduled for January 21 – 22, 2017 in Stanford, California. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Thursday, January 19th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend a public forum will be held at Stanford University in California highlighting some of the most pressing and unresolved issues fueling the ongoing political and economic crisis in Ethiopia while currently under State of Emergency including “land and agriculture policy, property rights, human rights, democracy, and rule of law.”

According to the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), the program organizer, the gathering of scholars and activists include Mulatu Wubneh, Ph.D., Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina whose talk is entitled “This Land Is My Land: the Ethio-Sudan Boundary and the Need to Rectify Arbitrary Colonial Boundaries.”

Other speakers are Mekonnen Firew Ayano, Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for African Studies, who is scheduled to address “Ethiopia’s Property Rights, Land and Agriculture Policy” and Felix Horne, a Senior Horn of Africa Researcher at Human Rights Watch, is set to discuss “Human Rights Crisis in the Amhara and Oromia Regions of Ethiopia.”

The Executive Director of The Oakland Institute, Anuradha Mittal, is also scheduled to discuss “The Risk of Land Grabbing From Ethiopian Villagers and its Impact on Food Security.” Additional presentation topics include “access to food, democracy, human rights, and the ethnic federal system in Ethiopia.”

The keynote speakers at the forum are Professor Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, as well as Professor Richard A. Joseph from Northwestern University’s Political Science Department who is among the four inaugural Martin Luther King Visiting Professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


If You Go:
January 21 – 22, 2017
Stanford University
Jordan Hall, Building 01-420
450 Serra Mall,
Stanford, California
Sponsors: Center for African Studies, BSU, SASA, and SEESA
Click here to learn more and RSVP

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Ethio-American Friend Rep. Mike Coffman in Trouble Over Obamacare Repeal Vote

U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman speaks at St. Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Denver, Colorado during Meskel celebration on October 1, 2016. (Photo: Flickr/Mike Coffman)

The Colorado Independent

The scene could not have been more damaging for a public official: A TV camera rolling as Congressman Mike Coffman ducks out a side door of his own public event, fleeing around 100 members of the public— many of them there to grill him about what will happen if he successfully repeals Obamacare.

“He snuck out, and he snuck out early,” two women are heard saying in a video for a broadcast on Denver’s 9News that captured a crowd of frustrated Coloradans wanting to talk to the Congressman but left without access, nor answers to their concerns. Some shouted “open the door,” and “This is what democracy looks like,” when Coffman declined to meet with everyone at once.

Since the story about Saturday’s event in Aurora, the news of a Republican congressman from Colorado being confronted loudly at a public event by people concerned about Obamacare repeal has spread into national media.

Read more »

Watch: Congressman Coffman leaves frustrated crowd

9News Denver

AURORA – When Berthie Ruoff arrived at the Aurora Central Library to meet with Congressman Mike Coffman, she was hopeful to find encouraging answers about the impending changes to the Affordable Care Act.

“My husband passed away and the only way I was able to get insurance was through the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare,” Ruoff said.

When she walked in, she saw a crowd she didn’t expect.

“There were hundreds of people here,” Ruoff said.

Kronda Seibert just wanted Coffman to hear her concerns. But, she ended up trying to organize the crowd that gathered outside the large community room.

“The representative didn’t have a plan. They expected just a small handful of people to show up,” Seibert said. “We were under the understanding it was a town hall meeting and they were only allowing four people in at a time.”

Coffman’s chief of staff, Ben Stein, sent a statement addressing what happened Saturday afternoon. The statement says the Congressman’s community event was not a town hall.

Read more »

Watch: Congressman Mike Coffman at Denver’s 2017 MLK Parade Asked About the Incident:


Related:
In Colorado, GOP Congressman Mike Coffman Enjoys Ethiopian Support

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Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking

Ethiopian workers at Huajian's shoe factory near Addis Ababa mark out leather for shoes. (Photograph: Guardian.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 16th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Members of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team are reportedly asking Obama administration officials questions regarding Africa policy with emphasis on business and the booming Chinese commerce on the continent.

“How does U.S. business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese? asks one of the first questions in the unclassified document,” according to The New York Times.

The Times states: “A four-page list of Africa-related questions from the transition staff has been making the rounds at the State Department and Pentagon, alarming longtime Africa specialists who say the framing and the tone of the questions suggest an American retreat from development and humanitarian goals, while at the same time trying to push forward business opportunities across the continent.”

In a related article published today The Washington Post indicates that “Peter Navarro, who will lead Trump’s National Trade Council, provided his own answers in his book Death by China.” Navarro points out that it’s “part of China’s strategy to boost its factories back home and undermine the U.S. manufacturing base.”

The Washington Post adds “Jobs that once migrated from the United States to China are now offshoring to Africa. With low-end manufacturing on the way out, what was ‘Made in China’ is now ‘Made in Africa.’ The Huajian Group, one of the largest shoe manufacturers in China, employing 25,000 workers, opened a factory in Ethiopia in 2012; the company will invest $2 billion over five years to build a “shoe city” in Addis Ababa. Supply chains now span the United States, China and Africa: Huajian produces for U.S. brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Guess and, ironically, Ivanka Trump’s eponymous shoe line.”

Below are links to both articles to read more:

Donald Trump’s team has questions about China in Africa. Here are answers. (The Washington Post)
Trump Team’s Queries About Africa Point to Skepticism About Aid (The New York Times)


Related:
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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University of Toronto Starts Course in Ge’ez, A Step to Ethiopic Studies

The course in Ge’ez, which could be a first step to launching a larger Ethiopian Studies program, was helped made possible by a donation of $50,000 each from a prof, the school and the Weeknd. (Toronto Star)

Toronto Star

A language that hasn’t been spoken for more than 1,000 years is being taught this semester at the University of Toronto, a step perhaps towards decoding rarely understood excerpts of history.

The ancient Ethiopian language of Ge’ez is written in a script that’s read left to right and has 26 letters. Letters have variations for the vowels that go with them, meaning students have to learn 26 characters in seven different ways.

The goal of the class, which meets twice a week, is to get students on their way to reading.

Milen Melles, a history major, said her parents immigrated to Canada from Eritrea in the 1990s and is taking the class as an opportunity to connect with her roots. She one day hopes to study texts from the region at a graduate level.

“This is a huge step for western academia to be exploring African languages, ancient languages, because they usually only study Swahili,” Melles said, noting that African studies often get lumped together at universities, differently than other regions where specific areas or countries are studied independently of one another.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopic Studies Program at University of Toronto Gets $50,000 From The Weeknd

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The Optimism of Barack Obama

(Photo: The New York Times)

The New York Times

Sunday Review | EDITORIAL

Barack Obama is leaving the White House with polls showing him to be one of the most popular presidents in recent decades. This makes sense. His achievements, not least pulling the nation back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, have been remarkable — all the more so because they were bitterly opposed from the outset by Republicans who made it their top priority to ensure that his presidency would fail.

Many Americans celebrated the election of the first African-American president as a welcome milestone in the history of a nation conceived in slavery and afflicted by institutional racism. Yet the bigotry that president-elect Donald Trump capitalized on during his run for office confirmed a point that Mr. Obama himself made from the start: that simply electing a black president would not magically dispel the prejudices that have dogged the country since its inception. Even now, these stubborn biases and beliefs, amplified by a divisive and hostile campaign that appealed not to people’s better instincts but their worst, have blinded many Americans to their own good fortune, fortune that flowed from policies set in motion by this president.

That story begins on Inauguration Day in 2009. That’s when Mr. Obama inherited a ravaged economy that was rapidly shedding jobs and forcing millions of people from their homes. The Obama stimulus, which staved off a 1930s-vintage economic collapse by pumping money into infrastructure, transportation and other areas, passed the House without a single Republican vote. Republican gospel holds that government spending does not create jobs or boost employment. The stimulus did both — preserving or creating an average of 1.6 millions jobs a year for four years. (A timely federal investment in General Motors and Chrysler, both pushed to the brink during the recession, achieved similarly salutary results, preserving more than a million jobs.)

Mr. Obama’s opponents have had trouble accepting that any of this actually happened. They have not learned the simple truth — a truth clear in the New Deal and just as clear now — that timely and significant federal investment can make a real difference in people’s lives. Or accepted that compassionate and well-designed government programs can do the same. Driven by ideology or envy, or maybe both, Republican leaders have now pounced upon the demonstrably successful Affordable Care Act of 2010, a law that has improved the way medical care is delivered in the United States, providing affordable care for millions and driving the percentage of Americans without insurance to a record low 9.1 percent in 2015. Despite the law’s clear successes, Mr. Trump and Republican congressional leaders have nevertheless declared it a failure, hoping to justify a repeal that would rob an estimated 22 million people of health insurance. The point of following this destructive course can only be to destroy a central Obama legacy — even though doing so will drive up costs and cause havoc in the lives of the newly uninsured.

Read more »


Related:
President Obama’s Farewell Address: Full Video

Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham: Reflections on Civic Engagement and the White House

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Ethiopia: HD Says He Wants to Keep Merara in Jail for Meeting EU Lawmakers

Merera Gudina is the chairman of Ethiopia's opposition party OFC. The prominent political leader has been detained since he returned home from a working trip to the European Parliament last month. (Photo: Reuters)

AP

By Elias Meseret 

January 9, 2017

Ethiopia targets opposition who met with European lawmakers

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia said Monday it will not release a leading opposition figure detained under the country’s state of emergency after meeting with European lawmakers in Belgium.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters that Merara Gudina of the Oromo Federalist Congress party instead will face justice.

“Individuals in the European Parliament who are harboring anti-peace elements cannot save those who trespass the law of the country,” the prime minister said.

Merara is one of 22,000 people the prime minister said were detained under the state of emergency declared in October after widespread, sometimes deadly anti-government protests. The government has said several thousand have since been released.

Merara was arrested immediately after he returned from Belgium, where he met with the lawmakers about the state of emergency. He was accused of meeting with members of an armed Ethiopian opposition group in Brussels, an act banned under the emergency law.

Photos posted on social media show him sitting next to Birhanu Nega, leader of the armed opposition group called Ginbot 7 that mainly operates from Eritrea, and Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian marathon runner who crossed his wrists in a sign of protest while crossing the finish line at the Rio Olympic Games.

Read more »


Ethiopia: US Ambassador to UN Samantha Power Says Free Bekele Gerba

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Like In Ethiopia, CPJ Worried for US Press

(AP photo)

CPJ

January 9, 2017

Transition to Trump: Like In Ethiopia, CPJ Worried About Press Freedom in USA

Journalists in the U.S. experience a threatening climate covering the election and its conclusion, with President-elect Donald Trump obstructing major news organizations, attacking reporters by name, and proposing to “open up” libel laws. As the new presidential administration prepares to take over, CPJ examines the status of press freedom, including the challenges journalists face from surveillance, harassment, limited transparency, the questioning of libel laws, and other factors.

Watch Meryl Streep calls for CPJ support


American actress Meryl Streep giving her now famous speech at the 2017 Golden Globes when receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement on Sunday, January 8th in Beverly Hills, California. She championed press freedoms, criticized Donald Trump and advocated support for CPJ. (Golden Globes 2017)

As Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2017 Golden Globes ceremony on January 8, 2017, she called on the audience and the broader community to join her in supporting CPJ. You can #StandWithStreep and click here to make a donation.

