Author Archive for Tadias

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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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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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 »


Related:
In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
Washington Post Interview With Feyisa Lilesa
From Rio to America: Olympian Feyisa Lilesa’s Washington Post Op-Ed
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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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.

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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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 »


Related:
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:
Oscars 2017: Ruth Negga nominated for best actress award (Irish Times)
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

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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 & Girls’ 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

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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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NYC Holiday Benefit Supports Boys and Girls Town of Ethiopia

At the Boys' & Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia in Emdibir, Ethiopia. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 2nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The holiday season is officially here. And if you are inspired to make charitable giving this year a benefit event is scheduled next week in New York City “to celebrate and support the youth of Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia.”

The charity, which is similar in concept to the historic Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Italy, provides assistance to young people in Emdibir, Ethiopia.

“Throughout the night there will be live music, dancing and a short video screening featuring our program in Ethiopia,” the non-profit organization, A Chance in Life, announced. The event will be held on Monday, December 12th at Café Wha? in downtown Manhattan.

“Since the 1950s Café Wha? has been a favorite hot spot cornered in the heart of Greenwich Village,” the announcement said. “Café Wha? was the original stomping ground for artists like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.”

The Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia — located in Emdibir of the Gurage Zone in Southwestern Ethiopia and supported by the New York-based non-profit organization, A Chance In Life — is modeled after the first Boys’ & Girls’ Town that was established 70 years ago by Irish priest Monsignor Carroll-Abbing following the end of World War II to assist orphaned children in Europe.


The Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia’s program for youth with disabilities holding a picnic at Ghibe National Park, May 24th, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Today, in Ethiopia “an estimated 4.6 million children” are growing up without parents, states the organization’s website. “Our towns are vibrant, democratic, self-governing communities run by the young people themselves. These children need the basic necessities to receive a chance in life.”

The towns are designed and organized to empower its members by providing them with basic necessities so they can be “active citizens and productive members of their communities,” explains ​Gabriele Delmonaco, President & Executive Director of A Chance In Life.

“After [World War II], orphaned and abandoned children all over Europe were shining shoes, panhandling and stealing to survive,” The New York Times noted when the founder of the Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Italy, Carroll-Abbing, died in 2001 at age 88. “His concept of giving troubled children love and his motto ‘a chance in life’ grew as he organized such shelters all over the country. All told, he was credited with feeding and clothing more than 180,000 children.”

The Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia was launched in 2015 while working closely with the Diocese of Emdibir and currently runs three main programs. The first focuses on resources for orphaned and vulnerable youth, providing academic supplies and financial support to attend school as well as giving medical assistance, food and clothing. The second assists young girls to continue their education and help them stay enrolled in school by providing homes for approximately 100 girls in proximity to their high schools. The girls also have opportunities to hold monthly community meetings and support each other in achieving their academic dreams. Last but not least, The Boys’ and Girls’ Town of Ethiopia also provides entrepreneurship and business development skills for individuals with disabilities who often face marginalization. Youth with disabilities also attend biweekly gatherings and share their aspirations and the challenges faced in an effort to develop a strong social network for greater self-reliance and broader participation in society. There are currently 100 youth participants in this program.

The founder of the Boys’ and Girls’ club once said: “Philanthropy means, very simply, an authentic love for humanity.” Monsignor Carroll-Abbing’s words still ring true today, and giving support to youth-led communities not only provides them with much-needed resources, but also encourages agency and transformation while remaining part of one’s home community.


If You Go:

Click here to buy tickets

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History: US- Ethiopia Complicated Alliance

Emperor Haile Selassie chatting with President Franklin Roosevelt, February 20, 1945. (Photo: Seeker video)

Seeker

The U.S. supports Ethiopia with military aid, monetary assistance and bilateral trade. So what makes their relationship so complicated?

In October, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Ethiopia. The State Department website says this warning is due to “ongoing unrest that has led to hundreds of deaths, thousands of arrests, as well as injuries and extensive property damage.”

Formal relations between the U.S. and Ethiopia stem back to 1903, and in spite of Ethiopia’s instability, the U.S. has maintained relations with them. What are the details of the relationship between these two countries?

Watch today’s Seeker Daily video to find out more.


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A Memoir of First US Diplomat’s Meetings With Emperor Menelik
African American and Ethiopian Relations
First Ethiopian Delegation to the U.S. in 1919 Made Headlines
President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia

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Opposition Leader Merera Gudina Detained in Ethiopia After Trip to Europe

Merera Gudina, who addressed the European parliament on 9 November, was arrested on Wednesday upon his return to Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

BBC News

A prominent opposition leader in Ethiopia has been detained after he returned from Europe.

Merera Gudina had violated Ethiopia’s state of emergency by having contact with “terrorist” and “anti-peace” groups, state-linked media reported.

Mr Merera criticised the state of emergency in an address to the European parliament on 9 November.

The government imposed it in October to end an unprecedented wave of protests against its 25-year rule.
More than 11,000 people have since been arrested.

Mr Merera, who is the leader of the Oromo Federalist Conference, was arrested on Wednesday at the airport in the capital, Addis Ababa, after he flew in from Brussels, reports BBC Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza.

Several of his relatives who were with him were also detained, local media report.

European parliament member Ana Maria Gomes, who invited Mr Merera, told the BBC she was “extremely shocked” about the arrests.

She said she would push for the European Union take a tougher line against the Ethiopian government.

Read more »


Related:
European Parliament Holds Hearing on Ethiopia Protests

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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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Ethiopia: Govt Claims 15 Ginbot 7 Members Killed in Foiled Attack

A prayer session in Bishoftu for protesters who died during Irreecha, October 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

International Business Times

Ethiopian security forces claim to have killed dozens of “Eritrean mercenaries” as they foiled a planned terror attack allegedly backed by neighbouring Eritrea. The Ethiopian Ministry of Defense said members of the Ginbot 7 opposition movement – which Ethiopia classified as a terrorist organisation – tried to deploy dozens of its armed fighters into Ethiopia.

It is believed a total of 113 alleged terrorists managed to infiltrate from Eritrea via the Tigray region, in northern Ethiopia. However, Ethiopian forces killed 15 of them, while 73 were captured, officials told the Sudan Tribune. Weapons and military equipment were also seized.

The ministry added the “terrorist plot by Eritrea and the other destructive forces” aimed to destabilise development in Ethiopia.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia says foiled Eritrea-backed terror attack, kill 15 (Sudan Tribune‎)

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Ethiopia: 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)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 28th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Last night in New York the Thanksgiving weekend program at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem 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 evening 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.

Watch: Marcus Samuelsson in conversation with Girma Yifrashewa before the show:

Having picked up the kirar as a young child and later discovering piano at the historic Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa during his teenage years, Girma went on to pursue his music and composition studies in Bulgaria at Sofia State Conservatory of Music.

Last night’s piano performance at Ginny’s featured classical pieces by Chopin and Debussy for the first session and his own original compositions fusing the Western classical tradition with Ethiopian sounds for the second part of the evening, which included his playful Chewata, the spiritual Sememen and the joyous Elilta.

Below are photos from Girma Yifrashewa’s Concert at Ginny’s Supper Club in NYC on November 27th, 2016:

Girma Yifrashewa “offers a rare and fascinating example of aesthetic adaptation and convergence,” the New York Times declared three years ago in its review of Girma’s first NYC concert in 2013 at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn. In an article entitled From Chopin to Ethiopia, and Partway Back Again, The Times added: “Since returning to Ethiopia in 1995, Mr. Yifrashewa has promoted awareness there of the standard classical repertory, while also writing new pieces that apply European techniques to Ethiopian musical and folkloric sources.”


Related:
Photos Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Stellar Performance in Bethesda, Maryland

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Fidel Castro Dead at 90: Left Mark on Horn of Africa

Cuba's Fidel Castro, pictured June 10, 1977. (AP photo)

VOA News

Updated: Sunday, November 27th, 2016

One place besides Miami where few tears will be shed over the death of Fidel Castro is Somalia, where his military involvement left a mark.

In the mid-1970s, Castro and former Soviet leaders were celebrating what looked like the emergence of another socialist leadership following the rise of the Derg regime in Ethiopia. Somalia had already been declared a socialist state and had hosted a large presence of Soviet and Cuban military advisers and trainers.

In early 1977, Castro brought together the leaders of Somalia, Ethiopia and southern Yemen to create greater socialist federal states in the region. General Mohamed Nur Galal was the former deputy defense minister of Somalia and the focal point of Somalia’s military contacts with Cuba at that time. He was present at the meeting in Aden in March 1977.

Castro’s vision

“He [Castro] was representing the Soviet Union, although he did not say that at the meeting. He said Somalia and Ethiopia should join up, and said that Yemen will join up, too,” Galal said.


Former Ethiopian Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and Fidel Castro celebrating the 4th anniversary of the fall of the Ethiopian monarchy (Revolution Day) in Addis Ababa. Photo: (Flickr/Solomon Kibriye)


Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam (right): Thousands were killed under the dictator’s “Red Terror” in Ethiopia where he was the chairman of the Derg, the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia, from 1977 to 1991. (Getty Images)

According to Galal, Castro told them that the merger would create a strategic alliance that would control the Red Sea, Suez Canal, the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

Castro also explained to the leaders that setting up the new alliance would bring another benefit to the region: solving the conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia over the ethnic Somali Ogaden region.

“We told him that this is about the self-determination of people, and if this federation is going to unite ethnic Somalis, we are up for it,” Galal said.

The meeting ended without progress. At the time, Somalia was already in an advanced stage of a military buildup to take the Ogaden region, regarded by the Somali government as a territory “occupied” by Ethiopia.

Meeting with Barre

When Castro learned of Somalia’s plans, he flew to Mogadishu and met his counterpart, dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

After the meeting, Castro reportedly said that Barre showed him the territories that he considered part of “Greater Somalia,” including northeastern Kenya, Ogaden and Djibouti, which was still under French control.


Somalia’s Mohamed Said Barre speaks to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Oct. 9, 1974. (AP photo)

Castro reportedly described Barre as a “chauvinist … and someone who thinks he is at the summit of wisdom.”

Two months after Castro’s visit to Mogadishu, Somali tanks were pounding Ethiopian military defense positions.

Somali troops took over Ogaden and moved deep into Ethiopia. The Soviet Union sent military advisers and provided technical assistance to Ethiopia.

Galal said Cuba had members of its Civil Defense System in Somalia and ordered them to go to Ethiopia. Castro also sent thousands of troops to Ethiopia.

Somalis beaten back

By March 1978, Somali troops had suffered heavy defeats and were driven back to where they started the offensive.

The following month, members of the demoralized Somali military officers made a coup attempt in Mogadishu. Barre held on, but the officers who survived the purge escaped to Ethiopia to set up the armed rebels who would overthrow him 13 years later, in January 1991. Somalia has never recovered from the following state collapse.

“I read a book Castro wrote, saying he brought Somalia to its knees. … He was a bad man who hated Somalis,” Galal said.


Related:
Fidel Castro, Who Defied US for 50 Years, Dies at 90 in Cuba


Fidel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary leader and dictator who defied U.S. efforts to topple him for five decades, has died. He was 90. (Photo: MSNBC)

The Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) — Fidel Castro, who led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 U.S. presidents during his half-century of rule in Cuba, has died at age 90.

