Author Archive for Tadias

Ebola Deaths Reach 6,900 in West Africa, UN Says One Million Face Hunger

The United Nations and the World Food Programme said the Ebola disease and the resulting restrictions had "caused a significant shock to the food and agriculture sectors in the affected countries". (AP Photo)

The Washington Times

By Tom Howell Jr.

The number of Ebola-related deaths has reached an even 6,900 in the three most-affected countries in West Africa, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday, the same day the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a U.S. senator kicked off tours of the devastated region.

Nearly half of the fatal cases hit Liberia, with 3,290, although the nation is seeing progress while the viral disease continues to rage in Sierra Leone, which has incurred 2,085 Ebola-related deaths.

Mr. Ban started his tour in Accra, Ghana, where the U.N.’s Ebola mission is headquartered. From there, he is set to visit the three hardest-hit countries and Mali, which saw a flare-up of cases in recent weeks but brought transmission under control.

“I want to see the response for myself, and show my solidarity with those affected and urge even greater global action,” Mr. Ban said before he left New York, according to the U.N. daily Ebola mission report. “The Ebola response strategy is working, and we are beginning to see improvements. But now is not the time to ease up on our efforts. As long as there is one case of Ebola, the risk remains.”

Read more at washingtontimes.com »

Related:
Up to one million facing hunger in Ebola-hit countries: UN
Ethiopians arrive in West Africa to fight Ebola
Ethiopia Holds Farewell Gala for Volunteer Doctors Headed to Ebola-Hit Countries
Africa Sets Up $28.5m Ebola Crisis Fund
Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa
5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: WHO
Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Health Workers in Ebola-Hit West Africa
In first case, Doctor in New York City is Diagnosed With Ebola
Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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Mr. Obama’s Historic Move on Cuba (NYT)

President Raul Castro addressed Cuba on Wednesday. (Photo: Getty Images)

The New York Times | EDITORIAL

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Following months of secret negotiations with the Cuban government, President Obama on Wednesday announced sweeping changes to normalize relations with Cuba, a bold move that ends one of the most misguided chapters in American foreign policy.

The administration’s decision to restore full diplomatic relations, take steps to remove Cuba from the State Department list of countries that sponsor terrorism and roll back restrictions on travel and trade is a change in direction that has been strongly supported by this page. The Obama administration is ushering in a transformational era for millions of Cubans who have suffered as a result of more than 50 years of hostility between the two nations.

Mr. Obama could have taken modest, gradual steps toward a thaw. Instead, he has courageously gone as far as he can, within the constraints of an outmoded 1996 law that imposes stiff sanctions on Cuba in the pursuit of regime change.

“These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s time for a new approach.”

Read more »

Pope Francis’ Big Role in Thawing US-Cuba Relations


Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. (Photo credit: EPA)

MSNBC

By Joy Y. Wang

In a rare move, a personal plea from Pope Francis contributed to the thawing of more than five decades of tense U.S.-Cuban relations.

“In particular, I want to thank His Holiness Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than simply settling for the world as it is,” President Barack Obama said Wednesday.

The pope wrote letters to both Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro requesting that they “resolve humanitarian questions of common interest, including the situation of certain prisoners, in order to initiate a new phase in relations between the two Parties,” according to a statement released by the Vatican. Coincidentally, Francis celebrated his 78th birthday on Wednesday.

The news on Wednesday came with the release of American contractor Alan Gross, who had been held in Cuba for five years. “What a blessing it is to be a citizen of this country,” he said in a press conference in Washington, D.C. Gross had been working to provide internet connectivity to Cuba’s small Jewish population when he was jailed on on espionage charges in 2009.

Francis’ personal involvement in the easing of diplomatic relations, as well as the release of Gross, who was in declining health, highlights the human rights issues at play in the development. A little more than half of Cuba’s population is Catholic, according to the Pew Research Center. Along with others in the country, they have lived under a strict Communist government that has been subject to harsh embargoes for the past five decades. Pope John Paul II in 1998 became the first pontiff to visit Cuba, and he was followed by Pope Benedict in 2012. Francis, who is from Argentina, is the first Latin American pontiff, making his role in the U.S.-Cuba talks particularly notable.

Read more »



Related:
Obama Announces U.S. and Cuba Will Resume Relations (The New York Times)
Cuba Frees American Alan Gross, Held for Five Years (NBC News)
Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba (The Associated Press)
The Untold Story of Ethiopians in Cuba (TADIAS)

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Addis Ababa Metro Set for Completion in January (Reuters)

The Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) overseas the Addis Ababa Light Railway project (LRT) backed and to be operated by Chinese firms. (Photo: Addis Fortune)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

December 18th, 2014

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia expects to complete the Chinese-backed construction of a $475 million metro rail system in the capital Addis Ababa next month, the head of the project said.

The project, built by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and mostly financed through a loan from China’s Exim Bank, is a rarity on a continent plagued by poor transport links.

Beijing is a major partner in Ethiopia’s bid to expand its infrastructure, with cumulative investments by Chinese firms reaching well over $1 billion, official figures show.

The Horn of Africa country is building a new rail link to neighbouring Djibouti and wants to complete 5,000 km of railway lines by 2020. It will also aims to almost treble the size of the road network by next year, from less than 50,000 km in 2010.

Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, expanding by about 9 percent a year and attracting overseas investment with its with rock-bottom wages, cheap and stable electricity and transport projects such as the metro.

A country where many still rely on subsistence agriculture, Ethiopia is nonetheless developing a reputation for producing clothes, shoes and other basic goods that have attracted firms from China, as well as India and the Gulf.

The metro system will transform the lives of the more than 5 million people in the capital, where commuters currently wait in long queues before they are crammed onto buses and minivans.

Project manager Behailu Sintayehu told Reuters nearly 80 percent of the tracks had been laid and he expected it to be completed by the end of January 2015, three years after the plan was launched in January 2012.

“We believe that it will have a great impact in alleviating the problem of transportation in the city,” Behailu said.

Stretching for a combined 32 km, two lines dividing Addis Ababa north-south and east-west will serve 39 stations, in underground and overground sections.

The state-run Ethiopian Railways Corporation signed an agreement this month that will see Shenzhen Metro – the enterprise managing the Chinese city’s subway system – operate the lines for a period of 41 months alongside CREC.

CREC will carry out a trial phase of up to three months and then the teams will decide when to start operating the system, Ethiopian Railway Corporation’s spokesman Dereje Tefera said.

Other African capitals with either subway systems or light rail networks are Cairo, Algiers and Tunis. South Africa has an extensive system linking several cities.

(Editing by James Macharia and Alison Williams)

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Pictures: Chester Higgins’ Stunning Photos of Ethiopia & His New Project ‘Apparitions’

Retired New York Times photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. (left) took the above photos of the St. George church in Lalibela & the Sof Omar Cave in Bale region (bottom right), two of Ethiopia's iconic religious sites.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – From the spectacular images of Lalibela to the beautiful portraits of people in the Omo region, from the profile of the late Poet Laureate of Ethiopia Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin to Nelson Mandela, you may have seen some of the timeless photos captured by international photographer Chester Higgins, who retired this year from The New York Times after nearly four decades with the prominent U.S. newspaper.

Higgins is already busy with new photography projects — his latest is entitled Apparitions. “My new imagery comes from a decade of falling in love with dead plant leaves,” Higgins says. “I’ve experimented with different leaves and settled on the Elephant Leaf because it’s bigger and tends to dry down in a much more interesting way than others.” He adds: “Each year, I’ve planted the bulbs, tended them and when they die, harvest them and hang them inside the house to dry out for a few months before I start making photos. I make the photos in a most unique way, without the use of the camera but using the computer scanner. I cut the leaves, position them so and use a software to produce a more abstract look.”

“You see, like the people who believe in nature, I believe in the equality of the complexity of nature. To me, the dried plant leaves represent the remains of a once fuller spirit that possessed the plant. Like all living things, we cannot stay forever, but in our departure the spirit that occupied the vessel is the only thing that has the ability to transit time and space. So, when I make images of this leaf that makes my heart smile, I name them after some ancestor. Right now, I name them after ancient Egyptian mummies.”

You can view images from Apparitions at chesterhiggins.com. Below is a slideshow of photos by Higgins previously featured in Tadias Magazine:



Related:
A Dance of Rivers – By Chester Higgins (NYTimes.com)

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2014 Census: Ethiopia Again Ranks Among the Worst Jailers of Journalists in the World

Zone9 bloggers and Reeyot Alemu. (Photos: International Women's Media Foundation and Zone 9 Tumblr)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopia has once again earned the unflattering distinction of being one of the worst jailers of journalists in the world along with Eritrea, Iran, Egypt, Burma and China. The 2014 Census of Imprisoned Journalists released today by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) found that the number of journalists imprisoned in Ethiopia more than doubled since the previous year.

Overall CPJ said it identified 220 incarcerated journalists globally in 2014. “Worldwide, 132 journalists, or 60 percent, were jailed on anti-state charges such as subversion or terrorism,” the report said. “Online journalists accounted for more than half, or 119, of the imprisoned journalists. Eighty three worked in print, 15 in radio, and 14 in television.” The annual census shows “roughly one-third, or 67, of the journalists in jail around the world were freelancers, around the same proportion as in 2013.”

In Ethiopia, the survey points out that “a state crackdown on independent publications and bloggers this year more than doubled the number of journalists imprisoned to 17 from seven the previous year, and prompted several journalists to flee into exile.”

Next to China, with 44 journalists in prison, “the list of the top 10 worst jailers of journalists was rounded out by Eritrea, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Syria, Egypt, Burma, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. CPJ notes that the tally marks the second highest number of journalists in jail since the independent free-press advocacy organization began taking a yearly census of imprisoned journalists in the early 1990s.

You can read the full report at CPJ.org.

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U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba

Fidel Castro with Che Guevara in 1959, the year Mr. Castro took power after leading a communist revolution in Cuba and toppling the American-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. (Photo: Roberto Salas)

The New York Times

By PETER BAKER

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and the opening of an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century as he vowed to “cut loose the shackles of the past” and sweep aside one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

The surprise announcement came at the end of 18 months of secret negotiations that produced a prisoner swap brokered with the help of Pope Francis and concluded by a telephone call between Mr. Obama and President Raúl Castro. The historic deal broke an enduring stalemate between two countries divided by just 90 miles of water but oceans of mistrust and hostility dating from the days of Theodore Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill and the nuclear brinkmanship of the Cuban missile crisis.

“We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries,” Mr. Obama said in a nationally televised statement from the White House. The deal will “begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas” and move beyond a “rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.”

Read more at The New York Times »

Video: Obama Announces Historic Re-establishment of US-Cuba Relations (NBC News)


Related:
Mr. Obama’s Historic Move on Cuba (The New York Times Editorial)
Obama Announces U.S. and Cuba Will Resume Relations (The New York Times)
Cuba Frees American Alan Gross, Held for Five Years (NBC News)
Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba (The Associated Press)
The Untold Story of Ethiopians in Cuba (TADIAS)

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Ethiopia Holds Farewell Gala for Volunteer Doctors Headed to Ebola-Hit Countries

A farewell gala in Addis Ababa on December 15th, 2014 for the Ethiopian health care workers that are deployed in West Africa. (Photograph: Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – One hundred eighty-seven health professionals from Ethiopia will be arriving in Ebola-hit West African countries this week. According to Ethiopia’s Minister of Health Dr. Kesete Admasu, who made the announcement via Twitter on Monday, the Ethiopian volunteers will assist in the global efforts underway in the region. Dr. Kesete tweeted: “[Ethiopia] is now the largest volunteer contributor to the Ebola response in Africa.”

The health care workers will be deployed in the three most-affected nations — Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

Dr. Kesete stated: “The Ambassador of Liberia to Ethiopia on behalf of the 3 countries thanked the volunteers and the government of Ethiopia for the solidarity.”



Related:
Africa Sets Up $28.5m Ebola Crisis Fund
Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa
5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: WHO
Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Health Workers in Ebola-Hit West Africa
In first case, Doctor in New York City is Diagnosed With Ebola
Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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Interview With Award-Winning Poet From Ethiopia Liyou Libsekal

Liyou Libsekal is a recipient of the prestigious Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Hasabie Kidanu

Published: Monday, December 15th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Liyou Libsekal, a 24-year old Ethiopian-born poet is taking great strides in establishing herself as a prominent member of the new generation of African poets. There is no doubt writing is a natural outlet for Ms. Libsekal; her work is decked with traces of her “nomadic life so far and the growth and development that comes with it.” We enter Liyou’s world with Riding Chinese Machines: a dedication to the booming economic and physical transformations of her hometown Addis Ababa – a city swelling with construction, noise, asphalt roads, and congestion.

Riding Chinese Machines
There are beasts in this city
they creak and they crank
and groan from first dawn
when their African-tongued masters wake
to guide them lax and human-handed
through the late rush
when they‘re handled down and un-animated
still as we sleep, towering or bowing
always heavy
we pour cement through the cities
towns, through the wild
onwards, outwards
like fingers of eager hands
stretched across the earth
dug in

With a nostalgic tribute to what-once-was, she narrates her pilgrimage through dislocation, childhood, and tradition. Her techniques often vary – her poems are partly constructed in realms of fantasy and abstraction, and on the other hand, they open sensory valves with images so clear and realized we become full partakers of her stories. Her identity exists as an ongoing project, unconcluded, yet beautifully narrated, as a byproduct of things seen, overheard, spoken, and observed. Her work earned her the prestigious Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2014, an annual poetry award for the development and promotion of African poets.

TADIAS: First and foremost, congratulations on The Brunel University African Poetry Prize. Your poems have incredible sensory engagement, with such rich imagery that we partake in your world fully, and occasionally your work is abstractly delivered. Is that intentional? Are you always in negotiation between those two styles?

Liyou: I wouldn’t say it’s intentional, I’m still finding my voice so I tend to let things flow naturally. When I’m writing something I know how I want it to sound so I go off of that, I’m letting that be my guide, instead of any set intention.

TADIAS: You often write about “home” – its transformations, “poured in concrete” with “beasts” that “groan from first dawn when their African-tongued masters wake”– creating collage of a ever-forward moving city – do you ever get nostalgic about the Addis you and many of us grew up in?

Liyou: A lot of my childhood was spent outside of Ethiopia but Addis was always my family’s home base, so I do have a lot of memories of what the city was like before all this growth. To be honest, as happy as all those memories are, I don’t miss the old landscape because even though the city is somewhat chaotic right now, and everything is changing, it’s a moniker of progress. Living here, you see things change constantly and we’re moving so fast and people’s lives are improving and that’s more important than my memories of a less cluttered or chaotic city.

TADIAS: Any writing rituals?

Liyou: Not really, all I need is quiet and my laptop so I just need to isolate myself so I can write. If I’m having trouble writing I step away and clear my head, usually through meditation, just to find focus and clarity.

TADIAS: Are there things that are too personal to write about?

Liyou: I think everyone has things they many not want to address; I’m working on being as honest as I can with myself. I wouldn’t say there are things I wouldn’t write about because they’re too personal, just because I don’t have to show them to anyone but it’s a process. Being honest with ourselves and putting things on paper can be so powerful but it takes time and courage, it’s a work in progress.

TADIAS: Readers are one thing but family is a different audience – how has your reception been coming from a country where the Arts are somewhat underrepresented?

Liyou: I’ve had a lot of positive responses; it’s been great for the most part. I have talked to people who feel I should write in Amharic but considering my background, that’s not necessarily the best course of action for me; I couldn’t do that justice at the moment.

TADIAS: What/who do you think has had the most contribution to you becoming a great writer?

Liyou: I’ve always had really supportive people around me who value creativity and the arts. It has definitely been helpful to have encouraging people around me, people who are understanding about the fact that I might be off writing for a while and who give me room to do so.

TADIAS: In Hair (published below), a “black child in a white playground” where they “flock to touch a tamed head,” you tackle issues of identity and belonging – growing up, how were you able to negotiate your heritage in a world where you became a cultural ‘outcast’?

Liyou: It is difficult as a child to suddenly not know where you fit in your current world, it can cause a lot of different types of conflict, I touch on that a little bit in the poem. My parents were always very much involved in helping my sister and I understand our culture, we always traveled home when we could so we were never too far from where we came from; but at the same time, they understood our childhood was so different from theirs so they were also learning how to raise us in a new environment. I was very lucky to have parents that always gave me guidance but also let me make my own mistakes because it helped me figure myself out, where I stood and who I was in an otherwise undefined set of circumstances.

Hair
I left Africa carrying my skin
and my father’s thick ringlets
braids were for children,
tussled locks for grown women
eleven and unaware
a black child in a white playground
learns new words
girls flock to touch a tamed head
weaved by loving hands
and chemical cravings set in
It’s your crown says my mother
whose gorgeous mane gets wrapped tight
rolled ready for feverish waves
who convert to straight
what a word


About the Author:
Hasabie Kidanu covers arts and literature stories for Tadias Magazine. She is an artist and art historian living in New York City. Born in the United States, Hasabie was raised in Addis Ababa, where she attended Sandford International School. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina where she studied Art History and French. She currently resides in Brooklyn and works in an art studio and as a freelance writer.

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From NYC to DC Tens Of Thousands Demand an End to Police Violence (Video)

Some youth activists say they were excluded from speaking at ‘Justice for All’ demonstration in Washington, D.C. (Crowds gathered Saturday in downtown Washington, D.C./TWITTER)

The Root

BY: JAMAL WATSON

‘A Movement, Not Just a Moment’: Thousands March to Call for an End to Police Violence

Armed with posters and a camera, Delores and Shannon King made the three-hour trek from Portsmouth, Va., to the nation’s capital on Saturday to join thousands of people gathered for the “Justice for All” demonstration protesting the recent deaths of several unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers.

“We are here to support the cause,” said Delores King, who has an 18-year-old son. “This has to become a movement and not just a moment.”

The Kings and a sea of protesters marched east on Pennsylvania Avenue chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” After the march, the Rev. Al Sharpton called on Congress and the U.S. Justice Department to intervene on behalf of protecting black men from law enforcement.

“State grand juries have suspended the right of due process,” said Sharpton, founder and president of National Action Network, the civil rights organization he founded in 1991. “We need national intervention.”

Protesters came from across the globe to demand an end to police violence and a change in the justice system. Interracial and intergenerational crowds gathered on a brisk winter afternoon—soccer moms next to union members, who were sandwiched between activists and such celebrities as filmmaker Spike Lee and television judge Greg Mathis, all connected through the tragic deaths of unarmed black men.

Read more at theroot.com »

Video: Thousands March Across U.S. to Protest Police Killings (NBC News)


The New York Times

By BENJAMIN MUELLER and ASHLEY SOUTHALL

More than 25,000 people marched through Manhattan on Saturday, police officials said, in the largest protest in the city since a grand jury declined this month to indict an officer in the death of an unarmed black man on Staten Island.

Just before 2 p.m. they began spilling out of Washington Square Park, and after an hour and a half, the park still had not emptied. Walking north toward 34th Street, the protesters filled the cold air by chanting “I can’t breathe,” the last words of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man, who died from a chokehold after an officer dragged him to the ground on a hot day in July.

The protest, which at times stretched for over a mile, highlighted growing anger nationwide over recent police deaths, including that of Mr. Garner, 43, who officers accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.


More than 25,000 people marched through Manhattan in New York on Saturday, police officials said. Protesters held up 8 panels depicting Eric Garner’s eyes, created by an artist known as JR. (Getty Images)

Read more at NYT »

Related:
Tens Of Thousands March On NYPD Headquarters To Protest Police Killings
In DC, Congressional Staffers Walk Out Protesting Garner & Brown Decisions

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Ethiopia Habtemariam: Women In Music 2014

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, December 13th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Billboard magazine has named Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records and Head of Universal Music Group’s urban music division, as one of the 2014 top women in music. Ethiopia was among the leaders honored at the Billboard Women in Music luncheon held at Cipriani Wall Street on Friday, Dec. 12th in New York. The honorees included Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea, Jessie J and Ariana Grande.

Billboard states: “The luncheon was a celebration of the music industry’s most successful women, from pop stars to major record label executives, who all appear on Billboard’s annual Women in Music power list.”

“Habtemariam helms dual rosters of both established and next-gen stars,” the music publication adds. “UMPG’s streak on the Billboard Hot 100 has been led by Eminem’s “Monster,” Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” and Chris Brown’s “Loyal.” Alongside such Motown faves as Stevie Wonder and Ne-Yo, in 2014 the label has celebrated the No. 1 R&B Albums debut of Kem’s Promise to Love: Album IV.”

Sponsored by American Express, the event featured performances from Colbie Caillat, Betty Who and Jessie J, and introductions from Billboard’s chief executives, John Amato and Janice Min.”



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

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The Oscar Chances of Difret & Timbuktu

Hirut (Tizita Hagare) sits in a halfway house in "Difret." (Haile Addis Pictures / Cineart)

Variety

By Adam Dawtrey

‘Difret’ May Raise Profile of Ethiopia’s Filmmakers During Oscar Race

Only one film from sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) has ever won an Academy Award for foreign-language film. That is “Black and White in Color” back in 1976, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, a French production flying under the flag of the Ivory Coast. Before this year, this vast region of 900 million people had only ever submitted nine films, and Annaud remains the only nominee.

So could 2014 see a breakthrough for authentically African cinema at the Oscars? For the first time, there are two entries, and both are real contenders: “Timbuktu” by Abderrahmane Sissako from Mauritania, which premiered to glowing reviews at Cannes, and “Difret” by Ethiopia’s Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, which won audience awards at Sundance and Berlin.

Sissako, 53, is the more established name, one of a handful of African filmmakers to achieve international recognition. But Mehari, a 38-year-old USC grad making his feature debut, brings the kind of Hollywood experience and trans-Atlantic smarts that could just catch the eye of Oscar voters.

“Difret,” which boasts the endorsement of Angelina Jolie as exec producer, tells the true story of the 1996 trial of a 13-year-old girl for killing a man who abducted and raped her. The problem is that “abduction for marriage” was a tradition in large parts of Ethiopia. Most of the girl’s village didn’t think her rapist did anything wrong, and the government didn’t want to go against tribal tradition. A young woman lawyer from the country’s capital city, Addis Ababa, took up the girl’s cause, and sued the minister of Justice. The case led to the practice of bride abduction being outlawed in Ethiopia.

