Author Archive for Tadias

‘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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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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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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In Ferguson, Police and Protesters Agree to ‘Rules of Engagement’ (Video)

Missouri Department of Public Safety director Daniel Isom, left, speaks as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, center, and St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley listen during a news conference, Nov. 21, 2014.

VOA News

Updated: November 22, 2014

Law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri, have agreed on “rules of engagement” with some organized activist groups to ensure demonstrations are peaceful when a grand jury decision is issued in the coming days on whether or not to indict a white police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in early August.

The incident sparked weeks of sometimes violent protest in the St. Louis suburb and has become a flashpoint for U.S. race relations.

Friday, St. Louis County’s top executive Charlie Dooley said he is “expecting the best” no matter what the grand jury decides. Dooley said he found it hopeful “that we can sit around the table even though we have different opinions.” He called the process of drafting the rules of engagement “respectful.”

Protest groups from around the country are planning to descend on Ferguson in large numbers if the grand jury exonerates Officer Darren Wilson, and local police have drawn up contingency plans in case the demonstrations turn violent.

The grand jury has been in session since the end of August and is continuing to deliberate the case.

Earlier Friday, the father of the slain teenager appealed for calm ahead of the grand jury decision. In a video posted online, Michael Brown Senior said hurting others or destroying property is “not the answer” to frustration over what is seen as racial injustice.

U.S. Attorney Eric Holder — the nation’s top law official — issued new guidance on Friday to law enforcement authorities about how to maintain public safety while allowing protesters to express themselves.

Holder accompanied the new guidelines with a plea for peaceful protest.

“I ask all those who seek to lend their voice to important causes and discussions and who seek to elevate these vital conversations, to do so in a way that respects the gravity of their subject matter,” he said.

Holder added that throughout history “the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to non-aggression and nonviolence.”

Stories differ as to what happened August 9 when Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown. Lawyers for Brown’s family say he was trying to surrender when the officer shot him.

Wilson’s supporters say he shot Brown in self-defense.



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Eritreans ‘Fleeing Conscription Drive’ for Ethiopia – UNHCR

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

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 »
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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 (Video)

(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.

Read more »

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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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    The International Credit Rating Agency Fitch Affirms Ethiopia at ‘B’, Outlook Stable

    The international rating agency Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ethiopia's Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'B' with stable outlook, the rating agency reported on Friday, November 7th, 2014.

    Reuters

    (The following statement was released by the rating agency)

    PARIS/LONDON – Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ethiopia’s Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at ‘B’. The Outlooks on the Long-term IDRs are Stable. The Country Ceiling and the Short-term foreign currency IDR are both affirmed at ‘B’. KEY RATING DRIVERS Ethiopia’s ‘B’ IDRs reflect the following key rating drivers:- -Ethiopia is vulnerable to shocks even compared with ‘B’ rated peers despite strong improvements in its World Bank governance indicators and development indicators over the past decade. This is balanced by strong economic performance and improved public and external debt ratios since debt relief under HIPC in 2005-2007. -Macroeconomic performance is broadly in line with rated peers. The public sector-led development strategy implemented over the past decade, focusing on heavy investments in infrastructure, has sustained strong real GDP growth, which reached an estimated 10.3% in the fiscal year to 7 July 2014 (FY14), above most regional peers, although it may be overestimated according to previous reports by the IMF. Inflation, which has historically been high and volatile, has slowed to single digits since October 2013, due to a combination of moderate international food prices and reduced central bank financing of the budget deficit. However, Fitch believes inflation remains vulnerable to food price variations. -Public finances compare favourably with ‘B’ rated peers, but are exposed to rising contingent liabilities.

    Read the full press release at Reuters.com »

    Video: Ethiopia Announces Plans to Issue EuroBond (CNBC Africa)


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    Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) 4th Anniversary Gala, November 14th in DC

    Dr. Solomon Bililign, recipient of the 2010 U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering, speaking at Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) event in D.C. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Friday, November 7th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – The DC-based Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) is holding its 4th Anniversary Gala next weekend at The Washington Post Conference center. The association, which was founded in 2010, is a growing networking group that has built a platform for Ethiopian professionals in various sectors to meet and share resources among each other. In an interview with Tadias Magazine earlier this year the organization’s Co-Founder & Executive Vice-President Shimelse Mekonnen noted that YEP also provides mentoring programs for college and high school students. “[We are] a non-profit organization with volunteers, such as myself, who strive to build a community of diverse professionals,” Shimelse told Tadias. “We offer free tutoring, educational workshops and inspirational events to our members.”

    Organizers share that this year’s gala features a keynote speech by author and motivational speaker Mawi Asgedom as well as poetry reading by the award-wining Ethiopian poet and performer Bewketu Seyoum.

    “Mawi Asgedom has written eight books that are read in thousands of classrooms, spoken to over 1,000,000 students, and inspired students worldwide through his online leadership courses,” states the announcement. “As a child, Mawi fled civil war in Ethiopia and survived a Sudanese refugee camp. After being resettled in The United States, Mawi overcame poverty, language barriers and personal tragedy to graduate from Harvard University, where he gave the Commencement address to an audience of 30,000.”

    Bewketu is the winner of the 2008 Best Young Writer of Ethiopia award and has published two bestselling novels, two poetry collections in Amharic, and multiple highly celebrated humorous short stories. The press release adds: “His poetry has appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation (The Big Green Issue, 2008) and Callaloo (2011). He has performed in many stages across Ethiopia, North America and Europe.”

    The evening hosted by master of ceremonies Helen Mesfin will also include live auction, music, dinner and a cash bar. Prior to the gala Marcus Samuelsson will make an appearance as part of his book tour.

    If You Go:
    YEP’s 4th Anniversary Celebration & Fundraising Gala
    Friday, November 14, 2014 6:00 PM – 12AM
    Washington, DC
    www.yepnetworks.org

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    In Pictures: Amazing Photos of Ethiopia’s 5th Century ‘Church in The Sky’

    Kes Haile Silassie, a priest at Abuna Yemata Guh, a church 2,500 feet high on a clifftop in northern Ethiopia. (Photo: Lonely Planet Traveller)

    The Daily Mail Online

    By ANDREA MAGRATH

    November 7th, 2014

    It would certainly be a test of even the most faithful’s devotion.

    At 2,500 feet, Ethiopa’s ‘church in the sky’ is arguably the most inaccessible place of worship on earth, perched on top of a vertical spire of rock, with sheer, 650 feet drops on all sides.

    To reach the extraordinary church on a clifftop in Tigray, one must scale a sheer 19 feet-high wall of rock without any climbing ropes or harnesses, inching along narrow ledges and crossing a rickety makeshift bridge.

    It is said that in 5th century AD Egyptian priest Father Yemata walked to Ethiopia, climbed the mountains and quarried the church out of the rock.

    ‘Father Yemata, it seems, liked a dose of extreme sports with his divinity,’ writes Lonely Planet Traveller. The magazine features the church, Abuna Yemata Guh, in its new bookazine collating the best and most inspiring destinations visited by the publication.


    Beautiful: The church was quarried from the rock on the mountain in 5th century. (Photo: Lonely Planet)

    Read more and see the photos at The Daily Mail Online »

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    The Ethiopian-Jewish-Israeli Holiday “Sigd” to be Celebrated in New York

    (Photos courtesy: Chassida Shmella, Ethiopian Jewish Community, Inc.)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – The Ethiopian-Jewish-Israeli holiday Sigd, which is a national holiday in Israel, will be celebrated in New York on November 14th and 16th at the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel (Two West 70th Street), and at B’nai Jeshurun (257 West 88th Street). The 5th annual event hosted by the Ethiopian Jewish Community organization, Chassida Shmella, features special guests from Israel: Kess Eli Mentesnot Vandat and Kess Efraim Zion Lawi. In addition, organizers note, Rabbi Dr. Sharon Shalom and Professor Ephraim Isaac will be present.

    “The Sigd holiday takes place 50 days after Yom Kippur and Ethiopian Jews flood Jerusalem by the thousands to observe the holiday, celebrated on the 29th day of the month of Cheshvan,” states the announcement. “It symbolizes the acceptance of the Torah.”

    Wiki adds: “There are two oral traditions about the origin of Sigd. One tradition traces it to the 6th century in the time of the Aksumite king Gebre Mesqel when the war between Jews and Christians ended and both communities separated from each other. The second tradition traces it to the 15th Century as a result of persecution by Ethiopian-Christian Emperors. The first mention of Sigd is from the 15th century. Sigd symbolizes the acceptance of the Torah. Kessim have also maintained a tradition of the holiday arising as a result of persecution by Christian kings, during which the Kessim retreated into the wilderness to appeal to God for His mercy.”

    Video: PM Netanyahu’s Sigd Greetings to the Ethiopian Community (IsraeliPM YouTube)


    If You Go:
    NYC; Weekend of November 14th – 16th
    Congregation Shearith Israel – The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue
    Friday, November 14: Friday evening services 4:30pm,
    Followed by a Friday Night Lights lecture
    Shabbat dinner 7 PM
    Shabbat dinner (Kosher) must be prepaid:
    $38 ($30 student) before 11/6
    $45 ($40 Student) after 11/7
    2 W 70th St, New York, NY 10023
    Tel: 212-284-6532
    www.ethiopianjews.org

    Sunday, November 16th: Celebration at B’nai Jeshurun
    Enjoy Ethiopian/Israeli finger food, amazing Ethiopian music & dancers
    Sigd: prepaid: $40 (Students $32).
    Price at the door: $45 ($40 Students)
    COMBO PRICE for both dinner and Sigd: $65
    $72 after 11/7
    Doors open 3:45 pm/ Sigd program begins at 4:15 pm
    For any questions: Tel – 212-284-6532
    www.chassidashmella.org

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    Rand Bank’s Ayalenesh Tafese on Ethiopia’s Eurobond Plans (CNBC Video)

    Ayalenesh Tafese from Rand Merchant Bank joins CNBC Africa to discuss Ethiopia's Eurobond plans. (CNBC)

    CNBC Africa

    Investors in the Emerging markets have exhibited an unquenchable appetite for the Bonds Market, after the success of Kenya’s debut Eurobond, other economies like Tanzania and Ethiopia have announced plans for their respective bonds.

    Ayalenesh Tafese from Rand Merchant Bank joins CNBC Africa to discuss Ethiopia’s Eurobond plans and prospects for investors and the country.

    Watch: Ethiopia Announces Plans to Issue EuroBond (CNBC Africa)


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    Sam Liccardo Elected Mayor of San Jose

    Councilman Sam Liccardo, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council, has been elected the next Mayor of San Jose, California. (Photo courtesy of The Ethiopian American Council - EAC)

    San Jose Mercury News

    By Mike Rosenberg

    SAN JOSE — Councilman Sam Liccardo appeared to be headed for a narrow victory over county Supervisor Dave Cortese in Tuesday’s hotly-contested battle to become the next mayor of San Jose.

    In the early hours of Wednesday morning, with all precincts reporting, Liccardo had won 51 percent of the vote and Cortese had secured roughly 49 percent — a gap that had held steady throughout election night. Still, a good chunk of mail ballots turned in at the last minute will be counted over the rest of the week, and it wasn’t clear if Cortese would concede Wednesday.

    Liccardo dominated voter results in the western half of the city, while Cortese controlled his native East Side, as they tried to succeed termed-out Mayor Chuck Reed. In all, Liccardo had garnered a lead of 2,176 votes as of 5 a.m.

    The race has turned on a simple question: How should San Jose stop the exodus of police officers that has led to a public safety crisis not normally seen in the wealthy capital of Silicon Valley?


    Sam Liccardo shows up at his election night party surrounded by former San Jose mayors, city leaders and a brewery full of beer. (Photo: KQED)

    Read more at San Jose Mercury News »
    —-
    Related:
    Republicans Take Control of US Senate
    Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado
    US Election 2014: A Record Number of African Americans Running for Office
    Who’s Who in the Nov. 4 Election
    What You Need to Know About Tuesday’s Midterm US Elections
    Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate
    Ethiopian American Council Endorses Congressman Mike Honda for Re-Election

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    Republicans, Democrats & Independents: The Ethiopian American Vote in US Election

    Republican and Democratic candidates for both local and national offices in California and Colorado targeted the Ethiopian American vote in the 2014 midterm U.S. Elections held on Nov. 4th. (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – Tuesday’s midterm U.S. election saw a number of lawmakers and city leaders from both parties actively courting the Ethiopian American vote. And mostly the results were successful.

    In the West Coast, Congressman Mike Honda (Democrat of California) who was recently endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council in his re-election campaign, appears to have fended off the fiercest challenge to his post since he took office nearly fourteen years ago. The San Jose Mercury News reports that “Rep. Mike Honda held a close lead over challenger Ro Khanna Wednesday morning in the nationally watched Democrat-on-Democrat House race. Honda and Khanna, a former Obama administration Commerce Department official who lives in Fremont, were vying to represent the heart of Silicon Valley and the first Asian-American majority House district outside Hawaii. As of the updated count at 4:43 a.m., Honda led Khanna by about 4.5 percentage points — down from his initial 7-point lead — with all of the precincts counted but many thousands of vote-by-mail ballots yet to be tallied.”

    “It’s a good beginning but it’s not the end yet,” Honda had said late Tuesday night, adding that he was encouraged by the support he saw around the district earlier in the day. “The energy was high and people were responding very positively.”

    In another good news for the Ethiopian American Council (EAC) Councilman Sam Liccardo, who was also endorsed by the organization, has been elected the next Mayor of San Jose, California.

    On Tuesday, as predicted by several national polls, the Republican party took control of the U.S. Senate, while expanding its majority in the House of Representatives.

    The 2014 election also featured the nation’s first Ethiopian American candidate for political office, Professor Mohammed Tahiro, who appeared as the only write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate from Texas.

    In Colorado’s 6th Congressional District Republican Congressman Mike Coffman, who made campaign stops at four Ethiopian churches this past Sunday seeking last minute Ethiopian American votes, has also been re-elected to a fourth term.