With a shaking voice, President Raul Castro said on state television that his older brother died at 10:29 p.m. Friday. He ended the announcement by shouting the revolutionary slogan: “Toward victory, always!”

Castro’s reign over the island nation 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Florida was marked by the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Castro, who outlasted a crippling U.S. trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died 10 years after a life-threatening illness led him to turn over power to his brother.

Castro overcame imprisonment at the hands of dictator Fulgencio Batista, exile in Mexico and a disastrous start to his rebellion before triumphantly riding into Havana in January 1959 to become, at age 32, the youngest leader in Latin America. For decades he was a source of inspiration and support to revolutionaries from Latin America to Africa, even as Cubans who fled to exile loathed him with equal measure.

Read more »

Watch: Former Cuban Leader Fidel Castro Dead at 90

Watch: World Reacts to Castro’s Death (VOA News)


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In Ethiopia, Authorities Charge Prisoners for Recent Deadly Fire at Kaliti Prison

At least twenty-three people died when a fire broke out and a gunfire ensued at Qilinto (Kaliti) maximum security prison near Addis Abeba on September 3rd, 2016. (Photo: Addis Fortune)

Newsweek

An Ethiopian court has charged 38 inmates with starting a fire at a prison on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa in September in which 23 people were killed.

The charges against the inmates including beating their fellow inmates and causing damages worth 10 million Ethiopian birr ($450,000). The court also charged them with attempting to incite violence and recruit for banned organizations, including Somali militant group al-Shabab and dissident Ethiopian group, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported on Wednesday.

The fire broke out on September 3 at the Kilinto prison, a high-security facility holding anti-government dissidents. The government said that 21 inmates had died during a stampede and from suffocation caused by the fire, while two others were killed when trying to escape the prison.

Local Ethiopian media reported that gunfire was heard in the prison following the outbreak of the fire. An independent NGO, the Ethiopia Human Rights Project (EHRP), claimed the death toll was actually 67 and that the majority died of gunshot wounds, according to Ethiopian English-language magazine the Addis Standard.

There have been mass protests in Ethiopia over the past year, particularly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which were sparked in November 2015 by government plans to extend the territory of Addis Ababa, potentially resulting in forced evictions. The demonstrations morphed into general anti-government discontent and have been exacerbated by the response of the security forces. At least 500 protesters have been killed during the protests, largely as a result of clashes with security forces.

Read more »


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President Obama On Why a Million Miles of Travel Gives Him Hope for the Future

President Obama wrote the following article for the travel website Lonely Planet this week, reflecting on his international tour over the past 8 years that included becoming the 1st sitting US president to visit Ethiopia.

Lonely Planet

By BARACK OBAMA
President of the United States

US President Barack Obama reflects on why a million miles of travel gives him hope for the future

Editor’s Note: Lonely Planet believes responsible travel can be a force for good. It’s a belief shared by President Barack Obama, the first sitting US president to visit Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Myanmar and Laos. On his final foreign trip, he spoke to us about how the optimistic, tolerant and engaged young people he has met around the world give him hope for the future.

During my time as president, I have traveled well over a million miles to every corner of the world. These foreign trips have included international summits and bilateral visits that have been fundamental to the progress that we’ve made – strengthening alliances, engaging former adversaries, renewing the global economy, and forging agreements to fight climate change, stop the spread of nuclear weapons, expand commerce, and roll back poverty and disease.

I leave office more convinced than ever before that international cooperation is indispensable. Without regular consultations with foreign leaders, and institutional coordination between the US and our allies and partners, we cannot overcome challenges that recognize no borders. It took dozens of countries working together to stamp out Ebola. It took coordinated pressure and careful diplomacy to reach a peaceful agreement to roll back Iran’s nuclear program. Nearly 200 countries spent years in painstaking negotiations to achieve the Paris Agreement to protect our planet. Every single day, the US works seamlessly with other countries to share information to prevent terrorist attacks, stop human trafficking, break up drug cartels, or combat corruption.


The president takes a group photo with U.S. students at Dillingham Middle School in Alaska. (© Pete Souza / Official White House Photo)

But while this cooperation is essential, I have always believed that our engagements with other countries must not be limited to governments – we also have to engage people around the world. In particular, we must sustain our engagement with young people, who will determine the future long after those of us in positions of power leave the world stage.

Consider the demographics of our world. More than half of human beings are 30 years old or younger. This is even more pronounced in the developing world – that’s where 90 percent of the global population under 30 lives. These young people are living through revolutions in technology that are remaking life on our planet, allowing for unprecedented access to information and connectivity, while also causing enormous disruptions in the global economy. And while the world’s leaders discuss the pressing issues of the day, it is the world’s young people who will determine whether their voices direct the change that is sweeping our world towards greater justice, opportunity, tolerance, and mutual respect.


President Obama watching performers on the tarmac at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 2, 2013. (© Pete Souza / Official White House Photo)

Read the full article at lonelyplanet.com »


Related:
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era
Watch: Obama Bids Farewell to World, Hails US Democracy in Landmark Speech


President Barack Obama talked about the United States election results and the
importance of democracy during his last international tour as president. (Reuters)

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Was 2016 U.S. Election Hacked? Hillary Clinton’s Team to Join Wisconsin Recount

Hillary Clinton's campaign lawyer said on Saturday that they're joining a growing call for a recount in 3 states after computer scientists warned that this year's U.S. presidential election might have been hacked. (AP)

The Washington Post

Clinton takes part in Wisconsin recount, with an eye on ‘outside interference,’ lawyer says

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has been quietly exploring whether there was any “outside interference” in the election results and will participate in the election recount in Wisconsin initiated by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a Clinton campaign lawyer revealed Saturday.

In a Medium post, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias said that the campaign had received “hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton,” especially in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the “combined margin of victory for Donald Trump was merely 107,000 votes.”

Elias said the campaign had “not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology.” But because of the margin of victory — and because of the degree of apparent foreign interference during the campaign — Elias said that Clinton officials had “quietly taken a number of steps in the last two weeks to rule in or out any possibility of outside interference in the vote tally in these critical battleground states.”

[Trump calls recount efforts ‘sad,’ declares: ‘Nothing will change’]

He said that the Clinton campaign would participate in the Stein-initiated recount in Wisconsin by having representatives on the ground monitoring the count and having lawyers represent them in court if needed. And if Stein made good on efforts to prompt similar processes in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Elias said, the Clinton campaign would do so there, as well.

“The campaign is grateful to all those who have expended time and effort to investigate various claims of abnormalities and irregularities,” Elias said. “While that effort has not, in our view, resulted in evidence of manipulation of results, now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported.”

Read more at The Washington Post »

Related:
Hillary Clinton’s Team to Join Wisconsin Recount (NYT)


Voters waited to cast their ballots in Milwaukee earlier this month. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

NOV. 26, 2016

WASHINGTON — Nearly three weeks after Election Day, Hillary Clinton’s campaign said on Saturday that it would participate in a recount process in Wisconsin incited by a third-party candidate and would join any potential recounts in two other closely contested states, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The Clinton campaign held out little hope of success in any of the three states, and said it had seen no “actionable evidence” of vote hacking that might taint the results or otherwise provide new grounds for challenging Donald J. Trump’s victory. But it suggested it was going along with the recount effort to assure supporters that it was doing everything possible to verify that hacking by Russia or other irregularities had not affected the results.

In a post on Medium, Marc Elias, the Clinton team’s general counsel, said the campaign would take part in the Wisconsin recount being set off by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and would also participate if Ms. Stein made good on her plans to seek recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Mrs. Clinton lost those three states by a total of little more than 100,000 votes, sealing her Electoral College defeat by Mr. Trump.

The Clinton campaign had assailed Mr. Trump during the election for refusing to say he would abide by the results if he lost. On Saturday, Mr. Trump responded to the campaign’s decision to join the recount with a statement calling the effort “ridiculous” and “a scam by the Green Party.”

He suggested that most of the money raised would not be spent on the recount. “The results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing,” Mr. Trump said.

In Wisconsin, Mr. Trump leads by 22,177 votes. In Michigan, he has a lead of 10,704 votes, and in Pennsylvania, his advantage is 70,638 votes.

Mr. Elias suggested in his essay that the Clinton campaign was joining the recount effort with little expectation that it would change the result. But many of the campaign’s supporters, picking up on its frequent complaints of Russian interference in the election, have enthusiastically backed Ms. Stein’s efforts, putting pressure on the Clinton team to show that it is exploring all options.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:

Hillary Clinton Supporters Call for Vote Recount in Battleground States (NYT)


Was this year’s U.S. presidential election “rigged” as Donald Trump claimed during the campaign? Well, now, Hillary Clinton’s supporters want to find out and are calling for vote recount in battleground states. (AP)

The New York Times

Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote is growing. She is roughly 30,000 votes behind Donald J. Trump in the key swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin — a combined gap that is narrowing. Her impassioned supporters are now urging her to challenge the results in those two states and Pennsylvania, grasping at the last straws to reverse Mr. Trump’s decisive majority in the Electoral College.

In recent days, they have seized on a report by a respected computer scientist and other experts suggesting that Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the keys to Mr. Trump’s Electoral College victory, need to manually review paper ballots to assure the election was not hacked.

“Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack?” J. Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan who has studied the vulnerabilities of election systems at length, wrote on Medium on Wednesday as the calls based on his conclusions mounted. “Probably not.”

More likely, he wrote, pre-election polls were “systematically wrong.” But the only way to resolve the lingering questions would be to examine “paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states,” he wrote.

Tellingly, the pleas for recounts have gained no support from the Clinton campaign, which has concluded, along with outside experts, that it is highly unlikely the outcome would change even after an expensive and time-consuming review of ballots. But that has not quieted Mrs. Clinton’s supporters, who see the inequity of her growing lead in the national popular vote, which is now more than two million votes, or 1.5 percent of all ballots cast, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which regularly updates its count as states continue to tally and to certify votes.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Want to Know if the Election was Hacked? Look at the Ballots say computer scientists (Medium)
Trump Won With Lowest Minority Vote in Decades, Fueling Divisions (Reuters)

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Why Trump Win is Fueling Divisions in US

Voters cast their votes during the U.S. presidential election in Elyria, Ohio, November 8, 2016. (REUTERS)

Reuters

USA: Trump Won With Lowest Minority Vote in Decades, Fueling Divisions

Wed Nov 23, 2016

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency with less support from black and Hispanic voters than any president in at least 40 years, a Reuters review of polling data shows, highlighting deep national divisions that have fueled incidents of racial and political confrontation.

Trump was elected with 8 percent of the black vote, 28 percent of the Hispanic vote and 27 percent of the Asian-American vote, according to the Reuters/Ipsos Election Day poll.

Among black voters, his showing was comparable to the 9 percent captured by George W. Bush in 2000 and Ronald Reagan in 1984. But Bush and Reagan both did far better with Hispanic voters, capturing 35 percent and 34 percent, respectively, according to exit polling data compiled by the non-partisan Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.

And Trump’s performance among Asian-Americans was the worst of any winning presidential candidate since tracking of that demographic began in 1992.

The racial polarization behind Trump’s victory has helped set the stage for tensions that have surfaced repeatedly since the election, in white supremacist victory celebrations, in anti-Trump protests and civil rights rallies, and in hundreds of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic hate crimes documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks extremist movements. The SPLC reports there were 701 incidents of “hateful harassment and intimidation” between the day following the Nov. 8 election and Nov. 16, with a spike in such incidents in the immediate wake of the vote.