It’s easy to understand why Jolie, in her role as Special Envoy for the U.N., lent her support. She screened the film in June at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Mehari — known as “Z” — was born and raised in Ethiopia, but came to the U.S. when he was 19 for college. His father expected him to study medicine, law or engineering, but Mehari enrolled instead at the USC film school. His father didn’t talk to him for a year. “I explained to him that I want to tell stories about engineers, doctors, lawyers,” Mehari recalls. “I told him we need storytellers as well.”

For a decade, Mehari worked back and forth between the U.S. and Ethiopia, picking up production experience in America, which he applied to developing his career back home, and to training local crews. He cut his teeth on musicvideos, while Ethiopia’s film industry went from virtually nothing in the mid-1990s to producing around 100-120 films a year today. Most of these cost just a few thousand dollars and are aimed exclusively at the local market, but Mehari had bigger ambitions.

He pitched his script to Mehret Mandefro, an Ethiopian-American physician based in Washington, D.C., whose research on HIV in the South Bronx was the subject of the 2008 feature doc “All of Us.” That led her to set up her own production company, Truth Aid.

Read more »

Related:
Review Effective ‘Difret’ Looks at Abhorrent Practice in Ethiopia – The Los Angeles Times
Difret Los Angeles Premiere at Laemmle Music Hall Theater – Friday, December 12th
‘Difret’ Submitted for Oscar Consideration for Best Foreign Language Film

Video: Audience Reaction at 2014 New African Films Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland

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Sexual Violence Against Women in Ethiopia

A social media campaign was started in Ethiopia after 16-year-old Hanna Lalango died after being sexually attacked on the streets. (Photograph: Facebook)

The Guardian

By Rediet Wegayehu

Kidnapped, Raped and Left for Dead: Who Will Protect Ethiopia’s Girls?

One day in early October, Hanna Lalango, 16, did not return from school to her home in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, at the usual time. Her father Lalongo Hayesso was worried about his youngest daughter.

“We waited for her at her usual time … but we had to wait for 11 days to hear that she had been abandoned on the street. She was incapacitated and couldn’t even get up,” said Hayesso. His daughter had been abducted, gang-raped and left for dead. Hanna was not able to get to hospital until 12 days after her attack, where she was treated for traumatic gynaecological fistula and other injuries. She died on 1 November.

Sexual violence against women in Ethiopia is relatively common. Research from 2012 found that “rape is undoubtedly one of the rampant crimes in Ethiopia”, and linked its prevalence to male chauvinist culture, legal loopholes, the inefficiency of different agencies in the criminal justice system, and “a deep-seated culture of silence”. In October 2011, an Ethiopian Airlines flight attendant named Aberash Hailay lost her eyesight after her ex-husband, Fisseha, stabbed her in both eyes with a sharp knife. And there’s the story of Frehiwot Tadesse, a mother of two, who was shot several times by her ex-husband in a broad daylight in Addis. Since the first reported case involving Kamilat Mehdi and her ex-boyfriend, acid attacks against women have also shown a disturbing increase.

Read more at The Guardian »

Teen’s Death After Kidnapping and Gang Rape Causes Scrutiny of Ethiopia’s Anti-NGO Law


16-year-old student Hanna Lalango died last month after being abducted and gang-raped by five men in Addis Abeba. (Photo: Ethiopian TV)

Vice News

By Johnny Magdaleno

December 7, 2014

The brutal kidnapping and gang rape of a teenage student in Addis Ababa has spurred a movement against gender-based violence in Ethiopia and throughout the country’s diaspora communities.

Sixteen-year-old Hanna Lalango was abducted by a taxi driver and a group of passengers in Ethiopia’s capital on October 1 after she boarded the driver’s vehicle on her way home from school, according to local media reports, activists, and other sources who spoke with VICE News about the incident. A few days later, Lalango’s sisters received a call from the kidnappers, who offered to arrange a meeting to negotiate the release of their hostage.

When the sisters arrived at the meeting, they were asked to board the same taxi used for Hanna’s kidnapping in order to be taken to the house where she was held. The sisters refused, and the assailants drove off, shouting that Lalango would not be released. On October 11, Lalango called her father and directed him to the Kolfe Keraneo district in western Addis Ababa, where the kidnappers had abandoned her. She revealed that multiple men raped her repeatedly over a period of at least five days, and was reportedly able to identify three out of five suspects from her hospital bed. She received treatment at several hospitals in Addis Ababa, but died November 1 from wounds sustained during the attacks.

The incident galvanized activists on social media, and the hashtag #JusticeForHanna became a top trending topic on Twitter in Ethiopia. A “Justice for Hanna” page on Facebook has received more than 20,000 likes. Activists are now demanding that national press outlets in Ethiopia devote extensive coverage to Lalango’s case and the issues that surround it. The UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was observed Tuesday, November 25, has also helped raise awareness of Lalango’s case.

Read more at news.vice.com »

Related:
The Yellow Movement at A.A. University Update on Abduction of Hanna Lalango

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Ericsson to Take Part of Ethio Telecom Deal

Ericsson is a Swedish multinational provider of communications technology and services based in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Reuters

Dec 11, 2014

Addis Ababa — Swedish telecom group Ericsson is set to sign a contract with Ethiopia to expand telecom infrastructure, taking a slice of an $800 million contract from Chinese firm ZTE Corp because of a row over terms, a senior official told Reuters on Thursday.

ZTE Corp’s deal with state-run operator Ethio Telecom was signed in 2013. The other half of the overall a $1.6 billion package to help double mobile subscribers was shared with another Chinese firm, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

But Ethiopian and ZTE differed over the cost of upgrading an existing network. Ethiopian officials said the firms were expected to carry out the upgrade at no extra charge, while ZTE said it would cost an additional $150 million to $200 million.

Ethiopian officials had said Nokia and Ericsson could take some work if agreement was not reached.

Ethio Telecom Chief Executive Andualem Admassie told Reuters that discussions with Ericsson were nearing completion.

“Ericsson will start working on that share of expansion work,” he said, without giving a value for the deal. “We are only waiting for confirmation from the (Ethio Telecom) board.

Read more at Reuters.com »

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Artists for Charity (AFC) 8th Annual Holiday Art Auction at Impact Hub DC

Photo from AFC Holiday Benefit and Art Auction in NYC on Saturday, December 6th, 2014 (Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – At the inaugural Artists for Charity (AFC) holiday art auction in New York last Saturday, every featured art work on the wall — ranging from Ethiopian paintings to American landscape photography — was grabbed quickly by the crowd gathered at Impact Hub NYC in Manhattan. AFC’s Founder, Abezash Tamerat, told the attendees: “We will be back next year.”

For now, organizers are back in Washington gearing up to host their second event in a week: The 8th Annual Holiday Benefit and Art Auction at Impact Hub DC on Saturday, December 13th. “Every year the benefit uses the power of art to support vulnerable children in Ethiopia who are affected by HIV/AIDS,” AFC announced. “This year we are striving to raise enough funds to expand our Art Heals program…Join us for an amazing evening featuring a taste of Ethiopia and an exciting live auction. AFC will feature artwork from local and international artists.”

Proceeds go to support AFC projects in Ethiopia including the AFC Children´s Home and the community outreach program. Per AFC: “We are comprised of artists and volunteers from all over the world who donate our time, passion, sweat, creativity, and artwork for the sake of change. Some of us paint; some of us write; some of us are not even artists. But all of us believe that there is no such thing as a small act of compassion. Dedicated people, united and working together, can change the world. We are Artists for Charity.”

Sponsors of this year’s events include ALTOUR, a travel management company headquartered in NYC with an office in Addis Ababa, that donated $5K to help put together both the DC event as well as AFC’s first NYC event last weekend. Other sponsors are ArifZefen (Silver Sponsor), Talbot Auctions, Azla Vegan, Enat Restaurant, MMCY Tech (a BPO Outsourcing company with offices in Addis Ababa and Dubai) and YourDMV Team Real Estate (Yony Kifle).

If You Go:
8th Annual Holiday Benefit & Art Auction
Date: Saturday, December 13, 2014
Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Impact Hub DC
419 7th St. NW
Washington DC, 20004
Advanced tickets $45, Door tickets $50
www.artistsforcharity.org

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Review Effective ‘Difret’ Looks at Abhorrent Practice in Ethiopia – Los Angeles Times

Kidnapped by men from the local village, the frightened young teenage girl, Hirut (played by Tizita Hagare) ponders the possibility of escape in a scene from the film "Difret." (Haile Addis Pictures / Cineart)

The Los Angeles Times

By Kenneth Turan

The compelling “Difret” is a small film with a lot on its mind. Authentic and affecting, this drama about fighting against the Ethiopian tradition of abducting young girls into marriage is potent enough to be that country’s official Academy Award submission and gain the support of Angelina Jolie as an executive producer.

Director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, who also wrote the film’s Amharic-language script, is a graduate of USC’s film school, and the strength of “Difret” is in that particular combination of classic storytelling and cultural specificity.

Based on an actual incendiary legal case that was a sensation in Ethiopia a decade ago, “Difret” not only deals with an abhorrent practice that is still going on, it provides a dramatic yet nuanced window into a culture we almost never see.

For as Mehari said in an interview at the Sundance Film Festival, where the film won the World Cinema Audience Award for drama, “Difret” (the word means “to dare” but can also refer to rape) is a work without specific evil-doers. “If there is a villain in my film,” he said, “it’s not a person, it’s the tradition.”

This ability to encapsulate multiple viewpoints is critical for presenting the different strata of a country of multiple divides, not only between the traditions of rural life and the mores of the modern metropolis of Addis Ababa but also the differing attitudes toward women and justice that exist even among the country’s educated elite.

Read more at The Los Angeles Times »

Video: Audience Reaction at 2014 New African Films Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland


Related:
Difret Los Angeles Premiere at Laemmle Music Hall Theater – Friday, December 12th
‘Difret’ Submitted for Oscar Consideration for Best Foreign Language Film
Tadias Interview with Zeresenay Mehari & Mehret Mandefro
‘Difret’ Wins Panorama at Berlin Film Festival
Ethiopian film confronts marriage by abduction (BBC)
‘Difret’ Wins World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance Festival
Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete

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In DC, Congressional Staffers Walk Out Protesting Garner & Brown Decisions

U.S. Congressional staffers staged a Walk Out in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 11th, 2014 to protest the recent grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases. (Photo: Twitter)

NBC News

The protests over the lack of indictments in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases have expanded to Congress. Congressional staffers walked out of their jobs Thursday afternoon in a symbol of solidarity with protests taking place in the streets, on the basketball court and on football fields across the country.

The walk out was led by Senate chaplain Barry Black. Staffers stood on the steps of the Capitol holding their hands up.

“Democrats and Republicans across the country are incredibly frustrated by what happened in Ferguson, Staten Island, and elsewhere, and this protest reflects the mistrust they have in the integrity of the criminal justice system,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said in a statement. “These congressional staffers put in incredibly long hours, nights, and weekends working to pass legislation to help people live better lives, so I fully support them taking a few moments today to pray with the Senate chaplain for Congress to take action to ensure that all Americans are treated equally before the law.”

Cummings is one of several members of Congress who requested hearings on the issues raised by Garner’s and Brown’s deaths.

Read more at NBC News »

Watch: Congressional Staffers Protest Garner, Brown Cases on Capitol Steps


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Ethiopian Opposition Activists Bailed After Poll-Protest Arrests

File image of protest in Addis Ababa, June 2, 2013. (Getty Images)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison December 11, 2014

Ethiopian authorities released on bail about 80 activists, including the head of an opposition group, arrested while protesting for fair campaigning in 2015 elections, a Blue Party spokesman said.

Security forces made arrests on Dec. 5 when members of the Blue Party and eight other opposition groups took to the streets of the capital, Addis Ababa, to call for greater freedom to hold meetings and rallies, Yonatan Tesfaye Regassa, the party’s head of public relations, said by phone.

Organization leader Yilkal Getnet was among those freed, while four other opposition members are still detained, possibly because they refused to co-operate with investigators, according to Yonatan. Investigations into the activists continue, he said.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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The Shameful Side of International Adoption

A documentary by Dan Rather focuses on Ethiopian adoptions, and children who have been “re-homed,” moved to new adoptive families with little oversight and assistance. (Photo of Hanna Williams/KOMO)

Light of Days Stories Blog

By Maureen McCauley Evans

Dan Rather hosted an in-depth show on AXS TV called “Unwanted Children–The Shameful Side of International Adoption.” (Use the password danrather to view the show, which is available here).

It’s a tough and important 2 hours to watch and ingest. Much of the focus is on Ethiopian adoptions, and children who have been “re-homed,” moved to new adoptive families with little oversight, assistance, or regulation. Reuters did a series on re-homing about a hard ago; information is available here.

“Unwanted Children” sheds light on some terrible child welfare practices in adoption. The idea that children can be internationally adopted to the United States, and then moved to new adoptive homes with less oversight than occurs with dogs, is deplorable.

Kathryn Joyce wrote powerfully in Slate in November 2013 about some of these adoptees as well. Her detailed, insightful article “Hana’s Story: An Adoptee’s Tragic Fate and How It Could Happen Again” was part of the impetus for the Dan Rather show.

This show, on the heels of “E.J. Graff’s incisive report They Steal Babies, Don’t They?“, is an explicit call to action for change in Ethiopian adoptions. I have spoken out about this; many, many people are deeply concerned around the globe. I hope to see a response soon from organizations such as the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, the National Council for Adoption, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and Both Ends Burning to demand changes in oversight and regulations, as well as solid improvement in services provided to adoptive and first/birth families.

Read more »

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Miss World 2014 Underway in London: A Look at Miss Ethiopia Yirgalem Hadish

Yirgalem Hadish will represent Ethiopia at the 2014 Miss World contest on December 14th in London. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The current Miss World Ethiopia, Yirgalem Hadish, was recently asked by organizers of the international pageant what annoys her most about the world. “The presence of war and chaos,” she answered. The Ethiopian beauty queen who is expected in London this week to join the 2014 Miss World competition — already underway featuring contestants from 125 countries — won the Miss World Ethiopia title in August by a combination of points both by a panel of celebrity judges and online public voting. The 23-year-old who lives with her sister and two brothers in Addis Ababa says she “dreams of a career as an international model or a world class chef.” According to her public profile, she currently models in fashion shows and also works as a cook in a local restaurant.

Missworld.com asked another question: What item of makeup could you not live without? “I can live without makeup, because most of the time I don’t use make up,” Yirgalem responded.

And what is the best app she has used in the past year? “WhatsApp.”

Favorite foods? “Doro Wot, pizza and salad.”

In her spare time Yirgalem enjoys watching movies, playing traditional Ethiopian instruments, and visiting Ethiopia’s tourist attractions.

Below are photos of Miss World Ethiopia 2014 Yirgalem Hadish:



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Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam 42% Complete

Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam (African Globe)

African Globe

AFRICANGLOBE – Engineer Simegnew Bekele, Project Manager of the GERD, told reporters on Saturday that the project is progressing well in all its activities.

All the activities on the project “are progressing healthily in order to realize the project.

“We are mobilizing all the people, nations and nationalities of Ethiopia, including the Ethiopian Diaspora,” said Simegnew.

Ethiopia is now harnessing its potential for renewable energy to fight against poverty and improve the lives and livelihoods of its people, said Simegnew.

“This is a green energy; and this supports other renewable energy; and Ethiopia is the power hub; we have tremendous natural resources.

“So, we are now exploiting; we are now harnessing this potential to improve lives and livelihoods of individuals,” he noted.

“This is our primary agenda, number one agenda for our country; this is a project which is equipping us to fight poverty, our common enemy.

“The government has devised a strategy to improve the lives and livelihoods of individuals, the citizens.”And we have already started developing such kind of infrastructures that allow us to fight poverty,” he said.

He said, “On Nov. 28, 2014 we already booked world record with a daily average of 16,949 m3 roller compacted concrete.

Read more »



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Energy Gap: Africa’s Hydropower Future

In the face of rampant energy poverty, African governments are increasingly turning to renewable sources to spur development. And a cornerstone of this move towards renewables is hydropower. (m.scidev.net)

Sci Dev Net

From Côte d’Ivoire in the west to Ethiopia in the east, Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies. Debates often proclaim a new era of economic boom, innovation and social opportunity for the continent. But beyond the hype, millions of people remain affected by severe poverty, and at the root of this lies a perennial problem: energy poverty. Could hydropower hold the key to energy access in Africa?

Energy poverty is rife in Africa. Of the more than one billion people living in its 54 countries, over half lack access to electricity.

Rapid population growth looks set to further strain energy services, with some estimating that the continent’s population will surpass four billion by the end of the century.

Access to electricity is both limited and uneven. Economic powerhouses such as Egypt have almost total electricity coverage, but it remains scarce in countries such as Chad and Liberia, as well as South Sudan, where only 1.5 per cent of people have access to such energy. Similarly, step outside the continent’s cities and the picture is also bleak: the electrification rate for rural settlements is just 27.8 per cent.

Read more »

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Former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku Raises $1.3 Million for Dream School Initiative in Nazret

New Yorkers for Seeds fundraiser at the Schomburg Center in NYC, Monday, Dec., 8th, 2014. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – During the “New Yorkers for Seeds” fundraising gala at the Schomburg Center in Harlem yesterday evening former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku, Founder of Seeds of Africa Foundation, announced that their Dream School Initiative has raised 1.3 million to date to build a state-of-the-art education facility in her hometown of Nazret/Adama in Ethiopia.

The Dream School Initiative was launched last month with a fundraising event in Dallas where 14 local chefs did a tasting menu that was inspired by Ethiopian cuisine. The New York event included a live performance by Grammy-nominated Ethiopian American singer Wayna and music by Dj Sirak, Co-Founder of Africology Media. The event was hosted by Tigist Selam, and volunteers from the Ethiopian Student Association at Columbia University, Atti’s alma mater, assisted with a silent auction.

“The Dream School Initiative is a continuation of the work we’ve being doing so far,” Atti says. “The initiative is to expand our program to accommodate more students (from Pre-K through 12th grade) and also to increase our community development program.”

Since its inception the Seeds of Africa school has incorporated community development programs including providing literacy and health education courses as well as access to funding for local small businesses.

Below are photos from the “New Yorkers for Seeds” Event on Monday, December 8th, 2014



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Wayna at Brooklyn Academy of Music

Hailed by Stevie Wonder for her soaring, crystalline voice, Grammy-Nominated Singer Wayna Wondwossen is backed by her band, the Expats, adding subtle experimental rock to the mix. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Wayna will perform at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on Friday, December 12th. Wayna who has been hailed by Essence magazine as “one to watch” is currently promoting her latest Album The Expats, while introducing new songs bearing her signature fusion of diverse genres of world music.

“Wayna combines the African musical influences of her native Ethiopia with reggae rhythms and sultry R&B for a one-of-a-kind sound,” BAM organizers note. The Washington Post, which called The Expats “brilliant” adds that Wayna is “among the cadre of young world music artists forging new ground.”

“We’re pulling out all the stops for this one,” Wayna said via Facebook regarding her upcoming concert in Brooklyn. “Please join me for a special show featuring my NYC crew, the LRC Funk Band.”


If You Go:
Wayna Live at BAM – Brooklyn Academy of Music
Friday, December 12th @ 9:00 pm
321 Ashland Pl,
New York, New York
www.bam.org

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Could Kenya Learn From Ethiopia’s Anti-Terror Strategy?

FILE - Kenyan security forces and others gather at the scene of a bus attack about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the northeastern town of Mandera, near the Somali border, Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo)

VOA News

By Gabe Joselow

December 09, 2014

NAIROBI, KENYA — Kenya has a security problem.

Fighters from the militant group al-Shabab, driven from their strongholds across Somalia, have claimed responsibility for gruesome attacks targeting non-Muslims in northeastern Kenya: hijacking a bus full of passengers in one recent incident and attacking quarry workers as they slept in their tents in another.

Both attacks took place in Kenya’s Mandera County, near the border with Somalia.

“Most of the al-Shabab forces seem to be largely in control of the area bordering Mandera – this Gedo region – so we have a situation where we have large numbers of people there and we don’t have a border that is really properly secured,” said Billow Kerrow, a senator from the county.

Kerrow has noticed that Kenya’s neighbor to the north, Ethiopia, has had much more success preventing terrorism on its own soil – despite having a much longer border with Somalia and a longer history of military involvement in the country.

And he thinks Kenya should look to Ethiopia as a model.

“What I know is on most of its border they have created a buffer, almost 50 to 100 kilometers, and any activity by these groups in that region will be met by an incursion directly that will immediately eliminate the threat,” Kerrow said.

Smaller impact in Ethiopia

There have been some terrorist incidents in Ethiopia, but not nearly on the same scale as Kenya.

In 2013, a bomb exploded in the capital, Addis Ababa, allegedly killing two militant operatives.

The U.S. Embassy warned this October of another al-Shabab threat in the Ethiopian capital, though nothing apparently came of it.

Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa project director at the nonprofit International Crisis Group, attributes much of Ethiopia’s anti-terror success to its work developing a police force from local communities in the ethnically Somali east.

“Over the last few years, you’ve seen Ethiopia devolve a lot of security to a locally recruited police force called Liyu police, who are basically local Somalis who are police, but they are also counter-insurgency,” Barnes said.

System may not translate

But Ethiopia’s system is not necessarily translatable to Kenya, he said. For one thing, Ethiopia has been security-minded for years, he said, and has “radically devolved” power to local authorities – a process Kenya is just beginning to implement.

Barnes said imposing an Ethiopian-style security mechanism in Kenya could mean rolling back some of the political liberalization that has taken place, particularly in the Somali-dominated northeast.

“There are so many gains that have been made,” he said. “It would be a real pity to reverse some of those in the interest of a security threat which could be dealt with fairly easily by better intelligence, a more devolved police force especially.”

There are also serious rights concerns. Ethiopian security forces often round up al-Shabab suspects under a controversial 2009 anti-terrorism law that has also been used to prosecute journalists and political opponents.

Tough security tactics criticized

Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said such strong-arm security tactics come at a cost.

“There is absolutely no space in Ethiopia today for citizens to express themselves peacefully, whether in print or in protests,” Lefkow said. “And I think one of the concerns that we have is that this kind of iron grip is not a recipe for long-term stability.”

The Ethiopian government has repeatedly denied using anti-terror laws for anything other than the country’s security.

Kenya, too, is considering revamping its laws to give police more power to detain terror suspects. As with Ethiopia’s law, that’s likely to raise questions about whether the country is trading rights for security.

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70 Ethiopian Migrants Drown in Shipwreck

Seventy Ethiopian migrants have drowned after their boat sank near the entrance to the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said. (Reuters)

Reuters

SANAA – At least 70 Ethiopians drowned when a boat used by smugglers to transport illegal migrants to Yemen sank in the Red Sea in rough weather, security authorities in the western part of the country said on Sunday.