In her speech, Streep said, “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. … We need the principled press to hold power to account. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution.”

So, Streep continued, “I only ask … all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”

Read more »


Related:
Letter: CPJ seeks meeting with Vice President-elect Pence

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Spotlight: R&B Singer Mélat Kassa’s Texas-Ethiopia Connection

Ethiopian-American singer Mélat performs at Antone’s in Austin, Texas, December 2016. (Photo: AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, January 6th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — In every respect up-and-coming R&B singer Mélat Kassa is a typical American kid born and bred in Austin, Texas. But her new album MéVen , which includes songs such as Negn –Amharic for “I am” — also reveals her proud international heritage as a daughter of immigrant parents from Ethiopia who fled to the U.S. during the Derg era in the 1980s.

Mélat says growing up in Texas her family’s soundtrack included “Kool and the Bee Gees in the mix with Ethiopian pop stars Tilahun Gessese and Teddy Afro when the family cranked up the stereo each week to to help them knock out Saturday chores.”

“My dad’s mother used to always call me Addis Alem which means ‘new world,’” shares Mélat in a recent interview with The Austin American-Statesman. “She was in Ethiopia when I was born,” Mélat adds. “She always called me that. And then my mother’s mother always called me Mewded which means ‘to love.”

The newspaper, which has named Mélat artist of the month for January 2017, notes that “over the past few years, the singer with the haunting doe eyes, endless cascade of white-blonde curls and inexplicably large voice contained in a lithe, 5-foot-4-inch frame, has been slowly bubbling on the alternative R&B underground in Texas and beyond. Her quietly philosophical Twitter and stylish Instagram feed each have thousands of followers. Her 2015 EP, “It Happens So Fast,” earned her national looks from online urban music sources like 2dopeboyz.com and hypebeast.com and, in 2016, Essence Magazine featured her in their New & Next section.”

“Starting off 2017 as Artist of the Month for the paper I used to bug my dad to buy every single Sunday growing up is incredibly surreal,” Mélat said in Facebook post Thursday regarding the feature by her hometown publication.


Mélat recorded a song in the Austin360 studio for The American-Statesman artist of the month series. (Photo: Kelly West/AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Mélat called her latest album “MéVen,” a personalization of the word maven, “someone who understands, someone who kind of teaches other people, leads the way,” according to The American-Statesman. “Negn is the distillation of the message, but the understanding of her elders’ guiding vision, spread into a broader sense of self that came into focus as she worked on the album, resolving a few personal conflicts along the way.”

Read more: Austin’s Mélat infuses her R&B style with a larger worldview »


Related:
The Ethiopian R&B Sound Of Mélat

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Obama’s Farewell Address: ‘Yes, We Did’

Malia, Michelle and President Obama on Tuesday night after he delivered his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago, January 10, 2017. (Photo: NYT)

THE NEW YORK TIMES

UPDATED: JAN. 10, 2017

CHICAGO — President Obama delivered a nostalgic and hopeful farewell address to the nation on Tuesday evening, but warned both the divided country he led for eight years and his successor not to shrink from the challenges of economic inequality, racial strife, political isolation and voter apathy that still threaten its ideal of democracy.

Mr. Obama returned to the city that nurtured his political career and his improbable journey from Hyde Park to Pennsylvania Avenue, just 10 days before he will leave the White House to Donald J. Trump. In his final speech to the nation, the president expressed his belief that even the deepest ideological divides can be bridged by an active, engaged populace.

“After eight years as your president, I still believe that,” Mr. Obama told a large crowd at McCormick Place, the cavernous lakeside convention center where he thanked supporters after his re-election in 2012. “And it’s not just my belief. It’s the beating heart of our American idea — our bold experiment in self-government.”

Tearing up as he concluded the final speech of a remarkable political career, Mr. Obama thanked his wife, his daughters, his vice president (“the scrappy kid from Scranton”) and the army of supporters who helped sweep the first African-American into the White House.

Read more »

Watch: President Barack Obama’s farewell address (full speech)


President Obama to Give His Farewell Address to Americans From Hometown Chicago


President Obama will deliver a farewell address to the American people on the evening of January 10, 2017 in his hometown of Chicago, the president announced in an email to supporters on Monday. (Photo: WH)

The White House

Comments by President Obama

Washington – In 1796, as George Washington set the precedent for a peaceful, democratic transfer of power, he also set a precedent by penning a farewell address to the American people. And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead.

On Tuesday, January 10, I’ll go home to Chicago to say my grateful farewell to you, even if you can’t be there in person.

I’m just beginning to write my remarks. But I’m thinking about them as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.

Since 2009, we’ve faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger. That’s because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding — our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better.

So I hope you’ll join me one last time.

Because, for me, it’s always been about you.

President Barack Obama

—-
Related
Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham: Reflections on Civic Engagement and the White House

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U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017

People read a Kenyan daily newspaper with the front page showing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Nairobi, November 10, 2016. Trump's election victory was met with surprise in many parts of Africa. (Getty)

Newsweek

DON’T DISMISS THE DONALD TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ON AFRICA POLICY

The United States under President Donald Trump will still have an Africa policy. This goes against the popular view that an inward-looking Trump administration will ignore African countries and make it easier for African governments to pivot towards other partners, such as China and neighboring African countries.

Regardless of a lack of interest in a particular region at the presidential level, the United States’ historical role as the center of global diplomacy and the day-to-day workings of the U.S. bureaucracy mandates the development of an African strategy.

The new administration would have to make decisions on whether to sustain previous executive programs—such as President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative, aimed at doubling electricity access across sub-Saharan Africa; and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has provided treatment to 11.5 million people since being initiated by George W. Bush—many of which have received bipartisan support through several presidential administrations.

The administration will also need to decide on what new programs to encourage, if any. Now, therefore, is the time for those with interests in a robust U.S.-Africa policy to put forth ideas and engage with incoming officials.

Trump administration policymakers should keep three principles in mind when thinking about how to approach an agenda for Africa. First, millions of Africans, just like millions of Americans, are working hard every day to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, so policy must ensure that those bootstraps are within reach. Second, the new administration should ensure that its policies advance American competitiveness in African markets. And third, U.S. policies should be oriented towards enabling business and investment as tools for mutually beneficial economic development.

As a Democrat who has worked with administrations of both parties over the past 12 years, I recommend the following policy proposals that build on business ties and advance U.S. interests in Africa for consideration:

Read the full article at Newsweek.com »


Related:
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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In Time for Ethiopian X-mas, Drom NYC Presents Legend Girma Beyene

Girma Beyene. (Photo: Multiflora Productions)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, January 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Just in time for Ethiopian christmas the annual Secret Planet World Music Showcase at DROM in Manhattan will present the legendary composer-arranger and vocalist Girma Beyene, who is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 accompanied by DC-based Feedel Band.

Girma who is one of the icons of Ethiopia’s “golden age” of jazz and swing has made a remarkable comeback recently after many years of absence from the music scene. His new album, which is entitled Mistakes on Purpose and recorded in collaboration with the French Ethio-jazz band Akale Wube, is set to be released on January 13th, 2017 as part of the 30th installment of the Ethiopiques CD series.

“This year’s Secret Planet’s lineup continues our tradition of showcasing new talent unlikely to remain secret for very long,” announced Barbès and Electric Cowbell Records, organizers of the NYC international concert.


The 2017 edition includes “artists playing their own version of music from Morocco, Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Tuva, Venezuela, Brooklyn, Cuba and Toronto.”


(Photo: DROM NYC)

The announcement highlights that “Girma is also the composer of “Muziqawi Silt,” the most covered Ethiopian tune of all time. There has been a regain of interest for Girma Beyene in Europe and now in the US. He will be backed by Feedel Band, a Washington DC-based group made up of former members of some Addis Ababa’s greatest musicians including the legendary Walias band and Aster Aweke.”


If You Go:
Girma Beyene & Feedel Band at DROM NYC
Sat, January 7th
Doors 7PM
Show 7:30PM
Advance Price $10 GA / Free with APAP Badge
Door Price: Advanced online ticket sales stop at 5pm on day of show
If available, more tickets are available at door
www.dromnyc.com

Related:
New ‘Ethiopiques’ CD Celebrates Legend Girma Beyene

Watch: Girma Beyene live in Paris with French band Akale Wube — 2015

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How ‘Idir’ is Helping the Elderly in Ethiopia

As Ethiopia has begun to age, the 'idir' has started to serve a new purpose: helping elderly residents live their daily lives when they no longer have family members nearby. (CS Monitor)

CS Monitor

In Ethiopia, the elderly get new help from an old tool

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Established around 100 years ago, the Ethiopian idir is a kind of grassroots life insurance. Idir collectives help Ethiopian neighbors organize funerals for their closest relatives and provide solace in grieving.

But as Ethiopia has begun to age, the idir has started to serve a new purpose beyond end-of-life services: helping elderly residents live their daily lives when they no longer have family members nearby.

“The number of older people left alone has increased, because their children have left for other cities or countries and don’t visit or support them anymore,” says Etalemaha Mekbib, the treasurer of a 700-member idir on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa. Her association, whose main purpose was once to fund all the arrangements of the funeral, now also pays calls to the elderly in their homes, accompanies them to hospitals, and helps them pay their monthly idir fees or buy basics such as soap or coffee.

Watch: As Ethiopia modernizes, its elderly find new ways to get by

For the vast majority of elderly in Ethiopia, says Gebre Yntiso Deko, an anthropologist from Addis Ababa University, “their pension systems are their children.” He says governments should act now to prepare, by funding adequate nursing care and creating pension schemes.

Read more »


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Dr. Maigenet Fellowship: Call for Proposals for Ethiopian Women Studies

The Maigenet Shifferraw Fellowship is dedicated to promote scholarship on Ethiopian women as well as empower and/or advance women’s wellbeing in Ethiopia. (Photo: Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, January 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The newly established Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw Fellowship has announced calls for academic proposals on topics affecting Ethiopian girls or women worldwide. The U.S-based fellowship was set-up recently by Dr. Maigenet’s family in memory of the former president and one of the founders of CREW (Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women) who passed away in 2016.

As administrator of the fellowship CREW states that its upcoming scholarship will “provide a one-time financial assistance, up to US $2,000.00, to an organization in Ethiopia that promotes the well-being and empowerment of women and girls in Ethiopia.” The press release adds: “research proposals can be submitted from all over the world but the research must focus on Ethiopian girls and women. Organizations who work on empowering or improving the situation of girls or women in Ethiopia must operate in Ethiopia.”


(Courtesy Photo: Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women — CREW)

In addition, the guiding principles of the fellowship include documenting and researching the experiences of Ethiopian women and girls “so that we all can gain some knowledge and serve humanity better” as well as encouraging those individuals who “strive to protect women and girls’ rights and improve their situation.”

Selection results will be announced on March 11, 2017.


Learn more at http://centerforethiopianwomen.org.