Signs point to an ongoing atmosphere of confrontation.

The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a white separatist group that vilifies African-Americans, Jews and other minorities, plans an unusual Dec. 3 rally in North Carolina to celebrate Trump’s victory. Left-wing and anarchist groups have called for organized protests to disrupt the president-elect’s Jan. 20 inauguration. And a “Women’s March on Washington,” scheduled for the following day, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to protest Trump’s presidency.

American politics became increasingly racialized through President Barack Obama’s two terms, “but there was an attempt across the board, across the parties, to keep those tensions under the surface,” says Jamila Michener, an assistant professor of government at Cornell University.

Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric “brought those divisions to the fore; it activated people on the right, who felt empowered, and it activated people on the left, who saw it as a threat,” she added.

That dynamic was evident last week.

When Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended the Broadway musical “Hamilton” in New York on Friday, the multi-ethnic cast closed with a statement expressing fears of a Trump presidency. A far different view was on display the next day as a crowd of about 275 people cheered Trump’s election at a Washington conference of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist group with a strong anti-Semitic beliefs.

“We willed Donald Trump into office; we made this dream our reality,” NPI President Richard Spencer said. After outlining a vision of America as “a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” he closed with, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!”

DIVISION BREEDS CONFRONTATION

Though Trump’s election victory was driven by white voters, his performance even among that group was not as strong as some of his predecessors. Reagan and George H.W. Bush both won the presidency with higher shares of the white vote than the 55 percent that Trump achieved.

The historical voting patterns reflect decades of polarization in American politics, but the division surrounding Trump appears more profound, says Cas Mudde, an associate professor specializing in political extremism at the University of Georgia. These days, he adds, “people say they don’t want their children even to date someone from the other party.”

Indeed, voters’ opinions of those on the opposite side of the partisan divide have reached historic lows. Surveys by the Pew Research Center showed this year that majorities of both parties held “very unfavorable” views of the other party – a first since the center first measured such sentiment in 1992.

And the lion’s share of those people believe the opposing party’s policies “are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being,” the center found.

That level of division has spurred activists on both sides of the political divide to take their activism in a more confrontational direction.

In the wake of Trump’s victory, protesters on the left took to the streets by the thousands in cities across the country, in some cases causing property damage.

Much of the agitation was motivated by a belief that Trump’s administration will foster racism and push the courts and other political institutions to disenfranchise minority voters, says James Anderson, editor of ItsGoingDown.Org, an anarchist website that has promoted mass demonstrations against Trump’s presidency, including a call to disrupt his inauguration.

Many on the left have come to distrust government institutions, embracing a breed of activism aimed at directly confronting what they see as condemnable political forces, Anderson says. “The answer now is to organize, build power and autonomy and fight back.”

On the opposite end of the political spectrum, Trump’s election is bringing new hope for right-wing activists who felt abandoned by the major parties.

John Roberts, a top officer in the Ku Klux Klan affiliate planning the December rally to celebrate Trump’s election, says the group is committed to non-violent demonstrations, but he sees Trump’s election as likely to bring a new era of political conflict. And much of the strife, he says, will be centered around racial divisions.

“Once Trump officially takes office, there is going to be a boiling over at some point in time,” Roberts says. “Who knows when that’s going to be, but it’s not going to be pretty.”


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Obama Bids Farewell to World, Hails US Democracy in Landmark Speech
Looking Beyond Trump Era: This Woman Could Become 1st Female U.S. President
Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election
Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

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After Ethiopia Drama, Aviators Continue Vintage Plane Flights Across Africa

Aviators detained in Ethiopia while retracing a historic flight route along the length of Africa in 24 vintage planes and support aircraft have been freed, organisers announced via social media on Thursday. (Getty)

Reuters

Updated: 25 November 2016

Vintage plane rally moves on from Ethiopia

Addis Ababa – Aviators who were detained in Ethiopia while retracing a historic flight route along the length of Africa in 24 vintage planes and support aircraft are now free to continue their journey, organisers said on Thursday.

The Vintage Air Rally crew, flying aircraft that include biplanes built in the 1920s and 1930s, were held at the airport in Gambela, western Ethiopia, after they landed following their arrival from neighbouring Sudan.

They have already flown from Europe and through Egypt and plan to end the tour in South Africa. The oldest plane taking part dates to 1928; the oldest pilot is 72.

“Just been resolved now,” rally organiser Sam Rutherford told Reuters in a brief text message when asked for an update on their situation. “In hotel, Kenya tomorrow!”

The group of 47 people had been held in a building at the airport and had not been allowed to stay at a hotel they were booked at, the group had said in an earlier Facebook statement.

Wesenyeleh Hunegnaw, director-general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), had told a news conference in Addis Ababa that the group lacked proper authorisation for their trip and had made an unauthorised stop in Gambela.

There was no immediate official comment about a resolution.

The aviators’ aim is cross 10 countries, making 37 stops in a little more than a month. Kenya is their next planned stop.

—-
Related:
Vintage air rally pilots released from detention in Ethiopia (AP)
Freed Africa vintage air rally pilots fly to Kenya (BBC News)

Missing British Pilot Found in Ethiopia


British pilot Maurice Kirk, 72, who was reported missing Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 while flying his 1943 Piper Cub plane, has arrived at his expected destination in Gambella, Ethiopia. (AP Photo)

ITV

UPDATE: Missing pilot confirmed ‘safe and well’ in Ethiopia

A 71-year-old British pilot attempting to fly a 1940s plane the length of Africa has been found “safe and well” after being reported missing.

Maurice Kirk, who has links with the Vale of Glamorgan, was part of a vintage air rally flying from Crete to Cape Town.

Vintage Air Rally, which was organising the event, said Mr Kirk had continued to fly despite being asked to withdraw due to a “mismatch in expectations”.

Organisers had said Mr Kirk was missing somewhere between Sudan and Ethiopia with his 1943 Piper Cub plane.

But on Facebook on Wednesday night they confirmed he was now with the rest of the competitors at the airport in Gambela.

All Vintage Air Rally crews are currently in Gambela where the Ethiopian authorities have elected to allocate them accommodation at the airport rather than permit them to proceed to their pre-booked hotel. The reasons for this are at this time not 100% clear. There is no possibility to communicate with them but all participants, including the hitherto ‘missing’ Maurice Kirk, are safe and accounted for.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware and is negotiating on their behalf.

– VINTAGE AIR RALLY STATEMENT

Mr Kirk, from Bristol, went missing on a three-hour leg of the cross-African flight from southern Sudan into western Ethiopia.


Photo: ITV News


Related:
British pilot in Africa air rally is missing in Ethiopia

Associated Press

Published November 23, 2016

The organizers of a rally of vintage planes flying across Africa say a British pilot has gone missing while flying a 1943 Piper Cub plane.

Vintage Air Rally said in a statement on Facebook that Maurice Kirk, 72, had not arrived at his expected destination in Gambella, Ethiopia, on Tuesday.

The group said that before Kirk disappeared he had been advised to return to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, after departing Ad-Damazin, Sudan, heading to Gambella. Kirk had withdrawn from the rally before he went missing, it said.

It said Kirk is believed to have made a precautionary landing somewhere in Ethiopia, where a search is on to find him.

The Vintage Air Rally describes itself as a “flying rally across Africa, from Crete to Cape Town,” for early aircraft.


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Model Titi Aynaw, First Ethiopian Miss Israel, Shares 5 Leadership Lessons

Titi Aynaw is an Ethiopian-born Israeli model who won the title of Miss Israel in 2013. (Photo: Tadias Mag)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The last time we featured Yityish (Titi) Aynaw, the first Ethiopian Miss Israel, was three years ago when she visited New York City a few months after she was crowned the first black Miss Israel in 2013. The beauty queen who served as a lieutenant in the Israel Defense Force had arrived to fundraise for a project located in her hometown of Netanya where she said she was working to build an after school arts-based community center for children from low-income communities.

“I’ve taken the initiative to bring together these children in a community room and help them to learn what they show interest in, whether it’s dance or music. I am fundraising to create these opportunities for them” Titi explained.

This week the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School highlights Titi’s recent visit there to promote “her latest social enterprise, the Titi Project,” noting that the 25-year-old former Miss Israeli is also “a television personality and community activist with 52,000 Instagram followers. And those are only a few of her accomplishments.”


Crowned Titi Aynaw crowned as Miss Israel 2013 was born in the Gondar, Ethiopia. (KWHS)

Read more: 5 Leadership Lessons from Israeli Model Titi Aynaw

In related news also this week, the Times of Israel reported that Lt. Col. Dr. Avraham Yitzhak made history as the first Ethiopian-born Israeli who was named chief medical officer of the army’s Southern Command on November 21st, 2016 “putting him on the path to becoming the first Israeli of Ethiopian heritage to hold the rank of colonel in the Israel Defense Forces.”

Read more: Ethiopian Lt. Colonel makes IDF history

—-
Related
Tadias Interview with Miss Israel Titi Aynaw

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Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

President-elect Donald Trump heads inside the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey on Sunday, November 20th, 2016. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 21st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — In an article entitled Trump’s Foreign Policy on Africa is Likely to be Non-existent, which was published by CNN this past weekend, Peter Vale, a Professor of Humanities and the Director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Johannesburg, argues that the African continent will be the least of the incoming administration’s concerns.

At this point it’s all speculation and nobody really knows what exactly the Donald Trump presidency would mean to the U.S. let alone the rest of the world. But it is worth thinking about what US-Africa relations might look like in the age of Trump.

The Brookings Institution’s Witney Schneidman, who advised Clinton on Africa, also penned an article last week entitled Donald Trump and Africa , and agrees that the continent will likely be at the bottom of Trump’s international agenda.

“In fact, there is every reason to expect that, under a Trump administration, the U.S. will be less engaged in Africa especially where it concerns the expenditure of taxpayer resources on economic development initiatives,” Schneidman writes in a blog post on Brookings website.

“AGOA could easily be the first casualty under Trump,” Schneidman states. “While its benefits have been uneven, the legislation has served as a key framework for U.S.-African relations. It has led to trade and investment being at the forefront of U.S. policy in the region. 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.”

Professor Vale note that “Trump is also unlikely to have any tolerance for the idea that the African diaspora is part of the “sixth region” of Africa. In addition, I think that he is going to be intolerant and disinterested in issues around the domestic politics of African countries. That is unless — as he was very clear in his acceptance speech — they strongly impinge on American national interests. For example, I don’t think he is going to be very interested in what is happening in Somalia or Ethiopia or in other parts of Africa where there may be conflict. Trump hasn’t got a great capacity for detail, so at best he will live by macro assessments.”