    Related:
    2014 Election: Running Away From Obama Is What Cost Democrats (Opinion)
    Sam Liccardo Elected Mayor of San Jose
    Republicans Take Control of US Senate
    Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado
    US Election 2014: A Record Number of African Americans Running for Office
    Who’s Who in the Nov. 4 Election
    What You Need to Know About Tuesday’s Midterm US Elections
    Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate
    Ethiopian American Council Endorses Congressman Mike Honda for Re-Election

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    2014 Midterms: Running Away From Obama Is What Cost Democrats (Opinion)

    President Barack Obama at a campaign rally for Democratic challenger for Wisconsin Gov. Mary Burke at North Devision High School, Oct. 28, 2014, in Milwaukee. (Getty Images)

    The Root

    November 5th, 2014

    The Republican Party’s takeover of the U.S. Senate in Tuesday’s midterm election is the tip of the rather sizable iceberg that saw the GOP win governorships in the blue states of Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.

    As the losses for Democrats mounted during election night, any number of pundits questioned the Democratic Party’s Obama Avoidance Syndrome. That philosophy failed to aid Democrats in Kentucky and Georgia hoping for upset victories. The party’s reluctance to embrace the Obama administration’s successes in providing health care, lowering unemployment and saving the nation from a great recession proved to be its undoing.

    With the national party abandoning the president, black voters responded with less enthusiasm and less turnout than in 2012.

    The Party of No’s success was based on a number of factors, including the 2010 redistricting that has turned Congress into a virtual fortress, President Barack Obama’s relatively low approval ratings and a favorable Senate re-election map that allowed Republicans to play aggressive offense while the Democrats shrank from the fight.

    Obama’s absence from the ballot was clearly felt in gubernatorial and Senate races in states the president carried two years ago, most notably Colorado.

    It didn’t have to turn out this way.

    Both the Obama administration and the Democratic Party have failed to articulate a coherent message and vision to the American people this election cycle. Rather than join forces and extol the president’s leadership on domestic issues, especially with regard to unemployment, health care and the environment, Democrats abandoned the president and, in the process, allowed Republicans to successfully shape this year’s message.

    Ironically, the same party that has spent the last four years blocking any and all progressive legislation cast its members as outsiders, ready and willing to change Washington. Perhaps even more incredibly, enough voters believed in that message that they handed control of the Senate to Republicans.

    President Obama must now deal with a Republican-controlled Congress for the final two years of his presidency. The lesson, should Democrats choose to take it, is that progressives must act with the courage of their convictions. But many will say the exact opposite, arguing that the red-state election-night tsunami indicates a national tilt to the right.

    This is dead wrong.

    The failure to mobilize the Obama coalition cost Democrats nationally. Poll-driven gubernatorial and Senate campaigns, orchestrated by well-paid consultants, failed to inspire the kind of grassroots insurgency that made Obama’s victories possible.

    Read more at The Root »



    Related:
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    Who’s Who in the Nov. 4 Election
    What You Need to Know About Tuesday’s Midterm US Elections
    Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate
    Ethiopian American Council Endorses Congressman Mike Honda for Re-Election

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    7,550 Miles from Home, Chicago’s Ethiopians Build a Cultural Museum

    (Photo by Danielle Elliott)

    Gapers Block

    By Danielle Elliott

    Some 7,550 miles separate Chicago from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

    For the 10,000 Ethiopians living in Chicago, that distance seems a lot smaller due to the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), a nonprofit refugee resettlement agency, in Rogers Park.

    The familiar smells of incense and coffee linger through the hallways of the center, but the real sense of Ethiopia is felt in a small room, 600 square feet, on the second floor. This is the place where the ECAC is trying to build a museum showcasing Ethiopia’s diversity and history, a symbol of their strong community.

    “We want the museum to transfer information to children and share our rich history with the mainstream American community,” said Dr. Erku Yimer, the executive director and one of the founders of ECAC.

    Yimer came to Illinois in 1975 for his graduate studies but wasn’t able to return home due to the civil war that broke out there in 1974. A provisional administrative council of military officers took control of the Ethiopian government and started the “Red Terror” genocide to eliminate its enemies. The war lasted over 16 years and left over a million dead. At the same time, a large-scale famine raged through the country. The result was a desperate refugee situation.

    “The museum will empower us to some degree,” Yimer said. “Americans know us as a poor, famine-affected country, but we have a glorious history that we want to show.”

    Many Ethiopians came to America to escape the political turmoil during the 1970s and 1980s and continued to emigrate in increasing numbers. According to the Migration Policy Institute, an independent think tank that analyzes immigration data, in 1980, nearly 26,000 East Africans lived in the U.S. By 2009, there were more than 423,000.

    Many Ethiopian newcomers settled in Washington D.C., Maryland and California. Although Chicago isn’t on the list of top settlement cities, the city has a thriving Ethiopian population. Research from Rob Paral & Associates, a Chicago-based consulting firm that analyzes census data, shows that more than 60 percent of Ethiopians in Chicago live in the North Side resettlement communities of Uptown, Edgewater and Rogers Park.

    “As a new community, we go back to Ethiopia if we can,” Yimer said. “People send family to speak the language (Amharic) and cement their relationship with Ethiopia.”

    M’aza Dowling-Brown, the youth program director at ECAC, is also helping to establish the museum. She has been a part of the Chicago-Ethiopian community since she first started working for ECAC in 2008. An immigrant herself, she was adopted along with her five siblings from Ethiopia in 1998 by a family from Amherst, Mass., where the Ethiopian community was very small. She attended college in Washington D.C. and Ohio but feels most at home in the community where she works and lives now.

    “Even though it doesn’t have a lot of numbers compared to other cities and people have different ethnic groups or political views, this is the only Ethiopian community that has stayed this strong for 30 years without dividing,” Dowling-Brown said.

    Read more »

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    Marcus Samuelsson Holds Book Talk & Signing in DC – November 13th

    Marcus Samuelsson will make a book tour stop at Sixth & I in Washington D.C. on November 13th, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — If you reside in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area here is your chance to listen to Marcus Samuelsson and get a signed copy of his latest book “Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home.” The Ethiopian-born, award-wining celebrity chef and author will make an appearance on November 13th at Sixth & I, where he is scheduled to hold a conversation with Joe Yonan, the Food and Travel editor of The Washington Post.

    The New York Times notes that Marcus Off Duty is mostly “inspired by his travels across America.” Samuelsson and his wife, Ethiopian model Maya Haile, are the faces of the new generation of foreign-born Africans (described in the recent U.S. census) who are leaving their imprints in the continuously evolving American tapestry, which is also reflected in Samuelsson’s book, a collection of 150 multicultural dishes that he cooks at home for family and friends.

    “Born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, and trained in European kitchens, Marcus is a five-time James Beard Award recipient and was selected as chef for the Obama Administration’s first state dinner. His acclaimed restaurants include Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club and American Table Cafe & Bar at Lincoln Center. He is the author of Aquavit, The Soul of a New Cuisine, New American Table, and his best-selling memoir Yes, Chef.”


    If You Go:
    Marcus Samuelsson In conversation with Joe Yonan
    Nov 13, 2014 • 7:00 pm
    1 ticket + 1 book: $35
    2 tickets + 1 book: $45
    How to Purchase: Online
    By phone (877.987.6487 with a $1.50 fee per ticket).
    Tickets for this event are not available at the door
    Seating: General Admission
    Doors Open:6:00 pm
    600 I Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20001
    Phone: 202.408.3100
    www.sixthandi.org

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    Ethiopia-Egypt Trade Deals to Ease River Nile Row

    Ethiopian government says the multi-billion dollar water project poses no threat to Egypt's share of the Nile. (Getty Images)

    BBC News

    Egypt and Ethiopia have signed a series of trade agreements which could help smooth diplomatic tensions over use of the River Nile waters.

    The countries fell out over Ethiopia’s plans to construct a $4.3bn (£3.4bn) hydroelectric dam on the river.

    Egypt was apparently caught by surprise when Ethiopia started diverting the Blue Nile to build the Grand Renaissance Dam in 2013.

    The river is a tributary of the Nile, on which Egypt is heavily dependent.

    Ministers from both countries signed more than 20 bilateral on deals on trade, health and education at a meeting in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

    At the signing ceremony, senior government officials vowed to continue talks on how to resolve a three-year dispute over the dam, which remains a sensitive issue, says the BBC Emmanuel Igunza in Addis Ababa.

    Read more at BBC News »

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    Tsehai Publishers Strives for a Better Africa and Ethiopia

    Tsehai Publishers was founded by Elias Wondimu and focuses on printing scarcely distributed books from Ethiopia. (Photo via Tsehai Publishers)

    The Los Angeles Loyolan

    By Kaitlin Perata

    “When you think of Africa, what are the first three things that come to mind?” This is the first question I was asked when I began working at Tsehai Publishers at the beginning of the semester. Like I’m sure most of us would, I had trouble coming up with a sufficient answer to the question. It is for precisely this reason that Elias Wondimu, exiled Ethiopian journalist and current CEO of Tsehai Publishers, founded the company.

    Finding few books on Ethiopia in the United States, Wondimu sought to fill a hole in the American book market by venturing into previously unchartered waters and creating his own publishing company that would simultaneously print scarcely distributed books and raise the standard of integrity in the publishing industry.

    “The lack of positive narratives about my country led me to a path of discovery about the realities of all marginalized societies – including Africa, women and the poor among us. Institutions who control what stories get told controls our true information that we consume, our perceptions and by that our future society,” Wandimu said when discussing his motivation for launching Tsehai.

    Tsehai means “the sun” in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language, but Wondimu also named the publishing company after his late mother. The company was founded in 1998 with the intention of sharing his passion for Ethiopian and African issues, correcting media misinformation and bias about Africa, fostering intercultural dialogue and social justice and providing a platform for African creativity and knowledge to flourish. In 2007, Tsehai joined forces with LMU’s Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts and from that partnership the Marymount Institute Press was born, embodying the Institute’s mission statement.

    Read the full article at The Los Angeles Loyolan »

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    Climate-Driven Migration Increasing Disease Burden in Ethiopia

    (Photo: trust.org)

    By Kagondu Njagi

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

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

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

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

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

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

    FAILING CROPS, RISING MIGRATION

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

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

    Read more »

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    Republicans Take Control of US Senate

    Voters fill in their ballots as they vote in the U.S. midterm elections at a polling place in Westminster, Colorado, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

    VOA News

    November 04, 2014

    Republican candidates have won enough seats in Tuesday’s U.S. congressional elections to capture control of the Senate.

    Democrats had held a 55-seat majority in the Senate, but Republicans picked up six seats with wins in Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

    However, there several races were still to be decided.

    In Louisiana, neither candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote. The Senate race between incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy will go to a December 6 runoff.

    Another tight race is in Georgia, where Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss is retiring. Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue are in a very tight battle to win that seat, and Democrats are hoping for a runoff if not outright victory.

    McConnell reelected to sixth term

    In other good news for the Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was reelected in Kentucky to a sixth term, easily beating his Democratic rival, Alison Lundergan Grimes. It was an ugly race, with both sides struggling to outspend the other, and polls showing Grimes leading McConnell as late as last week.

    If Republicans grab control of the Senate, McConnell would become Senate majority leader and one of the country’s most powerful politicians. He would have the authority to decide which bills to bring up for a vote.

    But the Democrats also secured a big win for an incumbent Tuesday, with U.S. news outlets calling the New Hampshire Senate race for Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

    President Barack Obama said Senate Democrats faced what could be the toughest races since 1958, when Republicans lost 13 Senate seats under then-President Dwight Eisenhower.

    A third of the Senate’s 100 seats were at stake in Tuesday’s elections, and Obama said many of the states with contested Senate races tend to tilt Republican.

    Meanwhile, the TV networks predict the Republicans will keep control of the House, even gaining a number of seats. This could give the Republicans the highest number of House seats since 1947, when Democrat Harry Truman was the U.S. president.

    The elections are pivotal because they will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control Congress during President Obama’s final two years in office.

    With the president’s approval rating mired in the low 40 percent range, the Republicans’ best chances were in several states that Obama lost two years ago, even as he won reelection. Obama was not on the ballot, but he said his policies were, and Republicans sought to link their Democratic opponents to Obama’s unpopularity.

    Republican victories

    In other Senate victories for the Republicans, Lindsay Graham was re-elected in South Carolina, while a second Republican, Tim Scott, won the election to finish the term of Senator Jim DeMint, who resigned.

    Scott became the first African-American elected statewide in South Carolina since the end of the American Civil War.

    Republicans also picked up a seat in West Virginia that had been held by Democrats when Representative Shelley Moore Capito won the race to replace retiring Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller.

    Former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, a Republican, will take over from retiring senator Tim Johnson. Rounds held off Democrat Rick Wieland and two independents.

    Republican Cory Gardner defeated Colorado’s incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall.

    Republican Tom Cotton won a bitterly contested Senate race in Arkansas. TV network projections gave Cotton a victory over two-time Democratic Senator Mark Pryor.

    Polling results

    Opinion surveys showed Republican candidates poised to win Senate races in Iowa and Alaska.

    The accuracy of pre-election U.S. political surveys has often been erratic, with some polling turning out to be way off the mark. Even as several Senate races were deemed too close to call, analysts said Republicans had about a 70 percent chance of picking up at least six seats to control the Senate.

    If Republicans do control Congress, it could presage new disputes with Obama over his signature legislative achievement, massive national health care reforms that have allowed millions of people to secure insurance coverage they could not previously afford.

    Many Republicans view it as excessive government involvement in people’s health care and call for repeal of the law.

    Many Republicans also attacked Obama’s handling of the current Ebola crisis, called for approval of an oil pipeline from Canada through the central U.S. and a curb on government regulation of businesses.

    Some opposition lawmakers have also disputed the president’s handling of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

    In the United States, the two main political parties are feuding over spending and tax policies and immigration reforms.

    Obama has vowed to set new immigration rules by executive order by the end of the year, after the House did not act on comprehensive reforms approved by the Senate. Some Republicans already are saying they will seek to block the president from unilaterally changing the country’s immigration policies to allow millions of migrants who entered illegally to stay in the United States.