Human traffickers often use unseaworthy boats to smuggle African migrants to Yemen, seen as a gateway to wealthier parts of the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and Oman, and the West.

Security authorities in Taiz province said the small boat sank on Saturday due to high winds and rough seas off the country’s al-Makha port.

They said the boat was carrying 70 people, all of them Ethiopians.

Read more at Rreuters.com »

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Difret Los Angeles Premiere at Laemmle Music Hall Theater – Friday, December 12th

(Photos courtesy: Haile-Addis Pictures & Laemmle Music Hall 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, California)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 8th, 2013

Los Angeles (TADIAS) – The Los Angeles premiere of the award-winning film and Ethiopia’s official Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film, Difret, opens on Friday, December 12th at Laemmle Music Hall Theater in Beverly Hills. Organizers note that the film will play for one week only with 5:00pm shows everyday. The cast and crew will participate in a Q and A after the film throughout the opening weekend.

Three hours outside of Addis Ababa, a bright 14-year-old girl is on her way home from school when men on horses swoop in and kidnap her. The brave Hirut grabs a rifle and tries to escape, but ends up shooting her would-be husband. She is charged with murder and faces the death penalty. In her village, the practice of kidnapping child brides is common and one of Ethiopia?s oldest traditions. Meaza Ashenafi, an empowered and tenacious young lawyer, arrives from the city to represent Hirut and argue that she acted in self-defense. Meaza boldly embarks on a collision course between enforcing civil authority and abiding by customary law, risking the ongoing work of her women?s legal-aid practice to save Hirut’s life. In the Amharic language, “difret” means courage. Based on the true story about the legal precedent setting court case that outlawed the kidnapping of child brides in Ethiopia, the film explores this theme. Ethiopian writer/director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari portrays, with panoramic beauty the complexity of a country’s transformation toward equal rights, featuring the courageous generation that dares to own it.

If You Go:
Difret Los Angeles Premiere
Opens Friday, December 12th
Laemmle Music Hall Theater
9036 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Tickets go on sale Tues, Dec. 9, 2014.
www.laemmle.com

Video: Audience Reaction at 2014 New African Films Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland


Related:
‘Difret’ Submitted for Oscar Consideration for Best Foreign Language Film
Tadias Interview with Zeresenay Mehari & Mehret Mandefro
‘Difret’ Wins Panorama at Berlin Film Festival
Ethiopian film confronts marriage by abduction (BBC)
‘Difret’ Wins World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance Festival
Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete

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Update: New York Attorney General Seeks Powers to Investigate Police Killings

The New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is asking to be granted immediate powers to investigate and prosecute killings of unarmed civilians by police. (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

By JESSE McKINLEY and J. DAVID GOODMAN

ALBANY — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York asked Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday to immediately grant his office the power to investigate and prosecute killings of unarmed civilians by law enforcement officials.

Mr. Schneiderman also challenged state legislators to pass new laws to repair public confidence in the criminal justice system, which he said was badly damaged after grand juries in Missouri and on Staten Island declined to bring criminal charges against officers in fatal encounters with unarmed black men.

But he seemed unwilling to wait for new powers to investigate the police in the event that another killing occurred before new laws were passed. “When the trust between the police and the communities they serve and protect breaks down, everyone is at risk,” he said.

The grand jury’s decision not to indict in the case of Eric Garner, who died after a police chokehold during an arrest on Staten Island in July, has renewed and strengthened calls for special prosecutors to handle such cases.

While Mr. Schneiderman was joined by local and state political leaders during his announcement in Manhattan, the prospects for quick legislative or executive action seem murky at best.

Continue reading at The New York Times »

US Protests Escalate Over Police Killings


Protests in the U.S. escalated on Sunday over grand jury decisions declining to charge white police officers in the deaths of black males in New York and Missouri. (VOA News)

VOA News

By Michael Bowman

WASHINGTON — In the United States, protests have escalated over grand jury decisions declining to charge white police officers in the deaths of black males in New York and Missouri.

The demonstrations – the most widespread and persistent pertaining to race and justice seen in the country in decades – are forcing officials to respond and putting law enforcement under a powerful microscope.

In Berkeley, California, protests turned violent when rocks and bricks were thrown and windows smashed. Police responded with tear gas as unrest continued for hours.

More peaceful, but no less fervent demonstrations continued in New York, Washington, Chicago, and other major cities.

Talk bluntly of race

“We bluntly have to talk about the historic racial dynamics that underlie this,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We have to have an honest conversation in this country about a history of racism. An honest conversation about the problem that has caused parents to feel that their children may be in danger in their dynamic ((interactions)) with police, when in fact the police are there to protect them. We have to transcend that,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said the city’s police force, one of America’s largest, will be retrained to improve its dealings with minority communities and, it is hoped, avoid deadly confrontations like the one between officers and unarmed illegal cigarette vendor Eric Garner, who died earlier this year after being wrestled to the ground and forcibly restrained.

De Blasio has spoken publicly of difficult conversations with his biracial son, telling him to be extra cautious if approached by police.

“ ‘Do not move suddenly, do not reach for your cell phone’ – because we know, sadly, there is a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color,” he said.

Those comments have drawn the ire of police representatives, who accused the mayor of scape-goating, rather than defending, those who risk their lives to ensure public safety.

‘Confrontation leads to tragedy’

“You cannot resist arrest, because resisting arrest leads to confrontation. Confrontation leads to tragedy,” said New York Police union chief Patrick Lynch.

Grand jury decisions declining criminal prosecution of police officers have grabbed the world’s attention in recent weeks but have been the norm for decades, said James Jacobs, a criminal law professor at New York University.

“Police officers have a certain, I think, presumption of legitimacy in the community. It is recognized that they have a very hard job to do,” Jacobs said.

Last week, President Barack Obama said public confidence in U.S. law enforcement must be restored, along with faith that laws will be applied equally to all Americans.



Related:
NFL Players Protest Eric Garner Decision With ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Message (AP)
The 3 Worst Conservative Arguments in the Eric Garner Case (Opinion)
Protests Against Police Continue After Funeral of NY Man Shot by Officer
UN Experts Urge Review of US Police Practices (Video: Day 3 of NYC Protests)
New York to Retrain Police in Wake of Chokehold Death Case (VOA News)
Protesters flood New York City in second night of demonstrations (NY Daily News)
New Inquiry Needed on Eric Garner’s Death (NYT)

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U.S. Embassy Ethiopia Security Message

U.S. Embassy Compound - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo: B. L. Harbert International)

Press Release

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that political rallies or demonstrations may occur without significant notice throughout Ethiopia, particularly in the lead up to Ethiopian national elections in May 2015. Such rallies and demonstrations may be organized by any party or group and can occur in any open space throughout the country. In Addis Ababa, applications for permits to conduct rallies are often requested for Meskel Square or Bel Air Field. Please remember that even public rallies or demonstrations intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should, therefore, stay alert and avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the on-going threat of terrorist attacks in Ethiopia. U.S. citizens are reminded and encouraged to maintain heightened personal security awareness. Be especially vigilant in areas that are potential targets for attacks, particularly areas where U.S. and western citizens congregate, including restaurants, hotels, bars, places of worship, supermarkets, and shopping malls. Al-Shabaab may have plans for a potential attack targeting Westerners and the Ethiopian government, particularly in Jijiga and Dolo Odo in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, and Addis Ababa. Attacks may occur without warning.

Due to serious safety and security concerns, U.S. government personnel and their families are presently restricted from traveling to the following areas except as permitted on a case-by-case basis:

Read more »

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Teen’s Death Spotlights Ethiopia’s NGO Law

16-year-old student Hanna Lalango died last month after being abducted and gang-raped by five men in Addis Abeba. (Photo: Ethiopian TV)

Vice News

By Johnny Magdaleno

December 7, 2014

The brutal kidnapping and gang rape of a teenage student in Addis Ababa has spurred a movement against gender-based violence in Ethiopia and throughout the country’s diaspora communities.

Sixteen-year-old Hanna Lalango was abducted by a taxi driver and a group of passengers in Ethiopia’s capital on October 1 after she boarded the driver’s vehicle on her way home from school, according to local media reports, activists, and other sources who spoke with VICE News about the incident. A few days later, Lalango’s sisters received a call from the kidnappers, who offered to arrange a meeting to negotiate the release of their hostage.

When the sisters arrived at the meeting, they were asked to board the same taxi used for Hanna’s kidnapping in order to be taken to the house where she was held. The sisters refused, and the assailants drove off, shouting that Lalango would not be released. On October 11, Lalango called her father and directed him to the Kolfe Keraneo district in western Addis Ababa, where the kidnappers had abandoned her. She revealed that multiple men raped her repeatedly over a period of at least five days, and was reportedly able to identify three out of five suspects from her hospital bed. She received treatment at several hospitals in Addis Ababa, but died November 1 from wounds sustained during the attacks.

The incident galvanized activists on social media, and the hashtag #JusticeForHanna became a top trending topic on Twitter in Ethiopia. A “Justice for Hanna” page on Facebook has received more than 20,000 likes. Activists are now demanding that national press outlets in Ethiopia devote extensive coverage to Lalango’s case and the issues that surround it. The UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was observed Tuesday, November 25, has also helped raise awareness of Lalango’s case.

Read more at news.vice.com »

Related:
The Yellow Movement at A.A. University Update on Abduction of Hanna Lalango

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A Paradigm Shift: Entrepreneurship Taking Precedence Over Public Jobs In Ethiopia

(Photo: UNDP.org)

Venture Africa

December 7, 2014

In Ethiopia, a country of 90 million the main and almost the only source of employment was the government. Previously many young graduates dreamed of joining a government offices and becoming a public servant. But these days this attitude has been replaced by the idea of becoming an entrepreneur or self-employed.

Getahun Ekyawu is one of these new thinkers. He graduated six years ago from Hawassa University in Hawassa City, 268km south of Addis Ababa. He began thinking about starting his own business even when he was student at the university. After graduating, he started his first business, establishing a mushroom farm with an initial capital of $450.This business has blossomed into a $10,000 entity and employs over 15 people. Gethaun’s learnt about entrepreneurship from a course he took at the university. However, there are now a number of private training institutes for young or prospective entrepreneurs. These institutes offer short and long term courses ranging from three to nine months. The average cost of such trainings is between $45 and $110.

Dr. Werotaw Bezabeh owns a training centre. He established Genius Entrepreneurs Training Center 10 years ago with an initial capitalization of $2250. It currently generates more than $25,000 in revenue annually. “We have trained students for 413 rounds and our plan is to train one million entrepreneurs,” said Werotaw. Identifying business opportunities, how to prepare business plans and business ethics are some of the courses offered at Genius

Read more »



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US Protests Against Police Continue

Demonstrators storm Macy's on 34th Street in NYC protesting the N.Y. grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner in July on Dec. 5, 2014. (Getty Images)

VOA News

New York City saw a fourth night of protests Saturday over police violence against minorities, after the funeral for an unarmed black man who was killed by a police officer last month.

Akai Gurley, 28, was shot dead in a public housing stairwell November 20. Friends and family paid their last respects to him at a funeral in the New York borough of Brooklyn.

Rookie Police Officer Peter Laing shot Gurley in a stairwell of a Brooklyn apartment house project. Police said Gurley was not a crime suspect and was killed when the officer’s gun accidentally went off. But a New York newspaper reported that Laing waited before calling an ambulance immediately.

The Brooklyn district attorney said Friday that a grand jury would consider charges against Laing.

Demonstrators in New York ignored a cold December rain to protest Gurley’s death, as well as grand jury decisions not to indict white policemen responsible for the deaths of two other black men.

Protests were even more restrained than they were on Friday, when arrests fell to 20 from 200 on Thursday night.

“Seems to be the weather — it’s not really making it easy for them,” said a police officer in Times Square. He said he saw about 200 people march through the area, one of New York’s busiest shopping zones, during the afternoon.

A dozen protesters lay down again on the floor in New York’s Grand Central Terminal in one of the now-familiar “die-ins” featured in the recent wave of protests. Tourists and commuters stopped to watch the silent protest and snap pictures before going on their way.

“The fact that people are mobilizing is a great thing,” Amine Lazreg, 24, of Montreal said while sitting in a coffee shop in Times Square. “This type of protest is for social justice — I don’t know anyone who would go against that.”

Protesters and police alike showed restraint, and no major violence flared.

Other Cities

In Washington, demonstrators briefly blocked intersections as they moved across the city. Marchers also turned out in Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston and Seattle.

Demonstrations have occurred nightly since Wednesday, when a New York grand jury decided not to charge a white police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, in the chokehold death of unarmed black crime suspect Eric Garner.

In video of the incident, Garner, who was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes, can be heard gasping, “I can’t breathe,” as police hold him on the ground.

The public outcry over the Garner case came after many Americans expressed outrage when a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, last month declined to indict a white policeman, Darren Wilson, for the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

President Barack Obama has promised to address what he called the “simmering mistrust” between police and minorities, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department was conducting federal civil rights investigations into Brown’s and Garner’s deaths.

Holder spoke in Cleveland, Ohio, where a police officer who reportedly had a poor performance record gunned down a 12-year-old black boy in a public park last month as he was waving what turned out to be a toy pistol.

‘Legitimate concerns’

U.N. human rights experts called for a review of police procedures in the United States in the wake of the Garner and Brown cases.

The grand jury decisions in the two cases “leave many with legitimate concerns relating to a pattern of impunity when the victims of excessive use of force come from African-American or other minority communities,” Rita Izsak, the U.N. special rapporteur on minority issues, said in a statement Friday.

Mutuma Ruteere, the U.N. special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, urged action in the face of what he called evidence of discriminatory practices, including racial profiling, by police officers.

“Such practices must be eradicated,” he said.

International law allows the use of lethal force only where absolutely necessary to protect life, said Christof Heyns, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

“The laws of many of the states in the U.S. are much more permissive, creating an atmosphere where there are not enough constraints on the use of force,” Heyns said. “A comprehensive review of the system is needed — the enabling laws, the kinds of weapons the police use, the training they receive and the use of technology such as on-body cameras to ensure accountability.”



Related:
UN Experts Urge Review of US Police Practices (Video: Day 3 of NYC Protests)
New York to Retrain Police in Wake of Chokehold Death Case (VOA News)
Protesters flood New York City in second night of demonstrations (NY Daily News)
New Inquiry Needed on Eric Garner’s Death (NYT)

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Photo of the Week: Ethiopia From Space

Ethiopia as seen from the the International Space Station. (Photo: Samantha Cristoforetti via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, December 6th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The first Italian woman in space, Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency who currently resides in the International Space Station, tweeted the following image on Friday, December 5th while flying over the eastern Coast of Africa.

“I could watch the entire Eastern African coast unfold beneath me all the way to Ethiopia,” Cristoforetti shared with her fans.



Related:
In Pictures: The Dibaba Sisters at the 2014 World Athletics Gala in Monaco

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A Year in the World Without Mandela

A resident in Soweto, South Africa, in front of a mural of former President Nelson Mandela on Thursday, a day before the first anniversary of his death. (Photo: Credit Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

The New York Times

By ALAN COWELL

It was a death long foretold that drew mourners from his own nation and across the globe. But on Friday, one year after Nelson Mandela died, it almost seemed as if those he inspired were questing to rediscover his message of probity and reconciliation in a society with new troubles.

After a long illness, Mr. Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, died at age 95 on Dec. 5, 2013, and President Jacob G. Zuma declared, “Our nation has lost its greatest son.” Mr. Mandela remains the country’s moral touchstone.

The superlatives returned on Friday as South Africa planned a day of anniversary events that included prayers and speeches as well as a star-studded cricket match and the blaring of the monotone vuvuzela horns that distinguish the nation’s soccer crowds.

In the year since his death, South Africa has sometimes seemed to cling to his memory as an antidote to the apparently intractable challenges of a land whose leaders stand accused of corruption and failure to provide jobs and basic services for millions of impoverished people.

Read more at NYT »

Related:
Photographer Gediyon Kifle’s Tribute to Nelson Mandela

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Zone9 Defense: Limits of International Law

Zone9 members together in Addis Ababa, 2012. (Photo: Zone9 Tumblr)

World Policy Journal blog

The international human rights system is broken – or perhaps it never worked at all.

In case after case, citizens’ human rights are violated under the national laws of their respective countries, despite the existence of international human rights commitments in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration, and by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of American States, the African Commission, and others. The International Criminal Court has little say concerning any but the most egregious of international human rights violations, and member states have wide latitude to dispense justice as they see fit.

For those who live in countries that fail to provide or enforce their own laws protecting freedom of expression, international principles have rarely provided actual recourse. Today, this is the case with the independent Ethiopian blogger collective known as Zone9.

In April of this year, the government of Ethiopia arrested six members of Zone9 along with three affiliated journalists in Addis Ababa. They were held for months without a formal charge and were denied the ability to communicate. Testimony from Befeqadu Hailu, one of the accused bloggers who was smuggled out of prison in August, as well as statements in court, allege mistreatment and frequent beatings. Informally, the nine were held on accusations of “working with foreign organizations that claim to be human rights activists and…receiving finance to incite public violence through social media.”

In July, the Zone9 prisoners were charged under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009 for receiving support from political opposition organizations, defined formally by the government as terrorists, and receiving training from international activists in email encryption and data security from the Tactical Technology Collective, a group that helps journalists and activists protect themselves from digital surveillance.

The Zone9 bloggers joined other media outlets targeted under similar laws, including Eskinder Nega, who had reported on recent Arab uprisings and the possibility of similar uprisings taking place in Ethiopia. He was arrested and charged with the “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt” of terrorism and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

International appeals from human rights advocacy organizations have had little effect on the case. In May, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a statement explaining,

The fight against terrorism cannot serve as an excuse to intimidate and silence journalists, bloggers, human rights activists and members of civil society organizations. And working with foreign human rights organizations cannot be considered a crime.

Additionally, seven international human rights and press freedom organizations pressed the African Commission and the United Nations in an urgent appeal to intervene in the case against Zone9. The appeal focused on the lack of clear charges and failure to allow the defendants adequate legal representation

Nani Jansen, a lawyer for the Media Legal Defence Initiative and the lead signatory in the appeal, writes in an email that both the African Commission and the UN “operate under the cover of confidentiality in the early stages of these matters.” She continues:

When they follow up with a Government, this is done without informing the outside world. Only months and months (often over a year) later, these exchanges with a Government get published in the mechanism’s report to its supervisory body.

Thus any intervention joins the rest of those in the cone of silence that is Zone9—hidden from public scrutiny or participation.

Even if these bodies do follow up with the Ethiopian government, their recourse is limited. In an article on the urgent appeal, Jansen notes that the African Commission can condemn the arrests in a resolution, that both organizations’ rapporteurs can request official visits to Ethiopia to investigate, and that Ethiopia, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, would be obligated to honor such a request. But even should such requests be made, and investigations conducted, there is little chance of enforcement of hypothetical findings on the Ethiopian government.

Since the appeal, the Ethiopian government has proceeded with charges against the accused. The latest details on the trial can be found on the Trial Tracker Blog, a site run by people close to the defendants.

Public attempts to highlight the Ethiopian government’s transgressions against human rights such as the #Freezone9bloggers social media campaign have an indirect effect. They seek to shame the Ethiopian government to ensure better treatment for the prisoners. They also seek to pressure international organizations and Ethiopia’s allies such as the United States, for whom Ethiopia is a critical military and security partner. The hope is that those organizations will in turn apply political pressure on Ethiopia to free the Zone9 defendants.

The implementation of international commitments seems to rest primarily upon a negotiated process of politics, not a functioning and enforceable system of law. Considering the ease with which national law in Ethiopia is employed or ignored for political ends, it is a grim irony that only political pressure can hope to resolve the case in their favor.

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US, Ethiopia Partner to Empower Women

VOA File photo: Women and children holding their pink tickets queue for the evening meal at the Dollo Ado transit center in Ethiopia, October 26, 2011. (VOA P. Heinlein)

VOA News

By Pamela Dockins

STATE DEPARTMENT— The U.S. is awarding $15,000 grants to five U.S. universities that are partnering with Ethiopian schools on research and development projects.

The initiative by the State Department and the Department of Education is designed to strengthen the skills of faculty and administrators in both countries. One grant, awarded to the University of Maryland and Ethiopia’s Debre Birhan University, will be used to train Ethiopian women on how to grow crops, as part of an effort to address food insecurity.

Through classroom instruction and work on “demonstration farms,” the University of Maryland will provide training on how to grow food throughout the year, with the goal of improving food security.

University technical advisor Becky Ramsing says they hope to help women in Ethiopia who may have had limited access to training opportunities.

“If you give the woman the resources, those resources will go directly to the family. When women are given added income or are able to raise more food, that directly relates to the children and the education and nutrition of the child,” said Ramsing.

She says the goal is to train staff members at Debre Birhan University who will then teach women in useful techniques such as growing food in small spaces.

“Some of these women do not have access to land. How can we do container gardening and vertical gardening, livestocks like small poultry,” she asked.

Tsigemariam Bashe, a program facilitator and dean at Debre Birhan, says an overall goal is empowerment.

“Empowering women is empowering the whole population or empowering the society,” said Bashe.

Debre Birham facilitator Hailu Terefe says only men are traditionally taught farming in some parts of the country.

“There is cultural differences in Ethiopia. All of the regions do not have the same culture. There are regions that women are not allowed to go for the agricultural practices,” said Terefe.

Tsigemariam Bashe hopes the women who are trained will in turn assist other women.

“I hope that in the near future the women in the project will become the community educator,” said Bashe.

The other U.S. university grant recipients are Brown, Bowling Green State, Ball State and the University of North Texas Libraries.

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UN Experts Urge Review of US Police Practices (Video: Day 3 of NYC Protests)

Protesters gather in Manhattan as thousands take to the streets of New York demanding justice for the death of Eric Garner, Dec. 5, 2014. (Getty Images)

VOA News

December 05, 2014

United Nations human rights experts are calling for a review of policing in the United States, after two separate cases in which white police officers were not charged for killing unarmed black men.

The U.N. special rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsak, said in a statement Friday that the two grand jury decisions “leave many with legitimate concerns relating to a pattern of impunity when the victims of excessive use of force come from African-American or other minority communities.”

The cases have sparked nationwide protests.

Demonstrations against police violence continued Friday night in several cities, including New York, Chicago, and Washington.