Below are links to both articles:

CNN: Trump’s foreign policy on Africa is likely to be non-existent
Brookings: Donald Trump and Africa


Related:
Watch: Will Trump’s business impact foreign policy? (MSNBC LIVE WITH TAMRON HALL 11/21/16)


Many Americans are concerned that President-elect Donald Trump’s business interests will mix with his presidential duties when he takes office. MSNBC’s Tamron Hall discusses with Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer for President Bush. (MSNBC)

Watch: The knowns and unknowns of Trump’s foreign policy (MSNBC MORNING JOE 11/21/16)


Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations and Ian Brzezinski from the Atlantic Council discuss the possible avenues Donald Trump has for building his foreign policy. (MSNBC Video)

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Rolling Stone: Ethiopian American Aminé Among 10 New Artists You Need to Know

Adam Aminé Daniel, professionally known as Aminé, is an Ethiopian American hip hop recording artist from Portland, Oregon. (Courtesy of Republic Records)

Rolling Stone

Why You Should Pay Attention: Adam Aminé Daniel has scored an unlikely hit with the wavy love rap “Caroline” – currently at 34 million YouTube views and counting. The Portland rapper is inspired by Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak and Outkast’s The Love Below, and taught himself to make beats with YouTube tutorials. He also studied business, advertising and marketing at Portland State University (he recently dropped out with 15 credits left towards his degree), and creates his own cover artwork.

Last year, he piqued interest among some influential blogs and websites with his 2015 mixtape Calling Brio, a diverse blend of house, bass drops, African pop and smooth-but-steady flows. When he posted “Caroline” to SoundCloud in June, he generated a fierce bidding war that resulted a deal with Republic Records. By September, Republic pushed the track onto streaming services, and it has soared into the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. He’s recorded over 60 songs for his next project, but he’s unsure if that will be an album or a mixtape. However, he knows that he wants to continue to make feel-good music that’s colorful and bright.

He Says: Aminé has no shortage of opinions on the anti-immigration policy that president-elect Donald Trump used in his recent campaign. “My parents are immigrants to this country,” says the Ethiopian-American artist. “They came to this country for a better opportunity just like everyone else. So if anyone else, whether they’re running for president or whatever they’re trying to do, if they’re bashing the people who are just working hard and just trying to make a better life for themselves by coming to America, I believe that’s completely wrong. To see someone like that do something like that and become president is just a testimony to where we are at culturally in America right now.”


Amine – “Caroline”

Read more at Rollingstone.com »


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A YOUNG RAPPER’S BOLD ANTI-TRUMP MESSAGE ON “THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON

Ethiopian American Hip Hop Artist Aminé Slams Trump on Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon

The New Yorker

Aminé: ‘You can never make America great again, all you ever did was make this country hate again’

Among this year’s uncommonly vibrant cohort of breakout rappers, Aminé, a wild-haired twenty-two-year-old from Portland, Oregon, stands out for his warm, restless energy. His single “Caroline”—which has been slowly gaining momentum since its release, in March—finds a sweet spot between theatre-geek sincerity and cool-kid braggadocio, between neo-soul and ringtone rap, between romance and vulgarity. Melodically simple and texturally adventurous, it’s a near-perfect dollop of populist rap joy—the kind of song that cuts across listening audiences, for better or worse. The song has racked up some hundred and fifty million streams in recent months and reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week.

So Aminé’s television début, on Tuesday night, on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” seemed like a straightforward proposition: a promising young artist performs his best single, and, if all goes according to plan, endears himself to a mainstream late-night viewing audience. What actually happened was slightly different. When Aminé took the stage, he initially played the part of the whimsical Portland rapper, tinkering on a piano adorned with bananas, one of his signature motifs. He then offered a stripped-down rendition of “Caroline,” accompanied by an orchestra and a row of backup singers. But when he arrived at the song’s final chorus the room shifted. The camera focussed on Aminé’s face, and he stood still in front of the microphone. The wands of light behind him turned from a dusty yellow to red, white, and blue, as over the beat of “Caroline” he delivered a piercing new verse:

9/11, a day that we never forgettin’
11/9, a day that we always regrettin’
If my President is Trump then it’s relevant enough
To talk ’bout it on TV and not give a fuck
I’m black and I’m proud
My skin is brown and I’m loud
Everybody love it when a rapper tells some lies
But that ain’t me, homie, I guess that’s a surprise
America want to act all happy and holy
But deep down inside they like Brad and Jolie
Caroline divine, and I won’t get specific
Club Banana, the illest and it’s too terrific
You can never make America great again
All you ever did was make this country hate again

Read more at Newyorker.com »


Related:
Rapper Aminé slams Donald Trump in moving Tonight Show debut

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CPJ: Ethiopian Newspaper Editor, Bloggers Caught in Worsening Crackdown

Digital drawing of Befekadu Hailu, co-founder of Ethiopia's Zone9 bloggers collective, which CPJ honored with its 2015 International Press Freedom Award, was again arrested on November 11, 2016. (CPJ)

CPJ

Ethiopian newspaper editor, bloggers caught in worsening crackdown

Nairobi, November 17, 2016-Ethiopia should immediately release all journalists detained amid an intensifying crackdown on the media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In recent weeks, Ethiopian authorities have jailed a newspaper editor, as well as two members of the award-winning Zone 9 bloggers’ collective, which has faced continuous legal harassment on terrorism and incitement charges. A fourth journalist has been missing for a week; his family fears he is in state custody.

The crackdown on the media comes amid mass arrests following large protests that led the government to declare a state of emergency on October 9. Security forces have detained more than 11,000 people since the state of emergency was declared, Taddesse Hordofa, of Ethiopian government’s State of Emergency Inquiry Board, said in a televised statement on November 12.

“Silencing those who criticize the government’s handling of protests will not bring stability,” CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said from New York. “The constant pressure on Zone 9 bloggers with repeated arrests and court appearances is clearly designed to intimidate the remaining independent journalists in Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia’s Supreme Court on November 15 continued hearing prosecutors’ appeal of a lower court’s October 2015 acquittal of four bloggers from the Zone 9 collective-Befekadu Hailu, Natnail Feleke, Abel Wabella, and Atnaf Berhane-on terrorism charges, campaigners reported on social media.

Security forces again detained Befekadu-a co-founder of the collective, which CPJ honored with its 2015 International Press Freedom Award-from his home on November 11, according to news reports. Authorities have not yet announced any new charge against the blogger. The Africa News Agency quoted Befekadu’s friends saying that they believed he may have been arrested following an interview he gave to the U.S.-government-funded broadcaster Voice of America’s Amharic service, in which he criticized the government’s handling of the protests.


Members of the Zone 9 blogging group. (Photo: Endalkachew H/Michael)

An Ethiopian journalist in exile in Kenya, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, told CPJ that Befekadu’s criticism of the government’s handling of protests in the Oromo and Amhara regions of Ethiopia on his blog may have also led to his detention.

When the terrorism charge against the bloggers was dismissed by the judge in October last year, Befekadu was informed that he would still face incitement charges, according to media reports. That case is still before the courts.

Ethiopian Information Minister Negeri Lencho did not respond to CPJ’s calls and text messages seeking more information.

Read more »


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Photos: Great CNN Feature on Lalibela

In Lalibela life feels largely untouched by the centuries. (Photo: CNN)

CNN

From all corners of a nation they come, often walking for hundreds of miles barefoot: Ethiopian Orthodox Christians on a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Their destination is Lalibela in the north of Ethiopia. A town of approximately 20,000 people, Lalibela’s population swells five-fold in the first days of January, pilgrims converging to celebrate Genna (or Ledet) — Christmas according to the Ethiopian calendar.

What they’re here for is to take a path from darkness into the light; through 800 years of history and enter a “New Jerusalem” — tangible, permanent and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But most of all, they’re here for God.


The House of St George, Lalibela. (CNN photo)


Pilgrims waiting to emerge from inside a tunnel at the House of St George, Lalibela. (CNN)


A group of pilgrims pray and read their bibles by candlelight around the churches of Lalibela. (CNN)

Read more and see photos at CNN.com »


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Ethiopia: Pianist-Composer Girma Yifrashewa to Perform at Ginny’s in Harlem

Ethiopian Pianist and Composer Girma Yifrashewa. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The acclaimed Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa returns to New York City this month for a Thanksgiving weekend performance at Ginny’s Supper Club on Sunday, November 27th.

Girma, who was trained at Sofia State Conservatory of Music in Bulgaria, says he got started with his musical career at a very young age playing Kirar while growing up in Ethiopia’s capital city before being introduced to piano as a teenager when he was accepted to the Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa.

Girma Yifrashewa “offers a rare and fascinating example of aesthetic adaptation and convergence,” the New York Times declared three years ago in its review of Girma’s last concert here in 2013 at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn. In an article entitled From Chopin to Ethiopia, and Partway Back Again, The Times added: “Since returning to Ethiopia in 1995, Mr. Yifrashewa has promoted awareness there of the standard classical repertory, while also writing new pieces that apply European techniques to Ethiopian musical and folkloric sources. His recital here, one of two American concerts mounted with support from the independent record label Unseen Worlds, was split between canonical works and original music.”

Girma ’s original compositions include Chewata, “meant to evoke an Ethiopian custom of making merry even at times of sadness,” as well as Sememen, “a surging work employing a traditional mode associated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church,” Elilta, “named for the cheery ululation with which Ethiopians greet joyful occasions and filled with tingling trills that imitated that sound.”


IF You Go:
Girma Yifrashewa: Special Dinner and Performance at Ginny’s Supper Club
Sunday Nov 27, 2016
Show: 6:00 PM
$85
Ginny’s Supper Club
310 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY
Click here to buy tickets

Related:
Photos Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Stellar Performance in Bethesda, Maryland

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Obama Bids Farewell to World, Hails US Democracy in Landmark Speech

President Barack Obama delivered his last foreign policy speech in Athens, Greece on Nov. 16, 2016. (AP)

VOA News

Last Updated: November 16, 2016

Obama Hails Democracy in Landmark Speech

LONDON — U.S. President Barack Obama chose, Athens, the cradle of Western-style democracy to deliver his likely final, landmark foreign policy speech on what is his last overseas trip in office, saying the democracy that America upholds and promotes in the world is imperfect, but “better than the alternatives.”

Reflecting on his eight-year presidency, the U.S. leader said his travels around the globe have shown him that while “every country travels its own path,” there is “fundamental desire” for dignity and self-determination. “These flames are universal. They burn in every heart,” Obama said.

The outgoing American leader bids farewell to Washington’s foreign partners at a time when there are big questions on the future of U.S. relations with Europe, its new role in the world, and the image the United States, forever seen as a symbol of Western liberalism, is projecting.

The bitterness and anger displayed by candidates and demonstrators during the U.S. presidential campaign and in the days since have shocked many in Europe.

In his speech Wednesday, Obama sought to reassure the world that American-style democracy is alive, and he emphasized the importance of a peaceful transition.

“We compete hard in campaigns. But even after elections, democracy depends on a peaceful transition of power,” Obama said, without mentioning President-elect Donald Trump by name. “The next American president and I could not be more different … But American democracy is bigger than any one person.”

‘American Democracy Is Bigger Than Any One Person,’ Obama Says


President Barack Obama talked about the United States election results and the
importance of democracy during his last international tour as president. (Reuters)


Topping every conversation of the U.S. leader on this trip are his efforts to reassure Europe the United States has no choice but to remain engaged with the region and committed to its longstanding security partnerships. He said the history of the last two centuries shows democracies are less likely to fight wars among themselves, “Our closest friends are democracies.” NATO, he said, is “an alliance of democracy.”

Obama is using his last foreign tour to reassure U.S. NATO partners who are nervous after President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign remarks in which he called the alliance “obsolete” and suggested the United States might not automatically defend members who are not making their minimum contributions to the alliance and spend the required two percent of their GDP on defense.