    Ballot Initiatives on Marijuana, Guns

    Some voters were given the chance to decide the legal status of guns and marijuana Tuesday.

    Pot was on the ballot in the western U.S. states of Alaska and Oregon, as well as back east in Washington, D.C., and in Florida.

    In the nation’s capital, voters could legalize a so-called “grow and give” provision, allowing for small amounts of marijuana to be grown and given away for recreational use, but not to be sold.

    The measures in Oregon and Alaska would legalize retail sales of marijuana to anyone old enough to drink alcohol.

    Florida voters will decide whether to make their state the 24th to allow marijuana use for medical reasons. The measure needs 60 percent approval to pass.

    In the 2012 general election, Washington state and Colorado became the first states to legalize marijuana use by adults, and they have subsequently implemented systems for regulating and taxing sales of pot.

    Washington state had two competing gun-related measures. One sought background checks for all gun sales and transfers, including private transactions. The other would prevent any such expansion covering purchases from private sellers.



    Related:
    Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado
    US Election 2014: A Record Number of African Americans Running for Office
    Who’s Who in the Nov. 4 Election
    What You Need to Know About Tuesday’s Midterm US Elections
    Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate
    Ethiopian American Council Endorses Congressman Mike Honda for Re-Election

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado

    Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado made stops at four Ethiopian churches on Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 seeking Ethiopian American votes for his reelection campaign. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, November 3, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, who is running for re-election, visited four Ethiopian churches yesterday, ahead of the mid-term U.S. elections on Tuesday, hoping to attract votes from the community. Organizers says that Mr. Coffman received “a gracious reception” by his Ethiopian American hosts to whom he pitched his views on issues related to immigration, small business loans, and U.S. foreign policy towards Ethiopia. The latter, we are told, received an enthusiastic response. “It was a great success and our community will vote tomorrow and decide on many important issues,” said Mel Tewahade, CEO of Infinity Wealth Management, Inc., who helped coordinate the visits for the Congressman.

    Mr Coffman who previously served as the Secretary of State of Colorado and as State Treasurer, was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2009. Per Wiki “Located in central Colorado [his district] encompasses much of the southern part of the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, including the suburbs of Littleton, Centennial and portions of Aurora. Redistricting in 2012 added some suburbs to the north of Denver including Brighton and Henderson.”

    In Tuesday’s midterms election, the Republican party is widely expected to win control of the Senate and retain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the latest polls.

    The election season this year also features an unprecedented number of minority candidates, including the first Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate Mohammed Tahiro of Texas. The Associated Press reports that “more than 100 black candidates will be on the ballot in statewide and congressional races, a post-Reconstruction record that some observers say is a byproduct of Barack Obama’s historic presidency.” The list includes the state of Utah’s Mia Love, who if elected, is poised to become the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress.

    In Colorado Mel said: “Congressman Coffman will do a lot to help our community with business loans and immigration matters for our families. I was also proud and happy to be Ethiopian as we are getting stronger and starting to stand on our own two feet.”

    Below are photos courtesy of the organizers:



    Related:
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    Who’s Who in the Nov. 4 Election
    What You Need to Know About Tuesday’s Midterm US Elections
    Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate
    Ethiopian American Council Endorses Congressman Mike Honda for Re-Election

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    One Month Later, Almaz Gebremedhin Still Missing in Texas

    Family members of Almaz Gebremedhin, mother of two, who's been missing since October 2nd, 2014.

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Published: Monday, November 3rd, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – A month has passed since Almaz Gebremedhin, 42, was first reported missing in Wylie, Texas (where she lived with her husband, Sisay Zelelew, a 10-year-old son, an 8-year-old daughter and her mother). Almaz was last seen leaving her home for work in the early hours of Thursday, October 2nd. A neighborhood security camera shows her car driving off at 5:30 a.m that morning. Her boss Judy Houston, a supervisor at the nearby Garnet Hill Rehabilitation and Skilled Care, told The Dallas Morning News that Almaz “never missed work, so when she didn’t show up, people immediately became concerned.”

    The Dallas Morning News notes that Almaz is one of two women who have vanished without a trace in Collin County, Texas in the past couple of months. The second person is Christina Morris, 23, who has not been seen for 58 days. “Video surveillance shows the Fort Worth woman walking with a friend into a parking garage before they went their separate ways at The Shops at Legacy in Plano just before 4 a.m. Aug. 30. No one has seen her since,” the paper reported. “Her locked car was found in the garage four days later. Police have found no evidence of a crime in either case. Nor has there been any activity on either woman’s cell phone, credit cards or bank accounts. For now, they remain classified as missing persons.”

    The newspaper adds: “Both women are listed online in the Texas Department of Public Safety Missing Persons Clearinghouse. They also appear in the National Crime Information Center, a database accessible to law enforcement nationwide, as well as a public database called the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. The latter, according to NamUs director of communications Todd Matthews, is often used to match unidentified remains with a missing persons case. And while some families believe a listing there could be considered a concession that the person is dead, Matthews said, missing people on the list have turned up alive.”

    Meanwhile the Wylie Police Department spokesperson Detective Nuria Arroyo says that Almaz’s case has been difficult to work. “We don’t have a lot of information to go off of yet,” Detective Arroyo is quoted by The Dallas Morning News. “Detectives there have been tracking tips, she said, but so far, not many have come in.”

    The report states: “Gebremedhin’s family and friends have searched on their own as well. They’ve checked the route she normally takes to work. They’ve handed out fliers. They recently hired a private investigation firm to help. Social media also plays a role in keeping her name and photo in the public eye.”

    “It really has been tough,” said Feyera Milkessa, a friend of the family. Milkessa said he last saw Gebremedhin at a gathering about 10 days before she disappeared. She seemed happy, he said. “She’s a very, very sociable person,” Milkessa said. “She loves her family.”

    Anyone with information should contact the Wylie Police Department at 972-442-8171.



    Related:
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    Reward Increased to $15,000 for Tips on Missing Ethiopian Woman in Texas
    Local Ethiopian Community Offers Reward for Clues on Missing Texas Woman
    Texas Police Searching for Missing Mother of Two Almaz Gebremedhin

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    US Election 2014: A Record Number of African Americans Running for Office

    A historic high number of black Republicans and Democrats are running for office across the United States in the 2014 midterm elections on Tuesday, November 4th. (Photos: The Root)

    The Associated Press

    By JESSE J. HOLLAND

    WASHINGTON — More than 100 black candidates will be on the ballot in statewide and congressional races [on Tuesday, November 4th], a post-Reconstruction record that some observers say is a byproduct of Barack Obama’s historic presidency.

    At least 83 black Republicans and Democrats are running for the House, a modern era high, according to political scientist David Bositis, who has tracked black politicians for years. They include Mia Love in Utah, who is trying to become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.

    Four other black women — Democrats Bonnie Watson Coleman in New Jersey, Brenda Lawrence in Michigan, Alma Adams in North Carolina and Stacey Plaskett in the Virgin Islands — are expected to win, Bositis said. If they all win, and no black female incumbents lose, there should be a record 20 black women among House members, Bositis said.

    There are at least 25 African-Americans running for statewide offices, including senator, governor or lieutenant governor, also a record.

    The previous record for black candidates seeking House seats was 72 in 2012, the year Obama, the nation’s first black president, was re-elected to a second term.

    The previous record for statewide contests was 17 in 2002, said Bositis, formerly of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank in Washington that focuses primarily on issues affecting African-Americans.

    Those statewide numbers include Democrat Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s only black members.

    Booker is seeking a full term next month. He won a special election last year to replace the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Scott, appointed last year, is trying to finish out the two years remaining in the term of former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, who resigned in 2013.

    An Obama “coattails effect” is partly responsible for this large candidate pool because it spurred blacks to vote and encouraged them to pursue offices they might not have sought in the past, said political science professor Fredrick C. Harris, director of Columbia University’s Center on African-American Politics and Society.

    America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, according to the Census Bureau.

    “It may be that this is a reflection of political opportunity,” Harris said. He noted a similar increase in black candidates in 1988, when Jesse Jackson made a second unsuccessful run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    Bositis said the increase also may result from changing political demographics.

    “The fact is that many of the increases are occurring in states (especially in the South) where most whites are withdrawing from Democratic Party politics — leaving black candidates the nominations by default,” Bositis said.

    Republicans have heavily courted minorities, spending millions to woo black voters and to recruit women and minorities.

    “If elected, these candidates will be great representatives for all their constituents and will continue to play a major role in the party’s efforts to expand the electorate,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Orlando Watson.

    While the GOP is building up its numbers, the Democrats have a record number of African-Americans running for statewide and congressional offices, according to Bositis. There are at least 65 Democratic nominees, surpassing the previous high of 59 in 2012.

    “The historic number of black Democrats running for office at all levels this year once again confirms that the Democratic Party is a broad coalition of Americans from diverse ethnic and professional backgrounds, focused on expanding opportunity for all and building ladders to the middle class,” said Kiara Pesante, Democratic National Committee spokeswoman.

    Video: The importance of the minority vote in 2014 (MSNBC)


    Related:
    Who’s Who in the Nov. 4 Election
    What You Need to Know About Tuesday’s Midterm US Elections
    Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate
    Ethiopian American Council Endorses Congressman Mike Honda for Re-Election

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    2014 New York City Marathon Results

    Runners cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start of the New York City Marathon, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

    The Associated Press

    November 2nd, 2014

    Wilson Kipsang of Kenya has won the men’s title at the New York City Marathon.

    Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa was second, and 2010 champ Gebre Gebremariam third.

    Kipsang won in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 10 minutes, 59 seconds.

    Boston Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi of the United States was fourth.

    Two-time defending champion Geoffrey Mutai was sixth.

    Mary Keitany of Kenya won the women’s title, overtaking countrywoman Jemima Sumgong with about a half-mile to go. It was her first marathon since 2012 after the birth of her second child.

    Keitany won in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 25 minutes, 7 seconds — 3 seconds ahead of Sumgong, which would match the closest finish in the history of the women’s race.

    Photos: Kenyans Dominate NYC Marathon (VOA)

    In the women’s race, Mary Keitany beats fellow Kenyan at NYC Marathon (USA Today)

    USA Today

    NEW YORK — Kenya’s Mary Keitany battled countrywoman Jemima Sumgong in the final miles to win the women’s title in the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday.

    On a gusty, cold morning, the women’s side of the marathon only became a race between mile 22 and 23 when Keitany and Sumgong threw down a 5:11 mile and opened a gap on the a five-woman pack.

    Stride for stride, the Kenyans ran down Fifth Avenue and Central Park South, trading surges.

    Keitany, the second-fastest female marathoner in history (behind only Paula Radcliffe), gritted it out in Central Park, surged on the uphill finish, to win in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 7 seconds.

    Sumgong finished three seconds behind Keitany for second place. It was the narrowest margin of victory since 2004 when Radcliffe beat Kenya’s Susan Chepkemei by the same margin.


    Getty Images

    Read more at USA Today »

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    In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week

    The 3rd Hub of Africa Fashion Week was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 23rd and 24th, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Saturday, November 1st, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – The 2014 Hub of Africa Fashion Week took place at Galani Coffee and Gallery in Addis Ababa last week. Organizers note that the international runway show dubbed the “Editorial Edition” included a special event at Monarch Hotel on October 25th targeting buyers and fashion industry players. The participating designers were Modanik (DRC); Ruald Rheeder (South Africa); Katungulu (Kenya) Yohannes Sisters (Ethiopia); Abugida (Ethiopia); Cepha Maina (Kenya); Mela (Ethiopia); Sandstorm (Kenya), Assi’s Collection (Ethiopia) Rooi (Nigeria/London): and Mataano (Somalia).

    Below are photos from the event courtesy of the organizers:



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    UK Cancels Aid to Ethiopian Police

    Britain has given £1 billion in aid, including around £70 million for “governance and security” projects, to Ethiopia over three years. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP)

    The Telegraph

    By Matthew Holehouse

    Britain has suspended most of a £27 million aid programme to support Ethiopia’s police force, The Telegraph has learnt, amid mounting allegations of torture, rape and murder by the regime.

    Ministers pulled the plug on a scheme intended to improve criminal investigations, help Ethiopian police “interact with communities on local safety” and help women access the justice system.

    The cancellation coincides with an Amnesty International report that documents how the Ethiopian security forces have conducted a campaign of torture, mutilation, rape and murder in order to suppress political opposition.

    Britain has given £1 billion in aid, including around £70 million for “governance and security” projects, to the country over three years. Critics of the ruling regime have disappeared, and Amnesty International found allegations of men being blinded and women being gang raped and burnt with hot coals by regime officials.

    There are mounting fears for the safety of Andy Tsege, a British national and critic of the regime, who was abducted in Yemen before being tortured and sentenced to death.

    Read more at The Telegraph »

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    Election 2014: What You Need to Know About Tuesday’s Midterm US Elections

    Thom Tillis, the Republican candidate for Senate in North Carolina, greeted supporters in Asheville on Friday. (Credit Mike Belleme for The New York Times)

    By THE NEW YORK TIMES

    Things to look for in Tuesday’s midterm elections:

    Control of the Senate:

    • The Republicans need to pick up six seats in order to gain the majority. They have about a 70 percent chance of doing so, according to the latest forecast from The Upshot.

    • They appear to be in strong position to win four seats held by Democrats — in Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia.

    • The task could be complicated if they lose Republican-held seats in Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky — three races that remain close.

    • The other Senate races that will likely will determine the balance of power are in purple states currently held by Democrats — Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

    • In Louisiana, a three-way race could mean no candidate gets 50 percent, leading to a runoff, which would not be held until December.

    The House:

    • Republicans will almost certainly maintain control.

    • The big question is how many seats they will pick up and whether a bigger majority will make Speaker John A. Boehner’s job easier or harder, as he tries to keep his caucus together.