In Chicago, protesters chanted “I can’t breathe,” a phrase that Eric Garner shouted when he was placed in a chokehold by a New York police officer as he was resisting arrest in July. Garner later died and a grand jury decided this week not to indict the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, for his death.

Myriad incidents

In the most widely-publicized incident causing public outrage, Darren Wilson, a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, shot and killed an 18-year-old named Michael Brown during a street confrontation in August.

Also Friday, prosecutors in New York City say they will consider charges against another officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in November in a public housing stairwell.

In the most widely-publicized incident, Darren Wilson, a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, shot and killed an 18-year-old named Michael Brown during a street confrontation in August.

A so-called “journey for justice,” inspired by Brown’s death and organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, reached its final destination Friday. The seven-day march went from Ferguson to the state capital, Jefferson City.

The NAACP said the march’s purpose was “to call for new leadership of the Ferguson police department” and “new reforms of police practice and culture” across the country.

New York

The latest case causing public outrage is that of Eric Garner, who died in July after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold. A grand jury decided Wednesday not to indict the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, for Garner’s death.

A cell phone video that went viral showed Pantaleo holding his arm around Garner’s neck and wrestling him to the ground following an argument.

Garner, suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes, was overweight and suffered from asthma. He repeatedly gasped “I can’t breathe!” and complained of past mistreatment by the police.

The medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide as a result of the chokehold. The New York City Police Department banned the practice in 1993.

Also in New York City, the district attorney in Brooklyn plans to convene a grand jury to consider charges against a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man in a public housing stairwell. The officer, Peter Liang, was new to the police force and on patrol when he killed Akai Gurley on November 20.

New York says it will retrain its 20,000 police officers in how to handle suspects. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday it is essential police treat people of all races equally.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department is conducting federal civil rights investigations into the deaths of both Brown and Garner.

Holder spoke in Cleveland, Ohio, where a police officer who reportedly had a poor performance record, gunned down a 12-year-old black boy in a public park as he was waving what turned out to be a toy pistol.



Related:
New York to Retrain Police in Wake of Chokehold Death Case (VOA News)
Protesters flood New York City in second night of demonstrations (NY Daily News)
New Inquiry Needed on Eric Garner’s Death (NYT)

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Founder of Whiz Kids, Bruktawit Tigabu, Awarded 2014 Tremplin Prize

Bruktawit Tigabu, founder of Ethiopia's Whiz Kids Workshop, has been selected as one of two individuals awarded the 2014 Tremplin Prize, in partnership with UNESCO, in recognition of “social entrepreneurship.”

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, December 4th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Bruktawit Tigabu, co-founder and CEO of Ethiopia’s Whiz Kids Workshop, has been awarded the 2014 Tremplin Prize, which recognizes innovative social business projects. The award given in partnership with UNESCO includes a $10,000 subsidy along with a year of international consulting and media coverage.

Bruktawit launched Whiz Kids Workshop in 2006 and developed Ethiopia’s first educational TV show for preschool kids entitled Tsehai Loves Learning that is watched by approximately 5 million children and broadcast in schools, refugee centers, and clinics. The educational TV show has earned several other international accolades including the Japan Prize International Contest for Education Media, Next Generation Prize at Prix Jeunesse International (2008) and Microsoft Education Award (2011). Bruktawit was named a Rolex Young Laureate in 2010.

The award ceremony will take place at the UNECA building in Addis Ababa on December 5th.


Bruktawit Tigabu. (Photo: ©Rolex Awards/Ambroise Tézenas)


(Photo: ©Rolex Awards/Ambroise Tézenas)

Cover Image: Courtesy of Whiz Kids Workshop P.L.C

Related:
Tadias Interview With Bruktawit Tigabu: Her Amharic Classroom Library Project

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Ethiopia Starts Marketing Debut Eurobond

(Image credit: Citi FM Online)

Bloomberg News

By Robert Brand, Paul Wallace and Lyubov Pronina

Ethiopia raised $1 billion in a debut international bond issue today, taking advantage of record demand for high-yielding African debt to fund electricity, railway and sugar-industry projects.

The 10-year bonds priced to yield 6.625 percent, at the lower end of the 6.625 to 6.75 percent price guidance, according to a person familiar with the matter, who isn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. Kenya’s $2 billion of bonds due June 2024 yielded 5.89 percent at 5:21 p.m. in London.

Africa’s fastest-growing economy and biggest coffee producer is joining issuers, including Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Ivory Coast, who sold what Standard Bank Group Ltd. says is a record $15 billion of Eurobonds this year. Government and corporate issuers are seeking to benefit from investor appetite for higher returns before the Federal Reserve raises interest rates as soon as next year.

Ethiopia’s bond yield is “decent value for the deal given the limited knowledge and different nature of the Ethiopian economy and the challenges it faces compared to peers in the region,” Kevin Daly, a senior portfolio manager at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, said by e-mail.

The country made a strong case for infrastructure development and financing needs at investor meetings, “which suggests they will be looking to come back to the market in near term,” Daly said.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

Related:
Market Watch: Ethiopia to complete debut dollar bond sale (The Wall Street Journal)

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In Pictures: The Dibaba Sisters at the 2014 World Athletics Gala in Monaco

Genzebe Dibaba (right) with her younger sister Anna Dibaba, 18, in Monaco, November 21st, 2014. (IAAF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – At the 2014 World Athletics Gala in Monaco two weeks ago Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba was a finalist for the women’s Athlete of the Year award, and she was accompanied by her younger sister Anna Dibaba, 18, who told journalists “Tirunesh is my hero, but Genzebe is my best friend.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) notes the 23-year-old “Genzebe is the latest member of the Dibaba family dynasty to reach the pinnacle of world athletics, following her older sisters Ejegayehu and Tirunesh, while the next in line could be Anna, her 18-year-old younger sister who has just started training.”

“In Monaco, however, Anna’s role [was] to be Genzebe’s supportive companion and impromptu interpreter, a task she performed for a handful of the world’s track and field media with shy competence and considerable charm.”

Below are photos courtesy of IAAF World Athletics Club Facebook:



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Ethio Express Grill Takes the Wait out of Ethiopian Cuisine (The Washington Post)

Ethio Express: Is it the first to push Ethiopian cuisine into the fast-casual market? (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

By Tim Carman

The fast-casual market has already swallowed up Mexican burritos, American hamburgers, seasonal salads, Italian pizzas, Vietnamese sandwiches, and it’s still hungry for more. Enter Ethiopian natives Yisak Fiseha and Selam Gebreyes, who have fresh meat to feed the beast: their breezy new take on Ethiopian cuisine.

The husband-and-wife team opened Ethio Express Grill on Nov. 18 at 952 Sligo Ave. in Silver Spring, just a door or two down from Jackie’s. The couple left the software industry to try their hand in the hospitality business, hoping to find a niche in the rapidly growing fast-casual market.

“We were looking at the Ethiopian food business,” Fiseha explained over the phone. “We thought it can be presented in a better way than it is being presented now.”

Fiseha laid out his multi-point plan to make Ethiopian cuisine “more mainstream” and “more accessible”: Ethio Express, he says, is conceived to prepare meals fresher, cheaper, faster and healthier than the standard peddler of Ethiopian platters.

The “fresher” part boils down to a decision the owners made to focus on, as the best fast-casual concepts do, only one or two dishes. In Ethio Express’s case, it deals in grilled tibs. You can select your protein (beef, chicken, lamb or tofu), your base (injera, pita, spaghetti, brown rice or mixed greens) and your sauce (Ethio hot, Ethio mild, yogurt honey, among others).

Read more »

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White House Urges Congress to Approve $6.2 Billion Emergency Ebola Funding

President Barack Obama speaks at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland about the fight against Ebola on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014. (Photograph: The Associated Press)

VOA News

By Aru Pande

WHITE HOUSE— President Barack Obama is urging U.S. lawmakers, before they leave for the holiday recess in a few weeks, to pass $6.2 billion in emergency funding to fight the Ebola virus and prepare U.S. hospitals to handle future cases.

Speaking Tuesday at the National Institutes of Health near Washington, Obama said money to battle the disease is running out and that Congress could give a Christmas present to the American people and the world by passing a spending bill.

The president toured NIH laboratories and congratulated researchers on completion of phase 1 clinical trials of a potential vaccine to treat Ebola, which clears the way for it to go to clinical trials in West Africa. He called it “exciting news” that a potential vaccine produced no serious side effects during first-phase testing, noting that no other potential Ebola drug had progressed this far to date.

However, Obama stressed that there was no guarantee the vaccine would work and that the fight was not close to being over, even if media attention had shifted to other issues. He noted the outbreak has gotten worse in countries like Sierra Leone, where infections and the death toll have risen in recent weeks.

“Every hotspot is an ember that, if not contained, can become a new fire. So we cannot let down our guard even for a minute,” he said.

“If we are going to actually solve it for ourselves, we have to solve it in West Africa as well,” he added.

Contingency funds

Most of Obama’s request is aimed at the immediate response to the disease at home and abroad. But the package also includes $1.5 billion in contingency funds — money that could become a target if lawmakers decided to trim the bill.

“That is the part of the package that is most at risk,” said Sam Worthington, president of InterAction, an alliance of U.S. nongovernmental aid groups.

While lawmakers recognize that the United States has to take action to arrest the deadly disease, some are wary of giving the administration leeway in investing money in public health systems in West Africa.

“I think there is less understanding of the need to stay in it for the long run and to build the capacity of countries to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future,” Worthington said.

In its overseas response, the United States has scaled up deployment of American personnel in West Africa — with 200 civilians and 3,000 service members on the ground.

At the NIH, Obama said efforts to battle Ebola at its source are showing results, particularly in Liberia, where the U.S. has built three of 10 planned Ebola treatment units, and the number of beds for Ebola patients is expected to reach 2,000 by early next year.

“We’ve ramped up the capacity to train hundreds of new health workers per week,” Obama said. “We have improved burial practices across Liberia. And as a consequence, we have seen some encouraging news — a decline in infection rates in Liberia.”

Ebola has killed about 6,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, along with a handful of people in other countries.

The Obama administration came under fire in September after a series of protocol missteps involving an Ebola patient who traveled to Dallas from Liberia and later died. Two nurses contracted the disease while caring for the man.

The president also touted progress in the U.S. fight against the disease, saying the number of American hospitals prepared to deal with Ebola has increased from just three facilities to 35 nationwide in the last two months, and the number of laboratories testing for Ebola has increased from 13 to 42 since August.

Screening and treatment procedures have since been tightened, and there are no current U.S. cases.

“My hope is that we’re not getting Ebola fatigue setting in,” said Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, a Christian missionary group that helps treat Ebola patients in Liberia. “There continues to be a huge need for this funding.”

Some information for this report came from Reuters.



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Africa Sets Up $28.5m Ebola Crisis Fund
Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa
5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: WHO
Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Health Workers in Ebola-Hit West Africa
In first case, Doctor in New York City is Diagnosed With Ebola
Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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New Inquiry Needed on Eric Garner’s Death

Protesters swarm Times Square in New York demanding justice for Eric Garner on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 following news that a grand jury declined to bring charges in the case. (Photo via Twitter)

The New York Times

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

DECEMBER 3, 2014

The Staten Island grand jury must have seen the same video everyone else did: the one showing a group of New York City police officers swarming and killing an unarmed black man, Eric Garner.

Yet they have declined to bring charges against the plainclothes officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who is seen on the video girdling Mr. Garner’s neck in a chokehold, which the department bans, throwing him to the ground and pushing his head into the pavement.

The imbalance between Mr. Garner’s fate, on a Staten Island sidewalk in July, and his supposed infraction, selling loose cigarettes, is grotesque and outrageous. Though Mr. Garner’s death was officially ruled a homicide, it is not possible to pierce the secrecy of the grand jury, and thus to know why the jurors did not believe that criminal charges were appropriate.

What is clear is this was vicious policing and an innocent man is dead…Any police department that tolerates such conduct, and whose officers are unable or unwilling to defuse such confrontations without killing people, needs to be reformed…

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton responded quickly to Wednesday’s development, as they did in July, when anguish and anger flared. Mr. de Blasio went immediately to Staten Island to meet with elected officials, clergy members and other community leaders, and he issued a statement urging that New Yorkers outraged by the grand jury’s failure express themselves in peaceful ways. Protests in New York City on Wednesday unavoidably echoed those in Ferguson, Mo., where an officer escaped indictment for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Protesters in both places have every right to deplore both outcomes, as well as the appalling frequency of fatal encounters between black men and the police.

New Yorkers, at least, have a mayor and Police Department that have not fully squandered their credibility with the public.

Read more at NYT »

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Interview with Tour Guide Yohannes Zeleke

Yohannes Zeleke, PH.D., has been a tour guide since he was 13 years old. (Photo: PrivateFly.com)

PrivateFly

Whether flying for business or leisure, global travel offers the opportunity to bring history to life. Frequently, the magic of travel comes from chance conversations with locals who have unique insights that can’t be duplicated online or in travel guide books. The tour guide industry was born out of the travelers’ desire to tap into local knowledge about history, culture and architecture of their surroundings.

Dr. Yohannes Zeleke has been acting as a tour guide since he was 13 years old, helping tourists see inside beloved cities in Ethiopia, Russia, Greece, Africa, and now Washington DC. Currently a research associate at the Natural History museum and President for the African Travel Association at the DC Chapter, Dr. Yohannes continues to do tours of DC and Africa (specifically Ethiopia), through his own tour company The Washington DC Legend Tours.

We sat down with Dr. Yohannes to discuss his love of history, archaeology, and showcasing cities to travelers from around the world.

Q: How did you begin your journey as a tour guide?

A: Since I was 13 years old, I participated in archaeological excavations seasonally as a tour guide to historic sites of Gondar in Ethiopia, my hometown. Once I was 16, my English and French were good enough to lead me to different companies throughout high school, like United Tour Company, Wonderland Ethiopia Tour Company, and Host Ethiopia Tour Company, where I became a tour guide.

Later, I was hired by the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and tourism, so I never really stopped touring. Even while I studied in St. Petersburg, I also worked as a tour guide part-time!

Q: How many places in the world have you been a tour guide?

A: When I came to Washington DC from University of California, after my post-doc in 2000, I became passionate about the history and culture of Washington DC and how American history played a part in the overall world history. This passion led me to start my own tour company, The Washington DC Legend Tours, where I am able to showcase how Washington DC’s history fits in within the various world histories.

A: I’ve done tour groups in Gondar, Addis Ababa, Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow) Greece, Turkey, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and now Washington DC

Q: How does Washington DC differ from other cities you’ve been a tour guide for?

A: Washington DC is the greenest city in the world, which is why it’s often called a city inside a park. The quality of the landmarks, clean walking streets, the zoo, the Congress, and the importance of what happens in the city in relation to the rest of the world makes it completely unique. It is a city that encompasses what America is.

Additionally, Washington DC is a destination for all kinds of tourists from all over the world. Therefore, we have to make sure we can handle a diverse group and ensure that each customer gets adequate knowledge from our tour. This means each tour guide must have an excellent knowledge, not only of Washington DC, but of world history, so we can make the tour relate back to each individual.

Read more »

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Tracy Bonham to Perform at AFC NY Event

Grammy-nominated Tracy Bonham (Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, 1997), takes the stage at Artists for Charity (AFC) Benefit and Art Auction in New York on Saturday, December 6th, 2014. (AFC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Grammy-nominated singer Tracy Bonham will perform live at Artists For Charity’s (AFC) benefit event at Impact Hub NYC in Manhattan on Saturday, December 6th. All proceeds from the event supports AFC’s group home in Addis Ababa that houses children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The annual gathering, which has taken place in Washington DC for the past eight years, is being held in NYC for the first time.

“Not only will you see amazing art, support orphaned children living with HIV, and have a great time, but we will also have a special live performance by grammy-nominated musician Tracy Bonham,” organizers announced. Tracy Bonham is a classically trained violinist and pianist who received Grammy nominations for Best Alternative Album as well as Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.


If You Go:
AFC NYC Holiday Benefit & Art Auction
Date: Saturday, December 6, 2014
Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Place: Impact Hub NYC
394 Broadway
New York, NY 10013
Advance Tikets: www.artistsforcharity.org/nyc-event
More info at www.artistsforcharity.org

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Ethiopia Issues Unfamiliar Investor Warning Over War and Famine (The Financial Times)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo credit: Africa.com)

The Financial Times

By Javier Blas, Africa Editor

Every country tapping the global sovereign bond market details the dangers investors face in its prospectus, often in a boilerplate section enumerating possible problems – such as fiscal deficits or taxation issues – that is largely ignored.

But the document sent by Ethiopia to international investors ahead of its foray into the global sovereign bond market is somewhat different. Far from a boilerplate, it includes a list of unfamiliar hazards, such as famine, political tension and war.

In the 108-page prospectus, issued ahead of its expected $1bn bond, Ethiopia tells investors they need to consider the potential resumption of the Eritrea-Ethiopia war, which ended in 2000, although it “does not anticipate future conflict”.

There is also the risk of famine, the “high level of poverty” and strained public finances, as well as the possible, if unlikely, blocking of the country’s only access to the sea through neighbouring Djibouti should relations between the two countries sour.

Read more at ft.com »

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Saudi Billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi to Invest $100 Million in Ethiopian Rice Farm

Employees of Saudi Star rice farm work in a paddy in Gambella. (Photo: Jenny Vaughan/Getty Images)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc, an Ethiopian company owned by billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi, said it plans to invest $100 million in a rice farm in western Ethiopia next year to kick-start its stalled project.

The company leased 10,000 hectares (24,711 acres) in the Abobo district in the Gambella region, where it’s based, in 2008 and bought the 4,000-hectare Abobo Agricultural Development Enterprise from the government 18 months ago for 80 million birr ($4 million). After delays caused by unsuitable irrigation design and contractor performance issues, Saudi Star wants to accelerate work in 2015 after a change of management, a redesign of the farm and a successful trial of rain-fed rice on 2,000 hectares at the formerly government-owned, Chief Executive Officer Jemal Ahmed said in a phone interview.

“We have a very aggressive plan,” he said on Nov. 26 from Jimma, about 260 kilometers (162 miles) southwest of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. “If we’re able to do that we’ll be able to produce more.”

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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Ferguson: Obama Calls for Honest Conversation on Police-Race-Relations

Police and Missouri National Guardsmen stand guard as protesters gather in front of Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Nov. 28, 2014. (AP Photo)

VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for millions of dollars more in federal spending to improve police forces around the country, in response to the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman during a street confrontation in the central town of Ferguson, Missouri.

After meeting at the White House Monday with his Cabinet, civil rights leaders and law enforcement officials, Obama announced spending proposals of more than $260 million for police forces across the U.S. He also said the country needs an honest conversation about the state of law enforcement.

The president said Americans of color do not feel they are being treated fairly by police, creating what he called a “simmering distrust” in communities and weakening the country.

Protests have continued in Ferguson and elsewhere since a grand jury’s decision last week not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Obama said the additional money would pay for 50,000 body cameras for police to wear to record their interactions with civilians, as well as to fund more training for police.

The president also announced he will set up a task force to study how to improve policing.

Obama said federal programs that provide military-style equipment to local police departments must be more accountable, but he did not say whether the programs would be pulled back.

Since August, roughly 300 people have been arrested in Ferguson-related protests, which have been marred by looting and arson attacks. Those arrested face charges of unlawful assembly and trespassing, interfering with police activity and resisting arrest, as well as felonies, including second degree burglary, arson, unlawful firearm possession and assault.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Plan to Target Racial Profiling

NBC News

In the wake of clashes at protests in Ferguson, Missouri, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says new Justice Department guidance will aim to end racial profiling and ensure fair and effective policing.

Holder said in a speech Monday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta — where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor — that he will unveil details of the plan soon.

“In the coming days, I will announce updated Justice Department guidance regarding profiling by federal law enforcement. This will institute rigorous new standards — and robust safeguards — to help end racial profiling, once and for all,” Holder said. “This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing.”

The president instructed Holder to hold regional meetings on building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve after the conflicts in Ferguson. Monday’s meeting in Atlanta was the first.

Tensions between police and the community in Ferguson boiled over after a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager in August. Protests turned violent again last week, after a grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s death.

During Holder’s speech, he was interrupted by about a dozen or so protesters holding signs and chanting “No justice, no peace.” Holder let them continue for about two minutes before they were escorted out by security, but then later said, “Let me make one thing clear, I ain’t mad at cha,” referencing the song by the late rapper Tupac.

Read more »

Related:
In Ferguson, ‘Nothing Has Changed From 1853. This Is the City of Dred Scott’

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Forum in Harlem on Ethiopian Migrant Rights in the Middle East – December 6th

Photo: Protest outside Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., November 14th, 2013. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, December 1st, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association in New York City (ECMAA) will co-host a forum this weekend in Harlem entitled “Ethiopian Migrant Rights in the Middle East.” The organization announced that the event, organized by Humanitarian Committee for Ethiopians in Need, will include participants from Human Rights Watch, Migrant Rights Org and INSAN Association. In addition to sharing their experiences in defending the rights of migrants, panelists will share recommendations.

“For decades, we’ve heard about countless stories of rape, torture and murder of Ethiopian and other migrants who flock to the gulf in search of jobs. Yet, little is being done to protect these migrants from the vicious cycle of oppression,” states the press release. “Come and join the discussion so we can make change happen together.”