Related:
The Maigenet Shifferraw Women’s Education Fellowship Launched
Tribute to Women’s Rights Advocate Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: 2016 in Pictures

Feyisa Lilesa at a press conference during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil. (Photo: Eshetu Homa Keno)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — When 26-year-old marathoner, father of two and social activist Feyisa Lilesa approached the finish line with his hands crossed over his head to claim the silver medal during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil he brought global attention to Ethiopia’s long-brewing political demonstrations. In an instant his daring move made international headlines, creating awareness about the deadly civil unrest that has rocked Ethiopia from Bishoftu to Gonder for the past 13 months. Foreign Policy magazine has dubbed Feyisa as a challenger and one of the leading global thinkers of 2016, not only for “breaking the rules of the games” but likewise for his subsequent statement to the press emphasizing that he “wanted to be a voice for a story that wasn’t getting any coverage.” As Feyisa is now in exile in the United States, a government-imposed state of emergency has been instituted in Ethiopia and political tensions remain high.

As we hope for better times in the years to come, we never cease to be inspired by the numerous talented Ethiopians around the world, both young and old, that we continue to profile and highlight in this magazine, who drive us all to imagine that through perseverance, unity, and creative thinking, a brighter, bolder, and more peaceful and prosperous tomorrow is still possible.

This year the people we spotlighted on our website included the 2016 class of the Mandela Fellows from Ethiopia as well as the second cohort of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows from the United States. We close the year with a recent interview with Yohannes Abraham, the first Ethiopian American working in a senior White House role.

Below are some photos from 2016:


Related:
15 Arts & Culture Stories of 2016
2015 in Pictures
2014 in Pictures
2013 in Pictures
Top 10 Stories of 2013
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014
Ten Arts and Culture Stories of 2013

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15 Arts & Culture Stories of 2016 in Photos

Poet Lemn Sissay at Ginny’s in New York at a Tadias Salon Series event on August 9th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 26th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This has been a very productive and busy year for us beginning with the launch of Tadias Salon Series in Spring 2016 featuring the NYC release of the book Temsalet & Tsehai Publishers Presentation at the Schomburg Center in Harlem followed by a sold-out live show over the Summer with renowned British-born Ethiopian poet and author Lemn Sissay at Ginny’s Supper Club/Red Rooster Harlem. In Fall 2016 Tadias Magazine hosted Marcus Samuelsson at SEI in DC for a book signing and afterparty celebrating the release of his latest publication entitled The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem. In addition we were honored to attend the first Ethiopian American Policy Briefing held on June 8th, 2016 at the White House as well as being one of the emergng new media presenters at the 2016 Diasporas in Development conference held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on October 12th, 2016.

But, as always, the most exciting part of our job was covering some of the biggest Ethiopian Diaspora arts and culture stories including the recent historic appearance of legendary singer Mahmoud Ahmed at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City and classical pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa’s phenomenal NYC show at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. Furthermore, Mulatu Astatke’s one-of-a-kind live performance at the Temple of Dendur at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) was held on September 9th, 2016, which was presented in collaboration with the World Music Institute.

Below are a few images of the top arts and culture stories of 2016 curated from the Tadias instagram Page:

Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert on October 23rd, 2016


(Photo by Kidane Mariam/Tadias Magazine)

Mahmoud Ahmed performed live at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016, becoming the first major artist from Ethiopia to give a solo concert at the world-famous venue. The 75-year-old Ethiopian cultural icon, who is one of Ethiopia’s most eminent musicians, played at Carnegie’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage and brought the audience to its feet for several songs. Read more and see photos »

Ruth-Negga: One of Top Movie Stars of 2016


(Photo: Instyle.co.uk)

34-year-old Ethiopian-born actress Ruth Negga has become the talk of Hollywood and Oscar mentions following her highly acclaimed performance in the new civil rights movie Loving, which depicts the 1967 historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.” Ruth who was born in Addis Ababa grew-up in Limerick, Ireland and has resided in London for the past ten years. Asked by The Hollywood Reporter on how she became an actress, Negga replied: “You know when you’re a kid and you get to pick a movie every Friday? I watched everything. There’s no particular genre that was appealing. I just loved the idea that you could dress up and play.” This month Vogue magazine declared “the Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga has become a star for our time.” Read more and see photos »

Congratulations to artist and instagrammer Girma Berta who won the 2016 Getty Images Grant


(Photo by Girma Berta)

Photographer Girma Berta, an instagrammer and artist from Ethiopia, was the winner of the 2016 Getty Images Instagram Grant. “Berta uses his iPhone to photograph vibrant, gritty street life in Addis Ababa, crossing street photography with fine art by isolating his subjects against backdrops of rich color,” Getty Images said. The grant is for videographers and visual artists who feature local stories and document “underrepresented communities around the world.” Read more and see photos »

Mulatu Astatke Live at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 9th, 2016


(Photo: last.fm, museumhack.com)

Mulatu Astatke returned to New York City for a live show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 9th, 2016. The concert, which was part of the MetLiveArts program, was presented in collaboration with the World Music Institute. “Known as the father of Ethio-jazz, composer and multi-instrumentalist (vibraphone, piano, keyboard, organs, and percussion) Mulatu Astatke leaped to international fame in the ’70s and ’80s with his unique mix of Western traditional Ethiopian music and admirers like Duke Ellington and John Coltrane,” stated the announcement from The Met. “Known for his fearless experimentation, his music begins and ends with improvisation.”

Poet & Author Lemn Sissay Featured at Tadias Salon Series event in NYC on August 9th, 2016


Photos by Anastasia Kirtiklis for Tadias

Thank you again to everyone who joined us on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016 for a sold out Tadias Salon Series show at Ginny’s Supper Club as Lemn Sissay shared his incredible life journey & poems from his new book Gold From the Stone, and Grammy-nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter Wayna (@waynamusic) gave a soul-shaking music performance, along with DJ Mengie. Special thanks to Marcus Samuelsson and Ethiopia Alfred as well as our sponsors for making it happen.

Composer & Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Phenomenal Show in Harlem


Ethiopian Pianist and Composer Girma Yifrashewa at Ginny’s Supper Club in New York on Sunday, November 27th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

This year the Thanksgiving weekend program at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem, New York featured a special Ethiopia-inspired dinner menu prepared by Chef Marcus Samuelsson followed by a live performance by classical Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa. Girma’s amazing concert on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 included his original compositions that evoke “Ethiopian melody making,” as he told the audience, “decorated” with sounds of the classical music tradition in combination with Ambassel, Bati, Anchihoye and Tizita based on Ethiopian music’s unique tone scale system. Read more and watch video »

LA’s Azla Vegan Family Ethiopian Restaurant Featured on U.S. National Food Network TV Show


(Photo: Owners of Azla Vegan Nesanet Teshager Abegaze and her mother Azla Mekonen at Coachella Festival in Los Angeles, California)

Los Angeles, California, which is home to the only official Little-Ethiopia neighborhood in America, is also headquarters for Azla Vegan, a family-owned Ethiopian restaurant — located near the University of Southern California (USC) — that we featured in 2013 in an interview with owner Nesanet Teshager Abegaze as it first opened. This year, Azla Vegan was featured on the Food Network‘s television episode of “Cosmopolitan Comfort: Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.” Read more and see photos »

Ethiopia-inspired furniture at 2016 International Dubai Design Week


(Photo: Jomo Design Furniture, Actuel Urban Living)

Ethiopia-inspired furniture by U.S.-based Jomo Tariku, Founder of Jomo Design Furniture and Hamere Demissie of Actuel Urban Living was featured at the 2016 international Dubai Design Week festival in October. Jomo and Hamere’s works were selected as submissions from design weeks around the world including Design Week Addis Ababa, highlighting “the modern-inspired minimalist spirit of traditional Ethiopian design made locally by skilled artisans.” Hamere Demissie’s Actuel Urban Living previewed “a collection of furniture, rugs and textiles with a refined organic feel, while Jomo Design Furniture will display a contemporary take on traditional African chairs crafted in hardwoods, inspired by African hand carvings, baskets and traditional woven textiles,” according to the media release from Dubai Design Week.

Ethiopian American Reporter Bofta Yimam Named Weekend Morning Anchor at Action News 4 Pittsburgh


Ethiopian American journalist Bofta Yimam was promoted as Weekend Morning Anchor at Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 Television in 2016.

Congratulations to Bofta Yimam who was promoted to Weekend Morning Anchor at Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 Television (WTAE) this year. Bofta received three Emmy nominations and won the Regional Emmy Award (Nashville/Mid-South Chapter) for excellence in the ‘Continuing Coverage’ category in 2013. “There are so many avenues of journalism that you have to put yourself out there, and have a kind of go-for-it type of mentality,” Bofta shared in a past interview with Tadias. “You gotta get the skill sets and be willing to hit the ground running.” Read more and watch video »

Ethiopia-Italy Film “If Only I Were That Warrior” Released on DVD


(Image courtesy of Awen Films)

The new documentary film If Only I Were That Warrior — which chronicles the reactions of the international Ethiopian and Italian community regarding the recent building of a memorial for the Fascist General, Rodolfo Graziani (“The Butcher of Ethiopia”) in his hometown of Affile, Italy — has finally been released on DVD and is also now available for streaming online. Read more »

Alegntaye: Ethiopian Hip-Hop Artist Teddy Yo Featured in New Africology Video


(Teddy Yo 2016 new music video ‘Alegntaye’ produced by Africology)

NYC-based music & entertainment company Africology this year released their first music video production entitled “Alegntaye” featuring popular Ethiopian hip-hop artist Teddy Yo and Joe Lox.

Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show at Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center in Ethiopia


Julie Mehretu. (Photo by Joseph Maida)

Renowned Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu returned to Ethiopia this Summer for her inaugural show at The Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center in Addis Ababa. The exhibition entitled Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show — which was jointly presented by the Gebre Kristos Desta Center and the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa — was opened on July 8, 2016 and remained on display through August 6, 2016.