    Read more at NYT »

    Related:
    Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate
    Ethiopian American Council Endorses Congressman Mike Honda for Re-Election

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    Buzunesh Deba Greets Nike NYC Runners at Queen of Sheba Restaurant

    Ethiopian-born long distance runner Buzunesh Deba of New York with Coach Knox Robinson of Nike + NYC at Queen of Sheba Restaurant in New York City on Thursday, October 30th, 2014. (Photograph: Tadias)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Friday, October 31st, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – “I usually ask a question about pizza because it’s New York,” said Knox Robinson, Coach for Nike + NYC, speaking at a gathering at Queen of Sheba Restaurant on Thursday evening after their local run. But tonight Buzunesh Deba had joined them in a surprise visit and Robinson modified his question amid cheers on her arrival: “What do you eat before and after a race?”

    “Before the race.. one bagel and one banana,” The Bronx-based, Ethiopian-born athlete answered. “After the race spaghetti with chicken.. and of course especially Injera.”

    “We are overjoyed, honored and humbled to be joined tonight by Buzunesh Deba who, as we know, is not only one of the greatest marathoners in the world, but also a New Yorker.” Robinson said. “She is one of us, so we are excited to surprise the runners with her presence.”

    The gathering at Queen of Sheba Restaurant in Manhattan featuring Buzunesh Deba was sponsored by Nike and preceded by a 4-mile local run. Buzunesh, who finished second in the 2011 and 2013 New York City marathons, told her fans that this year, God willing, she’ll win, and posed for photos with the runners, some of whom will be joining her at the 2014 NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 2nd. Buzunesh also posed with the restaurant owners who had welcomed her into their home when she had first arrived in the U.S. to build her career. “This is truly a family gathering” Robinson told the audience.

    Coach Robinson told Tadias Magazine that the group chose to stop by Queen of Sheba after their local run because “this is where the world’s best marathoners come to celebrate their victories.”

    Below are photos from the event:



    Related:
    Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa to Challenge Historic Men’s Field at 2014 NYC Marathon

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    U.S. Deeply Concerned by Sentence of Ethiopian Journalist Temesghen Desalegn

    Jailed Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn. (Photo credit: CPJ)

    U.S. State Department

    Press Statement
    Jen Psaki
    Department Spokesperson

    Washington, DC – The United States is deeply concerned by the October 27 sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn to three years in prison for “provocation and dissemination of inaccurate information.” Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental elements of a democratic society, and the promotion and protection of these rights and freedoms are basic responsibilities of democratic governments.

    As President Obama stated during his meeting in September with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam, it is important that Ethiopia’s progress and positive example on economic development and regional conflict resolution extends to civil society as well. We urge Ethiopia to make similar progress with regard to respect for press freedom and the free flow of ideas and reiterate our call for the Ethiopian government to release journalists imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

    Related:
    Journalist Temesghen Desalegn Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

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    Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa

    The following article is written by Angélique Kidjo (pictured above), a Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter and activist from Benin. (Photo: Pierre Marie Zimmerman via Amsterdam News)

    The New York Times | OP-ED

    By ANGELIQUE KIDJO

    A few days ago, I posted a note on Facebook about my scheduled concert next week at Carnegie Hall honoring the late South African singer Miriam Makeba, who was known widely as Mama Africa. I was saddened to see the following comments appear: “Instead of mama africa it should be mama ebola” and “I wonder if she is bringing aby Ebloa [sic] with her?”

    Overnight it seems that all the naïve and evil preconceptions about Africa have surfaced again. Ebola has brought back the fears and fantasies of Africa as the Heart of Darkness and the fearmongering about the disease threatens to reverse decades of progress for Africa’s image.

    I’ll always remember the night Mama Africa entered my life. I was about 9 years old and there was an old turntable standing in the corner of the dining room of our house in Benin.

    I was browsing through my brother’s vinyl-record collection and discovered a Makeba album called “Pata Pata.” On the cover, Miriam’s shoulders were bare; she had a gentle but determined smile. I carefully dropped the needle and an irresistible groove literally jumped out at me. I couldn’t help dancing.

    Ms. Makeba became my role model. Every night I dreamed that one day I would be like her, travel the world, meet powerful people and address the United Nations like she did in 1963, when she denounced the South African apartheid regime in front of the whole world.

    That an African person — a woman — could accomplish all this and could stand up for her people even though her life had been defined by hardship was amazing to me. She was exiled twice: first from South Africa by the racist apartheid regime, and then from America while she was married to Stokely Carmichael, the Black Panther activist.

    Ms. Makeba managed to transform, in the eyes of the world, the image of the African woman. She gave us a human face — a strong face that went beyond all the clichés carried by movies and TV shows. As I kept singing her songs throughout my career, I always felt that my mission was to keep her legacy alive — especially today.

    Read more at NYT »

    Related:
    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’s Impressive Regreening Program

    Bale Mountains, Ethiopia: Trees and shrubs can be seen growing on the steeper slopes along a ravine that was once plagued by erosion. (Photograph: Aaron Minnick/WRI)

    The Guardian

    Fifteen years years ago the villages around Abrha Weatsbha in northern Ethiopia were on the point of being abandoned. The hillsides were barren, the communities, plagued by floods and droughts, needed constant food aid, and the soil was being washed away.

    Today, Abrha Weatsbha in the Tigray region is unrecognisable and an environmental catastrophe has been averted following the planting of many millions of tree and bush seedlings. Wells that were dry have been recharged, the soil is in better shape, fruit trees grow in the valleys and the hillsides are green again.

    The “regreening” of the area, achieved in just a few years for little cost by farming communities working together to close off large areas to animals, save water and replant trees, is now to be replicated across one sixth of Ethiopia – an area the size of England and Wales. The most ambitious attempt yet to reduce soil erosion, increase food security and adapt to climate change is expected to vastly increase the amount of food grown in one of the most drought- and famine-prone areas of the world.

    “Large areas of Ethiopia and the Sahel were devastated by successive droughts and overgrazing by animals in the 1960s and 1970s,” says Chris Reij, a researcher with the World Resources Institute in Washington.

    “There was a significant drop in rainfall, people had to extend the land they cultivated and this led to massive destruction and an environmental crisis across the Sahel. But the experience of Tigray, where over 224,000 hectares of land has now been restored shows that recovery of vegetation in dryland areas can be very fast. Tigray is now much more food secure than it was 10 years ago. You really see the changes there,” he says.

    Rather than just plant trees, which is notoriously unreliable and expensive in dry land areas, the farmers have turned to “agro-ecology”, a way to combine crops and trees on the same pieces of land.

    Read more at The Guardian »

    Video: A new documentary by film-maker Mark Dodd on the land restoration project in Tigray


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    Spike in Eritreans Fleeing into Ethiopia

    Thousands of Eritrean refugees are currently living in refugee camps in Ethiopia. More than 200 risk their lives every day, UN says, crossing a heavily-fortified border between arch enemy states. (AP photo)

    Aljazeera

    Over 200 Eritrean refugees are crossing the heavily fortified and dangerous border into neighbouring Ethiopia daily, the United Nations said in a report noting a “spike” in those fleeing.

    Tens of thousands of people have fled the Horn of Africa country, escaping open-ended conscription and the iron-grip rule of President Issaias Afewerki, with many continuing northwards to brave the often harrowing journey towards Europe.

    “The number of daily refugee arrivals spiked since the first week of September,” the October report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) read.

    “At present, more than 200 Eritreans cross the Ethiopian border each day.”

    Over 3,500 Eritreans have fled into northern Ethiopia in the past two months, taking the total to over 104,000 Eritrean refugees in the country.

    No reason was given for the rise in numbers, but reports by rights groups say people are struggling under Asmara’s repressive government.

    Thousands have also fled into Sudan, although the UN in July reported that Khartoum has forced some to return.

    Read more »

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    South Sudan Refugees in Flooded Ethiopian Camps in Gambella (Video)

    Gambella, Ethiopia. (Photo: VOA)

    VOA News

    By Marthe van der Wolf

    October 30th, 2014

    Thousands of South Sudanese refugees remain stuck in flooded camps in Ethiopia. Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from a camp in Gambella on the situation.



    Related:
    Ethiopia’s South Sudan Refugees Beyond Capacity

    VOA News

    By Marthe van der Wolf

    October 27, 2014

    GAMBELLA — Available resources for South Sudan refugees in Ethiopia are under pressure as the warring parties continue to be deadlocked in flailing peace talks. More refugees are expected in the coming months as the conflict in the world’s youngest country turns almost a year old.

    Since the conflict in South Sudan erupted in December, some 245,000 South Sudanese have fled to Gambella, a southwestern province of Ethiopia.

    Pagak is one of the three main entry points used by refugees – who cross a bridge that functions as the border. Just after the bridge on the Ethiopian side, more than 2,700 refugees are waiting in the registration camp. And all of them need shelter, food and basic services.

    Refugee Joseph Tek acts as camp leader on behalf of the refugee community. He said that people came to him with their needs, which he passed on to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

    “They just need the mosquito net because of the mosquito bites. Plus they need food because in July we don’t have food here and we then receive food in August. And they feel cold because there is no blanket,” said Tek.

    Nhial Yiech is a refugee who came to Ethiopia in March. He said they needed more services than what was provided.

    He said they did’t have enough water, and medications. The diseases that affect people in this area are causing swollen throats, and many people have malaria.

    Fighting continues since a political split between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar erupted into violence in the middle of December 2013. More than 10,000 people have died and more than 1.5 million have been displaced. Several agreed on cease-fires since then have failed to hold.

    And there is little optimism that the violence in South Sudan will be halted any time soon, meaning refugees will keep coming to Ethiopia in need of relief. There are 18 aid organizations assisting refugees in the Gambella region. They say, that up till now, they had a good year with enough resources. But the situation is changing with unforeseen costs, mainly due to of flooding here.

    Gebrehiwot Ewnetu is a project coordinator for the Danish Refugee Council. He said their donors have asked the organization to tighten its belt.

    “So for example, DRC built 10 kilometers of reticulation, water piping for the refugees. Once they were forced to evacuate the camp, it meant we had to do new water points. We had to start water trucking again and transporting water by truck is extremely expensive. Other agencies also have the exact same problems with the flooding and people moving. For example, if you built a school in one place and people move, you have to build another school in another place, and things like that,” said Ewnetu.

    The rainy season flooded roads and camps and temporarily slowed down the influx of refugees. But there are still 50 to 60 new arrivals every day at Akobo, another border point.

    Dennis Solberg Kjeldsen, of the International Federation of the Red Cross, said that they were bracing for a new wave of displaced people.

    “We are all expecting that once the rains subsiding in South Sudan, that will potentially mean the rise of conflicts and people wanting to go in search of food security. And where will they come? They will come here,” he said.

    The rains are expected to stop in a few weeks’ time and organizations such as IFRC (International Federation of the Red Cross) are launching an international appeal to raise more funds. They estimate their basic running costs to be about $3 million over the next 6 months. Kjeldsen said raising money for South Sudan would not be easy.

    “With the amounts of emergencies in the world right now. On this continent you have three very large emergencies: in South Sudan, in the Central African Republic, and Ebola. Which are not only taking up financial resources they are also taking up human resources, material resources. And that’s stretching us,” said Kjeldsen.

    Just 3 years after independence, South Sudan’s political leaders are trying the international community’s patience. Many fault the government for prolonging a manufactured crisis and the development and aid money once flowing in is slowing down considerably.

    And with that more displaced South Sudanese are leaving. Ethiopia is hosting more South Sudan refugees than any other African country.

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    UPDATE: Burkina Faso’s President Resigns, Army Chief Takes Over

    Anti-government protesters gather in the Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, Oct. 31, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

    VOA News

    October 31, 2014

    Burkina Faso’s army chief has taken power in the country following the resignation of longtime President Blaise Compaore.

    General Honore Traore told reporters Friday in Ouagadougou that he was taking on “the responsibilities as head of state.”

    Traore said his administration would begin talks with political stakeholders immediately with a view to restoring “normal constitutional order.”

    The general first exerted power Thursday when he announced plans for a transitional government and ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew after violent protests in the capital against Compaore.

    Compaore announced his resignation Friday and called for a 90-day transition leading to elections.

    Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the secretary-general was following Burkina Faso developments with “great concern” and was urging “calm, restraint and dialogue.”

    Dujarric said the U.N. special envoy for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, had arrived in Ouagadougou as part of a joint mission that includes the president of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) and the African Union commissioner for political affairs.

    Chambas is expected to meet with all political stakeholders as well as religious and traditional leaders.

    Former colonial power France quickly said it welcomed Compaore’s resignation. It called for calm in the West African nation and said it supported the “rapid holding of democratic elections.”

    Burkina 24 television reported that the former president left his palace in a heavily armed convoy.

    Compaore ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years after seizing power in a 1987 coup.

    Unrest broke out Thursday as lawmakers prepared to vote on a constitutional amendment that would have allowed Compaore to run for another term. The government withdrew the amendment after hundreds of protesters stormed and set fire to the parliament building.

    More protesters gathered in the streets of Ouagadougou on Friday, but there was no repeat of Thursday’s violence.

    Some material for this report came from Reuters.

    In Burkina Faso, Protesters Set Parliament Ablaze (Video & Photos)


    Protesters angry at plans to allow Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore to extend his 27-year-rule have set fire to parliament. (BBC News)

    BBC News

    Correspondents say the city hall and ruling party headquarters are also in flames in the capital, Ouagadougou.

    A huge crowd is surging towards the presidential palace and the main airport has been shut.

    MPs have suspended a vote on changing the constitution to allow Mr Compaore to stand for re-election next year.

    Five people have been killed in the protests, among the most serious against Mr Compaore’s rule, reports BBC Afrique’s Yacouba Ouedraogo from the capital.

    The military fired live bullets as protesters stormed parliament, our correspondent says.

    Journalists are now gathered outside the defence ministry awaiting a statement from the military, he says.

    Witnesses say dozens of soldiers have joined the protests, including a former defence minister, Gen Kouame Lougue.

    The main opposition leader, Zephirin Diabre, has called on the military to side with “the people” and has demanded the resignation of the president.