“I believe it is practical for the United States to support democracy,” Obama said as he was interrupted by applause. History, he said, shows countries with democratic governance tend to be “more just and more stable, and more successful” and “deliver more prosperity.”

Obama gave the speech after touring Athens’ ancient Acropolis, a symbol of the origins of democracy, which the president described as “the most precious of gifts” for which America is indebted to Greece.


President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP photo)

Close eye on Obama

Observers across Europe are following the visit closely, as E.U. governments await clarification on what the state of the U.S.-partnership will be after Inauguration Day. While President Obama has said on this trip that he is neither defending Donald Trump’s campaign statements nor taking responsibility for what the President-elect says or does, he hopes to reassure partners that core American principles remain unchanged.

“In Athens, the American president poses himself as the defender of the Union,” said a commentary in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro. “Obama wants to reassure Europe on the future of its relations with the United States … It was therefore appropriate to travel to Greece, the birthplace of democracy, for his farewell tour,” it said.

Obama’s next stop is Germany.


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Trump’s USA: President Obama Warns Against Rise of Nationalistic Tribalism

President Obama, apparently referring to Trump’s decision to appoint a hard-right nationalist to a top post, spoke in Greece during his final overseas trip as president on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. (Times Video)

The New York Times

Visiting Europe, Obama Warns Against Rise of ‘Crude Sort of Nationalism’

ATHENS — President Obama, in some of his strongest language since Donald J. Trump’s election last week, on Tuesday warned against the rise of nationalistic tribalism, apparently a reference to Mr. Trump’s decision to appoint Stephen K. Bannon, a hard-right nationalist, to a top position.

“I do believe, separate and apart from any particular election or movement, that we are going to have to guard against a rise in a crude sort of nationalism or ethnic identity or tribalism that is built around an ‘us’ and a ‘them,’” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Obama’s remarks came in an hourlong news conference in Athens on his final trip overseas as president. He had come to Greece partly to bolster Greek hopes of further debt relief from its European partners, which will meet on Dec. 5 to consider giving this ailing nation another pass on its mountain of debt.

But Mr. Trump’s election last week subverted Mr. Obama’s top foreign policy priorities, and he seemed to have arrived in Athens in a reflective mood.

Read more at NYTimes.com »

Watch Senator Reid To Trump: Rescind Bannon appointment


Sen. Harry Reid harshly criticized Donald Trump’s decision to make Steve Bannon his chief strategist. Reid says Bannon harbors anti-Semitic views and is backed by the KKK and other white nationalist groups.


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DC Fears Setback to Cultural Renaissance as Obama Era Comes to an End

President Obama and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, purchased books at Politics and Prose in Washington. (Pool photo by Dennis Brack)

The New York Times

A Newly Vibrant Washington Fears That Trump Will Drain Its Culture

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama has burned off her date-night meals at Washington’s new generation of acclaimed restaurants by pedaling at SoulCycle. President Obama has shopped for Jonathan Franzen novels with his daughters at local independent bookstores. Obama administration staff members, their barhopping chronicled in the gossip pages, have hit the 14th Street hot spots hard.

Decades ago, Washington was broke and run by a mayor best known for smoking crack with a prostitute on a surveillance tape. Neighborhoods had not fully recovered from the 1968 riots, and an aging Georgetown elite still set the tone. The administrations of two Bushes and a Clinton in between hardly had an effect on the city.

But Mr. Obama’s arrival in 2009 coincided with an urban renaissance…And the Obama family — African-American, youthful, attractive and urbane — were archetypes of a modern city on the upswing. What the effect on Washington will be when Donald J. Trump moves into the White House is hard to predict. But many Washingtonians fear the worst. Among them is Vincent Gray, the city’s mayor during much of the Obama administration.

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »


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

The goal of the documentary includes addressing "revisionism, which is only possible because there is such great ignorance on the topic in Italy and even in Ethiopia," says Producer Isaak Liptzin. (Photo: Awen Films)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 14th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — “In 1935, Benito Mussolini wanted to make Italy great again, so he invaded Ethiopia,” The Daily Beast publication noted this summer. 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.

Per the film’s synopsis: “If Only I Were That Warrior is a feature documentary film focusing on the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1935. Following the recent construction of a monument dedicated to Fascist general Rodolfo Graziani, the film addresses the unpunished war crimes he and others committed in the name of Mussolini’s imperial ambitions. The stories of three characters, filmed in present day Ethiopia, Italy and the United States, take the audience on a journey through the living memories and the tangible remains of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia — a journey that crosses generations and continents to today, where this often overlooked legacy still ties the fates of two nations and their people.”

While public funding for Graziani’s memorial was suspended by a new administration in Affile in 2013 the monument still remains standing.

Among the Ethiopian activists featured in the film include Dallas resident Kidane Alemayehu who was leading the anti-monument protest through his organization, the Global Alliance for Justice: The Ethiopian Cause. Kidane had also written a letter to Italy’s Foreign Minister regarding the objection against the building of the Graziani memorial.


Kidane Alemayehu, above right, and Mulu, bottom, are some of the Ethiopian activists featured in the documentary.(Images: Awen Films)


Anti-fascist Italian-American activist Nicola DeMarco (Images: Awen Films)


Screenshot from the documentary film ‘If Only I Were That Warrior.’ (Courtesy of Awen Films)


Still image from the documentary “If Only I Were That Warrior.” (Awen Films)


Photo courtesy of Awen Films

Filmed in Amharic, English and Italian and shot on three continents the documentary also captures conversations with citizens and leaders of Affile, as well as Italian Americans and testimonies from Ethiopian elders who witnessed Graziani’s horrific war crimes in addition to the Ethiopian Diaspora’s mobilization against the memorial.

The goal of the documentary includes addressing “examples of revisionism like the monument itself” says Producer Isaak Liptzin, “which is only possible because there is such great ignorance on the topic in Italy, abroad and to a certain extent even in Ethiopia.” In an interview with Tadias this past May Liptzin added: “So the goal is really to bring this back into everybody’s mind and into the public discourse, not in a militant way but in a way that explains how this amnesia came to be.”


Related:
Tadias Interview with the Director & Producer of “If Only I Were That Warrior”

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In Virginia, Runners From Ethiopia Sweep Richmond Marathon

Dadi Beyene (left) and Bizuwork Getahun win the men and women division of the Richmond Marathon on Saturday, November 12th, 2016. (Photo: Richmond.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, November 13th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Dadi Beyene and Bizuwork Getahun of Ethiopia took first place in the men’s and women’s category respectively at this year’s Richmond Marathon in Virginia on Saturday.

“Beyene finished three seconds ahead of Peter Limo, of Kenya,” reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Bizuwork Getahun, also from Ethiopia, won the women’s marathon in 2:37:51.”

The Times-Dispatch adds: “The winners of the American Family Fitness half marathon this morning were Girma Gebre, of Ethiopia, for the men and Joan Aiyabei, of Kenya, for the women. Gebre ran the half marathon in 1:04:41; Aiyabei finished in 1:12:25.


Girma Gebre wins the Richmond Half- Marathon on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. (Photo: TIMES-DISPATCH)

Read more at Richmond.com »


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Watch: SNL Makes America Laugh Again

Actor Dave Chappelle (Center) joined Saturday Night Live cast members for a sketch set at an election night watch party. (Photo: SNL)

USA TODAY

On Saturday Night Live, Dave Chappelle & Chris Rock Nailed the Realest 2016 US Election Night Sketch

The stars, whose comedic talents are exceeded only by their sharp insight, joined Saturday Night Live cast members for a sketch set at an election night watch party. In the scene, Chappelle cautions Clinton supporters against celebrating prematurely.

At first, his cynicism just doesn’t add up to the group. But as ballots are tallied and states began to report electoral votes, the group begins to acknowledge the clear division. “Oh my God, I think America is racist,” gasps Cecily Strong.

“Oh my God,” Chappelle replied sarcastically. “You know I remember my great-grandfather told me something like that. He was, like, a slave or something.”

Gripped by disbelief, Aidy Bryant asks: “Why aren’t people turning out for Hillary the way they did for Barack Obama?”

“I mean, maybe because you’re replacing a charismatic 40-year-old black guy with a 70-year-old white woman,” Rock joked. “That’s like the Knicks replacing Patrick Ewing with Neil Patrick Harris.”

Watch: SNL Makes America Laugh Again After Weird 2016 US Election

While the election’s outcome ultimately deflated the majority of the partygoers, Chappelle and Rock remained unaffected. “Don’t worry, eight years are gonna fly by,” Chappelle offered. “Get some rest,” added Rock. “You got a big day of moping and writing on Facebook tomorrow.”

“This is the most shameful thing America has ever done,” Beck Bennett noted glumly.

The jokes wrote themselves there.



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European Parliament Holds Hearing on Ethiopia Protests

European Parliament member Ana Gomes (center) tweeted this photo after the hearing on 9 Nov 2016. (Photo: @AnaGomesMEP)

VOA News

BRUSSELS — It is now one year since persistent, sometimes violent anti-government protests started in Ethiopia’s Oromia region. How much closer are the Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, to achieving their demands for more political freedom and economic inclusiveness? Opposition activists addressed members of the European Parliament this week in Brussels.

Olympic runner Feyisa Lilesa is the most famous supporter of the protests in his native Ethiopia. Feyisa, the silver medalist in this year’s men’s marathon in Rio, drew attention when he crossed his wrists at the finish line, a gesture to show solidarity with the protesters.

Feyisa, who now fears returning to Ethiopia, addressed members of the European Parliament one year after the start of the Oromo protests:

He said it will be disastrous if the current situation continues, adding that because all media is blocked in Ethiopia, he is using his visibility to get worldwide media attention by being a voice for his people.

Diaspora protests

Also at the European Parliament is Berhanu Nega, leader of the anti-government diaspora group Ginbot 7. He was sentenced to death in absentia and labeled a terrorist by the Ethiopian government for trying to overthrow the government.

Berhanu believes the next six months will show which direction Ethiopia is heading. He says international pressure is needed to prevent the current tension from escalating.

“My hope is that at least some of the friends of this regime to talk sense that the path to power through violence in Ethiopia is over. That there must be a way to find an alternative and this alternative, to some kind of a soft landing, must happen quickly before it is too late,” he said.

Demonstrations in the Oromia region started on November 12, 2015 in the town of Ginchi, about 80 kilometers west of Addis Ababa. Students and farmers protested a plan to enlarge the boundaries of the capital city.

Protests continued and spread through the country as demands were no longer only about land grabs but also about ethnic marginalization, political freedom and economic development.

Hundreds of Oromo citizens have died, thousands have been imprisoned, and a six-month state of emergency was declared in Ethiopia last month.

Calls for dialogue

Oromo opposition leader Mulatu Gemechu of the Oromo Federal Congress says that despite a Cabinet reshuffle, a lasting solution is still far away.

“Unless the government comes down to the table and discuss with the opposition parties and the other people who are not happy with the sitting government, and create peaceful dialogue, it is impossible to talk about the improvement of peace and all these things,” said Mulatu.

Professor Jan Abbink of the Center of African Studies at Leiden University says the Ethiopian government should not rely solely on the state of emergency to restore order.