If You Go:
ECMAA Forum on Ethiopian Migrant Rights in the Middle East
Saturday, December 6th, 2014
Time: 12:30 – 4:00 PM
Venue: 163 West 125th Street
New York, NY 10026
Subway: 2, 3 or A, B, C, D to 125th Street station.
Due to limited space, admission is on first come basis
For more info please contact maedot@yahoo.com

Photos: NYC Ethiopians Make Presence Felt at the Saudi Mission to the UN (November – 2013)


Related:
Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Ethiopians Protest Killings In Saudi Arabia (KDLT News)
Ethiopians demonstrate outside Saudi embassy in London (BBC News)
Canada: Ethiopian community protests working conditions in Saudi Arabia (CTV News)
The Ethiopian Migrant Crisis in Saudi Arabia: Taking Accountability (TADIAS)
Tadias Interview With Rima Kalush: Migrant-Rights Org Seeks Long Term Solutions
Ethiopians Continue Peaceful Protests Against Migrant Abuse in Saudi Arabia (TADIAS)
Photos: Ethiopians Hold Protest Outside Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. (TADIAS)
Ethiopians: #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia to Stop Crackdown (Global Voices)
First group of Ethiopians from Saudi arrive in Addis (ERTA)
23,000 Ethiopians ‘Surrender’ in Saudi After Clamp Down (BBC)
Three Ethiopians Killed in Saudi Arabia Visa Crackdown (AFP)
Ethiopian Domestic Help Abuse Headlines From the Middle East (TADIAS)
Changing Ethiopia’s Media Image: The Case of People-Trafficking (TADIAS)
Video: Ethiopian migrants tell of torture and rape in Yemen (BBC)
Video: Inside Yemen’s ‘torture camps’ (BBC News)
BBC Uncovers Untold People-Trafficking, Torture of Ethiopians in Yemen (TADIAS)
Meskerem Assefa Advocates for Ethiopian Women in the Middle East (TADIAS)
In Memory of Alem Dechassa: Reporting & Mapping Domestic Migrant Worker Abuse
Photos: Vigil for Alem Dechassa Outside Lebanon Embassy in D.C.
The Plight of Ethiopian Women in the Middle East: Q & A With Rahel Zegeye

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Ethiopia Tests Thousands for HIV in Record Attempt

In this photo of Sunday Nov 30, 2014. Ethiopians lineup for an AIDS test, in Gambella, Ethiopia. (AP)

The Associated Press

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — More than 3,300 people were tested for HIV Sunday in the Ethiopian region of Gambella, a massive turnout that exceeded expectations among AIDS campaigners who had hoped to test 2,000 people, according to local officials.

Rahel Gettu, an official with the U.N. Aids agency in Ethiopia, said they believe they broke the world record for the number of HIV tests carried out in one day. She said their claim was yet to be verified and confirmed by Guinness World Records.

She said 3,383 people were tested for HIV within eight hours in a single event ahead of World Aids Day. Eighty-two of them received positive results.

About 6.5 percent of Gambella residents have HIV or AIDS, a rate higher than the national average of 1.5 percent. Officials hope that voluntary AIDS testing in this region that borders South Sudan can lead to a reduction in the number of new infections.

“It will help to bring together communities. It helps people to know their status in order to make informed choices about their lives forward,” said Seid Alemu, a director at Ethiopia’s Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office, referring to voluntary testing for HIV.

Read more »

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Ethiopian American Fashion Designer Yodit Eklund: Tapping Into Africa’s Expertise

Yodit Eklund, left, says her Bantu Wax brand has been influenced by Africans, including fabric designers in Ivory Coast; her in-house team in Dakar, Senegal, and the photographer Omar Victor Diop, right. (NYT)

The New York Times

By LIBBY BANKS

DECEMBER 1, 2014

In July, the fashion entrepreneur Yodit Eklund did the unusual. She decided to restructure her four-year-old surfwear brand Bantu Wax, with the aim of reflecting and serving the African surf culture she grew up with.

Collaborating with local artists is a major part of Ms. Eklund’s new brand vision for the Ethiopian-made clothing line. “I work with young African designers, because they reflect what’s going on,” she explained at an interview during Paris Fashion Week in October. “It’s not about safari or masks.” The fabrics are designed by a team in Ivory Coast, while an in-house team in Dakar, Senegal, creates the styles.

She also decided to open a store this winter on Dakar’s beachfront, located between two surf breaks.

The Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop is creating a vast mural for the flagship, something he described at press time as a “work in progress.”

Read more at The New York Times »

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The Great Ethiopian Run is the Most Incredible Experience

The start line of the Great Ethiopia Run. (Chronicle Live)

ChronicleLive

By Mark Douglas

Haile Gebrselassie has a problem.

You wouldn’t know it from a quick glance at his famous face, which is fixed with the beguiling smile that has accompanied him on a career that has touched heights that no other athlete has managed.

This is a man who broke 23 separate world records, collected two Olympic gold medals and earned four world titles.

He bestrode the track and the streets of famous marathons in Berlin, New York and Chicago and has now carried that success into the world of business, where he is one of the chief drivers of a resurgent Ethiopian economy that is creating millionaires faster than any other country in Africa.

But as he explains over delicious, jet-black coffee strong enough to wipe out the hazy affects of altitude, he can’t answer his phone right now. To prove the point, when his iPhone trills, he takes a quick look and sets it back down on the table in the small office that overlooks one of the busiest roads in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s bustling, frenetic and endearingly chaotic capital city.

“If I don’t know the number, I won’t answer. You know why?” he asks. “Because government ministers will ring me up and say ‘Haile – I need a ticket for the big run on Sunday!’”

Hearing this story is the perfect introduction to the Great Ethiopian Run – the colourful, barmy and brilliant little brother of our own beloved Great North Run.

Read more »

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Artists for Charity NYC Holiday Benefit & Art Auction – December 6th

For the first time this year's Artists for Charity (AFC) Holiday Benefit and Art Auction will take place in New York at Impact Hub NYC on Saturday December 6th, 2014. (Photograph Courtesy: Artists for Charity)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The holiday season is upon us and so is the annual Artists for Charity (AFC) benefit and art auction, which supports the Ethiopian American organization’s volunteer-managed group home in Addis Ababa that houses children double-orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The event, which has been held every year in Washington, DC since 2006, is coming to New York City for the first time this year. The 2014 gathering will be held following World AIDS Day on Saturday December 6th at Impact Hub NYC in Manhattan.

“Join us for an amazing evening featuring a taste of Ethiopia and an exciting live auction,” states the press release. “AFC will feature artwork from local and international artists. Proceeds go to support AFC projects such as the AFC Childrens Home in Ethiopia.”

On its website AFC adds: “We are comprised of artists and volunteers from all over the world who donate our time, passion, sweat, creativity, and artwork for the sake of change. Some of us paint; some of us write; some of us are not even artists. But all of us believe that there is no such thing as a small act of compassion. Dedicated people, united and working together, can change the world. We are Artists for Charity.”


If You Go:
NYC Holiday Benefit and Art Auction
Date: Saturday, December 6, 2014
Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Place: Impact Hub NYC
394 Broadway
New York, NY 10013
Advanced tickets $45
Door tickets $50
www.artistsforcharity.org

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Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Volunteers to Ebola-Hit Countries Within Two Weeks

Ebola response roadmap prepared by the Word Health Organization, October 17th, 2014. (Credit: WHO)

Xinhua/Shanghai Daily

Nov 26,2014

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia on Tuesday announced that it will be deploying about 210 volunteers to Ebola-hit West African countries in two weeks.

Responding to the call of the African Union (AU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the country’s commitment to the African solidarity, Ethiopia earlier pledged to provide support to the Ebola-affected West African countries by deploying health professionals, said Ahmed Imano, Director of Public Relations and Communication at the Ministry of Health.

Ahmed said the East African country had also pledged to provide financial support amounting half a million U.S. dollars to support the intervention in addressing the epidemic.

To implement the pledge, Ethiopia has recruited the 210 volunteers out of the 1,100 registered volunteers, according to the director, who was speaking to the press in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

The volunteers would be deployed in the three most affected countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

Read more »
—-
Related:
Ethiopian Airlines’ Sales Hit by Ebola Fears
Africa Sets Up $28.5m Ebola Crisis Fund
Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa
5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: WHO
Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Health Workers in Ebola-Hit West Africa
In first case, Doctor in New York City is Diagnosed With Ebola
Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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Ethiopia: $1.6 Million Grant to Fund EduCare

The grant will fund programs targeting children and their families in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

VOA News

By Kim Lewis

An education program geared towards reducing the school drop out rate for youths in Ethiopia has received a $1.6 million dollar boost to help keep it going.

SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest organization dedicated to orphaned and abandoned children, announced that it received the grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

SOS Children’s Villages says the grant will fund EduCare, a program that provides services to raise grade-level completion rates for vulnerable children and their families in the city of Bahir Dar.

“Children in Ethiopia, as well as their families are still experiencing a large amount of poverty,” says Lynn Croneberger, chief executive officer of SOS Children’s Villages USA. “And when families are put in stressful situations, a lot of times the older children need to quit school and go to work and support their families,” she said.

The result is a large population of sibling or youth heads of households who take care of families.

“The families of vulnerable children and youth often times live in such extreme poverty that paying for school, uniforms and supplies is a luxury they cannot afford,” said Sahlemariam Abebe, acting national director of SOS Children’s Villages – Ethiopia.

Education instead of a Exploitation

This financial strain forces children to forgo schooling in order to work and financially help their families,” said Sahlemariam. “Child labor – at its worst – can lead to prostitution and other forms of exploitation.”

Croneberger hopes their EduCare program will provide more resources to children at risk of dropping out of school as well as their parents and the community, so the children can stay in school.

SOS Children’s Villages USA says Educare targets a thousand boys and girls, an estimated 400 caregivers and four partner schools. The funds will provide a stipend, and money for school supplies and food.

Most of the youths are between 13 and 16 years of age “so they’ve hopefully been through early education,” said Croneberger. “But now is the real risky time when they’re being looked at to provide an income for their families.”

Community schools will also receive support.

“A lot of these schools are also struggling so they don’t have a lot of money for the materials that they need for homework, for making it easier for kids to be able to study,” said Croneberger. “So we’ll be supporting the schools themselves as well. That obviously will benefit the community and be a resource for the community.”

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In Ferguson, U.S.A, It’s Still Like 1853

Lesley McSpadden (left), the mother of Michael Brown, reacts to hearing a grand jury decision Nov. 24th, 2014 in the fatal shooting case of her 18-year-old son by police officer Darren Wilson. (Getty Images)

The Root

BY: SHAREE SILERIO

Ferguson, Mo.: – Monday night, a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson on Aug. 9.

In advance of the announcement of the grand jury decision, media, protesters, members of the clergy and organizations in support of the Justice for Mike Brown movement waited anxiously outside the Ferguson Police Department building for the ruling. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, who had been informed of the verdict, arrived a few minutes before St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made the announcement.

In tears, frustration and anger, McSpadden addressed the crowd and said, “Everybody wants me to be calm. Do you know how [those] bullets hit my son? What they did to his body as they entered his body?” She added, “I have been living here my whole life; I have never had to go through anything like this.”

She was surrounded by several people who held and hugged her. When McCulloch concluded his conference, protesters immediately responded, chanting, “No justice, no peace!” Some shouted, “Burn it down!”

And many expressed that they were not surprised by the outcome, including Anthony Merri, 38. “Nothing has changed from 1853. This is the city of Dred Scott,” he told The Root. “African Americans, Latinos and others who do not fit the status quo cannot get [their] rights, and that was definitely displayed today.”

Read more at theroot.com

Related:
UPDATE: Ferguson Sees Second Night of Unrest, Protests Staged Across the US

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Ethiopian Music Star Jacky Gosee’s Debut New York Concert on Dec 13th

(Image courtesy: Massinko & Orit Entertainment Group)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Thursday, December 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Jacky Gosee is coming to NYC for his debut concert in the city this weekend. The Ethiopian artist will perform at Gramercy Theatre on December 13th with Zion Band. Organizers note that advance tickets could be purchased at Queen of Sheba, Meskerem, and Awash restaurants.


If You Go:
Jacky Gosee in NYC with Zion Band
Saturday, December 13th, 2014
Doors Open: 11pm – 4am
Advanced Tickets $40
Gramercy Theatre
127 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
Tel: 212.614.6932
VIP Booth for a group call: 917.943.7817
venue.thegramercytheatre.com

Video: JACKY GOSEE “FIYAMETA” (ፊያሜታ)

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Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu of Ethiopia Among Most Influential Africans of 2014

The New African Magazine has named Ethiopia's Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu as one of the 2014 Most Influential Africans. (Photos courtesy: The New African Magazine & SoleRebels)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The New African Magazine has announced its annual list of ‘Most Influential Africans.’ The 2014 list includes renowned Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and CEO of SoleRebels, which opened its first flagship U.S. store in Silicon Valley, California last month. In its announcement the magazine states: “In every corner of the continent, wherever there is injustice, oppression or tyranny, Africans of every stripe – from young to old, male to female, brave to even braver – are fighting and working for a better tomorrow. Africa is on the move. Given this transformation, happening at every level in every country, it may seem foolhardy to pick out just a hundred or so individuals of note as the continent’s most influential people. But in every march and movement, there are always a few figures who lead the line and who stick their heads above the parapets before anyone else – these can be trendsetters, visionaries, heroes, and at times even rabble-rousers whose actions or lack thereof, make or break the continent. Wielding influence comes in diverse forms and this collection portrays just that.”

“I am deeply honored to be named to this list of incredible personalities,” Bethlehem said in a statement.

To find out who made the list and why, read more at newafricanmagazine.com »

Related:
‘SoleRebels’ Launches Flagship US Store
Silicon Valley: Here Come Ethiopia’s SoleRebels
People of Our Time Who Are Changing the World

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UPDATE: Ferguson Sees Second Night of Unrest, Protests Staged Across the US

Violence broke out in the streets of Ferguson Monday evening following news that a grand jury did not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. (AP)

VOA News

By William Gallo

The midwestern U.S. town of Ferguson faced a second night of unrest and solidarity demonstrations were held nationwide to protest a grand jury’s decision to not indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.

More than 2,000 National Guard soldiers have been deployed in Ferguson, Missouri to guard against fresh racially charged riots, which broke out late Monday after it was announced that charges would not be filed against officer Darren Wilson.

VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem, who is in Ferguson, said there has been no repeat of the widespread looting that was seen on the first night of protests, when over a dozen buildings were set on fire and at least 61 people arrested.

“One reason is that the National Guard is spread out in multiple locations. We saw them outside the police department. They were behind the police lines. They were not in front, but they were in riot gear and in riot formation and in front of them was a united command riot formation. But they are scattered all over and guarding key areas in Ferguson and surrounding counties,” said Tanzeem.

A tense moment occurred late Tuesday, when a group of protesters began smashing the windows of and setting fire to a police vehicle in front of Ferguson City Hall.

Tanzeem said a large number of riot police and National Guard troops approached the area in armored vehicles and ordered the protesters to disperse.

“They started announcing that everyone needs to leave the area right now. At that moment somebody, we don’t even know if it was the police, somebody in the crowd threw pepper spray on a whole bunch of people, including on our own VOA colleague, who got pepper sprayed pretty badly. We had to immediately find medics and evacuate him and move him to safety,” said Tanzeem.

The St. Louis County Police Department said via Twitter that the area was declared an “unlawful assembly” and that those refusing to leave would be arrested. The department also said there were reports of bottles and fireworks being thrown at officers.

The shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown has inflamed tensions and brought to the surface concerns over police violence and racial discrimination in the predominantly black suburb of St. Louis and across the nation.

On Tuesday, demonstrators marched and disrupted traffic in cities including St. Louis, Cleveland, and Seattle. In Washington D.C., demonstrators laid on the ground in a so-called “die-in” protest in front of a police station. Protesters in New York also disrupted traffic on bridges and the Lincoln Tunnel, leading to a number of arrests.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday said he deplored the destructive acts, saying they are criminal and those responsible should be prosecuted. But America’s first black president also said he understands that many people are upset by the grand jury decision.

He said the frustrations of the protesters have “deep roots in many communities of color who have a sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly.”

Earlier Tuesday, Brown’s parents appeared at a news conference in a Ferguson church, alongside their lawyers and civil rights leader Al Sharpton. They described the grand jury decision announced Monday as “completely unfair.”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said a federal investigation into the shooting continues. The Justice Department has been looking into whether the Ferguson Police Department is engaging in unconstitutional practices.

Officer Wilson made his first public comments about the incident Tuesday. In a television interview with ABC, Wilson said he feared for his life during the confrontation with Brown, saying the teenager was trying to take his gun.

The officer, who has been placed on leave, said he has a clean conscience “because I know I did my job right.”

Several eyewitnesses said Brown was putting his hands in the air to surrender as Wilson opened fire.

But St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday that testimony is not supported by evidence and that many of the witnesses contradicted themselves.



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Former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku’s Dream School Initiative in Nazret, Ethiopia

Atti Worku, Founder of Seeds of Africa. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Atti Worku, a former Miss Ethiopia (2005), started Seeds of Africa school in her hometown of Nazret, Ethiopia with 16 students and one volunteer teacher in her mother’s backyard six year ago. Atti had attended college in Addis before embarking on her modeling career and didn’t finish college until she went back to complete her education at Columbia University this year. Atti vowed to provide quality educational opportunities to children in her birth country, and today her non-profit organization provides scholarships to approximately 100 students from Pre-K through 2nd grade.

In an interview with Tadias Magazine Atti announced a milestone for Seeds of Africa Foundation: The Dream School Initiative to build a state-of-the-art education facility in Nazret, Ethiopia. “We believe that this facility will be one that will be comparable to international schools all over the world and will prepare students to compete in the global market” Atti told Tadias. Currently the school adds a grade level each year but only accepts Pre-K level students. “We decided that the most impact we can make is if we get to them at the youngest age,” she explained.

The Dream School Initiative was launched last month with a fundraising event in Dallas where 14 local chefs did a tasting menu that was inspired by Ethiopian cuisine. On December 8th, Seeds of Africa will hold their next fundraiser in New York City at the Schomburg Center in Harlem, and next year the foundation will hold similar events in Chicago, Washington DC, London and Paris. “A year from now, in Fall 2015, we’ll break ground in Nazret to build the new school, and construction is expected to go on for two to three years” Atti says.

“The Dream School Initiative is a continuation of the work we’ve being doing so far,” Ati adds. “We’ve been around for a little over 6 years. The initiative is to expand our program to accommodate more students (from Pre-K through 12th grade) and also to increase our community development program.” Since its inception the Seeds of Africa school has incorporated programs for mothers in the community including providing literacy and health education courses as well as access to funding for local small businesses.

“The community development program has always been a part of Seeds of Africa’s mission because we strongly believe that to really work with children that come from some of the poorest backgrounds you can’t succeed if you just single out a child. You have to really work with the family as a unit” Atti asserts. “Most of our students come from single mother homes, who either have small businesses or they want to open a small business.” Household income is a primary criteria for children selected to be enrolled at the Seeds of Africa school.

“We call our education program ‘seeding education,’ and we provide free tuition, meals at school, and we also provide some food subsidies that the children may take home for their dinners” Atti shares. “We cover the cost of uniforms and school supplies, and the children also have access to healthcare. Starting next year we’re also setting up an emergency health fund.”

In 2014 Seeds of Africa received 68 student applications but could only enroll 20 eligible students due to lack of space. “That’s why we have to build so we can provide educational access to more children” says Atti.

Seeds of Africa is based on the premise that a community needs more than just access to educational opportunities to thrive, so it jump-started community chats over biweekly bunna sessions among the mothers. “And the community development program really grew out of these sessions,” Atti notes. “Three main issues were addressed at the mothers’ bunna sessions: the need for literacy programs for adults, access to health education courses, and funding to start small businesses to sustain their families.” Seeds of Africa gave mothers opportunities to gain financial and literacy skills before providing access to credit. “Right now we have about 40 to 60 credits that have been provided to the children’s parents. Some have already paid back their original loans and are returning for a second round to expand their businesses,” says Atti. She beams when she shares some of the types of businesses opened up using these loans. “The small businesses include a cell-phone charging business and really cutting-edge stuff such as one mom setting up a prenatal food business. And it’s been a part of our goal to improve the household income of a family so that the child succeeds with the family together.”

The curriculum of the school is likewise innovative and is inspired by the Reggio Emilia program, which focuses on a holistic approach to education where the child is the center of the learning environment. “It’s really looking at each child as an individual that has different needs so you try to tailor the program to the needs of each student, which is why the classroom size has to be so small” emphasizes Atti.

Seeds of Africa looked at some of the best educational systems available including Montessori and designed an educational environment that embraces Ethiopian culture and allows students to engage in project-based learning from a young age with a hands-on approach to solving local problems.

“We look at how children can be leaders and creative problem solvers. I think that’s really important because you can’t get out of poverty if you’re solving other people’s problems, which is what usually happens in schools,” Atti says.

How did Atti get interested in building a school in Nazret? “I’m not an educator by training, but I do have co-workers who designed the curriculum who are trained educators” Atti says. “My thing came from having grown up in Nazret. I grew up in a neighborhood that was very poor. My parents were a middle class family and they sent me to the only private school in town, and there was a huge difference in the access to education that my brothers and I had compared to the kids in our neighborhood” Atti says. “It was really heartbreaking to see children that I grew up with that were unable to continue school; they were failing and dropping out of school, or the girls got pregnant at some point, or any of those socio-economic factors that hindered education. As an adult reflecting back I look at it as socio-economic issues linked to poverty that was happening to them, and it wasn’t happening to me or students in my school. That really kind of just stayed with me.”

“Our first high school students will graduate in 2024, and our goal is to place them into colleges in Ethiopia and abroad,” Atti says. “And I have no doubt that they will contribute back to their community.”

If You Go:
New Yorkers for Seeds
Monday, December 8th, 2014 7pm to 11pm
The Schomburg Center
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-yorkers-for-seeds-tickets-14046265759?ref=ebtnebtckt

Photos from the Dallas event:

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Exiled Ethiopian Journalist Betre Yacob

Ethiopian Journalist Betre Yacob. (Credit: The Huffington Post)

The Huffington Post

By Maura Kelly

It was in Bahir Dar where I first meet Betre Yacob. He was working as an Information, Education and Communication Coordinator with an international NGO on HIV/AIDs programs, and for the rights of women and children. Betre, a graduate of Bahir Dar University and I connected instantly when he told me he also worked as a journalist and had just started a new blog. His focus was poor people and the government’s views on human rights in Ethiopia. We stayed in touch and every few months I’d receive an article and share it with HOPe and other media colleagues. At times the articles would be in English and other times they’d be in Amharic. I’m not sure when it started but sometime in 2012 the links would arrive blocked or the stories blacked out. Then Betre told me he decided to leave the NGO because his articles were drawing unwarranted government attention and he did not want the organization to suffer any negative effects. He had decided to become a journalist full time.

Life as a journalist

Working as an independent journalist in Ethiopia is a particularly difficult undertaking and Betre is one of hundreds of media workers who has been harassed and threatened to the point that he is now in self-imposed exile outside the country.

In 2012, Betre got assignments with various media outlets and covered local human rights violations and the state of Ethiopian media for the Italian website, AssamanInfo, the Ethiopian magazine, Ebony (both have since closed down) and The Daily Journalist. He also co-authored a book entitled “Nipo nipo tu” a collection of short stories illustrating socio-economic problems in Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia is a dangerous place to be a journalist” reported Betre. To garner support he helped launch and later became president of the Ethiopian Journalists Forum (EJF), an independent journalist association working for freedom of the press with over 30 journalists as members. “However, since its beginning EJF has been seen as an enemy by the Ethiopian government and has faced many accusations, ” he stated.