    Read more and watch video at BBC News »

    Photos: Protesters Storm Burkina Faso Parliament (VOA)


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    Wonderful Ethiopia Video From The Perennial Plate

    (Photo: Vimeo/The Perennial Plate)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – The team behind The Perennial Plate, an online weekly documentary series dedicated to exploring food around the world recently traveled to Ethiopia where they filmed their experience for their current episode. The video, co-produced and edited by Chef Daniel Klein and partner Mirra Fine includes music, Eshururu , by Dereb The Ambassador.

    Watch: Ethiopia! from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo

    Ethiopia! from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.


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    Aida Muluneh Among 40 Contemporary African Artists Taking on ‘Divine Comedy’

    Art work by Ethiopian artist Aïda Muluneh, 'The 99 Series' (detail), 2013. (© Aïda Muluneh)

    The Huffington Post

    Wangechi Mutu, Yinka Shonibare, Aida Muluneh, Dante Alighieri.

    These are some of the brilliant minds involved in “The Divine Comedy,” a contemporary art exhibition at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art. One of these names, as you may have keenly ascertained, is not like the other. Dante’s Italian heritage and an approximately 700-year age gap certainly separate him from the other figures listed on the press release. But 40 contemporary African artists have assembled in his honor, each creating an artistic homage to his timeless depictions of heaven, purgatory and hell.

    The sprawling exhibition is divided into three categories, with a selection of artists each addressing themes associated with Dante’s three poems. While a majority of religion-centric art exhibitions feature some combination of heavy-handed symbolism, oddly proportioned babies and golden halos, this exhibition opts for a rather different vibe.

    For exmaple, Shonibare’s “How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once (Gentlemen)” features two headless gentlemen clad in electric hued, vaguely imperial looking suits. The wild fabrics, which are actually manufactured in the Netherlands, embody the paradoxical nature of identity throughout Shonibare’s work. And then there’s Wangechi Mutu’s hypnotic collage, depicting a shadowy creature with a swarm of dark somethings emerging from her ruptured midsection.

    We spoke to Mutu about her featured work and the exhibition in general.

    Read more at The Huffington Post »

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    5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: World Health Organization

    Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (Tika) members deliver medical treatment and raise awareness of Ebola outbreak in Kolda, southern Senegal on October 24, 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    KAMPALA, Uganda — Authorities are having trouble figuring out how many more people are getting Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone and where the hot spots are in those countries, harming efforts to get control of the raging, deadly outbreak, the U.N.’s top Ebola official in West Africa said Tuesday.

    “The challenge is good information, because information helps tell us where the disease is, how it’s spreading and where we need to target our resources,” Anthony Banbury told The Associated Press by phone from the Ghanaian capital of Accra, where the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, is based.

    Health experts say the key to stopping Ebola is breaking the chain of transmission by tracing and isolating those who have had contact with Ebola patients or victims. Health care workers can’t do that if they don’t know where new cases are emerging.

    “And unfortunately, we don’t have good data from a lot of areas. We don’t know exactly what is happening,” said Banbury, the chief of UNMEER.

    Banbury, who visited the three most affected countries last week, said it was “heartbreaking” to see families torn apart by Ebola as they struggle to care for sick loves ones while also hoping to avoid infection. He said he is hoping for a new approach in Liberia as the U.N. and its partners work to improve the capacity of communities to safely bury victims.

    Over the past week, Banbury met with the presidents of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where the vast majority of the more than 10,000 Ebola cases have occurred, the U.N. said.

    Meanwhile, the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, said the three countries need at least 5,000 more health workers to effectively fight the epidemic.

    Kim said Tuesday that he is worried about where those health workers can be found given the widespread fear of Ebola. Quarantining health workers returning to their home countries — as some U.S. states are doing — could also hurt recruitment efforts. The World Bank president spoke alongside U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the AU is headquartered.

    As more countries close their borders with or severely restrict travel from the affected countries, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf pleaded Tuesday with the world to not turn its back on those suffering.

    “We’d just like the international community to continue to see this as a global threat, that stigmatization, exclusion, restriction is not the appropriate response to this,” she said.

    Read more »

    Related:
    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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    The Next Shirt You Buy May Say ‘Made In Ethiopia.’ Here’s Why

    People working on the assembly line in April 2012 at Huajian shoe factory in Dukem, Ethiopia. (Getty)

    NPR

    “Made in China” may be leaving your wardrobe.

    As labor costs in the “world’s factory” continue to rise dramatically, global fashion brands are looking elsewhere to source apparel. In addition to established hubs like Bangladesh and Vietnam, the garment game is ripe for new players: Myanmar (Burma), Haiti and Ethiopia, among others, are looking to rejuvenate a once-thriving trade or even build one entirely from scratch.

    China will shed approximately 85 million manufacturing jobs in the coming years, which some development experts say could be a golden opportunity for producing economic development, a la South Korea. The standard narrative: Start at the bottom with low-skill, basic textile manufacturing (like T-shirts) and work your way up to more complex garments (like suits), then to more complex goods like electronics.

    Improved quality of life and a rising consumer class will naturally follow, creating sustainable and natural growth in China. At that point, garment assembly would be seen as lowbrow.

    “You don’t make tanks out of textiles,” says Derek Scissors, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

    But whether China’s successors actually can follow the “textile to tank” model is a point of serious contention. Some argue that new entrants only can survive by offering the lowest costs — read: unlivable wages and minimal, if any, rights. Footloose garment brands — apt to flee to wherever labor costs are lowest — make nurturing textiles into an industry with highly skilled workers, robust infrastructure and effective regulation extremely difficult.

    It’s harder to unlearn bad habits, so the best shot at a sustainable industry may be Ethiopia, which is essentially a blank slate. Despite dire infrastructure shortcomings, Ethiopia’s access to a continental market with six of the 10 fastest-growing economies and one of the world’s largest cattle (leather) stocks spurs “China 30 years ago” comparisons and makes the nation an attractive long-term investment.

    The Chinese and Turkish certainly seem to think so. Huajian Shoes and Akya Tekstil, two of the world’s largest apparel-makers, are planning multibillion-dollar “apparel-cities” fit for up to 60,000 workers and 50 different manufacturers each.

    Read more at NPR.org »

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    Abaynesh Asrat Honored with People of Distinction Humanitarian Award

    Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & CEO of Nation to Nation Networking (NNN) & Board Member of Hamlin Fistula USA. (Courtesy Photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & CEO of Nation to Nation Networking (NNN) is among the 2014 honorees of the People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards. As a long-time board member of Hamlin Fistula USA foundation Abaynesh has been at the forefront of the campaign to treat and prevent fistula, which is a childbirth-related injury affecting thousands of women in Ethiopia as well as various countries around the world. As the National Fundraiser Chair for the ‘Tesfa Ineste’ campaign Abaynesh successfully mobilized the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States to contribute toward the building of a regional hospital, the Harar Hamlin Fistula Center, in 2009.

    Her continued involvement in the fight against fistula includes advocacy to expand educational institutions in Ethiopia with a special focus on training more midwives. In 2014 the Hamlin College of Midwives enrolled 21 Ethiopian students for the Bachelor of Science degree, increasing the total count of midwifery students to 89. “The opening of the Hamlin College of Midwives, about 12 kilometers from Addis Ababa, is the key to tackle, and even eradicate completely, this devastating childbirth injury” Abaynesh said in an interview with Tadias earlier this year. “I think, as we did a phenomenal job collectively to build the Harar Center, we can once again use our intellect and our financial support, individually and collectively, three-fold, toward the education of more students to graduate from the Hamlin Midwifery College.” Her suggestion to add a clause banning the inappropriate taking of photos and videos of fistula patients in the Bill of Rights for patients with obstetric fistula was recently approved.

    Abaynesh’s New York-based non-profit, Nation to Nation Networking, works with various international organizations, including the United Nations, to bring together leaders from the private and public sectors by providing a networking platform to initiate collaborations across cultures and professions. In the past, Abaynesh has also been named one of New York Women’s Agenda Galaxy Women (2004), Ambassador of Peace (2005) and also received the Chairmanship Volunteer Award (2005). In 2007 Abaynesh was part of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church delegation that traveled from Harlem to Ethiopia in celebration of the legendary Church’s second centennial and Ethiopia’s millennium.

    Abaynesh Asrat will be honored tonight with the second annual People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards at the City University of New York Graduate Center. The event, hosted by talk show host Al Cole from CBS Radio, recognizes “inspiring and dedicated ‘Unsung Heroes’ who are making our world a better place.” Al Cole, the Director of People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards and Master of Ceremonies, launched the accolade in 2013 to celebrate “Unsung Heroes (as well as “Sung” Heroes) to share their stories of courage, humility and success.”

    Tadias Magazine congratulates Abaynesh Asrat on the well-deserved recognition.

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    Nun Visiting NYC From Ethiopia Missing

    30-year-old Ethiopian nun Tadelech Yohanis was last seen leaving Sacred Heart Convent Thursday afternoon on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. (New York CBS Local )

    CBS New York

    NEW YORK – A nun visiting the U.S. from Ethiopia is missing, the NYPD said.

    Tadelech Yohanis, 30, was last seen at around 2 p.m. last Thursday. at Sacred Heart Convent on the Lower East Side.

    Yohanis arrived in the U.S. Oct. 6 and was set to leave Sunday, Oct. 26.

    On the 23rd, Yohanis left the convent with her passport and hasn’t returned, police said.

    Yohanis is “in good mental condition” and is 5’9″ and about 150 pounds, police said.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers’ website at or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are confidential.

    Read more at CBS New York »

    Related:
    Still No Sign of Missing Ethiopian Mom Almaz Gebremedhin in Wylie, Texas

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    Journalist Temesghen Desalegn Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

    Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn, who was convicted this month in connection with a 2012 defamation case, has been sentenced to three years in prison (CPJ)

    CPJ

    Press release

    Nairobi – The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn to three years’ imprisonment on charges of defamation and incitement that date back to 2012. A court in Addis Ababa, the capital, convicted Temesgen on October 13 in connection with opinion pieces published in the now-defunct Feteh news magazine, according to news reports. He was arrested the same day. Authorities have routinely targeted Temesghen for his writing. Temesghen’s lawyer said he plans to appeal the ruling, according to local journalists.

    “With each journalist sentenced to prison, Ethiopia takes another step further from freedom of the press and democratic society,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “We urge Ethiopian authorities to overturn Temesghen’s conviction on appeal and release him and all other journalists jailed for doing their jobs.”

    A state crackdown on independent publications and bloggers has taken place in Ethiopia this year, prompting several Ethiopian journalists to flee into exile, according to CPJ research. With at least 17 journalists in jail, Ethiopia is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, second only to its neighbor Eritrea, CPJ research shows.

    Read more at CPJ.org »

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    Amnesty Says Ethiopia Detains 5,000 Oromos Illegally Since 2011

    (Photo: Oromo students protest against a government plan to expand Addis Ababa earlier this year/Al Jazeera)

    Bloomberg News

    By William Davison

    Oct 27, 2014

    Ethiopia’s government illegally detained at least 5,000 members of the country’s most populous ethnic group, the Oromo, over the past four years as it seeks to crush political dissent, Amnesty International said.

    Victims include politicians, students, singers and civil servants, sometimes only for wearing Oromo traditional dress, or for holding influential positions within the community, the London-based advocacy group said in a report today. Most people were detained without charge, some for years, with many tortured and dozens killed, it said.

    “The Ethiopian government’s relentless crackdown on real or imagined dissent among the Oromo is sweeping in its scale and often shocking in its brutality,” Claire Beston, the group’s Ethiopia researcher, said in a statement. “This is apparently intended to warn, control or silence all signs of ‘political disobedience’ in the region.”…

    The state-run Oromia Justice Bureau said the findings were “far from the truth” in a reply to Amnesty included in the report. “No single individual has been and would not be subjected to any form of harassment, arrest or detention, torture for exercising the freedom of expression or opinion.”

    The majority of detainees are accused of supporting the Oromo Liberation Front, which was formed in 1973 to fight for self-determination, according to Amnesty.

    Read the full article at Bloomberg News »

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    Ethiopia’s South Sudan Refugees Beyond Capacity

    Children displaced by fighting in South Sudan wait to be registered into the Kule 1 and 2 camps for Internally Displaced People at the Pagak border crossing in Gambella, Ethiopia, July 10, 2014. (AFP)

    VOA News

    By Marthe van der Wolf

    October 27, 2014

    GAMBELLA — Available resources for South Sudan refugees in Ethiopia are under pressure as the warring parties continue to be deadlocked in flailing peace talks. More refugees are expected in the coming months as the conflict in the world’s youngest country turns almost a year old.

    Since the conflict in South Sudan erupted in December, some 245,000 South Sudanese have fled to Gambella, a southwestern province of Ethiopia.

    Pagak is one of the three main entry points used by refugees – who cross a bridge that functions as the border. Just after the bridge on the Ethiopian side, more than 2,700 refugees are waiting in the registration camp. And all of them need shelter, food and basic services.

    Refugee Joseph Tek acts as camp leader on behalf of the refugee community. He said that people came to him with their needs, which he passed on to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

    “They just need the mosquito net because of the mosquito bites. Plus they need food because in July we don’t have food here and we then receive food in August. And they feel cold because there is no blanket,” said Tek.

    Nhial Yiech is a refugee who came to Ethiopia in March. He said they needed more services than what was provided.

    He said they did’t have enough water, and medications. The diseases that affect people in this area are causing swollen throats, and many people have malaria.

    Fighting continues since a political split between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar erupted into violence in the middle of December 2013. More than 10,000 people have died and more than 1.5 million have been displaced. Several agreed on cease-fires since then have failed to hold.

    And there is little optimism that the violence in South Sudan will be halted any time soon, meaning refugees will keep coming to Ethiopia in need of relief. There are 18 aid organizations assisting refugees in the Gambella region. They say, that up till now, they had a good year with enough resources. But the situation is changing with unforeseen costs, mainly due to of flooding here.

    Gebrehiwot Ewnetu is a project coordinator for the Danish Refugee Council. He said their donors have asked the organization to tighten its belt.