“Create a space for discussion,” said Abbink. We need really internationally supervised structures of discussion and deliberation. That might be a great step forward also to rebuild trust in the country, because that is something which is now seriously lacking. Trust between the government and the population.”

Human rights organization Amnesty International said this week that the current security measures “sweep the underlying issues under the carpet” and “that it is only a matter of time before another round of unrest erupts.”


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Looking Beyond Trump Era: This Woman Could Become 1st Female U.S. President

Senator-elect Kamala Harris of California. (AP Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 11th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This week, here in America, we may have stunned the world and embarrassed ourselves by electing Donald Trump as our next President over Hillary Clinton, who was arguably the most qualified presidential candidate in the history of the United States. But there were other more hopeful election night victories on Tuesday, November 8th including that of Senator-elect Kamala Harris of California who is already being touted by the media as “the next best hope for shattering that glass ceiling.”

“She’s drawn many comparisons to President Barack Obama, who famously ran for president during his first term in the Senate,” The Huffington Post points out in an article published today entitled Meet Kamala Harris, Who Could Become The First Woman President. “Her background and her polished yet personable approach to politics embody what many think the Democratic Party should aim to look like going forward. And even before her Senate win, her name was floated for roles including California Governor, Supreme Court Justice and Vice President.”

Tadias first met Kamala Harris in 2003 at an event in San Francisco organized by the New America Media (NAM), then called the New California Media (NCM), where Harris had just stopped by to personally pass out fliers and introduce herself as a candidate for District Attorney of San Francisco. We were excited to see her win that election. After serving as DA of San Francisco for two terms she became California’s Attorney General in 2010.

With her recent win we can’t be happier that Harris will be heading to Washington DC as one of two Senators representing the country’s most populous state during the looming Trump era beginning in January 2017.

Here are some things you should know about the woman who could very well challenge Trump in 2020.

Read more »


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Ethiopia: High Time for Genuine Reform Before Next Unrest Erupts

It's high time for the government in Ethiopia to move from PR to real and genuine reforms regarding Human Rights concerns in order to save the country from permanent political crisis. (Photo: via Amnesty.org)

Amnesty International

After a year of protests, time to address grave human rights concerns

Nearly one year on from the start of a wave of protests that has left at least 800 people dead at the hands of security forces, the Ethiopian government must take concrete steps to address grave human rights concerns in the country, Amnesty International said today.

The protests began in the central Oromia region on 12 November 2015, in opposition to the Addis Ababa Masterplan, a government plan to extend the capital Addis Ababa’s administrative control into parts of the Oromia.

“A year after these deadly protests began, tensions in Ethiopia remain high and the human rights situation dire, with mass arrests internet shutdowns and sporadic clashes between the security forces and local communities, especially in the north of the country,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“It’s high time the Ethiopian authorities stopped paying lip service to reform and instead took concrete steps to embrace it, including by releasing the myriad political prisoners it is holding merely for expressing their opinions. They should also repeal the repressive laws that imprisoned them in the first place, including the draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation that has also contributed to the unrest.”

Even after the Addis Ababa Masterplan was scrapped in January 2016, protests continued with demonstrators demanding an end to human rights violations, ethnic marginalization and the continued detention of Oromo leaders.

The protests later expanded into the Amhara region with demands for an end to arbitrary arrests and ethnic marginalization. They were triggered by attempts by the security forces to arrest Colonel Demeka Zewdu, one of the leaders of the Wolqait Identity and Self-Determination Committee, on alleged terrorism offences. Wolqait, an administrative district in the Tigray region, has been campaigning for reintegration into the Amhara region, to which it belonged until 1991.

Just as in Oromia, security forces responded with excessive and lethal force in their efforts to quell the protests. Amnesty International estimates that at least 800 people have been killed since the protests began, most of them in the two regions.

The Ethiopian government’s heavy-handed response to largely peaceful protests started a vicious cycle of protests and totally avoidable bloodshed. If it does not address the protesters’ grievances, we are concerned that it is only a matter of time before another round of unrest erupt.

Read more »


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Obama, Trump Meet at White House (Video)

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2016

Donald Trump entered the White House through the South Lawn entrance, avoiding news cameras and the eyes of the president’s staff.

About 45 minutes after Trump’s arrival, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was seen taking Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and other Trump aides, including Dan Scavino, across the edge of the Rose Garden.

Donald Trump Limits Traditional Press Access On First White House Visit (Huffington Post)

President-elect Donald Trump broke with tradition on Thursday by heading to Washington, D.C., without a “protective pool” of journalists to cover his movements for the larger press corps.

The White House Correspondents Association oversees a rotating pool system so that the president is always covered while traveling, especially in the event of historically significant or life-threatening moment.

Neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton’s campaign had a fully protective pool, as opposed to recent major-party nominees. However, the Democrat’s system was close to the standard used in the White House. Trump didn’t fly with reporters, and sometimes didn’t notify them when he was leaving for events and even mocked them for being late.

Last month, WHCA President Jeff Mason urged both presidential campaigns to agree to have a “protective pool” during the transitional period between the election and inauguration. Not doing so, he wrote, would be a “serious breach of historical precedent.”

Trump’s team hasn’t responded to the letter, Mason told The Huffington Post.

A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment.

Read more »


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Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election

Longtime Silicon Valley Rep. Mike Honda (left), Founder of the Congressional Ethiopian-American Caucus, loses seat to fellow Democrat Ro Khanna (right) in bitter rematch battle. (Photos: CQ/Mercury News)

Los Angeles Times

Fremont Democrat Ro Khanna has defeated eight-term Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) in their bitter, intra-party matchup in Silicon Valley.

Honda, a longtime progressive voice in the Bay Area, was believed to be one of California’s most vulnerable congressional incumbents after he received fewer votes than his challenger in June’s primary.

Khanna, who also challenged Honda in 2014, argued that Silicon Valley voters needed a change in leadership.

An ongoing ethics investigation into whether Honda had improperly used his official resources for political purposes, as well as the loss of key endorsements like President Obama’s, clouded Honda’s campaign.

The race quickly became California’s most expensive congressional campaigns and had grown increasingly nasty, with Honda filing a lawsuit in the final weeks of the race, alleging that Khanna’s campaign manager had illegally accessed proprietary campaign data.

A spokesman for Honda’s campaign declined to comment, saying the campaign would be releasing a later statement Wednesday.


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

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

The Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

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


Related:

In Colorado, GOP Congressman Mike Coffman Enjoys Ethiopian Support


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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

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

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

Below are photos shared with Tadias Magazine:


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


(Courtesy photo)


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


(Courtesy photo)


Related:

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado

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Hillary Concedes, Obama Promises Smooth Transition to Trump Admin (Video)

Hillary Clinton addressed her staff and supporters in New York after she conceded the presidential contest to Donald Trump on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 (Photo via VOA)

The New York Times

Highlights of Hillary Clinton’s Concession Speech and President Obama’s Remarks

Hillary Clinton publicly conceded the election to Donald J. Trump on Wednesday, acknowledging the pain of the defeat in remarks in New York while calling on her supporters to accept that he would be president and give him a chance to lead with an open mind.

President Obama, speaking in Washington, also said that he would work to ensure a smooth transition to a Trump administration and that, despite their differences, we are “all rooting for his success.”

Speaker Paul D. Ryan proclaimed that Mr. Trump had achieved a political feat and earned a mandate by reaching new voters. Mr. Ryan said that he was certain that they would work well together on a conservative policy agenda.

Global markets swooned overnight but stabilized by midday on the East Coast. News of Mr. Trump’s election was met with a mix of shock, uncertainty and some congratulations around the world.

Clinton calls her loss ‘painful,’ but urges unity.

Read more »

___
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Is Twitter Hurting Ethiopia?

(Photo: TIKSA NEGERI / REUTERS)

Foreign Affairs Magazine

November 7, 2016

Is Twitter Hurting Ethiopia? Rumor and Unrest in a Fragile Federation

On October 2, police and protesters clashed during a traditional Oromo festival held beside a lake in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, just over 20 miles southeast of Addis Ababa. The stampede that ensued left about 100 drowned or crushed to death. Social media soon pulsed with claims that a government helicopter circling overhead had fired into panicking crowds. A helicopter had indeed been there, but it was dropping leaflets wishing all a “Happy Irreecha”—the name of the festival. Still, social media, and the informal news cycle into which it feeds, whirled on.

The Irreecha incident is but one of many in a year of turmoil in Ethiopia. Protests that began last November, when Oromo farmers objected to government land grabs to expand the capital and clear space for potential foreign investors, have mushroomed into a movement against the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

The Ethiopian diaspora in the United States, which is estimated to number between 250,000 and one million, has been particularly vocal online. Following the Irreecha incident, U.S. overseas activists called for “five days of rage.” Although it is not clear what effect this call may have had, a few days later in Ethiopia, bands of mostly young men attacked foreign-owned factories, government buildings, and tourist lodges across the Oromo region.

In response to the upheaval, on October 9, the Ethiopian government declared a six-month state of emergency, restricting the use of mobile data, increasing Internet blackouts, and blocking social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. At an October 26 press conference Ethiopian government spokesperson Getachew Reda said, “Mobile data will be permitted once the government assesses that it won’t threaten the implementation of the state of emergency.”

Human Rights Watch has condemned the state of emergency for “draconian restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly that go far beyond what is permissible under international law.” Although there is no explicit ban on print media, the government has issued broad statements condemning writing or sharing material that “could create misunderstanding between people or unrest.” Already, the Addis Standard, a well-respected, privately-funded magazine, has announced that it will cease production of its print edition rather than subject itself to self-censorship.

But is the state of emergency truly a heavy-handed tactic by an out-of-touch authoritarian elite? Or is it a necessary step to counter dangerous vitriol coming from the likes of Ethiopian diaspora in the United States, determined to see regime change at any cost? The answer probably lies somewhere between the two.

Colleagues who live in Ethiopia and work in online media told me that activists have called for days of rage in the past, with no result. Overseas activists also have less influence on Ethiopia’s rural population, which often lacks Internet access. Local unrest could have more to do with well-founded anger over longstanding grievances. There are major concerns over whether the government understands the depth of grievances and the resolve of those who feel wronged, as well as whether it even possesses the capacity to enact the meaningful reforms needed for a long-term solutions.

“The oppressed stay silent, but eventually you reach a critical mass and then it boils over,” Yilikal Getenet, chairman of the opposition Blue Party, told me. “Hundreds have been killed but they keep protesting. They go to protests knowing the risks. So what does that tell you?”

Foreign observers, some local opposition, and ordinary Ethiopians who feel that the diaspora has gone too far, argue that the government’s crackdown is necessary to counter the dangerous vitriol coming from the Ethiopian diaspora in the United States that is bent on regime change at any cost. There is also the question of how much influence the diaspora has over those in Ethiopia who live in one of the most censored countries in the world and turn to the diaspora for news.

Lidetu Ayalew, founder of the opposition Ethiopia Democratic Party, explained what happens when they do. “The problem is a lot of things they’d view as gossip, if heard by mouth, when they read about them on social media, they take as fact.” One particularly prominent social media activist based in the United States, Jawar Mohammed, has 500,000 followers on Facebook who absorb the information and footage he posts on the protests, the veracity of which varies from plausible to impossible to substantiate. After the Irreecha incident, Mohammed was one of those who reposted claims about a government helicopter firing into the crowds. (Journalists at the scene reported soldiers shooting rubber bullets and possibly firing live ammunition into the air as a warning.) This is a pattern across much of the diaspora’s social media activity.