Read more at The Huffington Post »

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Forty Years After Lucy’s Ethiopia Discovery: A Conversation with Donald Johanson

Dr. Donald Johanson discovered the famous fossil 'Lucy' in Ethiopia forty years ago on November 24th, 1974. (Photograph Courtesy: Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 24th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – At the exact spot in Hadar, Ethiopia — where American paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson discovered Lucy (Dinkinesh) forty years ago this month — a stone marker with a little outline drawing of Lucy commemorates the 24th of November 1974 written in Amharic, English and the local Afar language. Dr. Johanson notes that currently there are six or seven research teams working in the Afar region and a number of those are under the direction of Ethiopian scientists. “There is the wonderful work that Zeresenay Alemseged has done in the Dikika area where he found Selam (Lucy’s baby), and research that is being done by Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Berhane Asfaw who is in Addis Ababa,” Johanson said in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine following his presentation at the Explorers Club in New York on November 17th entitled Forty Years After Lucy’s Discovery. “I think that the future of paleoanthropology in Ethiopia will be in the hands of these and other Ethiopian scholars.”

“Lucy had a major effect in bringing Ethiopia to the world’s attention as having a record of human evolution over the last six million years,” Dr. Johanson told Tadias. “And scientists from around the world continue to come to Addis Ababa to study these fossils, which are all stored in the national museum, and continue to make comparisons with Lucy. This has become a cornerstone for the understanding of human origins.” According to Dr. Johanson, 400 specimen of Lucy’s species reside at the Ethiopian National Museum. Lucy was the first major discovery in the Afar region and drew the attention of many archaeologists and anthropologists to the possibility of more findings in Ethiopia.

How did Lucy get her name? “Following my discovery, we were in our camp celebrating and a Beatles tape was playing,” Dr. Johanson shared. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the name of the album and the song called Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds was playing and a member of the team suggested that we name the fossil Lucy and the name stuck.” But I thought since she was found in Ethiopia she should also have an Ethiopian name. And Ato Bekele Negusay from the Ministry of Culture who was the Director General said ‘Why don’t you call her Dinkinesh?’ That’s her Ethiopian name.”

As Lucy continues to shape the science of archaeology and evolution Dr. Johanson has been reflecting on what this research can tell us about today’s technology-driven fast-paced world. “The understanding of the common origin of all people from Africa provides an important perspective that we should try to act in a way that has better results in preserving our environments because we are the species in control, and if we are going to continue to survive in the future we need to be careful in preserving the natural world on which we depend,” Dr. Johanson asserts. “But also as humans it is our duty to cooperate with one another in a much better way than we are today. After all we are a single common species that meets the same challenges.”

We asked Dr. Johanson if he had seen the new movie Lucy featuring actress Scarlet Johansson and wherein she connects with her ancestor Lucy.

“Oh yeah, yes I have watched it, I enjoyed it very much,” he responded.

Video: Don Johanson – Lucy’s Legacy: Our African Origins


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‘Gracias (Thank you) President Obama!’

Immigrants react to the president's executive action Speech on immigration: Some chanted, "Obama, Amigo, El Pueblo esta contigo!", which means, "Obama, Friend, The Community Is With You! (NBC News)

NBC News

BY SUZANNE GAMBOA

WASHINGTON — Bundled in winter coats, dozens of immigrants stood in front of the White House [on Thursday, November 20th] to watch and hear President Barack Obama via livestream on tablets and cell phones explain why he is taking executive action on immigration.

Huddling tightly around their mobile devices, those gathered let out occasional cheers and whoops as the president’s speech unfolded.

Some held battery-operated tea lights while some held American flags and signs that said “Gracias, Presidente Obama” with outlines of hand-holding families along the bottom.

Some chanted, “Obama, Amigo, El Pueblo esta contigo!”, which means, “Obama, Friend, The Community Is With You!

When his speech ended, some shouted, “Si se pudo!” which means, “Yes, we could!”

“Oh my God, this is good!” shouted Miguel Correa, an immigrant who has been in the U.S. illegally for 14 years. “Thanks, Obama!”


A demonstrator holds a sign reading “Thank you President Obama” outside the White House after Obama announced executive action on immigration on Thursday evening. (NBC News)


People watch President Barack Obama give a speech on executive action on immigration outside the White House on Thursday, Nov. 20. (NBC News)

In a brief, 10-minute speech, Obama laid out a case for issuing executive actions that would spare about 5 million immigrants from deportation. The president outlined a 3-part plan which included more resources for the border, as well as relief from deportation for parents who have been illegally in the U.S. for more than 5 years but whose children are citizens or lawful permanent residents. The president emphasized this is not a path to citizenship or legalization, but those who qualify will be granted relief from deportation for three years and get work permits.

Read more »

Watch: Obama Immigration Reform 2014 Speech Announcing Executive Action (FULL/NYT)


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Ethiopian Community Center Awarded $18,000 DC Mayor’s Office African Grant

Ethiopian Community Center, Inc. (ECC) in DC, which received $18,000, is one of eight organization who have been awarded the 2015 Mayor's Office African Community Grant. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – The DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA) has awarded 8 grants this year worth up to $25,000 for organizations based in the District and involved in economic & workforce development, health & human services, youth engagement & education, promotion of arts, culture & the humanities.

The recipients are: African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association; Citiwide Computer Training Center; Ethiopian Community Center; The Person Center DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Kankouran African Dance Troupe; Many Languages One Voice; Oromo Community Organization; and Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington, D.C.

In a press release OAA Director Ngozi Nmezi congratulated the awardees stating: “We are confident that the funding will enhance the capacity of these institutions – strengthening their culturally and linguistically targeted services so they continue to be bastions of support for the District’s African community.”

“We look forward to working with African-serving community-based organizations in their year long programs designed to respond to the particular needs of our diverse constituents,” adds Deputy Directer and Grant Manager Heran Sereke-Brhan.

In an interview with Tadias Magazine in August the Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, Ngozi Nmezi, noted that Washington D.C. is home to immigrants from over 50 African countries. Ngozi also pointed out that four out of ten foreign-born Africans in DC are from Ethiopia. “In fact, the Ethiopian community makes up 39% of the foreign-born African community here in District of Columbia,” Ngozi stated. “That’s followed by Nigeria (16%), Cameroon, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Morocco, and Ghana.”

You can learn more about the African Community Grant at www.oaa.dc.gov.

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Photo of the Week: Ethiopian Jews Celebrating the Sigd Holiday

(Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Jewish Press

Hundreds of Ethiopian Jews take part in a prayer of the Sigd holiday on the Armon Hanatziv Promenade overlooking Jerusalem on November 20, 2014. The prayer is performed by Ethiopian Jews every year to celebrate their community’s connection and commitment to Israel. About [135,000] Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, many of them came in massive Israeli airlifts during times of crisis in Ethiopia in 1984 and 1991.

Read more at jewishpress.com »


Related:
Sigd – What Lies Behind This Ancient Ethiopian Jewish Festival?
CBS: 135,000 Ethiopians Living in Israel

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Ethiopian Airlines’ Sales Hit by Ebola Fears

Ethiopian Airlines has been hit by Ebola fears. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company is losing around $8 million a month in sales as travelers cut back on trips. (Photo: Reuters)

The Wall Street Journal

By ROBERT WALL

ANTWERP, Belgium — Ethiopian Airlines is losing around $8 million a month in sales as travelers cut back on African trips as concern about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa affects far-afield airlines, the carrier’s chief executive said.

“The Ebola scare has caused weakness in demand,” Tewolde Gebremariam said in an interview Thursday. Ethiopian Airlines has been hit even though the airline’s main hub in Addis Ababa is several hours flight time from the Ebola-affected region in West Africa.

Flights across much of the continent have been affected by the regional outbreak, Mr. Gebremariam said. “This is a major concern for African airlines,” he said.

The World Health Organization said more than 5,000 people have died from Ebola. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are the countries most affected.

The carrier has tried to cut back on capacity to help mitigate the effect, he said on the sidelines of the CAPA World Aviation Summit.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal »

Related:
Africa Sets Up $28.5m Ebola Crisis Fund
Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa
5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: WHO
Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Health Workers in Ebola-Hit West Africa
In first case, Doctor in New York City is Diagnosed With Ebola
Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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Can Farming in Ethiopia be Successfully Commercialised? (Video)

The BBC's Lerato Mbele reports from the Ethiopian town of Wonji, just south of Addis Ababa, for Africa Business Report. (Photo BBC)

BBC News

There may be a property and infrastructure boom in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, but more than 70% of Ethiopians still live in rural areas – farming grain and livestock.

The government, with the help of international donors, is trying improve the country’s farming sector, to boost production and put more farms onto a commercial footing – but there is still some way to go.

The BBC’s Lerato Mbele meets the Ethiopian farmers trying to find their place in the local and regional economy.

Watch: Can Farming in Ethiopia be Successfully Commercialised?


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Eritrea’s Youth ‘Fleeing for Ethiopia’ – UN

A renewed conscription drive in Eritrea has led to a sharp increase in the number of youths fleeing to neighboring Ethiopia, a UN refugee agency spokeswoman has told the BBC. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

BBC News

Eritreans ‘Fleeing Conscription Drive’ for Ethiopia – UNHCR

20 November 2014

More than 6,000 Eritreans had claimed asylum in Ethiopia in the past 37 days, double the rate seen in previous months, Karin de Gruijl said.

There has also been a rise in the number of Eritreans reaching Italy.

Eritrea says conscription is needed because of tension with Ethiopia.

About 100,000 people died in the 1998-2000 border war between the two countries.BBC News

Eritrea became independent after breaking away from Ethiopia.

The refugees, most of whom were between 18 and 24 years old, reported an “intensification” of efforts to conscript them into the army, Ms De Gruijl told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

Read more at BBC News »
—-
6,200 Eritreans Cross into Ethiopia in 37 Days, UN Refugee Agency Says


UNHCR reports that there are currently a total of 629,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia.

World Bulletin

Over 6,200 Eritreans have crossed into Ethiopia over the past 37 days, an official with the UN refugee agency said Monday.

“More than 5,000 Eritrean asylum seekers crossed into the Ethiopian territory in October alone,” spokesperson for the UNHCR office in Ethiopia Kisut Gebregziabher told Anadolu Agency.

“In the first week of November, more than 1,200 Eritreans have arrived in Ethiopia,” he added.

Among those who managed to cross into Ethiopia, he said, were some 78 children.

According to a UNHCR report last July, there are a total of 629,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia.

Some 99,000 of them are Eritreans. Most of them fled their country due to oppression and forced military service, Gebregziabher told AA earlier.

Eritrea and Ethiopia used to be a single country, but a 1993 referendum saw Eritreans vote for independence.

Tension between Addis Ababa and Asmara and has persisted since a bloody two-year border war, in which tens of thousands were killed, ended in 2000.

There are four refugee camps in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State that cater to Eritrean refugees: Shimelba (set up in 2004), May Ayni (2008), Adiharush (2010) and Hitsats (2013).

Read more »

Related:
Spike in Eritreans Fleeing into Ethiopia (Aljazeera)
Eritrea Faces Youth Drain (VOA News)

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CBS: 135,000 Ethiopians Living in Israel

The report by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) also states that in 2013, 1355 new immigrants arrived from Ethiopia, nearly a 50% reduction in aliya from the previous year. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Jerusalem Post

November 20th, 2014

The Ethiopian population in Israel stood at some 135,500 at the end of 2013 – 85,900 who were born in Ethiopia and 49,600 born in Israel to Ethiopian fathers, according to a report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, the eve of Sigd, a national holiday marked by Ethiopian Jews.

The majority of the Ethiopian population lives in two central localities – 38 percent in the Center and 24% in the South, with Netanya having the largest Ethiopian community at 10,900, followed by Rishon Lezion with some 7,400; Beersheba with 7,100; Jerusalem with 5,900; and Tel Aviv with 2,300.

The Ethiopian population, the report said, was a relatively young one – 29% children up to the age 14 and just 6% of the population over 65, compared to 12% of the general Jewish and “other” populations in Israel.

Some 88% of Ethiopians married their community, according to the report, which found that, in 2012, the average age for an Ethiopian man to wed was 29.3 years-old, 1.5 years above the Jewish male average, while the average age for an Ethiopian woman to wed stood at 26.4-years-old, 0.7 years above the Jewish female average.

Meanwhile, 3,126 babies were born to Ethiopian mothers in 2013, according to the report, which noted that the average Ethiopian woman gives birth to 2.8 children, compared to 3.05 children among the overall Jewish population.

The report also indicated that 1,355 new immigrants arrived from Ethiopia in 2013, an almost 50% reduction in aliya from the previous year.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post »

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Obama Unveils Sweeping Immigration Reform

In televised address, president outlines executive action plan for immigration reform, providing temporary protection from deportation to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants, challenging Republican lawmakers .

VOA News

November 20, 2014

President Barack Obama has bypassed Congress on immigration reform, saying the country can no longer wait to fix a broken system.

The president unveiled his plan during a televised primetime address, in which he outlined a plan to temporarily protect as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, allowing parents whose children are U.S. citizens or in the U.S. legally to qualify for work permits.

“What I’m describing is accountability — a common-sense, middle-ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported,” he said. “If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.”

Many Republicans have expressed outrage over Obama’s decision to use an executive order to put forth his plan, instead of the usual congressional legislative process.

Republicans have also described the shielding of illegal immigrants from deportation as an act of granting amnesty to criminals.

Obama acknowledged that criticism directly. “Leaving this broken system the way it is” … “that’s the real amnesty,” he said. He then called mass amnesty “unfair” and “mass deportation … both impossible and contrary to our character.”

Obama has waited more than a year for House Republican leaders to put an immigration reform plan to a vote after the Democrat-controlled Senate passed one.

Officials say the president is acting legally and that he is still willing to work with Congress.

Republican responses

Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, soon to be Senate majority leader, says his party will consider a number of options to thwart the president. Some Republicans are threatening another government shutdown, while others want to ban funding for Obama’s immigration plan.

McConnell also said the president’s plan was aimed at securing his political legacy.

“The action he’s proposed would ignore the law, would reject the voice of the voters and would impose new unfairness on law-abiding immigrants, all without solving the problem,” McConnell said.

“To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill,” the president said toward the end of his address.

Obama is also expected to expand an executive order he signed in 2012, known as the Dream Act, that protects young immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation by lifting the age restrictions on people who qualify. The parents of these children, however, would not be eligible for delayed deportation.

Undocumented immigrants eligible for these protections would not be entitled to receive federal benefits, including subsidies to obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Obama will sign the order Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada, which has a large Hispanic population.

Immigration lawyers warn of troubles

On Thursday, as details of the plan circulated, immigration lawyers warned that Obama’s televised address may prove the easiest part of his controversial plan. Implementing it will be difficult and many people may never benefit, some lawyers said.

Immigration advocacy groups say they don’t have sufficient resources to provide legal services to their existing clients, never mind the millions of potential new ones.

Obama’s proposal is not expected to provide federal funding for attorneys to guide immigrants through the process.

Karla McKanders, who runs the immigration law clinic at the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville, told Reuters, “If the past is any indication, it’s going to be a significant increase in people asking for legal assistance.”

Also, immigrants who have lived illegally in the United States for many years can be afraid to sign up or lack the proper documentation to back up their claims, said Jacqueline Rishty from the Immigration Legal Services Program of Catholic Charities in Washington.

The lack of immigration lawyers also opens the door for self-described legal experts who give bad advice or even scam clients out of thousands of dollars. The American Bar Association has warned of fraudsters offering legal services in Spanish-speaking communities.

Executive orders

U.S. presidents through the years have decreed a variety of changes through executive action, decisions that often attract little public attention.

Just since July, Obama has issued 10 executive orders, none of them controversial. Among other things, they established an advisory council for U.S. businesses in Africa, revised a list of communicable diseases and set the terms for hiring alcohol, tobacco and firearms agents.

But some executive orders have played prominent roles in shaping U.S. history and often were controversial at the time or proved to be when examined with the passage of time.

President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order that forcibly transferred Japanese-Americans to internment camps during World War II, an act for which the country has subsequently apologized and paid reparations to the victims.

Later, President Harry Truman abolished racial discrimination in the U.S. armed forces with a 1948 executive order and nationalized all steel mills during a 1952 labor strike.

President Dwight Eisenhower decreed an end to racial segregation in the country’s public schools in 1957.

Through the years, other presidents have issued many more executive orders than Obama.

Several executive orders have been overturned in court challenges, including Truman’s steel mill decree. New presidents can also override their predecessors’ orders with new directives, while Congress can attempt to undo the orders through legislation.

Cover photo: Reuters

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The Yellow Movement at A.A. University Update on Abduction of Hanna Lalango

Ethiopian activist calls for justice in the case of Hanna Lalango who died allegedly after being gang-raped by five men in Addis Abeba last week. (Photo via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Ethiopia – The Yellow Movement at Addis Ababa University — an initiative co-founded by law school lecturer Blen Sahilu and a group of students organized to advocate for the protection of women from gender based violence — is bringing international attention via social media to the recent broad daylight kidnapping and gang rape of a 16-year-old student, Hanna Lalango. The latest social media update regarding the case indicates that the suspects have all been apprehended and expected to appear before court today at Addis Ababa First Instance Court.

Below is an excerpt of what Blen Sahilu of the Yellow Movement AAU wrote on Facebook on Monday:

A few hours ago I had an emotional conversation with Hanna’s older brother. Hanna is the young victim of a gruesome kidnapping and gang rape that in the end took her life.

According to her older brother, Hanna was 16 years old (soon to be 17). She was the last born of six siblings, five girls and a boy. Hanna’s only brother had reluctantly agreed to meet me and brought his close friend along.

Hanna and her siblings were all raised by a stay at home mom and a public servant father.
“She was a typical young girl. A timid and respectful child” told me her brother, not knowing how exactly to describe his little sister. “She was really nice.”

She had complained about not feeling well the morning of her kidnapping. She kept on saying she is not feeling so good. After an ordinary day at her high school around Ayer Tena, Hanna got out of school at around 4pm and got on the nearest taxi that had a couple of passengers. The woyala shut the door and the taxi began moving. Hanna was being kidnapped.

The incredible cold bloodedness of the entire affair and how this drawn out torture must have made her feel like is something that makes me shiver.

Contrary to reports on the media that the suspects were caught as a result of a phone number given to the police by Hanna’s close friend, it turns out that the kidnappers were communicating with Hanna’s sisters while Hanna was at one of the suspect’s house. They went to meet them per their phone conversation and the same mini bus taxi pulled up next to them and they asked them to get inside to go see Hanna. They refused. They asked why they didn’t bring her and where she was. The men in the taxi drove off still taunting and teasing them. “You won’t see your sister then!”

That is when they took down the plate number of the minibus and gave it to the police.

They then got a call that Hanna was somewhere around Qeranyo, and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance because she had lost consciousness as soon as the kidnappers left her there.

As soon as she could speak, broken and terrified, Hanna tried to talk about what happened. She spoke of men doing horrible things, told her family the names she remembered. “She had terrible nightmares. She used to cry a lot.”

Putting two and two together the police arrested a couple of viable suspects. They brought them to the hospital so Hanna could identify them. She pointed each one of them out. One even tried to yell at her. But she remembered.

The doctors kept on saying it was a miracle that Hanna survived such a horrible attack. “Her genital area was such bad shape that even the doctors treating her were finding it difficult to hide their emotions.” Everyone was shocked and angry about what happened.

“On the last day, when I finally realized the full extent of the damage I was absolutely devastated and went out to borrow money so that we can move her to a private hospital. I was so scared that she might not make it. I was crying and talking to myself the whole time, people were staring at me. I did not care. I could not believe men born of women did this to my sister. Aren’t their mothers women too? Where did they come from??” said Hanna’s brother, trying to still grapple with the cruelty that took away his sister’s life.

I could not find the right words to tell him how sorry I was. But I tried.

I am still asking; Is this a random terribly unlucky incident? Or is this one of many such cases? Who are the suspects in custody? Have they done this before?

How many families have missing daughters or kidnapped or raped daughters that they are keeping a secret?
Why would they do that?

Well, because we live in a community that shames the victim more than the perpetrator. Because a woman who is raped, is defiled and ruined. She has no dignity. And a rapist? Well, that depends.

Isn’t it shocking that this same community breeds young men who drag their neighbors daughters into a dark corner to gang rape and assault. Isn’t it absolutely terrifying that we build a life around this disgusting reality because we refuse to confront it?

Hanna was wearing her school uniform when she left the house that morning, a blue skirt and matching blue sweater.

She was supposed to head back home and change in to her yebet libs and greet her father at the gate as she always does. “If someone else opens the gate for him, he would always ask “Hanna yet heda new?”

And here is what people are saying about the case on Twitter:



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ZTE May Lose $800m Ethiopia Deal

Reuters reports that Ethiopia has told Chinese telecoms firm ZTE Corp it risked losing part of its deal worth $800 million to expand the nation's network because of differences over costs of upgrading. (Image: CCTV)

Ventures Africa

Ericsson, Nokia May Snatch ZTE’s $800m Ethiopia Deal

November 19, 2014

Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia are lying in wait if an $800 million telecommunication deal between China’s ZTE Corp and Ethiopia falls through. According to Reuters, Ethiopia has told ZTE Corp it could lose its $800 million deal to expand the nation’s network due to differences over costs of upgrading existing systems.

The deal is part of a $1.6 billion contract awarded by the Ethiopian government and state-run operator Ethio Telecom to ZTE and another Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. The contract was awarded under a long-term loan package to be paid over a 13-year period with an interest rate of less than 1 percent.

Ethio, which enjoys a monopoly over Ethiopia’s telecom space, plans to double mobile subscribers to 50 million in 2015 and expand its 3G service. It also wants to introduce high-speed 4G network in Addis Ababa.

However, due to contractual differences, particularly with ZTE, the state-run telecom and the government are rethinking the deal with the Chinese tech giant, and are now considering Ericsson and Nokia to take its place. “We have contractual issues unresolved,” Communications and Technology Minister, Debretsion Gebremichael, told Reuters. “Swapping existing technology with no additional costs is one.” Ethiopia’s government expects the companies to upgrade existing equipment without extra charge, but ZTE says such upgrade would cost an additional $150 million to $200 million.