    “So for example, DRC built 10 kilometers of reticulation, water piping for the refugees. Once they were forced to evacuate the camp, it meant we had to do new water points. We had to start water trucking again and transporting water by truck is extremely expensive. Other agencies also have the exact same problems with the flooding and people moving. For example, if you built a school in one place and people move, you have to build another school in another place, and things like that,” said Ewnetu.

    The rainy season flooded roads and camps and temporarily slowed down the influx of refugees. But there are still 50 to 60 new arrivals every day at Akobo, another border point.

    Dennis Solberg Kjeldsen, of the International Federation of the Red Cross, said that they were bracing for a new wave of displaced people.

    “We are all expecting that once the rains subsiding in South Sudan, that will potentially mean the rise of conflicts and people wanting to go in search of food security. And where will they come? They will come here,” he said.

    The rains are expected to stop in a few weeks’ time and organizations such as IFRC (International Federation of the Red Cross) are launching an international appeal to raise more funds. They estimate their basic running costs to be about $3 million over the next 6 months. Kjeldsen said raising money for South Sudan would not be easy.

    “With the amounts of emergencies in the world right now. On this continent you have three very large emergencies: in South Sudan, in the Central African Republic, and Ebola. Which are not only taking up financial resources they are also taking up human resources, material resources. And that’s stretching us,” said Kjeldsen.

    Just 3 years after independence, South Sudan’s political leaders are trying the international community’s patience. Many fault the government for prolonging a manufactured crisis and the development and aid money once flowing in is slowing down considerably.

    And with that more displaced South Sudanese are leaving. Ethiopia is hosting more South Sudan refugees than any other African country.

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    Spotlight: Amnesty International Comes Down Hard On Ferguson Police (Video)

    The international human rights organization has issued a scathing critique of the Ferguson Police Department for its handling of protests following the shooting death of Michael Brown. (USNews)

    Amnesty International

    On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson

    On August 9, 2014 Michael Brown, an 18-year old unarmed African American man, was fatally shot by a white Police Officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown’s death set off protests which, as of this publication, are ongoing, as well as a long-overdue conversation on race, policing and justice. The events in Ferguson have also raised a range of human rights concerns, including the right to life, the use of lethal force by law enforcement, the right to freedom from discrimination, and the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

    Following the initial protests, Amnesty International USA sent a delegation to Ferguson from Aug. 14-22. The delegation was composed of staff working with the community and protesters on non-direct action and de-escalation tactics in protests and other staff who were there strictly to observe and monitor the protests and police response. While gaining first hand testimony in the midst of the protests and marches proved difficult, the following findings rely on observations made by staff during this mission and is supplemented by information from media reports.

    This briefing document outlines some of the human rights concerns witnessed by Amnesty International and a series of recommendations that need to be implemented with regards to the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers and the policing of protests.

    Use of lethal force: Death of Michael Brown
    On Saturday August 9, 2014, 18-year old Michael Brown and a friend were walking down Canfield Drive in Ferguson, MO when they were confronted by Officer Darren Wilson. Moments later, Brown was fatally shot by Police Officer Wilson. Michael Brown’s body then lay on the street for at least four hours. According to the autopsy conducted by both the family and the County Medical Examiner’s Office, Michael Brown was shot six times.

    Due to conflicting reports, what happened between Brown and Wilson remains uncertain. According to one witness, Brown and his friend attempted to walk away when the officer fired his weapon, shooting the unarmed Brown, whose hands were in the air. According to police statements, a physical confrontation between the officer and Brown resulted in the officer shooting the unarmed Brown.

    Regardless, international standards provide that law enforcement officers should only use force as a last resort and that the amount of force must be proportionate to the threat encountered and designed to minimize damage and injury. Officers may only use firearms when strictly necessary to protect themselves or others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury. Even then, the intentional lethal use of firearms is justified only when “strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.”

    Irrespective of whether there was some sort of physical confrontation between Michael Brown and the police officer, Michael Brown was unarmed and thus unlikely to have presented a serious threat to the life of the police officer. As such, this calls into question whether the use of lethal force was justified, and the circumstances of the killing must be urgently clarified.

    Also troubling is Missouri’s broad statute on the use of deadly force. Amnesty International is very concerned that the statute may be unconstitutional and is clearly out of line with international standards on the intentional use of lethal force as it goes well beyond the doctrine that lethal force only be used to protect life.

    Racial discrimination and excessive use of police force nationwide
    The shooting of Michael Brown highlighted on a national level the persistent and widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement officers across the United States, including unjustified stops and searches, ill treatment and excessive, and sometimes lethal, use of force.

    Read more and download the report at amnestyusa.org »

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    In Pictures: Ethiopia at 2014 African Day Parade & Festival in Harlem

    Photo courtesy: The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association in New York City (ECMAA)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Sunday, October 26th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) in New York City represented Ethiopia at the 8th Annual African Day Parade & Festival held last weekend in Harlem. Below are photos courtesy of ECMAA:


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    Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate

    Ethiopian American Mohammed Tahiro of Texas is the first foreign-born African to run for the US Senate.

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Sunday, October 26th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – Economics Professor Mohammed Abbajebel Tahiro — who is the only write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate from Texas in the upcoming November elections — says he’s running because he wants to highlight issues that most politicians in D.C. prefer to ignore: The growing American debt, immigration, foreign aid, and inequality in the criminal justice system.

    “I teach economics and in my line of work I see a lot of things that politicians in Washington do and I don’t like what I see, like spending more money than they take in taxes,” said Professor Tahiro in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine. “We have over 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country and many of them live in Texas, my own state, and the U.S. government spends a lot of money in the form of foreign aid, both cash and military assistance, that goes to despots around the world. I am pretty much against that too.”

    But mostly as an economist Professor Tahiro said he is concerned about the growing American debt, which is almost 8 trillion dollars right now. “It is a scary, scary number,” he said. “And as you might have noticed politicians are not talking about it at all.” He added: “And this is supposed to be an election year. They are happy that they are not talking about it because if they do it will make them look very bad so they would rather avoid it. But I want them to talk about it because it is a problem that we need to solve.”

    Professor Tahiro has come a long way from his childhood home in Dodola, Ethiopia, located along the highway from Addis Ababa to Bale Robe. “It used to be a small sleepy town,” He said. “I was born in Ethiopia, I grew up there, I went to school there. I went to Addis Ababa University in the mid 1980s. I finished high school in 1984.”

    As for being the first Ethiopian American candidate vying for a U.S. Senate seat Professor Tahiro noted that it was not his original intention, but he welcomes the opportunity. “It just turned out that way; I was not setting out to make history,” he emphasized. “As Obama said, he wasn’t running to become the first black president, but it just so happened that he was the first black President.”

    Professor Tahiro continued: “As far as I know I am the first Ethiopian American and African actually running for the U.S. Senate. To me it does not really mean much personally, but it inspires the younger generation. I have kids here and it does’t look like I will be going back to Ethiopia any time soon. And it’s even more difficult for my kids to go back to Ethiopia because they were born here, they speak the language, they know this culture, basically they are Americans. By running for office I am showing them the way that if you want to be American, then you have to do what Americans do. You have to vote, you have to take part in the democratic process and then you can say we are Americans. It’s not merely enough to be a citizen. You have to participate in the political process. In that regard we have accomplished a lot. I am just setting another example.”

    What’s the difference between write-in candidates and regular candidates? “The only difference is that you have to write-in my name to vote for me,” Professor Tahiro responded. “The other thing is that I don’t have a party affiliation, but I stand as the only write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate and if I win I will become a Senator representing Texas so my candidacy is certified by the State of Texas and everything has been filed.”

    Asked about the historic U.S.-Africa Summit that was held in Washington over the Summer, Professor Tahiro stated: “I don’t oppose that in principle because the United States needs to have better relations with Africa, but the devil is in the details. And there are many things that I would change when it comes to American foreign policy vis-à-vis Africa. I support democracy in Africa. I support the right of people to elect, and the right of the elected politicians to actually hold offices.”

    Regarding local matters, Tahiro focuses on reducing racial disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system as one of his top priorities. “I am very passionate about that,” he said. “I believe everybody needs to be treated equally under the law. Research shows that unfortunately that’s not case necessarily.” Professor Tahiro added: “People of color are treated differently in the criminal justice system, so I want to fight to make sure that the system applies to everyone equally. That’s really on my to-do list if I win.”

    Does he have a message for Ethiopian Americans? “Yes, first thank you for giving me this opportunity to connect with your audience. I want people to know that I care about them. I treat them with respect; I see them as my people. It does not matter where you come from. Whether you come from my hometown of Dodola or you come from Gondar, let’s all narrow it down to Ethiopia. I don’t belong to this group or that group. In my mind I transcend all of our predicaments. I love you all and I just want you to know that.”

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    Meet the Tour Operator: Yohannes Zeleke

    Yohannes Zeleke is a man of many hats, including the one above. (Photo by David Cogswell)

    Travel Pulse

    By DAVID COGSWELL

    When you hang with somebody, when you get down, travel around, eat meals together, hike around, discuss, argue, dance, drink, sing, laugh and various other things, you don’t often think about the initials after people’s names. But in truth Yohannes Zeleke, a member of the party that traveled to Ethiopia on the recent NTA Product Development trip, is a Ph.D.

    As remarkable as those initials are, it’s one of the least interesting things that comes to mind about Dr. Zeleke. He is an anthropologist, an archaeologist with decades of digs in Europe, Asia and Africa under his belt. He’s an author. He’s a research associate with the Smithsonian Institution. He’s an alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley, The Russian Academy of Sciences and St. Petersburg State University. He teaches anthropology at the American University in Washington DC. He’s the president of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Africa Travel Association and he’s a tour operator.

    The problem is where to begin. Any attempt to sum up his multi-faceted existence would fall short.

    Yohannes Zeleke’s own long, winding journey began at Gondar, where he was born in one of Ethiopia’s largest cities and the site of Gondar Castle, a cluster of impressive stone structures built in 1636 by King Fasilides.

    Growing up in Ethiopia, the site of the earliest known human fossils, as well as the Gondar Castle and many other sites of historical and religious significance, it is perhaps not surprising that he would have followed the courses of study of archaeology, anthropology and history.

    Read more »

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    Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Health Workers in Ebola-Hit West Africa

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

    Business Standard

    Ethiopia said Friday it will deploy about 210 health professionals to Ebola-affected countries to support the response against the epidemic in West Africa.

    In addition, the East African nation has also decided to provide financial support of $500,000 to the response in the highly affected countries, Xinhua reported.

    Speaking at a press conference on Friday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Keseteberhan Admasu, Ethiopia’s health minister, said the health professionals drawn from the public and private sectors would be deployed in two rounds.

    The mission from Ethiopia comprises medical doctors, nurses, field epidemiologists, environmental health professionals and public health specialists.

    The Ethiopian minister noted that the support is a sign of solidarity to African brothers and sisters.

    With its programme dubbed the AU Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), the African Union (AU) has deployed volunteers in the affected countries.

    The pan-African bloc recently appealed for more human resources from its member states and development partners to fight the Ebola epidemic.

    Despite efforts made to combat and control the epidemic, Ebola outbreak continues to ravage the affected countries in West Africa and the transmission remains persistent and widespread especially in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

    Read more »

    Related:
    Doctor in NYC 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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    Ebola Comes to New York

    Police officers stood outside the apartment of Dr. Craig Spencer on West 147th Street in Harlem, New York City on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014. (Credit Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times)

    The New York Times

    By MARC SANTORA

    A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea tested positive for the Ebola virus Thursday, becoming the city’s first diagnosed case.

    The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center on Thursday and placed in isolation while health care workers spread out across the city to trace anyone he might have come into contact with in recent days. A further test will be conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the initial test.

    While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges surrounding containment of the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis.

    Video: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Cuomo Hold Press Conference

    Read more at The New York Times »

    Related:
    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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    Third Hub of Africa Fashion Week Underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Photo Courtesy: Hub of Africa Fashion Week.

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – The 3rd Hub of Africa Fashion Week is underway in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Clairvoyant Marketing Agency PLC and In the Bag — organizers of the event — announced that the two-day international runway show dubbed the “Editorial Edition” highlights twelve brands including designers Mahlet Afework (aka Mafi – from Ethiopia), Sheria Ngowi (Tanzania), Ruald Rheeder (South Africa), Taibo Bacar (Mozambique), Kahindo of Modanik (DRC), Mataano (Somali – Ayaan and Idyl), Katungulu Mwendwa (Kenya), Doreen Mashika (Zanzibar), Kepha Maina (Kenya), and Sandstorm (Kenya).

    “For editors, buyers and industry tastemakers, there will be an up-close-and-personal presentation of designers and their collection,” states the announcement. “The Editorial Edition is created to fill the void of African designers on the global platform; by having the right editors on board we will be able to showcase the brands that are coming out of Africa. We are looking to make sure that business in the African Fashion Market is well represented and can fast-forward Africa as the fashion forward continent.”

    The organizers add: “We are at the pinnacle of making fashion history. We realize that global brands also borrow from our cultures, which is why we see our designers as those that will carry us to the next frontier. Key editors and media including Fashion One TV, Vogue Italy, Zen Magazine, Pana TV, Designing Africa, Style Cartel, Latina Magazine and Tatler Magazine, as well as buyers such as FA254 of Germany will be attending.”

    DHL is listed as logistics partner of this year’s event, which is taking place on October 23rd and 24th at Galani Coffee & Gallery in Addis Ababa.

    If You Go:
    More information at www.hubfashionweekafrica.com

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    When Ethiopians Joined Hands With Indians to Celebrate Diwali

    Diwali (festival of lights) is an ancient Indian holiday celebrated each fall. (Photo: Scoop Whoop)

    The New Indian Express

    ADDIS ABABA: This year in Ethiopia, the celebration of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, started early in a unique way with many new participants, both Indian and Ethiopian.

    People like Muluken Belay, 35, an accountant at a private company, who have never been to an Indian function used to wonder how the festival looked like in reality after he saw it in movies. His dream would not have come true had it not been for Raju Kumar Kevelray Pandit, a fourth-generation Indian in Ethiopia who took the initiative to celebrate Diwali with his Ethiopian friends.