“They live in a secure democracy, send their children to good Western schools, and are at liberty to say whatever they want to cause mayhem in Ethiopia,” one foreign politico in Addis Ababa said of diaspora behavior in influencing protestors in Ethiopia. “They call it freedom of speech and they abuse it to their heart’s content.”

This could prove dangerous. In Rwanda, radio programs such as Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines spread much of the toxic hatred that fueled the country’s genocide. Social media appears to be just as effective in spreading untruths and even ethnic barbs in Ethiopia. Many of these have an anti-Tigrayan slant, due to the perception that the EPRDF is run by a Tigrayan elite. To make matters worse, the Tigrayan ethnic group only represents about six percent of Ethiopia’s population, yet it dominates the business and security sectors. That is why much of the protesters’ anger is directed against “minority rule.” One Ethiopian journalist of Tigrayan heritage and who worked for an international wire service was singled out on social media. His reporting was ridiculed and he was called a government lackey. In August, after unrest in the Amhara city of Gondar, there were reports of Tigrayans fleeing the city in fear of their lives.

Diaspora satellite television channels broadcast from the United States, such as Oromia Media Network and Ethiopian Satellite Television, do produce some decent original reporting, but they are clearly one-sided and virulently anti-EPRDF. Their cumulative effect should not be underestimated in a country as diverse as Ethiopia, where historical grudges exist between the main ethnic groups.

For some time now, the diaspora, which numbers two million globally, has maintained a strong cyber presence with the goal of influencing the political process at home. Although they do not have a unified policy platform, they routinely criticize corruption, lack of jobs, and poor administration. The diaspora’s current fixation is to influence protests on the ground, which many see as a pathway for bringing down the government. Many overseas Ethiopians fled their homes after suffering at the hands of Ethiopia’s authoritarian government and have enough reason to wish it ill. But the militancy of some online activists—such as perpetuating wild and bogus claims about government violence—is making it harder for legitimate claims to break through and gives the government an excuse to dismiss unrest as being driven by nefarious external forces.

A major barrier to building a legitimate resistance against the government is that the local opposition in Ethiopia is in shambles. To be sure, it certainly has suffered from government oppression. But the fact the opposition is almost entirely funded by the diaspora, which won’t countenance any cooperation with the EPRDF, also hinders its progress. This mentality has polarized opposition politics and allowed no room for negotiation or compromise.

The clearest example of how this dynamic plays out is Ethiopia’s crucial 2005 election. The opposition won a surprisingly significant number of seats. But following allegations of vote rigging by the EPRDF, the diaspora pressured some opposition members to refuse taking office. The boycott was catastrophic. Had members chosen to work with the EPRDF, the Ethiopian political landscape would likely be hugely different today with a far more influential political channel for angry Ethiopians to voice concerns. Instead, the opposition splintered into disparate groups.

Amidst the tragedy, rage, and intrigue, blocked communications and restricted travel, it is difficult for journalists, foreign diplomats, and the average Ethiopians to understand what is actually going on. Social media can provide and opening for sorting through the noise and confusion. But in Ethiopia, social media is a double-edged sword, capable of filling a need for more information and of pushing the country toward even greater calamity.

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U.S. Election 2016: Trump Triumphs

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump greets supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, November 9, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS)

The Associated Press

Trump claims astounding victory as America’s 45th president

Updated: November 9th, 2016

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump claimed his place Wednesday as America’s 45th president, an astonishing victory for the celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalized on voters’ economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House.

His triumph over Hillary Clinton, not declared until well after midnight, will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House and threatens to undo major achievements of President Barack Obama. Trump has pledged to act quickly to repeal Obama’s landmark health care law, revoke America’s nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada.

As he claimed victory, Trump urged Americans to “come together as one united people” after a deeply divisive campaign.


Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump react as they watch the election results during Trump’s election night rally, in New York, Nov. 8, 2016. (AP photo)

He said he had spoken by phone with Clinton and they had exchanged congratulations on a hard-fought race. Trump, who spent much of the campaign urging his supporters on as they chanted “lock her up,” said the nation owed her “a major debt of gratitude” for her years of public service.

The Republican blasted through Democrats’ longstanding firewall, carrying Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that hadn’t voted for a GOP presidential candidate since the 1980s. He needed to win nearly all of the competitive battleground states, and he did just that, claiming Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and others.

Global stock markets and U.S. stock futures plunged, reflecting investor concern over what a Trump presidency might mean for the economy and trade.

A New York real estate developer who lives in a sparking Manhattan high-rise, Trump forged a striking connection with white, working class Americans who feel left behind in a changing economy and diversifying country. He cast immigration, both from Latin America and the Middle East, as the root of the problems plaguing many Americans and taped into fears of terrorism emanating at home and abroad.

Trump will take office with Congress expected to be fully under Republican control. GOP Senate candidates fended off Democratic challengers in key states and appeared poised to keep the majority. Republicans also maintained their grip on the House.

Senate control means Trump will have great leeway in appointing Supreme Court justices, which could mean a shift to the right that would last for decades.

Trump upended years of political convention on his way to the White House, leveling harshly personal insults on his rivals, deeming Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers, and vowing to temporarily suspend Muslim immigration to the U.S. He never released his tax returns, breaking with decades of campaign tradition, and eschewed the kind of robust data and field efforts that helped Obama win two terms in the White House, relying instead on his large, free-wheeling rallies to energize supporters. His campaign was frequently in chaos, and he cycled through three campaign managers this year.

His final campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, touted the team’s accomplishments as the final results rolled in, writing on Twitter that “rally crowds matter” and “we expanded the map.”

Clinton spent months warning voters that Trump was unfit and unqualified to be president. But the former senator and secretary of state struggled to articulate a clear rationale for her own candidacy.

The mood at Clinton’s party grew bleak as the night wore out, with some supporters leaving, others crying and hugging each other. Top campaign aides stopped returning calls and texts, as Clinton and her family hunkered down in a luxury hotel watching the returns.

At 2 a.m., Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told the crowd to head home for the night. “We’re still counting votes and every vote should count,” he said. But she later conceded.

Trump will inherit an anxious nation, deeply divided by economic and educational opportunities, race and culture.

Exit polls underscored the fractures: Women nationwide supported Clinton by a double-digit margin, while men were significantly more likely to back Trump. More than half of white voters backed the Republican, while nearly 9 in 10 blacks and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for the Democrat.

Doug Ratliff, a 67-year-old businessman from Richlands, Virginia, said Trump’s election was one of the happiest days of his life.

“This county has had no hope,” said Ratliff, who owns strip malls in an area badly beaten by the collapse of the coal industry. “Things will change. I know he’s not going to be perfect. But he’s got a heart. And he gives people hope.”

Trump has pledged to usher in a series of sweeping changes to U.S. domestic and foreign policy: repealing Obama’s signature health care law, though he has been vague on what he could replace it with; building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and suspending immigration from countries with terrorism ties. He’s also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoken of building a better relationship with Moscow, worrying some in his own party who fear he’ll go easy on Putin’s provocations.

The Republican Party’s tortured relationship with its nominee was evident right up to the end. Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush declined to back Trump, instead selecting “none of the above” when they voted for president, according to spokesman Freddy Ford.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a reluctant Trump supporter, called the businessman earlier in the evening to congratulate him, according to a Ryan spokeswoman.

Democrats, as well as some Republicans, expected Trump’s unconventional candidacy would damage down-ballot races and even flip some reliably red states in the presidential race. But Trump held on to Republican territory, including in Georgia and Utah, where Clinton’s campaign confidently invested resources.

Clinton asked voters to keep the White House in her party’s hands for a third straight term. She cast herself as heir to President Obama’s legacy and pledged to make good on his unfinished agenda, including passing immigration legislation, tightening restrictions on guns and tweaking his health care law.

But she struggled throughout the race with persistent questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. Those troubles flared anew late in the race, when FBI Director James Comey announced a review of new emails from her tenure at the State Department. On Sunday, just two days before Election Day, Comey said there was nothing in the material to warrant criminal charges against Clinton.

___
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Clinton Hoping to Crack ‘Glass Ceiling’

Hillary Clinton. (Photo: MSNBC)

VOA News

November 06, 2016

Hillary Clinton Hoping to Crack the Ultimate ‘Glass Ceiling’ of Female President

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton came agonizingly close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination, garnering 18 million votes before losing to freshman Senator Barack Obama.

At her concession speech, Clinton cited her lifelong struggle to overcome barriers to women: “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it … and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.”

This time, Clinton has secured the nomination and is hoping to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling and become president of the United States. But just days before the election, Clinton had failed to hold on to the respectable lead she once had in the polls.

National numbers released by ABC/Washington Post a week before the election put Clinton’s lead nationally at just 1 point — down from a 12-point lead the previous week. Other polls also showed a similar loss of advantage, bringing into question whether she will be able to shatter the glass ceiling she has aimed at for so long.

If she wins [on Tuesday], she will go from first lady to U.S. senator from New York, to U.S. secretary of state, to “Madam President.”

Watch Clinton leads nationally by four points: poll (MSNBC)

Opinion polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. She is one of the most famous people in the world. Those who know her personally say she is warm and has a great sense of humor in private. Yet, she is guarded about revealing too much of her personality in public.

Some perceive Clinton as untrustworthy; she has been investigated numerous times, most recently for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state in the Obama administration’s first term.

Cracks in the glass ceiling

Born in a middle-class Chicago suburb in 1947, Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote of a happy childhood in her 2003 autobiography. The daughter of a staunch Republican father, she says she got into politics because of her Democratic mother.

Her own mother, Dorothy Rodham, however, had a very different childhood.


U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes the stage at a campaign rally at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, Nov. 2, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

As Clinton has recounted in campaign ads, “She was abandoned by her parents at the age of 8, sent from Chicago to [Los Angeles] to live with grandparents who did not want her. But people showed her kindness, gave her a chance. Like the teacher who saw my mother had no money for food and started bringing her extra from home, whispering, ‘You know, Dorothy, I just brought too much food today.’ ”

As a teenager, Clinton became a young Republican. She attended Wellesley College and grew more active in politics, delivering the women’s school’s commencement speech in 1969.

She went on to Yale Law School, where she completed her transformation from Republican to a progressive Democrat, and met her future husband, Bill Clinton, in the library. She and Bill Clinton married in 1975, and she followed him back to his home state of Arkansas, where he was elected governor in 1978.

‘Smarter’ than Bill

The Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, was born in Arkansas. And it was there that political journalist Ron Fournier first covered the Clintons. He had plenty of access to both of them in Little Rock and, later, at the White House.

Fournier said he thinks Hillary Clinton is even smarter and funnier than former President Bill Clinton. If he could pick one to have a drink with, it would be Hillary Clinton.

“Bill Clinton’s very good about relating a joke, telling a joke, but she’s really good about being funny in the moment. Self-deprecating humor, that laugh that drives a lot of people crazy, I actually find personally very engaging because it is very authentic, earthy. It’s very contagious in person,” Fournier said.