Read more »

Related:
Ethiopia says China’s ZTE could lose part of $800 mln in row over terms (Reuters)
ZTE at Risk of Losing Ethiopia Telecom Contract (The Wall Street Journal)

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New Book ‘Prevail’: Personal Stories From Mussolini’s Invasion of Ethiopia

Jagama Kello (left) who becomes a General and Imru Zelleke (right) who rose to serve as Ethiopia's diplomat are some of the heroes featured in the new book by author Jeff Pearce. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In a new book entitled Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia’s Victory over Mussolini’s Invasion, Jeff Pearce, a journalist based in Toronto, focuses on rarely told and fascinating personal stories from the war, each of which is worthy of a big screen movie. Take, for starters, the account of Ambassador Imru Zelleke, 90, who now resides in the U.S. and whom the author interviews extensively about his experiences witnessing the first horrible incidents of Yekatit 12, the Graziani Massacre, and then was taken to an Italian concentration camp the next day. Imru’s narrative is paralleled with other Ethiopian heroes including General Jagama Kello; Ethiopian activist Dr. Melaku Beyan who led and forged close relations between African Americans and Ethiopians as part of his awareness and fundraising campaign in the 1930′s in the United States; and African American fighter pilot Colonel John Robinson (the Brown Condor) from Chicago who volunteered his services and commandeered Ethiopia’s only plane for the duration of the conflict. And, of course, the role of Emperor Haile Selassie, whom the author observes is held in high esteem today by foreigners, ironically, than his own people.

“This is no time to eat ice cream or peel bananas!” Pearce quotes a speaker shouting from a wooden platform in Harlem, New York, where it is said that over twenty thousand people had turned out for a rally in support of Ethiopia. Closer to home, in South Africa, Nelson Mandela recalled in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom: “I was seventeen when Mussolini attacked Ethiopia, an invasion that spurred not only my hatred of that despot but of fascism in general. Ethiopia has always held a special place in my own imagination and the prospect of visiting Ethiopia attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England, and America combined.”

As Pearce points out Mandela was hardly alone in his sentiments. Across the Atlantic in New York City “people were told to listen to the speeches and donate as much money as possible. Cheers went up as the Ethiopian tricolor of green, yellow, and red was waved in the crowd.” Pearce explains that “For New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Detroit — the capitals of black consciousness in 1935 — Ethiopia indeed mattered. It held a spiritual significance for black Americans as an African kingdom where Christianity had flourished since the fourth century. And it was defiantly independent, smack in the middle of the colonial map.” Pearce notes in his introduction that “The Ethiopia crisis could be felt as far away as South America and even touched Asia. The news was everywhere, inescapable, and the word was going out that Haile Selassie’s soldiers would not simply roll over and accept the inevitable.”

Imru Zelleke was a teenager when the Italians tanks rolled into Ethiopia. “It was no longer a vintage scene of colonial warfare; it was a grotesque tableau of anachronism,” Pearce says. “This was not a page out of the Book of Empire from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. This was December 1935. At first, the more ignorant warriors took these strange, lumbering metal things for monsters and ran. But one of them, fearless and proud, circled around and jumped onto a tank, pounding on its tin shell casing. Machine guns were blazing away and slicing men in half, and still the Ethiopians swarmed and flooded their numbers into the narrow gorge of what is called Dembeguina Pass, overwhelming the enemy. When it was finally dusk, the men and their brilliant commander, Imru, would slip away with fifty captured machine guns.”

In an interview with Tadias Magazine Pearce said that his aim is to bring the story alive in a way that is understandable to ordinary readers. “All of the books previously were sort of really for academics and there weren’t that many books geared towards ordinary readers,” Pearce told Tadias. “It’s an exciting story and it should not be left only to the academics, and the world should know how much this war mattered.” He added: “The way we turn on the news and we focus say on Syria today or Ukraine, it’s exactly what happened with Ethiopia and nobody learned their lessons. Look what Putin is doing in Ukraine. Well, we’ve seen that before with Mussolini and Ethiopia. It was exactly the same thing…Oh no I am not invading, oh no those are not my guys, I just want a little bit of it and we are only entitled to so much; well Ethiopians have seen that before.”

Initially, Pearce tried to write the story like a novel because he had heard about John Robinson (The Brown Condor), and there was not that much information available on Robinson at the time. Since then, of course, Thomas Simmons has written two books on it, and Pearce decided to collect more personal accounts. “Quite frankly, it’s safe to say that most Westerners are appallingly ignorant of Ethiopian culture and history. If you told them there were Ethiopian women who put their kids on their backs, picked up their stuff and went on to fight, they would not believe you. It’s an amazing story.”

Regarding the outpouring of international support from regular people particularly in black communities in the United States, Pearce emphasized: “The thing that people have to realize is that the civil rights struggle did not just happen overnight in the 60s. There was a strong movement aligning itself with Ethiopia in Harlem and other parts of America decades before that. People used to walk around Harlem in the 1930s saying “don’t call me the ‘N’ word, I am Ethiopian.”

As for Emperor Haile Selassie who was the globe’s face of Ethiopia at the time, “That’s a very difficult puzzle and tragic really,” Pearce said. “The thing about Haile Selassie is that on one hand you have this stupid book by the Polish writer [Ryszard Kapuściński] called ‘The Emperor,’ which is from page one a bunch of lies and total fiction, and on the other you have the version of how he was portrayed by the Derg. In between there is also some controversial news reports going back to the 1970s famine. But he has more than one side. He was never going to share power, but at the same time as leader, both before and after the war, he recognized that surrounding himself with talented bureaucrats and technocrats was the key to help him advance the country. Unfortunately, as time went on, you have a man who increasingly did not recognize that he probably should have stepped aside. But you have to recognize he is the same person that showed such great courage on behalf of Ethiopia during the war. You can’t take that away from him. One of the most astute observation that was made about Haile Selassie was by the prominent Ethiopian historian Bahru Zewde who said something to the effect that ‘Haile Selassie’s greatest fault was that he lived too long.’”

Pearce also relies on other noted scholars of Ethiopian history including Richard Pankhurst and William Scott who gave him access to their research. “This book is indebted to them and so many other historians,” Pearce said.

Below are photos from the book courtesy of the author:



You can purchase the book at Barnes & Noble or at Amazon.com.

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Interview With Marcus Samuelsson

(Photo courtesy: Maya Haile)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The following video is our interview with Marcus Samuelsson during his book talk and signing event last week in Washington D.C. where he was hosted by Joe Yonan, the Food & Travel Editor of The Washington Post. Samuelsson’s latest book “Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home” is available at Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon.com.



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Will the New Black Republicans in Congress Be Lawmakers — or Talk Show Hosts?

Three Republican lawmakers swept into Congress with the Republicans’ election tidal wave on Nov. 4th, and questions abound about their mission and their future alliances. (Getty Images)

The Root

BY: CHARLES D. ELLISON

With all the postelection buzz about historic firsts and trailblazing black Republicans crashing Congress, you’d think this was the first time conservatives of color would be stepping foot on the floor of the House of Representatives.

As a matter of fact, it’s not.

Yet as three black Republicans found themselves elected Nov. 4 in a red-state blaze of glory, their very public profiles remain shrouded in racial contradictions and Tea Party allegory. It was the history that almost flew under the polling radar until the dust settled a day later.

A night of Republican waves found Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) appointment now bona fide and validated as the first elected African-American senator from the South since the 1880s. In the nearly blackless and very Mormon state of Utah, Mia Love, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-born mayor of Saratoga Springs, finally got her wish, becoming the first African American from her state and the first Haitian American elected to Congress. And deep in the very Hispanic part of Texas, black man Will Hurd just destroyed three decades of Latino-male political rule.

Electing black people to Congress is no longer a novel affair—despite the understandable worry from advocates who believe that it could become one if the political map gets redder and voting rights melt away. Still, there are now 43 black members of Congress in the House, in addition to two more in the Senate. With Hurd and Love in the mix, that will be 47 in the 114th Congress, the most we’ve ever seen at any one time.

If it’s any consolation to black Democrats scrambling to assess their relevancy on increasingly hostile political terrain, the black Republican bump just increased black representation in the House to a full 10 percent—3 percentage points fewer than the black proportion of the entire U.S. population.

Read more at theroot.com »

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London Man Andy Tsege Faces Death Penalty in Ethiopia (BBC Video)

The family of imprisoned Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige say the British government should be doing more to help get him home. (BBC News)

BBC News

17 November 2014

The family of a north London man who is facing the death penalty in Ethiopia has said the government should be doing more to help get him home.

Andy Tsege, from Islington, who opposes the Ethiopian authorities, was seized in June and has been in solitary confinement ever since, his family says.

The Foreign Office says he is not being held “illegally”.

BBC London’s Charlotte Franks spoke to Mr Tsege’s partner Yemi Hailemariam, Maya Foa from human rights organisation Reprieve, and Andy’s sister Bezu Tsege.

Read more and watch the video at BBC »

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A Look at Athlete Of The Year 2014 Female Finalist From Ethiopia Genzebe Dibaba

As the announcement of the 2014 World Athletes of the Year draws closer, here is a closer look at the three athletes shortlisted for the women's award: Valerie Adams, Genzebe Dibaba and Dafne Schippers.

IAAF Magazine

Genzebe Dibaba

At the end of any outdoor season, it’s easy to overlook some of the performances from the indoor season. But Genzebe Dibaba’s feats in the first few months of 2014 are difficult to forget in a hurry.

The Ethiopian middle-distance runner had shown flashes of brilliance in the past, winning the 2012 world indoor title and setting a national 1500m record that summer. This year, though, Dibaba was better than ever.

In her first race of 2014, she smashed the world indoor 1500m record in Karlsruhe with 3:55.17. The last time anyone ran faster outdoors was in 1997.

Five days later in Stockholm, she was in record-breaking form again as she obliterated the world indoor 3000m record with 8:16.60, the fastest time in the world under any conditions since 1993.

The following week, she set a two miles world indoor best of 9:00.48 in Birmingham, taking six seconds off the previous mark.

Her indoor season was capped by winning the world indoor 3000m title in Sopot.

Outdoors, Dibaba won the 3000m at the IAAF Continental Cup and posted world-leading marks over 5000m and 2000m.

Read the full article at iaaf.org »

Video: Athlete Of The Year 2014 Female Finalists (IAAF)


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38 Killed in Bus Crash in Eastern Ethiopia

The accident took place in Legebenti locality when an Isuzu bus heading for Adama city from Awash town in the eastern part of Ethiopia collided with a Sino truck. (Image: VOA News)

World Bulletin

Thirty-eight people were killed in a deadly road accident in eastern Ethiopia on Saturday.

The accident took place in Legebenti locality when an Isuzu bus heading for Adama city from Awash town in the eastern part of Ethiopia collided with a Sino truck heading for Djibouti in the early hours of Saturday.

Police commander Bizuneh Godana expected the death toll to increase.

“There are many who sustained serious injuries,” he told Anadolu Agency.

The vehicles were moving in opposite directions just near the Metehara bend when the bus veered in an attempt to save a camel and crushed into the truck.

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AFCON 2015: Algeria 3 – 1 Ethiopia

Ethiopia's Getaneh Kabede missed the game against Algeria on Saturday because of suspension. (Photograph: Reuters)

Super Sport

Algeria made it five wins from five in their 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with their 3-1 victory over Ethiopia at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida on Saturday evening.

Goals from Sofiane Feghouli, Riyad Mahrez and Yacine Brahimi moved Algeria up to 15 points, the only team to have won all their games thus far.

Algeria head coach Christian Gourcuff made two changes to the side that beat Malawi last time out, with Med Lamine Zemmamouche and Saphir Taider replacing Rais M’Bolhi and Nabil Bentaleb respectively, while Bidvest Wits and Ethiopia striker Getaneh Kebede missed the game through suspension.

The hosts put Ethiopia under immense pressure in the opening 10 minutes of the encounter, with Rafik Halliche notably heading just wide.

It was Ethiopia, though, who opened the scoring completely against the run of play in the 22nd minute through Omod Okwory, who picked up the ball near the halfway line before bursting forward and hitting a right-footed effort past the Algerian glove-man.

Ethiopia continued to live dangerously, but Algeria’s finishing also left a lot to be desired in what was in all a frustrating opening half-an-hour for the hosts.

Read more »



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ZTE at Risk of Losing Ethiopia Contract

The contract in question, worth around $800 million, is to provide mobile-phone base stations and other equipment to upgrade and expand Ethiopia’s mobile network. (Image: CCTV)

The Wall Street Journal

By MATTHEW DALTON

The Ethiopian government has warned ZTE Corp. that it may cancel a huge contract it awarded to the Chinese telecommunications firm last year, amid concern about the prices ZTE is proposing to charge for its equipment, people familiar with the negotiations say.

Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia’s government-controlled, monopoly telecommunications operator, has been in contact with Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson and Nokia Corp. as possible replacements for ZTE, these people said. But Ethio Telecom has already started to award parts of ZTE’s contract to its Chinese rival, Huawei Technologies Co., an indication that the entire contract may be awarded to Huawei, said a person familiar with the moves.

The contract in question, worth around $800 million, is to provide mobile-phone base stations and other equipment to upgrade and expand Ethiopia’s mobile network.

The dispute between Ethiopia and ZTE is the latest problem to hit the country’s rickety communications network over the last eight years, during which ZTE has been the country’s main supplier of network equipment. Cancellation of the contract would also be another blow to ZTE’s business in Africa, where several countries have annulled contracts awarded to the firm because of concerns that it violated government purchasing rules, acted improperly or wasn’t up to the job.

Neither ZTE nor Ethiopian officials responded to repeated request for comment.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal »

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In Ethiopia’s Capital, a Resurgent Jazz Scene

Fendika Azmari Bet in Addis Ababa. (Photo Credit: Nichole Sobecki for The New York Times)

The New York Times

By RACHEL B. DOYLE

On a recent Sunday evening, a stylish audience in their 20s packed Mama’s Kitchen, a wood-and-glass lounge on the fourth floor of an otherwise closed shopping center near the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. They were there to hear an adventurous young pianist, Samuel Yirga, as he careened between free jazz, études, R&B and the popular local style known as Ethio-jazz, a bewitching genre that fuses jazz with traditional Ethiopian music.

Mr. Yirga’s fingers flew across the keyboard, and the crowd nodded their heads reverently even through deep forays into dissonance. The musician’s intricate arrangements for his band featured psychedelic guitar lines and funky drumming, but the focus remained on the piano melody, which Mr. Yirga accentuated with the kind of ornaments and leaps characteristic of Ethiopian music.

“I think we Ethiopians love our own thing more than other things,” the dreadlocked 29-year-old, who has signed with Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records label, said before the concert. “We respect and love other cultures, but we love our own music, our own food, dance and clothes the most.”

Mama’s Kitchen is one of several venues featuring different jazz styles — from swing to acoustic, instrumental to free jazz — that have sprung up in the Ethiopian capital in recent years. The resurgent music scene is far from the only change occurring in this frenetic city of nearly four million.

Read more at NYT »



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Medical Examiner: Almaz Gebremedhin’s Death Consistent With ‘a Traffic Accident’

Officials with the medical examiner’s office have ruled Almaz Gebremedhin’s death accidental and an autopsy reports says her injuries are consistent with a traffic accident. (CBSDFW)

CBS DFW

NORTH TEXAS – An autopsy has confirmed the body found in a van, in a North Texas pond, belongs to missing wife and mother Almaz Gebremedhin.

The remains of the 42-year-old were discovered in an 8-foot deep private pond in Wylie, more than a month after she disappeared. Local investigators had no clue as to what happened to Almaz Gebremedhin. It was a private investigator, hired by members of the Ethiopian community, who located the van in the pond that was along Gebremedhin’s route to work.

Officials with the medical examiner’s office have ruled Gebremedhin’s death accidental and an autopsy reports says her injuries are consistent with a traffic accident. Given that information, officials say no foul play is believed to be involved.

Monday night hundreds of people gathered at the Saint Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Garland to show their respect for a grieving husband who seems frustrated that he had to hire private investigators to do what the Wylie Police Department couldn’t.
There were open displays of grief at the church, anguish that comes after a 40-day search for Almaz Gebremedhin. A search that ultimately ended the way so many feared.

Read more at CBSDFW.com »

Watch: Husband Wonders If PD Would Have Ever Found His Missing Wife (CBSDFW)


Related:
How a Texas Ethiopian Organization Assisted in Discovery of Almaz Gebremedhin

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Kumera Genet: The Dominican Government Cementing Foundations of Apartheid

In the following article Ethiopian American writer Kumera Genet, pictured above at Tadias Roundtable Discussion at National Press Club in DC last year, highlights the new anti-Haitians Dominican law. (Tadias)

The Huffington Post

By Kumera Genet

It is over a year since the highest court in the Dominican Republic issued Resolution TC 0168/13, a ruling that stripped the citizenship of up to 250,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent. Since this ruling, the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the Dominican government of have used numerous methods to avoid legal responsibility for their actions, which violate the very Constitution of the Dominican Republic and international human rights treaties to which the country is party. The depressing reality is that the Dominican state is 10 years into a process of constructing a system of legal apartheid for Dominicans born to Haitian parents. This group of second- and third-generation Dominicans has always faced opposition to being fully recognized as Dominican citizens, but their government appears intent on legally cementing this discrimination — and is increasingly close to this goal.

Apartheid is best known as the system of racial segregation in 20th-century South Africa. It is defined by the United Nations as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.” These acts include “legislative measures that discriminate in the political, social, economic and cultural fields.”

Race is a complex social construct and not a universally accepted concept, but the United Nations defines racial discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”

There is a long and documented history in the Dominican Republic of prejudice against the Dominican children of Haitian immigrants. This exercised prejudice fits the United Nations’ definition of racial discrimination, and recent legal steps by the Dominican government appear to be intent on advancing towards a legally segregated society that can be considered an apartheid state.

Read more at The Huffington Post »


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Obama to Issue Executive Order On Immigartion

It’s not official yet, but White House officials are leaking news of an upcoming memorandum that will give these marching orders to immigration-enforcement agents. (Photo: President Barack Obama/GETTY)

The Root

BY: DIANA OZEMEBHOYA EROMOSELE

Nov. 14 2014

Federal officials who are responsible for tracking down and deporting undocumented immigrants will likely have new marching orders from the White House as early as next week that will be far more lenient.

According to a New York Times report, President Barack Obama is putting the final touches on a “memorandum” that will allow millions of undocumented immigrants who have lived and worked in this country for years and had children in the U.S. to stay and obtain the paperwork they need to work legally in this country.

The New York Times report is describing it as “a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration-enforcement system that will protect up to 5 million unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits.”

Nothing is official yet, but White House officials described the overall gist of the memorandum.

Read more at theroot.com »



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New Film Puts Spotlight on Legendary Ethiopian Artist Asnaketch Worku

Legendary Ethiopian artist Asnaketch Worku is the subject of a new film entitled "Asni: Courage Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia" by Ethiopian filmmakers Rachel Samuel and Yemane Demissie. (Courtesy photo)

BBC News

13 November 2014

Asnaketch Worku ‘Ethiopia’s Edith Piaf’

A new film looks at the life of the Ethiopian singer, actor and dancer Asnaketch Worku, who the film’s director calls “Ethiopia’s Edith Piaf”.

Rachael Samuel’s new film is called Asni and focuses on the life of the musician.

Asnaketch was deemed very controversial in the Ethiopia of the 1950s and 60s, which was a very conservative country at the time.

Sophie Ikenye reports.

Read more and watch the video at BBC News »

Related:
New Film by Rachel Samuel Profiles Legendary Musician Asnaketch Worku

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In US, Missouri on Alert as Grand Jury Verdict Nears in Michael Brown Case

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at a press conference on Tuesday discussing the upcoming grand jury decision in the case of the unarmed black teenager who was killed by police in Ferguson last August. (Getty)

The Root

BY: DIANA OZEMEBHOYA EROMOSELE

Soon the nation will learn if a grand jury in Missouri has decided to bring charges against police Officer Darren Wilson, the cop who fatally shot the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The state’s governor, Jay Nixon, thought it would be smart to place the state’s National Guard on standby just in case a verdict is rendered that does not jibe with public opinion, Al-Jazeera reports.

“The National Guard has been and will continue to be part of our contingency planning,” Nixon said on Tuesday during a news conference. “The guard will be available when we determine it is necessary to support local law enforcement.”

The way Ferguson, Mo.’s law enforcement handled the protests that occurred in the weeks after the fatal shooting was heavily scrutinized by community organizers, members of the media and even the White House.

Police officers have received extra hours of training to prepare to work with protesters who may want to demonstrate if Wilson is not brought up on any charges.

Read more at theroot.com »



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In Photo: Ethiopian Afrem Gebreanenia Wins at Iowa Kickboxing Tournament

Ethiopian-born MMA athlete Afrem Gebreanenia wins his fight over Brandon Villanueva of Next Edge Academy at Iowa Challenge in Sioux City, Iowa on November 8th, 2014. (Ashley Heim Photography)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Afrem Gebreanenia won his match against Brandon Villanueva of Next Edge Academy at Iowa Kickboxing Challenge held in Sioux City, Iowa last Saturday.

The Ethiopian-born mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter has a black belt in Taekwondo, but he says his dream is to pursue a career in the fighting ring. Since coming to the United States a few years ago the 21-year-old Minnesota-based athlete has earned his High School diploma and maintains a part-time job while dedicating himself to his passion, according to his manager Timothy White.

Below are photos from his recent competition:



You can learn more about Afrem Gebreanenia at: dynamicathletemgmt.wix.com/afremgmma.

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H&M Says No Cotton From Langrabbing

Swedish TV4 said H&M was using cotton from areas in Ethiopia that are vulnerable to land grabbing.

Reuters via Euronews

H&M says seeks to ensure cotton does not come from disputed land

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Hennes & Mauritz , the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Tuesday that it made every effort to ensure its cotton did not come from appropriated land but could not provide an absolute guarantee.

Swedish TV4 said H&M was using cotton from areas in Ethiopia that are vulnerable to land grabbing — the buying or leasing of land in developing countries, often by foreign companies, without the consent of affected local communities.

“According to (TV4’s) investigation, cotton used for the production of H&M’s clothes in Ethiopia comes from areas subject to land grabbing,” TV4 said in an emailed statement.

H&M said it did not accept such practices.

It began small-scale buying of clothes from suppliers in Ethiopia in 2013, its first sourcing from an African country.

Its operations are widely seen as part of the Ethiopian government’s plans to build up a garment production industry.

“H&M does not accept appropriation of land, so-called land-grabbing,” the company said in a statement.

“Because of that we demand that our suppliers ensure that they do not use cotton from the Omo Valley region where there is a higher risk for land-grabbing.”

However, H&M said it could not guarantee that cotton in its clothes does not come from areas subject to land-grabbing.