    “The Indian community in Ethiopia with their deep-rooted presence since the times of the emperors in many aspects made the locals feel like they are part of its family”, Raju told IANS.

    “My grandfather was the advisor for King Hailesellasie, my father used to work for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and I work at a private Indian company serving Indian and Ethiopian community”.

    He wanted to organise an event where Indians could mix with Ethiopians to share and explore more about each other’s cultures. With the support of his friend they picked a restaurant known for its unique ambiance, Addis Down Town Capri Restaurant and Lounge, for this special event.

    “When he came to our place proposing the idea we embraced it because we knew it was going to be special,” Demelie Arega, managing director of the restaurant, told IANS. “This is the first time we collaborated with any community and India is rich with its music and colourful with its presence. Indeed it is a great experience”.

    The restaurant prepared a special menu specifically for the celebration for everyone to enjoy. The place was decorated with costumes, flowers and other items to reflect Bollywood-themed night . The Indian flag that was hung on the wall behind the DJs was hard to miss.

    Participants like Muluken and his friends were happy to pay the 100 birr ($5) entrance fee for it was not something they would get all the time.

    “I did not think I would actually witness this here in Addis Abba. I have been to many Indian restaurants and have so many Indian friends, but I have never seen them celebrate a function or dance,” Muluken told IANS smiling.

    Read more at The New Indian Express »

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    Ethiopia’s ‘African Tiger’ Leaps Towards Middle Income

    People wait for a bus in Addis Ababa. The government has launched an ambitious modernisation plan in the Ethiopian capital. (Photograph: Giorgio Cosulich/Getty)

    The Guardian

    It is now three decades since Ethiopia experienced the infamous famine that cost the lives of more than a million people. The tragedy prompted the BBC’s Michael Buerk to describe it as “a biblical famine in the 20th century” and “the closest thing to hell on Earth”.

    In sharp contrast with that devastating poverty, Ethiopia is now widely considered to be one of a pack of “African tigers”, with ambitious plans to become a middle-income country by 2025. The nation has, “like the proverbial phoenix, managed to rise from the ashes to become Africa’s fastest-growing non-energy-driven economy”, a senior tax adviser at KPMG Kenya recently noted.

    The changes that have taken place in Ethiopia since the 1984 famine are commendable. Despite some dispute over the figures, there is consensus that Ethiopia has registered impressive economic growth for the past decade of somewhere between 8% and 10%. One effect of the progress is a greater capacity to cope with drought, preventing the descent into famine conditions that have occurred in the past. Ethiopia’s development efforts are also praised internationally for meeting some of the millennium development goals, particularly universal primary education and a reduction in infant mortality.

    Read more at The Guardian »

    Related:
    Ethiopia, 30 Years After the 1984 Famine (The Guardian)
    Ethiopian famine: how landmark BBC report influenced modern coverage (The Guardian)
    Ethiopia: The famine report that shocked the world (BBC)

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    Man Caught After Jumping White House Fence

    The White House is seen from outside the north lawn fence in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Reuters)

    VOA News

    For the second time in a little more than a month, a man has jumped the White House fence, but this time the intruder was apprehended with the help of Secret Service dogs.

    The jumper was caught Wednesday evening outside the White House after he scaled the north fence. A Secret Service spokesman said the suspect kicked at one of the dogs before a second dog subdued him.

    The jumper was then taken to a nearby hospital. The White House was put on lockdown during the incident.

    On September 19, Omar Gonzalez, a 42-year-old Army vet who is unemployed and homeless, bolted across the lawn and into the White House before being apprehended. He had a 9-centimeter knife in his pants and more than 800 rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete in his car.

    The unprecedented security breach led to congressional hearings and the resignation of Julia Pierson as Secret Service director.

    Related:
    U.S. Secret Service Director Resigns Over White House Security Breach

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    Ethiopia, 30 Years After the 1984 Famine

    A man walks past a portion of the Addis Ababa light railway under construction in Addis Ababa. (Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

    The Guardian

    By David Smith

    Wednesday 22 October 2014

    Addis Ababa – With an Einsteinian shock of hair and a wise man’s beard, Mulugeta Tesfakiros, just off a flight from Washington, settled into an office of glass walls and vibrant artworks in Addis Ababa. The millionaire magnate, who has gone into the local wine business with Bob Geldof, mused on the new Ethiopia: “Most of the people need first security, second food … and democracy after that.”

    An hour’s drive away stand the corrugated iron watchtowers of a prison. The inmates include nine bloggers and journalists charged with terrorism. Standing in a bleak courtyard on a family visit day, they talked about how they had been tortured.

    “I feel like I don’t know Ethiopia,” one said. “It’s a totally different country for me.”

    This is the Janus-faced society that is the second most populous country in Africa. A generation after the famine that pierced the conscience of the world, Ethiopia is both a darling of the international development community and a scourge of the human rights lobby. Even as investment conferences praise it as a trailblazer the entire continent should emulate, organisations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) describe it as “one of the most repressive media environments in the world”.


    Three decades after images that shocked the world, country has become darling of the global development community – and the scourge of the human rights lobby. (Photograph: William Campbell/Sygma/Corbis)

    To be in Ethiopia is to witness an economic miracle. The country has enjoyed close to double-digit growth for a decade. One study found it was creating millionaires faster than anywhere else on the continent. The streets of Addis Ababa reverberate with hammering from construction workers as the concrete skeletons of new towers and a monorail project rise into the crane-dotted sky. Ethiopia’s government says it is on course to meet most of the millennium development goals and, by 2025, to be a middle-income country.

    Yet the frenetic urban expansion has uprooted thousands of farmers while, critics say, those who speak out against it are rounded up and jailed. Of 547 MPs, only one belongs to an opposition party. Activists and journalists describe an Orwellian surveillance state, breathtaking in scale and scope, in which phone conversations are recorded and emails monitored by thousands of bureaucrats reminiscent of the Stasi in East Berlin. The few who dare to take to the streets in protest are crushed with deadly force. Amnesty International has called it an “onslaught on dissent” in the runup to elections next year.

    Read more at The Guardian »

    Related:
    Ethiopian famine: how landmark BBC report influenced modern coverage (The Guardian)
    Ethiopia: The famine report that shocked the world (BBC)

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    International Symposium: Legacies of the Italian Occupation of Ethiopia

    The symposium organized by Ethiopian American writer Maaza Mengiste and Ruth Ben Ghiat, Professor of Italian Studies and History at New York University, will be held at NYU on Friday, October 24th 2014.

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Press release

    New York – This symposium, organized by NYU faculty Ruth Ben-Ghiat (History, Italian Studies) and Maaza Mengiste (Creative Writing) examines the legacies of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia as experienced by Ethiopians. History can only go so far to tell us about what took place during Italian rule – and its consequences. In Ethiopia, visual and storytelling cultures have been main vehicles of postcolonial expression.

    The three panels look at how performance, writing and storytelling, and visual arts narrate this difficult period and its legacies for several generations.

    9:30 Coffee and Welcome
    Maaza Mengiste and Ruth Ben-Ghiat

    9:30-11:00 Plays and Performance
    Bewketu Seyoum (Independent Writer, Performer), in dialogue with Heran Sereke-Brhan (Independent Researcher), and Dagmawi Woubshet (Cornell University).

    11:15-11:30 Coffee break

    11:30-1:00 Literature and Storytelling
    Shiferaw Bekele (Addis Ababa University), in dialogue with Dagmawi Woubshet (Cornell University) and Heran Sereke-Brhan (Independent Researcher).

    1:00-2:30 Lunch Break

    2:30-4:00 Visual Arts
    Abiyi Ford (Addis Ababa University), in dialogue with Ruth Ben-Ghiat (New York University), Maaza Mengiste (New York University and Princeton University), and Shiferaw Bekele (Addis Ababa University).

    4:00 Closing Remarks by Abiyi Ford and discussion with the audience

    We are grateful to the Global Research Initiative, the Departments of History and Italian Studies, the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, Africa House, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, all of New York University, for their generous support of this initiative.

    If You Go:
    LEGACIES OF THE ITALIAN OCCUPATION IN ETHIOPIA
    OCTOBER 24, 2014
    NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò
    24 West 12th Street, NYC
    www.casaitaliananyu.org

    (Cover images courtesy: NYU & DCStamps)

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    Harvard Opens New Gallery Exclusively for African & African American Art

    The newly opened gallery at Harvard University: The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art. The building is 23,000 square feet and holds 98 pieces by 21 artists. (Photograph: The Crimson)

    The Harvard Crimson

    By By SAMUEL E. LIU

    The first Harvard gallery exclusively for African & African American art, the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art, opened Tuesday.

    To celebrate the event, the Hutchins Center hosted a discussion with curators David Adjaye and Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt, moderated by professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and held at the Harvard Faculty Club. The talk delved into the process behind the creation of the gallery as well as the curators’s ideas regarding the significance of the installation.

    Afterwards, attendees walked to the new gallery at 104 Mt. Auburn St., next to Peet’s Coffee. The contemporary African artwork displayed was collected by Italian businessman Jean Pigozzi ’74, and was titled “Luminós/C/ity.Ordinary Joy.”

    During the talk, Gates recalled how a deal was struck with Ethelbert Cooper to create the gallery.

    “[Cooper and I] were sitting there, it was sleeting and he said…I want a naming opportunity. I want my name on something at Harvard,” Gates said to laughter. Gates then told Cooper that no university had created a gallery explicitly for African and African-American art and that this endeavor would be “the greatest thing.”

    A notable architect, Adjaye designed the building by drawing on his roots in Ghana, influenced by the country’s forests. The building’s exterior is covered in a facade of vertical wooden planks.

    Read more at The Harvard Crimson »

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    14th Anniversary of Taitu Cultural and Educational Center

    Alemtsehay Wedajo, Founder & Director of the Taitu Cultural and Educational Center. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – The Taitu Cultural & Educational Center, which serves as a platform for Ethiopian theatrical productions in the U.S., marks its 14th anniversary this year. The DC-based organization was founded in 2000 by Ethiopian-born actress, playwright and poet Alemtsehay Wedajo, and has staged over 30 plays and concerts since it was launched. That’s in addition to hosting book releases, guest authors, comedians and a popular monthly poetry night called YeWeru Gitm Mishit showcasing emerging and veteran talents in literature as well as painting, film-making and music.

    The 14th anniversary celebration is scheduled for Sunday, November 2nd at Tifereth Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. The event’s program features a play called Yasteyikal. A comedy and selected poems of the year will also be recited by legendary performers including Alemtsehay Wedajo and Tesfaye Sima.


    Theater productions and stage activities organized by the Taitu Cultural Center in the last decade have become a magnet for established and aspiring Ethiopian artists and authors residing in Washington, D.C.


    Past shows produced by Taitu Cultural Center. (Courtesy Photos)


    “It was one of my dreams to establish such a center here in America” Alemtsehay says. “I hope it will serve to narrow the gap among the various Ethiopian communities around the country.”

    If You Go:
    Taitu Cultural and Educational Center
    14th Anniversary Celebration
    Sunday, November 2nd, 2014
    Door Opens at 4pm
    $20 per person
    Tifereth Israel Congregation
    7701 16th St. NW,
    Washington, D.C.
    www.tayituculturalcenter.org

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    Ethiopian Maids Reveal Abuse From Employers in UAE

    Ethiopian domestic workers in UAE: Wube Tamene (left) and Hedja Ousman (right). (7daysindubai.com)

    7DAYS October 21, 2014

    Two maids have spoken of the appalling abuse they claim was dished out by their employers, as a top diplomat called for an end to household “slavery”.

    Hedja Ousman, 22, and Wube Tamene, 18, worked for families in the UAE and both say they were beaten, starved, and prevented from contacting their families in Ethiopia.

    They have now sought refuge at the Ethiopian Consulate in Dubai.

    Hedja, speaking to 7DAYS yesterday, told of the horrors she endured during the two years she worked for a Kazakh family in Ajman. She said her female employer didn’t like the prospect of the maid speaking to her husband.

    She said: “My employer didn’t want me talking to her husband. Every time her husband would instruct me to do something, she would beat me.”

    Hedja said the woman even cut off her hair to make her “less attractive”.

    Hedja, who earned Dhs500 per month, said the abuse began three months after she started her job. She decided to escape last week when her employer accused her of stealing car keys and beat her.

    “I saw the door open and I ran,” she said. I asked someone for water, they called the police for me. I’ve been at the consulate since. I want to go home.”

    She has dropped the police case she had filed against her employer but the consulate says it intends to file a new one.

    Read more »

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    Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola

    Cuban health workers in Sierra Leone. (Credit Florian Plaucheur/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

    The New York Times | EDITORIAL

    By The Editorial Board

    Cuba is an impoverished island that remains largely cut off from the world and lies about 4,500 miles from the West African nations where Ebola is spreading at an alarming rate. Yet, having pledged to deploy hundreds of medical professionals to the front lines of the pandemic, Cuba stands to play the most robust role among the nations seeking to contain the virus.

    Cuba’s contribution is doubtlessly meant at least in part to bolster its beleaguered international standing. Nonetheless, it should be lauded and emulated.

    The global panic over Ebola has not brought forth an adequate response from the nations with the most to offer. While the United States and several other wealthy countries have been happy to pledge funds, only Cuba and a few nongovernmental organizations are offering what is most needed: medical professionals in the field.

    Doctors in West Africa desperately need support to establish isolation facilities and mechanisms to detect cases early. More than 400 medical personnel have been infected and about 4,500 patients have died. The virus has shown up in the United States and Europe, raising fears that the epidemic could soon become a global menace.

    It is a shame that Washington, the chief donor in the fight against Ebola, is diplomatically estranged from Havana, the boldest contributor. In this case the schism has life-or-death consequences, because American and Cuban officials are not equipped to coordinate global efforts at a high level. This should serve as an urgent reminder to the Obama administration that the benefits of moving swiftly to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba far outweigh the drawbacks.