Vice President Joe Biden, right, swears in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a ceremonial swearing-in at the State Department in Washington, accompanied by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea. (AP Photo)

Bob Weiner, former White House spokesman in the Clinton administration, told VOA that Hillary Clinton is smarter at understanding a problem and coming up with a solution than either her husband or President Barack Obama.

Weiner also said Clinton is aware she lacks something they both have: “She knows that she doesn’t have the charisma, and she does not have the charisma, but she’s got the smarts and the governing power, which is enormous.”

Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, joking that he offered “two presidents for the price of one.” Bucking traditional expectations, Hillary Clinton remained active politically as first lady, fighting hard but failing to push through universal health care coverage.

Sex scandals

In the White House, persistent stories of Bill Clinton’s infidelities caught up with him, and lying about the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal got him impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was acquitted by the Senate.

The months after the scandal were a painful time, close Clinton associate Weiner told VOA, but the marriage survived. The couple “try to deal with their marital failures privately, but they’ve gotten through them,” Weiner said. “That’s – I’ve been there, and I’ve seen them, and they love each other.”


In this July 14, 2016 photo Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks at a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va. Clinton chose Kaine to be her running mate. (AP Photo)

But the public humiliation took a toll on Hillary Clinton, according to Fournier: “She’s changed because a lot of the stuff that’s come her way. She built up a lot of scar tissue because of the attacks that have come her way. Some of them are totally unfair.”

Watch: Hillary Clinton Hopes to Make More History as Female President

Fighting back

Hillary Clinton fought her way back, forging her own separate political career. New Yorkers elected her to the U.S. Senate in 2000, and she was re-elected in 2006. In 2008, Obama chose her as secretary of state.

She subsequently visited 112 countries, highlighting women’s rights and the power of diplomacy, dubbed “soft power.”

Both of the president and Michelle Obama are strong supporters of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. During her speech at the Democratic National Convention this past summer, first lady Michelle Obama praised Hillary Clinton’s record and character.

“And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughs,” Michelle Obama said. “But here’s the thing. What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.”

Hillary Clinton may need that toughness, as she finds herself, along with her running mate Senator Tim Kaine, in the political fight of her life, running against celebrity businessman Donald Trump. Like Clinton, he is a world famous, but polarizing figure.

Polls show the two are locked in a tight race. Hillary Clinton’s life story suggests she will fight as hard as she can all the way to Election Day on November 8.


Related:
In Photos: Hillary Clinton through the years

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In Pictures: Exhibition Spotlights Girl Runners in Bekoji, Ethiopia

A multimedia exhibition called "Bekoji" was presented by VSCO New York on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 4th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — In the highland town of Bekoji, Ethiopia — where some of the country’s best known long-distance athletes and Olympic medalists come from — running is also a matter of survival especially for young girls who face a high prevalence of school interruption due to expected labor to help their rural families make a livelihood. This was the subject of a multimedia experiential storytelling exhibition at VSCO’s New York space in Manhattan on Thursday evening that included a photo journal, movie screening and a panel discussion moderated by writer, runner, and coach Knox Robinson and featuring a Q&A session on Bekoji with Kayla Nolan, Executive Director of Girls Gotta Run Foundation, the only charity operating in Ethiopia that provides academic and athletic scholarships for young women in the country.

Below are photos from the event:

In addition to the studio installation, which was curated by Robinson, a film by Joel Wolpert and a photography essay by Kent Andreasen was shown in large scale format “to consider the life of young women using the inspiration of world class running to escape the cycle of poverty in rural Ethiopia. The work explores running as a source of personal creativity for the young women; as a flashpoint for designing and realizing a self-empowered future — and as an avenue for reaffirming their human rights and redefining gender roles in the process.”


Related:
In Sodo & Bekoji, New GGRF Athletic Scholarship Keeps Girls in School

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Ethiopia: Former NYC Marathon Champ Tesfaye Jifar Longs to Get His Family Out

DRIVEN Tesfaye Jifar, who set a course record when he won the New York City Marathon in 2001, now drives a livery cab in Boston, working 16 hours per day or more. (JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

New York Daily News

Friday, November 4, 2016,

The loneliness of the long-distance runner: A former NYC Marathon champion–turned cabbie struggles to get his family out of strife-ridden Ethiopia

When Tesfaye Jifar sits still, his mind drifts to dark places. So he prefers to remain in motion. It’s easier not to think about any of it: The elite athletic career that accelerated with uncommon speed, and then ended almost as quickly. The livery cab that he now drives throughout Boston, sometimes for 16 hours a day or more. The tense situation back home in Ethiopia, where the government — trying to stifle dissent in the city where Jifar’s wife and children still live — declared a state of emergency last month. And most of all, the loneliness.

Sitting in the driver’s seat of his 2007 Lincoln Town Car, Jifar sighs, adjusts his glasses and runs a hand through his close-cropped, salt-and-pepper hair. It’s only noon on this October Tuesday, but he has already been driving for more than eight hours. “When I go home,” he says of the bedroom in Cambridge, Mass., where he sleeps in his older brother’s house, “my family, they are not with me. I don’t like to worry, so I prefer to work. When I am here, I feel free. When I go home, I feel bad. For the country, for my family, missing them.” He stops for a moment and sighs again. “Everything.”

We stop at a light, and the car stalls. Jifar turns the key, and the engine coughs before finally revving again. For a moment, it seems like the beginning of another crisis, one he can barely afford, but we are soon back in motion.

I’d met Jifar four months earlier, in this very car, while on assignment in Boston. A few minutes into a ride to Logan Airport, he asked where I was from. “New York,” I told him.

“Do you know about the New York City Marathon?” he said, handing me his smartphone, which showed a photo of a man crossing the finish line with arms raised in the air. I looked at him, then at the picture, then back at him.

“Wait, you won the Marathon?” I rubbed my eyes and saw his face smiling back at me in the rearview mirror. Same lean body as the runner in the picture. Same meticulously trimmed moustache. Same right eye, glassy and half-closed.

“Yes,” he said, pulling up his Wikipedia page on his phone, quickly and without compromising his focus on the road, as if he has done this a thousand times. He passed it back to me.

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New Ethiopia Opposition ENM Formed in DC: What’s the Vision, Who Leads It?

(PRNewsFoto/Ethiopian National Movement)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A new Ethiopia opposition coalition is being announced at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Friday, November 4th. The new party, which calls itself The Ethiopian National Movement (ENM), was established last week following negotiations between four political groups including Sidama People’s Democratic Movement, Afar People’s Party, Oromo Democratic Front, and Ginbot 7.

In a media release ENM said it will hold a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Friday to introduce its leadership and explain its vision to Ethiopians and the international community.

Listed speakers include Lencho Leta, ODF President and Co-Chairman of the Council of Representatives (CR) of EMN; Dima Nogo, ODF Vice President & Chairman of the Executive Council (EC) and General Secretary of ENM’s Council of Representatives; Kontie Moussa, Chairman of the Afar People’s Party and Founding Member of ENM; Muluneh Eyoel, Member of the Leadership of Patriotic Ginbot 7 & Member of ENM,; Bekele Wayu, Chairman of the Sidama People’s National Democratic Movement & Founding Member of ENM; Haile-Gebriel Ayalew, Observer based on a special arrangement to have unofficial representation for the Amhara people’s voice in the formation of the National Ethiopian Movement; as well as award-winning activist and journalist Reeyot Alemu.

“ENM envisions a truly federal democratic system that respects human, political and civil rights of all Ethiopians,” the press release stated. “ENM firmly believes in the necessity of creating a peaceful transition to enable citizens to fully exercise their rights and create an all-inclusive government through a democratic process.” ENM added: The coalition is in negotiation with other opposition political groups in a bid to create a larger and broad based movement for democratic change.”


If You Go:
Friday, November 4, 2016
12:15 pm-2:30 pm
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20045
Venue: 13th Floor, First Amendment Lounge
www.press.org

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Investors Getting Nervous About Ethiopia

Employees of AfricaJuice, a Dutch-owned juice company in Ethiopia, toss fruit damaged by protesters two weeks earlier on Oct. 4. The attack was one of many following the deadly stampede in Bishoftu. (Getty)

The Washington Post

November 2nd, 2016

Investors Shy Away From Ethiopia in the Wake of Violent Protests

ALAGA DORE, Ethi­o­pia — The smell of rotting mango and passion fruit still hung in the air over the blackened shell of a juice factory near this village more than two weeks after the plant was looted and burned by an aggrieved mob.

As employees swept out the empty rooms, Abraham Negusay, AfricaJuice’s production manager, worked on his laptop in the former lab.

“We are evaluating the damage and destruction, cleaning up the factory and doing a cost analysis,” he said, noting that the Dutch company had yet to decide whether to keep its multimillion-dollar investment in Ethiopia.

The assailants, estimated by ­AfricaJuice farm managers to number in the thousands, descended on the factory in the Upper Awash Valley, about 90 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, on Oct. 4. Wielding axes, spears and some firearms, they overwhelmed the armed guards while workers fled into the nearby forest.

The attack was part of a week-long spasm of violence that followed a deadly stampede on Oct. 2 during Irreecha, a thanksgiving festival held annually by the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. That day in the town of Bishoftu, police fired tear gas into crowds chanting anti-government slogans, and in the ensuing panic, dozens died. The opposition put the death toll in the hundreds.


People pass a cargo truck that protesters destroyed in the town of Sebeta last month. The town was one of many where anti-government groups targeted foreign- or state-owned enterprises. (Photo by Zacharias Abubeker/GETTY IMAGES)

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:
Ethiopia Unrest Worries Foreign Investors (VOA News)

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Debo Band Returns to Lincoln Center

Debo Band will perform at Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium in NYC on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Lincoln Center

Led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye, the Debo Band serves up a bold reimagination of Ethiopian popular music that conjures up 1970s Addis Ababa with “fierce, jagged, complex, and galvanizing music” (New York Times).

This big band doesn’t just cover neglected tracks from around the world, they rearrange them and up the ante. The process can get wildly imaginative, finding flights of fantasy in underappreciated historical moments, be it Duke Ellington’s travels through Ethiopia or the musical impact of Haile Selassie sending Ethiopian soldiers to fight in the Korean War. Earthy dance floor beats merge with psychedelic effects, rock drive, and spot-on brass—injecting vintage tracks with new life and purpose.


If You Go:
Lincoln Center Presents Debo Band
Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 7:30 pm Free
61 W 62nd St (Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets)
New York, NY 10023
212.875.5350
Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis (FREE)
www.lincolncenter.org

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The Weeknd: Abel Tesfaye A Rising Starboy (Video)

Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, used to want to be invisible. Now, he's in the spotlight with a new, risk-taking album. A film by MediaStorm. (PHOTOGRAPHY BY TERRY RICHARDSON)

The Wall Street Journal

As a follow-up to the unstoppable Beauty Behind the Madness, the chart-topping R&B artist (aka Abel Tesfaye) takes a creative leap forward with this month’s Starboy.

ABEL TESFAYE can finally get a good night’s sleep. The biggest R&B star to emerge in recent years, Tesfaye (who is better known as the Weeknd) recently changed his signature hairstyle—multidirectional, thick, spiky dreadlocks, a look inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat. “It was actually very uncomfortable,” he says. “I could only sleep on one side of my face. Now the sleep is amazing, the shower is amazing because I don’t have to spend two hours cleaning it. I didn’t know how much I wanted it until I did it.”

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