Read more »

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Zone 9: Court Requests Detailed Charges

The defendants, who were arrested last spring in Addis Ababa in connection with their work as journalists and bloggers, have now been in pre-trial detention for over six months. (Photo credit: Jomanex Kasaye)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Nov 12, 2014

An Ethiopian court asked prosecutors to amend charges so they specify the acts of terrorism that 10 bloggers and journalists are alleged to have been plotting, a defense lawyer said.

The order was made today at the Federal High Court in the capital, Addis Ababa, where nine out of the 10 accused are standing trial for collaborating with a U.S.-based opposition group, Ginbot 7, which is classified as a terrorist organization by Ethiopia’s government.

The charges “simply say these suspects organized themselves and designed terrorism without mentioning what kind of terrorism did they plot as defined under Article 3” of a 2009 anti-terrorism law, Ameha Mekonnen, the defense lawyer, said today in an interview in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is the second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa after Eritrea, its neighbor, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Read more at Bloomberg News »


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NASA to Grant Scholarships to Ethiopian Students

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the United States government agency that is responsible for the civilian space program as well as for aeronautics and aerospace research. (Wikimedia)

Newstime Africa

By Addis Getachew

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) has said it would provide assistance to various institutions in Ethiopia in the areas of science and engineering.

The assertion came at a meeting between visiting NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom at the conclusion of the U.S. official’s weeklong visit to Ethiopia.

“Most of the discussion was about collaboration between NASA and various institutions here in Ethiopia, particularly in the science arena,” Bolden told reporters following the closed-door meeting with Adhanom.

“We talked about assisting in the operation of two new telescopes at Entoto Hills, the northern suburb of capital Addis Ababa, where the Ethiopian Space Science Observatory is located,” he said.

The talks also touched on the possibility of NASA providing scholarships to Ethiopian students, he added.

Bolden did not, however, specify the duration of the proposed scholarships, the number of Ethiopian students who would benefit from them, or when they would become available.

Scholarships would be granted, Bolden said, through NASA’s recently-instituted international internships program.

“The continent of Africa does not have a lot of observatories,” he said.

The meeting also tackled ways the two sides might explore potential partnerships, Bolden said.

Read more at Newstime Africa »

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

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

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Press release – Oxford University Consulting

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

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

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

The candidates should have:

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

    Senior Researchers are also expected to:

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

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

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

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

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

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  • How Ethiopians in Texas Assisted in Discovery of Almaz Gebremedhin

    The body of Ethiopian mom Almaz Gebremedhin who disappeared on her way to work in early October in Wylie, Texas was found Sunday in a pond along the road to her job, Wylie police said. (Family photo/DMN)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – In an interview with Tadias Magazine on Monday Mac Mekonnen, Executive Director of the Mutual Assistance Association For Ethiopian Community in Dallas, said that the family of Almaz Gebremedhin — the Ethiopian-born mother of two children who had been missing for almost five weeks and whose body was found last Sunday — will move into St Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Dallas for three days of mourning. Mr. Mekonnen said they will wait for the autopsy reports to be completed before announcing plans for the funeral. Almaz is survived by her husband of 16 years, Sisay Zelelew, her 10-year-old son, an 8-year-old daughter, and her mother who resides with the household in Wylie.

    The Ethiopian community in the Dallas/Forth Worth area has stood beside Almaz’s distraught family, quickly mobilizing to raise reward money within days and even hiring the private detectives who eventually led the discovery of her remains submerged in a pond inside her car, between her home and her work in Wylie, Texas. 42 year-old Almaz had been reported missing since Thursday, October 2nd, 2014. Almaz was employed by the Garnet Hill Rehabilitation and Skilled Care, which is located approximately three miles from her residence and less than a mile from the Muddy Creek Farms pond, where the body was found.

    “To begin with the Wylie Police Department was really cooperative in helping out in the search. They did a helicopter search. They also conducted a horseback search, and they did what they could given the circumstances and that was pretty much about it,” said Mr. Mekonnen. “We really appreciate what they have done, but there wasn’t much progress after that. As you know Almaz was missing for over one month.”

    A week and half into the investigation, Mr. Mekonnen said, they created a task force within their organization regarding the case. “Not only did we raise $15,000 from the community, but we also offered $10,000 reward money for anyone who had any information leading to the discovery of Almaz,” he shared. “And while we were waiting to hear from the police department, and when it took time, the task force decided to hire private investigators.” He added: “We set up a budget and they started working on it and they were also trying to coordinate with the police department.”

    Mr. Mekonnen continued: “Our private investigators contacted a non-profit organization out of Illinois that is a water search organization called Team Waters Sonar Search & Recovery Incorporated. They asked us just a minimum fee to do the search and they came on Sunday. They drove all the way from near Chicago with the technology and they went to the area where we suspected Almaz might have been missing. True enough there was a pond, about 12 feet deep. Inside the water when they stared using their sonar technology they located the car. And immediately they notified the Wylie Police Department. Then divers from the County’s Sheriff’s office were called in. They dove and they pulled out the vehicle and, of course, her body.”

    In a press release the Wylie Police Department said that officers “were dispatched to the area to assist in the search as well as Collin County Sheriff’s Office Dive team.” The statement added: “The family was immediately notified by Wylie investigators. This case is still under investigation as to how the vehicle ended up in the pond.”

    The pond is a mile and half from where Almaz lived, noted Mr. Mekonnen. “So it’s not too far really, it’s a short distance,” he said. “From what I hear right now in the news it’s that the Wylie Police Department is saying that they did not have the right technology to do the water search in that kind of deep water.” Mr. Mekonnen stated: They definitely give credit to the sonar search company out of Illinois.”

    “And obviously this task force that we have assembled here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Ethiopian community was determined to see this to its conclusion,” Mr. Mekonnen added. “On behalf of the task force I would like to thank our community, and the Dallas community in general for their concern and assistance. At the moment, as a community, in spite of a lot of talk out there of what happened, we are focused on bringing everybody together to help the family. We are in support mode right now.”

    Video: Texas Woman Missing Since October Found in Wylie pond


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    History In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie in Bonn 60 years ago

    In 1954 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia became the first foreign head of state to visit the Federal Republic of Germany. His visit brought a breath of the exotic to then provincial Bonn. (Photo via DW)

    Deutsche Welle

    November 11th, 2014

    For the young Federal Republic of Germany it was both a great honor and a sensation when the Ethiopian Negus Negesti (King of Kings) paid a visit in November 1954 as the first foreign head of state to visit what was then generally referred to as West Germany (to distinguish it from the postwar German Democratic Republic or East Germany.) On his arrival, Emperor Haile Selassie, who was dressed in an ornate uniform and wearing a helmet embellished with hair from Ethiopia’s heraldic beast, the black lion, attracted great attention.

    Despite the historic significance of the visit, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany decided to show restraint in the welcome it extended to the royal guest. In the words of the German head of protocol at the time, Hans von Herwarth, “We said to ourselves, we have refugees here, there is great need in Germany [in the early postwar years], and heads would be shaken both in Germany and abroad if we were to display too much pomp and ceremony.” For von Herwarth, what was most important was that “the Emperor of Ethiopia should feel comfortable during his visit.” And so, elephants and camels were purchased from a traveling circus for the reception of the African head of state – since apparently no one knew that His Majesty was more interested in thoroughbred horses and took the opportunity to visit a number of stud farms while in Germany.

    The intention was for the visit to be – as Chancellor Merkel would probably formulate it 60 years later – “a meeting of equals.” The guest had come not to beg for assistance but as a partner. Diplomatic relations between Germany and Ethiopia had already existed for 50 years. Now, the world’s last absolute monarch – “God’s Chosen One,” “Power of the Trinity,” ” Victorious Lion from the Tribe of Judah” – the man born as Tafari Makonnen, was coming to visit steelworks and hospitals and to hear from his German hosts how the technical achievements of the west could be imported to the empire on the Horn of Africa.


    The Ethiopian emperor was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bonn


    Federal President Theodor Heuss (2nd left) hosted a formal banquet for the Ethiopian guest of honor


    On his second visit to Germany in 1974 Haile Selassie met Chancellor Willy Brandt (r)

    Read more at Deutsche Welle »

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    ‘Nightmare’ for Ethiopian Pastoralists as Foreign Investors Buy Up Land

    Suri boys with water gourds herd cattle along a road in Tulgit, Omo valley, Ethiopia. (Photograph: Alam)

    The Guardian

    By David Smith

    Ethiopia’s policy of leasing millions of hectares of land to foreign investors is encouraging human rights violations, ruining livelihoods and disturbing a delicate political balance between ethnic groups, a thinktank report has found.

    The US-based Oakland Institute says that while the east African country is now lauded as an economic success story, the report, Engineering Ethnic Conflict, “highlights the unreported nightmare experienced by Ethiopia’s traditionally pastoralist communities”.

    A controversial “villagisation” programme has seen tens of thousands of people forcibly moved to purpose-built communes that have inadequate food and lack health and education facilities, according to human rights watchdogs, to make way for commercial agriculture. Ethiopia is one of the biggest recipients of UK development aid, receiving around £300m a year.

    The Oakland Institute’s research, conducted in 2012 and 2013, focused on 34,000 Suri pastoralists who have lived in south-west Ethiopia for up to three centuries. Suri livelihoods consist of herding cattle, goats and sheep, shifting cultivation, and hunting and gathering.

    But the recent introduction of large-scale plantations “has not only made important grazing lands unavailable to the Suri and devastated their livelihoods, but disturbed political order between the Suri and other local ethnic groups, escalating violent conflicts”, the report says.

    The investigation was prompted by 2012 reports of violence at Koka, a foreign-owned 30,000 hectare (74,000 acres) plantation established two years earlier to produce palm oil, although it has since expanded to grow moringa trees and maize, with plans for rubber trees.

    According to a Kenyan NGO, Friends of Lake Turkana, the government cleared grass and trees to allow Malaysian investors to establish the plantation. Water was diverted from the Koka river to these plantations, leaving the Suri without water for their cattle.

    In response, the Suri took up arms and battled government forces, Friends of Lake Turkana said. Government forces killed 54 unarmed Suri in a marketplace in retaliation. There have been more killings and arrests since.

    Read more at The Guardian »

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    New York Ebola Patient Leaves Hospital

    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio hugs Dr. Craig Spencer as he is discharged from Bellevue Hospital, after being stricken by Ebola, in New York Nov. 11, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

    VOA News

    November 11, 2014

    A New York doctor who is the last known Ebola victim in the United States has been cured of the deadly disease and left a hospital on Tuesday.

    Officials at a New York hospital say that “after a rigorous course of treatment and testing,” 33-year-old Craig Spencer has been declared free of the Ebola virus. They said he “poses no public health risk.”

    Spencer, working for Doctors Without Borders, contracted Ebola while treating patients in Guinea and was hospitalized after returning to the U.S. last month. He was experiencing fever, nausea, pain and fatigue and the fact that he went bowling and traveled on New York’s vast subway system sparked fears that Ebola could spread in the country’s largest city. He has been in isolation at New York’s Bellevue Hospital while undergoing treatment.

    As he left the hospital, he told a news conference that his recovery shows the need for early detection and treatment of the disease. Now, he says the focus ought to shift back to West Africa, the center of the Ebola outbreak, and pleaded for public support for foreign medical workers treating Ebola victims.

    “Please join me in turning our attention back to West Africa and ensuring that medical volunteers and other aid workers do not face stigma and threats upon their return home,” said Spencer. “Volunteers need to be supported to help fight this outbreak at its source.”

    In a separate Ebola scare in the U.S., the 21-day Ebola incubation period has ended for a nurse, Kaci Hickox, who treated patients in Sierra Leone, although she never tested positive for Ebola. She fought strict quarantine demands in two states, but eventually agreed to medical monitoring, which ended at midnight Monday.

    Only one Ebola patient has died in the United States, but underfunded health facilities in West Africa have been overwhelmed by the disease. Ebola has infected 13,000 people, killing nearly 5,000.

    Video: Retracing steps of N.Y. Ebola patient (CNN)


    Related:
    At a Pledging Meeting in Ethiopia, Africa Sets Up $28.5m Ebola Crisis Fund
    Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa
    5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: WHO
    Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Health Workers in Ebola-Hit West Africa
    In first case, Doctor in New York City is Diagnosed With Ebola
    Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
    Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
    U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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    Lucy Celebrates 40th Anniversary

    Photo from the New York exhibition of the world-famous fossil from Ethiopia Lucy (Dinknesh) at the Discovery Time Square Exposition on Wednesday, June 24, 2009. (Photograph: Tadias Magazine file)

    Science News

    BY TOM SIEGFRIED

    Donald Johanson is always looking at the ground.

    “I find more quarters by parking meters than anybody I know,” he says.

    As he was looking at the ground four decades ago, in a region called Hadar, named for a dry riverbed in Ethiopia, he saw something a lot more exciting than a quarter. It was a fossil bone.

    “I found a little piece of elbow,” he said last week in Columbus, Ohio, while addressing a conference of science writers. “And I knew from studies of osteology and comparative anatomy that this had to be from a human ancestor.”

    By two weeks later, Johanson and his colleagues had collected enough bones to reconstruct about 40 percent of a skeleton. Those bones belonged to a primitive human forerunner now known as Lucy.

    [This] month paleoanthropologists will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Johanson’s discovery of the elbow bone on November 24, 1974. In the intervening four decades, many more fossils along with other clues have been discovered, rewriting the story of the human race. The evolution of earlier humanlike species and eventually modern humans has grown from the outline of a play with a small cast to an elaborate production with more characters than an Agatha Christie mystery, many remaining enigmatic with relationships still unclear.

    Read more at ScienceNews.org »

    Video: ‘Lucy’ returns home after 6-years US Tour (CBS News)


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    Body of Almaz Gebremedhin Found (Video)

    Police believe they have found the body of Almaz Gebremedhin, who had been missing since Oct. 2, 2014.

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Press Release – City of Wylie Police Department

    Wylie, Texas – On Sunday, November 09, 2014, at approximately 2:00 pm, Wylie Investigators received a call from a search and rescue crew advising they have located what they believed to be a van in the Muddy Creek Farms pond located at 2500 McMillen Road in Wylie. After a Collin County dive team took to the waters, they discovered the silver Chevrolet Venture with a body believed to be that of Almaz Gebremedhin inside. Gebremedhin had been missing since October 2, 2014.

    The family hired a private detective to assist in her search. The private detective then hired a search and recovery team out of Illinois who arrived in the area and began the search this morning. They were instructed to search both sides of the roadway from the residence to where Gebremedhin worked. They came the 2500 block of McMillen where the pond was fenced in. They utilized their sonar showing the van in the pond. Wylie Police Officers were dispatched to the area to assist in the search as well as Collin County Sheriff’s Office Dive team. The family was immediately notified by Wylie Investigators.

    This case is still under investigation as to how the vehicle ended up in the pond.



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    Yacob Amare: “I Want to be a Senator”

    Immigrants take the citizenship oath before the Columbus International Festival on Saturday, October 8th, 2014. (Columbus Dispatch)

    The Columbus Dispatch

    By Steve Wartenberg

    For 22 years, Yacob Amare has waited to say his first words as an American citizen.

    He finally got his chance yesterday, at the start of the annual Columbus International Festival at the Ohio Expo Center. U.S. District Judge Edmund A Sargus Jr. presided over a naturalization ceremony there for about 75 people from 35 countries who ranged in age from 18 to 73.

    Each new citizen stood and stated his or her name and birth country. Many added how happy they are to be citizens; others said they look forward to voting for the first time.

    “My name is Yacob Amare from Ethiopia, and I’ll be running for office one day,” said the 34-year-old believer in the American dream.

    “I want to be a senator,” he said later.

    Amare and the other new citizens joined the growing melting pot of central Ohio, or what Sargus described as “a fine mosaic.”

    While many festivals focus on “one ethnicity, one country or one faith, we are international,” said Dr. J.S. Jindal, a retired dentist from India who is chairman of the International Festival, which was first held in 1955.

    The goal is to bring people together.

    Read more at The Columbus Dispatch »

    Related:
    Jersey City welcomes new U.S. citizens with naturalization ceremony

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    Obama Arrives in Beijing for Summit, State Visit Amid US- China Tensions

    U.S. President Barack Obama passes an honor guard upon his arrival in Beijing, Nov. 10, 2014. (Reuters)

    VOA News

    By Luis Ramirez

    November 10, 2014

    BEIJING — President Barack Obama has arrived in Beijing on what is expected to be a polite but difficult three-day visit as tensions simmer between the two Pacific powers.

    Obama arrived in the Chinese capital on Monday to a welcome that had all the trappings of a state visit. Still ahead is a dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Asia-Pacific leaders and, later, fireworks.

    But with China growing more powerful both economically and militarily, there are tensions beneath the veneer of courtesy and pomp Obama was afforded at his arrival.

    Evan Medeiros, the top official for Asian Affairs in the president’s National Security Council, told reporters that in coming here, Obama – in the rest of his term – wants to build a stable and diversified security order in which both powers can co-exist peacefully in the region.

    “We see this trip as an important opportunity to define a forward-looking agenda for the U.S.-China relationship over the next two years, and to ensure that the U.S.-China relationship is defined for the most part by more and better and higher-quality cooperation on regional and global challenges, while also carefully managing the disagreements between the two countries,” said Medeiros.

    Pushing an agenda of greater cooperation will not be easy for Obama, who comes here politically weakened by elections at home. And there are signs the welcome he is getting from the Chinese is only superficial.

    In the days before the U.S. leader’s arrival, Chinese official newspapers have published disparaging remarks about Obama, including one describing him as “insipid,” and saying the results of recent U.S. elections show Americans are tired of his “banality.”

    The United States is concerned about the continuing trade deficit, cyber issues, and Chinese maritime claims in the East and South China Seas. President Obama wants to dispel the impression among Chinese leaders that the U.S., through the rebalance of its forces to the Pacific, is trying to contain China.

    U.S. administration officials say they are expecting frank discussions. But Wilson Center analyst Robert Daly, a former U.S. diplomat in China, said the talks will emphasize the positive elements of the relationship and not get to the heart of the tensions between the existing power and the one that is rising.

    “To date, neither side is willing to specify what accommodations it is willing to make. Or in the case of China, what it is, specifically, that it doesn’t like about the current set of arrangements in the western Pacific. China has never answered what it is that it would like to be able to achieve that it can’t achieve under the current set of arrangements,” said Daley.

    Over the next two days Obama will participate in a summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group APEC. U.S. officials see APEC as a means to set rules that will prevent conflicts in the region and hope this meeting will help them make progress on trade, cyberspace, and climate issues.

    On Wednesday, President Obama’s official part of the visit begins and it is then that the more substantial conversations will happen with the Chinese leader behind closed doors.

    Obama will depart Beijing later Wednesday to make his second to visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma. There, he will attend two East Asian summits before going to Australia for a gathering of the G20.

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    Africa Sets Up $28.5m Ebola Crisis Fund

    Of the West African countries hit by the 11-month outbreak, Liberia has seen the most deaths. (BBC)

    BBC News

    Top African business leaders have established an emergency fund to help countries hit by the Ebola outbreak.

    A pledging meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised $28.5m to deploy at least 1,000 health workers to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    Experts say that if the disease is to be speedily contained, it needs to be tackled in these three countries.

    Nearly 5,000 people out of about 14,000 cases have been killed by the virus, most of them in Liberia.

    Ebola deaths in West Africa Up to 4 November
    4,960 Deaths – probable, confirmed and suspected (Includes one death in US and one in Mali)
    2,766 Liberia
    1,130 Sierra Leone
    1,054 Guinea
    8 Nigeria
    Source: WHO

    Speaking at the end of the Addis Abada meeting, African Union chairman Dlamini Zuma said the resources mobilised would be part of a longer term programme to deal with such outbreaks in the future.

    Read more at BBC News »

    Related:
    Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa
    5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: WHO
    Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Health Workers in Ebola-Hit West Africa
    In first case, Doctor in New York City is Diagnosed With Ebola
    Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
    Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
    U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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    Zone 9 Case Sees 11th Court Delay

    Journalists Tesfalem Weldyes, Asmamaw Haile Giorigis, Edom Kassaye, and bloggers Mahlet Fantahun, Abel Wabela, Befeqadu Hailu, Zelalem Kebret, Atenaf Berahene and Natnael Feleke have been jailed since April.

    The International Press Institute

    By: Siobhan Hagan, IPI Contributor

    VIENNA – An Ethiopian court this week delayed proceedings for an 11th time against six bloggers and three independent journalists, who were arrested in April in connection with their activities as part of the Zone 9 collective.

    The court at a hearing on Tuesday adjourned the case until Nov. 12, 2014. The nine defendants, who were arrested in Addis Ababa on April 25 and 26, have now been in pre-trial detention for over six months.

    The bloggers and journalists are being held on charges of alleged terrorism and inciting violence as a result of their contact with foreign human rights organisations and opposition political parties. They are being prosecuted under Ethiopia’s controversial, 2009 anti-terrorism law.

    After a joint mission to Ethiopia with the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) last year, IPI called on Ethiopian authorities to release all journalists convicted under the legislation and urged that the law be amended in a way that does not inhibit constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression rights.

    IPI Senior Press Freedom Adviser Steven M. Ellis said: “The Zone 9 case not only illustrates the stifling press environment in Ethiopia, but the severely impeded judicial proceedings in this case also interfere with the defendants’ due process rights.”

    The Zone 9 Trial Tracker blog calls the 11th delay a “record” in a case that has been stalled since the April arrests and marked by repeated delays.

    The first delays were a result of police requests for more time to conduct investigations. The defendants were not formally charged until July 17, when they were brought to the Lideta High Court for a hearing without legal representation. When they refused to be tried without a lawyer, the case was adjourned until the next morning. At a July 18 hearing, the trial was adjourned until Aug. 4.

    The Trial Tracker blog reported that at Tuesday’s hearing there was confusion regarding changes in the courtroom venue. The blog said that the hearing was pushed back as a result of two presiding judges in the case being replaced with new judges, who were unprepared to make a ruling.

    Before last year’s joint IPI/WAN-IFRA mission, African Union Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Pansy Tlakula told IPI: “[F]ollowing the 2005 general elections in Ethiopia, freedom of expression and media freedom [have] been continuously deteriorating.”

    In a report released on Jan. 14 following the mission, IPI said that Ethiopia’s use of sweeping anti-terrorism law to imprison journalists and other legislative restrictions were hindering the development of free and independent media in the country.

    Photo credit: Jomanex Kasaye via IPI

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