Celebrity chef and Author Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster book Offers a Taste of Multicultural Harlem


‘The Red Rooster Cookbook’ (2016) by Marcus Samuelsson pays homage to modern Harlem. (Photo: Book cover)

“When chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue, he envisioned so much more than just a restaurant. He wanted to create a gathering place at the heart of his adopted neighborhood, where both the uptown and downtown sets could see and be seen, mingle and meet – and so he did, in a big way. Ever since the 1930s, Harlem has been a magnet for more than a million African Americans, a melting pot for Spanish, African, and Caribbean immigrants, and a mecca for artists. Named after a historic neighborhood speakeasy, the modern Rooster reflects all of that, from the local art showcased on its walls, to the live music blaring from its performance spaces, to the cross-cultural food on its patrons’ plates and the evocative cocktails in their hands.” Read The Times review at NYTimes.com »

Ethio-American Playwright Antu Yacob’s One Person Show ‘In the Gray’


Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

What does it mean to be Ethiopian American? The answer depends on who you ask, but for Playwright Antu Yacob — whose parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia when she was barely five years old — the identity is not as clear-cut. In the Gray is the title of Antu’s latest one-person show, which explored precisely this question when it was staged in New York City as part of the Women in Theatre Festival by Project Y Theatre in Manhattan this past summer. “In the Gray” features Antu playing several engaging characters including herself, her 8-year-old son, as well as her muslim and Oromo activist mother who lives in Minnesota. “I knew that I wanted to write about my experience not only as an actor, but also as an Ethio-American professional in the entertainment industry,” Antu told Tadias in an interview following her show. As a playwright Antu says she tries “to experiment with social and political activism in an entertaining way” noting that “America is made up of so many different cultures, and there is room to honor that diversity without sacrificing the beauty of who we are as a people. As Ethiopian Americans we make up a part of the larger American experience.” Read more and see photos »

Ethiopia: Director Jessica Beshir’s ‘Hairat’ Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2017


The film ‘Hairat,” which documents one man’s nightly ritual near Ethiopia’s historic city of Harar, is directed by Jessica Beshir. (Courtesy photo)

Last but not least, a big thumbs-up to Director Jessica Beshir whose documentary short film Hairat from Ethiopia was selected this year to be featured at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. “This is a visual and lyrical exploration of the nightly ritual between a man in Eastern Ethiopia and his feral companions,” the Sundance Institute wrote describing Hairat in a press release. In the film Director Jessica Beshir, who was born in Mexico City and raised in Ethiopia, “returns to the city of her childhood to tell the story of one man’s extraordinary ritual that unfolds nightly in the outskirts of the walled city of Harar.” Jessica’s short film is one of 68 works from around the world that will be screened at Sundance from January 19th through 29th, 2017. Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia: 2016 in Pictures
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014
Ten Arts and Culture Stories of 2013
Tadias Year in Review: 2015 in Pictures
Tadias Year in Review: 2014 in Pictures
Tadias Year in Review: 2013 in Pictures
Top 10 Stories of 2013

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Spotlight: Abraham Abebe’s Hopeful Art Draws From His Ethiopia and US Roots

Digital art work by Abraham Abebe. (Photo courtesy of Anbassa Design)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 23rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — “My design and artworks are a result of two cultures,” says Ethiopian-born artist Abraham Abebe who is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. Abraham’s upcoming solo exhibition entitled Guzo will be held there at the Leland Gallery, from January 9th to February 3rd, 2017.

“I am swimming in between Ethiopian tradition that I grew up with [and] American culture that I am experiencing right now,” Abebe explains in his artist statement. “My subject matters reflect the two cultures as well. It also gives me great opportunity to use different mediums to convey my deep passion. Beyond cultures, there is so much for me to learn; so many great artists to learn from, that I know only patience, persistence, practice and education will carry me to my goal.”

The title of Abraham Abebe’s new show Guzo, which means journey in Amharic makes use of “lottery tickets as a starting point then translates numbers from each ticket into visual forms using the metric system. The resulting visual data serves as the basis for the painting, mixed media, kinetic and screen-print that would define the four quadrants on the two-dimensional surface of the stretched canvases, papers and panels.”


Artwork Abraham Abebe. (Courtesy of the artist )

Abraham holds both an MFA degree in Studio Art and a BFA (Cum Laude) majoring in Graphic Design, Painting and Drawing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as an A.A. degree (with distinction) from Truckee Meadows Community College. He has held several solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group shows and is the author of Eggmel, a book of poetry written in his native language Amharic.


If You Go:
ጉዞ ፪ = Journey II by Abraham Abebe
curated by Professor Carlos Herrera
January 9 – February 3, 2017
Reception: January 26, from 5 – 7pm
Artist Talk: January 26 at 5:30pm
Leland Gallery
Ennis Hall
320 West Hancock Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061

You can learn more about Abraham Abebe’s work at www.anbassadesign.com.

Related:
From DC to Addis: Spotlight on Artist Abel Tilahun & His Ethiopia Show ‘Odyssey’

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Farewell to Legend Miruts Yifter

A Toronto Ethiopian Orthodox Church was packed for the funeral of running legend Miruts Yifter. (CBC)

CBC News

Updated Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Olympic champion’s body will be sent back to Ethiopia this week

Miruts Yifter, an Ethiopian running legend dubbed “Yifter the Shifter” for his ability to power away from rivals, was laid to rest at a packed funeral in Toronto on Tuesday.

Yifter, a distance runner who won two gold medals in the 5,000- and 10,000-metre events at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and won bronze medals earlier at the 1972 Munich Games, died at 72 after battling respiratory problems.

“He’s a national icon,” said Yonas Tadssa, a friend of Yifter’s who also hails from Ethiopia.

“He’s our hero.”

Read more »


Related:

MIRUTS YIFTER, ETHIOPIAN RUNNING LEGEND, DIES (IAAF)


Miruts Yifter. (Getty Images)

IAAF

The IAAF is saddened by the news that Miruts Yifter, a double Olympic champion for Ethiopia at the 1980 Olympic Games, died yesterday (December 22) in Toronto, Canada, after being hospitalised for respiratory ailments. Yifter, considered by many as one of the greatest middle distance runners of all-time, was 72.

Yifter’s crowning achievement was his 5,000 and 10,000m double triumph at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow at age 40, where he earned the nickname “Yifter the Shifter” for the rapid injections of speed that helped propel him to victory. In both contests, Yifter surged and slowed to confuse his key opponents. The tactic worked.

“We talked about it with the coaches and I practiced taking off with 300 metres to go in both the 5000 and 10,000m races,” he recalled for a 2004 story on the IAAF website.

“300 metres is the ideal mark – not too late, not too early. I listened to the movements of my opponents until five laps remained and then decided on my course of action. The tension start building at the bell, but before they could reassert themselves, I make my move.”

Read more »


Related:

Family: Ethiopian Running Legend Miruts Yifter Dies at 72


Miruts Yifter in the 10,000m final at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. His family announced on Friday that the legendary Ethiopian athlete has died at age 72. (AP)

The Associated Press

By Elias Meseret

Dec 23, 2016

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Miruts Yifter, an Ethiopian running legend who inspired world-class athletes like Haile Gebreselassie, has died in Canada at age 72, his family and Ethiopian Athletics Federation officials told the Associated Press on Friday.

The athlete known widely by the nickname “Miruts the Shifter” won two gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics at age 40 and won bronze medals earlier at the 1972 Munich Games.

“Miruts has been everything to me and my athletics career,” said Haile Gebreselassie, the double Olympic 10,000-meter champion, who struggled with his tears while talking to the AP by phone. “When I started running, I just wanted to be like him. He is the reason for who I’m now and for what I have achieved.”

Miruts’ son, Biniam Miruts, said his father had been suffering from respiratory problems.

Read more »


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Ethiopia: US Ambassador to UN Says Free Bekele Gerba

Ethiopia's Oromo Federalist Congress Deputy Chair Bekele Gerba. (Picture: Twitter/‏@AmbassadorPower)

Medium

By: Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Launch of #FreeToBeHome Political Prisoner Campaign

This holiday season, as families in the United States gather, we are reminded of all the missed holidays, bittersweet birthdays, and family occasions where a mother, brother, friend, or neighbor was missing because a government chose to muzzle their voices and lock them up.

So throughout this holiday season, the United States government will be profiling the cases of prisoners unjustly held around the world and the families they leave behind. The stories of these individuals will highlight the broader struggle faced by so many families of political prisoners, who have to commemorate countless family occasions with loved ones behind bars.


These prisoners represent thousands of other prisoners unjustly detained around the world. (Medium.com)

Authorities detained Oromo Federalist Congress Deputy Chairman Bekele Gerba on December 23, 2015 and later charged him along with more than 20 others under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. There were reports that authorities mistreated Bekele and others, including denying them adequate medical care and access to visitors including legal counsel. Bekele Gerba is one of thousands detained following the start of protests in November 2015.

We call on the Government of Ethiopia to release all political prisoners and ensure all Ethiopians enjoy the protections of their constitutional rights.


Related:
Ethiopia govt spokesman says 9,800 detained under state of emergency released (AP)
Leader of Ethiopia’s OFC Oppostion Party, Merera Gudina, arrested after trip to Europe (BBC)

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Interview with Yohannes Abraham: Reflections on Public Service, Civic Engagement and the White House

Yohannes Abraham, Chief of Staff of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 19th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — As the first Ethiopian American in a senior White House role, Yohannes Abraham is a trailblazer in both our community and within the larger African Diaspora in America. Since 2009, he has worked diligently inside the White House, only steps away from the Oval Office, helping to shape the Obama legacy while serving as Chief of Staff to Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama.

Reflecting back on the past eight years and the personal journey that led him to serve in the historic presidency of Barack Obama, Yohannes credits his parents first and foremost for his interest in public service and civic engagement.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time when I became interested in public service, because serving our community and country was always part of the family dialogue,” Yohannes tells Tadias in a recent interview. “Both my parents are proud U.S. citizens, and they wanted us to be engaged citizens as well.” His mother and father immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia in the 60s and Yohannes was born in Alexandria, VA and raised in Springfield.

“I attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology and was a Political Science major at Yale, focusing on U.S. foreign policy” Yohannes adds, noting that his parents raised him and his sister with a strong sense of service to community and the importance of helping people.

What solidified Yohannes’ choice to work in government and politics was a desire to give back. “I am lucky to have always had an extremely supportive family,” Yohannes says. “My parents gave my sister and me a great foundation and made clear to us that it was incumbent upon us to give back, reminding us that not everyone had the same opportunities that we had.”

Shortly after graduating from Yale, Yohannes secured a job with Senator Obama’s campaign in Iowa in 2007 with the assistance of a fellow Ethiopian American.

Like many young people at the time in this country, Yohannes points out that the inspiring moment for him came following the 2004 election, where one of the high points was the election of Obama as a Senator. “At the time I was in college, and I was captivated by his 2004 convention speech,” Yohannes remembers. “When he won the Senate seat I followed him more closely and realized that his values were very much aligned with my own, and that from a vision and policy perspective he stood for things that I was passionate about.”

For Yohannes, there are many highlights from his job organizing 14 precincts in Iowa for the President’s first campaign. “There were many memorable parts of working on the campaign, and it was especially interesting to be there early on in Iowa. We were a relatively small team. None of us went to Iowa because we wanted to work in the White House one day – that wouldn’t have been a smart bet at the time. We were there because we believed, and we worked hard to build support for the Senator, block by block, voter by voter. We became a part of the communities we lived in, and we built a sense of family with our teammates. It was not glamorous stuff…we would work all week to get a couple hundred people to come see him,” Yohannes shares. “It was pretty incredible going from those smaller events of a couple hundred people to events with tens thousands of people over time.

And what was the most memorable moment of working for President Obama at the White House?

“The night that the House passed the Affordable Care Act,” Yohannes fires back. “It was a moment that I felt we did something good to improve people’s lives. That’s the good stuff. Of course, I’m hugely grateful to have had the opportunity to do some very cool things, and I treasure those memories as well – Air Force One, formal dinners, those sort of things are once in a lifetime. But the best memories are either when we moved the needle in a way that did some good in the world, or simple moments of camaraderie with teammates. In fact the best part of my job is the team that he put around him that I have had the chance to work with, and became friends with. It’s a group of really talented, committed people.”

“As my Chief of Staff, Yohannes has been one of my closest and most trusted advisors,” his boss Valerie Jarrett shares. “He’s smart, passionate, hardworking, and most importantly deeply committed to helping people. It’s been a great joy having him by my side over the past four years, and I’ve enjoyed watching him ‎grow into the talented leader that he is today. I have no doubt that he will continue to be a force for good in whatever he does in the future.”