    Read more at NYT »

    Related:
    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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    The Pivotal Role of Free Media in Building A Healthy Democracy

    "Democracy is commonly defined as a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Like a fish to water, democracy can only exist in an atmosphere of freedom of action." (theviewspaper.net)

    UN.org

    By SHEILA S. CORONEL

    Since the 17th century, the role of the press as Fourth Estate and as a forum for public discussion and debate has been recognized. Today, despite the mass media’s propensity for sleaze, sensationalism and superficiality, the notion of the media as watchdog, as guardian of the public interest, and as a conduit between governors and the governed remains deeply ingrained.

    The reality, however, is that the media in new and restored democracy do not always live up to the ideal. They are hobbled by stringent laws, monopolistic ownership, and sometimes, the threat of brute force. State controls are not the only constraints. Serious reporting is difficult to sustain in competitive media markets that put a premium on the shallow and sensational. Moreover, the media are sometimes used as proxies in the battle between rival political groups, in the process sowing divisiveness rather than consensus, hate speech instead of sober debate, and suspicion rather than social trust. In these cases, the media contribute to public cynicism and democratic decay.

    Still, in many fledgling democracies, the media have been able to assert their role in buttressing and deepening democracy. Investigative reporting, which in some cases has led to the ouster of presidents and the fall of corrupt governments, has made the media an effective and credible watchdog and boosted its credibility among the public. Investigative reporting has also helped accustom officials to an inquisitive press and helped build a culture of openness and disclosure that has made democratically elected governments more accountable. Training for journalists, manuals that arm reporters with research tools, and awards for investigative reporting have helped create a corps of independent investigative journalists in several new and restored democracies.

    Democracy requires the active participation of citizens. Ideally, the media should keep citizens engaged in the business of governance by informing, educating and mobilising the public. In many new democracies, radio has become the medium of choice, as it is less expensive and more accessible. FM and community radio have been effective instruments for promoting grassroots democracy by airing local issues, providing an alternative source of information to official channels, and reflecting ethnic and linguistic diversity. The Internet, too, can play such a role, because of its interactivity, relatively low costs of entry and freedom from state control.

    The media can also help build peace and social consensus, without which democracy is threatened. The media can provide warring groups mechanisms for mediation, representation and voice so they can settle their differences peacefully. Unfortunately, the media have sometimes fanned the flames of discord by taking sides, reinforcing prejudices, muddling the facts and peddling half-truths. “Peace journalism,” which is being promoted by various NGOs, endeavours to promote reconciliation through careful reportage that gives voice to all sides of a conflict and resists explanation for violence in terms of innate enmities. Training and the establishment of mechanisms whereby journalists from opposite sides of conflict can interact with the other side, including other journalists representing divergent views, have helped propagate peace journalism.

    Read more »

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    Remembering Bowflex Inventor Dosho Tessema Shifferaw

    The late Dosho Tessema Shifferaw, CEO of Dosho Design, Inc, and inventor of Bowflex. (Photo: Bizmedia)

    Ethiomedia

    Ethiopians Grieve Death of Bowflex Inventor

    SAN FRANCISCO – Dosho Tessema Shifferaw, an Ethiopian American entrepreneur who invented Bowflex, a household name in gyms worldwide, was laid to rest on Saturday after he died of a brain tumor on Thursday.

    “Shifferaw invented the Bowflex, a home weight machine that uses bendable rods instead of weight plates to provide resistance, in the early 1980s, while trying to design an ergonomic chair for a City College of San Francisco class project. Widely marketed on infomercials, more than $3 billion worth of the machines have been sold over the years. Its success eventually made Shifferaw a multimillionaire,” Lindsay Riddell wrote in the San Francisco Business Times on March 22, 2013.

    In 2005, Dosho was a recipient of the US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) award.

    A holder of over 16 patents, Tessema emigrated to the United States when he was 19. He was the son of an army general during the reign of Emperor Haileselassie of Ethiopia.

    Upon arrival in the US, Tessema was doubling as a taxi driver and an engineering student at City College of San Francisco, where he accidently discovered the homeweight machine while working on a project for an ergonomic chair for his college.

    In 2012, Tessema was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he was told he may not live long to see his projects bearing fruit.

    “They told me that I’d live about five years, may be less, but hopefully more, he told the San Francisco Business Times reporter last year. Dosho is survived by his wife and three children.

    Read more at Ethiomedia »


    Related:
    The Bowflex Inventor Story


    www.dosho.com

    TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2007

    In a San Francisco cottage 23 years ago T. Dosho Shifferaw, an Ethiopian immigrant and inventor, struggled to design the perfect chair. Stuck and frustrated, he bent a spare metal rod across his shoulders and in that moment stumbled upon the key to transforming America’s home gym workouts.

    After discovering that the resistance of the rod created a smooth, muscle-building workout, Shifferaw created the “Bowflex,” one of the nation’s best-known infomercial products.

    Shifferaw – who arrived in the United States with just $500 – a multimillionaire. For years, investors refused to back the Bowflex, saying it looked like an octopus or a spider — not like an exercise machine.

    “When I initially designed and tried to market it to companies, no one would take it. It was such a different looking product. Some said it looked like a spider, others an octopus. They demanded I make it look like an exercise machine,” recalls Tessema D. Shifferaw, founder, CEO and creative mind behind Dosho Design, Inc.

    Instead, the Bowflex went on to become the fastest-selling piece of exercise equipment in the United States with sales pole-vaulting from $10 million in 1995 to $585 million in 2002, nearly doubling each year.

    Shifferaw’s most recent inventions include the Windjector, a unique “wind-resistance trainer” and the DoshBell, a Pac-Man-like dumbbell design that clamps on barbells, allowing weights to be adjusted to fro five to 55 pounds, depending on how much effort one wants to put into a workout.

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    Arabica in Addis Ababa: Climbing the Coffee Ladder in Ethiopia

    Selling the drink in its homeland offers a path to success, but now foreign companies want to get in on the game. (Photo: Customers in the Tomoca coffeehouse in the heart of Addis Ababa/James Jeffrey)

    Aljazeera America

    By James Jeffrey

    October 20, 2014

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Eighteen-year-old Aster Endale quickly gives the coffee cups a rinse before putting them back into her basket and picking up a bag with canisters of coffee. Then she crosses the road, weaving between traffic, to find her next customers.

    Time wasted is coffee not poured — and money not earned — in the Ethiopian capital, where the humble cup of coffee is contributing to economic advancement starting at the lowest level and finishing at the counters of upmarket gourmet coffee houses in Tokyo and beyond.

    Coffee has long played a central role in Ethiopia’s macroeconomic fortunes as the country’s largest export earner. In 2012 coffee exports generated more than $800 million, a figure expected to exceed $1 billion by 2015.

    But besides the grand figures in annual economic reports, the simple act of selling a cup of cheap coffee plays a significant socioeconomic role for many trying to carve out a better life in Ethiopia. This is especially true amid the hubbub of a rapidly changing Addis Ababa, where a hierarchy of diverse coffee services by various practitioners exists.

    At the bottom are women like Endale, roaming the streets carrying flasks in baskets full of tiny porcelain cups and saucers, dispensing coffee for three Ethiopian birr ($0.15) a cup. Next in line are the traditional coffee stands, known as jeubeuna bunna, outside bars and restaurants serving coffee for five birr ($0.25) a cup. Then there are the established coffeehouses, where a cup costs upward of 10 birr ($0.50).

    “Everyone wants to graduate to the next level,” said Wondwossen Meshesha, operations manager for Tomoca, one of Addis’ original coffeehouses, inaugurated in 1953 by Emperor Haile Selassie.

    For Tomoca, the next level up means securing foreign partners to help it export more roasted coffee to new international markets — doubling the revenue of raw beans, traditionally the bulk of Ethiopia’s coffee exports — and even opening cafes abroad.

    Read more »

    Related:
    Boom Times for Ethiopia’s Coffee Shops (BBC)
    Blessed Coffee Wins Start Up Africa Entrepreneurship of the Year Award (TADIAS)

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    Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit

    A burial team in protective gear buries the body of a woman suspected to have died from the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia on Saturday, October 18th, 2014. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA

    JOHANNESBURG — In the United States, some parents fearful of deadly Ebola pulled children out of a school after the principal returned from Zambia, an African nation far from the area hit by the disease. In Geneva, a top U.N. official warned against anti-African discrimination fueled by fears of Ebola. The disease has ravaged a small part of Africa, but the international image of the whole continent is increasingly under siege, reinforcing some old stereotypes.

    Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – the African countries afflicted by the Ebola outbreak – have a combined population of about 22 million on a continent with more than 1 billion people. Their corner of West Africa encompasses an area the size of California, or almost as big as Morocco. Yet the epidemic feeds into a narrative of disaster on a continent of 54 countries that has seen some progress in past years, and false perceptions of Ebola’s reach are hurting African business distant from the affected areas.

    “It speaks to a whole discourse about the danger of Africa,” said Michael Jennings, a senior lecturer in international development at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

    He cited the recent decision of a British school to postpone a visit by a teacher from the West African country of Ghana after parents expressed concern about the Ebola virus. Ghana does not border the hard-hit nations and has not reported any cases of the disease.

    Jennings said fearful people don’t necessarily react in a rational way and the message of some comments on social media in Britain is: “Why don’t we just stop everyone in West Africa from coming?”

    Africa has had a troubled image. Famine in Ethiopia, chaos in Somalia and genocide in Rwanda drove the idea of a continent in perpetual crisis. In recent years, though, an end to a number of wars and ensuing stability and growth pointed to a turnaround that some enthusiasts dubbed “Africa Rising.”

    Now the economic impact of Ebola fears is being felt in many parts of Africa. Hotels, tourism operators and conference organizers are recording increasing cancellations.

    Thirty international buyers pulled out of an annual tourism expo that began Thursday in Zimbabwe’s resort town of Victoria Falls, said Karikoga Kaseke, the national tourism agency chief. He said business travelers from China and Malaysia were among those who recently canceled trips, and Jamaican musicians have also skipped Zimbabwean shows.

    The southern African country is more than 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles) from Ebola-hit Liberia, or about twice the distance between London and Moscow.

    Read more »

    Related:
    U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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    Grammy–nominated Ethiopian American Singer Wayna at Lincoln Center NYC

    Wayna (Woyneab Wondwossen) is an Ethiopian-born, Grammy-nominated R&B singer. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Sunday, October 19th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center in New York City has hosted some memorable shows featuring Ethiopian artists this year, including DC-based-Bandleader Hailu Mergia, the NYC screening of Difret, and now Grammy–nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter Wayna who is scheduled to perform here this coming week. Meklit Hadero is also on the list of musicians invited to perform next Spring.

    Wayna, who is promoting her latest album The Expats, will take the stage on Thursday, October 23rd along with rising hip hop artist Akua Naru. “Wayna’s newest album represents a departure from her previous work. Named as an homage to its Toronto-based backing band and internationally born production –team contributors hail from Ethiopia, Japan, Israel, Germany, Jamaica, and India —- the album draws from diverse influences to create an alternative environment where Sade and The Police meet Lauryn Hill and Radiohead,” the announcement states. “Wayna’s lyrics continue to push the envelope, addressing thought-provoking subject matter including racial and economic inequality, love, individuality, and life choices.”

    “I’ve always been a bit of an expat,” says the Ethiopian-born artist. “I want this album to be about exploring and expressing all the ways in which I and every one of us are unique, culturally or otherwise, and to celebrate those differences unapologetically,” she adds. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

    If You Go:
    Wayna & Akua Naru
    When: Oct. 23 at 7:30
    Entrance: FREE (Sponsored by Target)
    David Rubenstein Atrium Lincoln Center
    New York City
    www.lincolncenter.org

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    Ethiopia’s Girmay Birhanu Gebru Wins Beijing Marathon Amid ‘Hazardous’ Smog

    Ethiopia's Girmay Birhanu Gebru wins the 34th Beijing International Marathon in a time of two hours, 10 minutes and 42 seconds in Beijing on October 19, 2014. (Getty Images)

    Bloomberg News

    Oct 19, 2014

    Girmay Birhanu Gebru of Ethiopia won the Beijing Marathon as about 30,000 runners from 55 countries completed after a warning of hazardous haze engulfing the city.

    Gebru completed the race in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 42 seconds, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today. The organization committee of the race warned marathoners of heavy smog on its official Weibo feed last night. The Air Quality Index in the city central area is at “severely polluted levels” of around 225 to 245 today, with the gauge at more than 400 in some areas, according to Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. The U.S. Embassy said on its website air quality is “hazardous” today.

    “I was basically a vacuum cleaner,” William Liu, a 30-year-old banker, said after completing the full marathon in five hours. He said he could’ve run faster if the smog hadn’t given him a dry, itchy throat and stuffy nose partway through.

    Read more at Bloomberg News »

    Related:
    Genzebe Dibaba Makes Final Shortlist for 2014 IAAF World’s Athlete of the Year
    Lelisa Desisa and Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia Win Boston Half-Marathon
    Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa to Challenge Historic Men’s Field at 2014 NYC Marathon

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    In Little Ethiopia, Palliative Care Means Dignity for Ethiopian American Elders

    Hayim Tovim Adult Day Health Care center located in the heart of the Little Ethiopia neighborhood along Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: NAM)

    New America Media

    By Julian Do, Posted: Oct 18, 2014

    LOS ANGELES–Until last spring, Tesfaldey Meshesha and his wife, who came to the United States from Ethiopia in 2008, used to be regulars at Hayim Tovim Adult Day Health Care center located in the heart of the Little Ethiopia along Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. Here, they joined in aerobic dancing, socialized, lunched with friends and received medical check ups.

    But these days, Meshesha, 76, the former manager of Wonji Shoa Sugar Factory, one of Ethiopia’s largest of its kind, comes alone, as his wife has contracted bone cancer.

    “No matter what, my wife has to be taken care of by me at home. Transferring her to a nursing home would be unthinkable because I don’t think any nursing or hospital facilities here can provide our cultural ways of respect and dignity to the elders,” said Meshesha with tears in his eyes. He was polite but clearly didn’t want to talk about his wife’s illness further.

    Read more at newamericamedia.org »

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