Yohannes is also quick to point out that he is not alone in having served as an Ethiopian American in the current administration. “There are several Ethiopian Americans in the administration, some of them in very senior positions,” he shared. “If you speak with any of them and chart their path you’ll come up with a few common threads. You’ll see that there is a real commitment to education. I think you’ll also see that most of them followed their passion and raised their hand to be helpful. There’s no road map or secret memo that lays out the path to making a difference. If you see a cause or candidate that moves you, show up. Lend a hand. Don’t wait for a formal invitation.”

Among those making a difference is fellow Ethiopian American Henock Dory, a White House Staff Assistant and Policy Advisor, who reports to Yohannes.

“Working for Yohannes has been a truly invaluable experience,” Henock said in a statement sent to Tadias. “His dedication to serving both his country and the Ethiopian American community is driven by a passion and work ethic that knows no bounds. As a young Ethiopian American myself, I’ve been fortunate to find in him a role model and mentor that inspires me to emulate the integrity, intellect, and leadership he displays on a daily basis. I’m eager to see how the example he has set, the work he has executed, and his future accomplishments will carry our community forward.”

And what role did mentors have in Yohannes’ career trajectory? “First and foremost, it’s my parents who are my mentors,” Yohannes explains. “Over the course of my service for President Obama they were my constant rock, giving me wisdom and strength when I was frustrated or discouraged. Look, they came to the United States not knowing anyone, immigrating to a country where they barely spoke the language and had no family and little money. In the face of all that, they worked their way through college and graduate school and built successful professional careers. They did all that to build a better life for us here, and they are my inspiration. Now, in addition to my parents, I also have also had fantastic bosses who have helped me along the way. Over the course of these past years, Valerie Jarrett has been both a fantastic boss and friend; she is like a member of my family. She is a really strong and active force in my life. Another great mentor is Jeff Zientz, Director of the National Economic Council.

“Yohannes possesses a rare combination of intellect, drive, and leadership ability. He is one of the most effective individuals I have had the privilege to work with across my decades of experience in the private sector, and, more recently, in government,” says Jeff Zientz. “Most importantly, Yohannes is at his core a dedicated, high-integrity person. I look forward to seeing the good he will do for the world in the years to come.”

Of course, along with all the things Yohannes loves about his job come the challenges.

“Firstly, even when things are bad, even when things aren’t necessarily fun you never have to doubt that the work you are doing is important. What you do matters to people’s lives” Yohannes emphasizes. “It’s highly motivating to know that if you do a good job you help more people, and if you do a bad job you help less people. This is something that has kept me and the whole team energized. What I really enjoy about the job is being surrounded by people who are as committed to the work as you are, and are going the extra mile — it gives you the strength to do so yourself.”

“The challenges are varied,” Yohannes adds. “No two days, let alone two weeks are the same. Only a certain percentage of the day works out as you assumed, and the challenges range from dealing with a natural disaster to working in support of a priority item on the legislative docket; not having a template makes it exciting. There is also the challenge of losing time with family and friends. I definitely wish I had seen more of my family. Some of my younger cousins are now talking about driver’s permits — I blinked and now they are young adults.”

Asked to sum up his current motto in three words, Yohannes responds: “Try to Help.” He elaborates on this message a bit more to say: “this runs across both professional and personal life. It is a driving force in my life and it’s largely driven by my parents who stressed the importance of giving back. It’s part of my Christian faith. This is not to say that it’s unique just to the Christian faith, but I was raised to believe that it’s incumbent on me to help folks that might not be in a position to help themselves or go it alone.”

Yohannes encourages the broader Ethiopian community to remain engaged.

“I think it’s important for those of us who were born in this country to fully appreciate the sacrifices our parents made to forge better lives for us. That puts whatever challenges we face — however daunting they may be — into context. When I think about the scale of the obstacles my own parents faced as compared to my own, I’m both humbled by and deeply grateful for their incredible strength of character. I think an important way for my generation to honor our parents and the foundation they have created for us is to be active, engaged citizens here in America. Think about it. Our parents moved to a new country, in most cases knowing no one, having nothing, and speaking little English. They did so in the hopes of finding a better life for their families, and by and large they did. We are the beneficiaries of their choices, and we owe it to them to make the most of the opportunities they unlocked for us. We also owe it to our communities, and America writ large, to contribute to the diverse fabric of civic life. Doing so makes the country stronger, and it makes our community’s voice stronger within it.”

“In much the same vein, as a newer immigrant community, we owe it to those who fought for justice in the country before we ever got here — Latino farmworkers, civil rights organizers, foot soldiers in the women’s suffrage movement, and so on — to be good stewards of the duty of citizenship. If a civil rights organizer could risk their life for the right to vote, what excuse do we have to not be first in line at the polls? What excuse do we have to be unregistered or apathetic? What excuse do we have to ignore the plight of other communities that may find themselves in need of allies in the face of injustice? To my mind, none. That’s why I’ve been so happy to see a surge of civic engagement amongst younger Ethiopian Americans in the past few years. I hope it’s something that will continue.”

Last but not least, Tadias posed the question of a future run for Congress or Senate to Yohannes, and although he doesn’t yet know if he’ll run for office he certainly has “100% clarity” that he is going to stay involved in public service.

“I’ve seen firsthand many examples of how active civic participation can lead to change and I’m committed to being a part of that for the rest of my life,” Yohannes shares. “Big picture, I hope in the near future we have Ethiopian American Senators, Governors, and Mayors. That hope is not unique to politics — I also hope we have Ethiopian American Generals, Admirals, CEOs, union presidents, and news anchors. That’s what we should aspire to as a community. As for me personally, I’ve seen that there are a lot of ways to be of service without running for office, and so I plan to focus more on what I want to see get done than on where I want to be. That could lead me in a lot of different directions.”


Related:
Overview of White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing
White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing and Civic Engagement

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From DC to Addis: Spotlight on Artist Abel Tilahun & His Ethiopia Show ‘Odyssey’

Abel Tilahun is an Adjunct Professor of Digital Imaging at American University in D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 19th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American artist Abel Tilahun teaches Digital Imaging at American University in Washington D.C., and for the past few years his thought-provoking multidisciplinary work including video art and sculptural installations has captured the attention of acclaimed Ethiopian curator Meskerem Assegued, founder of Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa, who is helping to stage his upcoming show, Odyssey, in Ethiopia’s capital next month at Alliance Ethio-Française from January 3rd to 24th, 2017.

“ODYSSEY? captures the excitement and paradoxes of innovation, with a birds-eye view on the gravity of the contemporary moment as well as the continuity and patterns within human history,” the media release states. “At the heart of his work remains the intrinsic value of the human experience across time and space.”


Art work by Abel Tilahun Gebretsadik. (Courtesy photo)

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa will also host Abel Tilahun’s Artist Talk at the Alliance Ethio-Française Theatre January 5, 2017. “The event will showcase a retrospective of Abel Tilahun’s work in the video art medium over the past decade,” the announcement said. “The U.S. Embassy will host a follow-up with an Artist’s Roundtable inside the Alliance Alliance Ethio-Française Gallery on January 21, 2017.”

Abel Tilahun’s past shows in Ethiopia include Curvature of Events, which was featured in 2015 at the Ethiopian National Museum following its presentation a year earlier in Germany at the Dresden New Master’s Gallery. In 2013 Abel submitted a commercial for Dorritos ‘Crash the Superbowl’ contest and his exhibition entitled Interface Effect (2014) was highlighted at AEF.

Abel is a graduate of the School of Fine Art & Design at Addis Ababa University and obtained a Masters in Fine Arts from Adams State College in Colorado in 2010.


If You Go:
Exhibition by Abel Tilahun
Curator: Meskerem Assegued
Alliance Ethio-Française
Addis Ababa
January 3 – 24, 2017
Opening: January 3, 6 PM
Artist Talk (Retrospective): January 5, 6 PM
Roundtable (ODYSSEY?): January 21, 6 PM

Related:
Ethiopian Artist Abel Tilahun Speaks to Independent Curators Hub in NYC
Ethiopia Exhibition Featuring Multimedia Artist and Animator Abel Tilahun
Three Ethiopian Animators Vie For Doritos Superbowl AD Grand Prize

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Electoral College Confirms Trump’s Win

Protestors fill the rotunda of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan before the state electoral college met to approve the results of this year's presidential election on December 19th, 2016. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

December 19, 2016

With electoral college vote, Trump’s win is official

In Florida, a crucial swing state where Trump defeated Clinton by about a percentage point, Trump won all 29 electoral votes. He also earned all 16 votes in Michigan, another state that flipped to Republicans for the first time since 1988.

On the streets of Washington, D.C., two dozen protesters assembled outside Trump’s hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, singing songs such as “We Shall Overcome.” Some held signs, including one that read, “Resist Putin’s Puppet.” The District’s three electors later gathered at city hall, just a block from Trump’s hotel.

In Albany, N.Y., former president Bill Clinton sat in the state Senate chamber as an elector and cast one of the Empire State’s 29 electoral votes for his wife.

“I’ve never cast a vote I was prouder of,” he told reporters after the meeting.

Despite the pleas of Trump opponents, most electors had said for weeks that they planned to cast votes reflecting the will of their home states.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:

In Theory US Electoral College is Not Rubber Stamp for Election Results


Washington state Presidential Electors Levi Guerra and Bret Chiafalo (right) speaking in front of the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington. (AP photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, December 18th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — On Monday, December 19th, the U.S. Electoral College will meet in various states to approve the results of the 2016 presidential election. In the past few weeks the electoral college system has gained international attention as people around the world curiously observe that only in America can a presidential candidate lose the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots and still win the general election. In addition, there is also the brewing high-tech spy scandal in which a foreign power, no less than America’s long adversary, Moscow, clearly messed with this year’s election in favor of the President-Elect, generating an intense public discussion in the United States as to the exact role of the Electoral College, which today is seen as a highly partisan process.

Although it’s unlikely to succeed “pressure on members of the electoral college to select someone other than Donald Trump has grown dramatically — and noisily — in recent weeks, causing some to waver but yielding little evidence that Trump will fall short when electors convene in most state capitals Monday to cast their votes,” the Washington Post reports.

The newspaper features a group known as the Hamilton Electors — whose members include Mark Hersch, a 60-year-old Chicago-based marketing strategist — “who have been organizing efforts to contact electors and change their minds. Rather than persuade an entire country, he and his allies must find 37 Republicans willing to vote for someone else, a tipping point at which the responsibility of picking the president would shift to the U.S. House of Representatives. No one knows for sure how many are considering alternate votes; estimates vary from one to 25.”

One of America’s renowned statesman and founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, once famously explained “The Mode of Electing the President” in the historic Federalist Papers published in 1788, stating that the purpose of the Electoral College is to make sure “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

Hamilton also argued that another important purpose of the Electoral College was to safeguard against foreign interference in the United States election system and “chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”

The Washington Post article also quotes a Republican operative and attorney from Massachusetts, R.J. Lyman, as emphasizing that the electoral college was “not intended to be a rubber stamp” and that otherwise “the Founding Fathers would have tasked the responsibility to a clerk or simply used the popular vote as a way of choosing a president.’”

“I’m reminding them of their duty to think about their choice in a way that’s consistent with their conscience and the Constitution,” Lyman told the Washington Post. “So far, Lyman said, he has identified 20 electors who might be willing to vote “other than their party pledge.” He couldn’t name more than one publicly but insisted that more were out there.”

Watch: How the US Electoral College works

According to Hamilton the electoral college was designed so that “we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.”


Related:
In last-shot bid, thousands urge electoral college to block Trump at Monday vote
The Federalist Papers : No. 68: The Mode of Electing the President

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Photographer Aida Muluneh, Founder of Addis Foto Fest, on Rebranding Africa

Aida Muluneh. (Getty Images)

AFP

December 15, 2016

Ethiopian photographer seeks new portrayal of Africa

ADDIS ABABA – Surrounded by untidy stacks of paper and abandoned half-empty coffee cups, photographer Aida Muluneh chain smokes cigarettes in her Addis Ababa office and rails against the negative portrayals of Africa by foreigners.

The 42-year-old came returned to Ethiopia nine years ago after living in Yemen and Canada and set herself the task of changing perceptions of the continent, replacing the outsiders’ dominant eye with an African one.

The Addis Foto Fest, which she founded and which opens its fourth edition Thursday, is one way of doing this, she said.

Read more »


Related:
Tadias Interview: Aida Muluneh on Her Ethiopia Exhibition ‘So Long a Letter’

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Where is Journalist Temesgen Desalegn?

Jailed Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn. (Photo by Araya Getachew via © UntoldStories.com)

The Associated Press

December 14, 2016

Human rights groups to Ethiopia: Where is jailed journalist?

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Human rights groups are asking Ethiopia’s government to immediately disclose the whereabouts of a popular local journalist who has been behind bars since October 2014.

The Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia and DefendDefenders on Wednesday called it “unacceptable” that the government was unwilling or unable to provide Temesgen Desalegn’s relatives with information after two years of detention.

The groups say Temesgen was jailed on “spurious charges.” The journalist is serving a three-year sentence on charges of defamation, incitement and false publication.

The public relations head of the Ethiopian Federal Prison Administration, Gizachew Mengiste, tells The Associated Press he has no information about Temesgen’s whereabouts.

Read more »


Related:
New Report Says Ethiopia Blocked Social Media, News Sites (AP)
U.S. Deeply Concerned by Sentence of Ethiopian Journalist Temesghen Desalegn

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Report: Ethiopia Blocked News Sites

(Getty Images)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Dec. 13, 2016

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s government illegally blocked social media and news websites during the months of turmoil that led to the country’s ongoing state of emergency, a new report says.

The report by Amnesty International and the Open Observatory of Network Interference also found “systematic interference” with access to political opposition sites and ones supporting freedom of expression and gay rights.

“This raises serious concerns that overly broad censorship will become institutionalized under the state of emergency,” said Michelle Kagari, an Amnesty International deputy regional director. The report says access to WhatsApp and at least 16 news sites was blocked.

Human rights groups and opposition activists have said hundreds have been killed in waves of anti-government protests that began in November 2015, demanding wider freedoms in one of Africa’s best-performing economies and a close U.S. security ally.

Ethiopia’s government declared a state of emergency in October after dozens were killed in a stampede when police tried to disperse protesters at a religious festival. It set to end in April.

The government dismissed the new report as “one-sided, not credible and baseless.”

“There is no internet blackout in Ethiopia,” deputy spokesman Mohammed Seid told The Associated Press, though internet services have been widely affected since early October. “What we have is a certain obstruction on mobile data services. It will be resolved very soon.”

However, a former government spokesman, Getachew Reda, acknowledged the existence of a blackout and said it will be restored “as soon as it no more threatens the proper implementation of the state of emergency.”

Many in Ethiopia are using virtual private networks, or VPNs, to access social media after mobile data was partially restored 10 days ago.


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Obama: Russia Will Pay for US Hacking

President Obama said in an interview with NPR on Dec. 15, that, "we need to take action and we will, at the time and place of our own choosing," against Russia for its cyberattacks during this year's election. (Reuters)

The Washington Post

December 16th, 2016

Obama says ‘we will’ retaliate against Russia for election hacking

President Obama said the United States will retaliate against Russia over its malicious cyber-activity during this year’s election, in an interview that aired Friday on NPR.

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections . . . we need to take action,” the president said. “And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman responded by suggesting that the president and his aides were casting aspersions on Russia without offering any proof.

In a statement carried by Russian news agencies, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. government should “either stop talking about it or finally produce some evidence, otherwise it all begins to look unseemly.”

In the interview with “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep the president did not comment on last week’s Washington Post report, later confirmed by other outlets, that the CIA has concluded with high confidence that Russia intervened in the election specifically to help Donald Trump win the White House. Seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies publicly announced in October that they had concluded the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta was undertaken by hackers working for Russia.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:

A Times Investigation: How Moscow Aimed a Perfect Weapon at 2016 U.S. Election


A filing cabinet broken into in 1972 as part of the Watergate burglary sits beside a computer server that Russian hackers breached during the 2016 presidential campaign at DNC headquarters in Washington. (NYT)

The New York Times

The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.

WASHINGTON — When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.

His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.

Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for “the Dukes” and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks — in part because he wasn’t certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor.

“I had no way of differentiating the call I just received from a prank call,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo, obtained by The New York Times, that detailed his contact with the F.B.I.

It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.

Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:

Did Moscow Install America’s Next President? US Launches Investigations


U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win. President Obama has ordered full review. (AP photo)

VOA News

Updated: December 13, 2016

US Launches Investigations into Russian Election Tampering

Intelligence committees in both houses of Congress launched investigations Monday into accusations that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election to boost the chances that President-elect Donald Trump would win.

President Barack Obama also ordered a full review by the intelligence community into the allegations.

“The reason that I’ve called for a review is to really just gather all of the threads of the investigations, the intelligence work that has been done over many months, so that the public and our elected representatives going forward can find ways to prevent this kind of interference from having an impact on the elections in the future.”

The probes amounted to an early rebuke of Trump, who over the weekend said the Central Intelligence Agency conclusion was “ridiculous” that Russia engaged in cyberattacks to help him win. He continued to assail the finding Monday.

Even before he assumes power next month, the Republican Trump’s mocking of the CIA conclusion about Russian interference on his behalf put him at odds with both of the top Republican lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan. They endorsed bipartisan probes conducted by the intelligence committees in each chamber of Congress.

WATCH: McConnell on Russia hacking

“The Russians are not our friends,” McConnell said. He added that the investigation should be undertaken with the idea that “the Russians do not wish us well.” Ryan said the House probe “should not cast doubt” on Trump’s victory, but that foreign interference in a U.S. election was “entirely unacceptable” and Russian involvement “especially problematic.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the congressional review “is certainly warranted when you consider the stakes and the consequences.”

But Trump spokesman Jason Miller called the CIA conclusion about Russian interference “an attempt to delegitimize President-elect Trump’s win.”

Clinton camp responds

Trump’s election opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has been silent about the Russian hacking allegations. But her campaign manager, John Podesta, on Monday demanded that the administration of President Barack Obama declassify and release all the information it has about Russia meddling in the election.

Clinton won the national popular vote against Trump but lost where it mattered, in the state-by-state contests that decide U.S. presidential elections. Podesta called for release of the intelligence data before electors in the Electoral College vote to formally ratify Trump’s victory on December 19.

In a pair of comments on Twitter, Trump questioned why information about the computer hacking was not widely known before the election.

He contended that if Clinton had won the election and Republicans “tried to play the Russia/CIA card, it would be called conspiracy theory.”

He added, “Unless you catch ‘hackers’ in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn’t this brought up before election?”

But U.S. officials did in fact publicly accuse Russia of trying to undermine the presidential election in early October, saying intelligence agencies were “confident” Russia directed hacks of the Democratic National Committee that resulted in controversial emails being leaked before the Democratic nominating convention.

Obama spokesman Earnest said, “This was all material that was known by Republican politicians in the Congress that endorsed the president-elect. And how they reconcile their political strategy and their patriotism is something they’ll have to explain.”

Trump: I don’t believe it

Trump’s latest remarks came after he told Fox News in an interview aired Sunday that the CIA conclusion about Russian cyberattacks to boost his chances of winning was “just another excuse” by Democrats to explain his stunning upset of Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state.

“I don’t believe it. If you take a look at what [the CIA] said, there’s great confusion,” Trump said Sunday. “Nobody really knows. They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace.”


President-elect Donald Trump is interviewed by Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” at Trump Tower in New York, Dec. 10, 2016. (AP photo)

Trump told Fox News that he does not oppose Obama’s order to review cyberattacks the CIA concluded came from Russia during the lengthy presidential campaign, but said, “You should not just say ‘Russia.’ You should say other countries also, and maybe other individuals.” The CIA said it had “high confidence” that Russia sought to help Trump win.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia interfered in the final stretch of the presidential campaign to help Trump win the presidency, and not simply meddle in the U.S. electoral process as previously believed, according to senior Obama administration officials. The conclusion is based to some extent on a finding that Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems, in addition to those of Democratic organizations, but disclosed only embarrassing emails from the Democrats, via WikiLeaks.

Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee and Trump’s pick for White House chief of staff, told ABC News the party was not hacked.

“The entire report is based on unnamed sources who are perhaps doing something they shouldn’t be doing by speaking to reporters or someone talking out of line about something that is absolutely not true,” Priebus said Sunday.


Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP photo)

Trump’s rejection of the CIA conclusion came as Arizona Senator John McCain, the losing 2008 Republican presidential candidate, and three other senators called for the investigation into Moscow’s interference in the election, saying that it “should alarm every American.” McCain, along with Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrats Jack Reed and Chuck Schumer, said the United States needs to stop “the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.”


Related:
Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says (The New York Times)
Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House (The Washington Post)

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Spotlight: Sossina Haile’s Scientific Quest Brings World Closer to Liquid Sun Energy

Sossina M. Haile is a Professor of Materials Science & Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University. (Photograph by C. Jason Brown)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, December 11th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American scientist Sossina M. Haile who is Professor of Materials Science & Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University was born in Addis Ababa and moved permanently to the US when she was ten years old. Today, Sossina is one the leading researchers in the United States whose work to find alternative sources of fuel has helped push the worldwide green energy revolution.

“If we are to use the sun as our primary energy source, then we definitely need to develop ways to store its energy for use on demand,” she told Tadias in a profile interview a few years ago when she was teaching at California Institute of Technology. “In my lab we have started to do this by converting the sunlight to heat, and then using the heat to drive reactions that create fuels like hydrogen and methane from water and carbon dioxide.”

In a recent highlight entitled Bottling the Sun: Sossina Haile’s Research Brings the World Closer to Liquid Energy Fueled by the Sun Northwestern University Mccormick School of Engineering’s magazine gives an update on her research explaining that “The solar reactor in Sossina Haile’s laboratory is respiring oxygen. And with its every breath, the world comes another step closer to bringing the vision of liquid solar fuels to life.”

“My lab does not have the total energy solution, but we do have a couple pieces of it,” Sossina told the publication. “I can give you two components that will help you get to the end.”

Click here to read the full article »


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American Jewish Historical Society Hosts ‘Sigd’ – An Ethiopian Celebration

(Photo by Joan Roth)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 9th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Next week the Ethiopian Jewish Holiday ‘Sigd’ will be celebrated at the American Jewish Historical Society in New York City (AJHS). Organized by AJHS in partnership with Chassida Shmella, the event includes “a special evening of music, artifacts, rituals and food on Sunday, Dec. 18th at 5pm in the Forchheimer Auditorium at AJHS (15 West 16th Street).”

“Sigd: An Ethiopian Jewish Celebration will feature a performance by Anbessa Orchestra, a display of items from the AJHS’ American Association for Ethiopian Jews collection, a ritual led by Ethiopian spiritual leaders and a feast of traditional Ethiopian foods” AJHS announced.

As a holiday celebrated by the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jewish) community, Sigd has been recognized as a state holiday in Israel since 2008. “Sigd commemorates the giving of the Torah and the ancient communal gatherings on Mount Sinai,” AJHS notes. In Ethiopia, “thousands of Jews traveled on foot every year from Gonder Province to the village of Ambober, where the joyous celebration included prayer and fasting. Each year, the Sigd celebration offers a unique experience.”


Anbessa Orchestra. (Photo: Joan Roth)


Abay Mengist will perform a song during the celebration. (Photo: Joan Roth)


If You Go:
WHAT: Sigd: An Ethiopian Celebration
WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 18 5 pm
WHERE: American Jewish Historical Society
15 West 16th Street – Forchheimer Auditorium
New York, NY
Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for students, seniors and AJHS members, and $36 at the door.

—-
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CIA Believes Russia Helped Trump Win

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win. President Obama has ordered full review. (Photo: NYT)

VOA News

CIA Believes Russia Helped Trump Win White House

Updated: December 10, 2016

CAPITOL HILL — President Barack Obama has ordered the intelligence community to conduct a full review of “hacking-related activity aimed at disrupting the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

After his announcement Friday, two leading U.S. newspapers — The New York Times and The Washington Post — reported Russia intervened in the recent U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win.

The Times reported Russians hacked the computers of both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee, but only released damaging material from the DNC.

The Democrats were plagued with leaked DNC emails as the presidential election drew near. The Times says intelligence agencies “have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.”

“We now have high confidence that they hacked the DNC and the RNC and conspicuously released no documents” from the RNC, an unnamed senior Obama administration official speaking about the Russians, told The Times.

The Times reports that individual Russians whom U.S. intelligence officials say are responsible for the cyberattacks have been identified, but none has been punished.

The Washington Post reported the CIA believes Russia intervened in the election to help Trump win. In a story posted on the newspaper’s website Friday evening, The Post quotes an anonymous official who says the goal of the interference “was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected.”


CIA briefers told senators in a closed-door briefing it was now “quite clear” that
electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to officials. (The Washington Post)

Role of Congress

Pressure is mounting from Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who are calling for a thorough and public investigation into Russian interference in the election.

The Post article says the White House had known about Russia’s interference for months, but could not decide how to best respond before the presidential election without “escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.”

The Post said, “The reluctance of the Obama White House to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions before Election Day upset Democrats on the Hill as well as members of the Clinton campaign.”

The newspaper says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, doubted “the veracity of the intelligence” gathered about Russia’s interference and told the Obama administration that if it challenged the Russians publicly, he would see that act as partisan politics.

Months later, President-elect Trump chose McConnell’s wife as his nominee for transportation secretary.

Inquiry back to 2008

Eric Schultz, White House principal deputy press secretary, told reporters Friday there has been a pattern of malicious cyberactivity timed to coincide with U.S. elections. He said the investigation will be a “deep dive,” going back to the 2008 presidential elections, when cyber meddling was attributed to China.

Schultz said the investigation would look at any and all foreign interference, and investigators would go wherever the evidence leads them.

Asked about Russia’s role, Schultz said this type of activity is “nothing new for Moscow,” adding that the U.S. has seen Russia do this type of thing for years in Asia and across Europe.

Results of investigation

Schultz said the president has ordered that he be given the results of the investigation before he leaves office January 20. He said the White House would make public as much of the report as it can.

Schultz also explained this is not an effort to change the outcome of the U.S. elections, but to preserve the integrity of future U.S. elections by revealing the scope of what happened.

Trump team responds

President-elect Trump’s transition team released a statement late Friday that said, “These are the same people (the CIA) that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”

Earlier Friday, White House counter-terrorism adviser Lisa Monaco broke the news of the probe at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

“We may have crossed into a new threshold, and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what has happened and to impart some lessons learned,” Monaco said.

Some U.S. Congress members welcomed the announcement.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff said in a statement, “The administration should work to declassify as much of it as possible, while protecting our sources and methods, and make it available to the public.”

In October, the Obama administration formally blamed Russia for a cyberattack into the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations. Wikileaks published excerpts from the hacked emails that were potentially damaging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump repeatedly has downplayed any Russian interference in the U.S. election. During one debate, he said the cyberattacks could have been carried out by a “400-pound man sitting on his bed.”

Trump’s campaign said voters should focus on what was in the emails.

Congressional issue

Since Obama has only a few weeks left in office, the report may serve only to establish some facts for Congress to grapple with next year.

Several leading Senate Republicans, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, say they are preparing to launch a widespread investigation into Russia’s interference in the election and its cyber threats to the U.S. military. Both senators have been critical of Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Graham told CNN, “I’m going after Russia in every way you can go after Russia. I think they’re one of the most destabilizing influences on the world stage. I think they did interfere with our elections, and I want Putin personally to pay the price.”

Putin has dismissed what he called U.S. hysteria over the hacking into Democratic Party organizations, saying it does not matter who hacked into the emails, and Americans instead should focus on their content.


Related:
Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says (The New York Times)
Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House (The Washington Post)

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Marcus Samuelsson’s 1st DC Restaurant

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant at MGM National Harbor in Washington, D.C. is open 24-hours a day. Marcus is also designing the in-room dining option at the hotel. (Photo WTOP)

WTOP

Sneak peek: Inside MGM National Harbor

WASHINGTON — After two years of construction and $1.4 billion, MGM National Harbor is ready to open its doors in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 11 p.m.

The 24-story destination includes 15 dining options, 308 hotel rooms, a 3,000-seat theater, a 125,000-square-foot casino and 18,000 square feet of retail.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect when the doors finally open:

Food and Drink

There are 15 dining options at MGM National Harbor, including several restaurants headed by celebrity chefs. Here are some of the highlights:

Marcus Samuelsson — who is famous for his Harlem, New York, restaurant Red Rooster — will operate the only 24-hour restaurant at MGM National Harbor. Guests can expect live music and an outdoor dining area. Samuelsson is also in charge of in-room dining for the resort’s hotel.

Read more »


Related

Marcus Samuelsson Dishes on His First DC Restaurant, in the MGM Casino


Marcus Samuelsson (Facebook)

Eater Washington DC

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson plans to “celebrate comfort food” at his new restaurant Marcus, debuting inside the MGM National Harbor this Thursday.

The Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised chef and restaurateur operates several Harlem eateries. Shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and mac and cheese will be served up to resort guests in a laid-back homey setting designed by New York-based Parts and Labor Design.

The restaurant sits at the base of MGM’s central glass-enclosed atrium, which rises 85 feet and is bigger than the Bellagio in Las Vegas. In true casino fashion, Marcus’ huge exposed grill is meant to be a “theatrical” experience, he says, and African prints are present as an ode to his Ethiopian roots and D.C.’s large demographic of the same descent.

The family-friendly restaurant caters more to the adult crowd with its back bar called Sammy’s. The speakeasy will pay homage to D.C.’s go-go music scene, with DJs, Gospel brunches, flowing cocktails, and a Las Vegas Rat Pack vibe (the bar’s named after Sammy Davis Jr.). The setup is similar to his Red Rooster Harlem’s downstairs supper club, Ginny’s, he said. Another commonality is The Rooster Burger, which also appears on Marcus’ menu.

Read more »


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Media Under Trump: Advice From African Journalists to US Counterparts

'Donald Trump: America's African President-The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. (Video Clip | Comedy Central)

Quartz Africa

African journalists have tips for their US counterparts on dealing with a president that hates the press

Last week, Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron voiced great apprehension about press freedom in the U.S. under a Donald Trump’s presidency. “Many journalists wonder with considerable weariness what it is going to be like for us during the next four [years],” Baron said in a stirring speech. “Will we be incessantly harassed and vilified? Will the new administration seize on opportunities to try intimidating us? Will we face obstruction at every turn?”

As America enters the era of a thin-skinned president known for lashing out at press coverage that does not meet his approval, it might be helpful for U.S. news media to draw from the experiences of journalists operating in hostile environments. Many of such environments are in Africa, particularly those countries with long-serving presidents who have been in power for decades.

“There’s a thin line between objective critique of the state with regard to security and being called unpatriotic, a terrorist sympathizer.”

Ugandan journalist Angelo Izama, a former Knight Fellow at Stanford University, commented with sarcasm on the peculiar situation of U.S. journalists. “I was joking with Charles Onyango Obbo [another Ugandan journalist] about being consultants to American journalists who may now face similar challenges with the advent of the African leader Donald Trump.” Izama was probably riffing off Trevor Noah’s comic but profound observation that Donald Trump is just like an African president.

Watch: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Donald Trump: America’s African President

One has to only consider the fact that the only other world leader with a habit of snapping at journalists and other critics with angry tweets is Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. The direct comparison between Trump and Kagame probably stops there, but one could also find similarities—in terms of vilification of the press—between Trump and The Gambia’s outgoing Yahya Jammeh or Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.

“From the outside looking in, I am kind of feeling bad for journalists under a Trump administration,” said Liberian editor Rodney Sieh, who has worked in several U.S. newspapers including the Kansas City Star and The Post Standard in Syracuse, NY. “It is clear to see that American journalists are in for a very tough roller coaster ride.”

Read more »


Related:
Donald Trump will lead the US just like an African ‘strongman’—that’s bad for African democracy
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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Watch: Ethiopians in DC Building Community Through Food

(Photo: State Dept./D.A. Peterson)

Eater Washington DC

Why Ethiopian Cuisine In Washington, D.C. Will One Day Be As Popular As Pizza – MOFAD

Washington, D.C. is home to the largest Ethiopian community in the U.S. Seeking educational opportunities, as well as refuge from political upheaval, three successive waves of Ethiopian immigrants settled in the nation’s capital in the second half of the 20th century. As the community grew, Ethiopian restaurants, markets, and cafes became fixtures of the Shaw and Adams Morgan neighborhoods, and later of Silver Spring, MD and Falls Church, VA.

In this guide, we’ll take you to some of the businesses keeping Ethiopian food traditions alive in the nation’s capital, and share some of the staples of Ethiopian cuisine to try along the way — including tangy fermented breads, vegan vegetable platters, and spicy meat stews.

Watch the video, read the local history, listen to the voices of business owners and community leaders, and taste the distinctive dishes of one of D.C.’s biggest cultural enclaves.


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Ruth Negga: One of Best Film Stars of 2016

Actress Ruth Nega. (Photograph by JACK DAVISON/The New York Times)

Vogue

Loving Star Ruth Negga on Biracial Politics: “I Get Very Territorial About My Identity”

With her mesmerizing performance in Jeff Nichols’s subtly groundbreaking film Loving, the Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga has become a star for our time.

“I’m a rag of a woman today,” Ruth Negga says in her faint Irish accent. She is pointing to her chipped green nail polish and apologizing for her eyebrows. She cut her hair herself, she says, before asking a professional to tidy it up. Earlier today she went to get her passport renewed. “Maybe . . . you could—blend?” the photographer said, gesturing around his face. She took a look and realized she had been quite slapdash with her bronzer and powder.

By lunchtime, there’s no trace of this—with her huge, doll-like eyes and closely cropped hair, she is as glamorous as a thirties aviator in Paige jeans and an olive bomber jacket—but it’s easy enough to imagine Negga dismissing vanity as a fool’s game. Her gift for self-mockery and her appetite for the craic—an Irish expression for fun or gossip or high jinks—are matched only by her levels of propulsion: Her neat, tiny frame always seems to move forward at great speed.

Read more at Vogue.com »

Watch: Great Performers | Ruth Negga NYT


Related:
The 10 Best Movies of 2016 — and 6 More
Oscar-Talk: Ethiopia-born Ruth Negga Hollywood’s Next Big Thing


Ruth Negga attends the premiere of Universal Pictures’ ‘Warcraft’ in Hollywood, California on June 6, 2016. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 29th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born actress Ruth Negga has become the talk of Hollywood and Oscar mentions following her highly acclaimed performance in the new civil rights movie Loving, which depicts the 1967 historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.” The film Loving is scheduled to be featured on opening night at the Austin Film Festival on October 13, 2016.

New York magazine’s Vulture.com gives an Oscar shoutout to the Ethiopian-born star for Best Actress noting “first-timers with the likeliest shot at a nomination are Ruth Negga, the Ethiopian-Irish actress who slays a practically nonverbal role in Loving using her big, empathetic eyes.”

Ruth, who is 34-years-old, was born in Addis Ababa in 1982, to an Ethiopian father (a medical doctor) and an Irish mother (a nurse) and lived in Ethiopia until the age of four when she moved to Ireland with her parents. Ruth’s father died three years later in a car accident when she was only seven-years old. Ruth grew-up in Limerick, Ireland and has resided in London for the past ten years.

“Ruth Negga’s recent rise is one of those 10-year overnight success stories,” The Hollywood Reporter declared this past Spring featuring an interview with Negga. They asked: “Why has it taken Hollywood so long to really discover you?”

“I have not been aggressive in my pursuit of being a star,” Ruth responded. “I’ve never had a plan. Maybe I need to be more aggressive, because it’s quite tough!”


Ruth’s new film is set to be featured on opening night at the Austim Film Festival on October 13, 2016. (photo credit: Goss.ie)


Ruth-Negga. (The Hollywood Reporter)

And “Your parents are in medicine. How did you become an actress?, The Hollywood Reporter followed up. “You know when you’re a kid and you get to pick a movie every Friday? I watched everything. There’s no particular genre that was appealing. I just loved the idea that you could dress up and play,” Ruth answered.

And this month The Wrap highlights Ruth Negga among 15 Fall Movie Stars Poised to Break Out, From Ruth Negga to Riz Ahmed (Photos).


Related:
Ethiopian-born Actress Ruth Negga Gets Thumbs-up for Lead Role in ‘Loving’

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Ethiopia: Director Jessica Beshir’s ‘Hairat’ Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2017

The film 'Hairat," which documents one man's nightly ritual near Ethiopia's historic city of Harar, is directed by Jessica Beshir. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The documentary short film Hairat from Ethiopia by Director Jessica Beshir has been selected to be featured at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

“This is a visual and lyrical exploration of the nightly ritual between a man in Eastern Ethiopia and his feral companions,” the Sundance Institute wrote describing Hairat in a press release.

In Hairat Director Jessica Beshir, who was born in Mexico City and raised in Ethiopia, “returns to the city of her childhood to tell the story of one man’s extraordinary ritual that unfolds nightly in the outskirts of the walled city of Harar.” Jessica’s short film is one of 68 works from around the world that will be screened at Sundance from January 19th through 29th, 2017.

“Each year we see more short films from around the country and from more regions around the world, which is exciting as we want to discover new voices to support,” Mike Plante, Sundance’s Senior Programmer, shares. “This year’s crop captures the full spectrum of what short films can be: emotional, hilarious, horrifying and touching — sometimes all at once.”

Jessica Beshir has a Bachelor’s degree in film studies and literature from UCLA, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She recently also released the short film entitled He Who Dances on Wood.

“An Imam in Harar spoke to me about the meaning of Hairat at length, but in short it means, ‘You are where you need to be,’” Jessica says.


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In Pictures: Almaz Ayana 2016 Female World Athlete of the Year

Almaz Ayana (Right) with Haile Gebreselassie after receiving the 2016 Female World Athlete of the Year award at the IAAF Athletics Awards ceremony in Monaco on December 2nd, 2016. (IAAF)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana who set a new world record in the 10,000m race during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil was awarded this year’s “Female World Athlete of the Year” prize last Friday at a ceremony in Monaco.

The 25-year-old long distance runner was accompanied at the event by Haile Gebreselassie who also acted as her translator.

“After collecting her IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year award she was asked at what stage during her gold medal run in the 10,000m final at Rio 2016 she realised the world record was also in her grasp,” IAAF reported.

” ‘When I crossed the line,’ she quipped, through top translator Haile Gebrselassie.”

Below are photos:


Almaz Ayana and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt receive their awards from Prince Albert of Monaco (left) and IAAF president Lord Coe. (Getty Images)


After an incredible year for the sport of athletics, the world’s finest gathered in Monaco for a celebration of all that they gave us in a momentous Olympic year — IAAF. (Photo Usain Bolt and Almaz Ayana at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2016/Getty Images)


Haile Gebrselassie sits alongside Genzebe Dibaba (centre) and Almaz Ayana on the eve of the IAAF Athlete of the Year awards in Monaco. (Photo: IAAF)

Almaz Ayana is the third Ethiopian woman to win “Female World Athlete of the Year” award following in the footsteps of Genzebe Dibaba (2015) and Meseret Defar (2007), according to IAAF.

“I don’t have words to explain my feelings right now, I’m so excited,” said Ayana whose award was presented by International Athletics Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. “Really, I’m so pleased.”


Related:
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana Named Finalist for World Athlete of the Year Award


Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia), Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) and Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland) earned their spots on the 2016 Female World Athlete of the Year short list in historic fashion, IAAF announced. (Photos IAAF)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Almaz Ayana who won Ethiopia’s only gold medal during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil this past summer has been named a candidate for this year’s Female World Athlete of the Year award.

The 25-year-old long distance runner is being considered for the prestigious award along with Jamaican track and field sprinter Elaine Thompson and Polish hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk.

“Ayana opened the Rio Olympics with a bang. It was a sight to behold as the Ethiopian broke away early from the rest of the field with a decisive surge,” The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which gives the annual award, said highlighting her accomplishments. “There was no catching Ayana, who powered to a world record 29:17.45, knocking more than 14 seconds off a record that had stood for 23 years.”


Almaz Ayana with teammate Tirunesh Dibaba at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. (Getty Images)


(Image: IAAF)

IAAF adds: “With one Olympic medal already under her belt, Ayana lined up in pursuit of another just days later. She was again the athlete pushing the pace in the 5000m final, blowing the medal hunt wide open with a break at half way. But her world record effort from a week earlier showed in the end, as Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot and Hellen Obiri passed her in the final lap. Ayana finished in third with 14:33.54. It was the only race of 2016 in which she didn’t cross the line in first, and it still earned her an Olympic bronze.”


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US Updates Ethiopia Travel Warning

(U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Press release

US Department of State

The State Department continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Ethiopia due to the potential for civil unrest related to sporadic and unpredictable anti-government protests that began in November 2015. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services in many parts of the country may be limited without warning due to the government’s restrictions on mobile and internet communications and the unpredictable nature of the current security situation. This replaces the Travel Warning of October 21, 2016.

The Government of Ethiopia declared a State of Emergency effective October 8, 2016 that includes provisions allowing for the arrest of individuals without a court order for activities they may otherwise consider routine, such as communication, consumption of media, attending gatherings, engaging with certain foreign governments or organizations, and violating curfews. Additionally, the Government of Ethiopia routinely does not inform the U.S. Embassy of detentions of U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. The full text of the decree implementing the State of Emergency is available on the U.S. Embassy’s website.

Internet, cellular data, and phone services have been periodically restricted or shut down without warning throughout the country, impeding the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. You should have alternate communication plans in place, and let your family and friends know this may be an issue while you are in Ethiopia. See the information below on how to register with the U.S. Embassy to receive security messages.

Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, continuously assess your surroundings, and evaluate your personal level of safety. Remember that the government may use force and live fire in response to demonstrations, and that even gatherings intended to be peaceful can be met with a violent response or turn violent without warning. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should monitor their security situation and have contingency plans in place in case you need to depart suddenly.

If you are living in or intending to travel to Ethiopia, please refer to the Safety and Security section of the Country Specific Information for Ethiopia for additional useful information.

Due to the unpredictability of communication in the country, the Department of State strongly advises U.S. citizens to register your mobile number with the U.S. Embassy to receive security information via text or SMS, in addition to enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Click here for further information »


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New ‘Ethiopiques’ CD Celebrates Legend Girma Beyene

Girma Bèyènè on the cover of the new éthiopiques CD series Volume 30. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, December 4th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Here comes another historic addition to the Ethiopiques CD series with the upcoming release of its 30th volume next month featuring legendary Ethiopian singer and songwriter Girma Bèyènè.

“After 25 years of silence, the legend Girma Bèyènè is back alongside one of the greatest ethio groups, Akalé Wubé,” the announcement said. “Under the direction of Francis Falceto (director of the famous Ethiopiques series Buda Musique) Girma and Akalé Wubé came together and recorded this album in order to immortalize this renaissance.”

A digital release of Girma’s new album, which is entitled Mistakes on Purpose, is scheduled for January 13th, 2017 by the French world music record label, Buda Musique, while a vinyl release is set for February 3rd, 2017.

Since it was first published 19 years ago the Éthiopiques collection has preserved the works of several prominent singers and musicians including Alemayehu Eshete, Asnaketch Worku, Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatke, Tilahun Gessesse, Ali Birra, Getatchew Mekurya, Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Gebrou and Kassa Tessema. In addition, songs from Éthiopiques Volume 4 were featured in the 2005 Hollywood movie Broken Flowers written and directed by Jim Jarmusch.

“We are very proud and humbled to be featured side by side such great inspirations like Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu, Girma, Alemayehu and so many others,” the Paris-based band Akalé Wubé said on their website.

Watch: Girma Beyene live in Paris with French band Akale Wube — 2015

Girma used to live in Washington, D.C. for several years beginning in the early 1980′s long before the metro area around the U.S. capital became home to the largest Ethiopian population in America. As The Washington Post pointed out “The great Ethiopian singer, lyricist and arranger first found himself in the District way back in 1981 during a tour in the Walias Band, one of Ethiopia’s most revered jazz troupes. Beyene liked the District enough to stay — but not for good. After many years in the area, he eventually returned to Addis Ababa. It was there, during the 1960s and ’70s, where Beyene had been a major player in one of the planet’s most electrifying music scenes.”


(Ethiopiques Volume 30)


Related:
Ethiopia: Composer & Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Phenomenal Show in Harlem
Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert – Photos
How Ethiopian Music Went Global: Tadias Interview with Francis Falceto
Amha Eshete & Contribution of Amha Records to Modern Ethiopian Music

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